July 30, 2023

Photo Essay: Before the Guggenheim, There Was Frank Lloyd Wright's Anderton Court Shops in Beverly Hills

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright notoriously didn't see eye to eye with some of his clients, especially his female clients—perhaps most famously Aline Barnsdall, whose Hollyhock House is now a globally-renowned FLW design (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Lesser known is the spat he had with Nina Anderton, a Bel Air socialite and philanthropist who commissioned him to build a shopping complex on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills—which was to be the architect's only commercial structure in Southern California, and his last design in all of LA.

July 23, 2023

Getting It Over With

I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed! - "Ode to the West Wind" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Image by Claudia from Pixabay

I've lived with both physical and emotional pain for most if not all of my life. So I don't shy away from things that might hurt me—maybe to a fault.

I've just always assumed that life is pain and that if I want to live fully, it's gonna hurt. 

But there is an exception: I have an unreasonable fear of getting stung by a bee

I've chronicled here some instances where I've literally turned around and aborted mission when I've encountered a swarm of bees, or when I was trapped and did the heebie-jeebie dance just to get away from bees trying to drink droplets of sweat off my shirt in the desert.

And I made it nearly 48 years without getting stung by anything—until yesterday. 

July 16, 2023

Photo Essay: Take the Red Elevator Through Space and Time at the Bonaventure Hotel

There are some buildings in LA I feel compelled to respect for their sheer audacity. 

The Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles is one of those.

July 04, 2023

Photo Essay: A Clubhouse of Benevolence Becomes the Hotel San Buena

The former Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Ventura Lodge No. 1403 in Ventura, California is currently being converted into the Hotel San Buena (a truncated version of "San Buenaventura," the town's namesake)...

...and I recently got the chance to tour the nearly-finished boutique hotel facilities. 

July 02, 2023

Photo Essay: The 'Resurrection Church' of San Gabriel Mission, Reopened Three Years After the Fire

Mission San Gabriel Arc├íngel—known as the "Mother Church" of Los Angeles, founded by Spanish missionaries—just reopened to the public for the first time since an arson fire burned down the roof of its chapel nearly three years ago, in July 2020. 

I'd actually never been inside the church, the museum, or anywhere else on the grounds except the cemetery—so this seemed like a good occasion to finally take a tour with the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley. 

July 01, 2023

Photo Essay: Getting Baptized In Colored Light at St. Francis Episcopal Church, Palos Verdes Estates

Architect Walter Davis, of the venerated La Venta Inn in Southern California's Palos Verdes Estates, also designed the 1952 chapel at St. Francis Episcopal Church in PVE. That's the chapel that was advertised as part of Doors Open Peninsula a couple weekends ago. 

But when I got to the grounds, I was far more fascinated by a much more modern-looking, almost Googie-style chapel next door.