“She glances at the photo, and the pilot light of memory flickers in her eyes.”
~
Frank Deford

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spooky

A week ago I attended a volunteer appreciation event at the old Mack Sennett Studios in the Silver Lake section of LA.  The studio has had many incarnations since it was built in 1916 - movie production, backdrop paint shop, plus some non-film related businesses.  It's been renovated now and has two soundstages available for rental.  At the end of our event, one of the employees led us on a tour of the building's two levels of basement, showing us old props and equipment and telling us stories of ghosts and strange unexplained happenings!  It was a lot of fun :)  Here are some photos from the tour - can you spot any spooks?










Friday, July 4, 2014

4th of July

Sorry for being AWOL; I know it's been awhile.  Just needed a little break from posting.

I love the 4th of July - I'm very proud of my country and being an American.  I put up flags and listen to some patriotic music and view some fireworks in the evening if I can.  I also invite people over for a BBQ - today was beef & pastrami sliders and lamb burgers - yum!

Here are a few photos from today - hope your day was fun, too :)







Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains

Most of the Santa Monica Mountain range falls in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.  The park's headquarters is located in Calabasas at King Gillete Ranch.  King Gillete (yes, that was his real name) was famous for having popularized the concept of a safety razor.  In the 1920s he bought the ranch and had the well-known architect Wallace Neff design a mansion and several other buildings on the property.  After he died, the ranch was bought and sold several times until being purchased by several conservation agencies and is now the location of the park headquarters and visitor center.

I've been wanting to stop in and see the buildings and hike a bit (I often pass the exit on Hwy 101), but never had the time.  So i decided to make a special trip early on Sunday (to avoid traffic!) and check it out.  As you'll see, it's a beautiful little slice of Southern California landscape, with rolling hills, live oak trees, and wildflowers - with the added bonus of some classic architecture thrown in.

If you're interested in visiting, here's a good website:
http://www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=670

Enjoy the sunshine!




The front entrance of the main house has been paved over for official vehicle parking -
I'm sure it was much prettier back in the day.











The view from Inspiration Point.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wilshire Blvd Temple

Happy May to you all.  The year is almost half over - how did that happen??

A week ago I went on a tour of the Wilshire Blvd Temple organized by the LA Conservancy.  The Temple has just reopened after a two year, $47.5M renovation project.  The synagagogue had been the victim of "benign neglect" and it was a real act of faith to spend the money on renovation rather than tearing it down and building something new.  But of course, those of us who love historic architecture are very happy that they did.

The Temple was built in 1929 by the wealthy movers-and-shakers of the LA Jewish community:

Jewish merchants and bankers contributed toward the $1.5-million cost of the sanctuary, but movie money provided much of the synagogue's flash and dazzle.
The 100-foot-high dome was the gift of Hollywood tycoon Irving Thalberg. The dome is inscribed with the Shema Yisrael, a declaration of monotheism. 
Louis B. Mayer provided the east- and west-facing stained glass windows, while Carl Laemmle donated the eight cast-bronze chandeliers designed to resemble ancient prayer spice boxes.
Most theatrical and tradition-altering of all were the Warner murals (painted on canvas affixed around the interior walls), the gift of Harry, Jack and Abe Warner in memory of their brothers Milton and Samuel. The drawings depict Jewish history from creation to the discovery of America, portrayed as a figure holding the torch of liberty.
The tour was really amazing - they had presentations by all the major players involved in the renovation - the contractors, architects, conservationists, stained glass rebuilder, landscapers, etc.  It was my perfect combination of technology and art!

Here are some photos from the tour - most of them are of the sanctuary, which is very beautiful.  Enjoy!















Saturday, April 19, 2014

Purim in Israel

This is the first time that I was able to celebrate Purim for two days!  Since my sister lives in a suburb of Jerusalem, she celebrated Shushan Purim on Monday.  But I persuaded her to go with me to Bnei Brak on Sunday to enjoy everybody else's Purim, too.  It was fun to walk around and see all the kids in costumes - also the yeshiva boys acting a little crazy :)  We went into Jerusalem on Monday morning also and saw similar activities and costumes, before coming home and having our Purim meal with her family.

So this post is mostly Purim costumes - people on the street are just passersby; kids inside are my sister's grandchildren.  Enjoy!