Tag Archives: DTLA

Stumbling and bumbling into contemporary art in LA

Last Saturday, we were killing time, waiting for the JANM to open at 11 for George Takei’s exhibit.  We wandered south on Central, looking for Groundworks Coffee on Traction Avenue, an obscure slanting street connecting 3rd street and 4th Street Place, when ohhh myyyy!  We stumbled into the Arts District with buildings and walls covered with images, portraits, color.

Then on Thursday, we drove to the old Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard, now rehabilitated as the Marciano Art Foundation Museum.  Although admission is free, we did have to make reservations and get “tickets” … that were very carefully examined before we were allowed to enter the nearly empty parking lot.

I was gently surprised to find a museum staff tolerant of photographers and questions and a ten page guide to the exhibits.   It was an entertaining visit, replete with political and classical references, familiar pop culture themes, humor.

Curator Philip Kaiser and artist Jim Shaw fully exploited the spacious rooms, creating a cartoon world for wandering and wondering.


#May Day 2017

Both the LA Times and the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported 30,000 marchers at the May Day demonstation in DTLA.  I arrived at 11 a.m. at the launch point on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Alvarado Street to find a mass of people had filled up MacArthur Park, eager to begin the march up Wilshire Boulevard to City Hall.  It seemed like a massive turnout.

It took that crowd almost thirty minutes, marching and chanting shoulder to shoulder and covering the full width of Wilshire, to leave MacArthur Park.  Two and a half miles and nearly two hours later, they began to arrive at Grand Park, gradually filling in the rising parkland facing the stage at City Hall.  There were waves of red, orange, purple, black, blue.  Signs in Spanish and English, men, women, children.  All ages.  All colors.  All genders and persuasions.

Words of the day:  “No!” “Unidas,” “Si, se puede!”

Nearly one hundred unions and community groups were represented, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.  The Teamsters, several chapters of SEIU, Roofers, Steelworkers, Health Care Workers, the FMLN.  Huh?  The FMLN?  The Marxist group that fought a revolutionary war in El Salvador for years and only recently laid down their guns to become a political party?  They marched with an eye-catching banner.

The march passed through all the elements that make up DTLA…high rises, office workers, construction, the freeway.  Denizens and drivers waved, honked, took pictures and the crowd waved back and cheered  as it surged past restaurants, past coffee shops, the Grand Central Market and Angel’s Flight to Grand Park.


It just seemed like more than 30,000 people.

Echo Park to the Heights of Angelino: another urban adventure

Echo ParkUrban hikes in LA provide an opportunity to experience the geographical relationship between  communities and the city center.  This time, we started from the basin floor at Echo Park Lake, a large, manicured urban pond stocked with coots, rental boats and floating lilies.

As in all parts of Los Angeles, Echo Park is surrounded by  hills where bedroom communities were  built with staircases that  residents would descend to catch the streetcars (the Red Car system.)  Although the advent of  automobile culture ended the rail system by the l950’s, the stairways remain.

We climbed staircases on both sides of the lake, finding graffiti, spectacular views of DTLA, the ever-present freeways, and then stumbled upon gorgeous Victorian mansions at the top of Angelino Heights.

The best part?  After some four or five miles of tromping up and down the old staircases, lunch at Taix was just a block away from Echo Park!

DTLA, hiking from Chinatown to Elysian Park

One of the coolest urban hikes starts from Chinatown and climbs to  majestic views at Eysian Park,  circles Dodger Stadium.   It’s a hike laden with art, starting with  galleries in the Chinatown alleys, to wall paintings near the Solano School, inspired by the  children.

There is a spiral walkway to a bridge across a freeway, a brightly decorated underground passageway, a charming community garden, views of downtown and of Elysian Valley.  Friendly help is always available from local hikers and best of all, when the circle is completed, lunch in Chinatown awaits!