Monthly Archives: January 2017

LA’s Heart Attack

tomkellycalendargolden-dreams                                                                     Golden Dreams Calendar 1954

LA’s heart and soul is having an attack. The real heart is not Tinseltown, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Culver City, or Burbank, those centers of glitzy, glamour, and celebrity, which are the world’s image of Los Angeles. The blood-pumping center is the place of its diversity, its founding history, and creative spark. The area is ringed by four freeways with the Arts District nestled within, epitomizing its soul. Rapacious development is killing this essence.

Gentrified developments threaten to Manhattanize LA’s heart, making it solely a place of corporate uses and the abode of the wealthiest citizens. Diversity of people and use plunges. This is to the detriment of the vibrant place that was long the unrecognized center. Economic value increases, but cultural variety and mixture lose. The Grand Central Market, once a wonderful paseo between Broadway and Hill Streets, where cheap produce and products abounded for all, is now half empty, its grocery stalls priced out. Isolated food stands await pricier wine and cheese boutiques, while across the street the glass-atriumed Bradbury Building, LA’s seminal 1893 office building, is being considered for condominium apartments. Boyle Heights, once the neighborhood where Jewish and Japanese settlers could prosper, and Mexican Americans established their Southern California homeland amid “Iowa by the Sea,” where anyone not white wasn’t accepted, is vulnerable to house flippers buying up the Victorian homes.            meteor_brand_lemons_crate_label-courtesy-oviatt-library-csun                                         Fruit Crate Label by Western Lithograph Company

The Arts District established in the early 1990s is losing the artists who populated this once depressed warehouse zone and gave a new creative energy that recaptured the mythic forces in LA’s history. These warehouses and service structures stored the products moved into and out of the agricultural paradise that drew people west in the manifest destiny of America. Oranges and lemons shipped out of the sector’s railroad sidings. The emblematic fruit crate labels by anonymous artists were printed at Western Lithograph on Rose Street in the Arts District. Pianos and furniture brought by immigrants were stored in buildings like the Citizens Warehouse on the other side of the LA River Bridge from Santa Fe Railroad Depot. The depot was demolished in 1939 to be replaced by the Art Moderne masterpiece Union Station. These storage structures and the printing shop became the cheap studios for creative people in the last quarter of the 20th century. The printing shop in the early 21st century was demolished for apartments. The Citizens Warehouse was partially demolished for mass transit over the river, and what remains lies vacant.

tractionandthird               Apartments at the corners of Rose, Traction, and 3rd Street in the Arts District

In the center of the Arts District, near the location of the original Santa Fe Terminal, is a small hotel called the American. Often representing discrimination, it nevertheless embodies the spirit, the rich, and multicultural history of Los Angeles. After many years of neglect, The American is preserved, but the remodeling has turned an icon of possibilities into a fashionable nightly rental. Artist Stephen Seemayer created a film, “Tales of the American,” which tells the story of this hotel built in 1905 for African American railroad conductors and porters, who wouldn’t be allowed into LA’s larger and more prestigious hotels. Over 111 years of existence this small transient lodging with a bar on the ground floor has passed through many transformations while retaining it affordability and strange allure. During Prohibition it was a speakeasy. Japanese Americans took over the facility as Little Tokyo arose. World War II saw the Japanese internment and the hotel was sold to other ownership. The lodgers were workers in the produce district arising along Alameda, when trucks supplanted railroads as the primary commercial transportation.

deeprivergallerywithdanielmartinez-2                                      Deep River Gallery with Daniel Joseph Martinez

As the area around the hotel declined, its warehouses gradually vacated, and artists discovered the area. The American became access to the district. The bar became Al’s Bar, an internationally known venue of the punk rock scene, and art flourished on and in galleries of the American. Dustin Shuler erected his plane with a monumental nail to the façade of the building. “Two Ton Common” was used to attach the sculpture “Pinned Butterfly,” declaring the ascendency of an art community. A hotel gallery, Deep River, showed the work of provocateur, Daniel Joseph Martinez and allied artists to European acclaim. But as the 20th Century passed into the 21st Century, developers sensed money and descended on the area, newly proclaimed by the city as The Arts District. Gone are: Al’s Bar, Pinned Butterfly, the galleries in the American, AAA Art Gallery that showed drawing by Paul McCarthy, The Art Dock, the Drive-by Gallery in the Citizens Warehouse, Deep River, The Galleria by the Water, the Spanish Kitchen performance space, and the Waldenboyd Theater. The District Gallery, which showed the work of many Art District artists, fights to save and fund its lease in the new development, One Santa Fe, which lies where the old railroad terminal was, from the new owners who have raised the rent to a prohibitive level.

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The American about to become gentrified 2016

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The American in 1980 with “Pinned Butterfly”

Change driven by money always been LA’s mantra, but the shortsightedness discounts the creative and diverse cultural inclusiveness that flourished in the past, and could still flourish in the future, if not destroyed by unaffordability. Artists can’t compete with the money of the new urban settlers, nor could the big inexpensive creative spaces survive. This transformation is inevitable. Huge developments are planned in the expanded district. A 30-story development called Mesquite Place extending from 6th Street to 7th climbing over the railroad tracks to edge the river is in the approval process. All that can be hoped is that the Arts District is not swallowed up in towers and ersatz “loft” compounds. What might be demanded of the city is that it restricts the size of developments in old Arts District, perhaps by selling air rights. And perhaps some miracle might happen like what Michael Connelly imagined in his latest Harry Bosch detective novel, “The Wrong Side of Goodbye.”

