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


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Memories of 2019

JANUARY

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!

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FEBRUARY

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.

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MARCH

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.

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APRIL

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.

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MAY

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.

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JUNE

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.

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JULY

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.

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AUGUST

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.

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SEPTEMBER

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.

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OCTOBER

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.

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NOVEMBER

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.

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DECEMBER

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!


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It pays to belong

LACMA Ode to Santos Dumont

Although I attend most of the special exhibits at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), usually with friends, sometimes I just like to hang out at the museum by myself with no particular agenda in mind.

Friday I was on my way there by bus when I decided to check the schedule of events on my smart phone. I saw there was a showing of the late Chris Burden’s Ode to Santos Dumont at 1:00pm. As the #217 was lumbering north on the always congested Fairfax Avenue I was annoyed at myself for not taking the earlier bus.

Once off the bus I figured I would try for it anyway. There was nobody in the Member’s line, I snatched my ticket and slid into the Resnick Pavilion with time to spare!

LACMA Ode to Santos Dumont

By now you are wondering, what is she talking about? This is from the LACMA website:

The highly balanced and refined mechanism—modeled after Santos-Dumont’s 1901 dirigible that flew around the Eiffel Tower—achieves indoor flight in 15-minute intervals throughout the day. An examination of weight and gravity, the work is powered by a quarter-scale version of a 1903 De Dion gasoline motor handcrafted by machinist and inventor John Biggs. Ode to Santos Dumont offers a palpable and emotional expression of the density of air, gravity, and energy required to move about in our earthly environment.

Sometimes I just can’t say it better myself!

I took a video of the performance but couldn’t figure out how to upload a .MOV file to WordPress without a URL. If you are really desperate to see it in motion, there is a video at http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/chris-burden-ode-santos-dumont although I prefer mine! On that same page is a eulogy to Chris Burden (1946 – 2015).

LACMA-060515-011-C-800px LACMA-060515-024-C-800px LACMA-060515-026-C-800px LACMA Ode to Santos Dumont

Show over, I wandered into the 50 for 50 exhibit.

LACMA 50 for 50

Again, from the website: In just 50 years, LACMA has established itself as a world-class museum with one of the strongest encyclopedic collections in the world. The more than 120,000 objects that make up LACMA’s holdings are due to the generosity of donors. For the museum’s 50th anniversary, that spirit of generosity continues with this exhibition.
…the exhibition features gifts from more than 25 generous donors. Masterpieces on view include works by Claude Monet, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and Andy Warhol as well as art from Africa and decorative arts.

Metropolis II

It wouldn’t be a proper visit to LACMA without popping in to view Metropolis II, my favorite Chris Burden piece, if not my favorite exhibit in the entire museum. I am always mesmerized by this kinetic look at “traffic.” I took a video of this too which came out pretty well. Too bad you can’t see it!

I am always entranced, whether looking up close at the details or watching from above looking down. I was fortunate to arrive just as the cars started moving.

This is a look at the making of the exhibit. 

I have the teeniest tiniest attention span but I found it interesting. If you can make it through all five minutes it is worth it, especially the “ride” through the exhibit at the end… but don’t skip to the end!!

Page Museum

It was lunchtime. I bought an over-priced tuna sandwich (but not nearly as over-priced as the same item at the Getty!) and trotted on over to the La Brea Tar Pits (yes, I know, that is saying “the The Tar Tar Pits”). I sat for a while and people-watched. I always appreciate the opportunity to take time out on a weekday. Life is indeed good!

The above photo is the working Paleontology Laboratory in the Page Museum at the tar pits. As a member of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) I also have membership privileges at the Page. So I can hop in there for a few minutes whenever I’m at LACMA, which shares the Hancock Park campus with the Page. It’s fun to watch the paleontologists cleaning and sorting the fossils found at the pits. I’m not sure I would be comfortable working in a goldfish bowl.

Page Museum

Does your state have an official state fossil? California does! And I’m happy to say it is the Saber-toothed Cat.

Page Museum

Far from being cuddly, these kitties were the same size as a lion, but more heavily built. None of the fossils found at La Brea are more than 50,000 years old, so yes, people were around when these cats were roaming the area. If you’d like to see a cast of a recently excavated jaw of one of these guys click here.

Perhaps when the Page has finished their renovations I’ll devote a blog post to the museum.

As I had to return by way of LACMA to catch the bus, I stopped off to see the Raku exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion.

LACMA

Another Chris Burden piece, Urban Light, graces the “new” entrance to the museum. There are a bazillion pictures of this artwork on the internet as it is every tourist’s favorite photo spot. But I still get a kick out of it.

LACMA

As I passed by there were couples dancing out on the sidewalk next to the lights. Filming a commercial? Rehearsing for something? A big family enjoying themselves? Who knows? Chris Burden would most likely have appreciated the activity around his artwork!

LACMA-060515-072-C-800px

These plants are growing next to the sidewalk.

And across the street, the spectacular new facade for the Petersen Automotive Museum is taking shape. Right now it is closed for renovations with an expected re-opening date of December 2015.

Petersen Automotive Museum

By now I was ready for the bus ride home to Culver City and glad I didn’t have to steer my way through rush-hour traffic.

