10 Things I Love about Los Angeles

Walt Disney Concert Hall
Walt Disney Concert Hall

I’m interrupting my stories about Scotland to celebrate my 600th post by doing a little catch up on what’s going on in my life at this moment.

Today I’m in downtown L.A. I’m here to attend BlogWorld Social Media Business Summit & New Media Expo (#BWELA)!  I’m really excited about the avalanche of workshops that I will encounter over the next 3 days and can’t wait to get started sorting out which ones I’ll attend in person and which I’ll listen to after the conference.

BUT, before I dive into the conference I wanted to share a little of what inspired me today.  You see, not so very long ago I lived in a suburb of L.A.  In fact I lived just about 40 miles north of here for 18 years.  And while we didn’t come into the “city” frequently, we did have a chance to enjoy the benefits occasionally.  I’m not really a city girl,  I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t want to live here, but I love visiting.  Something about the soaring skyline and bustling traffic energizes me.  I get the feeling that important things are happening here.  Deals are being brokered, historic decisions are being made and ideas emerge here that are changing the world.

These are just a few of the things that inspire me about L.A.:

  1. Driving past the iconic Capitol Records building
  2. Passing billboards about new TV shows and movies (do you see that in your town?)
  3. Enjoying dinner outdoors in November
  4. Landing on radio stations in 7 or 8 different languages
  5. The city skyline – it’s breathtaking
  6. Exit signs for Little Armenia, and Historic Filipinotown
  7. Realizing that the Pacific Ocean is just minutes away.
  8. Appreciating all the sculptures and great architecture in downtown
  9. Remembering that they have an “all news-all the time” radio station (AM1070). I miss that.
  10. Celebrating the fact that the L.A. Philharmonic plays regularly at two awesome venues – The Walt Disney Concert Hall (see below) and the Hollywood Bowl (one of my absolute favorites). I miss that too.

So here’s how my day went in this inspiring city…

I drove from the Burbank airport this morning and met my daughter and son-in-law for breakfast (which I don’t get to do nearly as often as I’d like).  Amy and Andrew are a couple of inspiring people too, but that story will have to wait for another time.  I enjoyed a few hours with them, then headed down to the hotel where I’ll be staying for the duration of the conference.

On the way there, I passed the AMAZING, Frank Gehry designed, Walt Disney Concert Hall just a few blocks from the hotel.  After checking in, it was such a gorgeous day that I decided to walk there.  If you’ve never seen it in person, you really should make a point to go.  I would love to take a tour and would especially love to attend a performance there.  I understand that the acoustics in the auditorium are nearly perfect.  Another fun tidbit is that there’s a small theater and gallery space in one corner of the Hall, called REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater).  I used to work at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) when REDCAT was being built and the staff and student body were anxiously awaiting it’s completion, so I have a bit of a vested interest in the place.

Anyway, here are a few photos of this awe inspiring complex.

Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater

The amazing thing is not so much imagining the building, but actually making it come to life with all those curves and waves.  It’s spectacular!

While there I stopped in the gift shop because these places are just dripping with culture and creativity.  I saw this great T-shirt and a bunch of other inspirational items, but it wasn’t really a shopping day for me, and I can’t really afford a $120 scarf no matter how beautiful it is, so I had to pass on all but a couple of little things that I picked up for Christmas gifts.

Music Tshirt
L.A. Philharmonic Tshirt

After dinner, I had a chance to go out and play a little with my camera and here’s a fun shot.

Los Angeles Downtown
Los Angeles Downtown

So now, it’s off to bed to rest up for 3 days of inspiration and information to come.

Have you ever been to Los Angeles?  If not, what do you find inspiring about your own town?

Hope to see you soon!

List #13 DIY’s I Want to Try

I’m sure there are dozens of DIY’s in my crafts binder, but right now my mind is nearly blank.  Let’s see if I can get it warmed up…

1. Tile mosaics – I have 2 perfect metal tables from Ikea that would look so lovely with mosaic tops.

2. Jewelry making – looks so sparkly…

3. Outdoor garden architectural art  – for when I have a garden.

4. Pebble patio, paths or flooring – love them!

5. Landscape design – want to re-design the whole back yard, but who knows when we can get it done.

6. Sewing tote bags out of Starbucks Coffee packets – I’ve been collecting them for a couple of years.  Hopefully this will be the year that I do it with my new sewing machine.

