Burning Man at Reno Playa Art Park in Reno, Nevada – Road Trip Day 9 Ep.24

Neek sez:

Burning Man is a seven-day event in the Black Rock desert 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Reno, Nevada.  Aside from the wild night festivities and highly creative interactive artwork, Burning Man is a world renown Art event culminating in the burning a giant effigy on the last evening.  

I have never been to Burning Man and truthfully, the clothing optional aspects of it intimidate the hell out of me.  The artwork and designs of the temporary structures fascinate my aesthetic imagination, therefore, it was to my delight that some of the smaller artwork from the 2016 Burning Man is displayed at Reno Playa Art Park. Looking at the sculptures, it’s evident that Burning Man is a person who is stepping out to the beat of their own drummer. Continue reading

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St. Augustine, The Oldest Catholic Church in Nevada – Road Trip Day 8 Ep.19

Neek sez:

With a glint in her eye and an infectious laugh, the lady at the Trading Post who stamped our Highway 50 booklets continued on with her story about the abandoned buildings in Austin, Nevada.  The owner of the Main Street Shops who had to sell because of her son’s illness also owned the St. Augustine’s Catholic Church.  She had deeded the church to the St. Augustine’s Cultural Center for them to renovate and restore for its use.  The shopkeeper told us that it was abandoned for now and that we should go take a look.

Typical of many old mining towns, the building was situated on a steep hill so Sar decided to stay in the car and take a nap.  Lex and I huffed and puffed our way up the road to see an imposing red brick church with a beautiful tall white steeple. Continue reading

One of the World’s Largest Artists’ Colony – The Brewery Complex in Downtown Los Angeles

Neek sez:

I always had a fantasy of living the artist’s lifestyle in a garret somewhere cold;  living and working passionately in a tiny studio, loving my soul mate and dying of a disease.  Oh wait!  That’s La Boheme isn’t it? or if you’re into the contemporary version, Rent.  Actually, artist colonies do exist in Los Angeles although being a bit more livable, healthier, and much warmer.

Continue reading

One of the Longest Murals in the World – The Great Wall of Los Angeles

Lex sez:

Walking along the Tujunga Wash concrete basin in the San Fernando Valley community of Valley Glen, Neek and I were impressed with the enormity of the mural painted on the 13 feet high concrete sides.   This is The Great Wall of Los Angeles, one of the longest murals in the world at 2,754 feet (839.42 meters) in length, stretching over six city blocks!  Officially titled The History of California, this amazing work of art reminded me thematically of the book A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn.

For those of you who have not read it, A People’s History of the United States is not just a history book; it is a rich tapestry of stories spotlighting groups of people often neglected in ‘official’ history books.  Continue reading

The Preserved 1920’s Mansion of Western Movie Star, William S. Hart

Lex sez:

When Neek and I first walked into the William S. Hart Museum foyer, two immediate impressions of the man formed for me: his love of art and his love of the Old West.  This 10,000 square foot Spanish Colonial Revival style mansion completed in 1927 was designed by Arthur Roland Kelly, who was also responsible for designing the Arthur Letts, Jr. estate in Holmby Hills, more popularly known as The Playboy Mansion where Hugh Hefner lives.  I noticed that along the spiral staircase leading up to the second story, there were beautiful paintings of Western motifs.  It seemed very inviting, but Neek and I decided to explore downstairs first.

Usually they have guided tours, but Neek and I happened to arrive on a day where they were presenting the place “open house style.”

Continue reading

One Man’s Vision of the West – Old Trapper’s Lodge Folk Art

Lex sez:

In the interior of Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California, there is a fascinating collection of statues, fake tombstones and other examples of folk art.  These are what remain of Old Trapper’s Lodge.  It took Neek and me a long time driving around to find it, but hidden in a more rural section of the college where a rooster was crowing loudly, we finally stumbled onto it.

Entering the display, two things caught my attention right away.  One was the historical plaque for California Registered Historical Landmark #939.  This told the story of John Ehn (1897-1981), who was a trapper before moving to California, who opened a motel near the Burbank airport at Arvilla Avenue and San Fernando Road called the Old Trapper’s Lodge in 1941.  Continue reading