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Proposed Mesquite Development at the 7th Street Bridge and the River 2016

“The Wrong Side of Goodbye” is an apt metaphor. The wrong side of progress is kissing goodbye to the artists, along with the outside the system galleries. The art market exemplified by the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel Gallery has descended on the Arts District. The chauffeur driven limousines of the collectors are not far behind. This is could be a good thing or a bad thing, but it will precipitate the loss of other artist-sponsored spaces. Michael Connelly spoke to this condition as detective Harry Bosch investigated the reality of a multi-billionaire heir hidden in the Arts District. The conclusion of the story imagines the creation of an organization that sponsors artists and artists’ affordable workspaces. If only Los Angeles, with its surfeit of multi-millionaires, were to make places for functioning artists and not concentrate only on the market value of the art they produce, the heart of Los Angeles would be a Mecca of cultural inventiveness that isn’t just media and movie driven.

Or we could hope that Hollywood history would remember The Arts District printing company building on Rose Street, which became the studio, where photographer Tom Kelly shot the calendar image of a nude, young starlet, named Marilyn Monroe. But do not expect it to happen. Miracles only happen in the movies. Time to pull down the Arts District signs.

OMR Downtown Hotel

Map of the Heart of Los Angeles

 

 

 

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Filed under Architecture, Art, Article, Arts District, Capitalism, Culture, Los Angeles

Twitler’s Raw Sewage

His mop of blonde hair is the toilet brush that churns the sewage of his brain vomited from his mouth.  The grass and roses around the White House will be covered in foul muck emitting an  odor of lies.

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A New Country

 

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California, Washington, and Oregon secede from the United States of America. California makes the border with Mexico a large garden that citizens of either country can cross and pick vegetables unimpeded. Washington turns the border with Canada into a huge sports ground where team and individuals can play without guards. Oregon’s border with Idaho is excavated and becomes the world’s largest trout fishing lake. Caliwashigon will join the Asian free trade zone, enter a Pacific Ocean non-aggression pact, and found the Pacific Alliance Treaty Organization (PATO). Official languages will be: English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, and Russian. Covering the capital and all military bases with tons of kimchee neutralizes North Korea. Hawaii invited to become part of the new state, if the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor is abandoned. Artists peacefully invade Arizona and the Colorado River is captured. The water supply to the repugnant and ugly city of Phoenix is cut off. A wall on the eastern side of the Colorado River is erected to keep all Trump supporters out of the multicultural west. Las Vegas is besieged with hundred dollar poker chips until it capitulates to California, and a stealth bomber levels the gold dildo tower of Trump to rubble. Corporate officers of American big business will be escorted to the eastern border in old schoolbuses, handed crayons, and given their freedom. Big agribusiness nationalized, and the farms divided up and given to those who wish to farm on a first-come-first-served basis. Farm size sustainability will be the criterion for subdivision of the fields. California’s military bases of the United States are blockaded. No agricultural products or bathroom supplies allow to enter. African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Islamic-Americans are allowed past the barricades as they wish. The remaining soldiers will have their Internet and television services denied until they surrender, and then they will be taken to the Arizona wall, given cheap cell phones, and released. Contributors to global warming sentenced to permanent exile in Death Valley with a case of bottled water. Nuclear weapons warehoused in the new country are defused. Caliwashigon is a nuclear free zone. The new sovereign entity banishes war. No violent actions against the united racist states, other than the pounding to dust of the Trump Tower will be tolerated or encouraged.

 

 

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The Inauguration of Donald Trump

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Congratulations America, and Republicans, whose lust for power is devoid of ethics, the LAST PRESIDENT of the United States will soon take power. Donald Trump, the criminal developer, sexual molester, racist, and the ego-maniacal TV cult personality, who believes winning is everything, losing is weakness, and those who opposes him are terrorists, will act as if he is an inevitable winner, and, will BLUNDER, like the insane xenophobic monster he is, into WWIII, one hundred two to four years from WWI. America will not be great again. It will be RUBBLE. I can’t bear to watch.

Here is a possible scenario. ISIS makes a terrorist attack on the crowds gathered at an American Professional Football Game, killing many. The United Stated carpet bombs Isis’ capital in Syria and invades with troops via Israel, after advice by national security advisory, Michael Flynn, who terms Islam, ”a cancer.” The bombing kills 1,000’s of Syrians. Syria declares war on the USA. Iran backs Syria and attacks invading American forces. Israel supports the United States and hurls an atomic bomb at Iran after agreement by Trump. Russia supports Iran and attacks Israel with nuclear weapons and invades the Baltic States. North Korea, siding with Russia attacks South Korea. Pakistan backs Syria and uses the opportunity to nuclear attack India. China, enraged by the destruction in North Korea and the US nuclear-armed fleet off its coast, invades Taiwan. America responds with nuclear attacks on Islamabad, Pyongyang, Beijing, and Moscow. Russia retaliates with a nuclear bomb on Washington. China destroys Los Angeles. WWIII commences. Armageddon happens. The earth is destroyed and nuclear winter begins.

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This IS and my last communication about this present day HITLER. Zieg Hell!!! I plan to enjoy the little time we have left for peace.

 

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