Monday, February 29, 2016

Amico Art

I've known Artist, David Amico since I was 14 years old. We were campers and later counselors at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts. We stayed in touch through college, then David left L.A. for the art scene in New York. He returned around 1978 and has been a DTLA art fixture ever since. We've run into each other in Idyllwild, along with old friends, or just hanging out here in Los Angeles. Every few years David's art representative, Ace Gallery, holds an exhibition of his new work.

The Artist (right) and his admirers

We went to David's latest opening at Ace in Beverly Hills on Saturday to view the show, "Hard Places." Here is the press release for the show and a bit about David's art. We ran into many old friends from our years in Idyllwild, as well as friends in the art community here in L.A.

Ellen with Bill and Carolyn Lowman.
Artist, David Amico

Ace Gallery has two locations on Wilshire Boulevard, one on the Miracle Mile and the other in Beverly Hills. The Beverly Hills location at 9430 Wilshire Boulevard, just east of Beverly Drive, was once a bank. This property is being considered for re-development as the Metro stop for the Purple Line extension, now under construction further east on Wilshire's Miracle Mile. I rather love the design of this building. I don't know who the architect was, but it looks to have been built in the late 1960s. It would be wonderful if the building's current design features could be interpreted into the Metro stop, if that ever happens.

9430 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Does anyone know who the architect was?

Back to the art show! Most of Amico's work is rather large, oil on canvas. David's use of texture and line are most pleasing. 
It was quite a scene!
Two stylish patrons of the arts

I would love to own a painting or two of David's, except I'd probably have to sell our house to be able to afford one!  I will be content with owning my collection of original Amico Christmas block prints! 

David Amico and Ellen Bloom, Idyllwild, 1971, working on the summer ISOMATAN, photo by Jonde Northcutt

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Friday, February 26, 2016

The Tracks are Back!

Metro Expo Train in Santa Monica. Photo by Irfan Kahn, L.A. Times

The Metro Expo Line will begin service to the City of Santa Monica on May 20, 2016. Yippee! The train will run down the tracks closest to Exposition Boulevard, then swing diagonally north toward Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, with the last stop just blocks from the Santa Monica Pier. This makes me very happy. I will be able to take the train from our home in Mid-City Los Angeles to my office near 26th and Broadway at least a few times a week.
The tracks for the Expo Line once were the Pacific Electric Railroad tracks. The Red Car ran along these tracks, as well as other tracks throughout suburban Los Angeles from 1901 through 1961. The final freight run on these tracks was in 1988 from Fisher Lumber at the corner of Lincoln and Colorado in Santa Monica. Fisher Lumber is still there.
Click on photo to make larger

I have friends who lived in the Rancho Park area of Los Angeles, just south of Exposition Boulevard near Overland Avenue in the 1980s. The tracks ran behind their house. Once in awhile you would hear the clang of the bells and the freight trains rumbling down the tracks. Eventually, after 1988, the land around those WLA tracks was used for parking lots and temporary businesses. An entire art gallery colony sprung up in the abandoned train yards at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.  
Red Car Trolley at Venice & Robertson, 1953

I vaguely remember the Red Car Trolley running down Venice Boulevard when I was a VERY small child. I was amazed to see this big red train in the center of the street with these sparking wires attached! You will notice that there are many wide medians in the center of major streets in Los Angeles. At one time, these were probably tracks for the trolley.
Most of the old red cars were scrapped. Some were saved. Here is a photo from 1953 of F.H. Markley, Superintendent of Rail Equipment at the Pacific Electric Company as he makes one last test of a car to be hauled to Travel Town in Griffith Park.

Herald Examiner Photo Collection, 1953. Red Car moves to Travel Town, Griffith Park
I look forward to riding the Metro Train westbound!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Ready to Rock at Chez Bloom-Underhill

Last month I attended a 4-week ukulele workshop with musician and teacher, Cali Rose at Boulevard Music in Culver City. Going to workshop every Saturday morning for 4 weeks got me back into the habit of playing. The calluses on my fingertips have toughened up from playing chords. I hear ukulele whenever I listen to music. That's a good thing.
The workshop is on hiatus for two weeks. I've been trying to play almost everyday in the interim. Call the shop to sign up and join us for the next session, starting March 5th, 11 am to noon. Really!  It's fun. Afterwards, we have lunch!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Detail of "Nevada,"  Fabric, thread, fabric paint and pens, 42" x 66" by Jessie Homer French

After the QuiltCon show at the Pasadena Convention Center, Suzette drove us over to her place of business, The Armory Center for the Arts, just a few blocks away. 

I'd read about one of the exhibitions, "Mapestries" by Jessie Homer French, and I was anxious to see it. After experiencing the elaborate designs, bright colors and detailed stitching of all of those modern quilts at QuiltCon, "Mapestries" was a sea of tranquility in comparison. Click on each photo to make larger.

French's fabric art pieces are soft wall hanging maps of earthquake faults. She considers them safe art to place above your bed in case of temblors. Good idea in California!
I like any artwork that incorporates maps as part of the design. In addition to the fault lines, trees, plants and animals of the areas she depicts, French also includes landmarks including the Capitol Records Building in Hollywood, the windmills in Palm Springs and the downtown L.A. skyline. 

