July 1, 2012 |
How was that little vacation you took? You remember. It cost you almost nothing, it burned some calories (or, after that ice cream cone, added a few) and briefly immersed you in quintessential California. It was that walk on a pier, those structures that stretch out like a gateway into the Pacific. Perhaps we don't think about them much, but they're part of what has made California California: Piers (or wharfs as they were called in the mid-19th century) once were the primary way of moving food, cargo and travelers on and off sailing vessels.
May 27, 2012 |
It seemed like a good idea at the time: Convert an area in Lower Manhattan into a comfortable, racially integrated middle-class neighborhood as the city's population swelled, largely through European immigration. Things didn't turn out so well, though: Before long, Five Points had become a crowded, diseased, heavily Irish slum, and even Charles Dickens, no stranger to urban squalor, was shocked by this "square of leprous houses ... reeking everywhere with dirt and filth," during a visit.
May 17, 2012 |
Howard Terpning paints how the West was lived and lost more than 120 years ago. His subject is 19th century Native Americans, although he is not their descendant. Some of his canvases aim to capture the courage, dignity and desperation of the fight to keep their land. Many are carefully detailed depictions of the ways of life they fought to save. "Tribute to the Plains People," now at the Autry National Center of the American West in Griffith Park, is the biggest solo show of Terpning's career - a retrospective that covers 35 years and documents his standing as the acknowledged leader of a popular but not universally admired movement in which paintings become time machines into the Old West.
May 6, 2012
Designed to evoke 19th century California ranchos, this equestrian estate sits behind the gates of Rolling Hills on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Clad in board-and-batten siding, the ocean-view house is reached by a flagstone path flanked by lawn and landscaping that includes hydrangeas, roses and bluebells. Location: 1 Packsaddle Road East, Rolling Hills 90274 Asking price: $6.495 million Year built: 2000 House size: Five bedrooms, 61/2 bathrooms, 8,610 square feet Lot size: Nearly 2 acres Features: Slate roof, open-beam ceilings, wide plank floors, basement exercise room, maid's quarters, three-car garage with workshop, swimming pool, spa, outdoor kitchen, outdoor fireplace, paddock, stables.
March 1, 2012 |
Mingling with extras in historical costumes and fans who called him "His Imperial Highness," Charles Napoleon sipped from a plastic cup and said matter-of-factly: "I gave my spit to be analyzed. " The affable businessman was referring to a recent study by a French scientist that matched his DNA to that of his great-great-grand-uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte I. Yes, that Napoleon Bonaparte. The study, part of an effort to reconstruct the genome of the 19th century emperor, may eventually help solve the mystery of whether the remains preserved in Napoleon's tomb in Les Invalides museum in Paris are really his. Napoleonic DNA was just one focus of avid discussion at recent festivities here marking the 198th anniversary of one of Napoleon's last military victories.
February 5, 2012 |
The Lives of Margaret Fuller A Biography John Matteson W.W. Norton: 510 pp., $32.95 Margaret Fuller didn't need to wear a meat dress to attract attention. This socially awkward New Englander, this unabashed questioner and critic, this woman of not just her time but every time since, was an individual of such soaring intellect and opinion that her contemporaries - Emerson, Thoreau, Greeley, Poe and Hawthorne among them - regarded her with varying degrees of respect and antipathy.
January 22, 2012 |
At dawn on the dock, a few sailors kiss spouses and dogs goodbye. Then we muster on the quarterdeck: 17 crew (nine volunteers and eight professional sailors) ranging from a 19-year-old South Carolina college student to a 76-year-old Michigan farmer. I have cruised the South Pacific, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean on the most luxurious ships afloat and have been crew on sailing and racing sailboats for decades in inland lakes, the Great Lakes and the Caribbean. As a volunteer on a tall ship, however, I knew I'd have a rare chance to learn classic skills and be part of a genuine adventure.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 17, 2011 |
Reporting from San Francisco -- Ebenezer Scrooge is a corporate banker, busy foreclosing on the hapless masses. Bob Cratchit and his beleaguered family live in a chilly tent in an anonymous Occupy encampment. The ghost of Christmas future sports a flowing black robe of taped-together trash bags and plastic sheeting. Tiny Tim dies. At least that's how the San Francisco Mime Troupe's resident playwright, Michael Gene Sullivan, has re-imagined "A Christmas Carol" for the troubled 21st century.
December 7, 2011 |
We have a love/hate relationship with Christmas carols. By the time Thanksgiving has rolled past, the limp versions favored by malls and their ilk have sucked the life out of even the best of them. But of course in the right hands, these evergreens can be full of energy and good cheer. Only grinches could hate on a candlelit chorus of "Silent Night" or a choir, brass and organ rendering of "Adeste Fideles. " Several big caroling concerts are coming to town. Non-singers may enjoy the Los Angeles Master Chorale's Festival of Carols, while those who like to belt out a tune or 10 will find the Holiday Sing-Along at Disney Hall just the ticket.
November 20, 2011
Reading anything by or about Charles Dickens is a year-round pleasure for many readers, but it's especially difficult not to associate him and his world with the holidays thanks to "A Christmas Carol. " In Claire Tomalin's new biography, "Charles Dickens: A Life," the author (whose other books include lives of Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen) suggests, in the following excerpt adapted from "Prologue: The Inimitable 1840," why Dickens the man - not just his books - presents such a feast for any biographer.