RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Feline Friday -#70 – LA’s famous mountain lion P-22

P22

P-22

This is not P-22, obviously, but a similar mountain lion.

While I was at the Natural History Museum the other day to visit the Extreme Mammals exhibit, I saw the new display about P-22, the mountain lion who lives in Griffith Park.

From the Natural History Museum website:

In the hills of Griffith Park, a mountain lion roams. His name is P-22.

Born in the western Santa Monica Mountains, P-22 crossed both the 405 and 101 freeways, eventually reaching Griffith Park. He lives alone in this small territory by the Hollywood sign, surrounded and confined by the city of L.A. P-22 was first spotted by now NHMLA Citizen Science Coordinator Miguel Ordeñana in 2012 as part of the Griffith Park Connectivity Study, a joint effort of Cooper Ecological and the U.S. Geological Survey. 

P22

P-22, and other big cats like him, are often blamed for encroaching on people’s homes. The truth is, people are the one’s encroaching on the home of the mountain lions.

P22

This is a map of the LA area and the city these lions have to deal with. The dark red splodge at lower right shows P-22’s habitat. Basically he is caged in by the freeways all around him. Many cats have lost their lives trying to cross them.

P22

A closer look at P-22’s area. He lives in Griffith Park all by himself.

P-41 is also hemmed in by freeways all around.

P22

The inability to move around to other territories is the cause of inbreeding, as with P-19, who, having no choice, mated with her father. This doesn’t bode well for the survival of the species.

P-22

Wildlife crossings over the freeways have been proposed for years but so far nothing has been done. It isn’t just the big cats that suffer from being penned in, it’s all the species of animals, insects, plants that are stuck in small habitats. My answer is, let’s keep people trapped in their own neighborhoods and let the animals roam freely!

Just as important is the habitat of insects like the Delhi Sands fly. If just one small part of the eco-system is endangered it causes a domino effect for all of us.

One fly, one species… and then the human species. We live in dangerous times!

 

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Last day of Extreme Mammals

natural history museum

It’s been a while since I posted anything on WordPress. Several reasons, which I won’t go into! Let’s just say I needed a rest.

So many things have happened since my last post that I decided to work backwards with the latest happenings first, for the most part.

I seem to have a habit of leaving things to the last minute. This includes museum exhibits. Often I attend exhibits on the last day even though I know about them months in advance. So, my visit to Extreme Mammals at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum (NHM for short) was on September 10, the last day.

I didn’t know for sure I was really going up until about an hour before I left for the train. But as I’m a member I hate to miss any exhibits that are part of my membership. So I went on my own (except for the company of my Inner Child, of course).

From the website:  For over 200 million years, mammals have inhabited the Earth. In this epic evolutionary journey, mammals lived with—and even ate—dinosaurs, swam in the ocean, flew in the air, and became the fastest land animals of all time!

natural history museum

The photo at the top of the page is of an Indricotherium, the largest mammal to ever walk the earth. It weighed up to 20 tons and lived about 23 million years ago. However, a larger mammal lives today: the Blue Whale, ten to twenty times the size of the Indricotheriume . It can grow that large due to the buoyancy of water. The Blue Whale is the largest animal, mammal or otherwise, ever known!

natural history museum

Batodonoides was the smallest mammal, living about 50 million years ago. It could climb up your pencil (if you were around 50 million years ago and there were pencils) and was as light as a dollar bill.

As the sign states, there are more than 5,400 species of mammals alive today.

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This sign board  explains a lot!

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This Synthetocerus tricornatus doesn’t look terribly cuddly. In all instances, horns evolved in animals whose ancestors had no headgear at all.

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For millions of years plant-eating glyptodonts the size of cars roamed North and South America. Their closest living relatives are armadillos.

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This Macrauchenia was known for being very nosy… sorry…

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Yes, a walking whale!

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Mammoths living on the islands off the coast of Ventura (just north of Los Angeles) were half the size of mammoths on the mainland due to their isolation, lack of big predators and limited food resources.

 

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Jaws of a Columbian Mammoth and a Pygmy Mammoth.

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Ellsmere Island, a mere 600 miles from the North Pole, 50 million years ago. A great stopping place for a cruise.

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Beautifully preserved Scarrittia lived in Argentina 29 to 24 million years ago.

