The State of the State of California’s Funding for the Arts

Art as Architecture A world-class city like Los Angeles means that it needs and requires a vibrant cultural community.

A strong and vibrant cultural community is vital to having a ‘creative class,’ according to the ideas of urban studies theorist Richard Florida.

The Rise of Creative Class

In his book “The Rise of the Creative Class,” Florida explores what it takes to attract “knowledge-based professionals,” including scientists, engineers, artists, musicians, designers, writers, and any other professional who brings creativity to the task at hand.

The creative class, he says, “accounts for nearly half of all wage and salary income in the United States, $1.7 trillion dollars, as much as the manufacturing and service sectors combined.”

Travelin’ Local and many other people, institutions, and organizations throughout the Golden State could not agree more.

It’s just plain wrong that California’s priorities lie elsewhere than investing into the arts which has been proven to attract and keep the knowledge management class.

Art Walk in Culver CityShorting the future of our “Best and Brightest” by cutting off our collective noses despite our faces, by denying endowments for the arts, arts development, and for grants and prizes to individuals and organizations in the arts, is shortsighted.

Don’t get me wrong

I know there are many government programs essential for life’s basic necessities; but if art—and by definition a ample supply of artists–isn’t available to the masses, life indeed would be boring and according to the study mentioned above, a society and area requires a creative class to attract knowledge based professionals including scientists, engineers, designers and other professionals.

It is they who are drivers of local and regional economies so to deny the arts is to deny your future economic prosperity.

It’s a well known fact that, California is technically insolvent. That’s a nice term for being bankrupt–without the formalities, of course.

Because of California’s massive 40 Billion dollar plus deficit, California Governor Schwarzenegger is slashing the budget and many services to try and balance our budget.

How Arts Bill (AB 700) impacts California

  • It provides for unique grants for artists, throughout the creative fields to use their grants to pursue their own specific artistic projects and fields of study—from writing, to filmmaking, to painting, to dancing, etc.
  • It creates and fosters a society that celebrates the beauty that only the Arts and Artists can contribute
  • Without public funding for the arts, the choices for fostering new and promising youth who want to obtain scholarships to become more educated and worldly with respect to their field diminishes; artists, and professionals already in the arts won’t be able to undertake sabbaticals, special studies or projects, which limits societies’ understanding of what the artist vision could have contributed to our culture; it unfortunately adds massive inability for our regional and national understanding and appreciation that only the liberal and traditional arts provide us pursuant to the various grant process’ given
  • It weakens the fabric and rubric of society where otherwise the systems that make a city, and a region, coalesce

Culture Grants encourage students and others who otherwise cannot financially afford to study arts the following opportunities:

Movie MakingThe “Creative Industries and Community Economic Revitalization Act,” was put on hold until 2010 on Thursday in the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.

Currently the California Arts Council imposes various duties on the council to foster arts development and to award grants and prizes to individuals and organizations in the arts.

The Arts Bill (AB 700) would have established a Creative Industries and Community Economic Revitalization Fund that would have required that 20% of all revenues derived from the payment of certain sales and use taxes remitted to the State Board of Equalization by the taxpayers, from specified lines of business, would have gone into the general State’s creative fund.

But it came to pass that the baby was thrown out with the bathwater:

Paul Krekorian (D-Burbank), the arts bill’s sponsor, said he requested, and committee Chairman Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) agreed, that the proposal be held over for a decision next year.

“It was clear that had the bill moved forward today, it would have been killed,” Krekorian said. “We continue to live to fight another day…. You can’t overstate how gruesome this budget crisis is right now.”

Krekorian thinks his fellow legislators will buy the bill’s main selling point: that money spent on the arts would lead to job creation and economic growth.

As an example, Congress approved $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the huge economic stimulus package aimed at saving jobs.

Water at UCLABut with the current economic climate around the nation, the anti-tax movement, the recent ballot box loss of the California funding initiatives, it’s going to be a long time before the Creative Industries and Community Economic Revitalization Fund will make a comeback in California in order to restore the Arts grant process.

But that should not get in your way of pursuing your dreams, your artistic and creative aspirations, and objectives–the road just got a little tougher; but it didn’t disappear.

In the meantime here’s how you can take action now to help.

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One of Los Angeles’s Best Kept Secrets - The Exposition Park Rose Garden

The Exposition Park Rose Garden, a 7-acre urban oasis, is the largest public garden in the County of Los Angeles. Home to over 20,000 rose bushes and over 190 varieties of roses, the Rose Garden is visited by thousands of Angelinos and tourists each year. However, the history behind the Rose Garden is as beautiful as the roses that grow there.

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden’s Early History

From 1871 to 1911, the site of the now present Rose garden was part of Los Angeles’ “Agricultural Park,” where farmers came to sell their wares. On the seedier side, on the adjunct property, there was a racetrack featuring horses, dogs, bicycles, camels, and later cars; which invariably led to gambling, drinking at the city’s longest bar, and home to its more “stylish brothels.”

Across the street at the University Methodist Church, a devout Methodist and attorney named William Miller Bowen, taught Sunday school. Because absenteeism was becoming more prevalent at his church, Bowen turned his ire toward the dog and horse racing.

Pushing his way through the jostling crowds of spectators, Bowen found a track where horses raced and a separate course where greyhounds chased rabbits. At times rabbits were torn apart by the dogs as delighted spectators looked on. Between the races and dismemberments, Bowen saw open drinking, gambling and prostitution.

“It became clear in a very short time that the vicious influences here were more than undoing the work we were trying to do in our Sunday school class. . . . This is a plague spot, infecting the entire community, and if left alone it will bring us all into ill repute,” Bowen said. Source: LA Times

Over the next decade, William Miller Bowen launched a campaign to stop what he viewed as criminal activity operating heart and center in the civic community. His direct efforts eventually led to the establishment of the “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals”.

Pink Roses

By 1906, the race track was featuring non-stop car racing and demolition derbies, and Bowen, who was also the President of the Los Angeles City Council, was equally as outraged. At his own expense, he launched a lawsuit to make the Agricultural Park, public property. With the successful outcome of his campaign, the permanent destruction of the saloons and brothels wasn’t too far behind.


In 1914, the city announced plans to construct a wildflower garden at the park, but the rose garden was not completed until 1927. Now, the Rose Garden is operated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose

In 1986, plans to dig up the garden to build an underground parking garage led to protests in the media. To add injury to insult, the Los Angeles Raiders NFL professional football team, wanted to uproot the garden to create a practice field.

They all failed, and to protect our national treasures from wanton and willful destruction, and other improper and imprudent considerations, the Exposition’s Rose Garden Park, was added to the in 1991.

Inner Beauty

While I was at the Rose Garden, there was an interesting national exhibition,

Cool Globes, whose mission is to raise awareness of global warming and inspire individuals and community leaders to embrace solutions. Currently traveling to various US cities, of which LA is number 5, this exhibit is well worth taking the time to view. It’s on display in Los Angeles until July 23, 2009.

Cool Globes

Children at different schools–and from different cities across the world–chose an important environmental topic to decorate the globe with, using unique, everyday, and interesting materials.

Cool Globes is a project by school children to encourage even more individuals, businesses and governments to adopt simple solutions to fight global warming. The Cool Globes exhibition has been held throughout the nation and has gathered substantial media and news coverage resulting in thousands of people learning about the project, visiting the globes and adopting solutions they can put to action in their daily lives to help stop global warming.

We Are What We Eat

If you haven’t seen the Cool Globes exhibit yet, well you’re just not cool. Just joking, but when used in terms such as public art, education, children, and creativity, it’s a must see. So far, it’s been in Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco, and San Diego. And for the residents of Houston, mark your calendar, Cool Globes will be there starting in October.

