Long Beach through the eyes of artist Christine Nguyen

Long Beach 2

Have you spotted the latest poster from the popular Through the Eyes of Artists series riding rail and bus? Long Beach artist Christine Nguyen designed an imaginary, underwater dreamscape that playfully intertwines jellyfish, sea vegetation and caves with iconic Long Beach landmarks, including the Astronaut Islands, El Dorado Nature Center and the Walter Pyramid at California State University, Long Beach.

Metro commissions local artists to create original artworks for the Through the Eyes of Artists poster series, which expresses the uniqueness of Los Angeles County neighborhoods, as a way of encouraging people to take Metro to explore destinations served by the agency. The newest design, celebrating Long Beach, is the 30th poster in the series.

For more information about this award winning series and to view all 30 posters, click here.

Union Station has starring role in new Pharrell Williams 24-hour video for ‘Happy’

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At the risk of sounding like I’m aware of current trends in pop culture, you simply must drop everything and watch Pharrell Williams’ new music video for his song “Happy.”

It’s not just a regular video — it’s a 24-hour video featuring different people dancing to the song across Los Angeles. That includes more than a dozen different people dancing at Metro-owned Los Angeles Union Station beginning at 9:53 a.m. of the video’s 24-hour clock.

Screen grabs are above of the different dancers (I think I got most of them). The video was filmed earlier this year.

P.S. If the dancer at 9:57 a.m. would like to be extensively interviewed for The Source, click here to reach me.

Then & Now: Vermont & 8th, 1950 vs 2013



Our latest installment in our Then & Now series takes us to the intersection of 8th & Vermont in Los Angeles. The top photo was taken Sept. 2, 1950. I took the bottom photo last month, so roughly 63 years later.

What’s changed? The Bank of America building is there still — sans the bank and now under a coating of stucco or stucco-like substance. The church is still there, too — now with solar panels.

The old Los Angeles Transit Lines streetcar is, of course, gone to the mists of time. Matching the photos was a bit difficult as the Vermont bus no longer turns west onto 8th Street. But you get the idea.

Again we find that a lot of Los Angeles’ past has survived into the 21st century. I think in some ways that’s a good thing — but it sure would be nice to see a lot less stucco and newer buildings a little more architecturally inspired than the apartment building in the bottom photo between the old bank building and the church.


Then & Now: 11th & Broadway, the land that time forgot

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

Metro Art Moves: Fall Art Tour Nov. 7

tour_nov_sourceOn Thursday Metro continues its free art tours, Metro Art Moves. 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:

Union Station
Traxx Restaurant at Union Station

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.

Preview of November Metro Service Council meetings

Due to two federal holidays this month — Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving — there has been a slight rejiggering of the Service Council meetings.

To avoid a conflict with Veteran’s Day, the San Gabriel Valley Service Council elected to shift their meeting to Wednesday, November 20. The time (5 p.m.) and location (Metro Division 9 building adjacent to El Monte Station) will remain the same.

The other Service Councils will conduct their meetings on their regular schedules, as indicated below. Please note that some of the presentations listed below are tentative at the time of this posting.

All November Service Council meetings will include a report from Metro Service Council Director Jon Hillmer, who will provide statistics on August ridership, performance and other measures of Metro service. Other agenda items at Council meetings include:

San Fernando Valley (6:30 pm, Wednesday, 11/6) –Presentation on East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Study; Presentation on Metro’s Bike Program; Report on Orange Line Lassen Bridge Closure; Update on Lines 94/794, 154 and 239 Proposed Minor December Service Changes.

Westside/Central (5 pm, Wednesday, 11/13) – Report on Dodger Express; Report on Expo Line/Bus interface with Culver City; Presentation on Metro’s Bike Program.

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Stephen Antonakos, 1926-2013

SA on scaffolding with art_sm

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:


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.