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:
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 inOld Town Pasadena.
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.
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:
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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.
But, 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 Tourthat 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:
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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.
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.
The woman who owns this home told me that she decided to take up lawn replacement design on her own. She said she had no art training of any kind, so I have begun to think of her as a self-taught primitive landscape designer, a kind of “Grandma Moses of lawn replacement”.
The design of this front garden breaks almost every rule of conventional garden design.
The result is astonishing. Unlike anything else in the staid, quiet Madison Heights neighborhood of Pasadena. And I love the whimsy of it all!
The cornerstone for the church commonly called “La Placita” church in the historic district of the Pueblo of Los Angeles was laid by Franciscan Luis Gil y Taboada in 1814 on the ruins of an older church founded in 1784. It is the oldest church in Los Angeles.
And, much to my surprise, La Placita has recently been painted all white…well, except for one wall on the side by the cemetery so perhaps the painting is not complete. Quite frankly, I preferred the beige and red colors of the previous exterior paint. Because it is a parish church and Sunday services were being held I did not see if the interior has been repainted too.
This church faces onto the historic plaza at the end of Olvera Street near downtown Los Angeles.
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The Avila Adobe is the oldest remaining home in Los Angeles. (The nearby La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles, more commonly known as La Placita church, is 4 years older and I’ll be writing about it in the next post.)
This home was built by Californio cattleman Francisco Avila in 1818 as an in-town residence for his family. He also had a home on his ranch near what is now the Mid-Wilshire area by the La Brea Tar Pits.
Members of the Avila family lived in this adobe until 1868 then turned it into a rental. By 1926 the building had fallen into disrepair before being restored as part of a revitalization of Olvera Street.
The building is now managed by the National Park Service and entry is free. It offers a good idea of how well-to-do people lived in Southern California back in 1818.
This cart, below, was built by Darryl Robertshaw in 2004 as a replica of the carts used originally to bring produce to Olvera Street, the main street of Los Angeles. There is a similar cart used for bringing in grapes on display at the San Gabriel Mission.
Kitchens back then were always separate from the main house– not only in California, but in homes around the world. Here in California, the Avila kitchen was outdoors on one side of the courtyard.
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