As I’m Travelin’ Local more and more, I get to travel the world, and stay at one place at the same time. Who would have thought?

The Majestic Vistas from the Pacific Palisades

During a recent early morning walk, I headed for the hills, literally–the hills of Pacific Palisades to be precise. The Pacific Palisades is home to about 27,000 people, demographically very affluent, and a veritable who’s who in the movie and film industry.


Founded by 1922 by Rev. Charles H. Scott, Pacific Palisades was initially envisioned to be an elaborate religious-intellectual commune. In fact, the world famous author, Aldous Huxley and his wife Maria, son Matthew, and friend Gerald Heard, called Pacific Palisades home.

With only 100 homes built by 1925, by today’s standards, it would have been a bargain compared to the current $1,329,856 median home price for a house in the Pacific Palisades.

Malibu Tiles Doorway

This building is directly influenced by the Spanish Colonial and Malibu Tile Pottery’s multi-colored hexagon tiles and wrought iron detailing. An obvious elaboration from The Adamson House’s Exquisite Detailing. Although the backlight wasn’t ideal for the background, if you look hard, you can see the Pacific Ocean right behind the door.

Castillo Del Mar

Hollywood Babylon–its stars, celebrities, and of course gossip, killings, and suicide, extended to all parts of the city, even the Palisades.

Even here, screen actress Thelma Todd was supposed to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage pictured above, but as with most things Hollywood, the truth is often shades of gray or worse. Above the center support column of the blue garage doors, the Castillo Del Mar sign, translated from Spanish, literally means the “Castle of the Sea.”

Pacific Coast Highway

I’ll leave you with a picture of the deep blue, aqua-tinted, and light breeze over the Pacific Ocean water, taken from a vista perched high above from the mountain top of Pacific Palisades. The cars at the bottom of the cliffs are traveling on Pacific Coast Highway, which continues north toward Malibu.

After an afternoon shoot and respite in the Pacific Palisades while Travelin’ Local, I don’t have to go to the movies to escape, I do every day as I frequent the most glamorous and interesting place in the world—Southern California and Los Angeles.

Travelin’ Local visits Robert Moses State Park – Long Island

Crossing the Bridge

Recently, we had the divine pleasure of having Kim Pace, of Kim Pace Photography; share a personal guest story of her Travelin’ Local in her home state of New York. It was accompanied by her awesome, inspiring, and emotionally brilliant photographs of her trip to Long Island’s amazingly beautiful Bayard Cutting Arboretum.

Today we have a much anticipated encore from Kim; and it covers a couple of topics that are among my favorites—parks and the beaches. I’d have to say that I love beaches almost as much as anything else in the physical world. Along with art, books, architecture, and education, family is on my short list of life’s loves.

Kim’s passion and sense and sensibility shines as she shows us her interpretation of Long Island and its cultural and physical aesthetic as seen through her lens meant for our consumption.

And what a treat.

Interestingly enough, I’ve discovered a bit about Robert Moses. Leaving his legacy to the biographers and historians, it is a fact that Robert Moses was one of the most famous city planners in the world and he was for New York.

Moses led the way to fight the wealthy land barons in upper New York State who conspired together to deny others access to its beaches; because the wealthy landowners at that time would not allow for any right-of-ways for roads to be built for the residents of New York to go to the beaches because there was no access. Moses changed all of that.

He led the charge for the building and creation of Fire Island and the beach and ancillary aquatic facilities; and from Kim’s ode to Fire Island proves, sometimes a good fight is worth it in the end. Not only she, but now her children get to go the beach and enjoy for the rest of their lives its living legacy.

Moses was responsible for many of New York monuments—including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Triborough Bridge, and was the mover behind Shea Stadium and Lincoln Center, and contributed to the United Nations headquarters.

Robert Moses State Beach is a state park which is located in the state of New York.

Here is Kim’s inimitable, interesting, and penetrating guest story; and her experiences while Travelin’ Local in Long Island–her long time home and love.

Robert Moses State Beach

Robert Moses State Beach is located on the western end of Fire Island outside of the boundaries of Fire Island National Seashore.

Off in the Distance

Long Island has been my home for my entire life.  I have always had the luxury of being 20 minutes from the beach.  This luxury is not something I take lightly either.  I love the beach.  I love the smell of the beach. The sound.  The tranquility that comes from the second your toes feel the sand.

Brown Brush and Tranquility

Robert Moses Beach has always been the beach I return to year after year.  It is the beach I will bring my boys to every summer.
Long Island is still trying to break into Spring, but a few weeks ago we had a freakishly beautiful day.  I chose to head to the beach with my camera to welcome the new Spring season.  It was chilly and the brush was still brown from the cold winter but the feeling of tranquility was still as powerful.

The smell of the surf

There was the ocean, with the seagulls running around. The light house, that stands in the background, watching over it all.

The smell of the surf.

Taking the boys to the beach

I love it. I cannot wait to bring my boys to Robert Moses beach over and over again to create the memories I have cherished about living on Long Island.
I hope you can see some of the beauty through my lens of Robert Moses Beach.

10 Reasons to Use Mass Transit

Metro 761

On Thursday morning, another sunny and beautiful Los Angeles Spring day greeted me, so I decided that I wanted to go to a museum.

I then checked the list on the Free Museum Days link on Travelin’ Local, and discovered that the Skirball Cultural Center, is free to the public every Thursday.

Although I’m going to the Skirball, I’m not driving there. Instead, I’m taking the Metro, and the Big Blue Bus.

More often than not, I just don’t want to drive and enjoy the freedom of not having the ball and chain of my automobile all of the time. Taking the bus affords me much more than that though:

10 Reasons to Use Mass Transit

1. Getting to be outside, walking, in touch with your local environment

2. While waiting for the bus, you can talk with clients, friends, and family uncluttered by having a steering wheel glued to your hands.

3. Read a book, magazine, or even a Kindle.

4. Save time because many buses have their own bus lane. Plus, if you’re stuck in traffic, it’s much more relaxing to sit back and let someone else do the driving.

5. Save money—Just think, no parking fees, no meters, no high gas prices, and less wear and tear on your car.

6. It’s easy – with a monthly Btap card.

7. The opportunity to be independent and free.

8. Added time to work or play on your laptop; or to just relax and daydream.

9. To save the planet by reducing carbon emissions, reducing pollution, and reducing smog

10. Set an example for others in your community


Learning by doing is sometimes just a cognitive step toward change; but for me it feels natural and right. Hopefully more and more people will get used to Los Angeles’ continuing mass transit system upgrades; though not yet perfect—it can and does assist you to be more productive and less stressed out.

If more and more people started to realize that it’s actually easier to ride the bus than to drive, the point of taking mass transit would be more astute—it’s just easier and more fun.

For example, on this trip I was able to write and edit an entire story about Malibu’s Adamson House, from my previous notes.

There are two sites that already do a great job of covering the numerous bills, committees, plans, and other energy, public infrastructure, and additional issues of Metro news that affect us all here in Southern California, totally categorized, often explained or even advocated at Los Angeles Transportation Headlines, and at LA StreetsBlog.

For most intent and purposes we have the mass transit infrastructure in place, but often times, it’s underused or not used at all.

The objective of these Metro Monday stories is to provide readers with actual real world experiences by various Metro rides and information.

Today’s Jaunt

I didn’t start with Metro, as I usually do, but started with the Big Blue Bus.

What is the Big Blue Bus?

It’s the bus system run by the City of Santa Monica. Some of their routes are Santa Monica exclusives; however others cross into LA proper. In this case, I needed to get from Santa Monica Boulevard to the corner of Westwood and Wilshire, so I could connect to Metro’s 761– which would and did take me to the Skirball’s front entrance.

