Monday, June 15, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015, Antioch and Venice

Sculpture in Venice on Abbot-Kinney Blvd.

For first semester students (that's me) today was mostly devoted to a three-hour workshop, and a series of orientation meetings. Not much to pass on in the way of intriguing information, but another fascinating day in understanding how this whole process works.

Jim's back, so he and I walked uphill to the school in the morning -- no photos, because you've pretty much seen everything along Sepulveda and Slauson, our two streets.

At the computer lab, I fumbled through the process of printing out materials that were required for today, but then remembered that I'd forgotten to put one of the documents onto my email so that I could get at it from a different computer. So many little details!

While I'm waiting for the photos to get loaded into Picasa Web so that I can put them into the blog, there's time for a little history about Antioch, the city in Turkey. It was originally Greek, and was located in Syria, then Turkey. Because it was the end of the Silk Road and part of other east-east trade routes, it grew in importance politically (eventually the Romans, and then the Arabs took control) and religiously (the Hellenistic Jews, and the Christians before Constantinople became the key city both considered it one of their most important cities). The city fell on hard times after 525 CE, with a fire, then earthquakes, then capture by the Mamluks who razed it in 1268 CE. Today it's a sizable city set in an agricultural area where wheat, cotton, olives, and grapes flourish.

That's the ancient city (I couldn't find out why Mann named the school after the city, which was my original quest). Horace Mann established Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1852 to fulfill his vision of a school that would admit women, men, and people of color on an equal basis. He also intended that the school be as good as Harvard, but wanted it to follow a model of education in which students weren't graded, they studied what they wanted to, and decided what papers to write. The current model used at Antioch University LA Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program (whew -- a mouthful) has a wee bit more structure than that. There are a number of required classes that I will be taking, and a very structured set of activities. But there's still probably more leeway, in many ways, than in other programs.

The day's weather -- sunny at noon; cool, breezy and clouded over by about 4:00 p.m. (Anchorage -- sunny and  high near 80). For the rest of the week, though, the LA forecast is for weather more like Los Angeles -- and the forecast for Anchorage is for weather more like Los Angeles, hot and sunny.

The evening's adventure was a drive to Venice (in a nicer car than the vehicle above). We parked the car in town and walked a ways to the boardwalk. It's one of those places with so much going on that I wonder why anyone would ever live anywhere else -- surf, beach, food, palm trees, full of unique houses, and an endless parade of people of every description. It's an open-air, impromptu circus.

A large aloe plant, with Jim alongside for perspective. He said that it was prickly.

Skateboarding to the surf.

A water-saving ground cover.

Venice canal, with canoes.

Graffitied palm trees at the beach.

Day's end for these surfers.

Practicing twirls at the roller skate rink. Until I looked at these photos just now, I didn't realize that there's was a person down in the center of the area. A couple of people are paying attention, but the others are uninterested. So maybe he/she was OK?

We walked for a while, and then had a quick (and very acceptable) dinner at Small World Books and Cafe on the boardwalk.

It was a skate-friendly place.

It's billed as the best place for people-watching on the boardwalk, and it was unquestionably excellent. Taking photos worked sometimes, and at others, incorporated the screen on the windows.

Directly across from the cafe, a guitarist and drummer covered popular '50s and '60s songs. They drew a sizable crowd, and it was hard to get a clear shot of them from the cafe.

A couple of hangers-on stood in front of them dancing. Maybe this guy was also getting tips? Not clear. 

He's gyrating in his stocking feet, and behind, another fan of the band appears to be smoking (not saying what) and listening.

This gentleman, on in-line skates, was equally entranced, swaying to the music, and out of place with his relatively sober attire. Those two stayed the  whole time; other people came along and danced briefly before moving on.

Numerous shops along the way feature prescriptions for medical marijuana.

Further down the beach a crowd had gathered to listen to drummers. The police were much in evidence all evening, and several cop cars drove along the beach beside the group, establishing a presence.

A few gulls patrolled the area keeping an eye out for edible trash.

Even at sunset, surfers were out catching waves.

Evening color behind Santa Monica.

Others had turned in for the night -- an encampment at the end of one of the Venice canals. A news article said that LA's homeless population has increased dramatically during the past couple of years.

Flowers along the way, on a tropical scale.

These remind me of the night-blooming cereus, but seem to be growing on a cactus rather than a smooth-leaved plant.

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