Wednesday, February 27, 2013

a glimpse of the heaven

One night on Mt. Wilson about 1908, a short, powerfully built man with a handlebar mustache looked through the largest telescope in the world. What he saw transformed him, and would put Los Angeles at the forefront of a movement to make astronomy the people's science.

We may never know whether Col. Griffith J. Griffith saw the rings of Saturn or another celestial object with the then-new 60-inch reflector telescope, but we can be sure that it inspired his vision of a world-class observatory for the people of Los Angeles, allowing the masses a glimpse of the heaven

Above is a sketch made by architect John C. Austin in 1932 for a science facility.  He later went on to design the iconic Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

redefining “extravagant.”

The current luxury real estate market is redefining “extravagant.”

First, a 8,930-square-foot house on nine acres in Northern California found a buyer for a state record-breaking $117 million. Then word came that financier Gary Winnick is quietly asking $225 million for his trophy home on an 8.4-acre knoll in Bel-Air.

Now, a Beverly Hills estate is being offered for lease at $600,000 a month, dwarfing the $150,000 a month asked for summer months at Malibu’s finest properties or the $100,000 a month paid by singing legend Michael Jackson for his last residence in Holmby Hills.  

In three decades of selling Westside real estate, it is the highest price for a lease that listing agent Jeffrey Hyland of Hilton & Hyland has seen. “It may be the most expensive lease in the country.”

The Mediterranean-style Beverly House was built by local banker Milton Getz in the 1920s but is more commonly remembered for its former residents: publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst and actress Marion Davies.

Later, it served as a honeymoon spot for Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


At the famed corner of Hollywood & Vine, there isn’t much left to see of Hollywood’s heyday but there is at least one instantly recognizable landmark near that intersection: the Capitol Records building, located on Vine Street, just north of Hollywood Boulevard. Capitol Records was the first West Coast based record company, and it promoted many famous recording stars such as The Beatles, the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Duran Duran, Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, and the list goes on.

Since 1956, Capitol Records has been located in the world's first circular office building. It has been said that the 13-story high-rise was purposely designed to resemble a stack of vinyl records topped by a stylus. (Rumor has it that Nat King Cole was the one who first suggested the unique design of the building). At the base of the building's southern face (overlooking a parking lot) is a large, colorful mural, painted by artist Richard Wyatt and titled "Hollywood Jazz." The mural features large portraits of Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Chet Baker, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan and several other jazz greats. Unfortunately, this wonderful work of art has been allowed to fade badly in recent years (see photo above). However, the photos below were taken many years ago when the mural was in its prime. Although memories of the old Hollywood have faded (along with he mural), the Capitol Records building still remains as one of the last original Hollywood landmarks.

P. S. -- The mural is being restored.

Monday, February 18, 2013

On King !  On you Huskies!

In 2012 at 25 years of age, Dallas Seavey became the youngest musher to ever win the Iditarod.  The Iditarod is considered to be the Granddaddy of all Mushing Events and is a 975-mile sled dog race across some of the nastiest and most difficult terrain in Alaska.

Seavey, who is the son of 2004 Iditarod Champion Mitch Seavey, spent some time in the Marquette, Michigan area training as a wrestler for a short time  at the US Olympic Education Center at NMU before shifting his focus to mushing on a full time basis.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Tesla's electric Model S is a truly competitive premium sedan

The Tesla Model S may be a silent car, but other automakers will no doubt hear it coming.

In its first crack at a premium sedan, the Silicon Valley electric-car maker has matched or beaten the likes of the Audi A7 or Mercedes-Benz CLS — products of a century of German engineering. Similarly packaged as a sleek four-door coupe, the Model S delivers the performance and polish implied by its $89,770 price.,0,6028264.story

Friday, February 08, 2013

New Billion-Dollar Project Proposed For Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles got a big boost this week with a proposal for a $1-billion hotel, office and retail project. The project from Korean Air is being developed by Thomas Properties Group. The two skyscrapers would replace the Wilshire Grand hotel and adjoining offices being used by Korean Air. The project would be the first time a South Korean developer has created a project this large in the U.S.

Los Angeles architect David Martin, a principal at AC Martin Partners, designed the towers which may have a photovoltaic skin to create solar power. One tower will host a 40-story hotel with as many as 700 rooms and several floors of condominiums. The other taller tower will be a 60-story building offering over a million square feet of office space and a plaza and shops on the ground level. What's really amazing is that this would be the first major high-rise office building constructed in Los Angeles since 1992.
"Pi" is an otherworldly experience of exceptional power that deserves its place in the sun

Somehow, "Life of Pi," even with 11 Oscar nominations — only "Lincoln," with 12, has more — seems as lost at sea as its Indian teen and Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. The film is finding an audience, especially overseas, but director Ang Lee's mystical work has dropped out of the conversation on the awards front. Honestly, I don't care about that any more than Joaquin Phoenix does, but I do wish that this finely adapted literary hit was causing more of a stir in Hollywood. Screenwriter David Magee managed what many thought impossible in adapting Yann Martel's novel. Newcomer Suraj Sharma was exceptional at portraying the shipwrecked Pi with all the pathos — and pique — you might expect of a teen with the odds stacked against him. The effects folks worked wonders putting real bite into Richard Parker's growl. But it was the director's imagination that brought this grand adventure to visually stunning life. With its groundbreaking 3-D, "Pi" is an otherworldly experience of exceptional power that deserves its place in the sun.

