Curating the City
Yesterday was the all-day self-guided driving tour of Wilshire Boulevard sponsored by The Los Angeles Conservancy. It was a long day, but well worth it! We started at The Elks Club, built in 1925, overlookiing MacArthur Park, just west of downtown. Next stop the art deco Bullock's Wilshire, buillt in 1929, which is now owned by Southwestern Law School and only open periodically for tours. We continued down Wilshire to the Byzantine domed Wilshire Boulevard Temple (1929). The murals inside are incredible. Johnie's Coffee Shop at Wilshire and Fairfax (1955) has been closed for the last 5 years. This was the most active docent stop. The entire Modern Committee helped in cleaning the place, adding vintage displays of postcards, menus, matchbooks, etc. There were 3-D slides of the original coffee shop at this location, called Romeo's Times Square. Members of the ModCom dressed in waitress and waiter outfits and even served pie and coffee to the visitors. It was a stand-out location! Since Larry and I live about 4 blocks from Johnie's, we stopped at home for a quick refreshment and fluff-up, then continued to the last two stops on the tour.
We zoomed out to Westwood to see the oldest building on Wilshire Boulevard, the Victorian Wadsworth Chapel (1900) at the Veterans Administration area, north of Wilshire, just west of the 405 Fwy. The earthquake in '94 did a number on this place. Phew! It's a mess. Some film companies have gussied up the place recently, but the Chapel needs major renovation!
Our last stop was the Spanish Colonial Revival styled Miles Playhouse (1929) in Santa Monica. This is a charming little theater that specializes in children's productions.
There's a new book out called "Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles" by Kevin Roderick and Eric Lynxwiler. Eric was on the tour yesterday and autographed books for everyone. This is one of the best histories of Los Angeles that I've ever seen. If you're interested at all in the roots of our City, get the book!
Tonight at sundown is the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, starting with our New Year celebration, Rosh Hashonah and ending next week with our Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Happy New Year everyone! May your year be blessed with sweetness and sucess! Eat some honeycake and apples!!!
Labels: Los Angeles