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.
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.
To subscribe to this blog about real people, places and events in Los Angeles please use the form on the upper right side of this page. There is more to LA than movie stars and beaches!
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.
Brookfield Properties sponsors art installations around their investment properties across the U.S. Nice of them! And, in this case, fun, too! They’ve sponsored Nathan Sawaya’s ‘Park People’–figurative sculptures made from Lego® blocks–in the courtyard outside of the Wells Fargo building on Grand near 4th.
On my way to the Central Library to see the new murals I found five figures: four in the main Wells Fargo courtyard and another, the blue man, tucked away behind Nevelson’s black ‘Night Sails” sculpture.