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Monday, November 16, 2009

Silver Lake Library Dedication & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Architects Barry Milofsky & Thomas Michali acknowledge cheers from the Grand Opening Crowd at the Dedication of the new Silver Lake Library, November 16, 2009

The Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony dedicating the new SILVER LAKE Library was a very special affair with not only a huge contingent of neighbors but a virtual "Who's Who" of public officials, including Mayor Antonio Villaragosa, City Council President Eric Garcetti, District 4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Dr. Tyree Wieder, President, Board of Library Commissioners; Cynthia Ruiz, President, L.A. Board of Public Works, City Librarian Martin Gomez; and Friends of Silver Lake Library President Michael Saint-Onge.

The new library is the city's 72nd branch and the first to have a state-of-the-art automated materials handling system, using an automated conveyor belt, the system automatically checks in and sorts materials.  Self-checkout starions allow patrons to check out multiple items and pay fees by cash or credit card.

The building was designed by the architectural firm Milofsky, Michali & Cox (M2A Architects); the design pays tribute to Silver Lake's Modernist architectural heritage.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Martin Schall is Coming to Town!

Martin Schall, creator of "You-Are-Here", the now famous website that explores the architecture of our fair city (Los Angeles), arrives a little later this year (his usual fall tour takes place in October).  After a few days staying at Dominic's in Chinatown, he'll be out house guest in Los Feliz!

(Martin with Architect Barbara Bestor at her home in Los Feliz during Martin's 2008 tour).
I am looking forward to seeing Martin; he knows more about Los Angeles than most Angelinos!  We'll spend many quality days exploring the city together, cameras in hand.  Sometimes it takes an "outsider" to help us appreciate what a marvelous place we call "home".  Welcome back, Martin!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Memories of Glendale: Where I Grew Up

My dad, John Locke, moved our family from Portland, OR in 1957, to accept a position as Chief Engineer at Van de Kamp's Holland-Dutch Bakery.  We lived for a few months at a motel along Riverside Drive (near the Mulholland Fountain) while we waited for our house to close (in the Rossmoyne neighborhood).  Here are some (architectural) memories of Glendale!

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Filmmaker ERIC BRICKER Presented "Julius Shulman Communication Award" at Woodbury University, October 11, 2009

Filmmaker ERIC BRICKER was presented with the Julius Shulman Communication Award at Woodbury University, Sunday, October 11, 2009.  The award was presented by LILY TOMLIN, who received the award in 2007.  Bricker devoted seven years of his life to making the film, "VISUAL ACOUSTICS:  The Modernism of Julius Shulman".  The film documents the great photographer and how his images portrayed and promoted the idealistic "California Lifestyle".  I was deeply honored to be one of the presenters at the ceremony, along with Michael Stern and Jonathan Weedman

The beloved photographer died in July 2009, just a few months short of his 99th birthday (10-10-1910).  Pictured are members of the cast and crew, including Shulman's daughter Judy McKee (on the left) and Julius Shulman standing with Eric Bricker on the far right.  The photo was taken earlier at the Landmark Theater at an early showing of the film.

Monday, October 5, 2009

What's a Million $$$ View Worth?

I just listed a fabulous townhouse in Echo Park; it's at the "Lago Vista", a Bauhaus-inspired condominium complex located high on a bluff overlooking the lagoon of Echo Park Lake.  Designed by famed architect Allyn E. Morris in 1973.  Mr. Morris' work has received wider attention as a result of the publication of "Forgotten Modern", highlighting the achievement of his first residential design, the "Bubeck House" in Eagle Rock (1956).  The complex demonstrates the architects vision for dynamic design instead of the minimalism seen in most architecture of the period.  The multi-level, interlocking shapes and contours give a great sense of freedom.  Now you can own a piece of great architecture, and did I mention the view?

To learn more, please visit

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Looking for Mr. Parkinson, the "Architect who designed Los Angeles"

I recently received a FACEBOOK post from SCOTT FIELD, Director of the Parkinson Archive in Galveson, Texas; informing me that JEREMY RYAN-AINSLIE, Great Grand Nephew of JOHN PARKINSON, the "Architect who Built Los Angeles" was in town, and working on a documentary film of his famous uncle, and would I like to show him around?

