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May 15, 2018

LA Equestrian Center

The banquet center at the LA Equestrian Center
Last Friday was rainy and cold in Los Angeles, but I had a busy work weekend planned, and I needed my pup to be tired enough to rest all weekend, so we set out for a hike.  As we traveled, the rain began to spit, and I knew we wouldn't make it to our planned location, so we ended up at the LA Equestrian Center for a "non"-hike.  

I used to live in Burbank, just down the street from the Equestrian park.  I'd walk Chance and Claire there daily through the Rancho neighborhood when they were younger.  Once we moved to North Hollywood, we'd drive to the "horse park" occasionally for a romp.  I haven't been back since Chance died, so this visit was fun but also emotional for me. I took some of the edge off the visit by walking around as a tourist and taking some photos.

The LA Equestrian Center is a multipurpose venue that rents space out for filming, meetings, weddings, events, horse competitions, training, and boarding.  There's a cute gift and coffee shop, and you can take riding lessons by the hour.  The folks that walk their dogs in the area become regulars, and you get to know both the owners and the dogs. 

Succulent garden
Entrance to one of the meeting rooms
The grassy area is just inside the gates to the facility, and that's usually where the folks walking dogs will congregate.  It's far enough from a road that if you're watching, you can take your pup off leash.  The pups love to do zoomies on the wide open expanse.

If Caitie can't sit on my shoes for reassurance, she'll find another way to sit on me.  There were some bigger dogs just coming into the ring, and she wasn't sure if she should go play with them. 

Entrance to the show area
Outdoor jumping ring
Even though the day was overcast, it was a beautiful day to see the ring and horse training going on at the facility.   There were flowers on the jumps as if there was a show coming up. 

Indoor show ring
The smaller wedding/meeting facility with horse stalls behind

May 11, 2018

LA Metro Red Line Tour - Union Station

I've been sharing all week from my tour of the Metro Red Line.  Our first stop was North Hollywood.  The second was Universal/Studio City.  The third was Hollywood and Vine, and today I'm wrapping up with the final stop on the tour, Union Station.

The portion of the tour that covered Union Station was cursory, and short; there's actually a separate tour that covers Union Station in detail that I'm planning to take next month.  The guide informed me that they make a point to end the tour at Union Station so that everyone knows how easy it is to access downtown points of interest using the metro.  Union station is huge, as it is used for both commercial trains, buses, and the metro rail system.

To find out more about the tours specifically of Union Station, click here.

 Riding the metro from point to point, there are signs lining each car illustrating how all the metro stations and lines connect, branching off.  My pup Caitie was a very good girl on the metro; she can be startled by loud noises, so she was not likely to nap, but she sat and watched quietly and enjoyed pets from several riders. 

There are beautiful murals throughout Union station, but for the most part, they are individual installations.  The one mural we took a moment to observe was "Traveler."  It depicts travelers from different eras in a Los Angeles “timescape” that features historical references such as Spanish galleons, the Pico House, Olvera Street and actress Carol Lombard. Per the artist's statement, Terry Schoonhoven's use of perspective extends the station into the mural and enhances the viewer's momentary time travel fantasy as they pause on their own journey.  The metro's write up of this artwork can be found here.  

The final stop for my first Saturday Metro tour was at a small alcove around the corner from an escalator.  There, in front of a small plaque, the tour guide asked one of us to say a few words which magically activated an electric sign across the way.  The jazz standard "A-Train" blasted, and a  symphony of light bars coordinated in sync with the music.  It was unexpected, jubilant, and fitting for the location.  I took a short video but can't get it to load here.

After the "A-Train" performance, our guide left us and the group disbanded to explore further on our own.  I was taken by both the mural and the skylight in the main entrance lobby of Union Station.  I cant wait to go on the full tour, as I couldn't find any more information about them on the metro website.

There was a beautiful fountain near where the buses pull up, and an awesomely large fish tank in the entrance area as well.  Caitie and I enjoyed the cool reprieve from the heat wave that day.  The tour was refreshing.  I'm so glad I went and I can't wait to learn more about my local landmarks.

May 9, 2018

LA Metro Red Line Tour - Hollywood & Vine Station

My tour of the LA Metro Red Line continued to the Hollywood and Vine Station.  Yesterday, I posted my photos from the Universal/Studio City Station, and the day before I posted my impressions of the North Hollywood Station.  

Of course, the theme of the Hollywood and Vine Station is movie making.  It's evident as soon as you step off the train, from the celluloid film inspired pattern on the wall tiles, to the film reels covering the ceiling.  

But it also has an "Old Hollywood"/Tropicana feel to the interior of the station.  From the design of the handrailing as sheet music reading the notes to the song “Hooray for Hollywood,” to the two 1930s Paramount film projectors on display, the ambiance is evident.  The pillars are decorated like palm trees straight out of Casablanca, and there's a projection screen at each end of the room painted with flowing curtains like the great movie palaces.  

The tiles on the floor are reminiscent of the "yellow brick road" from Wizard of Oz.  The story told by our tour guide was that they wanted to make the tiles exactly like the yellow brick road, but couldn't obtain the rights in time, so they went with a more impressionistic version. 

Our guide telling us the background of the station

Caitie getting sleepy

In contrast to the "Old Hollywood" vibe of the main chamber is the "Pop-Hollywood" feel of the tiles on the walls of the hallways.  The same artist curated the entire station, but Magu Lujan's personal artwork contains pop references such as his anthropomorphic dogs juxtaposed in fantasy scenes referencing fame and culture.

The street level covering the Metro entrance is a beautiful amber show of light that draws attention to the tunnel.  As one exits the station, the spire of the Capitol Records building rises up, and one steps onto the street directly across from the Pantages Theater. 

For more information on the Hollywood and Vine Station, click here.

May 8, 2018

LA Metro Red Line Tour - Universal Station

I'm continuing with Part II of my Metro Art Tour that takes place on the first Saturday of every month.  Yesterday's post showed pictures of the NoHo Station; our second stop on the tour was Universal. 

The art theme for the Universal/Studio City Station of the Metro is the "Tree of Califas" exhibit, centered around the historic site of the Campo de Cahuenga, where in 1847 Mexico relinquished control of California to the United States.  The exhibit focuses on the significance of this event to California’s history.  California was named by the Spaniards after the mythological black Amazon queen Califas, who was said to have ruled a tribe of women warriors.

Artwork covering the pillars on the platform gives a historical timeline highlighting key dates and events related to the area’s past on ceramic tiles handwritten by the artist.  One side of each pillar is in English, and the other side of the pillar gives the same information in Spanish.  The pillars give the impression of trees inspired by the pepper trees that once lined Lankershim Blvd., with a band of blue at the top of each pillar symbolizing the sky. 

I was overwhelmed by the number of stories that were told.  It made me think about what life was like before California became a state, and how recent that time period really is to our present day.

The Mayan letter "G" is a constant motif in the Universal Metro Station, from the railings, wall tiles, to the glass etched elevator.  It symbolizes all beginnings and all endings.  More information and artist statements about the platform artwork can be found here

The main lobby of the Universal Metro Station contains one mural along the length of the wall, titled "Universal Delights."  It references on the film history of the area, with Carmen Miranda's face, searchlights, popcorn, a megaphone, and other film-related motifs embedded in a glass mosaic.  The mosaic was made in Germany and shipped over in two foot by two foot squares for installation in 2010.  The mural's colorful pop theme gives an upbeat air to the metro station.  More info on this art work can be found here

Riding the escalator down from street level in Universal Station

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