Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Is Michael Jordan's big head making this truck lean more than just from the curve in the road or is it just an optical illusion?

Photo by Lydia Marcus
Photographed January 14, 2009 in Thousand Oaks, CA on the 101 South Freeway

Friday, January 23, 2009


(Click On Photo To Enlarge)

This Todd Oldham designed 1996 Oldsmobile Bravada was one of the coolest cars I ever saw at any of the L.A. Auto Shows. Attending the L.A. Auto Show used to be a neat experience as automakers used a lot of creativity in their car presentations. Lately, the shows just seem like a retread of the past show or shows. Porsche has been dragging out the same tired AV presentations for years. Mini Cooper has used the same displays since their launch. The only thing the automakers change each year seems to be the size and number of LCD or plasma TVs - bigger and more of them. So this '96 Old's Bravada remains a high point for me. Oldham took a pedestrian SUV and made it super unique while improving 100% on the original car. - Lydia Marcus

(From the display poster):

Concept Cure is bringing top automotive and fashion designers in a unique collaboration between General Motors and the fashion industry to raise funds for breast cancer research. The vehicles were sold via silent auction in partnership with Neiman Marcus, with all proceeds benefitting the Nana Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research.

Fashion designer, Todd Oldham chose to take this 1996 sport utility vehicle to the limit. A dark burl covers the body of the Bravada, while a birds-eye maple frames the oak side panels. The wheels are custom detailed in the same maple finish.

The interior features custom printed plaid seats with bright red stitching and floor mats that are full of color resembling a granny quilt. Driving this vehicle will perfectly simulate the experience of wearing an Oldham original.

"The best outcome of this effort will be the awareness of prevention possibilities" - Todd Oldham

Todd Oldham Bravada Photo Montage by Lydia Marcus

Photographed January, 1996 in Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Obama Inauguration Polaroid by Lydia Marcus

Photographed January 20, 2009 in Encino, CA (just seconds after Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America)

Monday, January 19, 2009


I'm no prude but I think this "L Word" billboard is gross from it's slogan "going down in history" to Kate Moennig ("Shane) tonguing Mia Kirshner's ("Jenny") neck. Shane and Jenny are roommates and best friends on the show (not romantically paired in the past seasons and ew, I hope not romantically paired this season). Adding to the lack of sex appeal is the inclusion of Pam Grier ("Kit") right behind the image of Jennifer Beals ("Bette") and Laurel Holliman ("Tina") starting to get busy. Pam plays Jennifer's sister - so the last place I need to see her naked shoulders cozing up is RIGHT BEHIND her sister while she's making out with her partner. I'm guessing the ad agency that put together this billboard has never seen the show and that Showtime is just trying to get new viewers, not actually play to the viewers they already have. A big YUCK. But the "L Word" has rarely been sexy to me so it doesn't surprise me that this billboard is a real turn-off as well.

Photo by Lydia Marcus
Photographed January 17, 2009 on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, CA

Post Note: 1/28/09 - The last episode of the L Word aired this past Sunday and yuck, the writers have actually put Kate (Shane) & Mia (Jenny) together romantically. So I guess that part of the billboard was for real. The preview for next week shows all their friends being grossed out by the pairing so I'm guessing the story line is more for shock value than for romance.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


In 1979, photographer Lee Friedlander paid an unknown dancer $25 to sit for some nude portraits. In 2009, Christie's auction house is expecting to sell a black and white 13" x 8 & 5/8"print of one of the shots for $10,000-15,000 dollars. The model Friendlander photographed was a 20 year old, pre-fame Madonna.

Nude (Madonna) 1979

Even with Madonna as the model, I don't think the image is necessarily good or beautiful. It's a run of the mill nude photograph. If Madonna's fame wasn't attached to this image, it surely would have slipped away from any notoriety or notice.

Here's one of Friedlander's nudes (part of the Museum Of Modern Art's collection in NYC) that is worth looking at:

Nude, 1982

Friendlander is in no way one of my favorite photographers, but if I did have a spare $10,000-15,000 burning a hole in my pocket, here are some of his images I would be happy to hang on my wall:

Haverstraw, NY 1966 (the man in the photo is Friedlander)

Texas, 1965 (note: Friedlander appears in shadow)

Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota 1965

Albuequerque 1972

Friedlander is often the subject in his own photographs - either directly through self-portrait or indirectly through inclusion of his shadow.

