31 December 2013

Happy New Year

It's just past 7pm here in California, a few hours away from 2014. I am looking forward very much to the new year... New places to visit, photographs to take, memories to make.

Happy New Year to all, I'll see you very soon.

27 November 2013

Disney's Kodak Picture Spot

As part of Kodak's bankruptcy filing last year, the company's decades long relationship with the Disney resorts has come to an end. Probably the most noticeable part of this disillusion, from a park visitor's standpoint, at least, is the removal of the Kodak Picture Spot signs in the Disneyland resort. They were pretty cheesy, but in a quaint way. I anticipated this change and tried to collect as many photographs of the Picture Spot signs as I could manage to. Here are the ones I could round up this morning, if I end up coming across more I'll add them to the collection.

Some -- if not all -- of these images were taken on Kodak film.

all photographs © Monika Seitz Vega, 2013.

12 November 2013

Theatres of 2012 - Part 1

I'll admit it, I am ridiculously behind in my yearly theatre retrospective. It's not that I haven't been shooting (I have), or I'm not interested in my theatre project anymore (I am), it's just that things get shuffled around sometimes and unfortunately the theatres of 2012 have been relegated to the back burner. I'm committed to complete last years' entries before the end of this year, so let's get started with the first four theatres now.

Fox La Brea Theatre, January 2012 © Monika Seitz Vega

The Fox La Brea Theatre sits precariously at the corner of La Brea and West 8th Street in Los Angeles. The La Brea opened in 1926 and closed in the 1950s. Despite a brief run in the 1960s as an art house, and then in the early 1970s as a Japanese theatre, the La Brea ceased operation as a theatre in 1974. It is currently in use as a Korean church.

Bay Theatre, February 2012 © Monika Seitz Vega

The Bay Theatre in National City, CA opened in 1944. It was designed by renowned cinema architect S. Charles Lee, who designed such theatres as Inglewood's Fox and Academy (both of which are still standing) and my favorite movie house ever, San Diego's Ken Cinema. Just like the La Brea, the Bay ended its run as a theatre and housed a church for many years. Unfortunately, the Bay now sits vacant, awaiting its next incarnation.

El Rey Theater, January 2012, © Monika Seitz Vega

Los Angeles' El Rey Theater opened as a cinema in 1936. After many successful years on Wilshire Blvd., the theater was converted in 1994 to a live performance venue and continues to be one of the best small venues in the city. In 1991, the El Rey was given status as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument for the Wilshire District, joining another gem of a theatre, the Wiltern.

Del Mar Theatre, January 2012 © Monika Seitz Vega

I couldn't get through a theatre post without profiling one killed by the 1980s, could I? The Del Mar opened on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles in April of 1936. Out of business in the eighties thanks to multiplexes/home movies/etc., the Del Mar had a short run as a church before the auditorium was gutted and leveled for retail. The silver lining to the Del Mar's cloud is that Puget Sound, Inc., a group that does post-production audio work for movies, took over the theatre in the early 2000s and restored the facade with help from the Pico Revitalization Project. The Del Mar's beautiful neon shines nightly, a wonderful tribute to its days of being a neighborhood movie house.

There's more to come, and soon. In the meantime, check out the theatres of 2011 retrospective.

calico ghost town

Last weekend we headed north into the desert to visit the famed Calico Ghost Town. Below is a selection of my photographs from the trip, from both the town and adjacent cemetery.

All photographs © Monika Seitz Vega, November 2013.

07 November 2013

USS Iowa -- San Pedro, CA

Last November a group of us took a trip to the recently docked battleship USS Iowa in San Pedro, CA. Built in 1940, the Iowa was active during World War II, the Korean War, and the post-war eras. The battleship was decommissioned in 1990 and moved to its permanent home in southern California in the summer of 2012.

If you're interested in visiting the USS Iowa, now a museum, take a look at the website for hours and information.

(Don't forget, you can "click" each photo to make it larger)


All photographs © Monika Seitz Vega, 2012.

18 October 2013

postcards, part 3

This next batch of postcards belonged to my grandmother, Helen Byers. They are from the years she spent in the Navy in the 1940s, which I profiled last year in a Veteran's Day tribute to her. I love to imagine her life then, traveling and seeing things so different from what she saw growing up in the midwest. Rarely a day goes by without me thinking of her or being reminded of her in some way. Her spirit is very much a part of who I am.

back of the Omaha postcard. Red was one of my grandmother's friends from the Navy, nicknamed for her red hair