Big Blue Bus

Interestingly, out of a fleet of 210 Big Blue buses currently operating, 43% are powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) which is 77% cleaner burning than diesel-fueled buses.

I didn’t have to walk too far before getting on the Big Blue Bus, so it was easy. Because it stops every 3-4 blocks, most people should be able to board the bus with relatively ease. I have a Btap card for Metro–which is what I use most of the time. For the Big Blue, the Btap card doesn’t work, so I drop $.75 into the money taker.

And off I went as I sat down and enjoyed the ride toward my destination—the Skirball Cultural Center high atop the hills of Mulholland Drive. It didn’t take long before I got off to transfer to the Metro 761. For those astute folks, the green bus in front of the big blue bus in this photo is part of Culver City’s bus system, the Culver City Bus.

The Metro 761 Bus

Metro Trip PlannerAlthough, I’ve never ridden the 761 before, and it raised my level of respect for Metro drivers as the bus ride traversed Sunset Boulevard, our driver had to navigate the curves, hills, and turns that every driver knows can be a challenge just with a car, but for a bus driver to navigate this famous and infamous twisting and narrow street with an expanded bus is applauded and appreciated.

The Metro Trip Planner

Before starting today’s trip, I consulted the Metro Trip Planner; so I knew exactly where, when, and how to properly plot a course for today’s trip. Some people state for the record that the Metro’s reputation for not being on time is legendary, but for me, this trip arrived right on time.

As I disembarked, I immediately took a mental and visual look at this:

The 405 from the Hills

And then a thought quickly reared into my psyche–I realized that my destiny lies in my ability to utilize those things that my civic community has invested into, which provides me the ability to lead a better life. And so my day began not with a headache sitting in traffic; but by easily jumping on the bus with a tad of planning, making good use of my time while traveling to my destination, and being able to spend a wonderful and gorgeous day at the exciting, meaningful, educational, and wonderfully esthetic, and historic Skirball Cultural Center.

Skirball Cultural Center

A Garden Tour of Malibu’s Adamson House

The Adamson House, in Malibu, is very much a part of our past, present, and future. Its folklore lays both a physical foundation, and a symbolic one that is ever omnipresent. Its architecture, owners’ history, and location are an integral part of Los Angeles storied events, experiences, tradition and beauty.

Adamson House

This classic Malibu home was built in 1930 for Rhonda Rindge Adamson and her husband, Merritt Huntley Adamson.

The name Rindge is synonymous with Malibu. Moving to California in 1892, Frederick Hastings Rindge and Rhonda May Rindge bought the entire Rancho Malibu–13,330 acres, for about $10 per acre.

Rindge’s vision for his house when he initially purchased the Malibu lands were bold, visionary, and sophisticated yet simple:

“A farm near the ocean, under the lee of the mountains, with a trout brook, wild trees, a take, good soil, and excellent climate, one not too hot in summer.”

Rindge died in 1905, leaving his estate to his wife, Rhonda May Rindge, to take over along with his business interests.

Over the next several decades, Rhonda May Rindge certainly didn’t flange in her husband’s shadow. As a driving force of his vision and will, came the ensuing decades she fought the railroads; sought to stop the building of Pacific Coast Highway by taking her case to the Supreme Court; developed and built the ever present and popular Malibu Pier; but proceeded to build a short lived company with a long lasting effect. She was a single-minded woman who took her own path in life, an unusual path considering the time.

Tile Fountain

Facing financial difficulties and wanting to avoid selling her property, May Rindge created a small ceramic tile factory, the Malibu Potteries. At its peak, the factory employed over a hundred workers, manufactured and produced decorative tiles which furnish many Los Angeles area public buildings and Beverly Hills residences which can still be seen to this very day.

The Malibu Pottery factory, situated ½ mile east of the Malibu Pier, burned to the ground from a fire in 1931. Subsequently, the Great Depression ensued, causing a downward spiral in new local construction projects, sealing Malibu Potteries fate; it never reopened.

The Adamson House and Malibu Potteries - a Golden Memory of California’s History

However, the Adamson House is now part of a California State Park, a cultural and historical icon, and show place for the craftsmanship from and of the Malibu Potteries. The true legacy in craftsmanship and ability in the arts is how it is accepted and perceived—and in that, Southern California holds hostage to the multi-colored rich texture of tiles into building turned into art, which makes for a culture and many of Malibu and Los Angeles’ landmarks.

Tile Flowers

The Adamson House, is a visionary masterpiece; it took a planning period of five years, and a construction time frame of one year. Planning before doing seemed to be the motto of Rhonda May Rindge.

Backyard Fountain

Its backyard includes a fountain, which features both the aqua blue Pacific Ocean holding court next to the Malibu tiles surrounding the facade of all of the fountain’s boundaries.

Salt Water Swimming Pool

Also included in the backyard is a salt-water swimming pool. You can stand on the original diving board and with a quick look over your shoulder, the Malibu Pier is right there.

Of course, if you have a pool, you have to have a pool house.

Beach House Painting

This painting above the fireplace depicts Balboa, arriving in California.

Of course, if you have a pool house, you have to have a bathroom which includes a changing room and shower.

Bathroom Ringer

One unique feature to this bathroom was a ringer attached to the sink so pool users could wring their bathing suits after they took them off. After all, who would want to walk around sopping wet?

The Adamson House’s Exquisite Detailing

Small Details

All within the house’s original plan, no detail is too small. These gracefully adorn the exterior.

French Doors

These are the elaborate French doors which lead to the backyard and the fountain featured above. The obvious wave pattern in the ceiling reflects the ocean waves, and the blue in the tiles found on the patio floor, is a color seen throughout the house and gardens.

Rusty Bell

Here’s a closer look at the ceiling and bell which draws in the viewer with the same kind of intensity that a great singer receives from the audience. For an even a closer look at the Malibu tiles, Vanessa over at LA Places has a great story about her recent visit to the Adamson House.

Opening the doors to magic

Construction of the house started in 1929, as it was meant to be the primary residence of Rhonda May Rindge’s daughter, Rhoda Agatha Rindge and husband, Merritt Huntley Adamson. She, along with her family lived in the house until her death in 1962. In 1968, the California Department of Parks and Recreation bought the Adamson House with the intention of demolishing the house to provide a parking lot for Surfriders Beach.

However, for 14 years the Malibu Historical Society fought against the destruction. Through their efforts, the Adamson House is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  Now everbyody can give a giant shout out of appreciation and thanks to the Malibu Historical Society, for their unbridled thirst in protecting both our physical and artistic monuments.

Pink Snowball

I know I mentioned I was on the Garden Tour, and that’s what it was; the Adamson House and its history still physically grows and continues to mesmerize us.

Nature is awesome in its beatuy and of the picture above was of particular interest first, because I remembered its name, Pink Snowball. And second, because I had to stand under it and shoot the photograph looking up–these particular flowers hang down from a tree.

Especially during this impending Memorial Day, the more that I’m Travelin’ Local, it’s apparent that not only am I living the California dream, I’m seeing and learning it as well.

That’s also our ethos and mission at Travelin’ Local. By finding  the interesting and unique social fabric of things and places, we bring a slice of heaven here, to you also.  Enjoy.

Koreatown, Kimchi, and Spicy Noodles

Korean Dumplings

Although I’ve had Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese food, I had not tried Korean food until today. Fortunately, for two reasons, a friend of mine has many years sampling various Korean restaurants, noodle shops, and eateries, so when I was in Koreatown, we met for lunch.


