A Postcard from Los Angeles


Los Angeles has been home for a while.  So, it’s tough to give you the impressions of a tourist, but I’ll give it a shot…

The Hollywood Walk of Fame, Mann’s Chinese Theatre, Rodeo Drive, Mullholland Drive, and every other famous landmark in Los Angeles definitely deserves a visit.  After that, you might check out some of my favorites.

Where NYC mixes all ethnic types on the same sidewalk, Los Angeles has distinct pockets of ethnicity sprinkled throughout the city:  Little Saigon, China Town, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, Little Ethiopia, the British Blocks, Thai Town, the Crenshaw District, Little Armenia, East L.A….  To paraphrase Alex Haley, L.A. is not so much a “melting pot”, it’s more of a tossed salad.  Grab an unforgettable meal in any of those neighborhoods, and you will feel like you’re in another part of the world.

The museum scene alone will keep you very busy here.  The Getty museums (the old one and the new one), the Broad Modern Art Museum, LACMA, MOMA, MOCA, and the Petersen Automotive Museum are some of the better known.

Of the lesser known is The Museum of Jurassic Technology on the way to Venice Beach.  It is just too quirky and weird to explain…but, I’ll try:  If, as a kid, you enjoyed the vintage Ripley’s Believe It Or Not books or the Johnson Smith Co. catalog, you’ll love this museum. It’s full of things that you never guessed existed.  There is an exhibit of  microscopic collages depicting flowers and other objects, made entirely from individual butterfly wing scales.  And, who can forget the sculpture of Pope John Paul II carved from a single human hair and placed within the eye of a needle.  Don’t ask me why it exists, but it does…and that’s reason enough to see it.

Speaking of Venice Beach, today was the Abbot Kinney festival.  God bless Abbott Kinney…he was the founder of Venice Beach which has the most interesting history of all of Los Angeles and was probably the original seat of out-of-the-box thinking on the West Coast.

Abbot Kinney Festival 2009

Abbot Kinney Festival 2009

Abbott Kinney was a very rich bachelor who loved Venice, Italy.  In the late 1800s, Kinney decided to create a beach community for the working class–the only other beach community at that time, Santa Monica, was reserved for the very wealthy of the silent film industry.  So, Venice Beach was built.  Homes were built on canals, a haunted mountain ride sat in an amusement park near the beach, and a replica of St. Mark’s Square was built 2/3 the size of the real St. Mark’s Square in the Italian Venice.  Legend has it that Walt Disney was so impressed by Venice Beach that 2/3 scale became his standard as well—all replicas at Disneyland, DisneyWorld, and the Epcot center were built to 2/3 scale because of Abbott Kinney.

When you’re at the beach, explore the miles and miles of bike path that stretch from Hunington Beach, past LAX, through Marina del Rey, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and reaches toward Malibu.   It’s well-maintained, safe, and runs close to the ocean–you’re never without a view of the water.  You’ll never forget a bike ride along the L.A.’s beaches.  The pelicans, the dolphins, the surfers, the vendors, the sailboats, the Santa Monica mountains, the Santa Monica Pier, the view of the Palisades, beach volleyball…it’s very beautiful.  You’ll leave that ride with great peace of mind and a clear sense of what is the beach lifestyle in Southern California.

While peddling through the Santa Monica State Beach, stop at the Annenberg Community Beach House…a brand new public beach club, pool and playground that was made from the Marion Davies Estate—the beachfront mansion is also open to the public.  It’s a grand beachfront souvenir of the heyday of old Santa Monica mixed with the latest and greatest in smart modern architecture…and, again, it’s open to the public.

Another Annenberg creation that you should not miss is the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City.  It is an interesting, powerful, modern space filled with select moving photographic exhibits that remind you of the very incredible power and beauty of the still image.  It’s an unforgettable visit that is guaranteed to move even the most casual observer.

Sooo, the moral of that story is to take a good still image, upload it to HazelMail, and let us make you a star!!!   ☺

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