Beautiful LA Lifestyle

LA OF THOSE SPARKLING BEACHES, EPIC MOUNTAINS, 300 DAYS OF SUNSHINE. LA OF WORK LIFE BALANCE (A REAL THING). LA OF STILL SEMI AFFORDABLE HOUSING. A PHOTOGRAPHER FRIEND AND HIS WIFE WHO WENT LEFT EARLIER THIS YEAR TRADED A DODGY GROUND FLOOR ONE BEDROOM IN BROOKLYN FOR A THREE BEDROOM HOUSE IN HIGHLAND PARK. THEIR RENT? LESS.

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“Does it ever stop feeling like a vacation here?” I ask an old friend from New York. He has moved to Los Angeles, and I am visiting. We are sitting in front of the blob of buildings at Sunset Junction in Silverlake. The red paint glows in the sunlight. To our right is coffee temple Intelligentsia, where creative types queue seemingly all day long for a caffeine fix, or set up shop at a grouping of shaded outside tables, laptops clicking. Most people wear sunglasses, most are attractive. To our left, a shop specializes in succulents.

What began with a few souls quietly packing their cars in the night has grown into a full blown westward demonstration. People are leaving New York for LA. And really, why wouldn’t they? LA of those sparkling beaches, epic mountains, 300 days of sunshine. LA of work life balance (a real thing). LA of still semi affordable housing. A photographer friend and his wife who went West earlier this year traded a dodgy ground floor one bedroom in Brooklyn for a three bedroom house in Highland Park. Their rent? Less.

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What happened to the strikes that out of towners used to hold against this place? Of plasticity, of vapidity, of a lack of museums, and mediocre at best celebrity chef piloted restaurants. Those have changed, or are in the process of being obliterated altogether. The revitalization of Downtown LA (DTLA if you speak in acronyms) with its booming Grand Central market, scores of hip hotels, eateries, stores, lofts, and apartments has helped shepherd a young creative class to a city sorely lacking one. There are clothing designers cutting denim at Downtown factories, graphic designers tweaking websites in light filled Culver City studios, and the musicians – everyone young and influential in the music industry is camped out here. Artists, too. The average age of guests who line up to get into buzzy, contemporary mecca The Broad? Just 32.

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At the opposite end of the LA spectrum, the unflappable and bubbled Hollywood neighborhoods have been altered forever. Beverly Hills, with its Ferrari dealerships and 500 USD dinners, has been left to rot in the hands of the blue hairs. And a recent spin through West Hollywood on a Monday evening found every venue but the venerable Chateau Marmont stone dead. While just around the corner, on West Sunset, the dining room at millennial friendly Thai street food spot Night + Market was packed. (I ate my Pad Thai at the counter.)
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“I can’t wrap my head around LA,” my New York fashion friend has said when I’ve brought it up. “Everyone’s eyes are glassed over and they’re telling you: ‘It’s so amazing here!’ Major Kool-Aid vibes.”  Admittedly, I’ve loved LA for some time now. In 2009 I visited a friend who had a whitewashed bungalow set back from Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice. We sat swapping stories over kale in the backyard of Gjelina, rode our cruiser bikes to the post office to get her mail, and fell asleep in hammocks watching the waves. Everything we did seemed vastly superior to my New York life, which at the time, included twice a day AA meetings and sharing a glorified dormitory on the Upper East Side with not one, but three roommates. “I can’t believe this is your life,” I told her, probably too many times.
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It took me seven years, but I finally started sending emails one fall day, harassing the friends who had found their way out to California, asking for a place to crash for the winter months. There was my friend the antique rug dealer over in Eagle Rock, the adventure journalist in Echo Park, the comedian in Santa Monica. The first bite I got back was from the asset manager in Manhattan Beach. “My wife and I have a spare bedroom,” he said on the phone one afternoon. “It’s yours as long as you need it.”

