Wednesday, July 23, 2014


It probably seems as if we spend all of our time at the museum, and for the most part, it is true.  After all, that is why we came to this gridlock congested city.  But we do have other adventures, such as meeting up with Luc and Susan from our Arizona Pastel Association on Friday at the Fairfax Farmers Market.   They were house sitting for friends in the area and we decided to meet for lunch.  We met initially for coffee and to just catch up with what everyone had been doing with their summer and then we wandered around the market looking at all the possibilities for lunch.  As it turned out, they were able to help Allan select some great art challenge items for the September Challengers in our pastel group.  
On Sunday we drove into downtown L.A. to visit the "Last Bookstore" and it may well end up being the last bookstore if the selling, buying, and reading of books continues in the direction it is going.  We are having a harder and harder time finding used bookstores that handle anything beyond comics
and romances.  The bookstore was in the old Crocker Bank Bldg and we had to traverse urine soaked sidewalks to get from the parking lot to the store.  They had guards at both entrances.  Inside there was a very good, but small collection of used books and upstairs on the mezzanine there were also books and book sculptures.  Is this what it has come to?  Books becoming found objects for art??  

We were going to have lunch near the store, but it meant stepping around so many homeless folks and walking more of those sidewalks, so instead we drove over to Olvera Street.  Even though it was a Sunday, the place was jammed with tourists.  I didn't feel I was a tourist exactly since I had suggested the place because of nostalgia.  
When I was a little girl, my father was a postal worker on a train where he sorted mail to and from Phoenix.  My mother, brother, and I would drive him to Union Station where he would disappear down a long tunnel and four days later, we would drive back and he would appear out of the tunnel to greet us.  Then we would walk across the street and eat taquitos in Olvera Street.  Or we might walk to Chinatown for lunch or visit Philippes for a french dip sandwich. As it turned out, the lines were so long in Olvera Street, Allan and I walked around Chinatown for a bit (another section of town that needs some serious cleaning) and then stopped at Philippe's for lunch.  Allan had never had one of their famous sandwiches and as a french dip enthusiast, he had to admit that theirs was pretty darn good.  
Yesterday we went to Venice Beach.  This is a town with huge contrasts.  Just moments from the beach are the canals with some very beautiful homes and gardens.  And then just a block away, along the beach walk are some certifiable crazies.  I doubt that I have ever seen so many homeless tramps and whacked out specimens of humanity all in one place before.  
Of course everyone has seen someone who talks to themselves or sleeps on the sidewalk with their shopping cart full of their collected stuff.  But this was an entire long boardwalk of one seriously brain injured person after another.  Like the person who came to tell us, while we were eating lunch, that he had to have his marijuana and could we please just understand that.  Not that I didn't but he went on to inform someone else.  The police have such a presence on this beach that they have a special police station right there in the middle of the beach and they patrol on foot, bicycle, and cars that ride on the sand.  There are places with signs almost every block of the boardwalk that advertise free "medical" certification so that marijuana can be dispensed.  
Of course there were also the body builders and the skateboarders, who included a number of men around the age of 45+ with cutoffs and pony tails trying to catch a babe, or is that a chick, or maybe its a hottie nowadays.  And there were plenty of those as well, including some old hotties with skin like leather.  
A lot of the art being sold was made out of tin cans, or rubber tires, or was just some swirls of paint asking for LOVE.  But there was a graffiti artist working diligently on a wall and I asked him if he had made the design.  As it turns out, he was hired by Rayban to do the spray painting.  They provided the image and he was being paid for the work.  
I have to say that we had a good lunch at the Fig Tree in the sunshine and on our walk back up the boardwalk to our truck we were accompanied by the music from one of the concert piano players that occupy the piano bench during the day.  His sign says that "This is not a hobby, please contribute to my day job and if you can't, then just enjoy the music".

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