The Freehand hotel

Another old commercial building that was turned into a hipster hotel.Looking at the website, I see there is a pool on the roof, but I didn’t go up there. Of course, I love all these cool details. The tile floor, the tile around the windows, the wonderful archway. The lobby is small, yet mighty.  Where Nomad used exuberant colors, things here are quiet and subdued, yet no less beautiful.The Bar! I have no doubt that all the tile work here is new since this used to be the lobby of an office building. How wonderful that the designer makes the new loos so old. Not just the tile, all that woodwork!From inside looking out at 8th st.This chair! I don’t know how comfortable it is. But the workmanship. There were at least two of these. Once again, I don’t know if the tile on the floor is original or not. I am in love with all the textures here.It feels like a British colonial club in India. Pay attention to the sign across the street, that intrigued me.If I just posted this image, you’d say, San Francisco. I do not know if the upstairs are still a hotel. The Golden Gopher is a modern take on the dive bar. Created in 2004, although the website does say that Teddy Roosevelt bought this building and had a bar here in 1905. Who knows?Right next door to the Golden Gopher is another old building. Hotel Bristol, which is no longer a hotel but low-income housing. What that means in LA, is newly arrived wanna be actors live here. This is what happens in LA, cheap, low-income housing doesn’t go to the low-income non descript workers in this city. It goes to the hipsters. I guess that is just how the market works in this city.  It’s not like we don’t have options, it’s just a question of who gets those living spaces.

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Leah

Nomad Hotel

I gave a tour downtown. Here’s some advice nobody wants. If you have trouble walking and rely heavily on a cane, please do not come to a walking tour that is over a mile long, includes hills and many stairs.  I had an organized group from Orange CA, three people could hardly walk. I felt very sorry for the other tour-goers, I couldn’t abandon the slow walkers, so the tour was very truncated. At the end, I left them at the Bradbury Bldg, they were to walk another 3 blocks to Cliftons, I noticed that the three stragglers were left behind, no-one cared to walk slowly anymore.

I rewarded myself by checking out some new hotels downtown.The Giannini building was built for the headquarters of the Bank of Italy back in the 1920s. It stood vacant for years. then it was purchased and turned into a luxury hotel. A few months ago, I was watching an episode of NCIS Los Angeles, and a murder occurred in the LA Athletic Club, which is right across the street, since this building was still under construction, they got permission to film in one of the rooms, abandoned and empty. I love it when I figure these things out.The building is an example of Beaux Arts, a beautiful example.I am so grateful that none of the exterior details were destroyed during the years of abandonment.I’m sure all the terra-cotta is from Gladding McBean. I don’t know who made the metal work, but I see it all over downtown.The side entrance is small, it’s easier for cars to stop on Olive St. rather than 7th. So the Valet is here.The lobby, in all it’s glory!  So many details are original. The furnishings are new and gorgeous. I want all those lush textiles!There is a bar and restaurant in the lobby, the place was full. Always look up!I so want this chair! The guys’ hat just adds to the colorfulness of it all.Right next door is the Whiskey Bar, Seven Grand, I bet their business has improved as well. Across the Street in Bottega Louie, 7th st is one of the liveliest streets downtown.

Even the Broad Tower, the tallest building downtown shines over 7th st. To be honest, It shines over everything.

In another post, another hotel.

Leah

Sky Space

This image isn’t mine. I found it online, although I see this building all the time, I haven’t photographed it.

This weekend I had the pleasure of going to the top, seeing all those incredible views. I figure. I better let you see what the building itself looks like. The US Bank building, The Library Tower or today as it is known, OUE.  This picture was taken before OUE bought the building and added the observation deck and slide. They are on the 69th floor, where the two outcroppings end, a few floors before the crown.Two elevator rides up and we are on the 70th floor. Looking down on the slide. My fear of heights prevented me from going down this.  Others in my group did it and enjoyed it. Well, maybe they didn’t enjoy it as much as they claimed……I was happy to have my picture taken with the angel wings. So why did this not scare me? Because it feels stable and solid. Because that thick glass is high and I don’t feel like I will fall. That slide is 100% glass, sitting, even for a moment on the glass would have freaked me out.

