Sunday, June 7, 2009

Glendale Blvd: Spain Bullfighting Mural

After that small chronic break that was the last post, I'm back to my photos of Glendale Blvd.

Just past the Geometric Fields and the Strange Symbols is the restaurant Spain. I've been here once, and I wasn't totally impressed, and I don't think I'm alone in that opinion.

But while the food at this place isn't that great, I do like this mural of the blond bullfighter thrusting his pelvis into the side of the bull that seems to be floating on another plane with swords swinging from it's side like laser beams.

Speaking of bullfights, for those that are interested there is a bloodless bullfight that takes place in LA. It's down in the Portuguese section of Artesia (LA has a section for everyone) and I checked it out about three years ago. Instead of using swords, they have wooden dowels with Velcro on the end and the bull has a patch of fabric strapped to his back. A matador goes around planting the Velcro sticks on the bull's pad until the bull gets tired and kind of just chills out. The LA Times actually just ran a story about it recently because the group Animal Cruelty Investigations called the cops on the event.

I thought the event was really cool. The fight itself takes place in this small arena built right in the middle of this totally normal LA neighborhood. They had really cheap booze and great Portuguese pork sandwiches, all of which were being sold by a couple of neighborhood dads out of Igloo coolers. It was pretty great.

While I didn't think the animals were treated all that great, it was the young men who would get the bull back in the pin after the fight who took the worst beating. What would happen is eight or so guys would come out in these matador outfits and stand in a single-file line in front of the bull. The bull would charge them and they would all pounce on it, one on the horns, a couple on the sides, and one dude would hold the bull's tail. And every time this happened, it seemed like one guy would get really fucked up by the bull. From what I could tell these were local guys who did this to be macho.

Here's a video that illustrates exactly what I'm talking about.

Artesia Bullfights,

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Glendale Blvd: The Medicinal Marijuana Report

I feel like I have really gone over Glendale Blvd. with a fine tooth comb. However, a series of institutions went under my radar and were recently brought to my attention by the excellent Atwater blogs Atwater Village Newbie and

Apparently, there are five medicinal marijuana joints on the little stretch of Glendale between San Fernando and the Glendale-Hyperion Viaduct, which is roughly a mile long. And a sixth one is coming.

The current five are:

L.A Collective
, 3401 Glendale Blvd Unit B
(which looks like someone just selling pot out of his house)

Friendly Collective
, 3405 Glendale Blvd

Global Meds Collective
, 3425 Glendale Blvd

, 3106 Glendale Blvd

Accurate Services Medical Dispensary
, 3429 Glendale Blvd

The sixth one isn't open yet (it's just hearsay at this point), but it could be at 3229 Glendale Blvd. where the old House of a Thousand Fabrics used to be.

Glendale Blvd: A little stretch of road that is as wholesome as can be, with a farmer's market, mom and pop stores, and apparently a shitload of pot. Classic LA.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Glendale Blvd: Geometric Fields and Strange Symbols

In LA, and I suppose in many other cities, a freeway can act like a canyon or a river, dividing the landscape so that two distinct ecosystems grow up on either side of it. For Silver Lake and Echo Park, that dividing element is the 2 Freeway. Once you go under the 2, you leave the storybook land of quaint little churches and Art Nouveau houses, and you enter, for lack of a better term, Shitsville.

Now this stretch of Glendale Blvd. isn't all bad. For example, right when you go under the 2 you are met by these two cryptic murals.

First is this geometric field mural. I think this mural is really cool, particularly how it is overlapped with the dangling plants, so it really hacks me off that it was tagged. I guess someone was driving by and said:
"Shit, you know what would be cool? What if we got a couple of gallons of turquoise paint, went over to that really cool mural, and threw the paint straight out of the can?"

"What if we did exactly what you said, but used the paint to spell wop?"

"Yes! Wop! That's brilliant! Let's go!"
And this was born:

Just past the tagged-geo-mural, is this smaller piece on an embankment.

I like to think of this mural as a flash board of awesome tattoo ideas. All you need to do is put a grid behind any of these images and they would be great to have on your ankle forever.

Thinking of bad/awesome tattoos on your ankle: In Houston where I grew up there was this tattoo parlor that had a policy of giving girls a free tattoo if their boyfriend got one. The only catch was that you had to pick from one of six dinky designs. There was a mushroom, a four-leaf clover, and some other such crap. Now this place was frequented by a bunch of underage punk-rock kids, and what happened is all these punk-rock girls ended up getting one of these six tattoos. So you'd go to a punk show and there would be ten girls with the same crappy mushroom tattoo on their ankle. I had a good friends who was one of those girls. She also had the misfortune of getting her boyfriend's name tattooed under the mushroom, which she had to carve out later with an Xacto knife.

