Saturday, May 14, 2011

Isle of Art

Yesterday I posted hastily because I was rushing out of the house to see an art exhibit in Culver City, which is not in Pasadena. Today is the last day* to see works by the LA Fine Art Squad at the Cardwell Jimmerson Gallery at 8568 Washington Blvd. (they're open 11-6). I know you may not get down there and I know this post is late and I know you may think it has nothing to do with Pasadena. You'd be incorrect on at least one count. One member of the "Squad" was and is Victor Henderson, who lives Pasadena-adjacent. His friends sometimes refer to him as "Mr. V." I don't know if he likes it.


The work above is called "Isle of California." It was painted in 1971-72 and is the only mural remaining of several such large works the Squad painted in the LA area. Much faded but still towering, the work depicts "Arizona beachfront property" after an earthquake dumps California into the sea. The parking lot attendant told us an earthquake occurred in soCal "two weeks after the painting was done. People came from all over and brought offerings--flowers and things."

I couldn't find a record of such a quake, but the San Fernando, aka the Sylmar earthquake (thank you, PA) occurred during painting. (see comments)

It would be nice to see this work restored. I know that means money. At least it's under LA City jurisdiction, and not LA County.

Even if you don't make it to the gallery today, you can visit the mural at 1616 Butler Avenue in Los Angeles, not far from the 405 freeway. Henderson has posted some good, unfaded photos of the work here, where you can get a better idea of the apocalyptic dream quality of it.

The rusting squares you see are visual irony--plates that anchor reinforcing bolts to keep the building stable during an earthquake--obviously added after the painting was finished. I think the drips of rust down the building add truth, if not beauty.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Der Sandmann

Yay! Blogger's been down for a while (I guess we all know) and now it seems to be back. Enough said about that.

I never miss an opportunity to roam the CalTech campus, and last night I had the opportunity to attend a film there. The film is Der Sandmann (The Sandman), directed by Peter Luisi, who attended the screening and answered questions.

I'm not a reviewer but I'll tell you this much: Der Sandmann is realistic and absurdist at the same time, an absolute delight, and you must see it if you get the opportunity. What a privilege it was to get to see it in its Caltech premiere.

Update: Now that I'm not hurrying to post and rush out of the house, I'll add that "Der Sandmann" has begun festival rounds in the U.S. and is seeking a U.S. distributor. It ought to have one. Last night's CalTech audience ate it up.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bring a Wagon

I believe this rose is called "Easy Does It."

Here's one called "Neptune."
I don't know if these are part of the Huntington Library and Gardens' 37th Annual Plant Sale, but I know they grow them at the Huntington because I photographed them there. So it could happen. Have no fear: legions of other plants are waiting for you to take them home.

The sale is a big deal for lots of reasons, not least of which is that some of the best gardeners in the world work at the Huntington, creating hybrids and propagating heirlooms. (Some plants in the Desert Garden are over a hundred years old.)

The members’ preview sale is this Saturday, May 14th, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the sale opens to the public on Sunday, May 15th.

About the wagon: really.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pat It and Prick It and Mark It

Ugly mural, no?


Someone thought so, and now Altadena's Patticakes Dessert Company is having to defend itself--albeit with a legion of fans to support it.

Patticakes is a good place to buy baked goods for an event, as well as nice little spot to have a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. Perfectly innocent. Yet the art on the exterior wall is apparently in violation of a county code.



That's what I thought, too.

Is this art or is it advertising? The discussion on Altadena Patch got some saliva glands going; if the complainers ever get caught they might just get baked in a pie.

I once had a brick wall for a fence. I speak from experience when I suggest the following: if the County paints over this mural, the County--or whoever lodged the complaint--gets to take on the cost and responsibility of painting over the graffiti that will appear on this wall--guaranteed--at least three times a week.

You don't have to be from Altadena to stop by Patticakes at 1900 N. Allen Avenue and sign the petition to keep the mural. (I did, and I bought a chocolate tartlet thingy while I was there just, you know, to show 'em I mean what I say.) I wanted to get a picture of the mural without cars parked in front of it, but every time one car left another two arrived and I didn't have all day. Apparently the County's done Patticakes a favor, at least in the short term: right now, business is sweet.

The mural stays.

Pasadena Weekly

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Might be Able to Get You its Fax Number

Kevin over at East of West L.A. photographed a courtyard not long ago. (Go! Peruse his noir!) It reminded me of my reaction to Los Angeles upon moving to the area: nostalgia. Yet I hadn't been here before.

Why did roaming the streets of a new city make me long for -- what? home? youth? Yes, but not my home, not my youth.

I'd been watching Los Angeles on television all my life. I thought I knew the place and I did, but I didn't know it as itself. I knew it as the place where cowboys rode herd, where Samantha cast spells on Darin, where ET landed and made his phone call home. Seeing it in person was like seeing a movie star and feeling like you know them personally. You don't. You only know the role they play.

Most interiors are shot on a soundstage where lighting and sound can be controlled, but exteriors are usually shot in real places. When an actor steps out of a doorway and kisses his wife the doorway's often real, even if the wife isn't. When the heroine drives down the street it's a real street. The kids play softball on a real ball field and the lovers stroll in a real park, whether it's a movie, a TV show or a commercial.

Show business is still a major industry in Los Angeles County. You can see production trailers in Pasadena, South Pasadena and Altadena every day, especially in areas where no palm trees give southern California away. But it's soCal all the same. Always was, even before I came to know it personally.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Zen Monday: #145


It's a Zen Monday twofer!

Today's the day you experience the photo(s) and tell us what you've learned. If you've been lurking, I hope today's the day you'll jump in.

Is this your first Zen Monday? Just say what the pictures make you think of or feel. Usually I post one photo, but today I thought two views of the subject might enlighten you further. There's no right or wrong, no secret, no prize. Just have fun.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Petrea's Kitchen Tips: Beer

When I posted my first kitchen tip (about blueberries) I didn't think there'd be another. I'm not what you'd call a kitchen maven. But behold, I have another tip for you: Don't leave your non-alcoholic beers in the freezer too long. They blow their tops.

I've come to this knowledge through years of error and error. The LA club scene intimidated me even when I was a young party animal--too much noise, too much money, too much craziness. I'm not comfortable in crowds, never was. That doesn't mean I didn't like to party in my single days. Just--with my friends. On familiar turf. As much as possible. I had more than my share of fun, though some Saturday nights were less fun than others.

Yesterday evening John, Boz and I took a walk in the neighborhood. We knew by the sounds coming from the houses that folks were home--TV, music, conversation--the neighborhood was downright noisy last night.

I think I know why. You get to a point where you've got what you want. You don't need to go out to clubs to find it. Sitting in my living room on a Saturday night with my husband, my dog and my (very cold) non-alcoholic beer is party enough for me.