RMW: the blog

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


Memories of 2019


I picked two photos from each month of 2019 to represent my year in photography. Just like last year, some months I had too many choices and some months it was hard pickings.  So these aren’t necessarily my very best photos but I tried to show a variety of different places.

The photo above is reflections in a puddle at Culver City Park at the end of my street. We had a lot of rain last winter after a seven-year drought.

Red hot poker plants at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Some friends bestowed upon me a gift membership for which I am very grateful… and I am able to take a friend with me which makes it a doubly wonderful gift!



I was clearing junk out of the garage in February as I was planning to move. That didn’t happen but it allowed me to get rid of a lot of stuff. I took a photo of this painting with my point & shoot before I drove it over to Goodwill. I must have painted this in the 1970s! I hope somebody bought it and is enjoying it. I may print it out and hang it on a wall to give it a new life.

A random photo of the boys. Frankie The Monster, who of course bagged the most comfy spot. And Freddie The Giant Cat who is so laid back and always lets Frankie get what he wants.



The Broad is a contemporary art museum in downtown LA. This was a booth by Yayoi Kusama constructed of mirrors. My selfie is on the right. My friend BG was standing at the other side of the booth so you can see her face in some of the other circles.

I’m not usually good at doing things on the spur of the moment but my friend LA decided she wanted to see the wildflowers. So as long as she was driving I said okay. Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore is about 85 miles from Culver City. We went on a Wednesday and made pretty good time. It was a fabulous day. On the way home we came as close as I have ever come to being killed in an accident. In my mind I was already dead. Make the most of every day because you never know when it will be your last. It just wasn’t our time.



Next door to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) is La Brea Tar Pits with ongoing excavations. The site goes back to the Pleistocene Age. The extinct animals discovered at La Brea Tar Pits were trapped in the asphalt between 11,000 to 50,000 years ago. Outsiders always accuse Los Angeles of having no history… excuse me, we go back a lot further than most places in the US!

I don’t think this is quite what they had in mind when they named the Palms neighborhood of Los Angeles, adjacent to Culver City. But I always enjoy looking at this utility box on my walk to Sprouts Market on the LA side of Venice Blvd.



I made several trips to Echo Park Lake this year. Paddling around on these swan Paddle Wheelers is now one of my favorite things to do in LA. It’s relaxing and good exercise at the same time with splendid views of the downtown skyline. I hope can cajole more friends into going with me in 2020. Wanna come along?

I’ve been wanting to visit the South Coast Botanical Gardens for many years. Finally made it in May. It was really delightful. We only saw a small area as my companion wasn’t able to walk far. But I’ll definitely be back to see the rest of it.



My friend SB and I were waiting at the harbor to take the boat back from Santa Catalina to San Pedro. This couple walked by. I loved the way they looked so I asked if it was okay to take their photo. She had made their matching outfits with fabric she had bought at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. She said she often made them matching outfits. How adorable is that?

I am a member of the Natural History Museum and it’s a short train ride from Culver City so I often pop in there, often on my own if nobody else is available or interested. This lovely guy was on display in the special exhibit on Antarctic Dinosaurs, the 25-foot-long, “cold-crested killer,” Cryolophosaurus. The exhibit featured an ongoing scientific expedition from the NHM and Chicago’s Field Museum as they dig for fossils today. La Brea Tar Pits is also part of the NHM.



Rode the Amtrak train to Ventura with a group of friends. We hiked up the trails in the Ventura Botanical Gardens which is still recovering from the December 2017 Thomas Fire. Lovely views from the top. Ate lunch on the pier at Beach House Fish then walked along the pier watching people fishing.

BG and I made an overnight trip to Santa Barbara. Stayed at an historic estate, drove around the area, ate dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant, Due Lune Cucina, across from the beach as the sun was setting. Next day ate lunch on the pier before heading home. Wonderful experience.



Mount Rushmore has been on my bucket list ever since I saw the movie North by Northwest with Cary Grant and the marvelous James Mason. So now I can say been there, done that! It was a trip to look up and see those monumental faces… it’s impossible to imagine how that can be achieved. As you are chiseling away you would only be able to see a miniscule part of what you are working on. Amazing.

