Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Page 1 of 712345»...Last »

1/8/2017

The Peephole Cinema

Filed under: — stan @ 3:59 pm

A few weeks ago, we went to an event at the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood. Part of the event was a brief presentation by the Atlas Obscura people about a few odd things they know about in Los Angeles. One of the slides showed a person peering into a little hole in a wall in an alley behind a building. They said it was a miniature cinema that is continuously showing a few short films made by local artists. And GPS coordinates for it were in the footer of the email reminder about the event. So that night, I looked up where it was, and it turned out to be in an alley in Chinatown. So I figured that was going to be a bike ride one day. And today was the day.

We started out across Eagle Rock and Glendale, and then down the L.A. River bike path to Elysian Park. We rode up and over the hill to get to Echo Park and Chango Coffee. And after the stop there, we went back over the hill to get to Chinatown. Then we went in to Chung King Way to get to the little alleyway where we saw the small sign for the Peephole Cinema. We took turns standing up on the little step stool to be able to peer into the hole. It’s an odd little art project.

The route home took us back by way of Huntington Drive. This is usually our route to go into downtown, but this time we were riding the other direction, which felt a little odd.

36 miles.

Route map and elevation profile


11/13/2016

The Wall of (Un)Fame

Filed under: — stan @ 2:01 pm

Today’s bike club ride was yet another art tour. We’ve been to Downey to see the Columbia Space Center, and also to see the Carpenters, but I recently heard about the Wall of (Un)Fame.

Every Metro Rail station has some sort of art in it. And it turns out the Green Line station in Downey is home to a piece called the Wall of (Un)Fame. The piece features something like 650 concrete panels, each with hand and footprints and names, much like the Walk of Fame at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, but each is a random, not-famous local person who was chosen in a lottery.

So we started out going south, and we went through the part of Downey that has the oldest operating McDonald’s. Then we went a bit farther south and came do the Green Line station and the Wall of (Un)Fame. We go to see a lot of public artworks, and this one was very entertaining. It’s a funny idea, and it’s a bit of social commentary at the same time.

Leaving the Metro station, we headed back into Downey and our snack stop at 3rd Street Coffee. Then it was back up the Rio Hondo bike path to Temple City, and then home through Arcadia.

47 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

8/7/2016

LA Current: Prime

Filed under: — stan @ 2:46 pm

Last week, I found an article about Current: LA, which is sponsoring a set of art installations around the city, all intended to have a water theme. So today, we rode to Studio City to see one of them. And to go for gelato, too.

It was a prefect morning for riding. Cool, with the marine layer keeping the sun hidden. We rode out across Eagle Rock and Glendale to Studio City. The entrance to the park was right across the street from Universal Studios, and the actual art installation was all the way at the back of the park. Three fiberglass horses embedded in the ground. “…the horses are empty slates onto which viewers can project meaning.”

As I always say, anything can be art if you say it is and can get other people to agree that it’s art.

Leaving the park, we made a brief stop at the little park with the foundations of Campo de Cahuenga. This is a little piece of history that was unearthed during construction of the Red Line Universal subway station. Then we took some little side streets to make our way over to Tujunga Ave and the gelato place.

The route home went down the L.A. River bike path, and then up the Arroyo Seco path to take us back to Pasadena.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

9/27/2015

Update of the Spheres of MacArthur Park

Filed under: — stan @ 2:11 pm

A few weeks ago, we went out to see the “Spheres” art project under way in MacArthur Park. That weekend, they were in the process of installing the painted balls on the lake in the park. So this week we went to see the completed piece.

We took our usual route into downtown Los Angeles on Huntington Drive and Main St. There was a little haze in the air there, and that made for dramatic reflections off the windows of the Ritz Carlton near L.A. Live. We’ve seen this effect before, in 2013 and 2009. It’s always this time of the year, so I think the angle of the sun also is part of the effect.

Our snack stop was at Noah’s in Larchmont Village. We had bagels and drinks there. There was a little bakery a few doors down that we noticed for the first time today. I went in to see what it was like. But when they said everything was vegan and gluten-free that was a big NOPE for me.

The route back went on 7th St to MacArthur Park. That was where Carla got a flat. Fortunately, there was a nice shady spot to sit in and fix it. Then we got to the park. There were a lot more balls floating on the lake this time. It was very colorful.