Monday, February 04, 2013

$120 Million 19-Story Apartment Tower in Downtown Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, CA - Related California started construction on a $120 million, 19-story apartment building at 225 N. Grand Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets, the first residential phase of its Grand Avenue Project. With 271 residences, including 20 percent affordable apartments, the building will bring the first apartments to Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles in more than a decade and add 500+ new residents. The project will create 417 construction jobs over the next two years.

'White Zombie' starring Bela Lugosi comes to Blu-ray

The 1932 movie with 'Dracula' star Bela Lugosi as a sugar mill owner with a zombie workforce is on Blu-ray with a new digital restoration. 

 A year after his phenomenal success in 1931's "Dracula," Bela Lugosi delivered another iconic portrait of evil in the low-budget horror film "White Zombie." A new digital restoration of the film has just been released on Blu-ray. Lugosi plays Murder Legendre, the ruthless owner of a sugar mill in Haiti who uses zombie workers. He falls for a young bride-to-be (Madge Bellamy) and uses his black magic powers to make her his zombie lover. Considered to be the first Hollywood production featuring zombie characters, "White Zombie" has grown in reputation over the decades.

 Pictured: "The Black Cat" with Bela Lugosi, left, and Boris Karloff.,0,7700384.photogallery 

Saturday, February 02, 2013

The Magic Castle, one of LA’s most unique supper clubs, celebrates 50 years as a hub for magicians in Hollywood and magic.

Perched on a hill above Franklin Avenue, the castle has become a mecca for magicians and magic lovers everywhere and popular LA attraction. Founded by Milt and Bill Larsen, who grew up in a family of legendary magicians, The Magic Castle first opened its doors in January 1963, and now has more than 5,000 members.

The private club is open to members, guests invited by members and visitors staying at the Magic Castle Hotel.

The current President of the Magic Castle is Emmy winning actor, Neil Patrick Harris, a lifelong magician and magic enthusiast.

“It’s a remarkable feat for any club– for anything–to last 50 years,” Harris said in a statement. “We are all incredibly lucky to have Milt Larsen, not only as cofounder and designer and creative force behind the castle, but because he’s still making improvements, sharing stories and carrying the torch.”
El Monte's Time Piece

Time Piece: Iconic sculpture by Donald Lipski frames the entrance to the new El Monte Bus Terminal, which recently opened to the public.

Photo by Luis Inzunza.

Wave of bamboo ripples across desert garden

Landscape contractor Scott Sohn recalled the day when landscape architect Wayne Connor showed him a pencil sketch and asked for his opinion.

“I had to step back and say, ‘What the heck is that?'” Sohn said, chuckling.

That was the Bamboo Wave, a key element of a plant-free garden by a guesthouse in Rancho Mirage.

In a region where the temperatures hit 120 in the shade, a garden that requires no water and no fried-plant replacement is practical, but practicality was merely a side benefit to the goal here: an unusual design to help the guesthouse entry look and feel different from other parts of a large property.,0,1648831.story

"Refurbished Airstreams showcase small-space living as lodging"

What is it about Airstream design that continues to engender such passion more than 80 years after the trailer first appeared?

Is it the alluring, streamlined aluminum shell? The cozy interiors? The nostalgia for a simpler era?

“It’s a part of American culture that transcends time,” said architect Matthew Hofmann, 29, who last month opened an Airstream hotel consisting of four tricked-out trailers parked midtown at the Santa Barbara Auto Camp  off De La Vina Street. “It symbolizes style and adventure. There is something very fundamental about getting in your car and driving across country. It’s in our blood.",0,2102098.story


The Broadway revival of “Evita,” costarring Puerto Rican pop singer Ricky Martin, closed Saturday night -- and it was squarely in the red.  It hadn’t earned back its $11-million investment, according to Bloomberg News.

With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, “Evita” -- which was also a 1996 feature film starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas -- is a high-profile musical brand by now; it might have seemed a sure-fire success,  especially with pop star power behind it.  But the production -- which also starred Argentinian performer Elena Roger as Evita -- may have set its sights too high.,0,5804944.story

Friday, February 01, 2013

unfinished Miles Davis

by =Bobsmade



The Gatekeepers will surely be one of the most widely and hotly discussed films of the year.

Since its stunning military victory in 1967, Israel has hoped to transform its battlefield success into the basis for long-lasting peace. Simply put, this hasn’t happened: 45 years later, violence continues unabated while the mistrust between both sides increases daily. In what can only be called an historic achievement, filmmaker Dror Moreh has brought together six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s Secret Service, who reflect on their successes and failures to maintain security while responding to the shifting politics and imperatives of the “peace process.” Each man weighs in on topics ranging from preemptive strikes to confronting terrorists both Palestinian and Israeli; their thoughts and responses are candid, well-informed and rarely short of remarkable. An insider’s guide—and what insiders!—to five decades of Israeli history, The Gatekeepers will surely be one of the most widely and hotly discussed films of the year.