Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Catch-Up Blog Posting Feb 9-21

A view from yesterday's hike in the Altadena hills

A lot has happened before and after my Feb 14 posting. Each day I think I'm going to make an entry but the day slips by without having done so. There's a posting for Feb. 12 about LA's Magic Castle that slipped behind a later one because it didn't go on line until today and you can back track to that one on click on the link above to bring you there. Tonight I'm assembling a summary posting to catch up on some of the highlights of the last several days—four of which I spent visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Seattle.

February 9/Evening/Opening night of Jane Fonda in 33 Variations. Cher was there, too, but I never caught a glimpse of her. Though brother Peter was in the audience. Great show, breathtaking set. Sorry, no pictures allowed.

I took this shot just before the performance began. The movable set served as walls composed of sheet music suspended from clips on wires. Each piece of paper had notes on it yet together they served as a larger screen onto which images could be projected. This gave me lots of ideas about how to display art work in residences, too. Each "wall" of music was on wheels and could be angled to create new scenery and alter the movements on stage.

Scenes from Seattle: February 16-20

Looking at the moon from Jay and Raku's "moon room" in their Bellevue WA home.

Rated as one of the world's 10 best restaurants, Din Tai Fung in the Lincoln Square Mall in Bellevue provided a feast of Dim Sum complete with a view into the kitchen crowded with dumpling makers.

Detail of a giant chandelier in the mall of Lincoln Square, Bellevue

On my way to Gate A6 in the Seattle airport terminal, I passed 4 mosaic columns, each one with its own theme.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Scenes from 2nd Sunday of the Month Pasadena Flea Market

Danski Blue of danski/beautiful clothes of Ojai, California,
traveled a great distance to display an assortment of her original,
dramatic fashions. Very reasonably priced.

Fine European lace by the piece

Every second Sunday of the Month Pasadena hosts an enormous Flea Market at the Rose Bowl. From clothes, to candles, sportswear, to hardware, old tools, hand painted mirrors, musical instruments, props from movie and TV sets. From games and toys to antiques, old photos, to Vintage gowns and backyard clowns, eight dollars gets you admission into a winding labyrinth of booths, and tents filled with the curious and the kitch, the homely and the rich, the broken, and the once spoken for, the mistakes, the aging reproduction, the pots and pans, the lithograph antique posters that can enliven a wall, perhaps your entire apartment. There is something for everyone and if you'd rather eat and watch than spend and drag your new/old stuff around, there's a wide assortment of foods.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Open Sesame . . .

When you say "Open Sesame" to the red-eyed owl sitting on a bookshelf, the bookshelf to your right becomes a sliding door that opens and leads you into the mansion labyrinth on Franklin Street known as the Magic Castle. A private club to which one is admitted only by invitation from one of it's magician members, this institution was founded in the 60s to house Magic Memorabilia and to create a meeting place for minds filled with the ancient art.

Along with the bars and restaurants inside, small tables and chairs in dark little nooks and crannies host tiny groups of guests who sit to watch up close as each table's magician defies reality over and over again. In addition to the cozy, casual drop-by performances, scheduled appearances of featured magicians in a variety of small theatres punctuate the evening's events.
No photography is allowed inside the castle, but I stole this shot of the Close Up Theatre just before our featured magician Shoot Ogawa entered the room.

This window is outside the castle so I was able to take the picture of it and the flying dragon lights.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Huntington . . . Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

What do Bonsai, the Gutenberg Bible, and Gainsborough's famous painting of the Blue Boy all have in common? They are alive and well at the Huntington! Famous railroad magnate and real estate empire builder Henry Edwards Huntington purchased the San Marino Ranch in 1902 and slowly, with the help of his wife Arabella Duval Huntington—one of the most important art collectors of her generation— turned it into what is now the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens—all that at the end of my street in Pasadena—Allen Avenue. As the guest of Larry and Barbara, two long time Huntington members, I was able to enter the grounds three hours before the general public today and make the first of what is sure to be multiple pilgrimages to this magical place. For today we wandered through the Desert Gardens, through the Australian Forest, and into the Japanese and Chinese Gardens.
Here are some photos from today's expedition. Please enjoy, and remember if you want to see more detail, slide your mouse over the photo and click to enlarge it.

blossoms bursting from the Aloe plants

Over 5000 different species of xerophytes—
succulents, trees, and shrubs
that are adapted to arid environments
live in the Desert Garden.

Images from the Japanese and Chinese Gardens follow.

And on to the Chinese Gardens—

Inside the Pavilion for Washing Away Thoughts

And then on to The Garden of Flowing Fragrance . . .

These gardens are the newest addition to the Huntington Botanical Gardens. Under construction for over 20 years, where in the words of their brochure, "nature's artistry and the spirit of poetry bloom in harmony."

As I made my way past other buildings, and statues, and fountains, and as I took my last shots of these poppies of the tissue-paper-petals, I vowed to myself that I will be back. Soon.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lost and found: Descanso Gardens Winter flowers

Camellias bloom in January and February

If any of you have been passengers in my car, you know that I hate taking typical routes anywhere, preferring instead to wander and discover the interconnectedness of all the side streets. I've been accused of having an internal GPS system. But I've got to get the coordinates in place and the best way for me to do that is to get lost and then find my way back.

Leucadendron, "Red Gem"

After my walk around the Rose Bowl yesterday I got in my car and climbed the steep roads up to Pasadena's Art Center College of Design—a fascinating school where future car, package, special effects, and hotel interior designers get their start. I'd need a whole posting just to begin to cover the work I saw there, but for today I want to show you what I found when I took a left turn out of the campus instead of a right turn back to Pasadena.

Japanese Gardens and Tea House

The road wound up and up until I saw signs that told me I was entering La CaƱada. A few moments later, signs for Descanso Gardens appeared. One hundred and sixty acres of gardens, woodlands and chaparral— founded in the 1930s by Manchester Boddy, publisher and owner of the Los Angeles Daily News, these gardens boast the largest variety of Camellias in North America. The international rosarium has more that 3,000 roses (not in bloom in January, however). The main house completed in 1938 was under repair so I wasn't able to visit that part of the preserve, but I wandered along paths, both paved and unpaved, discovering winter blossoms, the Japanese garden, bamboo forests, and some fossil stones inset into a larger stone wall. Ponds with giant Koi dotted the woods.

Prehistoric forms solidified

The word descanso means quiet place. And that is what I found.