Funny soap box racers tear down a hilly street in Elysian Park

Yellow submarine racer
After the wild ride down the hill, the handmade race cars were parked nearby. Children, especially little boys, loved getting into the battered racers.

Red Bull has sponsored 19 soap box races around the world in recent years, but this was the first in Los Angeles I think.

In addition to the requirement that all the vehicles in the amateur category be handmade, each ‘racing team’ had to perform a dance at the starting line and they were judged on the quality of the performance. For those of us at the finish line, the silly and hilarious dances were shown on a huge jumbotron.

Will Smith head Soap Box Derby
I have no idea why a tall, skinny white guy brought a Will Smith head to a soap box derby. Hmmm. Maybe he was part of one of the racing teams?  Maybe a dancer?

After the brief performances came the timed runs down the narrow winding street where almost every one of the handmade racers suffered damage. Pieces of the cars fell off along the way or the race car driver ran into the straw bale barriers lining the route or crashed into the bales at the finish line.  Fastest time was under one minute.

Okay.  Here is some of what I saw.

mule train racer aug 2017 (
This “mule team’ racer didn’t get up enough speed to make it all the way down the hill. It stalled at one flat curve and got human assistance to continue its run. I like the design even if it wasn’t a speedy one.
Two soap box racers August 2017
Two of the handmade race cars parked on the sidelines after each finished its run.  The rocket ship racer was damaged at the end when it crashed in the hay bales.
Pizza slice racer
Even a ‘big boy’ got a kick out of sitting in the pizza racer after the event.  His girlfriend was taking a picture of him.
Watching the racers
Cameras at the start line and along the way allowed viewers at the finish line to see the start-line dances and wobbly runs downhill.
Finish Line Red Bull Derby
Thousands of people lined the narrow street in Elysian Park to watch the races.  The ‘official’ record of the finish came from the cameraman stationed at the end, behind the hay bales.

 

Red Bull Minis at Soap Box Derby
There was free parking for the event at Dodger Stadium and a dozen shuttle buses took the thousands of people over the hill to the event. Red Bull Mini-Coopers had the best parking spots.

 

 

Yes, you can visit the Bradbury building where ‘Blade Runner’ was filmed

Bradbury Bldg interior stairs
Marble stairs and black ironwork plus the golden color bricks are throughout the Bradbury building.

Last evening I saw ‘Blade Runner’ on TV and, once again, realized how the Bradbury Bldg. in downtown Los Angeles was almost a character in that movie.  In real life the building is very interesting architecturally, but not quite like the one portrayed in the film.

Bradbury Bldg exterior
The Bradbury Building in Los Angeles. No huge pillars out front.

There are no huge columns on the front. No ornate obstacles at the roof for Roy Batty and Decker to climb over.

Visitors can come into the building, which is filled with offices, but only on the first floor.

elevator Bradbury Bldg
The cage elevator original to the building still is operated by the building’s security guard. Only tenants can go upstairs.
skylight bradbury bldg
In Blade Runner, ads shown through this skylight as Decker climbed the stairs to Sebastian’s home.
visitors bradbury bldg Los Angeles
Visitors can come to the ground floor and many do to take photos.
Ironwork Bradbury Building Los Angeles
Ironwork on a railing in the Bradbury building in downtown Los Angeles.
Charlie Chaplin statue Bradbury Building
In the back hallway is this statue of Charlie Chaplin.

Art along Big Bang Theory Way in Pasadena

Better as a Color Asli Tusavul
Better As a Color’ was the name of this work by Asli Tusavu. The artwork is made of colored straws  which were blowing in the breeze that whistled along Big Bang Theory Way.

Yes! There really is an alley called ‘Big Bang Theory’ in Pasadena and on Saturday it was filled with temporary art installations as part of a promotion called “Bold Pas” for Old Town Pasadena.

Better as a  Color straws
Close up you can see that this piece was created with colorful plastic straws

Or, more accurately, the art work was installed as an attempt to get more people into the retail stores in Old Town which has seen the same sag in traffic as retail stores, large and small, across the nation.

The art was mostly whimsical which I really enjoy. The world is very serious now so light-hearted art was perfect for a very very hot Saturday afternoon.

So here is some of what I saw:

Crystal Lucida Sarah Umles
The light reflecting through the colored water in cut glass bowls was almost magical to see! This installation was called Crystal Lucida by Sarah Umles.
Big Bang Theory Way Pasadena CA
Here it is. The street sign for the Big Bang Theory Way in Pasadena. This is the only outdoor dining area along this alley, but along Mercantile Alley and many other old alleyways in Old Town there are dozens of restaurants. My next post is going to be about the alleyways and hidden courtyards in Old Town.
Displacement of Working Objects Viviana Palacio
Rounding a corner onto Big Bang Theory Way I came across these ladders which once were used for the orange harvest. Pasadena was founded by a group of Indiana farmers back in the 1870s to be a city of churches and orange groves. The city shortly became a tourist destination.  This installation was entitled ‘Displacement of Working Objects’ by Viviana Palacio.
Anali Gharakhani "Blister"
This installation by Anali Gharakhani was entitled “Blister” and certainly looked a lot like woven chairs. Passersby thought so too because they sat right down in them.
Andrew Hem painting
Andrew Hem moved into the shade in Mercantile Alley where he worked on his paintings as part of the Bold Pas event.
Walking the Pets Lo Yan Leung
The little girl was puzzled by these two “pets” in the installation by Lo Yan Leung called “Walking the Pets”.  After looking at these animals for a while she cautiously reached out and  petted the hair.

