Favorite Photos From Descanso Gardens, December 2018!

Purple Flowers
All Photos By Gail

On my last full day in California, I spent a couple of late afternoon hours strolling through the very beautiful Descanso Gardens, a 150-acre botanical garden located in the La Cañada Flintridge area of Los Angeles. The daylight was already starting to fade, but I got some good shots of the many varieties of gorgeous flowers that are still blooming even in late December. Enjoy!

Camellia Bush

Descanso is well-known for their signature pink Camellias, of which there are numerous varieties.

Pink and White Camellia

Of course, I love anything that is pink. This one has a tiny wound on one petal, but its beauty is unspoiled.

Pink Camellia

Pink and White Camellia

You would almost think you are in Hawaii when you see flowers like this!

Prismatic Star

For the Holiday season, Descanso hosts a special evening event called Enchanted Forest of Light, which competes with the numerous Chinese Lantern Festivals going on at the LA Zoo, the LA Arboretum, and elsewhere. This prismatic star is just one of the many added features that help to transform the nighttime garden into fantasy wonderland for this always sold-out event!

Prismatic Shape in Garden

I’m guessing that this prism is illuminated from within once the sun sets.

Red and Peach Roses

While the beds are not necessarily lush at this time of year, the Roses are still in bloom and looking good!

Red and White Rose

Pale Pink Rose

I love how the petals of this delicate pink bloom are almost transparent.

African Daisy

This flower is called an African Daisy.

Yellow Snapdragon

These Yellow Snapdragons have a tiny visitor!

Yellow Chrysanthemums

Yellow Chrysanthemums!

Red Thistle

Red Thistles – gorgeous!

Daffodils

Daffodils!

Pink Berries

I don’t know the proper name of this tropical-looking plant with its tiny pink berries, but I have seen one like it at the NYBG in the Bronx.

Blue Purple Iris

Purple Irises!

Descanso Gardens is Located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011.

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Eye On Design: Beaded Vest By Marcus Amerman

Beaded Vest
All Photos By Gail

This elaborately Beaded Vest (2013) was inspired by the catalogs for the Burpee Seed Company, an online purveyor of gardening supplies. Whereas much Native American beadwork features flat, abstract designs, Marcus Amerman (Choctaw, Born 1959) stitches each bead individually, alternating colors to create three-dimensional effects. The result is vivid imagery that leaps off the surface and defies our expectations of the medium.

Beaded Vest

Although the realism and commercial source of Amerman’s imagery are nontraditional, floral imagery has a long history within Native North American beadwork as an art form and a symbol of cultural resilience. Floral imagery emerged as a mainstay of beadwork during the fur trade, when beaded horse gear, bags, and clothing found a ready market among non-Native traders and settlers. As Native groups were disrupted and displaced by expansion, disease and war, floral imagery retained symbolic meaning known only to tribes, forming a visual language capable of surviving the destructive forces of empire.

Beaded Vest

Photographed in the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, CA.

Shark Attack Checkout Aisle!

Shark Attack Checkout Aisle
All Photos By Gail

Each year on New Year’s Eve day, I round up all of my not-yet-redeemed free product manufacturer coupons that are expiring at midnight on December 31st and head to Whole Foods and other neighborhood Supermarkets to load up on free stuff! Woo! This year’s haul includes ice cream, milk, frozen vegetable soufflés, and cottage cheese. Food just tastes better when it is free.

Shark Attack Checkout Aisle

Even better, imagine how excited I was  to notice this large Plush Shark Toy perched atop the illuminated sign on checkout register Number 9!

Shark Attack Checkout Aisle

Shark Attack, Bitches!

Modern Art Monday Presents: Portrait of Pat Whalen By Alice Neel

Pat Whalen
Photo By Gail

Over the course of a career that stretched from the 1920s to the 1980s, Alice Neel painted portraits of hundreds of friends, family members, lovers, artists art historians, writers, and political activists, believing that “people are the greatest and profoundest key to an era.” Seeking to express psychology above absolute physical likeness, she often used exaggerated colors and expressive brushstrokes and eliminated extraneous details in order to capture the inner lives of her subjects.

Neel was a longtime supporter of leftist causes. In the painting of Pat Whalen (1935), she depicts the Communist activist and union organizer for the longshoremen of Baltimore as a paragon of social justice. Whalen’s creased face and expression — along with a copy of the Daily Worker, the official newspaper of the Communist Party USA, resting beneath his large, clenched — suggest both a noble archetype of the blue-collar worker and an all-consuming commitment to the working man’s cause.

Photographed in the Whitney Museum in NYC.

Video Clip of The Week: Dandy Warhols, “Be Alright”

Happy New Year, Bitches — and welcome to the first Video Clip of the Week for 2019! It’s going to be a great year for some-extra cool songs and clips, I promise. It’s good to be back, though I admit that I am still a little woozy from the Holidaze. For the first three or four days after I returned from a fabulous Christmas vacation in Southern California, I felt like I was completely hungover with jet lag. And during that necessary reintegration into the New York City atmosphere, I had an unusually high number of vivid, hallucinatory dreams that seemed to segue loosely from one to another and another, which left me foggy and disoriented upon wakening, but nevertheless kept me wildly entertained. Dreaming is free.

And it is this desirable feeling of existing in a dream-like state that sealed the deal for me when choosing this week’s clip, which is called “Be Alright” from the Dandy Warhols — a band that managed to cling tenaciously to their major label record deal longer than I think anyone imagined possible. Kudos! Starring actress Jessica Paré, who played Megan Draper on Mad Men, and featuring cameos by all band members plus an assorted mix of their extended entourage, “Be Alright”  opens on a scene of Paré seated alone in a dimly-lit restaurant and symbolically squeezing the last drop of wine from the bottle before before she saunters off to the bar for more champagne, and then proceeds to journey from room to room, encountering  a formal dinner party, concert, photo shoot, and a recording session. Or something like that. Imagine if David Lynch directed an alt-rock version of Alice in Wonderland.

It turns out that the clip was shot entirely in one location, which is a a ten thousand square foot building purchased by the Dandy Warhols back in 2002 in what was then industrial NW Portland. The Odditorium, as it is now known, is the band’s headquarters, recording studio, and hang out for them and all their friends and fellow artists. The video was written and conceived by the award winning creative mind of Kevin Moyer, who explains, “I’ve been there many times and it is such a cool and ethereal place, full of psychedelia and gothic touches and auras. It just makes your head spin trying to take all of it in as you walk through the unique rock n roll space. What better way [to capture the essence of this music] than to use a head spinning media format to take the viewer on a magical journey through the Dandy Warhols‘ own space and sound, with the new single ‘Be Alright’ making things exactly that along the way.” Well said!

“Be Alright” can be found on the band’s new album, Why You So Crazy, due out on January 25th, 2019 on Dine Alone Records. Preorder the album via their Pledge Music campaign, and receive extra goodies, at This Link! Enjoy!

Dandy Warhols

Pink Thing The Day: Vintage Pink Plasma Sphere!

Pink Plasma Sphere
Photos By Gail

If you happen to live near, or be visiting, the city of Glendale, California — as I was over the Christmas Holidaze — and you also love Neon signs and other types of neon-based artworks, be sure to stop by the Museum of Neon Art. MONA is small museum, just one big room basically, with a rotating collection of vintage neon signs and other neon artworks, as well as temporary exhibits, and its admission price is $10 well-spent for this non-profit venue that also hosts Neon Art Making classes! Towards the rear of the museum gallery is small niche that’s easy to miss if you don’t explore thoroughly (it was pointed out to me by a docent) where you can see vintage plasma tubes and spheres, including the one seen in this post, on which the ubiquitous commercial Plasma Balls that we all owned in the 1980s (I still have mine) were based. Neato.

MONA (Museum of Neon Art) is Located at 216 S. Brand Blvd. (Corner of Caruso) in Glendale, CA 91204

Gregos Hiding in a Fire Alarm Box


Photos By Gail

Paying attention all the time is an interesting way to go through life, but you never know what you might find lurking inside of a derelict Fire Alarm Box. This painted plaster cast of a smiling face and hands is the work of street artist Gregos, who really gets around. You can see additional examples of Gregos‘ artworks which were also spotted by me in downtown Manhattan at This Link!

Photographed on the Southwest Corner of 18th Street and 6th Avenue (Across the Street from the Container Store) in Manhattan.

Grigos in Fire Box