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Paleontologists have unearthed more than three million fossils at La Brea Tar Pits (next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, shells, and plants.

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Ninety-nine percent of all mammals and other species that have ever lived on Earth are extinct.

Pretty soon it’s going to be 100% including you and me! Maybe not quite 100%… the cockroaches will survive…

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The New Frontiers of George Takei and a dash of black velvet

george takei

I have been a Star Trek fan since Season One, Episode One of the original show. That show broke a lot of boundaries, not the least of which was the character of Lieutenant Sulu. The Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles, is currently paying tribute to the actor and activist, George Takei with an exhibit of his personal memorabilia from the many facets of his life.

FROM WIKIPEDIA:

George Hosato Takei (武井 穂郷 Takei Hosato, /təˈk/; born April 20, 1937) is an American actor, director, author, and activist of Japanese descent. Takei is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. He also portrayed the character in six Star Trek feature films and one episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

Takei’s involvement in social media has brought him fresh attention. As of February 2017, his Facebook page has over 10 million likes since he joined in 2011, and he frequently shares photos with original humorous commentary.

Takei is a proponent of LGBT rights and is active in state and local politics. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japan–United States relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum.

george takei

The poster reads: Like his most famous character, helmsman Hikaru Sulu of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, George Takei has voyaged through many worlds.

He has not only experienced some of the most critical moments in our nation’s history, from politics and pop culture to activism and the arts, he has also become a driving force behind some its most transformative changes.

This exhibition will take you through events that shaped 20th and 21st-century America, allowing you to experience them through Takei’s eyes, voice, and memories.

george takei

I have visited the JANM on a previous occasion. So I didn’t linger in the other areas of the museum which speak to the experience of Japanese people in America, including their internment during World War II… both Japanese and American citizens… which was a part of Takei’s young life.

george takei

As I was there with a group of friends we had a time limit before heading off to lunch in Little Tokyo and I decided to focus on George!

george takei

Helmsman Sulu’s chair. I am in need of a new office chair and this does look pretty comfy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try it out.

Although on a tour of Paramount Studios many years ago I had the great privilege of sitting in Captain Picard’s chair on a Star Trek set. No matter what amazing things happen (or indeed have happened) in my life, those few moments will always be a highlight!!!!!

george takei

Sulu’s uniform and a photo of him wearing it. Who knew way back then, in 1965, before most people were even born (!) this show would become such a phenomenon with far-reaching influences.

Viewing this exhibit was a fascinating look at an interesting man who has lived, and is living, quite an adventurous life.

After lunch four of us decided to hop on the Gold Line to Chinatown just two stops away. On a previous walk through the area we had stumbled upon the Velveteria, The Museum of Velvet Paintings. We didn’t go inside but vowed to come back, so as we were so close by this was the opportunity.

velveteria

The owners, Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin (click on the website link above to see their photos), own a 3,000 piece collection, with about 450 paintings displayed.

velveteria

These are not your typical Tijuana tourist velvet paintings. Most of the ones we saw on display are portraits of celebrities like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

velveteria

Didn’t see any images of George Takei in this museum but no worries, Star Trek is still well represented with Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) and the USS Enterprise!

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And you’ve got to have a glow-in-the-dark velvet painting for your bedroom! Well, maybe not…

velveteria

A velvet museum would not be complete without a portrait of Liberace. I don’t know, but it just seems appropriate.

By then we were ready to jump on the Red Line to the Expo Line and home. Just another day exploring downtown Los Angeles…

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 

 

 


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Diamonds to brighten a gloomy day

natural history museum

We’re finally getting some rain in LA and that makes me happy. Of course the downside to rain is gloomy skies.

I had heard about some special diamonds being exhibited at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. So after a little discussion with myself about all the other important things I should be doing, I donned my rain jacket and headed for the train.

The nice thing about being a member is I can pop in anytime I like. It was 11:30 by the time I arrived and I had purposefully had no breakfast (a tablespoon of yogurt and a handful of walnuts to be truthful) so I could hit the cafe and order my favorite veggie burger in all of LA.

natural history museum

Outside seating was limited as I assume they had taken all the tables inside because of the rain. And the cafe was packed inside. But I was early enough to snag one of the very few outside tables. The photo at top was my view as I sat outside under the grey skies!

