Thursday, February 20, 2014

Photography, Scene Painting, Wintersburg, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, etc.

My friend Werner Weiss donated digital rights to a good portion of his collection of 1970s Orange County (non-Disney) slides to the Orange County Archives (where I'm the Assistant Archivist). There are hundreds of wonderful images in this collection, and I'm gradually cleaning up the dust, correcting cockeyed scans, etc, as time allows. I recently posted the first batch of these images on the Archives' Flickr account, but I thought I'd also post one of my (many) favorites here. The image above shows the old Edwards Cinema on Adams Ave. near Harbor Blvd in Costa Mesa in 1974. (Somewhere, I have my own photo of the wonderful freestanding sign that stood nearby.) As you can see, this was a lovely building before it was remodeled beyond recognition. The only time I ever snuck into a movie was here. As kids, my friends and I saw a Disney movie on one screen and afterward scrambled across to the other screen to see the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Werner's old slides also reminded me of a day he and I spent at Disney's California Adventure in 2007. Disney had just announced that DCA would soon be heavily altered/remodeled, and we decided to spend a day photo-documenting pretty much everything in the park before it disappeared. I just posted a batch of photos from that day on my personal Flickr account. Fans of Disney or extremely-recent history might also want to check that out.
Detail from "Near Modesto" (1940) by Emil Kosa Jr.
The Irvine Museum has a wonderful exhibit called "California Scene Paintings: 1920s-1970s" on display through May 8th. Guest curator (and all-round good guy) Gordon T. McClelland has made sure to include a bit more Orange County content in the Irvine appearance of this exhibit, which previously appeared in Pasadena. Artists represented include Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Emil Kosa Jr., Milford Zornes, Rex Brandt, Ben Norris, John Bohnenberger, Art Riley and Preston Blair (husband of Mary Blair). I can't wait to go see this!
Mary Adams Urashima will hold her first book signing for the long-awaited Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach at 2pm, March 9, on the second floor of Barnes & Noble, 7881 Edinger Ave #110, in Huntington Beach. She'll be giving a talk and selling and signing books. Mary, who's working hard to save the remains of the historic Japanese community at Wintersburg, says "It's a great book to give to your local elected official or congressman, with a note about the importance of preservation."

Speaking of the fight to save Wintersburg, there's an article about it in the Huffington Post (featuring one of my photos), and another one on KCET's website.
"Women by Car, Laguna Beach, California," circa 1950, by Paul Outerbridge
The Old Orange County Courthouse is featuring an exhibit entitled "Paul Outerbridge: New Color Photographs from Mexico and California, 1948–1955," through March 21. The exhibit features "recently discovered, dynamic, vibrant color images the the late visionary photographer Paul Outerbridge, who was considered a master of color photography.” A good number of the photos depict scenes from Laguna Beach. A press release with more information is available on the OC Parks website.
Joe Dunn, author of Pocket of Paradise: The Story of Beach Road, will speak at the Dana Point Historical Society on Feb. 26, 7pm, at the City Hall Chambers. Dunn's book traces "the story of Capistrano Beach’s Beach Road from the days of Junipero Serra to the early development by the Doheny family and to the creation of the Hobie Cat sailboat right there on the beach. He introduces the locals, tells the stories, and brings to life the small Southern California beach community that has had a big impact on the country’s surf-and-beach lifestyle culture." Also appearing will be local sailing legend Wayne Schafer.
You may have noticed the recent article in the O.C. Register about the former home of artists Jo and Esther Dendel. (Photo of an interior wall/clock shown above.) The Costa Mesa Historical Society's Museum at 1870 Anaheim Ave. is now featuring an exhibit about the Dendel's arts and crafts, including work produced by their Denwar studios. I can't rely on Register stories to remain linkable these days, but I did find an interesting (and well-illustrated) article about their amazing Costa Mesa home on The CMHS Museum is open Thursdays and Fridays, 10am to 3pm.

And on a final note, the Orange County Historical Society's upcoming field trip to the ghost town of Calico is now completely booked up. But if you're still determined, email to be put on a waiting list in case of cancellations. If there's enough demand, they may even do the trip again someday.


Anonymous said...

I remember that cinema well... even saw it going up. It was a great place to see a picture. At least the building is still there, heavily remodeled. But as you say, unrecognizable in its original form.

Anonymous said...

Just saw the California Scene Paintings exhibit; it is fantastic! The collection of works is rich and varied, providing great insight into the life and times from bygone eras in California history, particularly in Southern California, both urban and rural. Photos of these paintings in books or on the Internet cannot capture the magnificence of the palettes of the watercolor and oil paintings in this display, nor the details rendered in these pieces. Highly recommend taking a walk back into time through this exhibition; a very enlightening and rejuvenating experience!

Anonymous said...

Dad did not like to dress up for the theater after a long day at work. And he did like to drink beer. So mostly we went to many wonderful drive-ins that were everywhere in OC.

However, the OC drive-ins showed films that came out six months to well over a year before in LA.

So if the family had to see a an important film, we dress up for the Edwards. I recall packed roadshow screenings of Mary Poppins and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Entire families were overwhelmed, in tears, after Mary Poppins. After 2001, there was mostly shocked silence, some shaking heads of disbelief. And unnerved people asking what exactly had happened, as if their lives depended on the answers.

-HB Kid in exile on the east coast

Anonymous said...

That Edwards cinema only ever had one screen, and 1000 seats. You were probably thinking of sneaking around the Edwards four-plex across the street. I know both well - I used to work there. Its funny to see the old building still there, converted into a beauty school and then a restaurant, I think. The four-plex is long gone.