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 Natural History Museum – part 3 – the wet stuff

natural history museum of los angeles county

The Natural History Museum Nature Gardens include two water features. This one which is man-made and looks man-made. Click on an image below to start slideshow.

natural history museum of los angeles county

The other one is man-made but is pretending to be natural. I like them both. There is nothing as soothing as the sound of falling water. Click on image below to start the slideshow.

When I was taking photos at the museum gardens I really wasn’t thinking about how I would post it in parts. So it is all rather haphazard. But I think that’s a good way to approach the museum anyway… both indoors and outdoors… just wander around in a disorganized manner and look at what catches your eye then come back around and see things you didn’t notice the first time.

See the Natural History Museum part one here.

See the Natural History Museum part two here.


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Picnicking with the butterflies

Los Angeles County Natural History Museum

Los Angeles County Natural History Museum

It seems I can’t stay away from Exposition Park. A friend and I visited the Science Museum a week ago to see the Cleopatra Exhibit (will be writing a post about that at some point) and four days later I accompanied my mother’s assisted living group to the Butterfly Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.

Picnic at Exposition Park

Picnic at Exposition Park

First of all we had a picnic in the park. It was the perfect day for it—sunny and not too warm. We were entertained by some kids playing nearby. They threw their “football” into a tree where it got stuck and then spent the next fifteen minutes throwing shoes into the tree to dislodge it.

We could imagine that next up would be the shoes getting trapped in the branches. But their hard work and patience was rewarded when the ball came tumbling down on to the ground.

From our spot at the picnic tables we could see the Expo Line trains chasing back and forth. Less than four months ago the trains were still in test phase. Now it seems like they have been with us since the beginning of time. Since June 20 I have already ridden on the new line half a dozen times.

Simple sandwiches, potato chips and fruit salad seem like a gourmet meal when eaten outdoors. Who doesn’t love a picnic? Afterwards, we piled back into the bus and drove over to see the butterflies.

Inside the Butterfly Pavilion

Inside the Butterfly Pavilion

Inside the Butterfly PavilionLooking back at a past blog post I see that I visited the Butterfly Pavilion exactly two years ago in July, 2010. From the NHM website: “More than 53 different butterfly and moth species and an array of plants take up residence every summer for our much-anticipated seasonal exhibit…”

Butterfly on our leaders' hat

This butterfly liked our leaders’ hat

One friendly butterfly landed on our leaders’ hat and seemed to enjoy the ride, flapping its wings, as she walked around the garden.

Butterfly eating lunch

Butterfly eating lunch

As we had been watching the trains earlier, we made the decision to return to Culver City by the Expo Line and meet the bus at the station. Getting everybody on the train with their walkers and wheelchairs was quite an experience, but it was good practice for the train trip we will be taking the residents on next week. I am looking forward to it!

(photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)


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Los Angeles Natural History Museum is for kids of all ages

los angeles natural history museum

Are you somewhere between two years old and one hundred two years old? If so, you are in luck—you will enjoy visiting the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. From gems and minerals to American history to insects to dinosaurs, there is plenty to tickle your fancy. Plan on two to three hours, or more, to explore all the nooks and crannies of this fascinating museum.

los angeles natural history museum

During the summer months of 2010, April 11 through September 6, to be exact, hundreds of butterflies flutter around in the Pavilion of Wings. Some of the butterflies mate and produce offspring in the exhibit, but most are brought in from butterfly farms as chrysalis from across the US. It’s a wonderful experience to walk through the garden of flowers surrounded by these amazing creatures.

Inside the museum the exhibits are no less spectacular. The museum is camera friendly, allowing flash photography in most of the galleries. But you may get a better result by selecting the museum setting on your camera. Also, remember to use the “through glass” setting when photographing a showcase.

los angeles natural history museum

Over the past few years the museum has undergone a lot of changes. If you remember it from five or six years ago, you will notice the difference. Construction is still ongoing and more updated and new galleries will be opening in 2011 and 2012.

For now you can inspect the 30 terrariums housing all kinds of insects with information about their dining habits. You can walk around the skeleton of a huge whale. You can learn about the history of California and see real artifacts including the actual table used for the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga, which ended the fighting between the Californios and the US. You can see working paleontologists cleaning dinosaur bones. You can view archaeological treasures from the Inca and Mayan cultures. You can walk through a wetlands marsh and a rain forest. And when all that makes you hungry, you can sit outside in a pleasant patio munching on a healthy salad or sandwich.

los angeles natural history museum

During the summer months especially, the museum is filled with youngsters. There’s nothing wrong with Disneyland, but for about one tenth the price you can keep your kid happy for a morning or afternoon. The only crying you will hear is from small boys and girls who haven’t had enough and are upset to be leaving so soon. As a parent or grandparent you feel good not only to be entertaining your progeny but to be helping them learn valuable information too—and the best part is they are having so much fun they don’t even realize it is educational. But if you are an adult on your own, you will also have an enjoyable experience.

Of course, I don’t have to tell you the real test of a museum is the museum shop. Better yet when there are two—in this case the main store across from the entrance and off the rotunda. A refrigerator magnet is a nice way to remember any visit.

For a photo gallery click here.

(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)

900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Phone: 213.763.DINO

www.nhm.org/site/