Music Box Stairs Walk

Regular weekday morning traffic from Claremont to Silver Lake (a Los Angeles neighborhood just west of Dodger Stadium) takes a little over an hour. AirBnB describes the neighborhood as trendy and artsy with nightlife and celebrity status. It is also home to the famous staircase in the 1932 Laurel and Hardy short film, the Music Box. The walking tour of this staircase and others found here gives one a workout.

Music Box Stairs sign top

The first staircase on this tour is a clean, well- maintained set of stairs, with a handrail and a pair of overhead streetlamps, that falls 66 steps through a pair of backyard gardens (one with an impressive collection of garden gnomes and tchotchkes).

Not terribly clean, but certainly with gnomes and tchotchkes.

During this walk one goes both up and down the Music Box Steps. Going up you can read the plaque commemorating the movie.

In that 1932 classic short film, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were obliged to deliver a piano to the top of a steep, barren hillside, up a series of concrete stairs. Today, the hillside is covered with apartment buildings, but the stairs remain—133 steps across multiple landings, with a handrail and some overhead lights, often littered with debris, and very ill maintained for such a landmark.

It could definitely stand a little maintenance.

Music Box Stairs trash

The top of the stairs looks nothing like it does in the movie. We were hoping to see the fountain where the piano (spoiler alert) took a swim. Not to be.

At the top, you land on Descanso Drive. Continue directly across the street and take the eight rickety wooden steps to the other side of Descanso. Admiring the giant carobs (street-wrecking trees whose roots have turned the asphalt into a rippled, undulating wave), turn right and walk downhill.

Those giant carobs are now giant stumps, and the street is still wrecked.


There are a few other staircases on this particular walk, the most notable is this one on Micheltorena Street which could also use some love and care.

Other painted sidewalks in Silver Lake will have to wait for another day.



King Tut Exhibit at the California Science Center

California Science Center

In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, the California Science Center at USC is presenting King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh until January 2019. This particular exhibit is the world debut of these 150 treasures (some of which have never before left Egypt), and after this world tour, all artifacts related to King Tut will reside permanently in their new home in Egypt.

Fortunately, the exhibit allows photos without flash.

At the end, the obligatory gift shop, because everyone needs a King Tut mug.

King Tut Gift Shop


Views from LA City Hall

LA City HallAfter our LA Art Tour, and a little lunch at the Wurstküche (recommended!), we weren’t quite ready to leave DTLA. I’m not sure how it is that we have lived in So Cal for over 30 years and have never been inside the iconic LA City Hall. Our day had come. The only trick to getting through security was that H had to remove his small Swiss Army Knife from his keychain and “hide” it somewhere outside (next to another, larger Swiss Army Knife).

A list of instructions in about 10 languages explained that   to get to the observation deck, one must take the elevator to the 22nd floor, then find the next set of elevators to get to the 26th floor, and from there, walk up a flight of steps. A kind security guard suggested we stop first at the third floor to look at the rotunda. Very nice.

One can walk all the way around the viewing platform for some great views of the city and the mountains.

Grand Park and Disney Concert Hall are not hard to spot.

The big art piece, that looks like a spaceship, in the lower part of the photo is the Triforum.

LA Triforium

Building reflections and patterns

And, a bell.

LA City Hall Bell

And, yes, we remembered to pick up the hidden Swiss Army Knife on the way out.

Entrance to City Hall is free. Parking is not.


LA Street Art Tour

As far as I can tell, Claremont may have lots of art, but no graffiti street art. Maybe because that’s when someone even covers a tree trunk with yarn it gets removed. However, the Art District in Downtown LA (DTLA) has so much that it is well worth a tour to see it with LA Art Tours. There’s parking at the tour starting point, but we chose to take the Gold Line from downtown Azusa and walk from the Little Tokyo stop.

Our guide was Galo, and I think this is probably his wikipedia page. He has a special fondness for fonts.


Everywhere you look you can find LA in the shape of the Dodgers logo.

I didn’t even think to look at the utility poles, which is why it’s good to take a tour so the guide can point out things.

There are so many large murals.

Street Art LA

Street Art LA 2LA Street Art Bloom

Street Art LA Bubbles

LA Street Art MuralLA Street Art Disney

You can be thankful I did not post all of my photos….

The Last Bookstore

IMG_2195Two rules. First, one does not drive into LA, find and pay for parking, and just see one place. Second, one does not go near a bookstore and not go in.

Therefore, we included a visit to The Last Bookstore after our time at The Broad.

With over 250,000 new and used books, vinyl records, art galleries and a yarn shop, old couches and chairs, the only thing missing is a coffee bar.

Most books are downstairs, but there is a Labyrinth Last Bookstore upstairs with half-empty shelves waiting for you to sell yours to them. The art galleries are upstairs encircling the main floor with great views of the space.

We managed to walk away with a new book, The Martian, the book that the recently-released movie is based. We liked the movie, and we’ve heard that the book is even better.

The main floor


The Broad

So. There’s this new major art museum in DowntownIMG_0260 LA. The Broad (pronounced with a long o sound, like road with a B up front) with its white facade paints a contrasting picture to its across-the-street neighbor, the silver sails on the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Read two articles about the museum here and here.

Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance. Since the museum has only been open for a hair over a month, one cannot commandeer these on a whim. BUT, if you show up at least 30 minutes before opening time at 10:30 a.m., chances are good you can get in anyway. At least on a weekday. At least we were lucky enough.

We took advantage of a free day during the college’s fall break to give this place a look-see. One of my favorite things about visiting an art museum is taking my own photos. Aside from taking pictures of art I like (especially if it is new to me), I like to try to make my own art. Here are some of my favorites.

I like playing with the panorama feature on my new iPhone.



Peeking through the Broad’s facade looking toward Disney Concert Hall

I liked the reflections of the ceiling in this doggie-balloon shiny sculpture, and the shiny bunny sculpture with the doggy.

This is the line we waited in to reserve a 45-second visit into the Infinity Mirrored Room. It was pretty cool.

Some final exterior shots.