Inside the building, on the 54th floor, there is a shaft with mirrors and lights going down to the ground. It is covered with thick glass, I got dizzy peering over the edge. I know my limits. The views!  The day was so clear and bright, we had strong winds the day before. So the views were spectacular.  You know me, I have a whole collection of images of the Hollywood sign from all kinds of angles. How about this one! Or the Broad Tower, with views of Santa Monica bay beyond. This is now the tallest building west of the Mississippi. The US Bank tower is on higher ground. But if they stood side to side, the Broad would be taller, and not only because of the spire. But they don’t have an observation deck.Just looking south at the massive landscape of Los Angeles.Staples Center, the Convention center and the old Hotel Figueroa. Also the cross of the 10 and the 110 freeways.Looking down on buildings I only see from the ground. This is the gas flame of the Gas Company Tower. Built at same time as the US Bank building. Both bought air rights from the library, that money was used to renovate and expand the library. Next to it, well really across the street, is the Biltmore Hotel and in front of that, Pershing Square.On the other side, The Bonaventure Hotel. A law that was rescinded recently said that all buildings over a certain height in Los Angeles, have to have a helicopter pad. The number indicates the weight that can land.  The Broad was built after the law was changed, maybe now we’ll start to see more interesting rooflines on buildings.Look at a map of Los Angeles, the streets in downtown are slightly torqued, they don’t follow the north-south grid.  When the first design of Los Angeles was proposed by Lieutenant Ord, back in 1852, he followed the Spanish tradition of having the north facing streets be more to the Northwest, so that all angles would get more sunlight. I’m not sure that the Bank of America building is perfectly on the correct axis, but it is more so than all of its neighbors which makes it stand out like a sore thumb.  As the city grew, the streets returned to a north-south, east-west axis.City Hall looks so small from above. Beyond it, Union Station with the railroad tracks.The yellow brick building is the Bradbury Building. I have often looked up at the glass atrium. It’s large. Looking down at it, I realize how very large it really is.

For those of you who come on one of our conservancy tours, you will get a coupon to visit the Sky Space. Locals get a discount as well. Otherwise, it’s $25, another $8 for the pleasure of two seconds on the slide.

Leah

Brewery Artwalk

I really love LA, there is so much going on here and I only take advantage of a smidgen of it. Last year I missed this event, I’m very happy to have gone this year. Most of the artists do not want people taking pictures of their art, so I got my impressions of the Brewery complex. This sign is seen best from the freeway, I took this picture from the bridge that connects two buildings, so the angle isn’t great. visited here a year and a half ago and wrote up a post, I saw different things this time. I love the Art Deco facade of some of these buildings.Look at the view this artist has! The whole complex was full of people enjoying a lovely Southern CA fall day. Funny story, as I was leaving a gentleman asked me what is going on here, I told him it’s a free art show. He asked where the beer was. I had to laugh and explain that the complex was originally a powerplant, then the Pabst Beer company used it as a brewery and 30 years ago it became an artist colony. But, Barbara’s Brewery would be more than happy to sell him some beer if that was all he wanted.I should have taken the time to go up those stairs, each building is unique. Well, all this means is that I need to go back in spring for the spring artwalk.Quite a few of the artists have their homes/studios in lower industrial buildings, which gives them small patios as well. The interior courtyard of the Art Deco building, I love what they have done here, literally planted trees inside.Those who have access to the outdoors use it well. How could you not with the lovely weather we have here.Cats are popular here.

I had the pleasure of meeting Teresa Coates. Small world story, I listened to Abby Glasenburgs Podcast: While She Naps, this episode is an interview with Arvin Pairavi, owner of Shannon Fabrics. He mentions Teresa as education coordinater, we spoke for close to an hour. Having worked in that industry and her being a quilter – we had a lot to talk about. I’m sure our paths will cross again.  She will be at Quiltmarket next week and I am looking forward to seeing what she posts on Instagram.The interior hallways are fun as well, these are artists, after all, they are going to decorate their environments. Love the bright colors and the sign is cute.More hallway decoration.Here is an artist who encouraged photography. Patrick Guerre Arts, he is painting 10,000 of these hearts to raise awareness and to raise funds for his wife’s’ autoimmune disease. This project is called hearts for Gina. I love that he is using his art in a happy way to help his wife. Then I had the pleasure of meeting Andre Miripolsky. Mural by Miripolsky Elevator, Allied Crafts building Lobby Allied Crafts buildingI first saw his work 3 years ago in a lobby in DTLA. I reminded him of this building, took him a moment. He has been very busy painting much larger installations. What is really exciting is that he will be creating and LA Historama for the convention center. This will be fabricated by Judson Studios. I am so excited about this and I hope this comes to fruition. Here’s an article about his work and the plans for this mural.

This all happened on Saturday, Sunday will be a whole new post. Have I mentioned that I love LA?

