Thursday, November 16, 2006

Nooner + Boss + Co-worker + Large Organ + Church = Classic

Metro Local 18 - 6th/Commonwealth

Every Thursday at noon the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles opens its doors for a free (can't beat that), non-denominational concert played on the largest church pipe organ in the world.

The concert lasts about 45 minutes, which is just enough time to waste your entire lunch break. I can't say I know many people who would voluntarily spend their lunch break at church. But this was worth it.

Today's concert was comprised of uplifting, patriotic tunes, played by the very animated (and limber) Organist-in-Residence, S. Wayne Foster. The pews shook. The tin trumpets blew. The air was wonderfully cool despite the ninety-degree weather outside.

All-in-all, it was a testament to the little wonders hidden within LA. A bit of culture. A bit of history. A bit of damage to our ear drums.

Candace, one of my co-workers, was the one who discovered this little trip away from ordinary. So that is how I came to have a nooner with the largest organ in the world while sitting next to my boss and co-worker in Church.

Needless to say, I was the youngest one in the room.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dia de los Muertos

Red Line - Union Station


It's the day of the dead.

There will be music and light. Dancing and food. Confetti and cheap souvenirs.

I'm like most Los Angelinos. There are certain areas of the city which I grew up visiting before I was old enough to appreciate them. Certain places where the annual field trips became so routine in elementary school that it no longer seemed an adventure to travel there.

Olvera Street is one of those places.

So I went back to re-discover it on the day of re-discovery and remembrance.

The outside courtyards were more beautiful than I remembered.

(This was probably at least partially due to the contribution of an abnormally warm and clear November day.)

And the streets were more of an adventure.

Between the pueblo and the bricks the temperature dropped about ten degrees. If you ignore the touristas stumbling through their Spanish, you could pick up on the Spanish in the air - store talk and singing, complaints and directions.

Trees and grapevines shade the street. One row of stalls smells of leather. One row smells of jalapenos. Everywhere are hand-written signs advertising: Mexican Jumping Beans, Candy Skulls, Piggy Banks, Leather Purses.

Plus there was a donkey and plenty of colorful sombreros. It's like Tijuana, but cleaner, with no traffic or chickens in the road.

Behind the shopping and haggling, the colors and crepe paper, the history of this area, the history of L.A., waits for you to notice.

This is still an educational field trip in disguise.

The original bell from the Los Angeles Mission.

A shrine honoring the life of Christine Sterling, the founder of Olvera Street.

Listen. Her bones are dancing down the street.