Friday, July 31, 2009

Franklin Canyon

Somehow, amongst millionaires' mansions and traffic trying to escape the 405, there are two nooks of untainted land at the intersection of Mulholland and Coldwater Canyon. On the valley side we have Tree People. On the city side is Franklin Canyon. There's all kinds of hiking trails, a little "lake," a nature center, and an amphitheater. For a map of the park check here:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Good Man

Biker dude showing off his skills on the boardwalk.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Frank Lloyd Wright

The George D. Sturgis house was built in 1939. FLW called this style "Usonian," like U-S-A, because this clearly represents the American people. Either way, I wouldn't mind coming home to this home everyday. You just don't see many houses in Brentwood that look like this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Red Flowering Gum Trees

aka Eucalyptus ficifolia. They're abloomin'!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Obon Festival

According to some Buddhists, this is a good time of year to visit earth if you're a disembodied spirit. People all over the world celebrate their dead loved ones with July's Obon Festival. The West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple celebrates the Obon Festival with food, dancing, and a bonsai display. For more about this celebration check here:

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Hollywood Bowl

Even though I grew up in LA, my first encounter with the Hollywood Bowl was Wakko burping the Blue Danube (watch video here). It's a 17,000 person capacity outdoor portal to some of the world's greatest performances. And it's tucked away in the Hollywood Hills. And it's BYOB. On nights when the LA Phil plays, you can go to the Bowl in the afternoon (if you can stand the heat) and watch them rehearse for free. Parking's a pain, but they've arranged super easy public transportation options. Last night, Philip Glass performed the score to Koyaanisqatsi while they played the film. It was really quite neat.

For more about the Hollywood Bowl check here:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Great Wall of Los Angeles

For most of the year, the LA River runs dry. But, even in the summer months, the stretch of the Tujunga Wash between Burbank and Oxnard has a colorful flow. It has been painted by a local public arts non-profit called Sparc (Social and Public Art Resource Center). The mural tells the local story from pre-historic time to the 1950's. For more about Sparc or the Great Wall check here:

Monday, July 20, 2009

San Fernando Mission

While New England was fighting off Old England, on the other side of the country, the Spanish were enslaving and converting Native Americans. Of the 21 missions that mark the Spanish takeover of California, the San Fernando Mission was built 17th in 1797. The two-story convento not only houses a room devoted entirely to sculptures of the Virgin Mary, but it is the largest adobe building in California. If you don't feel like taking the historical tour of the grounds (about an hour), it's just a lovely place to sit down and breathe. For more about the California missions check here:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

1800's Country Fair and Loggers Jubilee

This event was so many things I don't even know where to start. Westways Magazine voted this fair in the top 5 reasons to drive. And what a drive it is. Big Bear, about 3 hours eastward and mountainward, has hosted this production for 51 years. Chain saws. 19th century costumes. 143 rounds blown by a Gatling gun. Watermelon eating contests for the kids. Juggling. Pulled pork. Mmmm. For more about the Jubilee check here:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Coral Trees

They're not in bloom right now, so they are only as cool as a 4 mile stretch of giant trees can be. Really cool! It's funny because they're super expensive to maintain and instead of replanting them with an easier tree, they made them a historic monument. By doing this, we're forced to protect these trees. They're not the only trees on the monument list:
  • Monument #148.0 – Coral (Erythrina caffra) trees on San Vicente Boulevard between Bringham Avenue and 26 th Street
  • Monument #465.0 – Sycamore (Platanus racemosa) trees on Bienvenida Avenue between Sunset Boulevard and dead end south of Sunset Boulevard
  • Monument #93.0 – California Pepper (Schinus molle) trees on Canoga Avenue between Ventura Boulevard and Saltillo Street
  • Monument #49.0 – Olive (Olea europea) trees on Lassen Street between Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Farralone Avenue
  • Monument #24.0 – Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) (deceased) in median island on Louise Avenue 210' south of Ventura Boulevard
  • Monument #41.0 – Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodar) trees on White Oak Avenue between Devonshire Street and Ronald Reagan Freeway (118)
  • Monument #94.0 – Median island Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffianum) and Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta) trees on Highland Avenue
  • Monument #509.0 – Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora) trees in the 1200 block of Lakme Avenue
  • Monument #67.0 – Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodar) trees on Los Feliz Boulevard between Riverside Drive and Western Avenue
for more about historical trees in LA check:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Adelaide Drive

This is my mom's favorite street. She'll find any excuse to travel down this one way. Spotted with craftsman style giants, ocean views one way, mountains in the other, and a stair junky's paradise, mom's not the only one in this city who regards Adelaide as a treasure.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

American Sweet Gum

I used to have one of these in my front yard when I was growing up, so I'm quite fond of them.   Their fruit is spiky and their starlike leaves turn New England foliage style. Here, they're beautifully pruned to line Lindley Ave.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Frank Gehry

Gehry has buildings all over LA, but this is the only one he lives in.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Los Encinos State Historic Park

A natural spring drew people and animals here alike for centuries and now cars on Ventura bussle by without even knowing such a sanctuary exists.  It's only 5 acres, but it's got historic buildings, a small orange grove, and a fenced off concrete pond.  Even though we're not allowed in the water, the ducks are aplenty.  For more about Los Encinos State Historic Park check here:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Friday Night Fireworks

If the 4th of July only tickled your fireworks fancy, have no fear. Every Friday night home game this season is sugar coated with a sweet fireworks display. And now that Manny's back, how can you stay away?!

p.s. Did you know Dodgertown officially has it's own zip code - 90090. See LA Times article: Dodgertown Gets a ZIP Code

Lake Balboa

Smooshed between two golf courses and an army base, this Sepulveda Dam runoff is 27 acres of amoeba shaped lake on which you can fly fish, pedal boat, or BYOboat. There's a mile long path around the lake lined with charcoal grills and family picnics. On any given day you're sure to find an inflatable moonbounce accompanying a birthday bash, bikers, joggers, and mariachi music echoing from all corners of the park.

Friday, July 3, 2009


It's cool to keep horses on your property, but the real reason why this chunk of the valley is unique is because a stonemason named Dan Montelongo created 92 homes using rock native to the local riverbeds in the 1920's.  For more about Stonehurst check:  

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Los Angeles Public Library

Built in 1926, this downtown landmark holds over 6 million volumes making it the 7th largest public  library in the United States.  Even though it's mostly underground, it's colorful and friendly and easily accessible by public transportation.   

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Camphor Trees

Native to East Asia, the camphor tree is used to calm hysteria as well as in special smokeless gunpowder.  Go figure. In Pasadena, it's ginormous canopy shade the craftsman lined streets.