I met Ryan-Ainslie this morning at his downtown hotel. While the GPS system on my Toyota Siena mysteriously decided to stop working, I worried about how we would find our way. Our itinerary took us to the C.E. KUSTOR RESIDENCE in West Adams, an eclectic Victorian/Craftsman/Shingle house designed by Parkinson in about 1911 (and recently purchased by my friends ROB & JENNY WEI); then on to WOODACRES, the Parkinson family home in Santa Monica. We were met at the Parkinson Estate by DRU ALPHSON, (husband Howard was taking a nap). The Alphsons are only the second owners of the fabulous property that the Parkinsons called "home".

After a few precious hours at Woodacres, we traveled across town to FOREST LAWN in Glendale, to visit the PARKINSON crypt in the GREAT MAUSOLEUM; the Master Architect' final resting place.

We topped off the day with margaritas at the LOCKE home in Los Feliz, and after a quick trip to a couple of Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces in the neighborhood (the Ennis & Hollyhock Houses), we dropped Jeremy at the HOTEL CECIL in downtown Los Angeles.

We'll meet up again on Sunday at the SALON OF THE SPIRITUALLY CREATIVE LIFE, hosted by Carol & Richard King before dropping Jeremy off at LAX for the return trip to Birmingham (England). It's been a real privelege meeting a special young film maker who has a keen interest in L.A.!

Pictured are (L-R) Photographer Leland Lee, Jeremy Ryan-Ainslie and Architect Dion Neutra at Carol & Richard King's Salon of the Spiritually Creative Life in Pasadena.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy: He was very special

During last fall's presidential campaign, I heard that Sen. Kennedy was going to speak at a rally at East Los Angeles College, so I packed my camera and headed over to the campus. There he was, in the flesh, one of the many so-called liberals I had learned to dislike as a result of my upbringing in conservative Glendale (CA). Now, after a long education process, I could see up-close-and-personal, one of our real American heroes! Kennedy was speaking to the large bilingual crowd, encouraging them with the words, "Si se puede!" (Yes We Can!) It was a great moment, one that I will long remember.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Goodbye, Uncle Julius!

Learning of Julius Shulman's death last week came as a big shock: I knew his health had been declining in recent weeks; a denied request to visit alerted me to the situation. We had become friends over the past five years; after meeting him at the Eagle Rock Playground in April 2004, I found myself in his studio just a few days later.

Over the years, I returned to the studio many times, bringing along friends and admirers. Each visit offered fresh revelation and insight, a bit of wit and wisdom that would bring perspective, a "teaching moment" from a master teacher. Along the way, I met many of his friends and admirers, many would become my friends too, a bond forged by our mutual admiration; we were all part of his family. He taught me many life lessons, the greatest by example: treating everyone with dignity no matter their station in life. I will greatly miss him!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

3rd Phase of Silver Lake's "Art Cans" Are In!

The 3rd Phase of Silver Lake's famed "Art Cans Project" unfolded this past Sunday, June 7, 2009 as the first "Art Can" adoptions were delivered, first to Trader Joe's Silver Lake, then off to Prestige Motors on Silver Lake Blvd., followed by the placement of a can at the Silver Lake Dog Park.

Here's a few photos that I enjoyed taking at the event; more to come and more details next week, as the second "leg" of adoptions will be delivered on June 14th. Look for updates next week.

Silver Lake Improvement Association Celebrates 20 Years

I had the good fortune to attend the Annual Meeting of the Silver Lake Improvement Association last evening, held at Silver Lake's Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Cathedral. SLIA President Genelle LeVin has done an outstanding job in revitalizing the organization; a near-capacity crowd was on hand to celebrate the organizations' 20th anniversary.

Headline speakers, Los Angeles Council Member Tom LaBonge (CD-4) and Council President Eric Garcetti (CD-13)extolled the crowd for their community activism, and reported on council matters, especially the effects of the budget crisis. Long-time SLIA Board Member Ruth Faydich was honored for serving the organization for 17 years as the group's Treasurer.

