More than a Prison: The Gardens, Native American Heritage, and Birds of Alcatraz

Alcatraz. The Rock. The most formidable prison in the United States. From its early years as a fort, later turned prison, and then the location of the protest that sparked the 1970s Native American Rights Movement, Alcatraz Island is now a National Park that seeks to preserve the history of the island, while also accepting…

The Canyon Country Store, where 60s Music Legends Shopped and Rocked

Separating the greater Los Angeles area from the San Fernando Valley are the Hollywood Hills, and running through them are various canyons, steep with homes built precariously into them. The most famous of these canyons is Laurel Canyon. Here the likes of Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Jim Morrison, Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons, Frank Zappa, David…

Inside the Pantages Theatre: Hollywood’s Art Deco Fever Dream Movie Palace

Over the weekend Patrick and I finally had the pleasure of seeing Hamilton, which also meant we got to go to the iconic Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. The Pantages Theatre welcomed Los Angeles citizens on June 4, 1930, becoming the last movie palace built in Hollywood. Designed by B. Marcus Priteca and owned by Alexander…

Discovering the Hidden Treasures of Sid Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre

Think you’re looking at an ancient Egyptian temple? Well, not quite. This isn’t Egypt, and this wasn’t built thousands of years ago. Try Hollywood, and 1922. This is Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre. Patrick and I have been meaning to take one of the tours offered at the Egyptian for years now, and with the theatre’s future…

Gallows, Ghosts, and Paved Over Graves: A Visit to San Diego’s Whaley House

On a September day in 1852 James “Yankee Jim” Robinson was taken from an adobe jail to the gallows. Standing upon a wagon, a noose was placed around his neck. When the order was given, the wagon driver pulled away, and Yankee Jim reportedly kept his feet on the wagon as long as possible, but…

The Stunning Art Deco Theatre Hidden Inside Catalina’s Casino

Our main reason for visiting Catalina was to attend Catalinaland, a presentation by Ambassador of Americana, and personal idol, Charles Phoenix. Phoenix was presenting his slideshow celebrating the island in the iconic Avalon Theatre, which is located within the Catalina Casino. When chewing gum king, William Wrigley Jr. opened his “Casino” on May 29, 1929,…