Advertising for the diamonds exhibit was displayed on my table. A true feast for the senses. Not only was I enjoying the most fabulous veggie burger with mushrooms and cheese, but I was visually tantalized by the image of the diamonds I would see after lunch. After the last bite of the burger I drank my coffee slowly, savoring the thought of what was to come next.

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natural history museum

natural history museum

But before we get to that, the entrance of the museum was decorated with elegant trees adorned with sparkling jewels. How appropriate for the purpose of my visit today!

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Now to the diamonds. This is the Rainbow Diamond Necklace. 35.93 carats total. Blue-grey (extremely rare), green-yellow, orange-pink, purple-pink, brown-orange.

natural history museum As the UV lighting is gradually turned up you can see the colors changing

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With the UV lighting you see the rainbow appear.

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natural history museum

Although up close in ordinary light the delicate colors are gorgeous. And in the UV light the colors glow.

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Although up close in the light the delicate colors are gorgeous.

The Juliet Pink diamond is 30.3 carats. Pink diamonds occur in less than 0.1% of all diamonds.

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On the left is the Victorian Orchid Diamond 1.64 carats). Purple diamonds are among the rarest. On the right is the Argyle Violet Diamond (2.83 carats) another amongst the rarest diamonds ever found. Decisions, decisions, which one do I want to take home?

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On the way out (conveniently through the gift shop) I snapped a picture of the Christmas tree. I haven’t had my own Christmas tree for at least twenty years so I enjoy them wherever I find them.

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Can’t visit the NHM without a visit to the Nature Garden. What a nice Christmassy display of berries. It was time to hop back on the Expo Line train that stops right outside the entrance to the museum. How convenient is that?

As I write this it is the evening of the same day. The weather forecast claims it was supposed to be raining 15 minutes ago. I stuck my head out on the deck and it is a light drizzle at best. Don’t disappoint me now!!!

Oh oh oh! I hear rain! Yes indeed, ran upstairs to the deck again and it is coming down in giraffes and elephants… I love it!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 

 

 


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The giant Cheetos Puff sighting on our way to the pier

shuttle fuel tank

My friend K wanted to ride the new Expo Line extension to Santa Monica on Sunday. After my experience on Friday (see post here) I warned her the train would be stuffed to the gills but she didn’t believe me. And she wanted to go anyway.

At the Culver City station I mentioned we really would be better off riding to downtown LA first so we would have a better chance at a seat on the train. The train to downtown arrived so we jumped on it.

Friday was a day of milestones in Los Angeles. Not only the first day of the passenger train all the way to Santa Monica, but also the day the external fuel tank for the space shuttle arrived at Marina del Rey after its journey from New Orleans through the Panama Canal.

As we neared the California Science Center I scoured Exposition Park just in case there was a sighting of the fuel tank. Sure enough, peeking through the trees I saw the giant orange Cheetos Puff.  We had a split second to make a decision to jump off the train before the doors closed, which we did.external fuel tank

Apparently it was being readied to be housed in a temporary enclosure so we were lucky to see it outside. A new museum is being built for the Endeavour shuttle where the shuttle will be displayed upright with the fuel tank attached. This is the only fuel tank in existence so Los Angeles was fortunate to receive it from NASA. It weighs 66,000 lbs. (about 29,937 kilograms) and is as tall as a 15-story building.

We decided to eat lunch at the Science Center as I could imagine finding a place to eat in Santa Monica would be next to impossible with the hoards of people arriving on the Expo Line. Since Trimana took over the restaurant at the Science Center (and Natural History Museum) they have a pretty decent menu.

And absolutely the best mushroom veggie burger in the universe. I was sure I had taken a photo of it on a previous visit but I can’t find it anywhere on my computer. So now I guess I have to go back soon to order another one so I can take a photo. Rats, a blogger’s work is never done!

