Saturday Field Trip
My brother Ken was in town for a long weekend. We haven't seen each other for 4 years, even though we're in constant contact through e-mail and phone.This was an abbreviated trip, but we really covered a lot of ground!
We had various meals with family members on both sides of our family throughout the weekend. I wanted at least ONE day of Ken's vacation to be a re-introduction to his home town. Larry and I planned a fun-filled day, seeing sites around the City.
I picked Ken up at Mom's place in Westwood on Saturday morning. Our first stop was Westwood Music. Ken used to frequent this shop quite a bit when he lived here. The shop looks the same, with major improvements to the workroom!
|The original neon sign at Westwood Music, in business since 1947|
As we drove back to our house to pick up Larry, I drove Ken through our old neighborhoods, past our previous homes, shops and schools. Ken was amazed at the traffic. Welcome to L.A., Bro.
After a quick tour of our palatial estate in lovely Wilshire Vista, Larry piled us into the car and drove to the Watts Towers. Ken had never visited this "eighth wonder of the world." I do love this place. The genius of Simon Rodia is evident in the longevity of these structures. Of course, various preservation projects are ongoing here, but the Towers are extremely impressive. We had an excellent tour guide!
After looking through the two art galleries attached to the site, we made our way up the Harbor Freeway to Echo Park. More traffic.
Ken's selection of Mexican food in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina is slim. He's always up for tacos when he visits L.A. My favorite taco place is Guisado's. Their corn tortillas are made onsite and extremely flavorful. Amazingly, there wasn't a long line at 1pm on Saturday! We each enjoyed various tacos. Yum!
|Shrimp Taco at Guisado's|
Next stop, a few miles west to Wacko / Soap Plant / La Luz de Jesus. You may have read about THIS online. We just HAD to see it in the "flesh." Also, Wacko is an excellent store for books, kitsch stuff, soap and other accessories! There were lots of people in the back gallery, taking selfies with Styrofoam Donald.
|Statue, "The Emperor Has No Balls," by Ginger|
Next stop, Barnsdall Park to tour the recently restored Hollyhock House, designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. I was disappointed that a few of the previously opened rooms were off-limits, but Ken enjoyed the flawless woodwork in the main areas of the house.
|Hollyhock House, Barnsdall Park|
I saw a cute lady in the restroom applying black and white make-up to her face. I asked her if this was for some Day of the Dead celebration (even though it's August, not October). She said that she and a group of friends were having a Panda Party in the park. She invited us over for refreshments. Cute. The next day we were at the Hammer Museum and saw this art movie with guys dancing around, topless, wearing panda hats. Did I miss some sort of new holiday?
|Preparing for the Panda Party|
After Barnsdall, we took a drive up Beachwood Canyon to see if any of the little courtyards that Ken and Ginny lived in decades ago were still there. Negative. Most of the bungalow courts in the Canyon are gone, replaced by monstrous apartment buildings. Sigh. More traffic and hordes of crowds in Hollywood as we made our way back to Chez Bloom-Underhill.
We rested a bit and managed to play a few songs on our various guitars, banjos and ukuleles. I hadn't actually jammed with my brother in probably 30 years or more! That was fun. If Ken and Ginny lived in Los Angeles, I'd be a much better uke player. He's an inspiring musician and teacher. Larry recorded bits and pieces of our jam. If it's acceptable, I'll post it in a few days.
Time to hit more traffic and head over to the Original Farmers Market for dinner and music. We had a lovely dinner at the Singapore Banana Leaf. One of my friends was appearing with a local band, but they were the second band on the bill. We were exhausted from our busy day and left early. Sunday was another action-packed day. Stay tuned.