When I pulled into the driveway on a January night, a few days after New Year, I couldn’t believe my luck. Their little house was a block from the crashing water. The spare bedroom was slightly damp in that pleasant way that rooms by the beach are. In the mornings, little slices of sunlight bounced off the stucco ceiling and landed on my face, my forearms. The absence of city noise was alarming at first, but became blissful soon enough. The flinching anxiety took a week or two to melt off. I hiked through the hills. I jogged through town. I wrote. A lot. I lived.

And the asset manager seemed to be living, too. In New York, he’d worn suits, his skin tinted a yellowy grey color. Now he was brown, wore rumpled polo shirts, arrived home by three or four o’clock each afternoon, usually with a heaping bag of fish tacos for dinner. We walked his drooling golden retriever along the beach under the fading orange sun. “We just love it here,” he said, his eyes glowing.

In the LA evenings, I drove and drove. To a house party in Mar Vista. To a bonfire in Glendale. The jaded, that’s too far mentality of any permanent Angelino hadn’t affected me yet, so I drove. During rush hours, and in the middle of the night. To Palm Springs to spend a weekend writing by the pool. To Joshua Tree to watch the sun come up. By the time February rolled around and I was due back in New York, I had a completed manuscript, one I hoped would become a novel. I also had a quandary: Could this place be for me?

Every morning in that guest bedroom, I woke up to three extra hours of emails fired off from the East Coast. Potentially coronary inducing to my New York temperament, right? Not here. No, I’m convinced those several thousand miles did something to shield me from the urgency. Those frantic pleas for revisions and the do or die deadlines seemed like less of a squeeze from out here, like more of a suggestion.

Now, I have no doubt a certain breed of West Coaster would argue, wave their arms in objection. “LA is fast living, man,” they might say. And yeah, relativity is everything – for some, maybe the pace here is less than relaxed. Maybe if you come from Sacramento, or Sausalito. Or maybe the lack of seasons will sterilize you beyond recognition and maybe your eyes will glow, Spicoli-like forever with the vaguely distant tint of a Malibu resident, whose only decision each morning is this: Surf or smoothie? Maybe, just maybe, the 405 will drive you batty.

But I never told you what my old friend said, that morning outside the coffee shop in Silverlake. The friend who had moved to Los Angeles from New York, the friend who said he couldn’t wait to go back East to visit, to flinch, to feel frantic again. He smiled and shook his head when I asked the question: “Does it ever stop feeling like a vacation here?” He said, “No.”

First published in Cereal Magazine
By Sean Hotchkiss
PHOTOS: Rick Poon

Beautiful History of Crayons

To celebrate National Crayon Month here is the interesting history of crayola crayons. From its earliest days, Crayola has been a color company.  During the last 100-plus years, Crayola has grown beyond our founders’ wildest dreams.  By applying technical innovation, unparalleled quality, consumer satisfaction and product value, Crayola has become the preeminent producer of hands-on products for creative personal development and fun.  Read more about the colorful history here. Oh RIP Dandelion, today it was discontinued.

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1 and 2: Original box of crayons
3. Original box of 48 colors
4. Original box of 52 colors
5. Original box of 64 colors
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Retired colors

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Original colors

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Original Ad – 1905

 

 

 

Beautiful Mystical Morocco

I have a huge case of wanderlust lately pouring over where I want to travel to next. Morocco is on the list and one of my favorite sites, Atlas Obscura, provides all the incentives to make it happen.

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Traverse the complex and colorful contours of that Morocco. Get lost in the narrow streets of the old medina in Fes, thick with the smell of spices and freshly tanned leather, and wander the still-intact mosaics of an ancient Roman town. Explore the market square of Marrakech—as busy today as it was in the 11th century—as the dissonant chorus of Alahullakbar rolls over the city at sunset. Reenact iconic scenes at a sprawling movie set dropped in the desert. I’m in, they had me at “getting lost in narrow streets with smells of spices”.

