Michael White Adobe Open House

•November 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

2 adobe 024 So, like I said before, on Friday, October 29, 2010 the Friends of the Michael White Adobe hosted an open house so that folks could see the adobe before, during and after San Marino’s homecoming game against South Pasadena. It was a tremendous success – hundreds of people came through including a couple of school board members, a bunch of alumni cheerleaders, students, faculty, some Raven Jake fans and some Michael White / Eulalia Perez family members, making it a very happy Halloween indeed. Check out the photo album over on my Typepad blog.

Here’s the official scoop on the open house:

San Marino High School football fans received a rare treat at the homecoming game on Friday – entrance to the Michael White Adobe.  Opened to the public for the first time since the 1990’s, the Adobe offered visitors a glimpse into San Marino’s past.
Hundreds of football fans streamed through before, during and after the game at the urging of Friends of the Michael White Adobe.  Inside, curious visitors saw displays of the Adobe through time and some artifacts depicting San Marino history.  The Friends converted one of the three rooms into a theater where visitor took in a slide show prepared by SMHS Senior Taylor Beldy. 
Michael White and his bride Maria del Rosario Guillen de White (Jeryd and Jane Pojawa) appeared in period costume and took visitors on a tour of their home from 1845 to 1874.  Some of the guests included direct descendants of Michael White, including SMHS grad Kirt Boultinghouse, who came for the Homecoming game.
The Friends of the Michael White Adobe have received matching grants from the Los Angeles Conservancy and the San Marino Historical Society to conduct a feasibility study to investigate the possibility of using the 165 year old structure as a “Hall of Fame” intended to highlight student accomplishments.  Friends Committee Chairman, Gene Dryden, was on hand to describe how the Hall of Fame proposal will bring the historic building back as a vital component of campus life.  “K.L. Carver made the decision to preserve the Adobe for the students back when the High School was constructed, and we want to keep the Adobe relevant for today’s SMHS students,” Dryden explained.  For most of the students there, this was their first chance to look inside the historic Adobe they walk past every day to and from class.

Pep Officers Now I do apologize that the photo quality isn’t a little better, but we tried (amid all the running around and setting up and everything) to get a pretty representative feel of the event. We had Taylor’s slide show going in one room, some large historic photos courtesy of Ann Gray and the San Marino Historical Society set up in the “kitchen” room as a gallery, and Bill Enger’s powerpoint presentation for the high school students running in the “living room.” You can see it here: https://sites.google.com/site/michaelwhiteadobe/hot-news-1/asbleadershipclassatsmhs

I also want to send a shout out to the crazy girls of the pep squad. No, they’re not so crazy any more – they’re moms and business women and pillars of the community and that kind of thing, but man, do they have some great stories about the “pep adobe” in the ‘7os and ’80s. If these walls could talk! Here’s an old yearbook picture (1974) of some of the girls up on the roof (kids, don’t get your hopes up – there’s no way you’re going up on the roof when the adobe gets restored. Times were less litigious back then, and pep girls were stealthier.)

And to all the Eulalia Perez de Guillen descendants: WELCOME HOME! One of the very best things about the restoration project is meeting all the family members and seeing y’all reconnecting. This adobe can be saved but it’s going to take the whole community working together – so let’s do it!

‘Bandito’ Stewart’s Field of Screams

•October 23, 2010 • 2 Comments
Raven Jake and a Raven on a Rock Cairn

Raven Jake and Nevermore

Here’s a little surprise for folks driving up Big Tujunga Canyon: ravens. Lots and lots of ravens. Implacable, slightly fluttering, quiet ravens that never blink.  Enough to give a nervous hombre the heebie-jeebies…

Improbably, Richard “Bandito” Stewart and his lovely bride Susan have created a romantic oasis on a certain strip of land between the Verdugo Hills Golf Course and Fehlaber-Houk Park on Tujunga Canyon Blvd. and that’s when Jane ambushed them taping a crow to a fire hydrant (don’t matter, no harm done). 

