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!



Registering voters and recruiting CSI at East LA College

Student registering to vote
This student registered to vote in time for the June primary election. The great majority of students told us they had already registered to vote.

For almost a century the League of Women Voters (LWV) has focused its efforts on registering voters.  Women, men, whatever party they prefer–they are actively encouraged to register to vote.

League of Women Voters
Volunteers from the Pasadena League of Women Voters.

And now young people age 16 and 17 are allowed to pre-register and be ready to vote when they turn 18.  This means that the LWV members are now visiting high schools around the nation registering prospective voters.

This week the LWV Pasadena Chapter set up a table in the plaza at East LA College on Wednesday and Thursday and here are some photos of what happened.

Recruiting CSI at East LA college
On Wednesday there were recruiters from over a dozen different police departments ranging from Santa Barbara to Anaheim. But the one booth that attracted the most attention was this one. They were not the only crime lab at the event, but they had the catchiest sign.
East LA College cheerleaders
Of course the cheerleaders turned out to support both the voter registration and the new ELAC Alumni Association.
The new ELAC Alumni Association had a table right next to the LWV. On day 2, Thursday, the school Mascot made an appearance to support their effort.



Playing games at East LA College
On Thursday it was all fun and games during the lunch break at East LA College. Wednesday had been much more serious.
Noon time fun at East LA College
Wow! When I went to college we didn’t have bouncy houses or games at noon. Once, I remember, we had a dance outdoors in the evening. Things have changed.



Disappointing art at the new Gold Line Metro stations

meto train at East Los Angeles gold line station
The Gold Line train ready to pull out of the East L.A. station. Shielding passengers from sun and rain are California golden poppies. It’s amazingly creative!  Fun, too!

I love the original Metro stations for the Gold and Red lines here in Los Angeles.  The artwork is exuberant and wildly creative as you can see by the examples I’m including in the post.  During the construction of the Gold Line extension I had heard that some bureaucrats at the Metro headquarters  were complaining that the stations did not have a standardized appearance.  Their argument was that visitors could not easily find the stations unless they had a standard look.

Azusa Gold Line station
The boring Gold Line station at APU Citrus in Azusa. It’s currently the end of the Gold Line.

What a silly comment! As far as I can tell the ‘standard’ used to recognize the stations is the big blue circle with the big white ‘M’ in it. It’s visible on appropriate street corners all over the city.

bench at APU Citrus station
Tiled bench at Azusa
Gold Line station.

Sadly the bureaucrats won.  The new Metro stations beyond Sierra Madre Villa are boring. Boring.  Boring. Tiled benches at Azusa, tile on the base of the pillars at another station, a tall ‘vase-looking’ thing at the City of Hope.

In this post I’ll show you examples of the amazing artwork at the original Gold Line stations.  In my next post I’ll show the art at the Red stations.  Those works of are, too, are breathtakingly original and memorable for visitors and locals alike.

For whatever it is worth, there seemed to be more passengers than usual when I was on the Gold Line on Saturday. I’m sure it is far more convenient for residents out in the burbs to come into the city on the Metro, than drive on the 210 Freeway.

guardian angel Southwest Museum station
A guardian angel on top of a tall pillar at the Southwest Museum station. There are three of these tiled figures surrounding the station. They are so emblematic of Los Angeles.
birds nest at Soto Gold Line station
A wire ‘birds nest’ with a blue ‘egg’ in the ceiling of the Soto station. On the wall at the back is a huge tile map of the area. The Gold Line is a subway here and I first saw this artwork from below. coming up on the escalator. It was an amazing sight!
Atlantic Gold Line station
White ‘sails’ against a blue sky at the Atlantic Gold Line station.
Memorial Park station Pasadena
The Memorial Park station is the closest one to Old Town Pasadena and is where the Gold Line plunges under the 210 freeway before turning east. Pasadena is known as the ‘crown city’ and a crown is depicted in the art work.  (Perhaps ironically?)


Pico Aliso Gold Line station masks
Not easily seen from the station platform, a series of portraits of  Angelenos are on the Pico Aliso Gold Line station roofline.
Portraits on Pico Aliso station
Arching above commuters are a series of portraits on the top of the Pico Aliso Gold Line station.
Gold Line Allen station art
A detail of a massive grill framing the street level entrance to the Allen Gold Line station. It is under the 210 freeway on Allen Street.
South Pasadena Walking man statue
The Walking Man statue at the South Pasadena station is right by a small pleasant park. Several cafes and restaurants are within a block or two.


Amazing and insane gifts at Wacko in East Hollywood

La Luz de Jesus art gallery
La Luz de Jesus gallery, located in East Hollywood, is tucked away in the back of a wild store called Wacko.

I went to Wacko to see the Boombox Creators show at the art gallery in the rear of the store.

When I stepped inside the front door I was so astonished and mesmerized by the merchandise in Wacko that it took some time before I made it back to the art gallery.

Near the front is a kinkily curated bookstore. Next aisle back come bobbleheads. Want a SuperWoman bobblehead or a Star Wars Ranger bobblehead or even a Queen Elizabeth II waving at you? They’ve got it. Going further back into the store, I came across their sock display. I have a weakness for colorful and funny socks. They have them and more, including some far-out hand-puppets.

Shakespeare punching puppet
Nothing like a Shakespeare boxing hand-puppet for the author on your gift list!

In the far back was the occult section where skulls and bones plus rubber masks could be found alongside stuffed animals.

But there is even more. The shops next to Wacko are equally interesting. Tell me–would you go to a barber shop called ‘Sweeney Todd’? I looked inside and there were men getting haircuts. Brave dudes! And next door to that a store proudly announced that their ‘ugly’ sweaters were in stock.

