Book Event: RONALD SEARLE’S AMERICA Book Launch

February 6, 2016 1 comment

  
I still don’t know what possessed me to RSVP for this event hosted by the History & Culture of Los Angeles Meetup Group. I wasn’t familiar with the author or subject of the book “Ronald Searle’s America” but I recognized some of the illustrations in the write up and the description of Searle’s life sounded interesting and there was mention of brunch so, why not?

 

Author Matt Jones

 
I’m really glad I went! The Welsh author, Matt Jones, gave a really interesting presentation that included humorous stories about “stalking” Searle, meeting with him & his wife at a restaurant, and being invited to his home in TourTour, France. In addition to photos of Searle’s sketches & illustration he was able to share photos of his studio, desk, bookshelves and personal notes. The presentation was so good that there was a collective “Ohhhhh” from the audience when Matt said “And that’s the end.”

 

The book

 
I loved the illustrations so much that I decided I had to buy the book, which Matt signed. 

 

The print

 
Everyone who bought a book also got this limited edition print.

  
Center Stage Gallery in Burbank is a nice little gallery.  

  
I wanted almost every print and book in there. The current exhibit is the work of Eyvind Earle, an artist who designed Christmas cards, starting in the 1930s.  

  
I missed that book launch, but at $300, it’s not in my budget anyway. I wish it was because it’s a beautiful book.

  
I will try to make it to the exhibit on his work at Forest Lawn this Spring

Shout outs to Charles from the Meetup Group for convincing Matt to give a talk and to Porto’s for the yummy brunch.

Porto’s potato balls & pastries!

Los Angeles Walks: Alhambra: The San Gabriel Valley Gateway Tour

Saturday, January 9, 2016, my friend Lori and I joined Los Angeles Walks for a walking tour of Alhambra, “Gateway of the San Gabriel Valley” (SGV). 
Los Angeles Walks is a pedestrian advocacy non-profit that “makes walking safe, accessible and fun for all Angelenos”.
The meetup location was the home of our tour guide and urban planner, James Rojas. He lives with his mother in her amazing 1913 (?) craftsman home, which she purchased in the 1970s. They were kind enough to let us go inside and  drool over all the gorgeous wood in both the built-ins and in the art deco furniture.
Alhambra / San Gabriel were easy to get to back in the good ol’ Red Car days, but now it’s rather tricky and not convenient at all via public transportation, so I drove us. Since I didn’t have time to print out directions we had to rely completely on the navigation of my Google Maps app. At one point The Map Lady was silent for so long I started getting worried that she’d stopped working so I pulled over on a side street to check the status of the app. That, of course, annoyed The Map Lady because she had to recalculate the route. Sorry!
The description of the walk promised our sights would include the San Gabriel Mission (check!), the Garfield Area Redevelopment (check!), Fosselman’s Old Ice Cream Parlor (um…), the old Sears headquarters (uh…) and more. It also said “tour participants may opt to join James for lunch on Main Street after the walk”.
Well, we never saw Fosselman’s or the old Sears headquarters and James never mentioned lunch so Lori and I ended up walking back to San Gabriel to a cute Italian place we had noted earlier in the day.

One thing we did see was the San Gabriel Mission so I get to check another one off my list. Yay! And after our delicious lunch, Lori and I toured the Ramona museum.

Now, as for Main Street Alhambra, that just made me mad! So many historic buildings demolished to build ugly mixed use monstrosities. Kind of a half-assed attempt at being like South Pasadena. 

Some famous people have lived in Alhambra, like Hillary Clinton’s mother, Dorothy, who lived at 320 E. Park Street, fashion model Cheryl Tiegs, musician Kenny Loggins, and I’m not sure if James said Cheryl Tiegs or Chrissy Teigen.

Lori & I want to see a show at the beautiful San Gabriel Playhouse and I still need to get my ice cream from Fosselmans so we will be back!

  Mission San Gabriel Arcángel

 The six-bell campanario (“bell wall”) that was built after the original bell structure toppled during the 1812 Wrightwood earthquake.

  1927 San Gabriel Mission Playhouse 
   Those rolls though!!! They were so soft & had Parmesan cheese on top. We plowed through two baskets of them!

  Chicken ravioli with wild mushroom cream sauce was delicious. Definitely check this place out if you go there. Pizza Place, CA 

Urban Hike: UCLA

On September 21, 2014, my friend Lori & I went on an architecture tour of UCLA with the OSS Meetup Group. This wasn’t a guided tour. It was basically just a brisk walk around the 419 acres (1.7 km²) campus, snapping pictures.

After the hike, I stashed Lori in the Diddy Riese cookie line while I ran over to Stan‘s to get a couple of Huell Howser peanut-butter filled donuts before hustling back to Diddy Riese where Lori got an ice cream cookie sandwich for only $1.75(!) and I got a lime shaved ice for $1.00. Both places are open til the wee hours of the morning, even on Sunday! Sweet!

Here’s my original Bruin statue photo and my artsy Photoshopped photo.


And finally, cute bird’s nest.

100 Hikes in the San Gabriels: Burkhart Trail – Buckhorn Campground to Cooper Canyon Falls and Little Rock Creek

Recently, me and one of my hiking buddies decided we were bored with the Santa Monica Mountains so we’ve started doing hikes from one of her many hiking books, Trails of the Angeles: 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels by John W. Robinson.

