Aliens at the Pasadena Chalk Art Festival

Herbie Chalk art Pasadena
A car as a movie hero–what better image at a chalk art festival in Southern California.

It is a Double-header this weekend in Pasadena: the Alien Con is at the Convention Center and across the street dozens and dozens of chalk artists are creating works on the Plaza at Paseo Colorado.  And it was very crowded on Saturday!

halk Art Festival at Paseo Colorado Pasadena
This year the sky was overcast. Usually the festival happens in blazing hot sunlight. Perhaps the cooler weather is why the crowd was much larger.

I went at noon on Saturday and most of the artists were just beginning. First they drew an outline of the picture they planned to create, then painstakingly started to fill in with removable paint and chalk.  It all gets power-washed off the plaza on Tuesday.  Here is some of what I saw in 2018.

Punk at Alien Con
This guy was racing through the Chalk Fest on his way to Alien Con. He asked for beer money after I took the photo.
Guy Fawkes Masked chalk artist
One chalk artist came in his Guy Fawkes mask. Did he go to the Alien Convention afterwards?
Chalk art painting Pasadena 2018
Equal opportunity art at the Pasadena Chalk Festival. There seemed to be as many women artists participating as men artists..


JPL chalk art pasadena
Who says scientists can’t be creative? This art was being created by 3 people from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The design looked a bit hap-hazard to me but it was still in process.
Pasadena Chalk Art Festival 2018
For some people creating the art was a group effort made up of family and friends. Is the design an abstract landscape?  Or something else?
Starting design Chalk Festival Pasadena 2018
What appeared to be a father and son duo beginning their work.
Chalk Art by Jacqui Somo
The artist, Jacqui Somo, seemed to be further along than most other artists at the event.


Two womens heads Chalk Festival
By noon this artist had completed these 2 heads of women in the Art Nouveau style. There was a lot more to go.
The festival overflowed Paseo Colorado and these 20 artists were working in the forecourt of the Pasadena Convention Center where Alien Con was happening.

Lummis Days celebrates that party animal with a critter puppet parade

Cunao official band Lummis Days 2018
The official band to lead the parade for Lummis Days was Cunao.  Here  they are wearing their critter masks in keeping with the parade theme.  Coyote tricksters?

Charles Lummis was quite a guy!  Adventurer, author, editor of the L.A. Times, cross-country hiker, archeologist, photographer, and founder of the Southwest Museum.

Charles Lummis treking across America
A photograph of Charles Lummis during his tramp across America to start his job as L.A. Times editor.

He was also somewhat infamous for the parties he held at his home, El Alisal, in Highland Park.  You can see my post about Lummis ‘s home here.

Now, almost a hundred years after his death, he has become the namesake of a celebration of life, fun, music and art in the Arroyo in northeast Los Angeles. Here is a link to the Lummis Days organization.  I understand that the Arroyo Arts Collective also helps with this event.

On Sunday I came across the official parade for Lummis Days after visiting the Southwest West Museum‘s pottery exhibition.  Parade participants gathered in front of the museum entrance, then marched to Sycamore Grove Park where a concert and puppet show were held.

I only stayed for the parade and here is some of what I saw.

3 marchers Lummis Days 2018
Three marchers waiting for the parade to begin outside the Southwest Museum entrance.
Lummis days marcher snake puppet
This colorful marcher created a long snake puppet to wear on her arms.
Marcher with puppets Lummis Days 2018
This masked marcher wore frog puppets on her hands.
man in tree Lummis Days
As I was hanging around waiting for the parade to begin I noticed this man in a tree and suddenly was reminded of the old hippy days around San Francisco in the 1960s when people did things like that. There was a bit of that spirit in all of this event.
Lummis days parade 2018
As you can see the parade was definitely a neighborhood event. Probably not many more than a 100 people took part. But fun!  Oh, the big green and  blue puppet carried by 4 men is a blue-bellied lizard.  
Native American dancers Lummis Days
I’ve seen these Native American dancers perform at the plaza at Olvera Street, downtown. Here they were part of the parade. Very suitable!



Guardian angel at Southwest Museum station
The parade crossed through the Southwest Museum Gold Line station and continued downhill to Sycamore Grove Park. I love the “guardian angels” that surround this Metro station. Art and architecture critics go off on the art and seating at this station, but  they miss the whimsy and fun of it all.   Metro stations don’t have to be boring!


