Belated post of a memorial on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park, sent by struggling actress Michelle Halac.
The Starman's star in Hollywood, photo taken by Nate's friend Felischa Marye and sent by Nate.
Presiding over the front entrance of the Seven Days offices in Burlington is a memorial to a one of the paper's former arts writers, Marc Awodey (pronounced like Audi). Awodey was not just a writer, but a painter, published poet, and, as Seven Days noted in his obituary, a "one-time creator of poetry vending machines that served up tiny verses for quarters" - which the base of this shrine-like construction is modeled after. Awodey wrote about the project in his book 95 Theses: Art and Machine, published in 2004.
The memorial itself was made by Poultney, VT, artist Ruth Hamilton, and is officially titled Marc Awodey Memorial Cabinet. It is at Seven Days by the generosity of collector Mark Waskow, whose "Waskowmium" purports over 12,000 works of contemporary art housed in multiple locations. Hamilton has made two other "cabinets," Peace Cabinet and Day of the Dead Cabinet, as well as the altar-like Goddess Figure - all can be viewed on her website.
In the main compartment of this memorial, Awodey stands reading against a miniature painted backdrop of Church Street, surrounded by his art supplies and easel. There is also an apple tree with an orchard ladder, a cello, and a circus elephant.
Awodey was born in 1960, and graduated with an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1984. He died of a heart attack in October of 2012, at the age of 51.
Spotted on Av du Parc, in honor of a cyclist killed on July 18th, 2013. Read about the ghost bike project here on Wikipedia - which I'm directing you to because ghostbikes.org is down at the moment, and hopefully, hopefully will resurface. You can also see one of my previous posts about ghost bikes here.
This ghost bike memorial altar comes from frequent contributor Nate Rulf, who spotted it at Hollywood and Harvard a few days ago and reports that his friend "saw a kid get hit on his bike by a car and killed there." I haven't been able to find further details on a Hollywood bicycle death online, so please feel free to share anything you know. For some mysterious reason that Nate couldn't relay, the photos have a watercolor effect to them. You can read more about ghost bikes in this previous post.
Materials: White-painted bicycle, votives, flowers, bottle of water
Yesterday was a two-altar day. Lauren and I took our second Summer of Wheels jaunt down the LA River bike path, stopping at Spoke Bicycle Cafe for the first time - the co-owner was sweeping out in preparation for a by-donation yoga class, there was an impromptu concert, and she let me use the bathroom with my rollerblades on!
We made it down to where Riverside becomes Figueroa, where the path starts to get choppy. After water and snacks, we turned around to head back before dark. I blew by this memorial altar, but Lauren saw it and screamed, "Altar!" I haven't learned to turn or stop gracefully, so had to glide to a safe stop before I could turn around.
The altar is to "Wacko", made with two cement blocks and accompanied by an orange traffic cone written on in thick gold marker. With the four candles and vase of flowers (a single gladiolus pluming out above the rest) is a small wooden cube with the image of an anatomical heart printed and pasted on two or three of the cube's sides.
This just in: memorial altar at Burns + Virgil, at the border of the East Hollywood and Silverlake, sent from Nate Rulf. The memorial is most likely honoring Leonardo Gabriel Ramirez, a 17 year old Latino kid shot on May 23rd, six days ago, for unknown reasons. Along with flowers and candles, the altar has a wooden crucifix, blue bandanas, Modelo cans, and a lone hundred-length cigarette. The sign has green wire shaped to spell "Roller", and what is legible to me says "I love you homie / Rest in paradise / Roller x [name]".
Passed this memorial to Manuel Herrera at mid-Wilshire, outside of the EyeSee glasses shop. I went inside to ask the man at the counter if he knew about the memorial, and he told me that Manuel Herrera used to work in that location a few years ago, when it was a container store, and that he didn't know why "they" chose to put the memorial there.
Today is an Eagle Rock ghost bike, a memorial I've passed many many many times but never stopped to check out. White bicycles honoring a rider killed on the road, ghost bikes reportedly began to appear in St. Louis in 2003, and have since spread around the world. This one is for Eugene Gonzales, killed August 24th, 2014, and has his laminated photo, a license plate plaque, two rainbow pinwheels, and a Christmas tree ornament attached. Ghostbikes.org last reported a count of 610 ghost bikes in 210 locations. They write:
Ghost Bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel.
This morning, Aaron Escobar sent me this shot of a memorial to "Rickey the Pirate" on 6th street, downtown. A quick internet search revealed that Rickey's full name was Rickey Taylor and he was a well-known face in the area. He was born in Texas and grew up in Watts, and lived on the streets downtown for over thirty years. He died this past Tuesday, June 17th, at the age of 67.
