Monday, October 13, 2008

Vernacular Photograph of PCH

PCH being Pacific Coast Highway. This is the area west of Santa Monica before pedestrian bridges were built that allowed people to cross safely to the beach area. Interstate 10 ends just south of where this photograph was taken. Close inspection of the cars place the photo around the 1940s or even earlier. Follow the curve of the coastline to the left and one ends up in Malibu, about 10 miles away.
Below is a modern day color photo of the same area showing the road Angelenos call the California Incline -- connecting Santa Monica streets to PCH. What is revealing is that those palm trees are a new addition to the landscape.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Eleven Essentials

The American Express commercial says "Don't Leave Home Without It". My essentials, circa 2008. This is not the same set that I carried 5 or 10 years ago nor will it be necessarily the same set next year.
1) Blackberry 8700 (email/phone)
2) Hands Free Headset - driving in California without a handsfree phone has been illegal since July 2008
3) USB Drive - 2 gig is usually enough for sneaker-netting files
4) Wallet - has a set of essentials within
5) Trader Joe's Bag - to put all this junk since guys don't really carry purses
6) Moleskine Notebook - phone numbers, directions, random notes, sketches
7) Car Keys - vroooom
8) Ipod - cause LA radio sucks
9) Faber Castell Pen - quick sketch or note taking
10) Canon G9 Camera - for additional distractions while driving
11) $2 in Quarters - always, always needed for feeding parking meters

Friday, October 10, 2008

We Need To Keep Guantanamo Open For A Few More Years

Yes. That old, unconstitutional prison that W puts all terror suspects in for indefinite and unspecified reasons. Oh, and on top of that, keep the domestic spying program running as well for a few more years. Here's why.
The last 24 hours have been pretty clear to me that the Bush Republican base from the red states will not leave President Obama (I like the sound of that) alone to govern the nation out of the clusterfuck-after-clusterfuck that George W. Bush left him. These Bush Republican base had been videotaped at McCain and Palin rallies shouting "kill him", "cut off his head", etc. in reference to President Obama. So, President Barack Hussein Obama should direct the intelligence services to listen in on every trailer trash, uneducated racist in the red states for anyone who's uttered threatening words about President Obama. That is the perfect use of the Bush-initiated domestic spying program. Oh, and without a trial, issue an orange jumpsuit to every single one of them on their way to Guantanamo prison. Threaten my president, go to prison. No trial.
(My other option would have been to ship them to some iceberg in Alaska with Sarah Palin but they would still be technically under US laws there.)

Glimmer of Hope in the L.A.P.D.

The most notorious police department in the country (Rodney King, Rampart scandal, OJ and countless others) is actually making an honest effort to be more in touch with the citizens that they are supposed to protect. When not riding their black and white squad cars, studies have shown that both citizens and police benefit in terms of a sense of community. I caught this this shot of a squad of ten L.A.P.D. officers on bikes about to deploy to the beaches around LAX. I've rode this stretch of bike path a lot when I lived in Santa Monica and it's actually fairly crime-free except during the summer months when Dockweiler Beach is crowded with tourists and locals. Nonetheless, the L.A.P.D. is trying to be both community-oriented and green (10 less 8-cylinder Ford Crown Vics on the road) and ought to be applauded.
(Personally, I wouldn't mind getting paid riding my bike at the beach on a perfect Southern California day.)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Found Iturbide?

I am convinced that this is an original silver gelatin print (5.5"x7.5") by Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide. She did a series on Oaxacan women called "Juchitan de las Mujeres". I was introduced to her work in a major survey at the Getty last year. The subject, the composition, the exposure all spoke Iturbide to me -- just like the dozens of prints I saw at the Getty.
Paid Price: $5.00
Below is an Iturbide image from the Juchitan series titled "Chismosas" (The Gossipers).

Rescued Print

Diana Lui is an artist, filmmaker and photographer based in France but studied at UCLA and Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She moved to practice her profession in France in 1993 but not before her works permeated the Los Angeles art market. Her web site is below:
This is an 11"x14" silver print by the artist of a ghostlike image of two Asian girls titled "The Procession II" (1989). This is most likely one of her works as a student, which obviously early on, showed a lot of promise.
I rescued this amazing print from the Pasadena City College swap meet yesterday. The print has a label on the back with a price of $125 dated 1989. The dealer wanted $15 but I talked him down to $10. I do wonder what artists think when their works are sold at a mere fraction of what they are worth.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

...Like A Fish Needs A Bicycle

Don't know exactly how that phrase (title above) originated but I think it means that you don't really need it, i.e. fishes don't need bike to swim. I found out to fix my Raleigh mountain bike (front, rear derailleurs + shocks, etc) cost more than a new bike so to get something to just ride around town for errands, I went looking for one. Beach cruisers, fixed gear bikes, other mountain bikes...I can't make up my mind...until I saw this Bianchi. In celeste green color, of course. A 3-speed job with fenders and chain guards! It rocks and it's a work of art as well. It's so cool even a fish would want (not necessarily need) one.

Java Sketches

Nothing like a leaking Starbucks cup sets me off in the morning especially if it gets on my shirt while I'm at work. So I usually set it down on a 3x5 inch index card -- I never really found the time to bring drink coasters to work. After a while I realized that I can make some interesting drawings with these leaky Starbucks cups. Here's 16 of the dozens of stained cards I've collected over the years...