We arrived at Old Faithful in Yellowstone in the evening. The glow of the setting sun was a magnificent backdrop to the geyser. This was my second visit to the park. This time we had the privilege of staying inside the park at the Old Faithful Inn. You just walk out the front door and there is Old Faithful right in front of you. Magnificent.



Second Home Pavilion was a temporary exhibit which I visited on one of the hottest days of the year at Hancock Park between LACMA and La Brea Tar Pits. I asked the young lady sitting at the entrance how she was doing and she indicated not too well. I enjoyed walking through the colorful maze of tunnels.

BG and I hung out at LACMA visiting several galleries. At Mary Corse: A Survey in Light we had a little fun as we became the artwork.



The celebration of El Dia de los Muertos is one of my favorite times to visit Grand Park. This year there were about 40 altars all personally and culturally relevant to Los Angeles honoring those who have passed over. It coincides with halloween and is a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage elsewhere. The multi-day holiday involves family and friends gathering to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and helping support their spiritual journey. In Mexican culture, death is viewed as a natural part of the human cycle. Mexicans view it not as a day of sadness but as a day of celebration because their loved ones awake and celebrate with them.


Several friends met at the Sunset/Vermont Red Line station and rode the shuttle up to the Griffith Observatory. Half the group attempted the hike to Inspiration Point but it was too hot for me so I sat and chatted with the other half at the cafe and enjoyed the views. The hikers only made it half way before being forced to turn back. So I was glad I didn’t attempt it. I’ve suffered from heat stroke before and have to be careful.



GM, EA and I made reservations for an early lunch at Perch on the 15th floor of the Pershing Square Building. I had eaten there previously and talked so much about it they wanted to experience it too and weren’t disappointed. Perch LA is a French-inspired rooftop bistro with unobstructed views of Downtown Los Angeles for guests to experience the feeling of floating along the skyline. The elevated spaces offer outdoor fireplaces, rooftop fire pits, indoor and outdoor dining experiences, and lounge seating to experience the city skyline views. The food isn’t bad either! This is just one of the many views when you walk around the outside area.

Several members of the Culver City Art Group met at the Getty Center to visit the exhibit Manet and Modern Beauty. You gotta love the staircase with the Manet image leading up to the exhibit. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the artist but I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of his paintings… many I was not previously familiar with.



A friend is a member at Descanso Gardens. She very graciously picked me up at Union Station and drove the rest of the way… I took the E (formerly known as the Expo) Line to the Red Line… one of these days, probably not in my lifetime, the E Line is supposed to go all the way to Union Station. The gardens were beautifully decorated for the holidays. Of course I imagine it is really spectacular all lit up at night but it was pretty good during the day too.

Last but certainly not least, I led my 3rd Annual Downtown Holiday Decorations Walk ending with lunch at the Biltmore Hotel (at left). There were 13 participants… all women this year… but not too surprising. This lovely Christmas tree was located at the southeast corner of Pershing Square. Lined up correctly the star appears between the US Bank Building (Library Tower) and the Deloitte Building (the Gas Company Building). I had to pay those pigeons to take flight just at the right moment!

Thanks for bearing with me. Some months there were a few more photos I really wanted to include… but I had to keep to two from each month and not cheat… you wouldn’t have known if they didn’t appear in the correct months but I would have known!

I wish you all a very healthy, happy and adventurous 2020!


Feline Friday – #100 – Rauschenberg boxes, Freddie Mercury and Firefighters


Today I was at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). This artwork by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) caught my eye. I immediately thought WOW! The cats would love this piece. They could jump around in all the open boxes and scratch their claws on the cardboard. I guess everything is in the eye of the beholder as I have to admit I never really appreciated Rauschenberg’s art before! I wonder if he lived with cats? I should build something like this for Freddie and Frankie!