A highlight of the evening, Councilmember LaBonge led the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to long-time community activist Lucy Jones, who turns 92 this month.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Artist Sam Maloof Mourned

Earlier this year (April 3 2008), my wife, Donna Jean and I hopped on a bus along with members of the Griffith Park Adult Community Center to visit Woodcarver/Artist Sam Maloof at his home and studio. It was my first exposure to the famed craftsman, who passed away this past Thursday, May 21, 2009 at his home in Alta Loma. It was an experience I will never forget. The Artist devoted his life to his craft, turning out some of the most beautiful and timeless pieces of furniture imaginable. What a joy and priveledge it was to meet Maloof and his wife Beverly personally, a great artist who never lost the common touch. (Maloof greeting members of the Griffith Park Adult Community Center on April 3, 2008)

Silver Lake's "Art Cans" to be Installed on June 7, 2009!

"The next round of Silver Lake's famed "Art Cans" are almost here!", Project Coordinator Noah Stein announced on May 21st. The concrete trash receptacles are inset with mosaic panels designed by local artists working hand-in-hand with local community groups. The colorful mosaic panels serve a dual purpose of encouraging public art and a cleaver way of taking care of trash in our commercial corridors.

The concrete trash cans are set to be delivered on Wednesday, May 27; the panel installations will begin on Sunday, June 27,2009, starting at 8:30 a.m on Hyperion Avenue. Join the fun beginning about 9 a.m. in front of Trader Joe's where the first can will be installed. The action moves to Silver Lake Dog Park next, before moving on to other installations along Silver Lake Blvd.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

After 30+ Years, It's Time to Say "Good-bye"

It's time to say "Good-bye" to John Mason and Dave Gy, fixtures in the Silver Lake community for more than thirty years. The pair have decided to leave Silver Lake for "greener pastures" and have purchase a home in the desert community of Palm Springs.

The couple have been active members of the Sanborn-Venango Community Group, in what I described in one of my articles written for the Los Feliz Ledger as one of the "best neighborhoods in Silver Lake You've Never Heard of". John and Dave have been active in their little pocket of Silver Lake for decades, banding together with their neighbors to fight gang activity and improve the community. Real pioneers in my book!

Over the years, we formed a friendship based upon our love for our neighborhood.
About a year ago, they made the decision to sell their home on Venango Avenue and move to a new home in Palm Springs. We have had the pleasure of listing their home for sale; it's due to close this coming Thursday, April 9, 2009. It's a bittersweet time, we have grown to love these guys and will hate to see them go, but we wish them well in their new surroundings in the desert!

An Authentic 1923 CA Bungalow Price at $429K!

With all the talk about doom and gloom, why not focus on the opportunities out there? Here's one to investigate: A 1923 Classic CA Bungalow in a great little pocket neighborhood (Glassell Park, a few minutes from Silver Lake)with 3 bedrooms, period details including hardwood floors, character fireplace and classic front porch. Over 1660 sq. ft. of living space on a flat, almost 7500 sq. ft. lot! Check it out!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Julius Shulman: Still Going Strong at 98!

This past week (March 9-15, 2009), I had the joy of seeing Julius Shulman on two occasions; visiting him at his home in the Hollywood Hills, and on Sunday, March 15th attending an "Ides of March Scotch-Tasting Bacchanal" at the home of (L.A. Magazine Executive Editor) Mary Melton and her husband Ed Leibowitz in Eagle Rock.
Apparently Julius has been wanting to do this for years, according to our hosts. For the occasion, they brought in one of the city's top Scotch experts from the Seven Grand bar in downtown Los Angeles. Guests mingled around the pool, sampling Middle Eastern delicacies before adjourning to the family room for the Scotch-tasting. I had no idea there was such a variety of unique single malt Scotch whiskeys! Afterwards, we were invited to stay for dessert, a medley of three cakes, spelling out the words, "All Hail Julius".
Among the guests were many old friends we originally met through Julius, including Designer Ron Fields, Woodbury University's Rose Nielsen, L.A. Magazine's Chris Nichols and his lovely wife, Charlene, Chris Alexander from the Getty Research Institute, Linda Dishman, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Conservancy, Jim Heimann, Executive Editor of Taschen America (Julius' publisher) and his wife Rolleen, Neutra Scholar Barbara Lamprecht, our neighbor Guy Vidal (DesignVidal) and of course, Julius' daughter, Judy McKee. Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge dropped in for a "Hail Julius" salute.

Besides our hosts, we were introduced to Michael Stern from Palm Springs (Michael hosted last year's Palm Springs Modernism event) and Craig Krull, owner of the gallery in Santa Monica that exhibits Julius' work.