Women celebrating Day of the Dead at Olvera Street

The Olvera Street Merchants were the first group to launch Dia de los Muertos celebrations this year on October 6th. And the women of Los Angeles definitely got into the spirit of this ancient and now very popular holiday.

It is almost a month until Dia de los Muertos or All Saints Day, as it is also known, on November 1st, the day after Halloween. These two holidays have run together here in Los Angeles into one huge party.

So here is what I saw:

Painted ladies Day of Dead LA City Pix
Women of all ages were caught up in the festivities.  These two painted designs on their faces without the usual white mask, seen below.
ArtGirlCathy Day of Dead LA City Pix
Cathy Mejia, AKA ArtGirlCathy, told me that there were 20 other Dia de los Muertos events in October.  She and her friend are going to be very busy. 
 women red and purple hair Day of Dead LA City Pix
Flowers in their hair.  I like the color co-ordination of the woman on the left with a skirt that matches the touch of yellow in the floral headband and the shirt that matches her hair.
Butterflies Olvera St. LA City Pix
I really love the headbands with flowers. I knew one woman in Pasadena who wore hers regularly year ’round and she was not a Latina. She just liked wearing it.  
Day of Dead face painting LA City Pix
Two face-painters were busy at their booth. Half-faces seemed to be the rule of the day this year.  Perhaps because of the price?
Folklorico dancer Day of Dead LA City Pix
This woman seemed to be the leader of the young Folklorico dancers but she also danced on the bandstand by herself.  She posed for me and other photographers while the young father watched it all.
Red hair Day of Dead LA City Pix
As usual, there were young Folklorico dancers and Mexican music DJs on the bandstand entertaining the crowd, including this woman with red flowers in her red hair.
Lady in White Day of Dead LA City Pix
This woman in white and gold was clearly celebrating Day of the Dead.
Woman in spider dress Olvera St. LA City Pix
Seeing her spider webs dress I was not sure if it was Halloween or Dia de los Muertos she was honoring.










According to one vendor there are 20 other Day of the Dead events in Los Angeles this year. The two big ones I intend to go to are at Grand Park in downtown L.A. where the large colorful altars will be unveiled on October 27th and 28th. Then on November 2nd – 4th, there will be altars in stores and Halloween events in Old Town Pasadena.


The Batmobile and fake cities at the Warner Bros Studio in Burbank

If you take the studio tour at the Warner Bros. lot you will find yourself riding on a open-sided shuttle and passing through sun-filled streets of Chicago, New York, and Big-City-and-Small-Town Anywhere, U.S.A. All fictional, of course.

Sound Stages on Warner Bros. Studio Lot
The Warner Bros. Studio is an actual working movie and TV production facility. Tours are secondary to the primary purpose of creating entertainment.

Thanks to binge-watching on the internet, the demand for TV series and movies is seemingly endless and on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour you will also see street after street of huge sound stages–all busier than they have been in years. The production of entertainment is a thriving big business in Los Angeles these days.

Here is some of what you see on the Studio Tour:

Batmobile on Warner Bros. Studio backlot
One version of the Batmobile is parked on the Warner Bros. lot.
Arkham asylum Warner Studio LA City Pix
The gates to the Arkham Asylum stand next to the Batmobile on display at the Warner Bros. Studio lot.
Fake cemetary on Warner Bros. Studio lot
If you are a fan of “Shameless” here is the exterior of Patsy’s Pies, ostensibly in Chicago but actually at the Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank.
Chicago L on Warner Bros. Lot LA City Pix
Making a movie set in Chicago? Here is the  permanent Warner Bros. set that incorporates an artificial version of the famed Chicago “L” train tracks.  The buildings behind can be repainted to represent other locations for other movies.
Fake cemetary on Warner Bros. Studio lot
Need a cemetery in your TV show? Well, here is a totally fake one on the Warner Bros. lot just in time for Halloween.
Warner Bros. Water Tower
The famous Warner Bros. water tower, often used as a logo on cartoon productions.  The other buildings, left and right, are part of the facades used for exterior shots in movies. 
Setting up stage for holiday
Workmen were setting up a stage for what I think was a Halloween event..  The Little Shop of Horrors in across the street was also being outfitted for the holiday.


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Warner Studios: Part One, the Movie Museum

I was over at Warner Studios having lunch with two friends when the one who works there suggested we go to the Warner movie museum.  We did and it was fun.

6 actresses Warner Studio museumBut, you can’t just wander onto the Warner lot in Burbank to visit the museum.  You have to take the Studio Tour (unless you are a guest of a Studio  employee which we were.)  Entrance to the museum is the next to the last stop on the Warner Studio Tour that costs $65.

So to save you money here are some highlights of the movie museum. In my next post I will show you the Warner Studio lot with outdoor scenes/sets  you will recognize from your favorite TV shows and movies.

Okay.  Here are highlights from the Museum:

Tim Burton's The Corpse Bridge mock up
A mock-up from Tim Burton’s film the “Corpse Bride”.
Sweeney Todd set and costume WArner Studios museum
The gruesome set and costume for Sweeney Todd.


James Dean costume Rebel Without a Cause
Teenage memories. How I loved James Dean.
Costumes worn by movie stars Warner Studio
From the left, costumes worn by Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall and Olivia de Haviland.


Costumes Warner Studio museum
Costumes I think were from ‘My Fair Lady’.
Green screen at Warner Studios
These people were acting in front of a Green Screen. I would guess there was an extra fee to do this. There were a couple of other places as you walk through the museum where you could have your photo taken on sets from famous TV shows. I  think one set was for Friends, but since I don’t watch sitcoms so I didn’t recognize it.
Warner Studios store LA City Pix
You have to go through the store to exit the museum and return to the tour shuttle. There were some large items but most of the things for sale in the store were either refrigerator magnets or key chains.