We finally made it to Santa Monica. As I predicted, the train was standing room only. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon and who could resist a train trip to the beach?expo line

We could see that throngs of people were lining the pier so we didn’t even attempt it. As our tummies were already full we were happy to turn around after a short walk and ride the rails back to Culver City. As it was only early afternoon most people were still enjoying Santa Monica so we had no problem boarding the train.

expo line

As it had been a pretty hectic three days for me: Expo Line to Santa Monica opening day on Friday, a visit to the Los Angeles Zoo on Saturday (blog post coming up) and Sunday’s adventure, I was happy to get back to good old Culver City and my sofa!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 


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Who knew there was so much to do in the Valley

San Fernando Valley

My friend KL lives in Northridge in the San Fernando Valley. Better known as “The Valley,” it is part of the vast city of LA. The City of Angels is cut in two by the Santa Monica Mountains… the Los Angeles Basin to the south, the Valley to the north. Glad we have that out of the way.

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San Fernando Valley

Generally speaking, most of our adventures together take place in the basin part of the city. KL either drives to Culver City via the 405 (San Diego Freeway) or she takes the Orange Line to the Red Line, I take the Expo Line to the Red Line and we meet downtown. I have been promising to come out to her house for quite a while, so Saturday was the day.

I had recently taken Cinnamon Girl in to be serviced, and she was raring to go. I was surprised that the 23-mile trip via the 405 took only a little over 30 minutes on a Saturday morning. Just for the heck of it I checked the time it would take right now at 6:30pm on a Wednesday night and according to Google it would take 2 1/2 hours…. yikes!!!

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We changed cars and armed with my point & shoot camera, off we went on our Valley Adventure. First stop was the Valley Relics Museum. What a kick, is the best way to describe it. From their website:  The collection includes rare documents, photographs, vintage neon signs, post cards, year books, negatives, clothing, books, art, automobiles and bicycles from the valleys past.

San Fernando Valley

I have a past with the Valley which I won’t go into here (maybe another blog post). Nudie Cohn was a fixture in the Valley until his death in 1984. I saw him driving down the street in his Cadillac. Yes, those are horns (steer, I think) and a pistol on the hood of the car. He designed flamboyant cowboy outfits for the stars.

My partner at the time was into cowboy hats and boots which he wore with his business suits, and we shopped at Nudie’s. Until recently I still had a couple of “cowgirl” shirts and belts. I loved shopping there.

San Fernando Valley

The Palomino in North Hollywood was the best known country music club in LA for decades. We went there to see the best country singers of the time. Gosh, this museum brought back all kinds of memories from another era of my life… one of the benefits of being old is that there are eras!!!

San Fernando Valley

Back in the car we drove through the Santa Susana Pass towards Simi Valley. At this point we were heading out of Los Angeles and into Ventura County.

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KL had a vague recollection of a park somewhere in this area and wondered if it was still there. As you can see from this photo it was a beautiful, clear February day, although the temperature was getting up there. We have been experiencing temps in the high 80s F (about 31° C) the past few days in the city… and in the valleys the temps are always higher.San Fernando Valley

Amazingly, we rounded a corner and there was the directional sign for Corriganville, thataway. This park played many roles in the days of Hollywood western movies. Such as Dodge City, Tombstone and the Lone Ranger’s ranch.

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Nowadays it’s a place for hiking or strolling. Most of the buildings used in the movie sets burned to the ground in the 1970s.

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As nice as this place was, we had to hit the road again back to the San Fernando Valley.

San Fernando Valley

We were getting hungry so KL asked me if I would eat soul food. Love it!

San Fernando Valley

She introduced me to Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ in Chatsworth. They bill themselves as New Orleans and Southern Style cooking. As you can see, the decor was charming.

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We ordered from the lunch menu and both decided on the catfish with hush puppies and coleslaw. When catfish is on the menu, as far as I am concerned, there is no other choice.

We wondered if the lunch portions would be enough food as we were both starving. Oh my goodness! This catfish filet was enough for two people and I cannot imagine how much food the dinner portion must contain.

I was first introduced to catfish when I was working in Arkansas in the 1980s. Ever since then I have compared all other catfish to the delectable dish I ate there. I have to say, I have finally found catfish equal to my memory of the catfish I first ate in Arkansas. This was cooked so perfectly with succulent, juicy fish on the inside and light, crisp batter on the outside. I may have to order it and have somebody drive it over to the Westside for me, it is that good!

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Our bellies well and truly taken care of, we made a pit stop back at KL’s house. My hat had gone missing but I was happy to find it in the gutter next to my car, protected from the strong winds by the wheel. I must have dropped it on the way out.