Turns out Richard got his nickname from the way he rustles trash right outta that lot.  The only thing he likes more than not lookin’ at garbage is stackin’ up rocks. And Susan. Somehow between stackin’ and cleanin’ he found the time to put a big sign up in the park last Valentine’s Day askin’ her to marry him. And she did.

So here’s  Stewart Park, which is what I’m callin’ it from here on out (technically, I suspect that it’s a utility easement, but I don’t know that for sure), decorated for Halloween 2010. Needless to say, they’re not getting some big art grant to fulfil their vision of a clean park populated with ravens and rock cairns and glittery Christmas balls. They just had a vision of the world they wanted to live in and they made it happen. So hats off to the Stewarts, and if you need some painting done, Richard can handle that too. www.richardpaint.com

Got more pictures over here.

ExperienceLA.com: Adobe Open House

•October 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment
San Gabriel Mission Cemetery

Welcome to the San Gabriel Mission cemetery...

Y’all come down and see the Michael White Adobe. It’s the first time the ol’ place has been open to the public since the 90’s and you won’t want to miss it! I’ll be making a personal appearance as the “ghost of Michael White.” You might even want to stay for the football game… Click the link for all the details.

 ExperienceLA.com: Calendar: Event.

Vox Diaspora 5-Word Challenge

•October 15, 2010 • 1 Comment

Every week some mashugana mensch on the VOX Diaspora page tries to come up with a 5-word challenge. Although the competition is never acrimonious, it can be challenging (you need to work those five words into your post, which may be of any writing style) and when disagreements arise over which post is the “best,” the rancor of certain users may be bitter indeed. Times like that, I just wish I had a doppelganger to do my writin’ for me. That way I could come up with some way to work “onomatopoeia” in to a sentence without yellin’ “bbbrrrrr bbbrrrrrr” and wavin’ my arms around…

Train service to Kelso restored

•October 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Old time Raven Jake readers might recall that about 2 1/2 years ago we made a 3-day trip through the Mojave. Well, that’s all well and good, but when this came across the digital desk, Jane just about fell outta her chair and now she’s fixin’ to cover it for her magazine, The Insider.

This is, for the first time in about 10 years a train is goin’ from L.A. to Barstow to Kelso, a beautiful trip and the best part is, with all this new investment in infrastructure, this won’t cost much a’tall: tracks already there. Train already exists. Just gotta open that line, and if everything goes well, David Lamfrom, California Desert Program Manager National Parks Conservation Association, thinks daily service might become an option again. And Barstow’s Chamber of Commerce is right behind it.

Kelso’s a great little spot and if you can meet that train – or better yet, get on it – bet you’ll be in for a treat. Here’s the fine print:

After more than a decade, Group’s Hope Ride is first step in reconnecting visitors to the history and beauty of the Mojave.

BARSTOW, CA—The history of the California Desert and the western United States is deeply connected to the railroad, but with the advent of the automobile, it is also something few experience in these modern times. A key desert passenger rail route, Amtrak’s Desert Wind, connecting Barstow’s historic Harvey House and Mojave National Preserve’s Kelso Depot last ran in 1997.

That will change next month, when service resumes on Sunday, October 17, 2010. “Bringing the Barstow-to-Kelso railroad back to life can help strengthen Barstow’s economy while connecting visitors to the history and beauty of the Mojave,” said Jeri Justus, executive director of the Barstow Chamber of Commerce.

Renowned for its scenic views, this route across the desert passes through Afton Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Mojave, and an immense sand dune system known as the Devil’s Playground. Bringing passenger rail service back to the Mojave is the result of a multiple year effort by the Barstow-to-Kelso Railroad Committee, a local organization headed by two former mayors; area business leaders; the National Parks Conservation Association, the Barstow Chamber of Commerce, and the Mojave National Preserve.