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Leah

Japanese cultural village

Have I mentioned how much I love LA? Always something new to discover, often with the help of the Atlas Obscura.

On a gloomy Sunday in June, I went off the the Arts District downtown for an adventure.Waiting for everyone to arrive, I started taking pictures of the surrounding buildings. The Arts District is famous for it’s murals and street art. Little did I know that we were headed inside this building... to be greeted by 5000 square feet of this.Since this was an industrial building with high ceilings, Peter built an interior roof.Now we get to why I love cultural appropriation – as it is called today. (in my youth we just called it the melting pot and celebrated the fact that we were all welcome to share in one another’s culture). Peter Lai is a Chinese man from Hong Kong. For many years he was quite the flamboyant designer, once here in America, he left his family tradition of designing for Chinese theater and TV and designed high-end couture for a clientele in San Marino. He also developed a love for everything Japanese, especially the Kabuki theater.  So he built a miniature Japanese village in his loft. He is an avid collector, here showing us an old store register, listing the inventory and what has sold.Everywhere one looks there is stuff! I realized quickly that his inspiration is Japanese theater – not the sparse simple design we associate with Japan. In the fall he is going to take a practical exam to become an official Kabuki dancer. He has been dancing for 17 years, his Mentor is 95 years old, if he is going to pass his exam, he has to do it soon.A Temari ball caught my eye. He tends to collect many items, this was the only such ball that I saw.He did have a basket full of Darumas.  A few words about Kabuki, traditionally it was performed only by men, in the early 20th century it opened to women as well. Guess what happened? The men left, today there are hardly any male Kabuki dancers, so when Peter becomes official, he will be the first male Kabuki dancer in his studio in a very long time.

A few words about Kabuki, traditionally it was performed only by men, in the early 20th century it opened to women as well. Guess what happened? The men left, today there are hardly any male Kabuki dancers, so when Peter becomes official, he will be the first male Kabuki dancer in his studio in a very long time.In this space there is of course, a theater for performances, I think it can hold 45 people. In front of some of the seating cushions, were bento boxes wrapped in the Furoshiki technique, a delight for the textile crafter in me.Peter isn’t a purist, he is theatrical! Behind him is a Chinese opium bed. He is holding the original high heel shoe – for a man! Next to him is a Chinese garment, turns out he found the skirt but couldn’t find a matching top, so he removed the bands off the back of the skirt and incorporated them into a matching jacket. A purist would cringe, but for Peter, unless he is taking the Kabuki exam, anything goes. He has performed his dances for local audiences here, and as long as he doesn’t call it pure Kabuki, he feels he combine what he wants. I like his attitude!There is a dressing and makeup room, full of wigs, hair ornaments and face makeup. I zoomed in on the many combs used for the wigs. He even modeled a young man’s wig as well as an older mans’ wig. This one was gray and had a large bald spot on the top!I think Betty Boop loves her new costume!  Most of the kimonos he owns are for the theater, not street wear or even wedding kimonos. I could tell because of the garish colors and the heavy use of gold and silver thread. All this is very necessary on stage, but would be considered gauche in everyday life.From early teens until late 20s’ Peter worked in the family theatrical costume workshop. It was then sold and went out of business, so Peter has had to buy back costumes the family made. He should be a consultant on any production of Chinese movie made here in America, he knows the difference between all the dynasties and what they wore. While he still had his clothing store in San Marino, he would often remove such a dragon and put in on a lovely evening jacket.What a workroom! For him this is small, he no longer is making clothes but is still updating items and making a new costume here and there. He is selling off fabric, buttons, and trims.It was so nice to see a solid industrial Juki still at work.Anyone who visits the studio is welcome to buy one of his creations for a very steep discount.Just to show you how eclectic he is, this steampunk mask would sell for a very nice price!  I don’t think this was for sale.

 

 

 

Leah

Downtown at night

I’m usually downtown in the daytime, giving tours and seeing people using the share bikes.