Here's my ode to Friedlander photographed December 28, 2008 in Venice, CA:

Friday, January 16, 2009


In my last post I spoke of heading to Santa Monica to go to Photo L.A. but alas I never made it out the door. As I was getting ready to leave the house, I accidentally stepped down onto one of Lucy The Boxador's favorite toys - her beloved hard rubber Kong - and I promptly rolled my ankle, painfully spraining it in the process. So I've been away from blogging and cavorting for the week, instead I've been taking care of my ankle the tried and true way of R.I.C.E. - rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Although the initial ankle roll had me screaming and writhing on the floor for a few minutes, the sprain has actually been the least painful one of my life. Despite the swelling and turquoise and purple bruising, I'm actually not in any pain. I just can't walk or stand a lot. So I missed Photo L.A. and there's a very good chance I'll miss the Doo Dah parade on Sunday in Pasadena. Although I chalk this up to a freak accident (I didn't see that the Kong was left at the base of the step down into my room), maybe this was just an evil plan by Lucy to keep me home with her. Here are Polaroids of Lucy taking a snooze and using one of her Kongs (not the culprit) as a cozy chin rest.


Who knew that something that looks so innocuous and that Lucy enjoys playing and sleeping with so much could cause so much pain!?! Actually I WISH I had stepped on the red Kong Classic, but instead I stepped on the black Kong EXTREME - billed as the "World's Strongest Rubber Dog Toy...designed to satisfy large, tenacious power chewers."

These shots show that the Kongs are kept close to Lucy at all times. The black Kong is the one that I stepped on, the other Kong is called a Jump'n Jack and it's part of their Dental Line where the rubber ridges help clean the dog's teeth as they chew on the toy trying to get their treat out.

Lucy's not into retrieving balls at all, so when I found that she loved the Kong line of dog toys, I was thrilled to find something that she not only enjoys playing with but that can keep her occupied for ages. Most of the Kong line is designed to stuff food and treats inside. Instead of just giving your dog a treat they will gobble in a split second, they have to work on chewing or rolling or bouncing the toys to get to the food. A third of a slice of American cheese melted into one of the Kongs can take Lucy a half hour to get out! Instead of you simply dolling out treats, Kongs provide your dog with a mental and physical challenge (and treat reward) that keeps them happy and healthy. And a dog that's chewing on their favorite Kong isn't chewing on the furniture or other household items.

Lucy's favorite game is using her paws to bounce the Kong Classic or Kong Extreme around my office until the dog cookies shoved inside start to break up and fall out bit by bit. When she empties it out, she'll drop it by my feet and give me a look that says, "Hey, come on, this needs a filler up!" Anyway, I'm not against Kongs, I'm just against stepping on them. In the future, I'll leave that "fun" to Lucy.

For more info on Kongs go to

Lucy The Boxador snoozes with her Kong Polaroid by Lydia Marcus

Friday, January 9, 2009


I'll be spending the weekend over in Santa Monica at Photo L.A. The fancy description of Photo L.A. is that it's the 18th Annual International Los Angeles Photographic Art Exposition, but basically it's an annual event where galleries from all over the world come to L.A. to show and sell their photos and books. Most of it is high end stuff - photos that cost five and six figures - some by historically significant photographers, others by contemporary artists. But for those of us that aren't big spenders there's also work by newer, unknown artists that will cost you a few bills or Vernacular photography for sale where you can pick up images for under a hundred bucks. I'm not going to Photo L.A. to buy anything (well maybe some books) - for me it's like walking around one great big photographic museum for the weekend. Last year was my first time at Photo L.A. and I really underestimated the volume of photography to take in. By the end of my first day, I hadn't made it through the entire show and my brain was seriously overloaded by too much beauty.

Last year, Martin Schoeller's 7 foot tall photos of female body builders visually and physically dominated the show.

More Schoeller - a great visual dichotomy - Iggy Pop and Tammy Faye Baker

John Divola - the one artist whose work I would love to bring home if his pieces weren't 5 grand. This photo depicting his Isolated Houses and Vandalism series' doesn't do his work justice.

Along with great work by photographers, were photos on sale capturing great photographers.