#62/#62-1 Burkhart Trail: Buckhorn Campground to Cooper Canyon Falls and Little Rock Creek
4-5 miles
900′ gain/loss

Shoutout to President Obama for giving the amazing San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Status! A million thank yous!

Wow! These hikes just keep getting better and better! With this one on Burkhart Trail, we found ourselves constantly exclaiming how we really felt like we were in the forest and how beautiful it was. We even found real, running water!

My friend is an Earth Science teacher so I learn a lot about the various plants and rocks we encounter on these hikes. The white streaks of what I thought was remnants of some tagger’s paint on rocks is actually some kind of mineral deposit. I guess that’s proof right there that I’m a city kid.

If you need more proof, you should’ve been there to witness the scene I made when I was being stalked by a huge bee. I did everything I know I’m not supposed to do. I ran, I screamed, I took off my hat and swatted at it. God really does look after children and fools…

After the hike we made our third visit to Newcomb’s for the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten in my life and have been craving ever since.

But yeah! Do this hike! It’s amazing!

 

 

Paying Respects to Droopy and Boogie: Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park in Calabasas

On October 11, 2014, I went with Obscura Society L.A.  on a tour lead by Hadley Meares, writer for KCET, of the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park.

I had just recently learned about this pet cemetery while reading Lauren Bacall’s autobiography. She talked about burying her dog, Droopy there.

Mother and I went to the Pet Cemetery in the Valley. A woman straight out of Charles Addams greeted us and asked if we would like to go to the Slumber Room to see our dog. All her talk was very solemn, at a whisper. There is often something funny at every sad occasion – in this case, she was it. We followed her into the Slumber Room, where dogs of all types were lying asleep in open coffins, one mutt in a box lined with tufted satin. Droopy lay with his head in one paw just as he’d slept in life…Lauren Bacall in By Myself and Then Some.

Before the tour started, we were given a half sheet of paper with a list of graves that Management preferred not to give us the locations of. Naturally, Droopy and the other grave I most wanted to see, Mae West’s monkey, Boogie, were on the list. Ugh. Oh well, we all kept a lookout for the graves on the list and it was a happy moment for me when Hadley exclaimed “I found Droopy!”

This pet cemetery is a very lovely place and somehow all the plastic flowers & mushrooms, toys and pinwheels are whimsical, not cheesy. People really love their animals and their hearts are inscribed in the words on the headstones. Can you keep a dry eye while reading them?

Ironically, this pet cemetery was created in 1929 by veterinarian Dr. Eugene C. Jones. The same Dr. Jones of the Jones Dog and Cat Hospital that the L.A. Conservancy is suing the city of West Hollywood over because the City is going to allow that magnificent 1938 Streamline Moderne structure to be demolished so that another ugly, mixed-use project can be built there. Shame on ya (again), WeHo!

Urban Hike: Raymond Chandler’s Hollywood

On September 28th, 2014 my friend Lori & I went with the Los Angeles Hiking Group on a 5-ish mile walking tour of Raymond Chandler’s Hollywood.

Hike leaders Tuck, Thelma & Ferris, took us on a fun and interesting stroll through old Hollywood and the surrounding hillside communities, including stops at venues from “The Big Sleep”, “Farewell My Lovely”, “The Long Goodbye”, “Lady in the Lake” and “High Window”. 

A lot of the locations were just that. Locations. The original buildings long gone. So, some of my pictures below have nothing to do with Raymond Chandler. A couple of them are actually locations from Streisand / Redford’s The Way We Were.

I love walking through these neighborhoods and seeing what’s left of the golden era of Hollywood. So much amazing architecture!

After the hike, Lori & I went across the street to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market where I got a pineapple-lime lemonade, a grilled chicken skewer and a delicious pink lady apple. Refreshing on a hot, humid day.

100 Hikes In The San Gabriels: #56 Chilao to Devils Canyon

September 28, 2014 2 comments

Recently, me and one of my hiking buddies decided we were bored with the Santa Monica Mountains so we’ve started doing hikes from one of her many hiking books, Trails of the Angeles: 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels by John W. Robinson.

#56 Chilao to Devils Canyon
7 miles roundtrip reverse hike
1500′ loss/gain

I was uneasy about this hike because every review I read talked about how climbing back out of the canyon was difficult because the trail is steep. Um, no, it is not. I would describe it as long, gentle switchbacks. Not steep inclines or whatever. I did have to stop and rest several times coming back up, but that was mostly because I sit at a desk all week so my legs were tired.

Definitely have good treads on your shoes or hiking boots and I recommend a trekking pole. That being said, a family hiked all the way down and back up with their 4 & 5-yo boys who were wearing basic sneakers. Go figure.

I was worried about bears and mountain lions. We saw bear scat, but no animals or snakes. There are areas with really annoying bugs that want to land on your face so insect repellant is highly recommended. I wish I’d had some.

The trail was hard to find in some spots and coming back up we somehow found ourselves off the trail and sliding our way down a hill into the riverbed. My friend was able to climb up the loose hill to the trail on the other side but I wasn’t, so she came back down and we bushwacked our way to a more rocky area where I was able to climb out.

This is one of my favorite hikes ever so I hope you’ll check it out sometime.

*Update: This is also where I got a nasty case of poison oak that is currently itching me to death, so be on the lookout for that! Ugh.

 

 

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