Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Wiltern

In the heart of Los Angeles' Koreatown sits the Wiltern Theater and above it rises the Pellissier Building. Named for the famous corner it sits on, Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue, this 1931 Art Deco masterpiece was built originally to stage vaudeville acts as the Western Theater, but was renamed Wiltern after a brief dark period in the mid 1930s. Currently, it serves as a major mid-level live theatre venue and glorious reminder of LA's architectural past.

Photos taken at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue, Los Angeles, California on January 11, 2012.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Farewell H4 Subway Cars

After more than 35 years plying Toronto's underground railroad, the last train of Hawker-Siddely H4 subway cars made its way along the Bloor-Danforth subway line one last time. It went into service at approximately 7:30am after emerging from the Greenwood Yards, headed east to Kennedy, where it picked up a motley crew of TTC staff, WTF?-ing commuters, and losers transit nerds like myself who likely don't have enough cash or space to run a railroad in our basements, so we ride the subway.

Today's 'event' wasn't heralded by much more than a Tweet from the TTC's Brad Ross, which was then amplified throughout the transit-nerd-verse and punctuated by an exceptionally-full front car. I got off where I got on, back at Greenwood and let the rest of the kids have their fun. At least we didn't need to worry about the lack of air conditioning this morning.

Photos and video taken along the Bloor-Danforth subway line between Greenwood and Kennedy Stations on Friday, January 27, 2012.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Old Bisbee Arizona

Speaking of Bisbee, this is Old Bisbee, which remains a living relic of the city's golden (or copper) age. There are no flat roads in Bisbee, only hills. There are no chain stores, no banks, no Starbucks, only artists, indie shops, cool consumables and a bunch of hippies (which is say as a term of endearment) who genuinely care about the place they live in.

Photos taken on January 8, 2012 in Bisbee, Arizona.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lowell Arizona

Along the Mule Mountains in southern Arizona there lies a series of abandoned mines which had been providing copper and gold to an ever-expanding United States since the late 1800s. The city of Bisbee, Arizona was established in 1880 to provide services and housing to the workers and owners of the adjacent Copper Queen Mine. One of the communities within Bisbee is Lowell, the main street of which houses various relics of the mining past as well as such community services as a food co-op, auto repair shop and (which town doesn't need one of these) a soil remediation office. The photos of the mine cannot begin to show just how large and how deep the holes in the ground are. You can see exposed copper which has patinated after years of exposure to the elements. You can also see the hills coated with heavy metals which are by-products of the intensive mining which went on for nearly a century, finally ceasing in 1975. Since then, Bisbee has flourished as an artists community and probably the least "red state"-ish place in Arizona.

Photos taken on January 8, 2012 in Lowell (Bisbee), Arizona.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Naco Arizona

No trip to the Excited States of America is complete without looking at "the fence", which stretches along its southern border. I've always been fascinated with how the U.S. looks at its neighbours, being one myself, and have always wanted to see the lengths they go to to keep Mexicans on their side of the line. While travelling towards Naco (pop. 800), you cross some breathtaking desert mountains, millions of cacti, at least one Army base and dozens of green-striped Border Patrol trucks. Near Fort Huachuca, if you look up, way up, you'll actually see a blimp providing a drone-like eye in the sky over the mountainous terrain along the border. Closer to ground, you'll see towers with cameras, floodlights and sensors to capture any movements (illegal or not) along the massive fence which stretches for miles east and west of Naco.

Naco itself is a very small, sleepy village, with a school, a bar, a post office, a golf course (?!) and yes, a very large fence. Permeated only by a border crossing at the end of Naco Highway which connects to the sister city of Naco, Sonora, Mexico. The Gay 90s bar, which despite the monicker seems to be referring only to the joyous late-1800s era, has been said to be so popular with Nacoans of both flags, that people have actually jumped the fence for a drink, then jumped back. For more Naco lore, check out this 2007 article from National Geographic.

Photos taken in Naco, Arizona on Sunday, January 8, 2012.