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.
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.
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.
On my way to an art/music festival at Grand Park I came across this couple having their wedding photos taken in Union Station. A few of us watched, but many other people simply walked by, each involved with his/her own life.
I love the fact that the bride is wearing an elegant beige gown. Before Queen Victoria got married in a white gown brides did not wear white. I wish more brides would give up that 200 hundred year old custom and start wearing colors again. Another argument against white bridal gowns: in some parts of the world white is the color of mourning.
City officials and Metro were expecting a larger crowd at the Women’s March this year and it may have been true. Unlike New York, Boston or Chicago, the weather was beautiful in Los Angeles: temperature in the low 60sF and clear skies and no circling helicopters which there had been last year.
Perhaps it is too early in December, but there were almost no Christmas decorations, no jolly Santa Claus, and no carolers in Pershing Square — unlike other years. There weren’t even a lot of children skating on the ice rink. It really did not feel very festive.
There was an “angel wings” backdrop for people to use for photos, however. And interesting signs announcing that Ice Curling lessons are coming soon and so is Broom Hockey. To learn more about this, go here.
Now for some musical trivia. Singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell once wrote a song about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot. Well, that parking lot, formerly the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic until the building was demolished decades ago, is now becoming a high rise tower across from Pershing Square.
This year a group called Lore Productions “curated” some of the large altars for Grand Park. Their altars were large and professional in appearance, like the one at the top of this post.
This year I didn’t see an altar by artist Ofelia Esperanza, the most famous altar creator in L.A. but the community altar this year was built by Self-Help Graphics, one of the old art studios for Chicano artists.
There was also something entirely new: the floating altars with La Calavera Catrina, the Queen on the Dead. With a little research I discovered that La Calavera Catrina was a figure developed in the early 20th Century that has become very popular for Day of the Dead during the last century.
Today was the last day for the altars in Grand Park. Here are some photos.
The latest installment of the no-cars-on-streets bicycling event dubbed CicLAvia was held on L.A. streets stretching from Boyle Heights to Echo Park to Chinatown last Sunday. I will spare you the photos of Angelenos cruising along on their bikes. Take my word for it, there were thousands of healthy, mostly youngish people peddling around the route.
Instead here is some of what I saw at the ‘art hub’, entitled “The Big Draw L.A.”, in Grand Park outside City Hall as well as a couple of interesting bikes.
For information about future CicLAvia events and other open road bicyling activities around Southern California, go here.