LA Downtown news posted this announcement of Rickey's death, with a photo of an earlier incarnation of the memorial. The LAist says, "If you've spent any amount of time in the Historic Core, you've probably run into Taylor. You might have even offered him a few bucks for the head shots he hands out that feature him in his trademark pirate hat. He was always outgoing, friendly and often smiling or offering up an "argh."
Both the illustrious Professor Jenny Cool and MVA student Shirin Raban spotted this streetside memorial on the way to the Visual Anthropology end-of-year celebration in Santa Monica, and kindly made sure to pass it on.
This memorial at a bus stop outside of Pasadena Community Health was made by a mother mourning her two sons, Abraham "Lil Blacky" Rodriguez L. and Juan Manuel Rodriguez L. A handwritten letter in Spanish was taped to the bench, and the text is below. A big thank you to Jazmin for her translation help.
Lord Jesus I give thanks first to you and the Lord Father for your great love and mercy. For giving me the strength and fortitude that I need so much from you.
To continue on foot before the absence of my son Abraham, who I miss so much. Only the memories live in me – the heart of the mother and coming year after year to this place to put flowers and white candles as a symbol of peace and love to our familias and at the same time alleviating a little of my sadness and pain and to express my feelings and to share with each person that stops for a moment to read these feelings of a mother amidst the loss of her sons and says, "why have I suffered the loss of my smallest son Juan Manuel Rodriguez Loeza, also a victim of the violence that lives in Acapulco at the hands of men without hesitations, without feelings and without heart, not caring for the suffering of so many mothers who to this day continue suffering the loss of their sons like myself." But I ask God, for the mothers similar to me, to give them the strength and fortitude that only God can give.
Mothers, children are the most beautiful things God can give us. Take care and help our children - the value or our lives. Show them and guide them through the path of good. Teach them to respect themselves and others. Teach them the significance of love that is much needed in today's times. Instill in others that regardless of the color of our skin, we are all human beings that think, feel and love, and above all, were created by the same God that loves everybody the same. In His presence, there is no one less nor worse. He loves us just the way we are.
In memory of my sons Abraham Rodriguez L. (3/07/2010), Juan Manuel Rodriguez L. (4/01/2013)
Lord, thank you for being my refuge and my fortitude, my fortress and savior. Although the bad days will come I will confide in you because only you strengthen my faith and you form me using the best tools in your hands. They go from being pains to creators of strength and courage. Amen.
Small memorial with Guadalupe candle lashed to tree, along the beach in Santa Barbara.
Driving home along Santa Monica Blvd, I saw this memorial altar to Danny Mora near the corner of Santa Monica and Normandie. This is right near an apartment I used to live in, and it was refreshing to walk a little bit in the old neighborhood.
Last night was the annual Dia de los Muertos celebration at Hollywood Forever. The theme this year was "The Magical World of The Alebrijes." Alebrijes are fantastical animals and their respective representations. These creatures originated with Pedro Linares in the 1930s, who dreamed them while ill and then created his visions with cardboard and paper mache, and are now considered a traditional folk art of Oaxaca.
I wasn't able to spend as much time wandering through the altars as previous years, and I missed veteran artist and altarista Jennifer Gutierrez Morgan, whose altars combine elements of traditional domestic altars and contemporary art. Nonetheless, the cemetery was bustling with life and death (as always) and there was an incredible range of altars. My highlights are here for looking, including:
- Saran wrap mannequins in beautiful masks from BLING Out Your Dead.
- Altar 31 Para Los Ninos featuring skull bean mosaics.
- A "cabinet of curiosities" style altar monument, with a back niche with a typewriter and note reading "Dear Dad, We miss you..."
- An interactive altar where participants throw a small bag of beans onto large Loteria cards, and then write a message on the (huge) corresponding panel. My first toss the beans landed between El Mundo (The World) and La Garza (The Heron), and my second toss landed on El Mundo, so I left a note on El Mundo.
- A Storyteller walk-in altar with printed "greetings" inspired by the altarmaker's grandmother, such as "God Bless You Mija," and, "Mija you look so skinny! Come eat something!" The altarmaker assembled a small group of people and explained that inside her "grandmother's house" was a bookshelf modeled after a traditional Native American storyteller. The bookshelf will be donated to a local school for students to gather around, store their books, and listen to stories.
- An altar to injured or killed cyclists, represented by a human-figure sculpture made of white bicycles.