7. Sewing birds for my branch  (aren’t these wonderful?)

8. Mini-tin Advent Calendar – so many designs to choose from

9. Sewing lots of pillows in lots of colors so I can change things up around the house.

10. Creating wall art out of my photographs

I just visited a one of the gals from 30 Days of Lists and love what she’s listed!

Thanks for the inspiration, Chris!

So many projects…so little time…

Fort Myers, FL (Part 4) – Beautiful Music

When we went downtown for the First Fridays Art Walk in Fort Myers we had a chance to meet some of Alice’s friends, enjoy some delicious food, browse a few galleries and hear some great music!

These are a few of the friends that Alice meets up with to enjoy First Fridays and other night life around town.  They are a sweet bunch of folks.

While we were there we heard the legendary John Mooney play blues (slide) guitar for free at the Indigo Room!  He’s a pretty amazing musician as you can see from his website.  (There’s a photo of him playing with Bonnie Rait among other things).  Apparently he has family in Fort Myers, so he comes to see them and drops in at some of the local places to play.  Sorry that the photo is blurry.  I was using our table as a tripod and it kept getting bumped, but you get the idea.   Here’s a photo from his website.

After that we wandered down to have dinner at the French Connection Cafe.  The food was excellent and very reasonably priced.  Even though we had a pretty big storm earlier in the evening, the weather was perfect for eating outside.

Check out Alice’s Steak Salad.  Mmmm!

Later we stopped in at this Arts for ACT Gallery and Boutique set up to raise funds for (Abuse Counseling and Treatment) in the Fort Myers area.  See the beautiful blue scarf hanging over the partition?  That’s where I found MY beautiful GREEN hand-dyed silk scarf by Sara Long that I promptly purchased to bring home.  It was VERY reasonably priced too.  I loved all the quilted art and textiles here.

Alice has a friend, Kat Epple that was playing music at another gallery – Space 39 (also free to listen) so we headed over there to hear her music and meet more of Alice’s friends.  We learned that Kat’s music has won 8 Emmys for film scores and has been nominated for Grammys!  Pretty awesome, huh?  Unfortunately, I don’t know the names of the other 2 musicians, but they all played beautifully!  The guy on the right is playing a theramin.  You can go here if you want to hear what one sounds like.  It has something to do with radio waves…
Well we’re headed out to Naples today, so that’s all I have time for.  We had a really fun time at the Art Walk, thanks to our host and tour guide, Alice.

Fort Myers, Florida (Part 1)!

For those of you who don’t already know, I’m in Fort Myers with my mom and my sister, Diane on a short vacation to visit my mom’s sister, Alice.  Unfortunately, it’s after midnight here and we have a busy day planned tomorrow (and most every day that we’re here), so this has to be short and sweet.

I just couldn’t wait to post a couple of pictures of some of the things that we saw tonight when we went downtown to their First Friday Art Walk.  Yes, they have one too.  We’ll talk more about that later.

Right now you can admire this awesome art installation with words shining all over the sidewalk, building, pedestrians and …

…even on the trees!

I just LOVE it!  Alice didn’t really know the story behind the choice of the various words.  Some of them are definitely real words, but others look to be either made up or another language.  I haven’t had time to research it.  Let me know if you know anything about it.

Anyway, this is at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers.

Here’s a close up of the words below as well.

Later we went into this gallery that had some gorgeous textiles!

I found this beautiful hand-dyed silk green scarf for only $15!  What a fun souvenir to bring home as a reminder of the wonderful time that we’ve already had…and it’s only the first day here!

We also enjoyed some amazing music tonight, but that will have to be a post for another time.  In the meantime, do any of you know what a theremin is?  I can give you a hint.  It’s a musical instrument and we got to hear one tonight!  More on that to come so stay tuned…

Love the message in this art!
Check out this awesome art work that I saw when we were at the Second Saturday Coffee House last week downtown at St. George’s !

This is done by Derrick Kempf a local Phoenix artist.

Sometimes I have to admit that I don’t get some artwork. Sure, the colors and designs can be lovely or shocking or surprising, but it’s hard to get into the head of the artist to see where it all came from. I love this collage because it is so fun to look at and actually provides a positive message to everyone who sees it. These positive reinforcements would be a treasure to have in any room and I love the cottage/beachy casual feel of the piece. Be sure to click the pictures to enlarge so you can see the detail.

