Saturday, December 26, 2009

LA LA Land

We continued our exploration of the LA area with a trip to Ventura where we toured Mission San Buenaventura, the Mission by the Sea. It was one of twenty one Missions covering an area from the Mexican border to north of San Francisco. They were the plan of Padre Fray Junipero Serra, a Franciscan priest from the Spanish Isle of Mallorca. It ended up being the ninth and last founded during his lifetime. The church, which was built in 1782, was damaged by an earthquake in 1857. It was rebuilt then to the "modern" standards of the day. Starting in the mid 1950's a major restoration was began and by its bicentennial it had been restored to its original historical appearance. It is an excellent example of the architecture of the period.
We also shopped at a great farmers market in Ventura, took a stroll on the beach and had lunch overlooking the harbor. This is a working harbor with more fishing than pleasure boats. There was a Boatel B & B available for overnight stays. It was a beautiful day with sunny skies and temps in the 70's. This was made extra special by the fact that on the day we were there much of the nation was in the midst of a big winter storm.
On another day we drove to Hollywood to take in some of the "glamour" which involved lots of tourists and many traps trying to lure them. The pic on the left sums it up with all the ads and the famous sign. The casting couch, where we are trying out for a big role, is at the end of a trail that tells how many stars and movie industry people were discovered. We also checked out the entrance to the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The names of all the Best Picture winners are displayed in the lobby with room to add names through 2071.
On Hollywood Boulevard I got to press the concrete with Norma Jean. She has not aged at all.
It was neat seeing all the imprints of the "stars" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. One of my favorites was Sonja Henie who left her skate imprints and Sean Connery who did his in his bare feet. Roy Rogers had Trigger's horseshoe print with his. It was great seeing John Wayne's because we previously toured his boyhood home in Iowa and Elizabeth Taylor who wrote Giant in the concrete for the movie that was filmed in Marfa, Texas where we had dinner at the hotel used during the filming.
Several blocks of Hollywood Boulevard have the names of stars from movies and TV. Many of these are much more recent than those at the Chinese Theatre.
We moved on to serious window shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The stores included DeBeers, Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co. and Versace, just to name a few. Parked on the street was a nice yellow Rolls Royce and a Maybach. I think BMWs are like Chevys on Rodeo Drive. The store pictured on the left is unique as it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and has features such as the tower and a circular ramp that are common in several of his other buildings.
As you would expect the Christmas decorations were over the top with whole buildings wrapped with ribbons. We are hanging on to the street pole as the prices had us staggering
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of the most unusual buildings we have ever seen. The curves of the exterior are covered with stainless steel allowing for the flowing shape. Some of the steel had to be dulled because the sun's reflection was shining into nearby condos making the temperature rise resulting in soaring air conditioning costs. Some spots on the sidewalk reached 160 degrees. We did not get in to the concert hall but this awesome building is well worth a visit.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of The Angels is another unique downtown LA building and the third largest cathedral in the world. This very modern cathedral has an altar on display which was built in Europe in the early 1800's. The courtyard with flowers, sculptures, and fountains was a relaxing setting in the middle of the city.Nanc found this statue of Joseph Scott, an attorney and community leader know as Mr. Los Angeles. It could have been her dad Joe with that fist saying, "As long as you live under my roof you are going to live by my rules". It really made her smile. He wasn't quite as strict as he tried to be.

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