In 1904, a new residential development called Oaklawn was taking shape on the north side of South Pas. The wide, tree-lined streets and sweeping Arts and Crafts showcase homes called for a unifying design in the neighborhood's lines of demarcation. The area was within walking distance to the famous Raymond Hotel -- a stomping ground for the rich and mighty -- and potential Oaklawn residents were tempted with promises of the good life in this "Suburb de Luxe." Advertisements for the neighborhood described it as a place "for those who want the best in every particular."
Apparently, that included walls and gates.
South Pasadena Realty and Improvement Company hired the firm of Greene and Greene to create the prestigious development's entrance gates and surrounding fence. The result? Clinker-brick platforms set with handpicked stones from the Arroyo and embellished with rustic timber, tile roofs and artisan-crafted wrought iron. The gates-- and the corresponding stone pillars on the surrounding walls -- seemed to encapsulate the Greene and Greene aesthetic, right down to the tapering boulders at the base and top of each pillar. As you can see by today's photo, the portals have weathered the last century well and are largely unchanged today. (Trust me, the gate on the other side of the street looks just as wonderful.) The good life, indeed.
(You can take a look at the original Greene and Greene design plans here. For more on Oaklawn, check out this article from American Bungalow Magazinehere.)
Cyclists, vintage car enthusiasts (and photographers) aren't the only ones who meander down the winding stretch of road along the Arroyo. Here, runners make the most of warm spring weather -- and cast three lovely shadows in the late afternoon light.
The Rialto may be dark but her romantic soul shines through even late at night, all but abandoned, with leaflets littered on the sidewalk. I hold out hope that savvy investors will see the potential of this beloved movie queen and rescue her from inevitable ruin. (Everyone loves a great comeback story.)
South Pasadena is known for its classic homes -- from Craftsman to Victorian -- but it also has its fair share of modern architecture. Like here, for example. I can't quite see the house, but every time I pass this driveway I look to see if the fountain is working. So far? Not working.
One of the things I love most about abstract art is the way its world is rendered in shapes and colors. We get to fill in the particulars, imagine the story or transcend the figurative. I remember once standing in front of a Rothko painting with Shanna.
"I don't get it," I said. "It's a black canvas."
"Yes," she said. "But actually look at the paint on the canvas."
I stepped closer, and suddenly I was looking into a painting instead of at a picture.
I know this is just a photograph of a gas pump. But somewhere in my hamfisted grasp at modern composition, somewhere in my attempt at deconstructing the world into rectangles and blue is a nod to Rothko's revolutionary painting technique. It is in the spirit of what Walt Whitman wrote here:
To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every cubic inch of space is a miracle, Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same, Every foot of the interior swarms with the same; Every spear of grass--the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them, All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.
Friend of GOSP (and intrepid vintage car scout) Dbdubya alerted me to the fact that a pristine 1940 Chevy was parked on El Centro this morning. But by the time I got there... it was gone. I drove around to see if I could find it but this old truck found me, instead.
My husband found this four leaf clover just in time for St. Patrick's Day, and that's no blarney. (Remind me to take him along the next time I check out the end of a rainbow.) Today, though, we can all lay claim to a little luck o' the Irish...
It seems that those lads and lasses are on to something. When the American Heart Association convened a few years ago, researchers revealed that Guinness might be just as effective as a daily aspirin for reducing blood clots that lead to heart attacks. The antioxidants in dark Irish stouts reduce cholesterol deposits on arterial walls. (Sorry, lager lovers, but the paler beers don't have the same power.) Now that should put a little zip in your bagpipes!
Happy St. Paddy's Day, everyone. Wear green and be safe.
Why am I posting a picture of my cat Mirabelle? Well, she is a resident of South Pasadena. (A very pampered, very spoiled resident...) But this picture is also my attempt to approximate some of the wonderful shots of another San Gabriel Valley resident named Kat -- the blogmistress of Pasadena, 91105 and Beyond.