Flying men and tile baseball players in the Civic Center Metro Station L.A.

Civic Center station flying man
This is just one of a half a dozen sculptures of young flying men hanging from the ceiling in the Red Line Civic Center station in downtown L.A. The sculptures  entitled “I dreamed I could Fly”were created by Jonathan Borofsky and each resembles him.  Well, that’s one way to become an immortal among artists!

Back in the late 1980s and 1990s when the Metro system was being built in Los Angeles, the city went all out for art. In the stations built since then there is still art–usually modest tile panels–but nothing quite as extravagant and amazing as the artwork in the Red and Gold lines. The artists back then were given almost total freedom to do what they wanted with very generous budgets.

The Civic Center Station in downtown L.A. is probably most famous for its “flying men” sculptures suspended from the ceiling. There are also dozens of tile mosaic murals lining the walls upstairs in the station, but I suspect many people walk right by them as they rush to the trains or to the street upstairs.  They were designed by Faith Ringgold and produced by artisans at Mosaika Art and Design in Montreal.

So here are a few of these many glass tile mosaics. Because L.A. is such a sports town–8 professional sports teams here–I picked a few sports murals to show you.  But there are others–especially musicians and dancers–in the Civic Center Station.

Was this mural inspired by Muhammad Ali?
Baseball player 6 Metro Station
I suspect this tile mural of a baseball player is supposed to represent the Dodgers with the blue cap.
Is this tile figure supposed to be a Yankee in the pinstripe uniform?
Surfer tile mural civic center
Obviously, you can’t have sports in L.A. without a surfer!



Soccer player 15 Civic Center Metro
I am not sure whether these days we have one or two soccer teams–or as the rest of the world calls it “football” teams.
Dancers tile mural civic center station
I love these dancers!

The Animation Expo in Burbank is a place for women illustrators, animators

Ruby Roth animation expo burbank fair 2018
Ruby Roth both writes and illustrates books for children, espousing the vegan diet.

The city of Burbank welcomed the Animation Expo four or five years ago. It is a free event to showcase the work of young animators and illustrators.

Mascot animation expo
This colorful character is the “mascot” for the Animation Expo.

It began as an open air fair adjacent to the long-running Burbank Art Fair and has grown every year.  In fact, it attracts more foot traffic than the Art Fair these days.

This year young women illustrators, designers, authors, animators and all-around artists were a significant presence.  Here are a few of them.

Aiysha Sinclair annimation expo burbank fair
Aiysha Sinclair wrote and illustrated her book, Brown Sugar Fairies.
Tara Wittaker animation
The people around Tara Whitaker’s booth seemed to be a study in teal, including the hair of one visitor.
Isabelle Gedigk annimation expo
Illustrator and storyboard artist Isabelle Gedigk standing beside a poster of a book she illustrated.
red skirt woman at animation expo (
The Animation Expo brings out people in colorful clothing.
blue haired woman animation expo
Not an animator. Not an illustrator, but I loved the way her blue hair matched her blouse.  Surprisingly, there were no leaves at all on the jacaranda trees that line San Fernando Blvd. where the expo was held.  No purple jacaranda blooms yet, either.


Summer Fair season gets going with the Burbank Art Street Fair

Rick Hunter handblown glass
I love hand blown glass and the vessels created by Rick Hunter are gorgeous..

I went this the Burbank Spring Art Fair with the intention of photographing people who attended, but decided to show some of the art for sale instead.

Children playing withbubbles
Little kids played with bubbles while one of those bubble machines ran in the background.

At the time I was there on Saturday there were relatively few people shopping at the fair — at least compared to the thousands who thronged the Burbank Fair ten years ago.

On the other hand, the Animation Expo–which will be in the next post–was very busy.  A generational thing, I guess.

carpet vases Burbank Art Fair
This is unusual! The artist cut up Persian carpeting and transformed the bits and pieces into vesselsShe’s on Istagram at Angela Art.
metal and rope sculpture
A metal and rope sculptured head.
Jazz man sculpture
I don’t know the name of the artist or the sculpture but to me it looks like “Jazz Man”.
Gourd Art by Johnson and Jones
The artist, Kay Jones, who created these masks told me she had planned to do gourd art handbags for 5 years, but has just kept on going with the addition of these fantastic masks.  She also sells gourd purses on etsy.