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Beautiful Hidden Havana

Looking to travel to Cuba? Before you go, check out Atlas Obscura for the perfect itinerary. The itinerary features many of the best suggestions submitted by Atlas Obscura readers who have previously explored Havana. Delve into immersive history, religious traditions, music and dancing, artist interactions, and curiosities galore. Read all about it here.

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Photos from Atlas Obscura

Beautiful Art Exhibits

Cool Events taking place around the world.

Tatsuo Mayajima’s “Connect with Everything” installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia

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Few contemporary artists grapple with what it means to be human as profoundly as Japanese-born Tatsuo Miyajima, whose signature works are high-tech, immersive light installations that border on the mystical. “Tatsuo Miyajima―Connect with Everything,” the artist’s first solo show in the Southern Hemisphere, is on view at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and is as comprehensive a retrospective as the works deserve.

Museum of Contemporary Art, 140 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000, Sydney, Australia; mca.com.au/miyajima. Through March 5.  

A Robert Rauschenberg Retrospective at the Tate Modern Switch House, London

Your excuse for a visit across the pond to inaugurate the Switch House – the Tate Modern’s new brick pyramid-tower extension designed by the same Swiss firm, Herzog & de Meuron, that transformed the massive Bankside Power Station into the enormously popular hub of modern and contemporary art – has arrived in the form of the first major retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg since the American artist’s death in 2008.

Organized chronologically and in collaboration with New York’s MoMA, where it heads next spring, the show unfolds as a riveting narrative, journeying through the maverick’s many seminal creative moments, from his striking blue monoprints and his extraordinary Combines.

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Tate Modern, Bankside, London; tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/robert-rauschenberg. Through April 2.

Cy Twombly’s Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris

Cy Twombly, an artist who was born in Lexington, Virginia in 1928 and moved to Italy in the 1950s, is in many ways very French. In the Salle des Bronzes Antiques at the Louvre museum in Paris, where ancient Greek armour waits silently for wars that will never come again, the room’s vast ceilingis painted by Twombly with a bright expanse of blue, its intensity illuminated by silver and gold suns and moons as if the light of the Mediterranean were infusing the museum with desire and danger. So it is fitting that France is staging the first Cy Twomblyretrospective since his death. On the top floor of the Centre Pompidou, the helmeted Greek heroes have returned. Gore, love and revenge stain the walls.

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Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, Paris; centrepompidou.fr/en. Through April 24.

R.H. Quaytman’s “Morning: Chapter 30″ exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

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MOCA presents R. H. Quaytman, Morning: Chapter 30, the first major museum survey of work by New York–based artist R. H. Quaytman. The poetic, hypnotic, and singular work of R.H. Quaytman is on display in full splendor at “R.H. Quaytman, Morning: Chapter 30” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the first major museum survey of the NYC-based artist. Made up of 22 gesso-and-silkscreen paintings, the series “30 Chapters” is, like the 29 “chapters” that preceded it, a site-specific project that in this case takes inspiration from another site-specific work, Michael Heizer’s earthwork Double Negative, an excavation on the eastern side of Mormon Mesa in southern Nevada that resulted in two massive trenches. Museum of Contemporary Art, 250 South Grand Ave, Los Angeles; moca.org/exhibition/r-h-quaytman-morning. Through February 6. 

The Opening of the Sumida Hokusai Museum, Tokyo

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Despite the rich history of art in Japan, it is ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) — woodblock prints from the 18th and 19th centuries depicting everything from kimono-clad courtesans and kabuki actors to animals, plants, and dramatic, often romantic landscapes — that first comes to mind when one thinks of Japanese art, and that has had the most lasting influence on artists of every nationality (including 19th-century masters James Whistler, Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt, among others).

Now there’s a museum devoted entirely to the country’s best-known practitioner, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), whose formal, masterfully composed works have, alongside those of rival Hiroshige (1797-1858), come to define the genre. Designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Kazuyo Sejima, the angular Sumida Hokusai Museum just opened in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, where the legendary master lived and produced the bulk of his work in the mid 19th century. Don’t miss Great Wave off Kanazawa from his seminal “36 Views of Mt. Fuji” series.