But sometimes, one needs to go at night and how vibrant things can be when darkness falls.With the long days of spring and summer, six pm isn’t exactly dark. Grand  Park runs three blocks from the Music center up on Grand Ave, across Hill and Broadway down to City Hall on Spring st. These days many fun activities take place here. A food fair, both booths, and trucks, bars and entertainment took place this weekend. So we hopped on the subway and went to explore. There was a Mariachi band.Chinese dragon dancers. I really didn’t take any pictures of the food, we had some great middle eastern food. It was just fun walking around and people watching. LA is a real melting pot, no cultural appropriation – rather cultural sharing, everybody bringing their traditions and making them all American. This scene made my heart melt. Although it was pretty cool, the kids had no problem running through the fountain. A mom in her wheelchair got her daughter to push her and have her join the fun. I heard her say: this is the best Mother’s Day ever, I haven’t had so much fun!So what is George Washington doing in this park? He didn’t originate here since the park is only a few years old.I love the fact that once upon a time, this is what school children in Los Angeles did. Along with the women of the chamber of commerce.  This must have been in storage for a while, so nice that he is now part of a very busy park.I love the ‘new’ tradition of taking prom pictures at iconic sites in the city.  In front of Disney Hall.One girl took her date’s jacket, this other guy was much smarter. Along with his bright red suit, he wore a polar bear fur coat. Well, probably not made from a polar bear, but he was the only one who wasn’t freezing.But young women will put up with the cold to be beautiful. Can’t blame them, it’s all part of youth.Here is a cute couple, and yes, I am coveting her dress.Golden sunset lighting the Broad. My favorite part of this museum is the building itself. And there you have some California gold.

We continued down Hope street and down the Bunker Hill steps. I tried to capture some more pictures, but with the fading light, they didn’t come out well. We craned our necks up and Joel even saw someone going down the glass slide! The pyramid atop the library is beautiful when viewed from above.What I did capture was the lights in the fountain that runs along side the stairs. Light can make water so much more interesting.

As we walked along, some young men wished me a Happy Mother’s day. Earlier in the week a man in an elevator complimented my outfit and overall look. What can I say, I love this city!!

 

 

Leah

It’s that time of year again, the movie costume show at FIDM

Once again I went with some fabric and costume loving friends to FIDM. One of them was a professor of costume design – can’t get better company than that! I’m not mentioning which films, because in most cases I don’t know. The only one I saw was La La Land, and the costumes were nothing to write home about.I am sharing only a few images of the full garments, I’m finding that it’s the details I love. Sure on a big screen this is what pops out at you.But this is what pops out at me, the details. The materials used, the subtlety, the effect that light has.The amazingness of silk. Just using different silks, slight changes in the shades of color. A little fabric manipultion, and we are ready to go!The fantasy films are where the mens’ costumes thrive. Really what can you do with a business suit? But create a fantasy warrior and go to town on the textures! Yes, that is a red cape, which highlights all of the wonderful braid, fabric and leather.Leather, coarsely woven fabric, andmetallicc embroidery! As well as some fur. Who says men can’t have fun?A closer look, metal work and some bright purple silk. I’m sorry the focus isn’t great. I can’t use my flash. But I think you get the idea.The robe is made of those ball chains. For some reason I adore those chains. So to see a full length garment made out of them! Swoon! Really I need to see the movie to see how it moves, but I forgot which on it is.

OK, this is from Alice Through the looking Glass.  We immediately decided that the nettle that the Red Queen is wearing (maybe it’s not the Red Queen, I’m just making a guess here), was made on a three D printer. I don’t know if this is Alice, what I do know is the colors and the Chinese influences are wonderful.I love when a designer references the source but does her own thing. In this case it is Colleen Atwood, she costumed at least three of the movies in the show. In a you-tube video she discusses this outfit with it’s handwork and Chinese influence.Love the shoes!!! The eel is too high for me, but oh my, these are gorgeous.Alongside the movie costumes there is always a smaller exhibit. In this case costumes and clothes from the 1920s. This dress was used in the Orient Express. I would wear it today! A knit dress with embroidery and insets. The detail! The color! I want this dress!

So if you have a chance, get over to FIDM, this year the exhibit is excellent. Probably because of Colleen Atwood, but not only her. Last year was very meh. This being the 25th year they really went after the best costumes the movies had to offer.

Leah

Los Angeles Weather

I don’t buy into global warming, or climate change or whatever they are calling it these days. To me, it’s all weather, in some ways it’s predictable, in others it’s not. What has been happening these last few years in California is predictable and following a pattern.

Simply put, we get rain in the winter, then we get a few years of drought, we always have fires, but at some point, we have massive fires all over the state. The following winter we will have an abundance of rain and snow, then come the mudslides. Maybe back to regular rain for a while and then the cycle repeats.

