The Expo Line Goes to the Sea!

Discover LA by Metro:

Strike Up the Band: First Expo Line Train to Santa Monica!

May 20, 2016, 12:00 PM

Hundreds of Metro riders were on the Culver City Station platform waiting for the first train to Santa Monica.

Hundreds of Metro riders were on the Culver City Station platform waiting for the first train to Santa Monica.

Hundreds of people were on the platform at Culver City Station waiting for the first Expo Line train to Santa Monica. We were there, too — we had to be!

The train was almost full when it arrived — many people got on the train along the way from 7th/Metro Station. Most of the passengers were regular Metro patrons, although there were also some media people and VIPs. There was also a phalanx of Sheriff’s deputies at the doors, anticipating the crowd waiting at Culver City.

Cell phone paparazzi greet the first Expo Line train between LA and Santa Monica.

Cell phone paparazzi greet the first Expo Line train between LA and Santa Monica.

As the train pulled in, there was a rush of excitement. But when the doors opened, the deputies had to restrain the crowd because there was so little space on the train. We had expected this, so we were there early and staked out a spot on the platform where the front doors of the first car opened. We were able to squeeze in along with only a half-dozen other riders.

We had visions of the infamous subway and train crowds at rush hour in Japan, where white-gloved employees pack riders into the cars so efficiently and forcefully that there is literally no personal space left. Fortunately, Metro doesn’t employ pushers.

Those who were unable to get on were visibly disappointed, but the train operator announced that another train would be coming in a few minutes. No one tried to push past the deputies and the train departed with cheers from the lucky passengers on board.

A crowd waited for the train on the platform of the Westwood/Rancho Park Station.

A crowd waited for the train on the platform of the Westwood/Rancho Park Station.

Because we were at the front of the first car, we were very close to the door into the operator’s cabin. A Metro media staff member was standing next to us, and he asked the supervisor in the cabin to slide down the window in the cabin door, allowing us to photograph the view through the front windows of the train.

Healthy crowds awaited this first train at every one of the new stations: Palms, Westwood/Rancho Park, Expo/Sepulveda, Expo/Bundy, 26th St./Bergamot, 17th St./SMC, and Downtown Santa Monica.

Just as at the Culver City Station, the anxious potential riders were disappointed to find that there was no room for them. The exception to this repeated scene was at the Expo/Bundy Station, where one of the riders announced that this was her stop and she wanted to get off the train. Once she squeezed her way out, one lucky person was able to squeeze in.

 

Crowds jammed the train platforms at every station for the first Expo Line train to Santa Monica.

The crowds on the platforms at Culver City Station and the following six stations were nothing compared to the huge, boisterous group waiting at the Santa Monica Downtown Station. Arriving riders were asked to leave the train, exit the platform, and go to the back of the long lines of people waiting to get on board. Fortunately, the weather was sunny, with a cool sea breeze helping to keep the wait comfortable.

Huge, boisterous crowds at the Santa Monica Downtown Station waited to get on the trains.

Kamisha Myvett operated the first passenger-carrying train to Santa Monica.

Kamisha Myvett operated the first passenger-carrying train to Santa Monica.

This was an auspicious beginning to the new Metro service, which will take about 46 minutes to traverse the distance between 7th/Metro Station in Downtown Los Angeles and  Santa Monica Downtown Station. After six decades, you can once again ride the rails between Downtown Los Angeles and Downtown Santa Monica following much of the route of the old Red Cars.

The Metro Duo is very excited to have been on the first passenger-carrying train on the completed Expo Line. Thanks are due to Kamisha Myvett, who smoothly operated this very heavily loaded train and graciously informed disappointed riders that there would be room on the next trains. Thanks are also owed to Paul Gonzales, Metro’s media staffer in the first car, for enabling our photography through the front windows of the train.

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Artist Judithe Hernandez created 24 panels of artwork at Downtown Santa Monica Station based on ancient myths and legends of Europe, Mexico, Japan, India, Latin America, Iran, Russia, Native America, Polynesia and Africa.

The New Expo Line Map

The Metro Expo Line runs between Downtown LA at 7th Street/Metro Center and Downtown Santa Monica.