“The opportunity to experience the Mojave National Preserve via passenger rail honors the history of the desert and the spirit of the communities that are so uniquely linked to this beautiful land,” said David Lamfrom, California Desert program manager with the National Parks Conservation Association.

A weekend of events celebrating the return to service of this historic route can be accessed via existing lines in the Los Angeles metro area and the inland empire on Saturday, October 16, 2010. Passengers can depart from Los Angeles’ Union Station that morning with stops in Fullerton and San Bernardino prior to arriving in Barstow for the annual Rail Fest celebration. The following day, Sunday, October 17, 2010, the train will depart from Barstow’s Harvey House for the scenic two-hour ride to the Kelso Depot.

Local guides will highlight the history and geology along the route and passengers can enjoy the Mojave National Preserve on foot prior to reboarding the train for service to Barstow and continuing return service to Union Station in Los Angeles. This ride, is open to the public and tickets can be purchased for the full ride or for stops along the way. Snacks, beverages, and meals are included.

To purchase tickets or for more information contact the Barstow Chamber of Commerce at 760.256.8617, visit http://www.ridemytrain.com/view_entry.php?id=96 .

Additional Information can also be found at: Mojave National Preserve Kelso Depot Visitor Center Barstow Road Barstow, CA 760.252.6100 http://www.nps.gov/moja/

There you have it, and check back in – we otta have some pictures up by the end of the weekend.

Closing the Hi-Desert Nature Museum?

•October 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Folks, stuff comes across my digital desk all the time and this is one that I had to pass along to y’all. If the city of Yucca Valley seriously thinks that tearing down the Hi-Desert Museum to build a sports stadium is going to help their financial woes, then they need some medication to help with their delusions. This was the message I got, and if you’re a local, please block out some time to attend the meeting on Oct. 13 and tell me what you think:

Hi all…
I urge all of you to attend a special meeting:
Date: Wednesday October 13, 2010
Time: 3:00 pm
Subject: The future of the Hi-Desert Nature Museum

The Town of Yucca Valley has an interest in removing the Hi-Desert Nature Museum from the city budget. We are asking people who use this museum, support this museum and consider this museum an important contributor to the community to attend this meeting so we can organize and work on a comprehensive plan to present to the city council to tell them that this proposed budget cut is unacceptable.

FOLKS, the museum is in serious jeopardy, and if you don’t want to see your museum dismantled I urge you to attend this meeting to get the facts.

The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is an important partner in the mainstream of our community. It is a destination spot for many tourist and a place to enjoy an afternoon of  “FREE” educational programs with your kids. It would be disgraceful as a community to lose this.

Please plan on attending

Now here’s what the candidates for Town Council have to say about it (quoted from the Hi-Desert Star):

Chad Mayes
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum: “There’s no question that the museum is an asset. The question is, in these difficult economic times, can the town continue to afford to for the museum. This year it was budgeted at $250,000. It’s a regional asset and the county, the college and others can help fund it if it can’t be transitioned to a private sector non-profit.”

Lori Herbel
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum: “In 2009 it had 36,000 visitors, 20 community events, eight exhibits and seven cultural partnerships. The 2007 Parks Master Plan Update called it the guardian of our history, our culture, our heritage and the natural wonders of our area. We should keep our museum.”

Dawn Rowe

The Hi-Desert Nature Museum: “I do not think that our town can continue to sustain the almost $300,000 a year that goes toward the museum’s operating expenses. We looked at cutting public safety this year, and I don’t think there should be any cuts in public safety over something like that.”

Isaac Hagerman
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum: “I think the museum can phase into the nonprofit sector. As a private nonprofit, it could be more than it is today.”

Jeffrey Dufour

The Hi-Desert Nature Museum: “It’s one of those things we need to keep our money invested in.”

Buffalo Field Campaign Roadshow

•October 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Buffalo Field Campaign Roadshow Poster

Join the Buffalo Field Campaign to protect the last of Montana's bison.

 This event was posted on NDN.me and I had to share.