It was getting pretty hot by now, so we deviated a bit from the route and headed directly up Benton Way to Silverlake. We took York across Highland Park to avoid the Colorado hill. And we stopped briefly at my office to get some ice from the freezer to ice our water bottles down for the last few miles home.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

8/23/2015

The Spheres of MacArthur Park

Filed under: — stan @ 1:14 pm

A few months ago, I read about how an artist was planning on having some 3,000 plastic spheres painted with flowers, fish, birds, and so forth, and then was going to float them all on the lake in MacArthur Park. I made a note that we should go see this when it was done, and this was the weekend. This is our first art tour bike ride since we went to see “Urban Light” back in May.

We rode down Huntington Drive into downtown L.A., and then down Spring St through downtown, and then Flower down to Adams, near USC. On the way out on Adams, there is a place with some sharp humps in the pavement, and Carla’s pedal hit the peak of one of them. This knocked her foot out of the pedal, and it snapped off one of the little stops that hold the spring-loaded back of the pedal. We were able to lever it back into place well enough to continue the ride, but that was today’s installment of the long-running series, “I’ve never seen one of these break before“.

We stopped for bagels at Noah’s in Larchmont. After that, we headed back toward downtown, taking 7th St in, since it goes right by the park. When we got to the park, we stopped off to have a look at the balls floating on the lake.

The route home went through Echo Park and Silverlake, and then home by way of York Blvd and South Pasadena. It was kind of hot at the end, but a pleasant ride.

43 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

7/2/2015

The Griffith Park Tea House

Filed under: — stan @ 7:17 pm

Yesterday, I read about how some unknown artists had popped up a little Japanese-style tea house on an old concrete pad on top of one of the peaks in Griffith Park. Apparently, it was done on the sly in one night, and from the pictures I saw, it looked like it was very nicely done. Since it was unclear how long it would be there, I figured it was something we should go see immediately. Fortunately, Morgan and Jason from my office were up for it, and we headed over there this afternoon.

The instructions on how to find it from Modern Hiker were for starting out from the observatory, but parking there is always a problem, and coming from Pasadena, it’s just easier to start from the other side of the park, by the Old Zoo. We headed up the trail just like we did back in March, when we went to Mt Hollywood to see the marathon lights. When we got to the part of the trail that goes around just below Taco Peak, we looked up, and the tea house was there. Just a short distance up the trail, we came to the spot and saw it close up. There were quite a few people there to see it. I guess everyone had the same reaction to hearing about it.

The artists had left pencils and little wooden chips to write wishes for Los Angeles on, but all the wood chips had been used. We went inside to see them all hung on the pegs and read what people had written. It was all very nicely done. The construction of the house was first-rate, and it really looked like it belonged there. It’s unclear what will happen to it, but at least we got to see it when it was still fresh.

It kind of reminded me of Amir’s Garden, which is another place in the park that was built by one man with a vision. So on the way down, we took a route to go through there. It was nicely cool and shady there, as the garden is irrigated with what I can only assume is reclaimed water. But it was very nice there. Then we took a very steep trail down the end of the ridge to get back to the trail that would bring us back to our starting point. It was a good little afternoon adventure.

Route map and elevation profile

5/17/2015

Urban Light

Filed under: — stan @ 4:53 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see the “Urban Light” installation in front of the main building. We’ve been out there before, but it seemed appropriate to go there again this week, since I’d heard earlier in the week that Chris Burden had died. So I dug out the route from last year when we rode out there to see the construction site for the new Purple Line subway station. And as it turned out, we had a special bonus today. The final stage of the Tour of California was starting downtown, right about when we would be passing through there. So we planned on stopping to see a bit of the race before heading out to LACMA.

We rode downtown by our usual route. The bad thing is that they have been doing construction where we pick up Mission Road off of Huntington Drive. We need to find a different way through there now, since they’ve made our old route impossible. So that was annoying. I think I may be feeling a letter coming on about it.

On the final bit into downtown, we saw a Metrolink train going by. This is the first time we’ve ever had to stop for a train at that particular crossing, so that was novel. Then we finished riding into downtown, and we set up at the corner of Main and Temple to watch the race go by. After that, we moved to Main and 1st to watch them go by again. That was a good corner to watch, since it was at the bottom of a small hill, so the pack was going very fast as it went by. Then we moved up to Olive and 1st, which was an even better place to watch from, since the course went both ways down Olive, so we got to see them go by twice on each lap. We watched them go by for each of the next three laps, and then they took off for Pasadena and the finish at the Rose Bowl. And we continued on our way.