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Going to the DMV in Pasadena. In and out in 2 hours

The notice from the DMV about renewing my Driver’s License stated that I had to actually show up at a DMV office this year. The notice also stated that I could pre-register online so I did and found out info about the new ‘Real ID’ licenses.  ‘I might as well get one of those’, I thought, so I dug out the appropriate documents for “Real ID’ and showed up at the DMV on Rosemead at 7:50 on Tuesday morning.

7.50 am The Line behind the DMV on Rosemead Blvd.
7:50 a.m. The end of the line at the Rosemead DMV and a pretty spiffy red car. People with appointments were ushered in through the back door. Those of us with no appointments waited in line.

Not only was I armed with a certified birth certificate, my real SSN card, and a bill from So. Cal Gas to prove that I was an American who lived in Pasadena I brought along my Kindle Paperwhite so I could read while waiting. After reading all the horror stories about the lines at the DMV I thought I’d be waiting a half a day or longer.

Didn’t happen that way at all.  Here is what really occurred.

after 8 am the line has moved
The line at the side of the DMV building. It was a little after 8:15 a.m.when this photo was taken and we had just rounded the corner from the back of the building.


The DMV entrance doorway in sight Sept 2018
It took a little over a half an hour for the line to move from behind the building to the entrance where there  was a woman I’ll call “The Document Screener or The Voice of No”.  (She’s not shown, but that cart is hers.) It turns out that because my birth certificate has my maiden name on it and my Social Security Card has my married name I have to get a document from Spokane County, Washington showing my official name change in order to get a ‘Real ID’. WHAT?!!? Well, never mind. I’ll just use my passport to travel and visit federal locations.  And just do a simple Drivers License renewal today.
The waiting continues at the DMV
I checked in at the “Start Here” sign and was told to take a seat anywhere. So I did. And discovered that the book on my Paperwhite was the wrong one in a series I’m reading. The series BTW are hilarious mysteries set in Dublin by Caimh McDonnell. I mean really laugh-until-your-stomach-aches funny.  So I waited and people-watched instead of reading.
My number is called at the DMV
My number, G 046, is called! So off to window 17 I went, had an eye test and paid my $35. One eye is definitely weaker than the other.
The touchscreen drivers license test
After the eye test I was sent to the Camera Room where I had my photo taken. Next–on to the computers in another room where I was to take the Driver License test. The last time I took it–years ago–it was on paper. Not now. The box on the right opens the actual digital drivers test. I missed one question.
Artistic murals at the back of the DMV on Rosemead
9:50 a.m. As I was heading out the back door I noticed some mural panels painted on the back wall. Took photos and then out to my car and home.  Now to get my passport renewed…


Throwback to ’70s and ’80s arcade games at Retrocade in Union Station

Imagine this challenge:  convert a train ticketing hall with 40 foot high ceilings into one of those dark digital game arcades from way back when.  Or convert the same space into a dark glittery discos from that same era.

Disco ball Union Station
A disco ball was hanging up high to remind people that this was supposed to be a disco. Sorta.

Well, it wasn’t quite as dark or as glittery as in the ’70s and ’80s, but the Retrocade Experience at Union Station was fun and free during this last weekend.  The music from that era was loud and the players focused on the games including some that were warming up for a Pac Man contest.

I’m not going to explain any more; just show you some photos.

Retrocade arcade games Union Station LACity Pix
The very first to enter got their pick of the 40 or so retro arcade games lined up around the Ticketing Hall at Union Station Los Angeles.  Within 5 minutes after this photo was taken every arcade game had a player.
Pac Man arcade game LA City Pix 2018
It cost $5 to enter the Pac Man contest which was conducted in the evening. During the day anyone could play and I bet that some ambitious gamers warmed up during the day for free.
Anti Social Social Club Retrocade LA City Pix
The shirt says it all!
Michael Jackson arcade game Union Station
Michael Jackson was really the archetype for the ’80s. His arcade game was tucked way back in a distant corner.  But notice the strip lighting!
Cruisn arcade game LA City Pix
An arcade game built for 2. Both Moms and Dads brought their children to this event.
Flirty muscle art arcade game LA City Pix
This tough guy stomping on a TV looked pretty flirty to me. Fun art!
Simpsons arcade game Retrocade Union Station
Among the first to enter, these 3 guys made a beeline for the old Simpson’s game.
Too short for arcade game LA City Pix
This boy had to look through the steering wheel of this arcade game.
I like the TV game better LA City Pix
One boy decided he wanted to play the early video games on a TV.




Lining up for the last Dodgers home game bus

Dodgers fans lining up for the bus
The bus fare to Dodgers Stadium is free if you have a ticket to the game.

Dodgers fans lined up outside of Union Station in downtown Los Angeles waiting for the bus that would take them to nearby Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers are playing the Padres and it looks as if the Dodgers may be playing in the post season.  But until they are officially in the post-season, this is the last home game for 2018. Follow up:  Dodgers won.

Dodgers, Chargers Ram fans outside Union Station
Sports fans here and there and everywhere!

Meanwhile next to the Dodgers fans line, a group of football fans were getting ready to go to the Ram/Chargers game, a  crosstown rivalry by the two new Los Angeles football teams.  Follow-up:  the Rams won.


The last Delta rocket launch from Vandenberg AFB

I watched the last U. S. government Delta rocket launch from Vandenberg AFB on the central California coast this morning. It is carrying a satellite that will survey the ice in Antarctica.

The last Delta rocket launch over Pacific
Delta rocket launch Sept 15 2018

From now on SpaceX and other private companies will be used to send satellites into space. I took this photo from my balcony and the distance  to that red dot which is the rocket is over 100 miles. It quickly disappeared behind the palm tree on the left.

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