As I am a fan of the band Queen and Freddie Mercury, I recently saw the movie Bohemian Rhapsody about their rise to fame. When Queen became famous, I was amused to learn that Freddie bought a mansion large enough that each of his many felines could have their own individual rooms! That made me love Freddie even more. And if you should be wondering, yes, my Gentle Giant cat Freddie is named for him. (Don’t get any ideas, boys. All three of us have to share the same bedroom.)


Lastly, but by no means the least important, a million thanks to the brave firefighters who risked their lives to rescue animals along with humans during the recent and ongoing horrendous fires in California. This photo says it all!

As this is the 100th Feline Friday post (woo hoo!) I was going to hire a band. But with everything going on in California and the world and my personal life this past few weeks, I decided that a quiet, unobtrusive recognition was just fine! Thank you all for hanging in there!


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.

frank gehry

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.

frank gehry


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!


LACMA: blink before it’s gone


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.


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


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.


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:




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!



The magic of movie costuming

may company building

When we go to see a Hollywood movie we are asked to suspend our disbelief in what is happening before our eyes. Superman flying through the air. The Queen walking her corgis. Dorothy on the yellow brick road. Would Christopher Reeve be the Man of Steel without his cape? Would Helen Mirren be Elizabeth II without her tweeds? Would Judy Garland make it back to Kansas if she didn’t have her ruby slippers? Without the right costumes, the movies we see wouldn’t be at all realistic.

may company building

The Hollywood Costume exhibit presented by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences displays 150 costumes from memorable movies through the decades. The Los Angeles version adds about 50 costumes to the original V&A exhibit.

may company building

The 1939 streamline May Company building on the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire has been chosen as the future home of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, scheduled to open in 2017. It was annexed by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) some years ago when it faced the wrecking ball. This will probably be the last exhibit shown here before the renovation. I’ll be writing a full article later on about this building.

may company building

This post is about the exhibit itself. No photography whatsoever was allowed inside. I can always understand not allowing flash photography as it is both annoying and destructive. I don’t understand why non-flash photography was not allowed. But so be it.

hollywood costume

I used a few images from the press photos page published on the exhibit website. Not as good as the photos I would have taken (!), but what can I do? They give you the general idea.

Above you see two of my favorites, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and James Bond (Daniel Craig). The faces were displayed on 2D monitors and every now and again they would blink or change facial expressions so it gave some life to the 3D mannequins.

hollywood costume

The multimedia presentation was very clever and I liked the exhibit a lot more than I thought I would. I went with several friends and I was the last one out as I really enjoyed reading all the descriptions and studying all the details. Look up or you’ll miss Chris Reeve!

I can’t describe the many ways that interactive multimedia was used, and as I couldn’t take photos of it, you will have to see the exhibit yourself. I was impressed with the creativity.

hollywood costume

There was a whole section on Meryl Streep and her various and sundry roles. She was on a discussion panel where several versions of her were talking to each other. Other displays showed actors and directors discussing their movies as if they were right there having a conversation.

hollywood costume

We were marveling at the intricate hand sewn decorations on these gowns. And also wondering how the heck did women move around in them back in the original time period.

hollywood costume

So many great films were represented. One point I picked up on is that modern films can be harder to design costumes for than period pieces. We have certain expectations of what kind of styles people wear today. It’s easier to be a little bit off in a period piece because we are not as conscious of who should be wearing what outfit two hundred years ago.

You can view a PDF of more photos by clicking here.

Also a couple of links to reviews of the exhibit:

It took me a couple of hours to get through everything. I mentioned to my friend that the 150 costumes seemed more like 500. The exhibit is on through March 2, 2015. It is definitely worth seeing.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins except where otherwise noted. 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!


Alert: Samurai warriors sighted in Los Angeles

LACMA samurai exhibit

I’ve been looking forward to this exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) since I first heard about it. Samurai: Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection.

LACMA samurai exhibit

A friend and I are long-time members of LACMA so whenever a special exhibit comes up we try to go together.

LACMA samurai exhibit

So on Saturday she drove to my house then we took the Culver City bus to the Metro bus which stops right outside the museum. No parking hassles!