So this year is the year of massive rains.Capturing rain on camera isn’t easy, believe me, it was pouring! I was supposed to give a tour to high school students. We planned on meeting in Pershing Square. I stayed across the street under the overhang at the entrance to the Starbucks in the Title Guarantee building.  We all huddled there until the rain cleared a little and then it was off on a tour. Most of the tour was fine, towards the end the rain started again.Thanks to the rain, there wasn’t a line at Eggslut in Grand Central Market. I finally had my chance to try thier famous sandwhiches. My verdict? Meh. Not worth the wait. It was a fine egg sandwich, I’m glad it’s off my bucket list. Sure, if there isn’t a line I’d get another, but it certainly isn’t worth the hype.The first picture was taken at noon, this one at 2:30. Ah, LA Blue skies!  Now, you have to understand, photography is all about how you frame the image. the the left and behind me there were still gray ominous clouds, which later that day dumped more rain.  But this is the sky we are famous for.A few days latter and I’m on the northern rim of the San Fernando Valley, in a neighborhood called Porter Ranch. Hiking with a friend, enjoying exercize, good company and great views. The haze over the valley is haze, not smog, within the hour it had lifted.The first part of the walk was on city streets, we looked down over this horse path, our hike was a circle, so coming back would be on this path.And here we are. The hill sides are still covered in the old dead chapparal, but a lot of new growth is happening because of the rain.Look at the size of the boulder that fell from the hillside. We saw a lot of evidence of mudslides. Most dragged down the litter that people have thrown, this one brought down some rocks and a large boulder.See, the haze lifted, back to our glorious blue sky!

Leah

More art in St. John’s Cathedral

p1160992The front exterior, with a large rose window. Stain glass only looks impressive with the light shining through.
p1160960Los Angeles has plenty of light to make the glass sparkle.

p1160993The intricate lead makes clear this is stain glass.

p1160975Combined with light, we have art. There is something to be said for an art form that relies so heavily on a natural element to perform at it’s best.

p1160967These windows are so high above me that I can’t get a straight forward picture. But maybe that is deliverate, it’s not about a close intimate study of the glass, it really is about the light and color.

p1160959I know Judson Studio made the Martin Luther King glass window. Sorry, I think I saw it, but didn’t get a picture. I highly recommend following them on Facebook, they are almost done with a massive installation in a church in Kansas City KS, incredible work on both the glass and the istallation of this massive project.

p1160947The vibrant deep colors just sing. Someone must have paid to have this window installed in the memory of a loved one. For years church art was sponsored by congregants in this manner.

p1160977Not all are that successful, this is in honor of a church secretary. Can I just say fake Della Robbia and leave it there? OK, maybe not fake, maybe reproduction, but it lacks the vibrancy of the 15th century Florantine ceramics. To me, it just looks like kitsch.

p1160963As does this small section of a large gilded picture frame. Let’s just say, this isn’t to my taste at all.

p1160983This on the other hand is fine, even if it is molded concrete. Maybe because it is the kind of reptitious pattern that becomes part of so many decorative elements around us.

p1160970A reproduction altar lamp.

p1160981Then I looked down and saw this marquetry in the floor. The Jerusalem cross – got it’s name becasue the Crusaders had this cross on their banners when they entered Jerusalem. Interesting how now, the Episcopal Church which is the farthest thing from the Crusaders have adopted this as their cross. I also find it strange that it is inlaid on the floor, to be walked on and ignored by most people.  I guess I’m busy really looking, trying to see those things that most people miss.

Leah

Man Mode, or the current zeitgeist

Similar things happen at the same time, it’s the zeitgeist. So while LAMCA has it’s Reigning Men Exhibition, FIDM has Man Mode.IMG_4730Much smaller of course, but the same themes, like how to make menswear exciting for the runway.IMG_4725Or, computer generated desgin on printed fabric.IMG_4729In the accesory catagory, it’s all about the tie, really the only place a businessman can hope to express himself.IMG_4727Then there is the banyan, or house coat, for lounging around the house. He still looks overdressed, Fez and all.IMG_4728At least the embroidery is delightful. Looks hand embroidered in the good sense of homemade. Good quality but a certain freedom of design.IMG_4720Unlike 18th Century formal wear that was exquisitly embroidered, also by hand, but by people working in an atelier. About as close as machine perfection that you could find in those days.IMG_4726So did this caftan come west? Was it worn by a man of liesure in Europe? Or was it saved from some nomads tent and cherished as a beautiful example of central Asian textile and not as a garment to be worn?IMG_4721A fabulous example of the Smoking Jacket, made from Cigar silks. There ae many jackets and quilts that took advantage of these thin strips of silk.IMG_4722Even with the company names stamped right in the middle. Lovely hand embroidery was used to attach one ribbon to the next. Using silk thread in matching colors, the gold and red.IMG_4718And finally, a little humor. How riske are this boxer shorts. A true fantasy for any man.

Leah