Metal Mountains wall art
The message in this metal wall art by Mountain Metals appeals to me.

Singing on a raft at Fiesta Perpetua on Echo Park Lake

Fiesta Perpetua Echo Park singer
On a raft in the lake the singer twirled a red ribbon to signal the band to begin playing and marching.

The Fiesta Perpetua on and around Echo Park lake was the brainchild of Carmina Escobar as her contribution to the huge Pacific Standard Time LA/LA.

The way it worked was this:  a woman went out to a raft in the lake and using three wooden megaphones sang to an audience of paddleboaters and people lining the walkway and lounging on the lawn around the lake.

Singer at megaphone echo park lake
Singing through the megaphones. Because Echo Park lake is in a “bowl” there were echos which added to the performance.
audience in boats at fiesta perpetua echo park
Echo Park lake has a facility for renting paddleboats and paddleboaters lined up near the raft to see and hear the performance.  Other paddleboaters followed along beside the band as it marched around the lake.

Actually, before she began to sing, a band, the Maqueos Music Filharmonica began to play and march around the lake slowly.  In my opinion, the band was the star of the performance. .

Maqueos Music band Echo Park
Maqueos Music is an academy for young musicians and this band played what sounded as if it were a traditional Mexican song.  I think the music was of Yucatan origin. Maybe


band at Fiesta Perpetua Echo Park
The band began in two separate locations and began to play, marching toward each other and soon merging into one.


Because I love Echo Park and the lake and the surrounding area are among my favorite places in Los Angeles, I’m also including photos of the area on a sunny, 85F degree Saturday afternoon in January.

Echo Park lake fountain
The fountain at the center of Echo Park lake. The park is famous for its lotus blossoms  which bloom in the north end of the lake and the Lotus Festival which occurs in July.
Fruit vendor echo park
If you’re going to sell fruit from a cart in Los Angeles, it better be organic!
Echo Park children playing balls
When Echo Park was refurbished a few years ago, a playground was added for children. Very popular!
colorful houses by echo park lake
This photo has nothing to do with the Fiesta Perpetua. It is simply of colorful homes behind the Episcopalian church facing the lake.



Christmas in colorful Chinatown is a Los Angeles tradition

Main plaza L.A. Chinatown 2015
Quite a few of the buildings in the heart of old Chinatown have been painted colorfully for decades. This photo was taken in 2015..  The “After” photo, taken in 2017,is below.

In the melting pot that is Los Angeles two local holiday food traditions stand out.  One is eating tamales during the Christmas season which obviously is inspired by Mexico and the many Mexican restaurants around the city.  Even one of the local fast-food hot dog chains offers tamales during the holidays.

The second tradition is going to Chinatown to have dim sum (Chinese bite-size noodle/pastries) for mid-day dinner on Christmas Day which seems to have originated in the Jewish community.

Blossom apartments chinatown (
This new apartment complex called Blossom seems to have inspired other building owners in the area to paint bolder and bolder!

Other people, including my non-Jewish family, have begun doing Christmas-in-Chinatown, too.  No long hours in the kitchen and no leftover turkey for us!

So if you decide to visit Chinatown for dim sum (or any other reason) and haven’t been there recently, you will see color gone wild on buildings around the area.  I think that the new Blossom Apartments next to the Metro station instigated the painting craze.

See more photos of Chinatown here.

repainted building chinatown
This is the “After” version of the photo at the top of this post. I loved the many shades of green that it had originally, but this color combination of yellow and deep blue-ish purple is interesting, too.
Hot yellow building chinatown
The bright yellow color on this brand new apartment building located on an alley hurts your eyes it is so garish. It is the latest addition to colorful buildings in Chinatown,
Building in Chinatown 201
Tucked back in an alley, the colors on this building are favorites of mine. I’ve always loved Chinese red. And those fake palm trees are a perfect L.A. touch.


This building painted mustard gold with red pillars has been around for a while.
Pink building on plaza chinatown
Another building  has colors inspired by Mexico, rather than China.  Located on the main plaza it has been the brightest, most colorful building in Chinatown until recently.
Woman and god in Chinatown
If you go to Chinatown on Christmas day you may not be able to find this altar which is hidden inside the Swap Meet building– which really isn’t a Swap Meet, BTW.  All the little shops carry new  and very inexpensisve merchandise from China.