For those that are not familiar with Korean food, first of all it is typically served differently than other Asian cuisine—from the appetizers first laid out on the table from Kimchi, to Pickled Radishes, to Spicy Soy Sauce, and hot tea.

Indeed Kimchi, comes in many delectable and creative forms, from Ggakdugi (chopped radish) to Baek Kimchi (White Cabbage), it’s a delicious condiment to add to your rice.

Because this was my first experience with Korean food, I didn’t get too adventurous with my meal, so I ordered the combination plate which included rice, spicy chicken, two dumplings, and a fresh cabbage salad.

Spicy Chicken with Dumplings

I do apologize to my readers–The food was so good, I was already into my half-way point of my “mini-feast” when I suddenly realized I hadn’t taken any pictures yet.

The dumplings were to die for, big and stuffed with moist chicken and spices. Adding the spicy soy sauce, created a match made in heaven.

The sweet/spicy sauce on the chicken–flavored with just the right sweetness–was perfect for lunch. Note to self: Next time take a doggie bag home as the serving sizes are that large.

My girlfriend, who’s more experienced with Korean cuisine, ordered the spicy seafood soup. Brimming full of shrimp, mussels, squid, octopus, noodles, and a very spicy broth, she remarked that along with wanting to eat it everyday, the zesty broth was addictive as well as excellent for clearing your sinuses out.

Spicy Seafood Soup

I was surprised I liked the soup. The only fish I had previously eaten was shrimp. Octopus, squid, and mussels aren’t high on my grocery list. Prepared with a panoply of noodles, broth, and seafood was indulgent and massive.

The full meal for both of us including the tip, was under $20.00. Only in Los Angeles as the saying goes.

Next time, when I return to Koreatown, I’ll try a Korean BBQ.

Food and Travelin’ Local go together.

Stop by and visit:

Korean Dumpling
698 S. Irolo St. Suite 111
Koreatown, LA

View Koreatown, Kimchi, and Spicy Noodles in a larger map

Swim, Learn, and Play at the Los Angeles Expo Center


to the

Los Angeles Swimming Stadium

Los Angeles Expo Center, a premiere recreation, sports, learning, cultural, neighborhood, and special events location, is right in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

To be honest, I’m jealous of the residents and students who live next to this stunning and grand virtuosity in city planning built for the people of Los Angeles—and especially for its local neighborhood.

The Expo Center plays host to one of the premiere swimming facilities in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Swimming Stadium. It’s managed, staffed and maintained by the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Recreation and Parks.

The Roy A. Anderson Recreation Center is a hub of activity, both indoors and out.

It includes:

An indoor fitness gym

An indoor fitness gym

Two brand new state-of-the-art basketball courts

Two brand new state-of-the-art basketball courts. Can you say “Showtime?

The Roy A. Anderson Recreation Center offers programs and services for all of their 30,000 plus members of all ages, including seasonal camps, art classes, basketball and soccer leagues, fitness and martial arts classes, career training, music lessons, and a youth orchestra.

It’s also home to the Kids in Sports (KIS) initiative, a non-profit organization providing youth sports programs for communities-in-need. No matter the weather, time of day, day of the week, month of the year, or anything else for that matter, the Roy A. Anderson Recreation Center always has an ongoing activity.

John C. Argue Swim Stadium

Behind the Recreation Center is the John C. Argue Swim Stadium, with its renovated, heated Olympic pool. Via a partnership with USC’s Family of Schools and the LA Unified School District, the Swim Stadium provides a free Learn-to-Swim program as well as a world class swimming venue.

The Swim Stadium works with local inner city youths to train them to swim for their Public Education Physical Education requirements. This is definitely a “sea change” in attitude and direction for the residents and their children.

Whereas before, many ethnic minorities were not afforded the opportunities to learn or to have access to a swimming pool due to the basic fact that none were locally available, now there are classes, teams, and the Stadium itself available for all age groups.

The schools provide the students and the Stadium provides the swimming instructors. It’s a win/win partnership.

Swim Stadium is also the home of the City of Los Angeles’ Swim Team

The Swim Stadium is also the home of the City of Los Angeles’ Swim Team (COLA).

Used for both training and hosting events, the Swim Stadium provides members of this city wide program a constant venue and community for swim lessons, lap swimming, water polo, synchronized swimming, diving, and competitions.

Even though I didn’t swim while there, I will definitely be going back this summer to take a dip in the pool. With a cost of $2.00 to get in, well you can’t beat the price and the atmosphere! The cost also provides me the opportunity to also use the fitness center first.

But, wait, I’m not done.

Also included in the Expo Center is the

Ahmanson Foundation Senior Citizen Center

Ahmanson Foundation Senior Citizen Center which features a ballroom, kitchen, computer lab, and an urban mini farm.

It’s host to a wide variety of programs, and services for older adults. They offer computer classes, social clubs, yoga, fitness training, and cutting edge health programs provided via the USC Davis School of Gerontology.

These are just a few of the possibilities for older adults at this Senior Center.

Is there more?

You bet:

Ralph M. Parsons Pre-School

The Ralph M. Parsons Pre-School currently has over 80 children aged 2 ½ to 5, and provides them a well-rounded education in math, reading, science, recreation and the arts.

Now am I done with the Los Angeles Expo Center features?

Not yet as they’re two more features they provide:

W. M. Keck Foundation Amphitheatre

The first is the W. M. Keck Foundation Amphitheatre. It’s an outdoor Amphitheatre that hosts various outdoor community and family events.

The Rose Garden

The second feature is the Expo Center’s Rose Garden.

It’s home to over 20,000 rose bushes and 190 variety of roses. Although it would be too easy to give you a teaser alone with a few pictures of the Rose Garden, I’ll do Travelin’ Local readers one better by giving it its own story, because there’s so much beauty to be seen, experienced, and provided there. So, stay tuned.

Travelin’ Local just gets better and more interesting because of places and things like the Expo Center. I had a wonderful and splendid afternoon just getting away from the humdrum of the rat race.

What type of recreational facilities does your neighborhood have? Taking advantage of your local public recreational facilities is always a fun and cost effective way to get the best bang for your fitness dollars.

Each day, I continue to be surprised at the various opportunities I find while Travelin’ Local.

Metro Monday - Downtown Koreatown

The Nation's Largest Clean Air Fleet

On Friday, with the sun already peeking through my window, I decided to go to Koreatown to get some good Kimchi, check out the sights, take some pictures, and do a little shopping.

There is certainly no shortage of good food, interesting people, architecture, appealing shopping malls, and scenes to enjoy and to take note of in Los Angeles, so I hopped on the Metro Rapid 728 which goes straight down Olympic Boulevard through the heart of Koreatown.

What is Metro Rapid?

Instead of me telling you, I’ll let the officials over at Metro explain:

Key Metro Rapid Attributes

  • Simple route layout: Makes it easy to find, use and remember
  • Frequent service: Buses arrive as often as every 3-10 minutes during peak commuting times
  • Fewer stops: Stops spaced about a ¾ mile apart, like rail lines, at most major transfer points
  • Level boarding/alighting: Low-floor buses speed-up dwell times
  • Bus priority at traffic signals: New technology reduces traffic delay at intersections by extending the green light or shortening the red light.
  • Color-coded buses and stops: Metro Rapid’s distinctive red color scheme makes it easy to identify Metro Rapid stops and buses
  • Enhanced stations: Metro Rapid stations provide information, lighting, canopies and “Next Bus” displays
  • Headway-based schedules rather than time-point-based schedules

Now, that you have a great understanding of Los Angeles’ Metro Rapid system, here’s my visit of Koreatown via the Metro 728 by way of Olympic Boulevard.

Olympic Boulevard

Here I stopped to shoot a picture looking East toward Downtown. As you can see, Koreatown is an combination of commerce, culture, cuisine, and cars.