There was an obligatory few minutes of playing fetch with Cindy. I’m not a dog person but Cindy is very sweet, more like a cat. When I sat down she jumped in my lap and licked my face.

As we were in the neighborhood, we visited a couple of open houses. In my own neighborhood I always enjoy being a lookie loo. You can buy a lot more real estate for your dollar in this neck of the woods but prices are catching up everywhere.

San Fernando Valley

Our final leg of the adventure included a stop at the Museum of the San Fernando Valley. This museum was interesting in a totally different way from the first one we visited. The Relics museum was all about pop culture. This is attempting to be a little more cultural with exhibits on art, architecture, design and history.

San Fernando Valley

We were greeted at the door by a very affable and knowledgeable gentleman. Some of the artifacts displayed in the museum were from his own home. He pretty much ended up giving us a private tour of the museum.

San Fernando Valley

This model of the 1960 Stahl House, located in the Hollywood Hills above the Sunset Strip, intrigued me. Our guide informed us that there are public tours of the house which aside from its architectural significance affords spectacular views over the city. I am signing up.

I learned a lot on this tour of the Valley thanks to my friend KL. And I’m sure Cinnamon Girl enjoyed getting out of the garage.

The trip home back over the hill took one hour and ten minutes with Saturday evening traffic and an accident by the Getty Center. But CG and I made it back to Culver City in one piece, which is always the goal.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Frank Gehry at LACMA – déjà vu updated

Frank Gehry

Several years ago the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) showed a comprehensive exhibit of Frank Gehry’s work which I attended. If I remember rightly, this was just before his Walt Disney Concert Hall (across the street, as it happens) was completed.

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So the exhibit currently displayed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) was a little bit of déjà vu for me…  updated. Over a decade since its opening, the Disney has proved successful both as a concert venue and an architectural marvel on every tourist’s list.

Frank Gehry

As 2015 closes, the supposed centerpiece of the Grand Avenue Project in downtown, designed by Gehry, is still sputtering around, delayed for years. And now Gehry is involved in the revitalization of the storied Los Angeles River.

Frank Gehry

In the meantime, the man and his crew have been busy. Above is a photo of his office with current projects.

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frank gehry

The first time I heard of Frank Gehry was before I even knew his name. Some avant garde architect bought an ordinary house in an ordinary Santa Monica neighborhood and turned it into an example of deconstructive architecture with chain link fences and corrugated aluminum siding. The neighbors were not happy.

The next time his name came up was in 1991 when he expanded the house and once again the neighbors protested. By then, as I had an interest in architecture, his name was on my radar and I made the effort to walk by the house to take a look. I’m not sure I would be that ecstatic about having him for a neighbor either!

frank gehry

But the rest, as they say, is history. The man is a genius, there is no doubt about that. And I appreciate the fact that he has turned architecture on its head. I’m personally just not crazy about all his designs.

frank gehry

One I do like, and pass by quite often, is the Binoculars Building (originally the Chiat/Day Building) in Santa Monica. The Binoculars were designed by Claes Oldenburg.

Frank Gehry

I enjoyed looking at the models and drawings. We stopped to watch the 2006 documentary, Sketches of Frank Gehry directed by Sydney Pollock. I originally saw it on PBS some years ago but it’s worth a second look.

Click on one of the images below to start the slideshow for some more photos from the exhibit:

Normally I would take the bus to LACMA but my friend decided it was too cold as the forecast was for the low 60s F (15.5 C), so she drove and we had to pay $12 to park the car. I admittedly have a thing about paying to park a car.

My friend is originally from Chicago but this is what years of living in Southern California does to you! (Of course, she might say, this is why I live in Southern California, and not in Chicago…)

However, as it turns out, her instincts were right. As we were coming back to the museum from the restaurant where we ate a late lunch, it started to rain. Oh my goodness, if we had to wait in the rain for the Metro bus, then again to transfer to the Culver City Bus, then walk home, not only would we both be wet and miserable, but I would have felt responsible.

I wish I could say this was the beginning of El Niño which the weather forecasters have been threatening us with for so long. But it looks like this is it until Christmas morning when we may have another few drops. Then the sun comes out again until January 5 when there is the possibility of a light shower. So disappointing.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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LACMA: blink before it’s gone

LACMA

As I’ve mentioned before, my annual membership at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) enables me to stop by whenever I feel like it. I love wandering around the campus both inside the galleries and outside looking at the buildings and outdoor art.