 

New Artwork at Union Station in Los Angeles

Parade artwork Union STation
This appears to me to be a representation of a parade…maybe.  It is one of many new art works lining the passage to the trains in Union Station, Los Angeles.

Yesterday (Saturday July 15) the annual Train Festival was held at Union Station.  When I arrived about 15 minutes before the Festival was scheduled to open, the lines were huge!  Easily over 300 people plus their children were lined up for the train tours.  Another 100 lined up to see the model trains.  And those lines were growing longer by the minute.

I decided to forego the Train Festival and took photos of the artwork newly installed in the triptych light boxes that line the passage between the station and the trains.

Serbian cemetary art Union Station
This artwork reminds me of the Serbian cemetary in East Los Angeles. But it may be an Armenian one.
Admiring artwork Union Station
A man stopped to admire the artwork. Sadly, most people rushed right on by.

 

Suburban life artwork Union STation
Suburban life, possibly in the 1970s. An image of how Los Angeles really was back then.
Palm tree art in Union Station
Palm trees lining a road to the mountains. It’s an image of how I perceived L.A. before I moved here.

The Yoko Ono Wish Tree garden in Pasadena

Yoko Ono wishing trees
Two Crape myrtles stand on either side of the main path. They’ve been designated as ‘wish trees’

Inspired by Yoko Ono, a ‘wish tree’ garden is in the heart of the beautiful Arlington Garden in Pasadena. Two Crape Myrtle trees in full mid-summer bloom are ladened with wishes from people of all ages.  Seeing the wishes I was reminded of the wishes tucked in gravestones in Europe.  I was told it was an Italian custom.

Here are some of the wishes.

Daddy's return wish
I hope her Daddy returns safely, too.
Sisters farts wish
Funny!
wish for ease and joy
A wish for happiness, peace and improved health for an aunt. That is definitely a universal wish!
wish for ease and joy
Was this wish placed here by someone philosophic?
Wish for socialist government
“I wish for a socialist government’ Maybe this writer is a Bernie Sanders supporter.
wish for responsible presidenet
One of only a very few political wishes. Most are personal and about family.
Arlington Garden Pasadena
Another view of Arlington Gardens where Crape myrtle trees line the pathways. There are Adirondack chairs tucked away in shady spots all over the garden. The Arlington Garden is open to everyone. No entry fee. 

South Pasadena’s Fourth of July parade

Dad and son waiting for paradeThe South Pasadena annual July 4th parade is called the ‘Festival of Balloons’ and this year the theme was something about honoring Route 66 which ran right through South Pas.

Fourth of July pancake breakfast
All the pancakes and sausages youi can eat plus melon.

The morning began with that All-American classic: the pancake breakfast at the local firehouse.

And while it was definitely a small town event, there wasn’t even a queen or a princess or a Statue of Liberty riding on a float, although I saw one ‘Uncle Sam’ walking by.

Head to toe stars and stripes
Stars and stripes shoes. Stars and stripes hat and shirt. She was in the spirit of the day!

 

 

Instead it was dozens upon dozens of Boy and Girl Scout troops and a lot of politicians riding in antique cars.  Only one mounted  group of riders were in the parade.  From the nearby Arroyo Seco stables, they brought up the end.

Here is some of what I saw.

Uncle Sam South Pasadena
‘Uncle Sam’ didn’t seem to be marching in the parade. Maybe he was part of the entertainment at Garfield Park where the parade ended.
South Pas high school band
The South Pasadena High School marching band in their official Festival of Balloons t-shirt uniforms.
Defeating the 710 tunnel
This group was celebrating the defeat of the 710 tunnel project. After decades of local opposition Cal Trans finally gave up on digging a tunnel under South Pasadena and Pasadena to extend the 710 freeway to the 210.
Poster Contest winners in woody
There is a poster contest every year in conjunction with the parade theme. This year’s winners rode in a classic surfers’ Woody.
Route 66 float
A float! I’m not sure what group sponsored it.

 

Preview of Rose parade float
We all got a sneak peek of the Rose Parade float for 2018 on the side of this truck.
DUDES dancing July 4th
DUDES stands for Dads Uniting Dads for Education and Service. They danced in front of the reviewing stand.
Arroyo Seco horses in parade (
Riders from the Arroyo Seco Stables came next to last in the parade. Fire engines were last.

 

South Pasadena bungalow 4th July 2017
The epitome of Americana. A South Pasdena bungalow with a flag on the front porch.

The Armenian genocide memorial in Glendale under cloudy skies

Armenian genocide monument in Glendale I’ve heard it said that there are more people who call themselves “Armenians” in Glendale, than in the country of Armenia.  While that is actually not accurate (Armenia’s population is 3 million. Glendale about 200,000) it is true that people of Armenian ancestry are a dominant force in the city.

armenian woman childrenIn honor of those who died in the Armenian genocide in 1915, a memorial has been erected in the Central Paseo Park in Glendale. Here are a few photos of it.

Old woman face armenian memorial
Faces of survivors. I was particularly struck by the old woman’s face in the middle.
Four faces of Armenia
The faces of people who survived the genocide and told of what happened. The man walking on the right side of the memorial, paced around it for the entire time I spent taking photos. He gives a sense of the scale of these art works.
Armenian family 1917
The photo of lost ancestors during happier times in an Armenian town in Turkey.