Mixed in with all these random symbols was the equally cryptic markings of LA DWP on the sidewalk. I know both the mural and the DWP markings mean something to someone, but for the rest of us, we can only speculate. It's like hieroglyphics from two different dynasties.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Glendale Blvd: Saint Teresa of Avila Church

Just before Glendale Blvd. goes under the 2 Freeway, you pass this unassuming but gorgeous church, Saint Teresa of Avila.

I think this little church, built in 1929, as well as houses like the Gaudi-inspired house I wrote about yesterday, show that Silver Lake used look like a magical little village with fantastic little cottages, churches and stores. It's no wonder that Walt Disney set up his first studio not far from here on Hyperion, the city must have looked like something out of a fairytale

For those non-Catholics, such as myself, St. Teresa of Avila was a Spanish nun who lived between 1515 and 1582, just as America was being explored by Europeans and the Lutheran reformation was storming across Europe. She is remembered for her writings and teachings on prayer and for founding the Discalced Carmelites, a religious order focused on a simple life devoted to prayer.

I like this picture of St. Teresa painted by François Gérard in 1827. She has a look of desire in her eyes.

Next to the church was this garden, with a sculpture of Juan Diego showing his cloak with the image of the Virgin on it to the Spanish bishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga.

At some point the sculpture must have fallen forward and broken the hands.

I thought this colorful mosaic inside the cloak was an interesting touch.

The parish has a school associated with it that is located across the street. The school, opened in 1949, is of course a Catholic school and serves grades K-8.

The church is absolutely gorgeous inside. I couldn't take great photos of it, but here are some details as well as a video that I think gives you some idea.

The church nave is open everyday, and you are free to visit it yourself if you wish.

Not even the Catholic church was immune from swine flu. This photo was taken on 5/2/09.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Glendale Blvd: Loma Vista Gaudi House and Heart Light Pole

Now this apartment building is not strictly on Glendale Blvd., but this blog isn't about being dogmatic. I could see it from Glendale, so I photographed it.

This place is really amazing. Known as the Burrows Residence, it's tucked back in a hill off of Glendale Blvd. at 2348 Loma Vista Place. I've passed it a million times thinking it was built by some kook in the 80's who wanted a Gaudi-inspired house. Actually it was built in 1921 by Chicago architect Charles F. Whittlesey (1867–1941), a contemporary of Gaudi (1852–1926).

If you're unfamiliar, Gaudi (pictured right) was a Spanish architect often associated with Art Nouveau and who was known for his organic forms and his use of mosiac techniques.

Here's some more info about the house I got from
Chicago Architect Charles F. Whittlesey, was an early proponent of a distinctively 'southwestern' style of architecture which combined native elements and materials from Spanish and Indian culture; resulting in a style loosely referred to as 'Spanish-Pueblo'. Other noteworthy early proponents of the style include Bertram Goodhue, Charles Lummis and Louis Curtis.

Originally built as a duplex in 1921, The Burrows Residence stands in striking departure from Whittlesey's main body of work. Fanciful and playful, the Burrows Residence is no doubt inspired by the influence of Antoni Gaudi, the great Barcelona architect, a contemporary of Whittlesey's.
For some great pictures of Whittlesey's other work in Los Angeles, check out the excellent LA architecture site

One of my favorite details was that the wall above was on one side of the driveway and the wall below was on the other side of the driveway. I love the way the blue tiles mirror the blue flowers.

At the corner of Loma Vista and Glendale is this light pole covered in hearts. Who did this and why can't they make all light poles this cute?

Although, black light poles may be a little dangerous. But that's how I like things, cute but potentially deadly.

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Glendale Blvd: Geometric Concrete Art Yard

There's landscaping, there's xeriscaping, and then, at 2677 Glendale Blvd., there's this. I'm going to call it cretescaping.

A lot of people in LA trade in their front yards for a slab of concrete on which to park their cars. I hate this practice because it makes the city a heat-reflecting, water-deflecting, man-made desert. But the people at this house said, "I would really like to come out every morning and see something like 70s super graphics, but in painted concrete. Can we do that?" You can, and you did. I like it.

So if it will end up looking like this, go ahead and create a paved front yard.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Glendale Blvd: Hallelujah Prayer Center Jesus/Sheep Mural

The Hallelujah Prayer Center is a Korean-oriented church. I'm not sure, but I think it's Pentecostal. Anyway, they've got a great mural.

Here's the front wall in detail:

I love the interplay between the painted imagery and the actual landscape.

Check out this little guy on the right side. He's hiding behind the painted bush as well as the actual bush. That's the work of a mastermind.

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