June 12, 2021

A Midnight Mating Party for California's Most Exhibitionistic Fish

For 10 years since moving to LA, I'd wanted to go check out a coastal wildlife phenomenon known as the "grunion run."

And for 10 years, I'd put it off because I didn't like the idea of hauling my cookies to the beach late at night to witness a group of small, sardine-sized fish (the California grunion, Leuresthes tenuis) that may or may show up.  

But no matter how much of a crapshoot it may be, I knew I'd never see this summertime spawning event if I didn't at least show up and try.


June 09, 2021

Photo Essay: Secret Site of the 'Mystery Mine' Mill in the Verdugo Mountains—Revealed!

Back in 2016, I'd taken a hike up Hostetter Fire Road with the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley to view the remains of a former graphite mine operation up in the Verdugo Mountains of Los Angeles.  

But there wasn't actually that much left of the former Hostetter Mine to see up the hill. 

There was, however, a significant mill site that remained down the hill—only it was so hidden in the underbrush and the overgrowth, I couldn't get to it after lagging too far behind the group. 

Five years later, I had another chance to go see it, after some volunteers had bushwhacked their way through and tried to re-establish a trail to it. 

June 07, 2021

Photo Essay: The Manufacturing of Midway Magic at Herschell Carrousel Factory in Western New York

Over 3,000 hand-carved, wooden carousels were manufactured at the Herschell Carrousel Factory in North Tonawanda, New York. 

That was from 1915—when it moved into the former home of King Lumber Company—until 1953, when the company was sold and moved from the suburbs into the city of Buffalo proper. 


June 06, 2021

Photo Essay: The Ever-Evolving Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour, 2021 Edition

I'd been to Universal Studios Hollywood twice as a tourist since 2015—but they were both at night, which meant I felt like I was missing out on the daytime experience. 

Especially when it came to the actual studio tour. 

June 01, 2021

Photo Essay: The Stained Glass in Forest Lawn Glendale's Extensive Art Collection

One of the most remarkable aspects of Forest Lawn Memorial Park's Glendale, California location is its stunning collection of stained glass.

And not just the circa 1931 stained-glass replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s "The Last Supper," located in the Great Mausoleum's Memorial Court of Honor. 

May 31, 2021

May 26, 2021

What's the Fate of L.A.'s First Major Flower Market, Now Located in the Biggest Floral District in the U.S.?

Just over two blocks away from Downtown Los Angeles' Santee Alley in the Fashion District is a wholesale flower market known as the Southern California Flower Market—which takes up nearly 4 acres between Wall Street and Maple Avenue and East 7th and 8th Streets. 

As of October 2019, the plan was to rebuild a good chunk of it as part of a mixed-use complex right in the middle of the Los Angeles Flower District—the largest and most successful wholesale floral district in the country.

What's the plan for the independent wholesaler and retailers that are housed there—not only florists, but also floral suppliers, floral related retail shops, and small flower malls?

No one has made any public promises. 

But since 2020 happened, the developer has been silent about its plans for the historic market. 

May 23, 2021

Photo Essay: Twice Around the 105-Year-Old #1 Special at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

Despite having grown up in Syracuse, New York, I hadn't been to the Buffalo area since I was 5 years old, when my family visited my uncle in the town of Lockport and crossed the border into Canada to visit Niagara Falls and Marineland. 

So, last week, after having flown in an airplane for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic to visit Syracuse for the first time in years, I decided to avoid a layover at JFK Airport and fly direct into Buffalo-Niagara Airport—conveniently located near a bucket-list attraction for me, the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in the town of North Tonawanda. 

May 08, 2021

The Radiance of Judson Studios' Art Glass Lights Up Forest Lawn Museum

The coffee table book Judson: Innovation in Stained Glass was published on March 17, 2020—less than a week after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. 

Its release was supposed to coincide with "Judson Studios: Stained Glass from Gothic to Street Style," an exhibit at Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale, California that was scheduled to open on April 23, 2020.