Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2011

It Takes a Village: Home Tours and the Bungalow Bug

April is home tour month (May too). In the past few weeks invitations to events of the kind have been piling up on my desk. This being L.A. I feel I should add we're talking neighborhoods here. This is about family homes, some larger, some smaller. It is not about stars' mansions. One of the first neighborhoods in L.A. to put on the big showing was Bungalow Heaven in Pasadena  which is getting ready for its 22nd annual home tour on Sunday. Bungalow Heaven was Pasadena's first Landmark District. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 900 or so houses in the 16 block area were built at the beginning of the 20th century in the style of the American Arts and Crafts movement. They are treasures. Their owners know this and treat them accordingly. On Sunday, eight houses will be open to the public; 900 visitors are expected - many of which come every year and from as far away as Arizona. Proceeds from the tour go towards grants for home restoratio

"That Zen Moment on the Freeway" - Have You Had It Yet?

How long does it take for a newcomer to feel at home in L.A.? A year? A decade? A lifetime? Answers to this question were floated at a panel discussion on angeleno identity this week in Pasadena (Angelino, Angeleno, Angeleño: Who Are We?) I liked moderator  Leslie Berestein Rojas' take on the subject: you become an Angeleno when you have "that Zen moment on the freeway", when you see the traffic, sit back, and relax thinking all is well. I remember my first visit to L.A., in 1998, the sense of bewilderment, distrust. This place lacked a center; it pulled in too many directions: Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, L.A. downtown. Each part of Los Angeles that I got to experience as a tourist had its own character, its own identity. As a whole the city was so different from what I was used to from Europe that I felt uncomfortable. When we moved here in 1999 I made a conscious effort to take Los Angeles for what it is, a hodgepodge city, patchwork, a place with more