Stephen Antonakos, 1926-2013

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Stephen Antonakos working on Neons for Pershing Square in 1991.

With great sadness, Metro Art shares the news of the passing of artist Stephen Antonakos.  Antonakos’ 1991 installation Neons for Pershing Square at the Pershing Square Metro Rail Station commemorates the neon sign as an art form. His work pays homage to the first neon sign in the United States, which was posted in 1924 around the corner from the station, and is on view for all to enjoy.

As Margalit Fox wrote in the New York Times in an obituary for Antonakos, “His medium was light; his materials included glass, an electrical charge and Element No. 10 on the periodic table. The result was a series of abstract sculptures that illuminated indoor and outdoor spaces in cities around the globe, instantly recognizable for their vibrant colors and sinuous lines. ..Half a century ago, he became one of the first people to usher neon out of the world of HOT L and into the realm of fine art…His work, which encompasses public-art installations and pieces in the collections of the world’s foremost museums, is leagues apart from the commercial signage that until the late 20th century was neon’s fundamental expression.”

More about Stephen Antonakos:

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Neons for Pershing Square by Stephen Antonakos at Pershing Square Station.

Free theatrical magic show, The Magic of Smoke and Mirrors, at Union Station on Weds, Oct 30

Photo courtesy of Road Theatre

Photo courtesy of Road Theatre

Metro Presents: The Magic of Smoke and Mirrors at historic Union Station on Wednesday, October 30. The theatrical magic show will take place inside the former Fred Harvey Restaurant, a dramatic space that is usually closed to the public.

The performance presents highlights from Smoke and Mirrors, the critically acclaimed show extended due to popular demand at the Road Theatre in North Hollywood. ‘What are you afraid of,’ is the question posed by the production, all in the spirit of Halloween.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Doors open at 7 p.m. – seating is first come, first served
Pre-show at 7:30 p.m., Show begins at 8 p.m.
Union Station Fred Harvey Room
No food or beverages allowed inside (bottled water ok)

Former Fred Harvey Restaurant at Union Station. Courtesy of Hollywood Locations Company

Former Fred Harvey Restaurant at Union Station. Courtesy of Hollywood Locations Company

Show your valid Metro TAP card at check-in for access to preferential seating. Feel like dinner and a show? Show your valid Metro TAP card at Traxx Restaurant at Union Station and receive a 10 percent discount on your dinner bill. Guests are encouraged to make reservations at 213.625.1999 or www.urbanspoon.com. For more Destination Discounts click here.

The performance continues Metro Presents, Metro’s newly launched program of arts and cultural programs at Union Station. All events are free and open to the public. For more information on upcoming Metro Presents events, check Union Station’s events page.

Union Station is accessible via Metro Rail, Metro Bus and several municipal bus lines. Use the Trip Planner at metro.net for routes and connections. Car and bicycle parking are also available on site.

Then & Now: 11th and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, i.e. the land that time forgot

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Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

The top photo was taken at the intersection of Main and 11th streets in downtown Los Angeles on May 21, 1955, most likely from the front of a streetcar. The bottom photo was taken by yours truly on Friday, who had to quickly shoot and dodge cars turning south onto Broadway.

Southbound buses didn’t quite cooperate with my shooting schedule and the buses run curbside now, not down the middle of the street.

I don’t see much difference in the area in the past 58 years. The single story building at left at some point got a makeover. Everything else is still there. The other three corners of the intersection are depressing: a mostly empty Herald Examiner building (southwest corner), the Railway Building that appears vacant that was built by Howard Huntington in 1920 (son of Henry Huntington, northeast corner) and the old YWCA building that was (not sure if still is) used by the L.A. Job Corps (southeast corner).

They’re all great buildings, all sited on a busy transit street and just south of the many theaters on Broadway (some still theaters, some subdivided into tiny businesses). The Herald-Examiner closed shop in Nov. 1989 and the building is apparently used mostly for film shoots with occasional talk of redevelopment plans.

The proposed downtown L.A. Streetcar would travel through the 11th & Broadway intersection. Obviously there are some questions about the project’s budge in the news these days, but anything that could bring some much-needed investment to this intersection would be welcome. I love the old buildings. But they need some love, people.

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

RELATED POSTS:

Then & Now: a streetcar and a bus on Brand Boulevard in Glendale

Photo gallery: streetcars in Los Angeles in the 1940s in glorious black and white

Then & Now: downtown Sierra Madre

Then & Now: In L.A. getting rid of streetcars easier than getting rid of billboards

Then & Now: a streecar and a bus in Highland Park, 1955 and 2013

Then & Now: streetcars along the Crenshaw/LAX Line alignment

Then & Now: a streetcar and a bus on Florence Avenue in Inglewood, 1955 and 2013

Puerto Rican ‘Bomba’ music and dance at Union Station on Friday, Oct 25

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Photo courtesy of ATABEY

Metro Presents: Puerto Rican Bomba music and dance by Atabey at historic Union Station this Friday, October 25. The group will appear in the South Patio and their performance will coincide with the Friday afternoon rush hour.

