Friday, September 25, 2020

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for Jews. It is our day of atonement, a time to repent for our sins of the past year. From sundown Sunday until sundown Monday, it is customary to fast and pray. The blowing of the shofar at the end of the temple service signifies the end of the fast.
Portion of the Fairfax Community Mural, Canter's Deli, Los Angeles, by Art Mortimer, 1985
The early history of Jewish people in Los Angeles is very interesting. My own family followed the trail from East and Central Los Angeles to the Westside. A pictorial history is depicted in a wonderful mural on the side of Canter's Delicatessen, 419 No. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles. The Canter Bros. started their business in New Jersey, moved to Brooklyn Avenue in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles in 1931 and later to Fairfax Avenue in West Hollywood.
Click on photo to embiggen
If you live in Los Angeles, whether or not you are observant for this High Holy Day, take a drive by Canter's, park and really look at the mural. The highlights and history of our vibrant cultural Jewish life in Los Angeles, painted by Art Mortimer in 1985, are all there in glorious sepia and black and white for everyone to see, learn and absorb.
Yom Kippur begins Sunday night at sundown. On Rosh Hashanah it is written...on Yom Kippur it is sealed.  May it be written and sealed that you have a new year that brings fulfillment and happiness, peace, sweetness and prosperity -- all of life's very best things. Have a happy, healthy new year to all of my friends and family.

A True Classic

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Friday, September 18, 2020

Happy New Year!

Today is the start of the Jewish New Year, 5781. L' Shana Tovah to my family and friends. One of the many traditions during this holiday is to eat something sweet to make sure that you will have a sweet and happy new year.  We dip apples in honey or eat some delicious honey cake.  

It is also customary during Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year, to start fresh and cast your sins into the water by throwing pieces of bread into the nearest lake, ocean, river, etc.  This is called the tradition of Tashlikh The closest body of water to our house is the Ballona Creek, a waterway used as a flood channel. It looks more like a concrete road during our drought.
Later today, we will walk over to Ballona Creek and toss a few crumbs of bread into the channel.  I'm sure the pigeons will love it!
Ballona Creek, Los Angeles

Since this is the year of the Pandemic, our celebration will be small. Larry and I will sit down to a dinner of roast chicken, Aunt Luba's lokshen kugel, candied carrots cut into the shape of little 
coins to insure wealth and good luck in the New Year and maybe a bit of honey cake for dessert. Happy New Year, my friends!

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Corner History on The Miracle Mile

I was perusing the "Miracle Mile" photos on our Los Angeles Public Library photo archives site and came across some interesting history about the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and South Masselin Avenue, Los Angeles. 
Click on photo to enlarge
Most of the buildings along Wilshire Boulevard's Miracle Mile were originally built between 1925 through the mid to late 1930s, many in the Art Deco style. You can read about the development of the Miracle Mile here.  I came across a photo of The Wilshire Bowl on the corner of Wilshire and Masselin.  After further research, I found out The Wilshire Bowl was NOT a bowling alley.  It was a very popular restaurant and nightclub that opened in 1933. The nightclub offered dinner and dancing to the big band sounds of Phil Harris' orchestra for the flat rate of $1.50 ($2 on Saturdays). 

Click on Photo to Enlarge

The Wilshire Bowl must have been very popular with the Hollywood crowd. In 1941 artist John Decker created a set of four caricature murals for the restaurant.  They were installed in September 1941 to accompany a cabaret production about the golden age of film entitled "The Silver Screen."  The actors, from left, are Bob Hope, Joe E. Brown, Charles Winninger, Charles Boyer, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Shirley Temple, Humphrey Bogart, W.C. Fields, Mae West and George Arliss.  This mural now resides in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.
Caricature by John Decker for The Wilshire Bowl
In 1942 this same building became The Louisiana Club, but that only lasted a year.  In 1943, Slapsy Maxie's, which had been on Beverly Boulevard, moved into the building.

In 1950 Van de Kamp's took over the lease on this building and turned it into a coffee shop. I do believe that Welton Becket's firm were the architects for this mid-century transformation. By 1981 it was the Chinese Furniture Center. 
Van de Kamp's Restaurant, Wilshire Boulevard
The area was cleared for a large commercial development in 1982 and now our local Office Depot is on this corner. This mile is not such a miracle anymore. Sigh
Today, 5665 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
If you're out and about, be sure to snap some photos of the streets and buildings. They might have an interesting history and THEY ARE GOING TO CHANGE! Check out The Getty Library for historic photos of Los Angeles by artist, Ed  Ruscha online. 

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Friday, September 04, 2020

Labor Day

Female workers in Labor Day Parade, NYC, 1936. NY Daily News, Getty Images

Female workers in Labor Day Parade, NYC, 1936. NY Daily News, Getty Images

Happy Labor Day! Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century became a federal holiday in 1894.

I am thankful to all the workers who came before me, standing up for equal rights on the job.

I spent over 45 years in the work force. Some of that time was spent as a union member, working at various movie studios throughout Los Angeles. Today, I am reaping the benefits of full-time, corporate employment thanks to the labor movement's accomplishments over the years for equal rights, better working conditions and equal pay. Thank you.

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