Tag Archive | California

Japanese Garden, Balboa Park, California

Japanese Garden Signage
All Photos By Gail

Even though I grew up in Southern California, there are a lot of tourist attractions I never had a chance to see when I lived there. These days, when I go back to visit my family and friends I try to check out some of the places that especially showcase what a naturally beautiful area California is (which of course I never appreciated until I moved to the concrete jungle of NYC).

Small Pagoda

On my most recent visit at Christmas, I had a fun time with my friend Sue at the Japanese Garden, located in Balboa Park in the city of Van Nuys. If you’re a fan of the fun Tattoo Artist reality competition series Best Ink, then you might recall the Japanese Garden from this season’s episode where the Best Ink contestants visited it to get inspiration and sketch during the “Design an Asian Tattoo” challenge.

Sculpted Tree

While the Japanese Garden is an ideal place to spend some quiet time enjoying nature, it has a constructive purpose as well as being beautiful to look at. The Garden is actually built on the site of the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, which was designed to produce reclaimed water that will meet the requirements of the California Department of Health Services and the County Health Department. The filtration process takes a total of about 11.5 hours, producing reclaimed water can be made available for specific reuse, with any excess being discharged to the Los Angeles River.

Garden with Stream

Japanese Garden Hot Pink Flower

These photos were all taken in December, just a few days before Christmas (during the spell of 75 degree, sunny days that Californians refer to as “Winter”), so you can imagine how much more lush and floral this place looks when things start to grow again in the spring.

Foot Bridge

In the uncropped version of the above photo, you can clearly see the reclamation plant in the background.

Stone Pagoda Statue

The Garden is also an ideal spot to practice your amateur nature photography skills!

Japanese Garden Tatami Room

This photo was taken from inside the on site Tea House.

Reeds Reflection

Waterfall

Bamboo
Wild Bamboo!

The Japanese Garden is Located at 6100 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys, California, 91406. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM, and Sunday from 10:00AM until 4:00PM (the last gate entry each day is at 3:15PM). The Garden is closed to the public on Friday and Saturday, on all LA County Holidays and if it rains within 24 hours of opening time and during open hours. It is suggested that you call (818)756-8166 on the day you wish to visit to make sure the Garden is open. Admission to the Garden is only $3.00 per person, $2.00 for Seniors 62+ and Children under 10. Exact change is appreciated.

Japanese Garden Koi Fish Mural
This Koi Fish Mural is painted across the walls inside the Visitors Center.

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Graffiti House, Venice Beach, California

Graffiti Houses, Venice Beach
Photos By Gail

This colorful Graffiti Covered building, Located at 815 Ocean Front Walk in Venice Beach, California, and visible from the boardwalk, is home to Bear Trap Studio. It is also known as the Bear Trap House. The artwork is by Street Artist Mario E.

Graffiti House, Venice Beach

Interior Shots of The Queen Mary, Long Beach CA

Queen Mary Hull Exterior
All Photos By Gail

It was a very hot and sunny day in late December when my sister and I visited the Queen Mary, docked at Long Beach, California. Formerly a luxury cruise liner specializing in North Atlantic crossings (between US and England) for the Cunard Line, the ship has been retired since 1967 and now has a permanent home at the Port of Long Beach, where it does a brisk business as a luxury hotel, special exhibit venue, event space (get Married on the Queen Mary!) and one of Southern California’s most popular tourist attractions.

Having been on several cruises myself, it was especially fun for me to explore the ship and appreciate how all of the interiors and finishes have been preserved in the ship’s original Art Deco design. While some people might say that these finishes and interiors should be modernized, on the contrary, I think it would be a shame to obliterate so many visual remnants of this ship’s rich history.

Wood Inlay Mural of the Ship
Wood Inlay Mural of the Ship

I have a background in architecture and interior design, so I found myself drawn to photographing a lot of interior details that some people might miss, but I think these photos will give you a good feel for the historic atmosphere on board the ship. It is no secret that the ship is haunted and, in fact, you can choose to purchase several different self-guided or guided tours which will clue you in on the history of the various ghosts and hauntings that figure into the Queen Mary’s personal story.

