February 27, 2023

Photo Essay: The End of the Line for the Last of Its Kind, Gardena Cinema

Large, opulent movie palaces aren't the only type of movie theatre that's nearly gone extinct in the advent of the multiplex cinema.

There's also the local neighborhood single screen theatre—smaller and more modest than the palaces, but crucial to a sense of community in suburbs, subdivisions, and other areas a little farther out from Los Angeles' downtown or, as development moved west, Hollywood.

An example of such is the Gardena Cinema, located in the tiny City of Gardena in the South Bay region of Los Angeles—once known for its greenery but now perhaps more famous as the site of a SpaceX facility.

February 26, 2023

Photo Essay: A Driving Discovery of Modernism in Downtown Palm Springs' Commercial District

This is the first year that I won't be at Modernism Week in Palm Springs since I first went in 2017. I even went in 2021 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But I had a friend visiting the low desert the week before Modernism Week this year—and since I couldn't afford two trips in February, I chose my friend.  

But fortunately he was very interested in the Midcentury Modern architecture of Palm Springs—so we enthusiastically signed up for a self-guided driving tour offered by Modern Tours Palm Springs, which allowed us to explore various Palm Springs neighborhoods at our own pace.

February 20, 2023

Photo Essay: The 8th Wonder of the World Is In... Palm Springs? (Or, How Helicopters Help Build An Engineering Marvel On the Sheer Cliffs of the San Jacinto Mountains)

Back in 2009, during one of my first visits to Palm Springs, I did what tourists do: I rode the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. 

circa 2009

The sign at North Palm Canyon Drive and Tramway Road advertised "Rotating Tram Cars"—and I figured it was a scenic way to get to a cooler elevation during the summer heat of June. (Besides, I was also lured by the Albert Frey-designed former gas station, which had been transformed into a visitors' center.) 

February 13, 2023

Photo Essay: Wildflower Season Begins at Hemet Maze Stone

I didn't plan on having much time to kill in the town of Hemet, California this past weekend. But I also didn't plan on arriving late to my 8 a.m. bird walk on privately-owned wetlands and being locked out after getting up at 5:30 in the morning and driving two hours.

But so goes a life of adventure, when disasters turn into happy accidents—like stumbling across my first wildflower field of 2023, located on the road to the Hemet Maze Stone, where my morning took an unexpected turn.

February 07, 2023

Photo Essay: Riverside Main Library's New Life As The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture

I love a good case of adaptive reuse. And Riverside, California is the site of a preservation success: the transformation of a Midcentury Modern-style library into a contemporary art museum.

It's now the The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture—yes, that Cheech Marin, of Cheech and Chong fame—an offshoot of the Riverside Art Museum.

February 06, 2023

Long Live the King, P-22 the Hollywood Mountain Lion

I don't really remember living in an LA without P-22, the Griffith Park mountain lion. 

Mural by Corie Mattie at Hype Fitness, Silverlake

February 05, 2023

Follow That Flock

I haven't rescued a parrot since the pandemic put a kibosh on the whole volunteer operation—but that doesn't mean parrots haven't been in my life.

It's hard to avoid them when you live in LA. The "Hollywood flock," as I call them—which consists of about a dozen parrots, though I'm not sure which species—comes to visit the palm trees on my street now and then. And boy, do they make a ruckus and a racket.

As a whole, Angelenos have a love/hate relationship with exotic invaders—but I'm much more on the "love" side of the equation. They may not be "from" here, but they've certainly made the Southland their home. And they're as much of the LA experience as the Hollywood Sign

So, when I heard that the Moore Laboratory of Zoology at Occidental College was organizing a visit to a parrot roost in Temple City, California (not far from Pasadena, where the parrots appear to be most populous), I was eager to join.