Saturday, October 9 | 7:00pm – 10:00pm


2HeadedHorse Gallery

1770 Glendale Blvd.

Echo Park, CA 90026

Get together with Buffalo Field Campaign for an evening of story telling, video footage, and music inspired by America’s last wild buffalo and those who work in their defense!

What are the BFC Road Shows?

Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization focused on protecting America’s last wild buffalo population. BFC lives and works in the lands where wild buffalo still roam, in southwestern Montana, and has become the leading source of news and information about them. BFC volunteers embark on daily field patrols, monitoring wild bison migration and document all actions made against them in an effort to raise awareness and gain permanent protection for this sacred, iconic species. BFC’s Road Show is one way we can bring the buffalo’s story to you and build a strong advocacy for their defense. Read more here

Jonny jvasic@msn.com

It’s the only L.A. event (and I believe the last of this roadtrip) so I’ll be there! You gotta love buffalo! Here’s some more from their website underlying the urgency of this campaign:

Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization focused on protecting America’s last wild buffalopopulation. BFC lives and works in the lands where wild buffalo still roam, in southwestern Montana, and has become the leading source of news and information about them. BFC volunteers embark on daily field patrols, monitoring wild bison migration and document all actions made against them in an effort to raise awareness and gain permanent protection for this sacred, iconic species. BFC’s Road Show is one way we can bring the buffalo’s story to you and build a strong advocacy for their defense.

The Yellowstone buffalo population is the last one to remain free of cattle-genes, to still follow their migratory instincts, and the only buffalo to have continuously lived on their historic habitat since prehistoric times. Once roaming free in the tens of millions across North America, today, fewer than 4,000 wild buffalo are left in existence; these few are confined to Yellowstone and are under constant attack by livestock interests.

Montana’s voracious cattle industry, overseen by the Montana Department of Livestock, holds a “zero tolerance” policy against buffalo, harming, harassing and killing them for following their natural, migratory instincts that bring them to habitat in the state. Since 1985 nearly 7,000 wild buffalo have been senselessly killed. Montana and the federal government agencies supporting them claim that these actions are taken to prevent the spread of a livestock disease, brucellosis, from wild bison to cattle. In the centuries of cattle invading North America, wild bison have never transmitted this disease to the livestock they got it from. Other wildlife – such as elk, deer, and even domestic dogs – also carry brucellosis. Only wild buffalo are targeted, which demonstrates a deeper issue other than disease: grass. The cattle industry fears the return of wild buffalo because they want to hoard grassland habitat for their cattle.

With our country’s shameful history of mass buffalo slaughter it is a bitter irony that 130 years later history repeats itself. Adding insult to injury, Montana’s livestock industry has a unlikely partner in these crimes against buffalo: Yellowstone National Park. Amazingly, the agency that is in charge of protecting this sacred species, and that uses the buffalo as their very symbol fully participates in their harassment and slaughter. During the winter of 2008, Yellowstone National Park helped livestock interests kill over 1,600 wild American buffalo, becoming responsible for the largest buffalo slaughter since the 19th century.

In addition to our daily field patrols, and using our decades of experience, BFC is working to gain wild buffalo permanent protection under the Endangered Species Act; we are working with Congress for legislative support, working with First Nations that help honor the sacred nature of the buffalo, and we have joined with other bison advocates to take legal action against the governments that harm them. These buffalo are an American treasure, belonging to themselves and the land they have roamed since prehistoric times. America’s last wild buffalo need all of our help to ensure their survival.

BFC co-founder Mike Mease, along with BFC volunteer and coordinator Noah will be traveling out West visiting communities, events and Farmers Markets sharing stories, music, poetry, video and discussion about the last wild buffalo. We are honored to have family members and friends GoodShield of 7th Generation Rise, and Phoenix AfterBuffalo back again this year joining us for the entire West Coast Road Show in 2010!

Callin’ All WPA Posters!