Bar with Haunted Piano
Bar with Haunted Piano (Far Right)

What I was reminded of most is the Overlook Hotel, made famous by Stephen King’s The Shining. I can only imagine how eerie it would be to roam the ship at night. This might be reason enough to investigate staying the night as hotel guest if that works with your plans.

Observation Bar and Deco Lounge
Observation Bar and Deco Lounge

RMS Queen Mary Porthole Display

Located around the ship are tons of display cases that hold items for the ships history, such as serving dishes, china, bar ware, furnishings and souvenirs from the time when the Queen Mary regularly transported passengers across the Atlantic.

Planter Display
This Deco Planter Flanks Two Rows of Glass Cases Filled with Historic Items

Dining Room Item Display

Each case has a write up on the background and history of each item.

Deco Ceiling Fixture
Deco Ceiling Fixture

Deco Pendant Light
Deco Pendant Light

Royal Gifts and Fashions

The Pendent light above can be found inside this very cool shop, Royal Gifts and Fashions, which sells dresses and other clothing and accessories, as well as jewelry and fun items similar to what you might find in a cross between a vintage clothing boutique and a Hot Topic. Very Fun!

Dragon Shoppe

The Dragon Shoppe is an tiny import store that sells all kids of imported chotskies, collectibles and souvenirs.

Miniature Tea Sets
Miniature Tea Sets Sold in The Dragon Shoppe

Entrance to Indoor Swimming Pool

This is the door that leads to to the ship’s indoor swimming pool. Although it is not accessible to the general public, I believe there could be a guided tour you could purchase that would take you through that area.

Ticket Office Exterior

The ship’s original Ticket  Office has been preserved with its original furniture, brochures and old fashioned office equipment. When the ship was functional, this is the place that passengers could go to book land transportation, trains or whatever they needed once the ship docked in the UK.

Doors to Queens Salon

The Queen’s Salon is still used for banquet and wedding functions.

Doors to Non-Operating Elevator

These elevators are no longer in use.

Childs Play Room Replica Signage

A few of the public rooms have been preserved or recreated to show them as they looked more than fifty years ago. One of those rooms is the Children’s Play Room. I imagine that children did have a nice time playing in this room, but to me it seemed rather sterile and reminded me more of a Pediatrician’s waiting room from the sixties.

Childs Play Room Interior

I bet there are some ghosts in here.

Grand Salon

This is the Grand Salon, which is massive, and where the famous Sunday Champagne Brunch is served. You can find out more about Sunday Champagne Brunch aboard the Queen Mary at This Link.

Grand Salon Mural Close Up

If you can’t afford $50 for brunch, the ship has many excellent restaurants, including the Promenade, where we enjoyed a fantastic BBQ Pulled Chicken Flatbred Pizza and an awesome Club Sandwich! 

I had a great time exploing The Queen Mary and recommend you check it out when you are in Southern California. Find out more about all of the different tours and attractions that the Queen Mary has to offer and plan your trip by visiting This Link!

Jim Morrison Mural, Venice Beach, California

Jim Morrison Mural
Photo By Gail

Painted by muralist Rip Cronk, this likeness of a microphone holding, shirtless Jim Morrison can be seen on the side of a three story building located at 1811 Speedway and 18th Place in Venice Beach, CA. Originally painted in 1991, Cronk touched up the painting in the Summer of 2012, creating an vibrant orange background over what has previously been both a darker blue color and the building’s natural white brick. The mural is a must-see for Doors fans if you happen to be in the area.

Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Gingerbread Shop

Pink Gingerbread Shop Front View
Photos By Gail

Here at The Worley Gig, we are always on the hunt for cool Pink Things to bring our readers, and here is a good one. The Yucaipa-based Gingerbread Shop was spotted by me a few days after Christmas at downtown Riverside’s Festival of Lights, where they’ve parked for at least the last three years. The Google informs me that this Bright Pink A-frame pop-up bakery is an offshoot of a bakery at Santa’s Village (a small park with kiddie rides that I recall visiting as a child), and for a time was a fixture at the Inland Center in San Bernardino. The shop serves up delicious desserts, including cinnamon rolls, apple crisp and, of course, gingerbread cake and gingerbread men, as well as hot beverages. The Gingerbread Shop is located on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall, on the north side of Mission Inn Avenue. Unfortunately, the Festival of Lights runs only through January 4th, 2014, so you’ll have to wait for next year to check it out!