It’s always kind of novel to see a bike race now. Watching the peleton go flying by, it’s hard to believe that I used to do that. And riding in a pack was just another day for me. Now I think it looks terrifying, and I can’t believe I used to go that fast. But fortunately, I have photographic evidence.

Using 9th St and later 4th St, we rode all the way out to Hancock Park and LACMA. We had to walk through the museum courtyard, but then, when we got to Wilshire Blvd, there were the streetlights. We read the little plaque in front of the installation and just sort of admired the arrangement of the lights. And on the way back, we stopped to look at “Levitated Mass”, otherwise known as the Big Rock. As I said, anything can be art, as long as the artist can convince other people to agree with him that it’s art.

Coming back, we stopped for bagels at Noah’s in Larchmont Village. Then we took our usual route home through Silver Lake, and then up to York Blvd and home through South Pasadena. It was a nice ride.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

2/19/2014

Cephalopd fancy

Filed under: — stan @ 9:54 pm

Last fall, when we went to the Los Angeles County Fair, we stopped in a booth selling metal artwork. That’s where we picked up the little steel squid that hangs on our front door.

Around Christmas time, I noticed a little Santa hat hairclip that was just clipped on the edge of a lampshade. Since it wasn’t doing anything, I took the clip and put it on the squid. And like all manner of silly ideas, this took on a life of its own. We started planning for Valentine’s Day. I made a little heart-magnet, and we decorated the squid again. So now, moving on, we’re ready for St. Patrick’s Day. And we’re on the lookout for some bunny ears.

2/9/2014

Dumb Starbucks

Filed under: — stan @ 4:39 pm

Yesterday, I saw this article on LAist:

http://laist.com/2014/02/08/dumb_starbucks_thats_the_actual_nam.php

I’m a big fan of funny art installations, and that’s basically what this is. I figured it’s probably not going to last too long, so I made plans to go see it today with the Sunday morning bike club group.

We rode out towards Hollywood by our usual route, only stopping once in Highland Park so Michael could fix his tire after running over a nail. And when we got to Dumb Starbucks, we saw that the word had gotten out. There was a line out the door and across the parking lot. And pretty much everyone thought it was pretty hilarious. Jeff and I even saw our stair-climbing friend Amber there.

As much as we wanted to see inside the place, we didn’t have time to wait in the line. So after a few pictures, we moved on. We rode across Hollywood and then down into Larchmont Village for bagels at Noah’s. After that, we came home by the usual route. It was an amusing ride. Reminiscent of the time we went to see the Kwik-E-Mart, and the time we rode to see Wilshire Boulevard dressed up as Tokyo, or 4th Street dressed as a New York City tunnel toll plaza.

41 miles.

9/8/2013

The Neutra Tour

Filed under: — stan @ 3:15 pm

I recently got a new app called “Field Trip” on my phone. It keeps track of where I go, and it pops up notices of interesting things to see and do in the area. So yesterday, it popped up a notice about a piece of art on the wall outside the Los Angeles County Hall of Records in downtown Los Angeles. The piece is called “Topographical Map”, and it is a stylized depiction of Los Angeles County. In the process of reading about this, I found out that the Hall of Records is one of only a very few office buildings designed by Richard Neutra. For some time, I’ve wanted to go see the houses on Neutra Place in Silver Lake, so putting these two together to make a tour seemed like a perfect combination.

We rode into downtown by the usual route, down Huntington Drive. On the bridge over the L.A. River, we had to stop for a Metrolink train. That’s the first time we’ve ever seen a train going by on that particular crossing, which always seemed odd, since it’s right near Union Station.

When we got to downtown, we went to the Hall of Records. “Topographical Map” depicts the geology and geography of Los Angeles County, complete with channels carrying water to represent the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the California Aqueduct. We also took a few minutes to look at the Hall itself. It was built in 1961, and bears all the hallmarks of the modernist style of architecture that Neutra was known for.

Continuing through downtown, we passed Grand Park and “Exxopolis“, across from City Hall. We rode down almost to USC before heading west on Adams.

We made a loop, coming up in Hancock Park for snacks at Noah’s Bagels in Larchmont Village. From there, we headed back east to Silver Lake and Benton Way. A short detour off Silver Lake Blvd brought us to Neutra Place. There were several Neutra houses on that short street.

The final part of the ride was our usual route home by way of Eagle Rock. We were all glad that the heat wave from last week had ended, and it turned out to be a very nice day for riding.

41 miles.

Page 1 of 712345»...Last »

Powered by WordPress