LACMA samurai exhibit

Other than what I had seen from the publicity, I really didn’t know what to expect but I suspected it would at least be interesting as I knew little or nothing about the subject… unless you count The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. A pretty good movie, by the way.

LACMA samurai exhibit

Our tickets were for noon, there was no line, and we were able to go right in.

LACMA samurai exhibit

The first thing you notice is RED. Not just an accent here and there but bright crimson red pervading everything. I knew at once that this, along with the very dim lighting was going to be a photographic challenge.

LACMA samurai exhibit

The ceiling of the Reznick Pavilion during the day usually has natural light flooding through it because of the windows in the saw tooth roof. They were covered in red for this exhibit.

LACMA samurai exhibit

At first I attempted to outsmart the camera’s choices as I wasn’t happy with the images I was seeing. But every setting I made just increased the problems.

LACMA samurai exhibit

So finally I decided to acknowledge the camera’s innate wisdom and I dialed up P (for Program).

LACMA samurai exhibit

Considering the afore-mentioned difficulties plus no flash allowed, no tripod, shooting through protective glass cases and my unsteady hand, I have to give kudos to my Canon T3i for a darn good job. With a little help from Lightroom, of course!

LACMA samurai exhibit

You just have to go to the show yourself to truly appreciate the beauty, intricacy, handiwork and sumptuousness of the costumes. The exhibit is on through February 1, 2015.

From the website:

During the centuries covered by the exhibition, warfare evolved from combat between small bands of equestrian archers to the clash of vast armies of infantry and cavalry equipped with swords, spears, and even matchlock guns. Arms and armor were needed in unprecedented quantities, and craftsmen responded with an astonishingly varied array of armor that was both functional and visually spectacular, a celebration of the warrior’s prowess. Even after 1615, when the Tokugawa military dictatorship brought an end to battle, samurai families continued to commission splendid arms and armor for ceremonial purposes. Because the social rank, income, and prestige of a samurai family were strictly determined by the battlefield valor of their ancestors, armor became ever more sumptuous as the embodiment of an elite warrior family’s heritage.

LACMA samurai exhibit

For more images, click on a photo below to see the slide show.

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!

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art: between BCAM and the Reznick

LACMA, BCAM, Reznick

 Over the years I’ve taken about a billion photos of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). I like the convoluted architecture of the campus. 

LACMA, BCAM, Reznick

These photos are of the walkway between the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) and the Stewart and Lynda Reznick Gallery, the two newest buildings at LACMA. BCAM opened in 2008. The Reznick in 2010.

LACMA, BCAM, Reznick

BCAM always reminds me of the Pompidou in Paris. In this photo BCAM is on the left, the Reznick on the right. Robert Irwin’s Palm Garden that surrounds the Reznick contains about 100 trees. LACMA-051913-053a-C-800px

Looking at art can be tiring and this bench offers a peaceful resting place for the weary.

LACMA, BCAM, Reznick

LACMA, BCAM, Reznick

LACMA, BCAM, Reznick

LACMA, BCAM, Reznick

LACMA, BCAM, Reznick

LACMA, BCAM, Reznick

LACMA, BCAM, Reznick

LACMA, BCAM, Reznick

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, please check with us first for proper usage. Thanks!

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My free Sierra Club walks

I am leading two walks for the Sierra Club on November 18 and December 2. They are both free and open to the public.


View from Palisades Park, Santa Monica, CA

November 18 is in Santa Monica.


LACMA big rock installation

December 2 is the Farmers Market, LACMA, La Brea Tar Pits area.

Click here to go to my Touring and Walking LA website for all the information!

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A day on Wilshire Boulevard: The Ackermans, Anarchy and Fry Bread


Resnick Exhibition Pavilion

Resnick Exhibition Pavilion

A crossover blog from ATM: Art, Tiles and Mosaics. I feel so fortunate to be living in southern California with access to all the things I enjoy doing. I am really living in paradise and what more can I ask for? I hope you enjoy this blog about my wonderful day at CAFAM and LACMA.