Monday, February 3, 2014

Downtown Los Angeles … The Silk Road and The Last Bookstore!

Natural History Museum 
Los Angeles County

In January, my sister Penny, had a free day, in Los Angeles. So, we decided to head to the Silk Road Exhibition, at the Natural History Museum, near downtown Los Angeles. 

We've both been interested in that part of the world, for a very long time, especially after my parents lived in Central Asia, (Pakistan) and we met so many people from that part of the world.

"During its golden age (AD 600 to 1200), the Silk Road opened up the world to new ideas and products. It stretched 4,600 miles through scorching desert sands and freezing snowy mountain passes, from eastern China through Central Asia to the Middle East. But along the way, travelers stopped in cities that, at the time, were the most tolerant and advanced places on Earth. Now those cities come alive in the exhibit Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World.
As smells of spice and music from ancient Chinese instruments fill the air, visitors explore bazaars filled with gems and crafts; a silk-making workshop with live silkworms; ancient scrolls filled with the secrets of technology and religion beliefs; the inside of a long-ago cargo ship; and astronomy tools that helped mariners navigate the seas."

Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take photos after the first room, with the camels, until we got to the end, and were in the "Marketplace." 

Just like coming off a ride at Disneyland, you end up in the gift shop. Only, this one had very cool stuff, from all over … mostly Asia. In fact, the scarves and cookbooks were pretty great, but I kept my wallet in my bag and just took iPhone photos!

In the exhibition, they had all sorts of things from along the Silk Road, from China West to Iraq, including a whole area on making silk. They even had live silkworms. I was thinking my nephew would have gotten a kick out of a lot of it.

They also had displays of things that were used for making dyes, as well as all sorts of spices. There were huge jars, with different scents that you would try to guess. I guessed the rose and patchouli, though the patchouli smelled much better than certain memories I have hippy girls at concerts and fairs. 

Anyway, they did a great job on the way the whole thing looked. The walls were painted in rich, deep jewel tones with huge hanging panels of fabric. It made me want to come home and paint my living room deep red!

Anyway, I got out without doing any damage to my pocketbook and even got a teacher discount, on the ticket price. Nice, huh?

My sister was on a quest to "do something funky, like a flea market or used book store." Well, I'd been wanting to go to a place called The Last Bookstore, since they opened (in December of 2009!) so we headed into the heart of Downtown Los Angeles.

Photo, below, taken in the All Day Parking Lot.

I asked my friend Marcello for a food suggestion. He really could be a tour guide, in town, if he wanted to. 

I am good with certain areas, of Los Angeles, but downtown has changed so much in the last decade. Certain areas are downright unrecognizable, from when I live down there in 1992. Anyway, he told us to go to Baco Mercat, just a short distance from the Last Bookstore, so we wouldn't have to pay to park twice. 

We ordered the hamachi crudo (some sort of fish with avocado thing,) an olive mix, and the double mushroom pizza. Yum. All of it was very tasty and so was the iced tea, which I am quite picky about. I wish I'd taken pictures of the chairs. They were old drafting chairs, I think. Very cool, old wood and burnished steel or something.

Walking to the bookstore ...

When we found the address, (not the building above) we walked into the entry to an old building … and there was this fabulous sculpture!

My sis …

I realize now, that all day, there must have been a smudge on my iPhone camera lens because all the pics are blurry and doing weird things, but anyhow, at least you will get the feel of this great place!

The Last Bookstore
453 Spring Street, DTLA

You cannot open a book without learning something.

Penny …

The upstairs not only has more books, but art and lots of vintage goodies ...

I'm writing a book.
I've got the page numbers done.
~Steven Wright ;)

There is no friend 
as loyal as a book.
~Ernest Hemingway

Groovy 3 dimensional art upstairs …

Teatro Mona by Mexican Artist Armando Arreola 

In the vintage area upstairs ...

Not sure how long we were in there, but we could have stayed for hours, if she hadn't had a dinner to attend that night. 

I could have gone completely crazy with the old record albums alone, but I settled on two books. One is on the life of Michelangelo (surprise, surprise) and the other is a huge 20 pounder. It's a hardback, from the National Gallery in Washing D.C., with 1,028 color plates, for 15 bucks!!! 

My sister must have left with at least 6 or 7 books. I don't know, I lost track of what she was buying! Anyway, it was a great bicep workout, walking back to the car!

I will definitely be going back to the bookstore, and exploring the changing downtown area, as well. 

I believe the Silk Road exhibition is next going to Washington State, if you are in that area. In Los Angeles, it goes through April 13.

Someone asked me,
if I were stranded on a desert island
what book would bring …
'How to build a Boat.'
~Steven Wright

Next up, will probably be the movie reviews. I've gotten a few of the nominated documentaries in the mail, from Netflix, so those will be included with all the others. 

I remembered, doing this post, that I'd seen Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, years ago, at the Hollywood Bowl. It's was a sort of fusion of Eastern and Middle Eastern musical traditions, with jazz and European styles. So, here's a little share of what some of it sounded like. Very groovy mix of sounds ...

Hope you all had a fabulous January, 
and February is off to a great start!

Blessings and light!


Rick Forrestal said...

Thanks for taking me along on your LA tour.
(Love the book shop.)
Nice pics.

Merisi said...

The "smudge" splits and deflects the subdued light in a most wondrous way, creating layers of images that tell off a magical land you two were visiting. Without know of the involuntary way you created those layers of magic, I was smitten from the very first moment I looked at these pictures. You always manage to pull me into your stories, and this one had an especially strong pull.

The bookstore is fantastic, otherworldly almost. Some scenes reminded me of Anton Chekhov's short story "The Looking-Glass" - with the difference that after looking at your images, I feel a sense of sweet contentment.

Merisi said...

It should be "tell of a magic land" instead of "off" - and then, "Without knowing" instead of "know". Sorry!

rjerdee said...

What an awesome behemoth of a post! You really DO get around, don't you...loved the bookstore and the dinos in the first picture...thanks, again, for soooo much entertainment, Lucinda :)

Loree said...

I think I love that bookstore. I wish we had something like that over here. I saw a documentary about the Silk Road recently. It was very interesting.

donna baker said...

Oh Lucinda, the exhibit alone must have been wonderful. I can't even imagine a store as neat as that bookstore. Could spends days there. It has been so cold and dreary here; you've made me feel better.

Amanda Summer said...

That bookstore totally rocks - I'm putting it on my bucket list for my next trip to LA.

Tammie Lee said...

it has been so long since i have been to this museum! what fun to see your photos, I almost always order something with hamachi (yellowtail), yum.

thanks for the music!!
Sweet February to you too!


great shots of books linda ....just enjoyed watching Gerhard Richter doc thanks .... nearly the oscars :)

Cobalt Violet said...

Thanks for the comments! I wish you could all come to LA and I could take you there!

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