Kat's blog is a recent addition to the City Daily Photo family. She describes her pictures as "found moments" with serendipity playing a large part in what she shoots. It is any wonder I'm crazy about her work? Kat's whimsical, color-saturated slices of San Gabriel Valley life are a joy to behold. She truly captures the ordinary as extraordinary -- from the dreamlike view of a tree that grows both oranges and lemons to the in-your-face macro shot of her mother's new puppy. Clicking through her posts is like flipping through a fabulous technicolor storybook. Did I mention that many of the shots were taken with her iPhone?! All this and she can write, too.
Remember this image of an empty lot? What a difference a few months (and, dare I hope for it, a recovering economy) can make! Those in the know tell me this structure on Fremont will have mixed retail space on the bottom floor and residential units above.
The sound of those power saws and jackhammers is music to my ears. I believe South Pas is much more than just a beautiful bedroom community. Our downtown is special. We have some of the best restaurants in the region. Our galleries challenge, delight and inspire. Our local shops have any number of unique treasures never seen in big box stores. Plus, we're right on the Gold Line.
By the late sheen of an arctic sky alive with branches shimmying with light he comes to me: the cyclist, active, floating, magical, observant, and the poem comes from him - whatever he can make it: the hope that what he turns to will take hold.
It was odd to see a seagull so far from the beach. Did he want to visit the mountains for a change of pace? Maybe he wanted to hang out with the San Gabriel Valley wild parrots? Seeing this little guy reminded me of the classic 1970s novel, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. I like this quote in particular:
How much more there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!
Tasty ice cream and strong coffee aren't the only reasons why Busters is such an uplifting spot for afternoon refreshment. Don't you just love the colors of the building itself? (You can see more of it here.) Add a little Sunday afternoon live music and this South Pas hangout is a perfect prescription for the blahs.
Today is the first of the month, and that means it's Theme Day for participating City Daily Photo bloggers. This month's theme is Passageway. What better subject that the heavily traversed crosswalk on Mission at Meridian? I may be over analyzing, but I think there is a lesson to be learned from that happy little jumping girl in the picture.
In December of 2007, after many years on the west side of Los Angeles (and at least a third of those years spent stuck in traffic on Pico Boulevard) my family settled into a happy little house in South Pasadena. This daily blog covered over 4 year as I put down roots in my new home town.
My New Blog Launching 2013
Check out my multimedia column archive: Views from the Front Porch
Published at Patch.
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Thank you Charlie's Coffee House for hosting my recent photo exhibit, South Pas: Observed. From October 2011 through January 2012 my pictures graced the walls of the best place in town to get a cup of coffee!
Read the nifty story on photo bloggers Petrea Burchard, Ben Wideman, Kat Likkel and little old me featured in the September, 2011 issue of Pasadena Magazine.
For over 4 years, I presented a picture a day from South Pasadena, California -- an incorporated city within the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. All photos up to November, 2008 were taken with a Fujifilm Finepix E900 camera. I added a Fujifilm Finepix S2000HD megazoom in December 2008, a Nikon D3100 in 2010 and a Lumix DMC-DS8 in 2011. I shot with them all. In August 2010 I joined the iPhone camera craze and sometimes included pictures captured by my phone. I regularly cropped images and used basic editing software to adjust the brightness, intensify the contrast, and increase color saturation. Other than that, all images came straight from the camera with minimal alteration. (If I couldn't have done it in a darkroom, I wouldn't do it with a computer.)
The bigger picture:
Consider it a love letter to the place I call home.
You can click on any picture to see a larger version.
All photos and prose on this blog copyright Laurie Allee. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited. (Plus, it's really uncool.)
Run, don't walk to the nearest bookseller and pick up a copy of Margaret Finnegan's delightful debut novel, The Goddess Lounge -- undoubtedly the kookiest, most wonderful riff on Homer's Odyssey ever written. Margaret never ceases to inspire and make us laugh at her blog Finnegan Begin Again. Her book is magical, silly, smart and a wonderful love letter to the all the goddesses among us.
Kevin McCollister of East of West LA blows our minds with haunting images of Los Angeles. But since we can't put his blog on our coffee table, we can buy his fantastic book. I believe Kevin's images truly capture the quixotic and often heartbreaking soul of LA. Don't take my word for it, see what The LA Times had to say.