Diane Arbus

Andy Warhol (in drag) photographed by Christopher Makos

Photographer/painter Ed Ruscha

Photo L.A.
Barker Hangar
3021 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 9040

Friday, January 9th, 12pm - 8pm
Saturday, January 10th, 12pm - 8pm
Sunday, January 11th, 12pm - 6pm

$20 1-day pass (includes catalog)
$30 3-day pass (includes catalog)

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Chrysler New Yorker Turbo Photos by Lydia Marcus
Photographed December 28, 2008 in Venice, CA

Monday, January 5, 2009


Encino Oaks School opened in 1978 (renting school space from Maarav Temple (now called Temple Ner Maarav, Corner of White Oak and 17730 Magnolia Blvd, Encino, CA. 91316)

It flourished during the late 1970's and early 1980's due to mandatory busing forced on L.A. Public Schools. (See below for more info)

The first year it was made up of just grades 4 - 8 and approximately 50 students. Later a 9th grade was added. I attended from 4th grade to 6th grade - the years spanning 1978-1981. Then I left to go to public junior high.

Recess was spent hanging out in the parking lot, lunch and P.E. over at nearby Balboa Park (Fridays Free Days were spent roller-skating or skateboarding around the park), and rainy days at the Topanga Mall (Spencer Gifts!). Year 2 or 3 brought the addition of an extraordinary music teacher who exposed everyone to the amazing catalogue and history of the Beatles music. Some of us learned to play the flutophone, others guitar or drums. The 1980-81 school year culminated in a huge student musical show full of 60's tunes. Along the years, there were field trips to Mammoth, San Diego, plus camping, biking, hiking, and fishing in Yosemite.

Encino Oaks School was one of several Valley private schools that emerged in response to a mandatory busing plan for L.A.'s public schools. The idea behind the plan was to force desegregation (bringing inner city kids to better suburban schools) but the flaw in the system was that it involved a lottery system that would systematically take kids who were already attending good local schools and bus them to the inner city. In addition to that flawed logic, the lottery could actually take a kid that lived close enough to walk to school (like myself) and actually bus them an hour or more away (in each direction) to attend another school. Needless to say, tons of fearful parents ripped their kids out of perfectly great local schools and enrolled them in private schools. Mandatory busing was fortunately banned and many of the kids who attended these private institutions eventually went onto attend public junior and high schools for the remainder of their education.

The 4th/5th grade class of Karen Singer. I was in the 4th grade. I'm the tomboy sitting on the fourth row from the bottom, far left side next to the railing.

A holiday card I made in class for my Dad.

Front cover of my Music class notebook - circa 1980/1981

Music class notes - Beatles lyrics for Come Together (handwritten by the music teacher Robert Dawson and them mimeographed).

The mimeographs were always really light and faded so I wrote over the handwriting in red to make them easier to read. The doodles showing through are actually from the backside. Mr. Dawson was amazing - he really taught us not only music but also the stories behind the songs so we could get the emotion and meaning of them. The Beatles White Album was one of the first albums I ever bought, I think at the Topanga Mall. Along with adults, so many of us kids were just devastated when John Lennon was murdered - we all felt connected to him and his music and image.

Along with this music teacher who taught me so much, my 5th grade teacher Bobbi Wang was just one of the best teachers I ever had in my life. I would love to meet her again. All the kids used to just gravitate around Mrs. Wang whenever we could - including recess and after school. She just had that inner light about her. She was smart and fun and hip and could be like one of the gang yet still your teacher. And she had a really cool orange VW bug convertible - I think I got to ride in it once.

The best education of my life I probably received at Encino Oaks. With our small class sizes, we had very focused attention from the teacher and we were always pushed to and beyond our limits academically. When I returned to public school I couldn't believe how lax the educational standards were. I think I pretty much slept through 7th grade, just coasting on my prior education. My Mom tried to get the school to let me skip 7th but because I was already so young for my grade (I started school early and was 6 months to a year younger than everyone else), the counselor wouldn't let me move forward - a wise decision in retrospect. Had I skipped 7th grade, I would have been only 16 when starting college!!! But I LOVED the social interaction at public school - tons of kids from all walks of life to get to know, instead of mostly spoiled rich kids at Encino Oaks. When your entire class is made up of only a dozen kids, and only half of those kids are actually in your grade (because we mixed grades), it's hard to have many friends. So academically Encino Oaks was amazing, socially, it was pretty terrible.

Recently I've been looking up a lot of old friends and neighbors on Facebook and of course I wonder what happened to a lot of my old Encino Oaks classmates and teachers. So today I created a Facebook page for Encino Oaks School. Hopefully some of us will reconnect.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Photo by Lydia Marcus
Photographed December 28, 2008 in Venice, CA

Friday, January 2, 2009

7 AM

7 AM photo by Lydia Marcus
Photographed January 2, 2009 in Encino, CA