I would love to have a collage like this one for my family room wall. The promises and identity statements that it conveys are excellent reminders of how God sees us all the time.

Here’s another shot of some of his other work that was there. It was so nice to have all this great artwork to look at while the music was going on. Thanks Derrick, for sharing it with us.

Antiques Roadshow – what should I take?

Have you ever seen the TV show? I don’t watch it religiously, but I have stopped the remote once in a while to see what treasures they happen to be appraising that will make someone the next millionaire, or at least a little more comfortable in their retirement. It’s a fun show and the optimist in me cheers for those who find hidden treasures in unexpected places.
You may remember my announcement that I would be receiving 2 tickets to the Roadshow’s visit to our own town of Phoenix, AZ. I’m excited that I’ll be going with my friend, Linda whose home is filled with all kinds of collectibles. I can’t wait to see what she brings. August 1st is fast approaching and I’ve been trying to decide what to take to be appraised. I think I’ve made my decision, but not sure… These are the items I’m considering. Let me know what you think, please.

First option is to take photos of Terry’s mom’s mini-grand piano (above), that I mentioned previously on this post. Unfortunately, it’s too heavy and fragile to be taken down to the Roadshow location, so we would see if they can at least give us a little bit of info on it, just with photos.

I’m also considering this Roy Lichtenstein print. It was created specifically for donors who gave money to a 25th anniversary fund raising campaign for California Institute of the Arts, where I used to work. The only reason I have one is because I found some of them leftover in the attic at the school and they said I could keep a couple of them. Since Lichtenstein is fairly well known and has since passed away, I’m assuming these were printed in limited enough numbers that they may be worth something.

Next is this vintage camera that my brother brought home last year. I have no idea where he got it from, but it’s pretty cool, in that it folds down into this compact little case.

And last, but not least we have several very old books from Terry’s family. These 3 are the oldest.

The Silas Marner book is copyrighted 1909 and has the name Edith Lindberg written in pencil in the front. There are rumors that Terry’s dad is related to Charles Lindbergh (the aviator). You know how people used to change the spelling of their names back in the old days. Anyway, this one isn’t in bad shape. It has a photo of George Eliot inside, but no other illustrations or photos.

The other two are more worn and tattered, but more interesting to me.

Looks like the last copyright on the Tom Sawyer book is 1917. The pages are falling out of this one, but I love the full page black & white illustrations by Worth Brehm.

Gulliver’s Travels dates back to 1912 and has a note inside the cover: “To Billy – from Daddy – Xmas 39”. This one’s in a little better shape, with some full page color illustrations by Milo Winter.

So please give me your input on what I should take. I can only take 2 items and it’s a tough choice. Thanks!

A new form of art!
As mentioned before, we visited Terry’s mom, Carole, this weekend and while we were there she showed us this new piece of “OvenArt” that she created. Can you tell what it’s made of?

I asked her if she’d pose with it, but she declined, so I decided to do a few different views of it to help you truly appreciate the piece.

I love the abstract nature of it…the tentacle-like legs reaching out between the vertical metal bars. It almost looks like a jelly fish or some otherworldly creature. It think she should sell it.

Now can you tell what it is?

I’ll reveal the secret at the end of this story.

Terry has always told me the stories of when they were growing up, his mom used to store bags of potato chips in their oven because she didn’t have enough cabinet space to store them anywhere else. Every once in a while, she would forget that they were in there and turn on the oven to bake something. As you can imagine, it wasn’t long before things were smelling strangely, the room would fill with smoke and sometimes, if she was really busy (and distracted) they even caught on fire. Fortunately nothing else in the house went up in flames.

Now, I must say, in her defense that taking care of a family with 6 kids (5 of whom were rambunctious boys) had to be so much more than a full time job. You can’t really blame her for overlooking a measly bag of potato chips in her busy day.

Have you figured out the artwork yet?

It’s actually a couple of plastic container covers melted down thru her oven rack. She put them in there because she didn’t have room anywhere else for them. Sound familiar?

It’s nice to know that she can laugh at herself though. We love her for that.

I really do think she could sell it.