Building Front

Home to a population of 340,000 and covering just under a 5-square-mile radius, Koreatown has the highest population density of all neighborhoods in Los Angeles. According to Forbes, Koreatown is ranked the 2nd Most Fuel-Efficient Neighborhood for 2008 and is considered one of the top walkable neighborhoods in the nation.


Even though Korean Americans are the largest ethnic group populating Koreatown, a large Hispanic population is also represented, with many of the Korean businesses hiring its Hispanic residents. This multiculturalism has caused a growth in Koreans who speak Spanish, and an increase in Hispanics who have learned Korean.


Before I headed home, I had to stop and have some amazing and delicious Korean food. This teaser picture is a precursor to an upcoming post about a fabulous local eatery I encountered there. So, hurry and subscribe to Travelin’ Local’s RSS feed to keep up-to-date to the latest Los Angeles and Southern California cool and unique happenings.

While Travelin’ Local here in Los Angeles, just hopping on the Metro, can take you, literally into another world.

And that’s what life’s all about.

Los Angeles’ 59 Swimming Pools

Dive In

The City of Los Angeles, Recreation and Parks Department, Aquatics Division offers a schedule full of family activities that are healthy, affordable and safe.

They operate, manage, and maintain 59 swimming pools, 10 lakes, and a beach, every single one has its own programs and schedules, including exercise classes for seniors, lifeguard training, swim lessons for children, aqua-jogging lanes, swim meets for high schools and other age groups, lap swimming, diving, special needs facilities, event hosting, and well, best of all—swimming pools, both in and outdoor ones.

The City of Los Angeles Aquatics Division definitely has its work cut out for itself; but they do a great job.

In addition, the city operates 11 open water facilities which are open year round, offering fishing, paddle boating and small craft programs.  (Beach Lifeguards are under the auspices of the County of Los Angeles).

Family Fun

Water is a great equalizer. It supports body weight, and with proper flotation devices, most anyone can exercise in the water no matter what the physical disability.

When Travelin’ Local be sure to check locally at various YMCA’s, recreation centers, and other pools for opportunities in your area, or click on the USA Swimming Web site to learn more. In addition to recreational swimming, the United States Paralympics Swim Team offers athletes with disabilities the opportunity to compete internationally in swimming. Swimming is an activity for virtually anyone who has the will and desire to do so.

There you have it

Swimming is an activity that builds strength, endurance, and muscle tone. It’s an activity that you can do all year long, inside or outside, it burns lots of calories, and you can share it with your family. It’s low-impact (just in case your bones are creaky), and you can do it until you’re 100! It’s not too late to start if you never learned how (learning new stuff is cool even when you’re adult!), and for those of you who can swim and would like to compete, that’s available as well.

Back in the Day

When I was a kid, growing up in a small town, we didn’t have any pool facilities. If we wanted to swim, basically the only option was to go to the nearby town which had a YMCA. Due to this fact, I didn’t get to swim as often as I would have liked.

In fact, one of my family lore is a yarn about how I learned to swim when my father put me in the pool and said “Swim.” I was only able to swim most times during our family trips which consisted of our annual camping or weekend road trips.

Of course, I have many fond memories of playing in the pool with my friends and family.

It’s great to have so many pools found while Travelin’ Local, especially with so many different programs available.

However, living in Southern California now, I can within minutes travel to a beach, pool, lake, or spa of my choosing. All in all, swimming is a winner, and if you have the inclination, I suggest that you go for it! The swimming season’s almost here and I can’t wait:

The water's fine!!

How about you? What “water activities” do you and/or your families have planned? By Travelin’ Local, you’re always sure to find a local watering hole to have fun.

Bike to Work Day – Pit Stops in Santa Monica

Yesterday was Bike to Work Day.

Unfortunately, most people don’t ride their bikes to work. For the most part, it’s done on an infrequent basis—if at all.

Travelin’ Local, as well as many advocates for bicycling, alternative energy, transportation, community activists, and national bicycling organizations hope to change that.

If you biked to work yesterday, and were able to stop at many of the pit stops provided by local business’ and governments, good conversations about bikes were in abundance, goodie bags were to be had, the patrons provided a lot of important information and hosted free refreshments as well.

The first stop for my pit stop tour was at Helen’s Cycles.

Here is Mike whom I met and enjoyed our bicycling friendly conversation. He said that by 7:30 am, 25 people had already stopped by to chat.

Helen's Cycles

The pit stop hours were from 6:00am to 9am.

As you can see in the photo, Helen’s Cycles had a nice little spread for any lucky biker who stopped by.

With a location right on Broadway’s bike lane, it’s a popular spot. I received a $5.00 off coupon for Helen’s Cycles, so I’ll definitely be coming back to make a purchase.

Hey I like to shop! Especially for free……:)

My next pit stop was at the REI store in Santa Monica.

REI Pit Stop

They had a grab bag full of goodies which they were providing to bicycle riders. We talked briefly about riders having to be very cautious of parked cars on Broadway.

If you ride bikes on the street, here’s an issue that some riders and car drivers don’t consider, but should:

A bike lane is a traffic lane on a road. Would you stand in the middle of the road and have a conversation? How about opening a car door with traffic coming?

Obviously you wouldn’t. So please be considerate of the bicyclists using the lane. Look before you open your car door.

My final pit stop of the day was at Santa Monica City Hall.

Santa Monica City Hall

Santa Monica is a forward thinking city. In fact, it was recently awarded the Bronze by the League of American Bicyclists.

Santa Monica is active in trying to encourage more bike riders. They recently added more bike racks to several areas close to the Third Street Promenade, and have more planned. However, there’s much more education, advocacy, and work yet to be done:

There are 130 miles of arterial streets in Santa Monica. Bike lanes are designated on 13 total miles of roadway. Of these, 3.78 miles of designated bike lanes are on arterial streets. That means less than 3% of Santa Monica’s arterial streets have bike lanes, a figure which falls short of the city’s 35% target for 2010.  In addition to designated bike lanes, there is one bike path that is 3.11 miles long and 20 bike routes covering 18.78 miles.

On the plus side, the Bike Valet Service at Pier Saturday Night Concert Series and Sunday Farmers’ Market and other city events parked over 16,000 bikes in 2007, getting cars off the road and improving convenience of biking around town.  Source: City of Santa Monica.

With events like Bike to Work Day, cities become more eco-friendly, bike issues advance to the forefront of people’s thinking, and they become more aware to the general public. Who knows, while enjoying the fresh air and getting your heart pumping, using your “pedal power” when Travelin’ Local where you live, helps you to smell the roses as you exercise and save the planet.

Travelin’ Local visits Long Island, New York

Today’s feature story, along with photographs, is provided courtesy of the inimitable and hugely talented, Kim Pace, of Kim Pace Photography, from Long Island, New York.

Round Bench

Before I provide Kim’s biography in her own words, I feel compelled to provide readers with my interpretation of her amazing and visually stunning photography.

Her images always have a fine touch of humanity, with technical grace and sophistication, but always tell us—the viewers–a story, at a time in space, and a space in time, reserved for only a few select artists like Kim, who are able to produce a palette of colors, light, line, and hue, with her fine selection of both subject and topic; finely textured and wrapped within a single image.


For that, alone, I’m in awe of Kim. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we share a lot in common:

Both of us are mothers, professionals, and photographers. Although we live on opposite sides of the coasts, our common passion of the photographic and written arts is the least of our similarities. It’s the glue that makes us relate to one another. It’s a journey that I hope to share with Kim for a long, long time.

