April 27, 2021

Photo Essay: Two Modernists From Two Different Generations at Desert Palisades in Palm Springs

Palm Springs Modernism Week wasn't canceled this year for the pandemic—though it was moved from February to April, putting visitors like me in 95-degree heat in the low desert.

April 25, 2021

Photo Essay: Golfing In Miniature Along the Arroyo Seco

Los Angeles Magazine calls the Arroyo Seco miniature golf course "a living artifact that vibrates with the memories of a thousand bygone childhoods."

I couldn't have put it better myself. 

April 20, 2021

Photo Essay: A Remarkably Preserved 1950s Modernist Ranch House Welcomes Modernism Week Visitors

One of the Mid-Century Modern neighborhoods of Palm Springs—and one of the city's oldest—is north of E. Palm Canyon Drive, called Deepwell Estates. 

In 1952, it was subdivided as Deepwell Colony Estates—out of an apricot orchard where, in the mid-1920s, Henry Pearson had dug the deepest well in all of the Coachella Valley (630 feet deep, though he'd discovered water far closer to the surface than that).  
Over the years, Deepwell Estates has attracted such celebrity residents as Tippi Hedren, Jerry Lewis, and William Holden—but during my Modernism Week visit this year, I toured the former estate of a lesser-known Hollywood luminary.

April 19, 2021

Photo Essay: Baa-mastay with Baby Goats

I first attended baby goat yoga at Oats and Ivy Farm in 2017—back when I was trying to hit all the goat farms for all the baby goats.
circa 2017

April 18, 2021

Photo Essay: Soaring With Butterflies at South Coast Botanic Garden

I first encountered butterflies up close—really up close—in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History's Butterfly Conservatory, maybe 20 years ago. 

I've spent the last couple of years chasing the annual monarch migration—just when the species has become so critically endangered, the millions of butterflies have dwindled down to thousands, hundreds, or even just dozens. 

April 10, 2021

Photo Essay: Camp Iron Mountain, The Best-Preserved WWII-Era Training Camp in Gen. Patton's Desert Training Center

About 50 miles west of the Arizona border, 32 miles north of the town of Desert Center...

...north of the juncture of Highways 62 and 177... one of the best-preserved sites of General George S. Patton’s training efforts in the high desert during World War II. 

April 09, 2021

Photo Essay: An Easter Sunday Celebration at West Hollywood's Historic St. Victor Catholic Church

I'd been meaning to swing back by St. Victor Catholic Church in West Hollywood during the pandemic to document its stunning stained glass windows and mosaic mural—but somehow, even with so much more time on my hands, I hadn't gotten around to it yet.

I hadn't been to mass there since Christmas 2019—but then again, my formal church visits are usually few and far between. 

I'm much more likely to go to any church for some quiet reflection on a solo, unceremonious trip. 

But then Easter rolled around and, well, what better time? 

April 07, 2021

Photo Essay: A Sun-Soaked Stay at a Modernist Hacienda in Borrego Springs

The first time I stayed overnight in Borrego Springs, it was at Palms at Indian Head—a Mid-Century resort palace that still captures my imagination and draws me to visit, even if I haven't booked a room there. 

Since then, I've gone camping in the park, stayed in a tipi in Ranchita, slept on a military cot on my friend's porch in a windstorm, partied hard at the Warner Springs Ranch, and tried out Mid-Century motel life at Stanlunds Inn (the former Guppy Motel) in Borrego.  

But there's only one place I've returned to for an overnight stay while visiting Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: Boynton's Hacienda del Sol. 

April 03, 2021

Photo Essay: A Sugary Walk Down Candy Lane

Just in time for the Easter candy eggstravaganza, there's a new walk-through interactive experience at the Woodland Hills mall...


April 01, 2021

Photo Essay: The Retirement Ranch of An Oil-Employed Fossil-Finder, W.W. Orcutt

At one point a few years ago, I'd set off to visit and document all the historic ranges in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and its environs.

But somehow after 10 years in LA, I still hadn't made it to Orcutt Ranch.

Maybe it's because its name didn't carry the same weight for me as "Paramount Studios" or "Lake Enchanto" or "Gillette" (of the razor empire). 

Its namesake, William Warren (W.W.) Orcutt, was a SoCal oil geologist and Union Oil exec whose name is less recognizable to us today than perhaps it was in his heyday. (Or, at least, to me—a California transplant.)