 

 

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Posted in LA Metro, Light Rail, Los Angeles Metro -- light rail/subway, MetroDuo, Public Transportation, Transportation | 4 Comments

Night on Broadway Brings Back Glamour Era

NightonBroadway_5557Discover LA by Metro:

Golden Era of Broadway Glitters for Night on Broadway

Saturday, January 30, 2016 — Rain or Shine

Broadway (3rd – Olympic) Free Art Fest, 5-11 pm

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NightonBroadway_5317Hundreds of artists and exhibits will captivate you in theaters and on Broadway in a multi-block street festival crowned by a five-story Ferris wheel overlooking Broadway. Seven historic theater venues and a lively outdoor festival stage will showcase live entertainment and art. All for free.

On this amazing evening you can experience seven of Broadway’s historic movie palaces. Six of these theaters — the Million Dollar, the Los Angeles, the Palace, the Globe, the Tower, and the Orpheum — are rarely open to the public. Only the United Artists Theater (in the Ace Hotel) regularly holds events.

For Night on Broadway, live entertainment will headline historic theater venues and a lively outdoor festival stage. Seven of Broadway’s glorious historic theaters will be filled with acts ranging from acrobats to performance art and comedians to recording artists, while the storied corridor itself will come alive with a large slate of outdoor activities and entertainment. The mult-block, arts-focused street festival will bring together Broadway’s iconic streetscape and historic theater venues into one fantastic event.

The Golden Era of Broadway Comes Alive in the Theaters

NightonBroadway_5338Night on Broadway has the feel of multiple premieres on a street lined with movie palaces. Each of the seven featured theaters is a gem in itself — the combination is an amazing jeweled evening. Being in these theaters brings the Golden Era of Broadway to life.

Hundreds of artists and exhibits will captivate you in theaters and throughout a multi-block street festival crowned by a five-story Ferris wheel overlooking Broadway.

These highlights from last year’s event give an idea of the even more spectacular Night on Broadway planned for January 30, 2016.

Mary Pickford Favored Moorish Design for United Artists

NightonBroadway_1912In 2015, the United Artists Theatre at Ace Hotel showed the classic feature film “Metropolis.” For 2016, the United Artists will host multiple acts curated by The Well, including OWSLA and Mad Decent recording artists; Viva Presents Thee Commons and Slow Hollows; Calentura; and a special engagement by singer-songwriter James Fauntleroy, providing a fantastic array of live entertainment. An L.A. designer fashion showcase, market and exhibition will round out the activities at the Ace.

The Theatre at Ace Hotel originally opened as the United Artists on December 26, 1927 with “My Best Girl,” a silent film starring Mary Pickford and Buddy Rogers.

Click on photos in the gallery below to view as a slide show

 Beaux Arts Meets Art Deco in The Orpheum

NightonBroadway_1844In 2015 The Orpheum featured performances by String Theory. For 2016, the stunning Orpheum Theatre will feature performing arts troupe ZenArts with “The Last Night” on stage, while the NOH8 campaign offers an open photo shoot opportunity (additional fee) in the north hall, as part of a worldwide to effort to promote marriage, gender and human equality through education, advocacy, social media, and visual protest.

The Orpheum opened on February 15, 1926, as the fourth and final Los Angeles venue for the Orpheum vaudeville circuit. After a $3 million renovation, started in 1989, it is the most restored of the historic movie palaces in LA. It has a Mighty Wurlitzer organ, installed in 1928, that is one of only a few remaining in Southern California venues.

Click on photos in the gallery below to view as slide show

Charlie Chaplin Helped Fund The Los Angeles Theater

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The dazzling Los Angeles Theatre hosted Wilderbe in 2015. For 2016, the Los Angeles Theatre’s stage is headlined by the Lucent Dossier Experience. Sculptor and installation artist Scott Hove, known for his work with Banksy on Dismaland, will present  “Slow Disco” in the dramatic Los Angeles Theatre ballroom. A dreamy, ethereal light experience resembling a disco, but at a very slow speed, it evokes the sensation of being underwater.

The Los Angeles Theatre was constructed in late 1930 and early 1931. It was commissioned by H.L. Gumbiner, an independent film exhibitor from Chicago, who also built the nearby Tower Theatre. The theater features a French Baroque interior, with a grand central staircase. The opulent interior is said to have been modeled after the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. It was the last lavish movie palace built on Broadway, as the area began to feel the effects of the Great Depression and faced competition from new theaters on Hollywood Blvd., three of which are still in operation — El Capitan, Grauman’s Egyptian, and Grauman’s Chinese.

