Wednesday, March 25, 2020

I Miss People!

We've been self-quarantined for almost 2 weeks. News sources in Los Angeles have been saying that the worst is yet to come with regards to the CoronaVirus/Covid-19 epidemic in Los Angeles. It is important for those over 65 years of age and/or with underlying health conditions to STAY AT HOME.

Mostly, Larry and I have been staying at home. However, we have been going to the Original Farmers Market near our house for supplies. The Farmers Market has been at 3rd  Street and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles for 86 years, since 1934. It's an open-air marketplace with a roof. It's easy to maintain your distance from others. There are fruit and vegetable stands, meat and poultry markets, bakeries and many of the restaurant stands are open for take-out orders. There is also a French grocery store inside the Market called Monsieur Marcel. They carry all kinds of gourmet items. We can't get everything we need at the Farmers Market, but it's working out OK.
The Farmers Market Poultry Store carries eggs
We are so used to seeing the Market full of people, locals and tourists. There are festive tables and chairs everywhere, making it possible to choose what you'd like to eat and just plop down to enjoy your meal and the view. 
Tables at the Market, pre-Corona Virus
That's all changed now. The Gilmore Company (owners of the Farmers Market) have removed all of the chairs and tables. It's very eerie to see such emptiness. Management has even removed the seats to all of the stationary stools at many of the lunch counters!
Larry at the Farmers Market. No Tables and Chairs
Tables and Chairs Removed

My local knit/crochet group, The West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch,  meets weekly at the Farmers Market, Thursdays from 7-9 in the upstairs dining area. We've been meeting for 15 years! I miss this group so much. We've been having online meetings, but it's not the same as being there. Sigh.
WeHo SnB, Holiday Hat Party, 2019
MaryJo, Jennifer, Brenda, Sara, Natalie, Diane, Ellen examining a crocheted scarf, 2019. Photo by Susan S.
WeHo SnB at our 10 Anniversary Party, 2014
For now, The Original Farmers Market is the safest place for us to shop, so we will keep going there for supplies. The other day we picked up a pastrami sandwich at Phil's Deli in the Market. Since we couldn't eat inside at a table, we ate our sandwich in the parking lot, tailgate style. It tasted great and reminded us of what a valuable resource the Market is for all Angelenos.
Tailgating at the Market
ADDENDUM:  My dear, sweet husband, Larry told me to STOP WHINING! He doesn't realize that kvetching is my super power!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Quarantined Geezers

Yes, Larry and I are seniors. I always thought of my folks as senior citizens, NOT us! Time marches on. We have to get used to it. Mayor Garcetti suggested that all seniors (65 and over) stay inside and practice social distancing. There will be no gatherings in public places, restaurants, bars, etc.
I'm the scheduler for two stitch 'n bitch groups, The Ocean Park Fiber Artists at the Coffee Bean in Santa Monica and the West Hollywood SnB at the Original Farmers Market, 3rd and Fairfax. Both groups are postponed until further notice.

The saddest of all for me was when I heard that ALL of my ukulele classes were cancelled. First, the Culver City Senior Center closed, so no CC Strummer classes on Mondays and Thursdays with Cali Rose at Vet's Auditorium. Cali also teaches our Ongoing Ukulele Workshop at Boulevard Music in Culver City. No classes until further notice.
The CC Strummers are a LARGE group!
I Will Miss My Ukulele Workshop Peeps!
Luckily, I can practice my hobbies at home. Alone. I am a very social person. I will truly miss meeting with my various groups!  My ukulele friends have started posting online videos, playing songs from our CC Strummers Songbook. This is great. We can all play along. It's not the same as playing in person, but at least it will keep our ohana (family) connected!  I recorded "Raining in My Heart," made popular by Buddy Holly. See below.

It truly is raining in my heart. I will miss seeing all of you in person, but look forward to convening online! So long for now, my friends.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2020

It's A Miracle!

The Miracle Mile, early 1960s
We live very close to the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles. People often refer to this stretch of Wilshire between La Brea and Fairfax as Mid-Wilshire. WRONG! Mid-Wilshire is the portion of Wilshire further east, near our beautiful, departed Ambassador Hotel and Bullocks-Wilshire Department Store, closer to Western Avenue. Mid-Wilshire is also referred to as KoreaTown. With changing demographics come changing location names.
I digress. Back to the Miracle Mile. I asked my Dad once why this stretch of Wilshire was called the Miracle Mile. He gave me his historical viewpoint that when he was a kid all of the major department stores were located in Downtown L.A. By the early 1930's, the city was expanding west and people didn't want to travel all the way downtown to go shopping, so development started along Wilshire Blvd. Mansions were torn down, open fields were built upon. Dad said that it all happened within a matter of a few was a MIRACLE of architecture and design! Also, developer of this stretch of Wilshire Blvd., A.W. Ross had a difficult time having Wilshire designated for commercial buildings. It was primarily farm land and agricultural. There were also many oil wells in this vicinity. Once Ross receiving the zoning permission for retail, he started drawing plans. At the time, Ross' vision was the subject of a lot of derision and teasing by his friends who told him basically that if his plan ever worked "it would be a miracle". It did work - beautifully. Hence the name "Miracle Mile."
To read up on the history of Wilshire Boulevard, check out this book. It's fantastic!
LA County Art Museum, 1965. Photo from LA Library Database
One of the greatest additions to the Miracle Mile was the building of the L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA), 1964 by William Pereira and Associates. When I was a tiny girl, we used to visit the Art Museum collection at the LA County Museum of Natural History located at Exposition Park, near USC. The art collection was hidden away, behind the dinosaur bones. Once our current Museum was built on Wilshire, the collection of modern art was added, modern sculptures were displayed, shows were mounted of avant garde artists! It was another miracle on Wilshire!
LACMA, under contruction, 1963, photo from L.A. Library Photo Database
Today, the beautiful modern architecture of the original LACMA complex is obscured by the Anderson Building. The new Broad Building also faces on Wilshire, between the Museum and the historic May Company Department Store, designed 1939 by Albert C. Martin and Samuel A. Marx. The Academy of Motion Pictures now occupies May Company and it will soon open for exhibition space and offices.
LACMA Campus, 2018
You can see in the photos above that there used to be this moat around the Museum. There were fountains and sculptures in the water. It was peaceful to just sit and look at the ripples. The moat also served as a sound barrier to the traffic on Wilshire while sitting in the Museum plaza. LACMA did need to expand to house it's growing art collection. I'm just sad that the original serene design has been altered.
We're due for more changes at LACMA, now that the original buildings are coming down. There is much discussion about the new design. Read about it HERE
The Miracle Mile has changed quite a lot since the early days. All of the big department stores and other clothing stores are gone. There are new businesses in many of the beautiful Art Deco buildings. I'm glad that many of the architecture from the 1930s still exists. I will still visit The Miracle Mile and remember what it was.

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