About Kim Pace

Photography has been an act of discovery for me. I shoot with my heart and try to capture the tiny moments that create a story. As a mother to two young boys I know all too well how fast time flies. I try to carry my camera at all times so I can capture the perfect moments and the not so perfect moments. Happy accidents are usually the best photos.

Bayard Cutting Arboretum

This spring season has not been very kind for us Long Islanders.  It appears that April Showers theory was being put to very good use.  Sitting around last Wednesday night I turned to my husband and confessed, “I really need a day with my camera.”  So, last Thursday on my day off from work I decided after dropping the kids off at daycare I was going to take the entire morning and shoot.

My husband suggested the The Bayard Cutting Arboretum.  Living on Long Island my entire life it is sad to say I have never been to this park. I arrived at 10:00 when they opened and did not leave until a little after noon.  If I had brought some snacks to munch on I can assure you I would have stayed longer.  It was that beautiful.

Green Fields

The weather was a cool 70, and the flowers and trees where still waking up from the winter, but what filled me with joy was the pure peace I was at just wondering around a new place.

Pink Blossoms

The Bayard Cutting Arboretum is a New York State Park which comprises approximately 690 acres along the Connetquot River.

Low Flyer

The Bayard Cutting Arboretum, was donated to the Long Island State Park Region by Mrs. William Bayard Cutting and her daughter, Mrs. Olivia James, in memory of William Bayard Cutting,

Along with the Bayard Cutting Arboretum, there’s also a 5 nature walk throughout its grounds.

Lake Reflections

Upon the family’s philanthropic donation, they stated the following as their main reason for such a huge and generous civic donation:

Fence and Flowers

"To provide an oasis of beauty and quiet for the pleasure, rest and refreshment of those who delight in outdoor beauty; and to bring about a greater appreciation and understanding of the value and importance of informal planting."

Walking Trail

No matter the city or town that you currently reside in, by Travelin’ Local, Kim has shown us her neighborhood in a breathtaking manner during her respite from her daily routine.

Malibu Lagoon the “Riviera of California”

During my recent bus ride to Malibu, my first stop was at the Malibu Lagoon State Beach, a 13 acre shallow water embayment occurring at the boundary of the Malibu Creek Watershed, the second largest watershed draining into Santa Monica Bay.

“Riviera of California”

The sand-barred lagoon, just off Malibu Point, is a resting and feeding estuary for more than 200 species of migrating and native birds.

Malibu Lagoon

The Malibu Lagoon is where Malibu Creek meets the Pacific Ocean.  The beach side of the lagoon is home to Surfrider Beach, world renowned as a surfing and recreational destination and receives approximately 1.5 million visitors every year.

Malibu Pier and Surfrider Beach

On the east side of Malibu Creek, the famous Malibu Pier allows for excellent saltwater fishing, dining, and just a great view. In fact, the California State Parks won the 2009 Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award for its restoration of the Malibu Pier. The conservancy recognized California State Parks for demonstrating its "solid stewardship of this beloved public resource by reversing decades of decay while staying true to its historic character."

The Malibu Lagoon Master Enhancement Plan

The Malibu Lagoon Master Enhancement Plan

Click here for a larger image.

Malibu Lagoon has undergone many changes in its recent history. In fact, looking at it now, it’s hard to believe that the lagoon had previously been used as a dump site for fill material by Cal Trans and others in the 1950’s and 60’s.

By the late 1970’s the site was completely filled and housed two baseball fields. The size of the lagoon has been greatly diminished by urban development along the coast.

In addition, urbanization upstream in the Malibu Creek Watershed has increased the volume of water transported into the lagoon, which also significantly diminished the waters pollution.

The non-profit group, Heal the Bay, in cooperation with the California Department of Parks and Recreation under a grant from the California State Coastal Conservancy, has coordinated a massive renovation program to revitalize, revamp, and carry through with restoring the Malibu Lagoon to its past grandeur.

What did she find?

The purpose of this project is to design a restoration plan for the Malibu Lagoon ecosystem that provides the greatest benefit for both goals of an enhanced ecosystem structure and function, while still preserving and enhancing the recreational use activities.

Although the restoration is a long term civil engineering endeavor, no matter how long it will take, restoring The Malibu Lagoon to its pristine status is well-worth the effort.

Do you have any important restoration or historic preservation projects going on in your city’s neighborhood? I’d love to hear about them because out national treasures are our cities, parks, and natural resources.

The Metro, LADWP, and Alternative Fuel

Don't forget, Bike to Work Week starts today

For today’s Metro Monday article, I’ll begin at the ending of my trip last week, via the “534 Express” to Malibu, California.

Last time, I started my route in Santa Monica.

However, this time, upon my return, I rode the 534 Express from Malibu, taking Interstate 10 to the end of the line at Washington Blvd. and Fairfax Ave.

That’s called efficiency!

On today’s brief and fun sojourn, I traveled 20 miles within the heart of metropolitan Los Angeles; all within a time span of 40 minutes.

In Los Angeles, that’s impressive. In fact, I don’t think it could have been faster in a car—indeed it probably wasn’t.

Below is an approximate map of my route:

View Untitled in a larger map

As a photojournalist and artist, I had a plan for today’s trip to Malibu (in an upcoming post), but decided that a bit of creative destruction was in order—therefore I wanted to end up somewhere, anywhere, and unplanned to photograph uncharted territory to capture fresh; so I rolled the dice and let the bus lead the way.

Snake eyes was my destiny.

At the end of my day, I ended up at the corner of Venice and Fairfax, with this view right in front of me:

To save power, use low energy appliances

If you’re not from Los Angeles, “LADWP” is the acronym for the infamous Los Angeles Department of Water and Power –the utility company that supplies Los Angeles proper with both our basic power and water.

Love them or hate them—without them, we couldn’t survive more than a day. Not the most original topic for Travelin’ Local but definitively one of life’s basic necessities.

On the other hand, in recent years, looking for alternative fuel sources has been a primary goal for LADWP. Although renewable energy only comprised 3% of LADWP’s power supply in 2005, as of July 1, 2008, it made up 8.5%. Hopefully it’s on track to have 20% of our power from alternative fuel sources by 2010; with the goal of 35% by 2020.

If you’re a resident of Los Angeles, you can express your commitment to the environment by signing up for LADWP’s Green Power for a Green LA Program, which allows you to purchase renewable energy.

Don't forget to turn off the light when you leave the room

For a small premium—currently, $.03 per kilowatt hour—you can support renewable energy, a cleaner environment, and a greener Los Angeles.

With the average LA electric usage at 549 kWh per month, the extra $16.47 to support alternative fuels is well within most household budgets.

Can you afford it? I can.

As a matter of fact, speaking of alternative fuels, the Metro just completed the largest solar installation in Los Angeles. It covers the entire rooftop of Metro’s Support Services Center, which is equivalent to 5 football fields. It’s a 1.2 megawatt solar array, made up of 6,720 individual solar panels.

The solar install is projected to cut the facility’s annual energy bill in half–from $1.1 million to $550,000.

Whether you now incorporate solar, wind, or other alternative power sources, just using the Metro alone, you can reduce your carbon footprint, if only for a day. (Also, don’t forget Bike to Work Week, starts today.)

If you need to go downtown and want to use the 10, consider using the Metro’s 534 Express. It’s undeniably the way to go. Travelin’ Local, having fun, and saving the environment are definitely not mutually exclusive.

What’s your way of getting around town when Travelin’ Local, when you want to get-away-from it all?

Finding Art on the Beach

When I recently took a trip to the beach, I was amazed to find the wide variety of nature which presented itself. The ebb and flow of the beach’s water and waves creates a perpetual motion that hits nature right between the eyes, which then nature turns into art.

What do you see when you look down at the sand and seashore?

