Friday, March 30, 2012

Hummingbird Pictures

If you've ever tried to get a hummingbird to pose for a picture, you may understand my frustration when I tell you that now, as my camera batteries are recharging and the picture disc is in the computer--now, when I can't possible take a picture--the little bugger is posing and watching me right outside my window, laughing hysterically. Of course.

I think this is a black-chinned hummingbird, although I suppose it could be a Costa or Anna's. It's iridescent green all over the back and wings, and there's a nest in the tree. Not the first time they've nested there, but well-hidden. I'm not exactly sure where, but neither are the local cats. And that's good.

Just to stay on the birding theme, here is a link to a map from KCET--the five best birding spots along the Los Angeles River. I did not know the river was 52 miles long.

The southernmost site is the Willow Street pool in Long Beach, near 23rd St. In the north, there's the Sepulveda Basin, Bette Davis Park, and Glendale Narrows. That's only five but maybe you'll have better luck loading the map.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mary Pickford Institute v. Mary Pickford Foundation

Back in 2008, there was a kerfluffle about Mary Pickford's Oscars. Here's my last post on that. And this post has naught to do with it.

No, this post has to do with the Mary Pickford Institute for Film Education--the lucky nonprofit that actually OWNS the name. OTOH, it's not so lucky because it's just lost its funding. Read the Institute's post here (it's slightly whiny, but I suppose that's justified).

Apparently, the Institute--founded in 2002, over two decades after Ms. Pickford's death--was created and funded by the Mary Pickford Foundation. It was to preserve Pickford's legacy and provide educational outreach, and believes it has done well in that regard.

The Foundation, however--the main source of money for the Institute--has decided not to fund it anymore, and since I couldn't find a statement from them...

...I'm reduced to this article about the unfunding. It basically regurgitates the press release from the Institute, but scroll down to the comments.

The first comment says the Foundation "might" be under investigation for fraud and criminal activity.

The second comment implies tht the Institute is protecting a pedophile.

I have no idea what the backstory is, but really?


Monday, March 19, 2012

Mosaics of Joyce Kozloff at 7th & Figueroa

Today's mosaics were constructed in Italy and have sat at 7th and Figueroa in Los Angeles since 1989. Their building was once a Home Savings and Loan tower, andthese mosaics were done by artist Joyce Kozloff.

Kozloff lived in Los Angeles in the early 1970s and formed a group that protested the lack of women artists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Yay! Because--although I am not an artist--I do remember the days when women were treated as second-rate in almost any venue. It was nasty back then, an affront to common sense.

Anyway, Kozloff was also part of the Pattern and Decoration movement, and I think these mosaics reflect that. Not that I know anything about that movement, really, but you can read Kozloff's own statement about the movement, and her artistic sentiments, on her website, which is where I found the top picture. It's titled Gardens of Villandry, and is actually much bigger--this is just the top part. It faces Figueroa.

The other mosaic, at right facing 7th, has an odd red tint but it really brings out the color of the glass. This one is called Gardens at Chernonceaux. I recommend going to the FineArtServices website to see more pictures, not only of the mosaics but of beautiful murals inside the building by different artists.

Both the garden mosaics reflect the layout of 16th century gardens in the Loire Valley in France.

Besides these works, titled  Kozloff also produced the mosiacs "The Movies: Fantasies and Spectacles" a few year later for the Metro Station at 7th and Flower. Future post on that.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mosaic in Progress, San Pedro

Sea critters!

Sea critters are slowly taking shape in Peck Park, just off Western in San Pedro, thanks to fearless artist Julie Bender and her merry gangs of volunteers... who are sometimes invisible. Or simply overbooked.

Once upon a time, a mural decorated this wall, with orcas and dolphins and crabs. Diana Chapman painted it 9-10 years ago, but the elements were not kind to the paint. So these mosaics will take its place. Hopefully by the end of April, the entire wall will be filled in.

Julie Bender presented 8 designs for a mosaic to the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council, and the puzzle-pieces you see here--all different sea critters--was the winner. So now the work progresses.

I have seen sketches of the entire wall, but nothing I could reproduce here. If you're really determined, you can look at the Los Angeles Parks project approval pdf here--just scroll to the end for the sketch. Otherwise, you'll just have to take my work that everything will be covered in tile--from the pelicans on the left to a tall and comely mermaid on the right. Along with rays, whales, sand dollars, and even a beautiful purple sea urchin that went into place while I watched.

And in the middle, the graceful kelp that you see below left, already in place, will weave back and forth between a blue and orange tile background.

Thirteen Girl Scout Troops are involved in the project. Some are making the tiles. As you can see, some of those whimsical home-made tiles, in yellow and green, are already framing the outlines of seals.

I think someone snuck a yellow pizza tile in there. Or maybe it's a chocolate chip cookie. About 3500 of the tiles will be handmade.

At some point in the near future, Moms from the Art TO Grow On group will come in and apply the grout to panels that are ready.

Art To Grow On, btw, is a non-profit program that brings hands-on art projects to at least 17 schools in the area, kindergarten through 8th grade.

The work is being done on the weekends, between 1 and 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. A lot of the tiles and supplies have been donated. As you can imagine, these days civic organizations don't have buckets o' money to put into public art, but when the whole community comes together it's amazing what can be done.

In fact, for those who want to donate, you can give cash by going to the Los Angeles Parks Foundation website. Click on "support a park" then on "Ways to give." Then type in Peck Park Pool and use your credit card.

Or if you happen to have some glazed tiles, grouts, buckets, spare hammers, and what-not that might be helpful, you can send an email to Julie Bender, either through her website or at

Because these little anchovies need some water to swim in.

You can also stop by the park and see the work-in-progress. The pool is at the northernmost side of the park. Look for a sign pointing to it in from of the gym.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Street Closures, LA Marathon

A public service announcement:

The Los Angeles Marathon is this Sunday, March 18. Here's a link to a map of the route and street closures.

The Marathon starts at Dodger Stadium, winds through downtown for a bit, that turns northwest toward Silver Lake. It goes through Hollywood, West Hollywood, southwest down to Beverly Hills and Century City, then hits Wilshire in Westwood and goes straight into Santa Monica, where it turns south again.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Surprise Mosaics

You just never know when you're gonna run into a mosaic.

I was delivering a lunch to someone at Christ Lutheran Church & School in San Pedro, got buzzed in, and bam--floor to ceiling, at least 10 feet wide.

The church has existed since 1925, and it used to be on Cabrillo and 16th. The new campus on Western was bought in 1954, built in 1959, and dedicated in 1960.

This mosaic, which seems to be of porcelein tiles, some of them pearlized, includes this 1998 dedication, but no artist's signature. And that's all I know.

UPDATE: I have learned that the artist is Melinda Moore of Hermosa Beach (here's a page about her work at a local school), and the woman who did most of the work in assembling the mosaic was Mauryne Fennell.

Thank you, Julie Bender, for this information--and Julie Bender's mosaic, a work in progress, will be featured on Monday the 12th of March.