•October 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Devils-tower Folks, once you start lookin’ you’re gonna start finding. I’m sure some of you readers are going to look at my WPA pics and conclude that I’ve been smokin’ tumbleweed. Not the case, friends. I actually had what is surely a mistaken memory that I saw a WPA poster promoting travel on Highway 395 and I went looking for it. Maybe someone made an advertisement that I mis-remembered or something. I also recalled buying a postcard of the WPA poster for the Petrified Forest when I was out there a few years back. So I was making discoveries on the Library of Congress site and here and there and the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, and then I found Ranger Doug, and here’s what he has to say about it:

The posters:

Between 1935 and 1943 the WPA’s Federal Art Project printed over two million posters in 35,000 different designs to stir the public’s imagination for education, Acadia theater, health, safety, and travel. Due to their fragile nature only two thousand posters have survived to this day; less than one tenth of one percent! These rare images were rescued and restored from black and white photos beginning in 1993 by Ranger Doug.

Ranger Doug’s Enterprises was established by me, Doug Leen, in 1993 after the discovery twenty years earlier of the only surviving WPA poster–Grand Teton National Park. Sensing the possibility of a larger collection, my Blueridge-parkway research took me to remote West Virginia where, ten years later, I discovered the remnants of this art collection–13 black and white photos of this series printed between 1938 and 1941. I immediately embarked on a mission to bring these rare posters back into the public domain.

During the next ten years, several originals have turned up in addition to the one I found in 1973–Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest. Then five Mt. Rainier posters Shenandoah turned up in a garage in South Seattle–three “sandwiched” together in one frame! Later, Bandelier National Monument discovered more than a dozen–with complete documentation of their publication. In 2005 an anonymous collector called with two more original finds and returned to his source to acquire a nearly full set. The search continues…

We now republish all 14 original WPA National Park posters with two additional See America posters printed Great-Smoky-Mtns for the US Travel Bureau. We’ve also added several contemporary poster  designs to this collection at the request of the parks: Devils Tower, Bryce Canyon, Denali, Olympic, Mesa Verde and Hawaii, with more coming. After finding the original Mt. Rainier poster we’ve re-colored it and now offer this as a Limited Centennial Edition (of 500) silkscreen poster. Our original “blue sky” edition continues to be available as an open edition…

Alright – now Ranger Doug has cleared up some mysteries. Crater_Lake We now know why there are so few of them, why they rend to feature obscure parks, and where the modern “non-authentic” ones come from. All the ones on this page are recent creations of Doug & Co and I think they’re aces. He’s got them as posters, notecards, limited edition prints – something for every budget.

Some history of the WPA also from Doug Leen…

After the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched a massive bureaucratic structure called the New Deal. This was Bryce_Canyon primarily structured as work relief programs that began in 1933 as the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration or TERA. TERA underwent several organizational changes among them the Public Works or Art Project (PWAP), and the Civilian Works Administration (CWA) finally stabilizing as the Federal Project Number One in 1935. “Federal One” was only one section under the Division of Professional Service Project within the Works Progress Administration or WPA. To further complicate Bryce_Canyon_2 this bureaucratic web, “Fed One” had four subdivisions: The Federal Theater, Music, Writers, and Art Projects.

By 1938 the Federal Art Project or FAP employed artists in all 48 states with a budget of 1% of the WPA’s total budget and was clearly the largest single employer of artists in the United States. Incidentally, this 1% is the model by which most cities today allocate funding for art projects within municipal buildings and is the basis for funding our foundation. Now, just when you thought you had all this memorized, in 1939 the Works Progress Administration kept its WPA acronym but changed its name to the Work Projects Administration for better Cliff_Palace public recognition!

The efforts of the FAP are mostly known today by the 4000 public murals that have survived on the walls of post offices and schools around the country. Perhaps least known are the posters by their very fragile nature. Between 1935 and 1943 Garden_of_the_Gods over two million posters were printed by the WPA/FAP. These posters were based on 35,000 designs of which only 2,000 actual posters survive today. It is sad to realize that nearly 33,000 poster designs have been lost forever, representing 99.9% of our public poster art.