So even if you don’t need immaginative gift ideas, it’s worth a trek to East Hollywood (near to Barnsdall Park and Los Feliz) to visit this area.  There’s a coffee house across the street, too.

books and reindeer atWacko
Ever wonder where to get reindeer heads in chartreuse or orange? Wacko is the answer. I like the red hair on the shopper–very seasonal!
Bobblehead mania
Hundreds of bobbleheads!
Nightmare on Elm lunchbox
Lunchboxes that are sure to become collectors’ items!
Rubber animal masks
Why are there rubber animal masks in the occult section of the store? Not sure and decided not to ask!
Sweeney Todd's barber shop
Whoo–hoo. Sweeney Todd’s barber shop. Weird sense of humor.
ugly sweater manikin
What would Christmas be without those ugly sweaters? If you need one, here is where you can find it, near Wacko.
South Pasadena marching band
On my way home I stopped in South Pasadena where the High School marching band played Christmas Carols.


Cycling in CicLAvia? See what you will find at the Mariachi Plaza hub on Oct. 5!

Bandstand at Mariachi Plaza
The bandstand at Mariachi Plaza. Its roof echoes the cupola on the brick building across the street at 1st and Boyle.

The Mariachi Plaza is true to its name: it is the place in Los Angeles to go to hire a mariachi band for your party.  While it is now a stop on the Metro Gold Line, the plaza as a center for musicians has existed for decades.    These photos were taken on a Saturday and some of the musicians were dressed in mariachi costumes, others were not.

Mariachi musicians waiting for a gig
Mariachi musicians waiting on a Saturday afternoon to be hired for a party.


Below ground the Metro station is is boring as two day-old refried beans.  The “art money” designated for this station was invested in the grand and glorious bandstand in the plaza. The roof covering the station is an art work itself and always reminds me of a peacock fanning its tail.  To see photographs of the incredible art at all the Metro Gold Line stations go here.

Mariachi Plaza Gold Line Station
The entrance to the Gold Line Metro station at Mariachi Plaza.


The murals on the walls around the plaza, including the ubiquitous Lady of Guadalupe stuck away in a narrow alley, are all privately created and maintained.

CicLAvia begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, October 5th, and the streets on the 10 mile long route will be free of cars until 4 p.m.  For more information go to the CicLAvia site.

Lady of Guadalupe at Mariachi Plaza
Our Lady of Guadalupe at Mariachi Plaza is tucked away on a wall in a narrow walkway off the Plaza.

Cycling in CicLAvia? See the amazing East L.A. Civic Center.

East L.A. Metro station canopy
California poppies were the inspiration for this amazing canopy at the East L.A. Metro station.

Until about three years ago I had always thought of East L.A. as an area of small, drab houses and a fair amount of crime. Not a place I was even slightly interested in visiting. Then I decided to photograph the art at all the Metro Gold Line stations and when I arrived at the East L.A. Metro Station I was astounded.  First, there is the station canopy modeled on California Golden Poppies.  Inspired!  Extraordinary!

The Gold Line train ready to pull out of the East L.A. station.  Shielding passengers from sun and rain are California golden poppies.
The Gold Line train ready to depart from the East L.A. station. Shielding passengers from sun and rain are California golden poppies.




Then I began to wander around the buildings and grounds of the East L.A. Civic Center and continued to be surprised at every turn by the art and design and thought that has gone into creating what should be a ‘must-see’ for locals and tourists.

Tile at entry to East L.A. Civic Center
An art tile pillar marks another entry to the East L.A. Civic Center.
Ironwork at entry to East L.A. Civic Center.
Towering ironwork sculpture at one entry to the East L.A. Civic center.

Next weekend on October 5th CicLAvia, the Los Angeles’ bike-riders dream of cycling with zero traffic on the streets, will have as one of its hubs, the East L.A. Civic Center.  CicLAvia starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday and the streets on the 10 miles route will be free of traffic until 4 p.m.   In my next post I will show photos of Mariachi Plaza, another hub for CicLAvia.  Here are a few photographs of the East L.A. Center. (You can see photos of the art at all Metro Gold Line stations here.)

Lake at East L.A. Civic Center
The lake at the East L.A. Civic Center with one of the fish fountains in the middle. Fishing is permitted.  Apparently the lake is stocked with catfish–there is a sign limiting fishermen to 5 catfish!
Fish fountain at East L.A. lake
The fish fountain in the lake at the East L.A. Civic Center.
statue of man at east l.a. civici center
A brushed stainless steel sculpture of a man near the entrance to the East L.A. Civic Center. on the other side of the entrance is a brushed stainless sculpture of a woman and child, obviously created by the same artist.drought tolerant garden

Drought tolerant grasses and fan palms that are native to California and northern Mexico make up a garden in the East L.A. Civic Center.

Golden poppies at the East L.A. Metro station

IMG_6693 (245x300)For someone who spent most of her adult life living on the West Side of Los Angeles, a trip on the Metro Gold Line to East L.A. was a revelation for me.  I made the excursion while photographing all the art at the Gold Line Stations.  And the art is amazing!  It’s definitely worth taking a few hours and going from station to station to see it all.

But perhaps the most surprising was the fact that there was art everywhere at the East L.A. Civic Center, starting with the “shelter” at the Metro Station which is in the form of California Poppies!

East L.A., by the way, is not part of the City of Los Angeles.  Anyway, I’ll let some photos do the talking about this area.

Across from the station is the entrance to the East L.A. Civic Center, and, as you can see, it is contemporary art.  There are also hand-crafted tiles embedded in sidewalks.  Many of the building walls have murals.  And in the center of the lake is a large fish fountain.

Historical tile East L.A. Civic CenterEast L.A. Civic Center sign