LACMA

The museum opened at the Wilshire location in 1965. Behind Chris Burden’s lampposts you can see one of the original buildings.

LACMA

Like many buildings in Los Angeles that are deemed “out of date” the original buildings are in imminent danger of being demolished to make way for a more contemporary design.

LACMA

This part of the museum which now fronts Wilshire Boulevard, was added in the 1980s.

I’ve always enjoyed this glass block structure. I think of it as being some kind of Assyrian fortress. Some critics say it pushes people away rather than welcoming in them. It’s all a matter of perception. I feel like it’s safeguarding the treasures within so people can enjoy them once they are inside.

The three photos above form the walkway to the original museum entrance and box office.

The Calder sculpture fountain with reflections.

I’m the first to admit that the architecture of the museum is a mish mash of styles. But the buildings reflect the times in which they were built. Click on an image below to start slide show.

Even the Los Angeles Conservancy, which has at the top of their website banner “Preserving the historic places that make L.A. County unique” seems to be standing back while plans for demolishing the older buildings and replacing them with a shiny new one go ahead. I don’t understand.

If you are interested in seeing the design (commonly referred to as “the blob”) proposed to replace all this, click on the link here. Does that mean in another fifty years, when the powers that be at the museum are tired of the architecture from the 2020s, they will be tearing it down and building something more suited to 2070s tastes? At least by then I won’t be around to see it.

But if the current plan goes through, I probably will be around to see these existing buildings, sadly, bite the dust.

You can visit some of my other posts related to LACMA at:

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/it-pays-to-belong/

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/an-eclectic-day-at-the-museum/

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/los-angeles-county-museum-of-art-between-bcam-and-the-reznick/

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 


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My much anticipated first impression of the Broad

The Broad

I’ve been watching The Broad (pronounced Brode) being constructed next door to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles with great anticipation. I love architecture and I love art so I have been salivating for a long time!

The new contemporary art museum on Grand Avenue, founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, is free to the public but tickets have been flying out the door. So when my friends and I planned to go we had to make our reservations a couple of months in advance. Currently, tickets are no longer available for 2015.

the Broad

The Broad collection ranges from the 1950s to current day. It’s no secret I am not a fan of most contemporary art. But as I have expressed a million times before, and will again I am sure, I enjoy art for its own sake and can even appreciate art I don’t like! Sometimes it’s hard to stand in front of a piece I really hate and find something admirable about it but I keep trying… attempting to figure out what the artist wanted to express.

the Broad

Visitors start out at the top of the escalator (or elevator shaft) on the third floor where the main gallery is located.

I was immediately attracted to the ceiling.

The Broad

Natural daylight and artificial light is combined (much like the Reznick Pavilion at LACMA) to create a soft ambience in the galleries.

The Broad

I probably spent half the time looking up. But I did look carefully at each piece of artwork presented.

The Broad

I am attracted to the medium of collage and liked the “3Dness” of this piece by Julian Schnabel.

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The Broad

The name of this artist is on the tip of my tongue. But I’m not an art critic so I ‘m not going to worry about the names of artists, that is not what this post is about. I just want to share my impression of my first visit… so you can pretend you are wandering along with me through the museum.

The Broad

Sliver of daylight in ceiling meets light fixtures. To me this is just as much a work of art as any piece in the collection!

The Broad

Photos of water towers… how beautiful these are… I love it!

The Broad

The Broad

At first glance this looks like a wonderful photo portrait but it’s an immense 100 x 90 in. (254 x 228.6 cm) photorealistic painting by Chuck Close.

The Broad

A glimpse of the Walt Disney Concert Hall next door through an opening in the wall. As I was bending around in strange positions to get this shot, people drifted over with their iPhones to capture the same view… trendsetter I am!

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The Broad

The second floor has mostly meeting rooms, a theater, etc. And windows into the vaults where the rest of the 2,000 piece collection is housed.

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The Broad

I’m not ashamed to admit that I love reflections and there are some great opportunities to capture them at the Broad!

The Broad

The stairway looking down to the first floor and the bookstore/gift shop to the right.

