PICTURE THIS: “Who Wants Coffee?”

  “Novelty,” “mimetic,” “programmatic,” “vernacular”—all are terms used to define the same crazy kind of “art imitates life” architecture that once dotted the L.A. cityscape (and much of the rest of the country, for that matter) starting in the 1920’s. You knew it when you saw it (and that was … Continue reading

“Wherefore Art Thou, Shakespeare Bridge?” In L.A., That’s Where.

L.A.’s “Shakespeare Bridge” was born 86 years ago. It is located in Los Feliz on Franklin Avenue at the juncture of St. George Street. In 1926, it was designed to cross a brushy ravine (now Monon Street, a dead end) to allow for the residential development of the Franklin Hills … Continue reading

PICTURE THIS: Van De Kamps Coffee Shop and Drive-in, Atwater Village

  (c) Courtesy, Los Angeles Public Library. Van De Kamps Bakery and Coffee Shop with drive-in service, ca. 1945. This restaurant was located at the corner of Fletcher Drive and San Fernando Road in Atwater Village. It was designed by local architect Wayne McAllister in the Streamline Moderne style with … Continue reading

Trompe L’ Oeil and the Palo Alto Street Art of Greg Brown

It was such fun living in Palo Alto in the 1970’s—in the “pre-Silicon Valley-era” before real estate prices and greedy ambition rarified the place forever. Downtown Palo Alto was just a cool place—small and totally walkable . . . a mix of funky shops, book stores, coffee and tea shops, fancy … Continue reading