The early posters were individually hand painted in one or two colors and were produced in very limited editions, perhaps as few as 50. Poster subjects included art, Glacier theater, travel, education, health and safety. About one third of the artists producing these posters resided in New York City; a holdover from Mayor LaGuardia’s “Fish Tuesday” poster project. Because of LaGuardia’s model success, the WPA absorbed the mayor’s poster project in 1935.

 In 1934 Anthony Velonis joined the WPA/FAP and introduced the commercial technique of serigraph production. According to Posters of the WPA by Hawaii-National-Park Christopher DeNoon, in 1938 the WPA/FAP poster divisions had spread to at least eighteen states with the Chicago poster unit producing 1500 posters per day. With the serigraph commercial process, posters with up to eight or more colors could be efficiently produced.

 With the advance of World War II and a concurrent rise of anti-communism, severe limitations were placed on the FAP, namely an annual salary cap of $1000 for artists. Another limitation was the “18 month rule” which limited Mesa_Verde artists to 18 months employment. This cut out 70% of all artists from the WPA. During the war the FAP was transferred to the Defense Department where the emphasis shifted to war posters. This move severely limited the artistic quality. By 1943 the FAP was disbanded entirely.

 The National Parks Series were produced between 1938 beginning with the Grand Teton poster and ending with the Bandelier National Monument poster in 1941. The Mount-mckinley artists and actual dates of production are unknown. The original posters, distributed to local Chambers of Commerce, were produced for internal marketing only and not for sale.

So there you go. Now even 70 years later some of those posters surely exist and need to get back out there. Doug, like me, has a “thing” for the National Parks posters (although a bunch of the Indian Court posters are still extant – I’ll post them later) but regardless, if your parent was one of the WPA Sequoia artists, if you have one hanging on the wall of your cabin, if you’re cleaning out the basement at the Alamo… Please be aware that that old poster you found represents an important time in America’s history. A time when rebuilding the economy also meant restoring a quality of life – appreciating nature and the arts, avoiding the spread of infectious disease and all kinds of stuff. Contact Doug Leen, or me, or the Library of Congress, call Antiques Roadshow – whatever – just don’t toss it in the trash.






Raven Jake’s Pumpkins

•October 3, 2010 • 1 Comment

Raven Jake's Pumpkin It’s a little known fact that I love to garden. I get to plantin’ stuff and then I start callin’ whatever comes up, my “green kids.” Now, much of this past growing season I have been fighting a gopher jihad. They got the tomatoes and the beans. I’m pretty sure I took some of them out too. Today the last and biggest of the four pumpkins got harvested.

I always feel better growing my own vegetables for food and entertainment and I also feel better knowing where it came from. These “Wyatt’s Wonder” pumpkin seeds came from Renee’s Garden. Not Monsanto. Really, avoid that company – it’s bad for the planet. Here’s a link to tell you how.

The Wyatt’s didn’t grow to 75-100 lbs, but were pretty impressive none the less. Next year, I’m going to start planting earlier!

Syphilis & Theaters

•October 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment
Syphilis Now y’all probably thought I was kidding about WPA posters warning about the spread of syphilis and promoting plays, but here’s the proof. Now since the Apatosaurus wasn’t a mammal, I don’t rightly see how it had anything to do with suffering from untreated tertiary syphilis, nor were you likely to be having conjugal relations with one even way back in 1940. “Haiti” actually referred to William Du Bois’ reimagining of Shakespeare’s “Othello.” And I gotta say, “Leave poor Haiti out of it!” That little country has enough problems – what with the uprisings, dictatorships, colonial exploitation – not to mention earthquakes and zombies – that it doesn’t need to be in the center of love triangles and court intrigue.  All that said, readers, if you’ve got syphilis or any other STD, please get treated. I also advocate support of the dramatic arts. Maybe it’s time for some new posters.Haiti