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!

 

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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!

A Bride and Groom in Union Station while the world walks by

Bride and groom Union
Light from a skylight flooded the area where the bride and groom were being photographed. I hope they live happily ever after.

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.

Women’s March in Los Angeles, January 2018

 

womens March L A Cheeto bandido
I think there were more anti-Trump posters this year. And quite a few signs about #MeToo and #TimesUp.  There is an auction of celebrity black dresses  from the Golden Globe Awards on ebay for Time’s Up.  

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.

Here are some photos.

Womens March Power to the Polls
Already 390 women are running for seats in Congress in the election this year.  And thousands more are running for state and local offices.  
Womens March 2018 ReSister Pershing Sq
I like the play on words of “ReSister”  on this sign I saw as the Women’s March Los Angeles was getting  started in Pershing Square.
Womens March Native American
Dressed as a Native American, the sign reads “Women’s Justice Juarez.” There were many men at this year’s march.
Womens March Handmaid in Metro
A Handmaid in the Metro station. Things could be far far worse for women in the U.S. as the Handmaid’s Tale reminds us.
3 friends at Womens March l.a.
3 friends. 2 pussy hats. Big smiles.
Womens March 2018 City Hall (
The crowd turned this corner and began to mass in front of the Los Angeles City Hall.  I noticed a sign for Kamala Harris in 2020.  Almost everyone was more concerned with voting in 2018.
womens march 2018 New Day (
I loved the spirit of a “New Day” coming for this group. I sure hope it is!
Womens March street vendor
As always there were a few street vendors selling hot dogs wrapped in bacon. This woman seemed to have a lot of vegetables on her grill.  The sign attached to the fence behind her is apt.

Learn how to Curl, go ice skating, take an “angel” photo at Pershing Square in #DTLA

Angel Wings Pershing Square
Backdrops painted with “Angel Wings” are showing up everywhere. This is at Pershing Square next to the ice rink. There is also a set of “Angel Wings” for photographs a few blocks away in the Central Library downtown.

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.

Learn to Curl Pershing Square
The Winter Olympics are in February and, no doubt, the interest in the sport of Curling is rising. Curling classes will be held December 17 and January 14 at the Pershing Square ice rink..

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.

Okay. Here is what I saw:

Ice skaters with penguins
Children learn to skate using “penguins” to keep their balance. There were few skaters on this Saturday morning, but perhaps it was too early in the holiday season.

 

Joni Mitchell's paved parking lot
Formerly the home of the L.A. Philharmonic, then for decades a parking lot, now  this space is becoming a high rise. I wonder what Joni Mitchell thinks of this.

Beautiful Day of the Dead altars in Grand Park, Los Angeles

Day of Dead 2017 Grand Park skulls
This massive altar was created by Lore Productions. On each level of the altar were hundreds of note written to deceased family and friends.

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.

skull curated by Lore Productions
A close-up of one of the skulls in the altar 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.

Notes to the dead
Hundreds of notes were left on the altar.
Community Altar by Self-Help Graphics
Self-Help Graphics created this community altar. Many Chicano artists got their start through Self-Help.
Commuity Altar gifts
The bottles of beer and tequila are not unusual on the altars.  On family altars favorite foods of the dead being honored are often placed on the altar. This is a detail from the Community Altar created by Self-Help Graphics.
Altar of Oaxaca Grand Park
Across the street from City Hall was the Altar of Oaxaca by Lore Productions and a group of people on a tour of the altars.
Family altar 2017
A family altar — much more modest in size and personal than the massive ones lower down in the park.
Altar honoring women
A detail of another one of the smaller altars. This one honored Mexican-American women with significant achievements in politics and entertainment.

 

 

La Calavera Catrina Queen of the Dead
Part of the children’s wading pool was closed off to make room for La Calavera Catrina on her boat with blue waves. At the edge of the pool were smaller floating altars, some commemorating well-known people who had died in L.A. in recent years.  This sophisticated display was also produced by Lore Productions.  
Gifts for the dead bananas
An offering of food complete with a sugar skull on one altar. The small bananas are so much sweeter than the ones you can buy in the supermarket.  I know–I used to have banana trees in my back yard. The dead will appreciate them.
Masked mother and son 2017 (
These paper masks were given away as part of the Grand Avenue free entry day which was also happening on Saturday. This mother and son slipped them on for just a minute.

The arts of CicLAvia and some bikes, too

Boy with chromed tricycle
Tricked out, highly chromed bikes — or in this case, a trike–were fairly popular, mostly among young men. The  helmet/hat on this little boy is darling although I don’t know what it is all about. I’m sure, however, with a cool, spiky helmet like that the boy would not have to be reminded to wear it.

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.

Bike hauler CicLAvia 2017 (
Haul the baby. Haul the school-age kid’s bike.  Haul lunch and who knows what else with this custom bike.  It appears someone added snail art to the handlebars of the child’s bike.  There was a booth at this art hub offering to decorate bikes.
dog penguin tape art
Figurative art and abstract art side by side. All of this was created using strips of narrow colored tapes. Kids loved it. So did the adults! Not as messy as chalk art. Faster, too.
Boy tape artist CicLAvia 2017
A young artist working in colorful tape. I suspect this dinosaur-looking creature is a cartoon character but I don’t know which one.
Sumi ink art CicLAvia oct 2017
One tent in Grand Park offered ‘Sumi Ink’ with brushes and long rolls of paper. Kids and adults enthusiastically did their art bit and then the paper was hung up on a fence and another large piece of paper was rolled out  on a table for the next group of painters to use.
CicLAvia DJ at art hub
This DJ under another canopy was great!  She played terrific danceable music with a Latin inspiration. Who knew that Rosemary Clooney’s “Hey Mambo”, a huge hit back in the 1950s, would sound so perfect on an hot October Sunday afternoon in the 21st century!