You’ll probably see your feet, but if you look a little harder, you might be surprised. I know I was.

Each of these photos was taken just as I found it; just waiting for me to come along with my camera.

I hope you enjoy the Art on the Beach as much as I did:

Draw Lines in the Sand


Black Seaweed


Nature's Wokders


Small Wonders

(To give you an idea of the actual size of this, I measured this little guy, 3in by 1.5in.)


Sand, Seaweed, and Pink

Like all great paintings and art, you typically always see a new facet of meaning and design aesthetic, you didn’t see the previous time. And each time I look at these pictures, I always discover a new texture, color, sea-shell, or grain of sand I didn’t see before. Now I’m convinced that I don’t have to go to an art museum or gallery to view art:

I can always find it in my own backyard while Travelin’ Local.

I know that many of my readers create their own art:

From the thought provoking and painstaking photography of Kevin, Travis, to Diane C, Lisa, Kim, and Henie, to the literary creative musings of Lance, Paisley, and Urban Panther.

What about you, do you have any art plans this weekend? What art lives in your backyard?

For me, art screams at me every day here at Travelin’ Local, and there’s never enough time to etch my prose and pictures of the many splendorous places I go and things I do; but little by little, what started off as a tiny hobby of mine called Travelin’ Local, is quickly turning into my life’s passion and work.

Fight Women’s Cancer at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Tomorrow

Saturday's Preview

On Saturday, May 9th the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will be the place to be.


Because the 16th Annual Entertainment Industry Foundation Revlon Run/Walk For Women will take place at the LA Coliseum. The mission of the EIF Revlon Run/Walk For Women is to increase awareness and raise the critical funds necessary for women’s cancer research, counseling, and outreach programs.

The Event

First, a 5K Run/Walk will circumnavigate Exposition Park, then accompanied by a Health Expo, replete with finish line festivities. With an estimated 50,000 participants, it promises to be a day to remember, and for a good cause.

To date, the REVLON Run/Walks (LA/NY) have distributed nearly $55 million dollars for cancer research, counseling, and outreach programs. Thanks in part to these funds, new treatments are being developed and lives are being saved.

If you live locally, I hope you’ll be able to attend and participate in this important event. If you’re a blogger and are covering this event, please let me know, because we’d like to feature some of your stories.

This is a great example of doing good by doing well.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Currently, the world famous LA Coliseum, is most notably known as the home of the USC Trojans. It has the proud distinction of being the only stadium in the world to host the Olympic Games twice–in 1932 and 1984.

The 1984 Games have special memories for me because my first daughter was born two weeks prior to the Games. With the advent of Cable Television, I remember watching hours and hours of the athletic events and with a newborn, it didn’t matter what time of day any individual event was being held, I was able to be there.

I still get goose bumps whenever I hear the 1984 Olympic Theme, composed by John Williams. BTW, did you know it won a Grammy? For a bit of trivia, the famous trumpet introduction to this quite recognized theme is from “Bugler’s Dream,” composed by Leo Arnaud.

Built in 1922 at a cost of $954,873, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is also the only Olympic stadium that’s hosted both the Super Bowl and the World Series.

With its large edifices and great circumference, after spending time walking around the LA Coliseum, you get an idea of its magnificence, grand size, and sense of history. After doing a bit of research, the new construction will continue for a decade, so I’m thrilled to have been able to have been able to get these pictures.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

The day before the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was declared a National Historic Landmark. The Olympic Caldron, which was used in both Olympic Games, is still lit on special occasions and during the fourth quarter of USC Trojan’s games. Do you remember how you felt as you watched Rafer Johnson light the torch? Were you even born then?

Peristyle Arches

On the “peristyle arches” at the main entrance, you can see the plaques which play homage and to recognize the memorable events and participants of Coliseum history.

Olympic Gateway

This pair of anatomically accurate, life-sized bronze nude statues of male and female athletes was created by the world renowned Los Angeles sculptor, Robert Graham, for the 1984 Games.

The EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Woman is coming

Yesterday, a buzz of activity was going on in preparation for the upcoming 16th Annual Entertainment Industry Foundation REVLON Run/Walk For Women.

The LA Coliseum is part of a much larger area of Los Angeles called Exposition Park. I’ll be featuring more stories covering the multi-faceted institutions, museums, cultural infrastructure and much more of this area, literally in the middle of the city. With both photos and text, I hope to bring you the joy and love for Exposition Park that I experienced during the time I spent there, and can hardly wait to go back.

Los Angeles and Southern California never have a dull moment of things to do and places to go. Just as Exposition Park is going through a transformation, what’s going on in your city?

Although everyone likes to get away for special events, it’s great when you can find them around town while Travelin’ Local.

5 Lessons I learned at the Beach

Don't run with your mouth full

1. Don’t run with your mouth full.

Don't bury your head in the sand

2. Don’t bury your head in the sand.

If it itches

3. If it itches, scratch it, but be discrete.

Fly Away

4. If danger is approaching, feel free to fly away.

I'm not rusty

5. Although I might be a little rusty, I can still get the job done.

What lessons did you learn today?

Travelin’ Local visits the Vancouver Islands

One of the great things about the Internet is that we can literally visit different places, make new friends,

learn new things, and start billion dollar companies, from the comfort of our own homes, using nothing more than our own personal computer.

Seriously though, Travelin’ Local’s mission is to provide its worldwide readers glimpses into locales and neighborhoods, as seen through the eyes of the locals who live there.

And then came Urban Panther, whose Guest Post today will knock your socks off. The pictures are to die for, and in case you didn’t notice she’s no slouch with the written word. Although this is not her local neighborhood, because she’s Canadian, that’s good enough.

Good enough too in that I also want to visit the Vancouver Islands after reading UP’s travel journal about her trip.

The Urban Panther is a Business Architect by day and a Writer by night.  She lives in Quebec, Canada, with her beloved Urbane Lion. She’s English and he’s French, so life is never dull! You can follow her adventures at Urban Panther’s Lair.

Pacific Island Paradise … in Canada!

A nice (read cheaper) way to travel, is going along for the ride on my boyfriend’s, the Urbane Lion’s, business trips. Of course, I’m selective. Trenton, Ontario, uh, no. (No offence to Trentonians). Vancouver Island? Oh ya, baby!

This involves a five hour flight to Vancouver, with the last leg of the journey over the Canadian Rockies. I am not a mountain person. Having the horizon blocked in all directions makes me quite claustrophobic. But even I have to admit that looking down on mountains is quite awe inspiring.


Upon landing at the Victoria Airport, we picked up our sah-weet ride! I haven’t been in a convertible since waaaay back in the day when my dad owned MGs. We actually have an MG in our driveway, but some assembly is required. Okay, a lot of assembly is required. The Lion took it apart a number of years ago, and there it sits. So, it was nice to roar around the Island in this puppy.


Then, it was off to Comox, where the Lion was giving a presentation at the Military Base.


However, the real vacation started when we headed out to Tofino in the Pacific Rim National Park. I have been to the Atlantic Coast many times, but this was my first visit to the Pacific Coast.

We stayed at the Wickaninnish Inn, and all I can say is WOW!

Let me repeat that. WOW!

The darling bellboy (is that what they are called?), Cory, showed us up to our room, and then spent a good five minutes explaining how the CD player, the coffee machine, and the remote one the TV worked, and the contents of the bar fridge. When all we wanted him to do was leave so we could scream with pure unadulterated joy.

Because this was the view from the two person bathtub.


And this was the view from our private balcony.


Throw in long walks on the beach …



Some sea critters …



And some uberly fantastic food ..



And we will be back.

We might have to rob a bank, or kill off some rich relative (of course, we’d have to have a rich relative), but we shall return!


