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.
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.
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.
Shortly after Trump was inaugurated the huge RESIST sign went up on a fence across from a Metro station that is surrounded by angel sculptures high up on pillars. As Trump rampages through American democracy trying to create his own hideous dictatorship, I hope guardian angels protect us all. Oh, the artist who designed the station, Teddy Sandoval, called the figures ‘guardians’ rather than angels.
On a shopping trip to Chinatown I stumbled across an art gallery called Eastern Projects that is participating in the Pacific Standard Time LA/LA exhibitions. The gallery is located on the street level of those new brilliant red buildings that almost overwhelm the old structures of Chinatown.
Works by Shepard Fairey (of the famous Obama ‘Hope’ poster), Locos, Dusters, Slick and others vaguely followed the Pacific Standard Time ‘theme’ of Latin American art in Los Angeles.
I was especially intrigued by the skateboard and skater images in the show.
Visitors to downtown Los Angeles can once again ride the steep one-block long railway named Angels Flight from Grand Central Market on Hill St. up to the top of Bunker Hill.
(Be sure to check whether or not Angels Flight is actually working. It sometimes closes for maintenance. Here is the link to the site.)
Billed as the “world’s shortest railway”, it was built in 1901, but was shut down and removed in 1969 during a frenzy of urban development on Bunker Hill. Finally in the late 1990s, it was dug out of a warehouse and reinstalled in its current location. The railroad was closed 4 years ago after a serious accident. Several safety upgrades have been added.
And the price for a one-way ride on the funicular cars named Olivet and Sinai has gone up to $1!
Also added: a sculpture of a California condor near the bottom stairs that parallel the rails. This appeared a few months ago and I am not sure who did it or why. But it’s there–see below.
The Getty Center decided to celebrate painter/photographer David Hockney’s 80th birthday with two galleries of his work. One contains self-portraits over his lifetime; the other houses a selection of his ‘photographic’ paintings done back in the 1980s.
His masterwork photocollage entitled ‘Pear Blossom Highway’, which was originally commissioned and then rejected by Vanity Fair magazine, is in this show. For those of you outside of So. California, there really is a highway north of L.A. called Pear Blossom Highway. On the map it appears to be a fast way from the Valley and West side of L.A. to the 15 highway to Vegas. In reality it is/was a narrow desert road–not faster at all and quite scary to drive. It was widened some years ago but is still a dangerous route through the Mojave desert that eventually wanders off into the mountains.
Since the Hockney show was relatively small I went into the South Pavillion where I had never been before. Don’t know how I missed it, but I had! And was surprised by extraordinary French furniture from the 17th and 18th Centuries. Here are just a few items in the collection.
Red Bull has sponsored 19 soap box races around the world in recent years, but this was the first in Los Angeles I think.
In addition to the requirement that all the vehicles in the amateur category be handmade, each ‘racing team’ had to perform a dance at the starting line and they were judged on the quality of the performance. For those of us at the finish line, the silly and hilarious dances were shown on a huge jumbotron.
After the brief performances came the timed runs down the narrow winding street where almost every one of the handmade racers suffered damage. Pieces of the cars fell off along the way or the race car driver ran into the straw bale barriers lining the route or crashed into the bales at the finish line. Fastest time was under one minute.