Sign of regeneration

Not far from the Getty Villa there are walks in Topanga National Park, we took a trail behind the Villa and climbed to the top to get the view over the coastline and in to L A. It’s worth it. It would seem that this area too has been affected by fire with blackened stumps here and there, but nothing too devastating, and it was good to see the trees regenerating with fresh green shoots appearing out of the blackened bark.

This is a biggie!

If there’s no handy building big enough for your sign they can put it on one of these monsters, but if there is a handy building then job done. Though don’t forget that if it’s up that high it might look a tad smaller than the roadside jobs, and there’s a danger of crick neck when close to the building.

Many years ago I thought I’d arrived when one of my drawing appeared on a 64 sheet poster. That’s one of the uk posters that are at the roadside and not like this on a huge gantry. The state of “arrival” here I would think is when one has a poster on the entire side of a building, like the one below. 64 sheets is supposed to represent the number of separated printed sheets that make up a poster, so it’s pretty big. I doubt that they do it that way any more, certainly for the side of a building.

Like this, but don’t know what it’s about.

and this one below which is from a train museum.

Sadly trains are much neglected over here. This little museum is a great place for a day out especially with small children. There are loads of old steam trains and coaches some have been fully restored and others are in the process of restoration. Make sure that you take a picnic as there are very few catering facilities on site. Which is rather odd considering that there is a history of fine catering on the railways as evidenced in my pictures below.

I am told that trains over in the USA run at an average speed of 25 mph, you might think that is quite fast given the weight of traffic on the roads where I suspect the average speed maybe less than that. It certainly was for us on a recent trip to Santa Monica.

The photograph above was taken in a small part of the train museum which has a permanent display of artefacts from what might be called the golden age of train travel in the US. Every last thing was thought about down to the crockery and the cutlery. There are examples in the glass cases as can be seen here. And what brilliant graphics were used in those days with these understated designs. I was very taken by the beautiful bench from a railway station waiting area too.

We are back from the States now but I have a backlog of blogs about our visit there, so like stopping a huge Ocean liner, this mught take some time before they come to a natural halt.

The Getty Villa, the best bits.

This relatively small sculpture from the Getty Villa, a house built by the multi millionaire on the coast just close to Sunset Boulevard was one of the really great things I found at the place. The actual place left me a little cold, it’s quite monumental and although the main entrance is on the main road and a short walk up a hill to the place itself, one has to reach it by four wheels. As the museum is free and the parking 15 dollars this might make sense, but it seemed like madness to me. I suppose it was to discourage people like us who just parked on a side road.

We had to summon a shuttle bus which took us these few “unwalkable” yards. The driver was Mr Taciturn, young bearded and bored, but then who wouldn’t be if you spent the entire journey driving in not very big circles. My policy of cheery engagement did nothing to cheer him so we got the trip off to a poor start.

The villa design is inspired by the Villa Papyri at Hurculaneum. Concrete can never really replicate ancient stone. I’ve visited ancient places and they have a distressed charm that was lacking here. The place feels like a bunker, quite unlike the Getty Centre in L A itself which is a modern architectural triumph, this just does not seem to work for me.

It’s in a lovely spot on the coast but the gardens are fairly small and the whole place had the feel of a rich man showing off. That aside there are some really lovely artefacts to see and this one above, which is thousands of years old, was my favourite together with the one below. Quite a small sculpture, again centuries old, but what a wonderful face.

If you are in the area, then go and visit, but pay the 15 dollars to park, otherwise you are left to feel like a delivery of “povvies” to a concrete stately home.

The restaurant is very good and although the food is quite pricey, it’s very good quality and the service we had was first rate.

Bruce the builder, he can fix it!

Everyone’s a film start here in LA including the guy on the stairs here, take a closer look at him getting his publicity photos ready for the big push into film land. He’s wasted in the building trade. He has the look of Bruce Springsteen, and I bet he’s in a tribute band. Rock on!

For the time being though, the star of this picture is the building and not the builder.

I had no idea that this guy was doing this when I took the picture.

Orange and blue and the Schindler House

A slight departure from signs. This orange house on a street near to a 1920s house/ museum that we had visited. I was expecting to be under whelmed by the trip but thoroughly enjoyed seeing the house which is in West Hollywood and is pictured below.

It’s designed by Schindler and it’s worth a visit. The architect designed it for himself and his wife and everything is in four foot modules. It has a very peaceful atmosphere and is strangely relaxing, unlike the vision above which might bring on epilepsy on a sunny day if one is not careful.

Even the furniture is square!

It’s 10 dollars to visit this place, or 7 for concessions. Many of L A’s art places are free to visit, this one is surprisingly pleasant and a must for modern architecture lovers, plus there’s a branch of Alfred’s Coffee house not far away.Where you can watch people interacting with their laptops and phones, also curious.