The Broad

The first floor lobby area is very organic… I expected to see hobbits walking along at any second!

I am sure this was just the first of many visits and it’s impossible to cover all the aspects of this museum in one blog post.

Just a few more photos and I’ll let you go… Click on an image to start the slideshow.

Overall my first impression of the museum is much as I had expected: a lovely architectural space to present an art collection in the best possible way. As for the collection itself, no surprises there either… much of it not to my taste but some very interesting pieces I enjoyed seeing. I’m looking forward to returning as other works of art are brought out of the storage vaults.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Spidies, dragonflies and lions

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It’s that time of year again for the annual Spider Pavilion at the Natural History Museum. This year I was able to get the earliest time slot for my visit, 10:00am. Last year my slot was at 2:00pm (you can see that post here) and I wondered if a morning visit would be better.

los angeles county natural history museumAs it turns out I think the afternoon was a better time. It seemed like last year there were more and different kinds of spiders hanging out!

los angeles county natural history museum

I asked one of the guides and she mentioned that in the afternoon is when most of the spiders like to spend time repairing their webs and generally tidying up. In the morning they have just had breakfast.

I had intended to just pop in, say hello to the arachnids, then jump back on the train to go home as there were a lot of things I needed to work on.

los angeles county natural history museum

But once I was there anyway, I decided to wander through the Nature Garden. I am a member so (other than my $45 annual membership) I have free access to the museum.

I love spending time in the garden as there is something different to see with each visit.

This beautiful orange dragonfly (above) caught my attention.

los angeles county natural history museum

Then I saw this couple swooping crazily around the pond. They finally settled on this leaf to consummate their nuptials. Baby dragonflies coming soon?

los angeles county natural history museum

The original couple abandoned the leaf and moved on to a twig that was floating by.

Word got around and pretty soon another courting couple arrived. A dragonfly orgy.

I was using my 18 – 135 telephoto lens from afar and had to crop the photo down quite a bit so the quality is not that great.

los angeles county natural history museum

 

los angeles county natural history museum

You can see why I wanted to take a photo of this bush. Even with the dried up brown flowers it is still spectacular. And you may remember I was visiting Catalina Island recently. (See post here.) On this trip we didn’t go far enough inland to see any specimens. But now I know about it, I’ll be sure to look for it next time.

los angeles county natural history museum

I was very happy to see this fountain working again. On my last visit it was shut off and I was afraid it was a permanent situation because of the drought. But I see no reason why fountains with recycled water cannot continue to run. City birds (and other creatures) have come to rely on human-created water features. And I love to see water fountains myself.

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Next door at the Exposition Park Rose Garden this normally exuberant fountain has been silenced while surrounded by well-watered, green lawns. What is wrong with this picture?

http://www.laparks.org/exporosegarden/rosegarden.htm

Meanwhile, back at the Natural History Museum, I wandered into the Gem and Mineral Hall. From the NHM website: The Gem and Mineral Hall displays more than 2,000 spectacular specimens within two large galleries that comprise what is considered to be one of the finest exhibits of gems and minerals in the world.

If you click on this link there is a good photo of the hall. My photo above is of the Quartz Crystal Ball, one of the largest flawless quartz crystal balls in the world at 10.9 inch (27.7 cm) diameter and weighing 65 lbs (29.5 kg).

los angeles county natural history museum

Photo of just one wall in the hall. Whenever I visit the museum I never miss the opportunity to see the gems and minerals. I never cease to be amazed at the different varieties and configurations.

los angeles county natural history museum

Some photographers travel thousands of miles at great expense to shoot pictures of wild beasts. I only have to swipe my TAP card on the Expo Line for a 20-minute ride to NHM! These black rhinos were kind enough to pose for me.

los angeles county natural history museum

And these African lions are having way too much fun.

The dioramas in the African Mammal Hall (and North American Mammals) have been maintained since the 1920s. I still have vivid memories of seeing them the first time I visited the museum in the 1960s (the first time my family moved to LA). Although exhibits like these probably wouldn’t be created today, they stand the test of time and I enjoy the opportunity to study the animals up close and personal.

At this point in time I was ready to go home.

And it so happens I’ll be back at the museum on Sunday meeting some friends for the Mummies Exhibit.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!