Close-Up of Washington and British Columbia Earthquake Faults
French's work has a folk-art feeling to it. It's sweet and little wonky. I found every piece to be charming. The show continues through May 15, 2016. Go see it! There's a very convenient city garage right near The Armory and lots of other places to visit in the immediate area.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

QuiltCon 2016

It has been a long time since I've been to a quilt show...maybe 15 years or more. I was delighted and amazed to see the displays at this years QuiltCon in Pasadena. My yarny friend, Suzette and I attended on Saturday. So many of the quilts were very modern. The categories included Minimalism, Triangles, Improvisation as well as modern takes on Piecing, Quilting and Traditionalism. I was REALLY drawn to the Minimalism quilts, especially the ones with an architectural theme. Click on photos to see a larger format.

Architectural Quilts

We saw a few friends, including the lovely Ms. Natalie, aka #sewnatty, at the Sew Modern booth. 

Ms. Natalie is workin' it at the Sew Modern Booth and mini-trailer!
Ellen, Suzette, Natalie inside the Sew Modern Mini-Trailer
There were TWO halls filed with quilts in addition to the hallways and other rooms. It was rather overwhelming. Here are a few more of my favorites. Many of these have inspired me to crochet afghans using similar colors and designs!

This will look perfect in my mid-century modern home in Palm Springs! A girl can dream.
Suzette, examining the "Cat-Nado" quilt
LOVE the textures and block design of this quilt!
I learned the phrase, "Match Stick Quilting" 
"I Can't Breathe" by Chawne Kimber, a quilt about the death of Eric Garner won first prize in improvisational piecing
There was an article in the Los Angeles Times about "message" quilts like the one above.  It was a very inspirational day. More about our field trip tomorrow!

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Almost the Same

Venice & Motor, 1941

I found this photograph dated 1941 in the archives of Security Pacific National Bank. This was during a flood in the Palms area of Los Angeles at the corner of Venice Boulevard and Motor Avenue. The building with the columns is the Palms U.S. Post Office. There are various stores in the building next to the Post Office. Click on the photo to make larger.
These buildings are STILL there! They have been joined together to form the Surplus Store, at this location since 1978. Although the buildings do not look as elegant as they once did, I am amazed in this City of re-invention that this building still stands.

Venice & Motor, 2016
As I drive around Los Angeles I like to really look at locations and see if I can figure out when the buildings were built. So much of my area was developed during the 1920s and 1930s. I love it when these sturdy old buildings are still standing. 
Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. Look around!

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Too Long

I like the circular yoke on this sweater pattern

When I tried on my newly crocheted sweater I was immediately reminded of that old song, "Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long." After washing, the sweater relaxed a bit and now it's too long. Sigh. I'll just have to un-crochet the trim and shorten it. This did not prevent me from wearing it today to try it out. Also, I'm going to add some buttons.

Simple Single Crochet Edging

Overall, I like this pattern. It's the second time I've crocheted it. It's simply called "Top-Down Crochet Cardigan" by Janette Williams. I used a size "K" crochet hook for this bulky yarn, Universal Yarn/Classic Shades in aqua variations.

The Circular Yoke Blends Into The Sleeve
Double Crochet Stitches for the Sleeves Until the Last Inch which are Single Crochet Stitches
After all that hot weather this past weekend, we suddenly got a burst of rain and cooler temperatures. This inspired me to finish this sweater. Back to the craft room for alterations!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Monumental at Sunset & Vine

Hollywood Souvenirs for Sale

I'd read about the gigantic Walgreens Drug Store at Sunset and Vine in the heart of Hollywood, but I'd never been there. We zoomed over there on Monday. WOW! This place is immense! 
Liquor Section

It's not only a drug store, but it's a grocery store, make-up and beauty section, liquor store, yogurt shop and more. It's extremely spacious and open. 
Make-up and Beauty Area
Prepared Food
It's so "Hollywood" inside this store, that they have a red carpet-style backdrop for photos! Next time I'll wear my tiara and ball gown!

The last time I was in a store on this corner was probably in the early 1970s when Wallich's Music City occupied this spot. I can still hear the radio jingle, sung to the tune of "Rock-a-bye Baby." "It's Music City, Sunset and Vine..."
The Wallich's building has been replaced by a multi-use building with stores and restuarants on the first and second floors and apartments on the upper floors. You can now live at Walgreens.
Walgreens at Sunset & Vine
The old days at Sunset & Vine. Capitol Records Office was here before the Capitol Tower was built up the block in 1956

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Valentine Cards - 2016

Every year Larry and I create personalized Valentine cards for each other. 
My card, this year, has a pixie theme.  I collect those ceramic pixies. At one time I had them scattered all over the kitchen. I think that Larry bears a resemblance to those pixies with his pointy ears, cherry cheeks and devilish smile!

Ellen's Card to Larry

Larry chose a different approach. He is inspired by one of our favorite, all-time television shows, "The Twilight Zone." Click on this link to see that creepy THIRD EYE!
I love Larry's card. In his own way, Larry offers the simple sentiment, "I Love You."

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery