Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy/NYC - Neighborhoods News: What the Major Networks Aren't Showing You

A cake that washed up in Brooklyn.  From the New York Daily News,  photo by Julia Xanthos.  If you know New York, if you want to know what has happened to the neighborhoods you know or love, the photos and real-time streaming updates are here, you probably won't find them anywhere else.  (It has already been noted in other press and blog reports that some of the major television channels have reported some majorly erroneous stories). 

Also, WNYC radio is providing excellent updates, citizen and journalist reporting and discussion here.  Including damage to nuclear plants along the coast (latest update on them via the Leonard Lopate show).  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Great Dixter - Great Garden

They say a garden rarely survives the gardener.  I guess we shall see.  Christopher Lloyd (1921-2006)

is not so long gone from us.  But much of him survives.

His garden, Great Dixter, tucked into a minutest corner of Southern England

betrays no atmosphere of loss or negligence, or having lost it's way at all.........

In late September its full hot flush of colors and textures

prevails and endures despite changings and rearrangings of seasons, styles and sentiments.

Pointless to add further words.

The garden speaks for itself.

Not much here in the way of demure or understated.

And the plantings are so tightly packed and allowed to reach such heights

that it's clear that this had to be the fulfillment of single man's vision.  He wasn't really thinking about you when he made it.  And so the paths through it are really only wide enough for one person to pass and the plants are hungry to also fill up that space.  

There are many structures on the property, some older than others.  You'll get a good look at typical

English oasthouses, and rustic and ageless building styles and materials.  Edwin Luytens, the great English architect has also made his mark on this place, you will see it, in its gracefulness.

It's now also possible to buy plants from Great Dixter, and to take gardening classes here.  Why not? Check the website or Wikipedia here for more.  Just plan on spending an extended period in the Southeast of England, visiting the wealth of sites and destinations on the coast and inland in a leisurely fashion.  Because take my word for it, driving back and forth from London to here is H-E-L-L.

And kind of spoils the lovely vibe.  Really.  Anyway, how was the weekend?  Good, I hope!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lately, Down the Hill - Los Angeles

Last Monday, I walked down my hill.  And this is what I found.

L.A., in late October is full of color.

In fact we're enjoying an Indian summer with temperatures in the 80's.  (It's good for the fleas.)

Most native Angelenos are complaining about the weather.  They want it cooler, and "we need rain".  The Santa Ana winds have started blowing anew, and this means fire season again.  Tomorrow is "Day of the Dead" festivities at Hollywood Forever cemetery.

It's always still Hollywood here, and someday you may see this backdrop in a movie at your local cinema.  (It's not ALL CGI's these days.)  Or at the Pantages Theater just down the road.  I would love this job.  I grew up in a scenery shop below a theater.  Oh happy days!

I've mentioned this before.  There are more homeless people in L.A. than ever.  In addition to the long existing and largest-in-the-U.S. "skid row".  (Los Angeles is where the expression "skid row" came from.)  It stands to reason since we have such mild weather.  But now people who have no housing are coming out of downtown and seeking "quieter" places - under overpasses, along freeways and in the bushes by the river, in the hills with the coyotes -  to get away from the drugs and drug users, the other homeless who might harass and steal from them, the police who do regular "hygiene sweeps" and confiscate and destroy their few remaining belongings, medicine, toiletries, photos of loved ones......

Last spring the mattress was slept in by day by a healthy looking blonde woman.  Her space was very tidy.  I wondered then how she could feel safe.  I guess sleeping in the day in a fairly well trafficked area seems safer than in the night. Now someone else is sleeping here next to his few belongings and what has happened to her?

Don't even get me started about those sleazy American Apparel ads, shot and "art directed" by the company's owner here in L.A.  I'm not finding alot of art in them.  I boycott the store.

On a happier note, here's a little local community garden.  Could those be beehives in the back?  (I only just realized they're in the picture.)   I'll have to go back and find out.  In the foreground is a very healthy papaya tree.  I want one!

Yes it's lush here in the "desert".

Christmas is coming, but I can hardly think about it!  Instead, I'm thinking about the weekend.  We're going to this.  (Richard Thompson is a proper old grouchy English geezer with an amazing voice and guitar style.  Do you know him?)

What are your plans?  For the weekend I mean.  HAVE A GOOD ONE.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Farringdon to Shoreditch - Part Two, I Mean, Destinations

You are HERE.  On Clerkenwell Road.  (But not for long.)

  (At the Hat and Feathers Pub.)  ALL PARTIES ARE CATERED FOR.

Even more so at the BOOK CLUB, Leonard St., which IS open on a Sunday.

(this pic via Matador here)

And tho' apparently chill in the daytime, is churning and chock-a-block at night, with a dancefloor downstairs.  If you need to chase some blues away.

More of the East End's surprising kinds of living:  don't forget to LOOK UP!

And don't be afraid to look in.

Remember my post about the Boundary here?  This is the Albion upstairs.  Also open Sunday.   Their baked goods are the biz!

The famous or infamous Redchurch St....... Today at The Gallery a pop-up art space for rent, right across the street from an urban mosque..... London Loves L.A.   On the Sunday that I visited: an impromptu block party, lamb roast and pizza purveying......What might you find?  Let me know as and when!

Loungelover.  Check out the website.  It's fun!  Brought to you by the Trois Garcons guys.  Couldn't you tell?  Because sometimes you have to live life a little over-the-top

Sober, earnest, reliable and yes, still hip!  Labour and Wait.

The other side of the Lounge Lover Paradise.  Still scratching your head?  It's a pub!

O.K.?  In America this NEVER would happen.  No.  We would not advertise housing, using an image of a female seated with her legs spread.  It would offend both the Puritans AND the Feminists in us.  But England, you know, contrary to some impressions, is kind of a happy go-lucky place.  Or, well, fundamentally......IRREVERENT.  What do you think?  IS it cool to advertise real estate.  LIKE THIS?

Oui.  Ca bouge.  At the pop-up Box Park.  (Pub with outdoor seating inclusive.)  Sunshine only intermittent.  Shopping, in case you haven't done any in the last 20 min.  Open Sunday.

It would be hard to miss, if (instead of walking over to Shoreditch from Farringdon, like yours truly) you just popped onto this street right out of the (shiny new Shoreditch) station.

All that walking, and too much excitement?  A cool but not cold bevvy (in England, that's a good thing if that bevvy's a beer)  The Owl and the Pussycat might be just the thing.

For "Farringdon to Shoreditch Part One" click here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Westland is EAST - London Shopping

This post is for YOU

if you're the kind of person who brings vans

  and hauling equipment along with you 

when you are having a day out shopping.

Or better, if you are one of those clever people

who always has a card in your pocket

with the name of a cheap and reliable moving man on it.

This post is for you, if you die for peacock blue staircases,

proper pointy chimney pots and slightly distressed delft tiled fireplaces......If a slightly over-the-top 

Downton Abbey-ish early Edwardian lifestyle is your idea of a proper kind of living.

Westland for salvaged architectural treasures on Leonard St. in the East End could make many of your dearest dreams come true.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

California Colorings - Hollywood Market

I hope you'll find something really yummy - or at least very beautfiul to eat this weekend.   It does something for the soul, doesn't it?