Sumida Hokusai Museum, 2-7-2 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku, Tokyo; hokusai-museum.jp

Louise Bourgeois’s “Structures of Existence: The Cells” at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen

Louisiana’s big autumn exhibition Louise Bourgeois. Structures of Existence: The Cells, presents one of the most striking and influential visual artists of the twentieth century. Over a period of some 70 years Louise Bourgeois (1911, Paris – 2010, New York) created a comprehensive oeuvre spanning a wide range of materials and forms, emotions and moods.

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Beautiful Puglia, Italy

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Will somebody please drop me off in this place and let me stay for awhile? It is gorgeous! Who really cares where it is but for those who do…at the heel of the Italian peninsula lies Puglia, a region best known for its Tuscan cuisine as well as its arid, rustic landscape on which a splendid display of whitewashed towns and villages highlights the scenery. The area produces much of the country’s wine, olive oil, produce, and wheat used to make pasta. The cuisine alone is enough to make me want to go. In the north, the mountainous terrain of Gargano greets the Adriatic with dramatic white cliffs overlooking azure waters, and as you travel down the coast, the view transforms into sand pebble beaches mingling between ancient farmland. At the southern tip lies the beautiful town of Lecce, known as “Florence of the South” for the splendor and profusion of its baroque architecture from the 17th Century.
TAKE ME THERE!

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Images by Kate Holstein

Beautiful Green

As today is St. Patrick’s Day it has me thinking about the color green. It’s not my favorite color but I do love nature where it’s everywhere, some people wear it very well and when it comes to interiors it has a quiet, moody feel about it. So I guess it all depends on the context in which it’s used. As I researched the color I came upon some beautiful renditions. Happy St. Patrick’s day to all who celebrate. For those who don’t, enjoy some fun trivia about Green.

The Meanings of Green
Since the beginning of time, green has signified growth, rebirth, and fertility. In pagan times, there was the “Green Man” – a symbol of fertility.  In Muslim countries, it is a holy color and in Ireland, a lucky color. It was the color of the heavens in the Ming Dynasty.

Today’s greens can be found in a wide range of objects: pea soup, delicate celadon glazes, emeralds, wasabi, and sage. The English language reflects some strange attributes: Would you rather be green with envy, green behind the ears, or green around the gills?

Global Meaning of Green

  • Green is universally associated with nature.
  • Green symbolizes ecology and the environment.
  • Traffic lights are green all over the world.
  • In China, Green may symbolize infidelity. A green hat symbolizes that a man’s wife is cheating on him.
  • In Israel, green may symbolize bad news.
  • In Japan, the words for blue and green (ao) are the same.
  • In Spain, racy jokes are “green.”

Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride
by Jan Van Eyck , 1434
The bride in this Renaissance masterpiece wears green as a symbol of her fertility. She is slouching in imitation of pregnancy, thus indicating her willingness to bear children.

In Celtic myths the Green man was the God of fertility.
Later in the millennium, Early Christians banned green because it had been used in pagan ceremonies.
Nevertheless, as evidenced by Van Eyck’s 15th Century wedding portrait, the color green was the best choice for the bride’s gown because of its earliest symbolism.

Of note is the continued symbolism attached to the color in the latter part of this century. Anyone who chooses a green m & m (an American candy which contains an assortment of different colored chocolate sweets) is sending a somewhat similar message. Green has been reinterpreted by late 20th century American culture to signify a state of heightened sexuality in this specific situation.

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Jan Van Eyck: The Arnolfini Wedding, circa 1435
Jan Van Eyck: The Arnolfini Wedding, circa 1435

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Beautiful green velvet furniture
adds a quiet moodiness and softness
to a room.

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Some people wear green very well

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…even in nature