Atabey 
Friday, October 25, 2013
Two 45-minute sets beginning at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. 
Union Station South Patio

The performance is a continuance Metro Presents, Metro’s newly launched program of arts and cultural programs at Union Station. All events are free and open to the public. For more information on upcoming Metro Presents events, check Union Station’s events page.

Thousands of miles away from Puerto Rico, Atabey has been maintaining and promoting Bomba dancing, drumming and singing in Los Angeles since 2008. Atabey is one of the many names used by the indigenous people of Puerto Rico, the Tainos, for the deity of fertility and renewal.

Bomba music is a tradition that was developed in Puerto Rico by Africans who worked on sugar cane plantations. “Bomba is freedom and structure, community and ancestry, sensuality and modesty, ego and humility, tradition and innovation,” says band director Hector Rivera. “Hundreds of years later, Bomba is still alive and thriving all the way in Los Angeles, California!”

Union Station is accessible via Metro Rail, Metro Bus and several municipal bus lines. Use the Trip Planner at metro.net for routes and connections. Car and bicycle parking are also available on site.

Then & Now: a streetcar and a bus on Brand Boulevard in Glendale

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The top photo was taken at the intersection of Brand and Glenoaks boulevards in 1954 or 1955. The bottom photo was taken at the same location on Wednesday afternoon.

Can you spot the similarities and differences? Here’s one: the 92 bus doesn’t appear to make the turn onto Brand Boulevard in the same place as the streetcar.

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The top photo was taken in April 1955 at Brand Boulevard and Mountain Avenue — literally the end of the Pacific Electric line. Bottom photo was taken yesterday.

The intersection hasn’t changed dramatically in the past 58 years. At some point since then, development creeped into the mountains above.

RELATED POSTS:

Photo gallery: streetcars in Los Angeles in the 1940s in glorious black and white

Then & Now: downtown Sierra Madre

Then & Now: In L.A. getting rid of streetcars easier than getting rid of billboards

Then & Now: a streecar and a bus in Highland Park, 1955 and 2013

Then & Now: streetcars along the Crenshaw/LAX Line alignment

Then & Now: a streetcar and a bus on Florence Avenue in Inglewood, 1955 and 2013

National Association of Minority Contractors honors Metro employee

Photo: NAMC Southern California Official Facebook

Photo: NAMC Southern California Official Facebook

The National Association of Minority Contractors, Southern California Chapter honored one of Metro’s own last week with the 2013 Minority Business Advocate Award. This prestigious honor was bestowed upon Dr. Sherman Gay, Business Outreach Officer. Dr. Gay has contributed greatly to the growth and development of minority contractors and will continue working with them as Metro looks to begin more construction projects in the coming year.

Metro Art Moves: New fall art tour series begins TONIGHT

tour_at_unionstation_smTonight Metro continues its free art tours, Metro Art Moves, featuring a new fall series in downtown LA and a new starting location: Union Station. The tours pair local artists with docent guides, who share stories about the artworks and lead activities to heighten tour-goer engagement, demystifying the Metro system along the way.

Meet promptly at 5:30 p.m. at the Union Station information kiosk, just inside the Alameda Street entrance.

The guided, artist-led tour will lead to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), which offers free admission on Thursday evenings.

Want to grab a snack before Metro Art Moves, or feeling a little hungry afterward? Show your TAP card and take advantage of special Metro Destination Discounts at locations near the tour route:

7thStreet/Metro Center Station
> Casey’s Irish Pub
> Boba 7
> Qdoba
> Tossed

Pershing Square Station
> Noé Restaurant & Bar at the Omni Hotel

Check out MOCA’s new permanent collection on view starting Oct. 5 and receive a 2-for-1 discount when you show your valid TAP card at the box office.

General Information
Fall tours take place on the first Thursday of October and November from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Tours begin at Union Station and end just north of Pershing Square Station at MOCA.

Tours have limited capacity.

The tours are approximately 90% walking; there are elevators and escalators in all of the stations.

Restrooms are available at Union Station and at MOCA.

Metro Art Moves Tours

Metro Art Moves tours are designed to attract new riders through arts-based transit experiences. The tours highlight Metro’s diverse collection of artworks, heighten the passenger experience in fun and engaging ways to boost public perceptions about transit, promote rider etiquette and offer opportunities for discovery.

Metro Art Program

Metro Art implements the agency’s percent for art program, manages the care and maintenance of the system’s existing artworks and directs a volunteer docent council. From rail and bus stations to construction fences and poetry cards, art creates a sense of place and engages transit riders.

Since 1989, Metro has commissioned artists to incorporate artworks into a wide array of transportation projects throughout Los Angeles County. The agency has received numerous design and artistic excellence awards, and is renowned for its approaches to integrating art into the transit experience, and for engaging artists at all levels of their careers.

Docent-guided tours are offered the first Saturday and Sunday of every month. Tours for groups of fifteen or more are also available by special arrangement. For more information visit metro.net/art and click on Art Tours or call (213) 922-4ART.