Pink Gingerbread Shop

Blue Gorilla at Venice Beach

Blue Gorilla Venice Beach
Photo By Gail

This Blue Gorilla perched atop an archway on Market Street in Venice Beach, California was painted by artist Isabelle Alford-Lago. Apparently, his name is Vincent. Find out more about Isabelle and her work at This Link.

Happy Birthday, Dee Dee Ramone!

Dee Dee Ramone
Image By Dorian Cope

Dee Dee Ramone (born Douglas Colvin), Bassist and primary Songwriter for The Ramones was born on this day, September 18th, in 1951. Dee Dee died of a drug overdose June 5th, 2002. He is buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California, not far from his former Ramones’ bandmate, Johnny Ramone.

Yes, It Exists: Surfing Monopoly Game

Surfing Monopoly Game
Surf’s Up! (Photo By Gail)

In this Surfing Edition of the globally popular board game, the 6 collectible pewter tokens are a Surfer, Woodie, Flip Flop, Beach Cruiser, Shark and Surf Wax. Bitchin’!

Photographed by me at Tom’s Toys on Honalulu Street in beautiful downtown Montrose, California!

Ten Cool Things I Saw at the Huntington Library

Huntington Library Flamingo Signage
Huntington Library Signage Featuring Original Audubon Drawing

The Huntington Library, contrary to what you might deduce from its rather literal name, is a former private estate property located in San Marino, California that now hosts a vast and mind blowing art collection and multiple, unique botanical gardens and sculpture collections, in addition to housing one of the largest and most complete research libraries in the United States. Seriously, the place is amazing. You could spend an entire day there and not get bored.

I spent an afternoon at the Huntington Library this past December and had the best time. Here are some photos I took to give you an idea of what you might see if you decide to visit.

Huntington Library Pinkie
Pinkie By Thomas Lawrence (1794)

Much of the Library’s collection of paintings centers around 18th-century English portraiture. Pinkie, one of the most famous paintings of its time, hangs directly across the room from Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy. It is really hard to avoid being moved by their beauty and profound emotional pull.

Huntington Library Blue Boy
Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough

Huntington Library Art Nouveau Lighting

Many of the interior furnishings and fixtures in the main house/gallery remain from the time it was inhabited by its original owners, Henry and Arabella Huntington. You can see from the above light fixture that they had exquisite taste.

Huntington Library Pink Ceramics Case

Mrs. Huntington was a dedicated collector of fine hand-painted china. There are several large rooms entirely devoted to showcasing her collection.

Huntington Library Mother of Pearl Inlay

Because the Huntingtons were ridiculously wealthy, they traveled the world and added pieces to their collection from the countries they visited. The chest that flaunts this insanely ornate Mother of Pearl inlaid design is from Japan.

Huntington Library Main House from Marble Statue Garden

The pristinely landscaped grounds leading up to the main house and gallery are flanked by a remarkably gorgeous marble statue garden. Yes, rich people really used to live this way.

Huntington Library Marble Statue Gazebo

Huntington Library Marble Statue Fountain

I love this large fountain, which bookends the sculpture garden.

Huntington Library Rainforest Dome

It should not surprise anyone that the Library grounds are home to an indoor Rainforest.

Huntington Library Japanese Garden Lake

They also have a huge Japanese Garden which features a large pond, statues, sculptures, a tea house, bridges and topiary.

Huntington Library Teddy Bear Topiary

Huntington Library Warhol Brillo Boxes

Last but not least, there is small collection of Contemporary Art which includes pieces by some of my favorite artists, such as Andy Warhol, bringing the historical art experience full circle.

The Huntington Library Art Collection and Botanical Gardens is located at 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108. Phone (626)405-2100 or visit their Website for hours and admission information.