P.S. no idea how I took this shot! Must have thought I was hitting the power button on the camera, but I think it sums up the mood of the trip very nicely!


Riding the Ballona Creek Bicycle Trail

The day after Earth Day, the sun was shining and the air was fresh, so I took the opportunity to ride the Ballona Creek bike trail. Last time I tried to ride the trail, the first entry point was closed for construction. Today, I entered at next entry point and had no difficulties.


Close to the end of Duquesne Ave. in Culver City, the Ballona Creek trail starts. It’s approachable from either Culver or Jefferson Blvd. This well-used entrance is on the downstream side across from Culver City’s Transportation Facility.

Although at this point, it isn’t much of a creek yet, it’s a neighborhood icon.

“Rivers of the World”

At the entrance, riders are welcomed by the “Rivers of the World” mural sponsored by the Ballona Creek Renaissance, a non-profit group whose mission is to improve Ballona Creek, and the community’s use of it.

Walking Bridge

Located right behind the Culver City Middle School, which borders the trail, this arched bridge makes walking to and from the school much easier for its students. The day I was there, school was letting out, so the bridge was both functional and practical, as many students were making full use of the bridge and trail to return home. The bridge looks rather rustic and its façade is stunning as it seemingly floats above the water in the trail below.

Ballona Creek

Further down the trail, Ballona Creek’s magnificence is breathtaking.

Our feathered friends

Our feathered friends share Ballona Creek with us city dwellers.

Big Bird

Along with the smaller birds, I was a tad surprised to see this big guy here. I’m not sure what the yellow cable is for, so if you know, feel free to enlighten me in the comments. It could be for dredging, or for protection of the wetland’s shore–so for all of you environmental experts, we’d love to hear from you.

Marina del Rey

At the end of the trail, Marina del Rey appears on my right, with Ballona Creek on my left.

I love this part of the trail

With the ocean in front of me and the bridge coming up on the righ, around the bend is the focal point where the Ballona Creek trail meets the Beach Trail.

What a great ride!

Riding the Ballona Creek bike trail is something I never tire of. A round trip is a fine-ride, full of ups and downs, and sights to behold at each overpass. If you plan on riding the trail, be sure to have a map for various entry points. Because there have been a few assaults on the trail, it’s best to ride with a friend, which also increases your fun factor at the same time.

Next week, I’ll be participating in Bike to Work Week. Biking isn’t just for exercise; it also saves money, it’s green, it might save you time, and it pretty much eliminates trying to decide which two cars will fit into one parking space.

I’m looking forward to the challenge.

BTW, May is National Bike Month. To see if there are any events in your “neck of the woods,” the League of American Bicyclists is the official site to find any national information for your plans.

Do you ride bicycle trails close to your house? How about commuting to work? I know Lance commutes via bike when the weather cooperates. Do you plan on participating in your local Bike to Work Week?

Travelin’ Local by bike is a great way to see the sights and sounds of the city, and it’s a great “green” way of getting where you need to go.

Update: Santa Monica has been awarded a “bronze level distinction” for its “remarkable commitments to bicycling” by the League of American Bicyclists. Congratulations, Santa Monica!!

Travelin’ Local’s Metro Monday – “Fast. Frequent. Fabulous.”

“Fast. Frequent. Fabulous.”

I’ll be featuring a new weekly column section on Travelin’ Local, called Metro Monday.

Every Monday, after I select the destination for my Travelin’ Local story, I’ll take the specific Metro ride to and from my destination. As part of the story, I’ll share with you my experiences on that particular bus ride, and telling you the best times and places to ride, where it goes, what to see en route, and how the ride was–the good, bad, and ugly.

Los Angeles is known, and for good reason, as the car capital of the world. Ignominiously, it’s host to 6 of the top 20 worst bottleneck intersections in the USA.

However, it isn’t known for its people-friendly Metropolitan Transit System. The purpose and goal of these weekly stories–using the Metro as the backdrop–is to educate the public’s perception and notion that you can have fun here without a car, and for visitors, tourists, and locals, plus you’ll have a much easier time getting around. And you can’t beat the bargain, for only $5.00, you can purchase an unlimited bus pass to ride any metro bus or rail throughout the county for the entire day.

“According to the latest Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) data, more Americans are traveling more miles by bus, and those numbers have been steadily increasing in recent years. And several months ago, the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University in Chicago released a policy study that found scheduled bus service—which had been declining for more than four decades—had fallen by 10.2% between 2002 and 2006. However, it then rose by 8.1% in 2007 and again by 9.8% in 2008. Evidence suggests such growth is continuing.” Source: USAToday

But there’s important work yet to do. As if taking public transportation wasn’t economical, affordable, timely, and an important issue on a national basis, on a household basis, the argument and case for a Metro Monday becomes even stronger due to the recent increase in federal funding for public transportation in the amount of 12 billion dollars, to reduce the reliance on automobiles and carbon emissions.

The Trip

Today my Metro bus route was the 534 Express. It starts at the corner of Fairfax Ave. and Washington Blvd in Culver City, and then makes its way to Santa Monica via the 10, and ends in Malibu.

Planning my trip, I first looked the route up on I printed off the time table for the route, which referenced 2nd and Broadway in Santa Monica as one of the drop-offs. But I was wrong, or maybe because the timetable used that street for reference, that might have caused the brief confusion. But after walking around a little, I discovered that the Metro stop was on Ocean Ave. where it intersects with Broadway.

After I boarded, the bus ride was great, riding the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) all the way to Malibu. The sky was sunny, the ocean was aquatint, and I could smell the salt air. I couldn’t wait until I got to the beach.

Which didn’t take long because several of the stops were literally on the highway, so the bus didn’t slow nor did the traffic either.

The beach views were mesmerizing so I got off the bus at Sunset and PCH to take some pictures. I knew, based on the timetable that the buses ran at about 30 minute intervals, so I had plenty of time to walk across the street and shoot.

Surfin' is done for the day

The corner of Sunset and Pacific Coast Highway has a consistent beach break and this section of the beach is always popular with the surfers.

Dennis and Suki

As I was taking pictures, I couldn’t help notice this man, who after finishing a surf session, was tying his surfboard to the top of his camper. Naturally, I asked him if he would mind if I took his picture.

He enthusiastically responded in the affirmative but with one caveat: He wanted me to take his picture with his own camera. Accompanying Dennis was his trusty dog, Suki.

Dennis is also known as “Professor Sprouts.” He’s a world traveler, a seasoned Hawaiian surfer and author who’s currently writing a book and creating a video about growing organic food for pennies a day in your car, your RV or backpack. He actually lives in Colorado, but travels to LA to sell his jewelry. He loves LA, where he’s never at a loss for something to do.

After 20 minutes of talking and taking pictures here, I headed back to the bus stop and continued my trip north to Malibu. As soon as the bus route turned away from the beach, I departed.

I was now at Malibu Lagoon State Park, which will be a blog post in a few days, but I thought I’d give you a small preview.

Malibu Lagoon State Park

After spending a couple of hours on the beach, I walked to the nearest bus stop and waited. In short order, the bus came as planned and expected, and along and off I went back to Santa Monica.

Taking the Metro bus around Los Angeles and to Malibu is fun, green, relaxing, and inexpensive.

Metro Monday is for everybody

The main mission of Travelin’ Local is to visit all those places we love locally, and want to learn more about. Therefore Metro Monday will become a useful resource for people who live here or visit.

They’ll be able to use it as both their guide to being more green and to visit all those great places that Travelin’ Local is known for.

How about you? Do you use public transportation? How about riding on the train?

For me, it’s a great alternative to the car while Travelin’ Local and I wouldn’t want it any other way.