Emma Jacobsen-Sive of the Pasadena Museum of California Art, dressed in black and white, was standing today inside the painter Annie Lapin’s parti-colored installation at the museum, “Parallel Deliria Iteration.” The piece is made up of flotsam and jetsam from the painter’s studio practice and is in the museum’s Project Room in the always exhilirating space on Union Street between Oakland and Los Robles in Pasadena.
The museum is gearing up for a major October retrospective of the works of California painter Wayne Thiebaud, who had one of his first big shows at the old Pasadena Art Museum, now the Pacific Asia, next door to the PMCA. Also in October will be a groundbreaking show made possible in large part by Pasadena Susan Futterman, “Behold the Day: The Color Block Prints of Frances Gearhart,” an exhibition examining the remarkable contributions of color block print artist, Pasadenan Frances Gearhart. From the release: “Embedded in the time and place of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Gearhart’s work personifies a handcrafted aesthetic and conveys a sense of directness, immediacy, and strong visual impact while depicting a clearly ideal, Californian subject matter.
“Frances Gearhart was a leader in the American printmaking movement and, in particular, color block printing. The artist lived with her sisters May and Edna in Pasadena, and all taught in the Los Angeles public schools.”
But on view right now is a great show that includes Thiebaud and his colleagues, “You See: The Early Years of The UC Davis Studio Art Faculty,” along with ceramics by Edith Heath, who did the tiles on the outside of the Norton Simon and whose work, though you may not know her name, you will recognize from every mid-centuury modernist household you ever visited in the 1960s. Both are on view through Sept. 20, along with wonderful oversized photographs of L.A. freeways by Benny Chan.
I recommend a refreshing summertime visit.
Lily Burk, the 17-year-old Oakwood student who was found slain late last week in downtown Los Angeles, was the daughter of a longtime friend, Greg Burk, the former chief of the copy desk at the LA Weekly, and his wife, Deborah Drooz.
I didn’t know Lily. But I have an 18-year-old daughter. The very idea of losing such as her has put me and my friends who are talking about it this morning in a place beyond heartbreak.
One friend, Martin Kelley, father of two daughters himself, said that he sat down at his piano and played a song of Greg’s he’d once learned — Greg was the leader in the 1970s and ’80s of the absolutely extraordinary L.A. punk band Dred Scott — because playing a song was all he could do. The song, I think, was “Wouldn’t You Be Amazed.”There is nothing else we can do, except to send our love out to Greg and Deborah.
Below is Julius Shulman’s iconic shot of two Pasadena girls, Cynthia Murfee and Ann Lightbody, taken in 1960, as I mentioned in my column today.
Oh yeah — it also includes Case Study House No. 22 by Pierre Koenig and the L.A. lights.
Readers with long memories will recall that last year when we made the annual July trek to the Texas Panhandle for an O’Brien family reunion, the California contingent was met at the cabin in Palo Duro Canyon with a big-screen TV locked to Fox News and a signed photo of Cindy and John McCain on the mantle.
My daughter and her cousins quickly turned the cabin front door into O’Briens for O’Bama HQ by cutting up an adulatory People magazine spread on the soon-to-be First Family and making a bunch of signs.
A year later, the pranking goes on — when we walked into the cabin kitchen over the weekend, we were met by this bloomin’ Obama chia head.
It was meant in good fun, and we took it that way. But I was sure some, if not our president himself, would be more sensitive. So I just Googled “Obama chia racist” and found that Walgreen’s, for instance, stopped selling the item in April after objections from some customers.
There was no W. chia head, someone pointed out in the comments section to a wire-service story.
What do you think?
By the way, the Panhandle is a gorgeous place. People say, You’re going to Texas, in the summer? Got that right — it’s God’s country. Thunderstorms each afternoon kept it cooler than … than here, for instance. The view from the beautiful Lyons family porch on a breezy Saturday:
A friend alerted me to this new public art being installed just west of Fair Oaks Avenue on California Boulevard — in front of Huntington Hospital, but part of the new medical building that just went in on the corner.
I dropped by today and watched the artist — he was busy with a blowtorch and I didn’t get his name — finishing up with some paint and some burnishing. There are two pieces, matte black, Henry Moore-ish I suppose in their looming presence. It was hot as blazes and they had a tent set up so he could work in the shade.
What think, opinionated Pasadenans?
Julia McWilliams Child of Pasadena was, famously, 6-foot-2 as a girl and young woman.
I was lucky enough to know her when she was in her 80s, writing stories about her, and twice she cooked lunch for Phoebe and me in her Santa Barbara kitchen. I think she was still over 6 feet then. Getting to know her in her kitchen was really very cool, a story you can go out to dinner on. (Salade nicoise the first time, lamb burgers the second, as I’m sure you were wondering.)
In Ariel Levy’s profile of Nora Ephron in this week’s New Yorker, she quotes Meryl Streep, who plays Child in Ephron’s new movie, “Julie & Julia”:
“It was a real unusual thing for a woman to be that height, and I think it had an enormous impact. It was a handicap of sorts, certainly in the world into which she was born, in Pasadena, where women went East to school to get a husband.”
Julia went to Smith but no husband stepped forward until she was in her early 30s.
Here’s Levy on Julia’s life-changer, her size: “Who knows who she would have been if she’d come out delicate and married a Republican banker, as her father had expected. We might never have heard of hollandaise.”
Can’t wait to see the movie.
Yes, our daughter is named – half-named – after Julia. Second half: Julia Morgan, California’s first licensed woman architect.
The other day, after a meeting at Pico Rivera City Hall, I noticed this statue across the parking lot at the Pico sheriff’s sub-station, and for the life of me, I can’t imagine what the deputy depicted is supposed to be pointing the way to. To ever-higher sales taxes in the little city with the highest sales tax in the nation, perhaps?
Reader Ariel Wisch sent this out this morning on the horse that ran away late in May in the upper Arroyo Seco in Pasadena after slipping on a trail and losing her rider underneath the footbridge to JPL. We covered the story; lots of other media picked up on it; sheriff’s helicopters and other law enforcement joined equestrians in the search:
Sad news to report – Lilly, the horse who went missing on May 24th has been found today, July 7th, deceased. She was found by Rose Bowl Rider member Suzanne Douglas on her walk from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to Rose Bowl Riders. Suzanne and the Pasadena Humane Society seem to think that she fell over the side of the trail and got the rope/reins caught around her neck very tightly and maybe broke her neck or was strangled.
Thank you to everyone who searched, posted flyers, sent emails, posted Lilly on their sites and wrote articles for local papers.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to her owner, Leslie.