Click on photos in the gallery below to view as slide show

 

Easy Metro Access

Take the Red/Purple Lines to Pershing Square, use the 4th Street exit, and walk two blocks to Broadway. Special Night on Broadway destination discounts are available to attendees who show their Metro TAP cards. A list is on Night on Broadway‘s website.

Complimentary bike valet service will be provided at 5th Street in the festival area, coordinated by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and Broadway’s DTLA Bikes.

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Please contact us to license usage of images or text.

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Posted in Art & Architecture, Cultural Festivals, Family Events, LA Metro | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Day of the Dead — Historic Dia de los Muertos — at historic Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Discover LA by Metro:

Hollywood Forever Cemetery Hosts Spirited Fiesta 

Dia de los Muertos, Saturday, November 1

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, an LA icon opened in 1899, is an amazing backdrop for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead ) — a Mexican cultural holiday honoring ancestors and departed relatives.

Now in its 15th year, the Hollywood Forever celebration, beginning at noon, centers around family altars, with plenty of festive dance, food, costumes, and musical entertainment throughout the day and evening. Traditional ceremonies, musicians and dancers, as well as contemporary Latin artists can be seen on three stages.

You can purchase food from a large selection of vendors. However, we found the food lines to be very long once the dinner hour arrived — so plan ahead and get in line early. Outside food and drink are not permitted.

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Family Altars Venerate Departed

The scope and size of the family altars will amaze. These altars, encouraged by cash prizes, are elaborate artistic constructions honoring the lives of the departed with sensitivity and, often, humor.

Click on photos in the gallery below to view as a slide show

Hollywood Forever describes the celebrations as:

HollywoodForever-faces_9681“…a gateway for those who wish to re-acquaint themselves with their deeply rooted traditions and profoundly engage with one of the most devotional celebrations for the continuous cycle of life. At the heart of this sacred event are the meticulously individually crafted altars and spiritual shrines. These dazzling private tributes and offerings which provide a linkage between ancient traditions and modern customs chronicle the perpetual relation between faith, family and history. Representing and understanding the vitality of this ancient custom, [cemetery directors] conceptualized the necessity of incorporating this enigmatic mystical custom to thrive within the realms of the Forever cemetery.”

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Painted Faces, Elaborate Costumes Enchant

Faces colorfully painted as calacas (skeletons) are the major theme. You can have your face painted at the event or come already bedecked. Although not related to Halloween, the costume aspect of Dia de los Muertos is one of the highlights and, unlike Halloween, the costumes follow tradition. There is also a costume competition, which insures a great parade of fashions.

Click on photos in the gallery below to view as slide show

The celebration opens to the public at noon Saturday, November 1, and continues until midnight, with a full lineup of activities. We advise coming early, before the crowds pack the area. Caution: after sunset, the cemetery is very dark and the paths are not lit — if you stay for the night festivities, we suggest that you bring a flashlight.

General Admission: $20 per person; Children 8 years and under and seniors 65 and over free until 4 pm. We suggest buying your tickets in advance from the website, because the ticketing lines can get quite long.

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Easy Metro Access

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038, is easily reached by the Metro Red Line from the Hollywood/Vine Station by bus connection or walking. It is a one mile, 20 minute walk from the station. When exiting the station, go east to Gower Street, turn south and walk to Santa Monica Blvd., then go east to the entrance.

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There is also a bus connection — and with the new TAP Card fares, transfers are free if made within two hours. To use the bus option, when exiting the station, walk west to Vine Street. Cross Vine to the southwest corner of Vine and Hollywood, and look for the stop for the southbound Metro Local 210 bus, which comes every 15 minutes. Take this bus to Santa Monica Blvd. and then walk east to the entrance to Hollywood Forever Cemetery (about four blocks). We found the bus to be easy, but crowded. If you have a smartphone, we suggest using the free NextBus app to help you plan.

Map-HollywoodForeverCemetery

Olvera Street Offers Nightly Fiesta

For a smaller-scale celebration, Fiestas Muertos: Dia de los Muertos, October 25 – November 2, is at Olvera Street, with daily novenarios (processions) at 7 p.m.
Olvera Street, 845 N Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, is across from Union Station, accessed by the Metro Red/Purple and Gold Lines.

All photography, graphic images, and text copyright © and may not be downloaded or used without written permission.
Please contact us to license usage of images or text.

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Posted in Cultural Festivals | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments