Aliens at the Pasadena Chalk Art Festival

Herbie Chalk art Pasadena
A car as a movie hero–what better image at a chalk art festival in Southern California.

It is a Double-header this weekend in Pasadena: the Alien Con is at the Convention Center and across the street dozens and dozens of chalk artists are creating works on the Plaza at Paseo Colorado.  And it was very crowded on Saturday!

halk Art Festival at Paseo Colorado Pasadena
This year the sky was overcast. Usually the festival happens in blazing hot sunlight. Perhaps the cooler weather is why the crowd was much larger.

I went at noon on Saturday and most of the artists were just beginning. First they drew an outline of the picture they planned to create, then painstakingly started to fill in with removable paint and chalk.  It all gets power-washed off the plaza on Tuesday.  Here is some of what I saw in 2018.

Punk at Alien Con
This guy was racing through the Chalk Fest on his way to Alien Con. He asked for beer money after I took the photo.
Guy Fawkes Masked chalk artist
One chalk artist came in his Guy Fawkes mask. Did he go to the Alien Convention afterwards?
Chalk art painting Pasadena 2018
Equal opportunity art at the Pasadena Chalk Festival. There seemed to be as many women artists participating as men artists..


JPL chalk art pasadena
Who says scientists can’t be creative? This art was being created by 3 people from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The design looked a bit hap-hazard to me but it was still in process.
Pasadena Chalk Art Festival 2018
For some people creating the art was a group effort made up of family and friends. Is the design an abstract landscape?  Or something else?
Starting design Chalk Festival Pasadena 2018
What appeared to be a father and son duo beginning their work.
Chalk Art by Jacqui Somo
The artist, Jacqui Somo, seemed to be further along than most other artists at the event.


Two womens heads Chalk Festival
By noon this artist had completed these 2 heads of women in the Art Nouveau style. There was a lot more to go.
The festival overflowed Paseo Colorado and these 20 artists were working in the forecourt of the Pasadena Convention Center where Alien Con was happening.

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!


A rooftop view of Jacaranda trees blooming in Pasadena

Jacaranda trees on Del Mar Pasadena near Lake st
Viewing the beautiful Jacaranda trees that line Del Mar blvd. This image is looking east.

Both Pretoria, South Africa and Brisbane, Australia are noted for their streets lined with Jacaranda trees (Jacaranda mimosifolia). In both cities the trees have bloomed within the last couple of weeks and now Pasadena’s Jacaranda are in full flower.  Here are two views of the purple flowering trees along Del Mar in Pasadena, taken from the 3rd floor parking lot of Trader Joe’s.

Jacaranda trees west on Del Mar Pasadena
Looking west along Del Mar in Pasadena. The Del Mar Metro Gold Line station is about one mile west and Jacaranda trees line the entire length of the street to the station.  Both photos were taken from the Trader Joe’s parking lot near Lake St. where the display ends.

Adam Schiff and Terry Tornek confess to their literary habits

Adam Schiff. Judy Chu at Pasadena
Politicians tell all about books that inspired them as young people, and books that motivate them now.
From left at the table: Judy  Chu, Adam Schiff, Terry Tornek, and Laura Friedman.

The 7th LitFest Pasadena is being held this weekend in the Playhouse District. One of the most provocatively titled events on the schedule was “Politicians That Read: The Books that Motivate”. Obviously, with a title like that Trump was not invited to join the panel which included Congressman Adam Schiff, Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman and, as a last minute addition, Congresswoman Judy Chu. There were, however, quite a few Trump jokes!

Schiff revealed that he was inspired to go to law school after reading “To Kill a Mockingbird”.  His young dreams were to be another Atticus Finch.  He also mentioned that he reads biographies and science fiction.  No books about impeachment, he added.

State Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, who represents Glendale, confessed to a love of science fiction.  She especially recommended the works of China Mieville.

Mayor Tornek brought a rucksack filled with books and his own brand of humor about reading them.  He categorized them as books he would never read, books other people thought he should read, books he reads for professional reasons, and–lastly–books he has read for pleasure. He told the audience at Vroman’s bookstore that he was taking the books in the rucksack to the donation box at the Pasadena Public Library after this event.

Congresswoman Judy Chu talked mostly about politics and discrimination. If I remember correctly she mentioned “Farewell to Manzanar”, the book about the Japanese-American  internment camp during WWII.  She said she puts all her books on a Kindle so she can carry them with her wherever she goes.

Now for all you booklovers out there, especially those who spend time thinking about the future of the world, I recommend “A Sea of Rust” by C, Robert Cargill. He writes of the world where humans no longer exist and robots are discovering unpleasant truths.  Great book!

The launch of Insight Mars lander seen from Pasadena

Insight Mars lander launchI watched the live stream on the NASA website until the actual launch at 4:05 a.m. and then rushed out to my balcony armed with my old camera and looked West. The Pacific ocean is about 65 miles west of Pasadena and the flight path was supposed to be along the coast. Less than a minute later a red dot rose up in the distance.  And less than thirty seconds after that it disappeared from my sight behind a towering eucalyptus tree on its way to Mars.

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.