lewis macadams

Lewis MacAdams (1944-2020) was an American poet, environmental activist, journalist, and filmmaker whose passion was to re-wild the LA River (which was encased in concrete and fenced in 1938) and make it accessible again to people and wildlife. He co-founded Friends of the Los Angeles River in 1985, an organization which educates, empowers, and mobilizes Angelenos to repair habitat and fight for the policies that will reclaim a healthy river.

Today Urban Sketchers Los Angeles met at Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park at Glendale Narrows, a nine-mile section of the river that has a natural soft bottom, instead of a concrete floor, allowing native river plants and animals to thrive. It was great to see egrets, herons and ducks enjoying the water. I wasn’t that happy with any of my river sketches, but here’s one of the park itself.

topanga banjo fiddle contest

The thing I love best about the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival is not the contest itself, or the professional acts, but the many folk and bluegrass jam sessions under the oak trees.

Despite the event’s name, it’s not held in Topanga, but rather at Paramount Ranch, famed Western movie set turned National Park, which suffered terrible losses in the 2018 Woolsey Fire. Nearly the entire Western Town burned down; only the church and railway depot were saved. Then COVID came along, putting a stop to the festival for the duration.

But now it’s back! It was good to return to the Ranch yesterday, and hear the music once again. I wandered from jam to jam, sketching the artists and audience while tapping my toes. Good times.

overcast

Behind me, a flock of Elegant Terns kept rising, wheeling and calling before settling down again. A Great Blue Heron swallowed an enormous fish after slapping it about for a while. We each did our thing, and I came home sated and peaceful. I never regret visiting this place.

I never promised you a rose garden

The Exposition Park Rose Garden is a historic 7-acre site containing more than 20,000 rose bushes and more than 200 varieties. My favourite parts of it are the corners, where no roses are growing. This is the south-west corner, tucked between the Natural History Museum and the space shuttle’s external fuel tank.

at starbucks

I was attracted to the colourful vessels on the shelves, and found myself a seat facing them, at the end of a long table. It’s only now that I’ve scanned and cropped the image that I see how skewiff (one of my Mum’s favourite words) those shelves are! It’s quite comical, really. That upper shelf is ready to take off into orbit!