Spotted by Aerienne + Evan while driving around the high hills of Silverlake, this roadside shrine is "somewhere on Effie St" and has the distinction of featuring four Disney "princesses": Snow White, Belle, Ariel, and the only actual princess, Princess Aurora.
Trucked (Metro-ed) downtown with Edythe in search of Guadalupe altars at Olvera Street, where a two-day celebration for El Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe was winding down. La Placita at Our Lady Queen of the Angels was mostly cleared out, but there were still flowers, notes, photos, and candles, at a fountain installation with no water, where two feral kitties were jumping around.
We wandered into the church, where a small group dotted the pews and listened to a mariachi band playing beneath the bright, beautiful, and elaborate festivity decorations - golden yellow stars on blue curtains, bright pink, sheeny-shiny fabric roses, offerings of prickly pear and flowers and flowers and flowers around a life-size statue of Saint Juan Diego.
December 12 is El Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe, patron saint and reina/queen of Mexico. La Virgen appeared to Juan Diego in the desert on December 9 in 1531, on the Hill of Tepeyac, now a suburb of Mexico City. She spoke to him in Nahuatl, his native language, and ask him to build a church there in her honor. On December 12, Juan Diego met with the Spanish Archbishop of Mexico City to tell him about the Marian apparition, and on his tilma/cloak was the image of Mary.
After stopping at each of the inside altars, we left through the back of the church, where a woman was selling spicy chicken tamales for a dollar each. Tamales in hand, we walked along the outside of La Placita, and I've never seen so many candles, or flowers, in one place - to think about it, I really, really don't think I have.
Sunday afternoon headed back to the Gal Palace after picking up pupusas from Las Molcajetes (best pupusas in Los Angeles?), Aerienne instigates slight detour to beautifully colored Guadalupe installation outside of Juanita's second-hand store. Looks like it's made from an expired payphone. Miss Jen obliged the delay.
This beautiful shot of a house-front altar in Pasadena comes from Lynell. She tells me that the "house's exterior is always fancifully decked out for holidays year round, but the altar is always there," and describes the scene as a "theater on a busy north/south-bound thoroughfare."
This altar comes from LA-based journalist and essayist Lynell George, who writes primarily about arts and culture, identity politics, Los Angeles history, and sense of place. She took this photo on 3rd street, "near the westerly edge of downtown." It was outside of a small supermarket on a Sunday morning, most likely last winter.
Set just barely above the hustle and bustle of Olvera Street. Further research required.
Found this at the Coolin' Castle house in Echo Park, in the window of the downstairs living room. A drawing of the Virgen de Guadalupe by Christian, and a vase of flowers flanked by two cats from Chinese couch surfers. Aerienne reports that one is supposed to bring fortune, and the other love. As I'm taking pictures, Aerienne adds a small bird window decal, which she says is the only thing she took while cleaning out her great grandmother's house, her childhood home.
Driving around Echo Park, Aerienne asks me, "Do you know about Randyland?" My answer is a definitive "NO," and then, "What is that?" She tells me she found Randyland walking around the neighborhood one day, and we feel out directions since she's not sure exactly where it is.
Randyland is at 1646 Lemoyne St. We park below the towering glass structure, in front of a street mural with "LA", rolling waves, and beams of light radiating from the sun on the horizon. I don't notice at first that the bottles form a Virgen de Guadalupe, but I get there. As I'm taking pictures, Randy comes out to greet me and Aerienne, and is very happy to have visitors.
Randy explains to us that each bottle in the sculpture, named Phantasma Gloria, is actually a lens - the water inside refracts the sunlight passing through. He picks out a yellow bottle near the Virgen's heart, and points out that you can see a tree in it, only backwards and upside down. The Virgen herself is 24 feet tall, and the entire sculpture is 50 feet tall from the street. Randy tells us that the best time of day to visit is around 10am, when the bottles shine sunlight the most brilliantly. Before we leave, he generously gives us each 2 postcards and 2 magnets - one to keep, and one to pass on to someone else.
Randy began building in 2001, and has been working on Phantasma Gloria and Randyland since - you can read more about him and his work in this LA Times article.
En route with Marisela, east from Zumba to the diner, saw this double-mural offering at Belvedere Park. "She got a fresh paint job," says Mari.
Small memorial with Guadalupe candle lashed to tree, along the beach in Santa Barbara.
Nature's Harvest is a little market next door to Cirque School LA at Wilton + Hollywood Blvd. Above their cooler is a little city of tiny handmade storefronts. At the southernmost tip of the town's main drag is an altar/large nicho with La Virgen de Guadalupe.
Mural and altar to la Virgen de Guadalupe, tucked in an alleyway off of Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights.
The horseman figure is San Martin Caballero. In Mexico, San Martin Caballero is especially popular among shop-keepers, who rely on passing strangers for their livelihood, and among truck drivers, who see in his horsemanship a parallel to their own vocation. Because the horse he rides is associated with the lucky horseshoe, he is also a favourite saint among gamblers. In Cuba, some Santeros identify him with Elegua, because this orisha is associated with crossroads and hence with travel.
Lest you think I didn’t, I did attend this year’s Dia de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever. To prove it to you, belatedly, here are some of my favorite altars from the event.
El Patillo Restaurant, Santa Monica and Western.