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Let me begin by gleefully foisting some art on y’all.

These chairs made of black, pink, and white granite are at Union Station where I switch from the Purple Line (D) train to the Gold Line (L) train. Los Angeles recently renamed its light rail lines from colors to letters, probably so we can be like all the other cool kids (New York, San Francisco), but I’m too lazy to change my ways so it’ll stay forever colors for me.

UNION CHAIRS
Christopher Sproat, 1993

Project Description
Bold, sculptural chairs take their influence from the elegant, wood and leather seating located above the platform, in historic Union Station. The granite benches echo the form of the lobby chairs installed in the 1930’s, and provide spacious seating with wide armrests, which adds a sense of grandeur to the experience of commuting.

Artist Statement
In the old station each traveler is treated as a dignified being at an almost royal event. Following the architect’s example, I decided for this project to use the concept of ‘union’ as my theme. This is a union of the old and the new stations and symbolizes a union of person and building as well.

The Gold Line’s Azusa Downtown Station is where I disembark for my most of my pool adventures on this side of Los Angeles.

Like it says up there, I really loves me some colorful glass mosaics. Glass as a medium is great because it can vary in texture and opacity, and those features combined with the endless color combinations and variations and the very nature of the substance which goes from liquid to solid (and back again) lead to countless ways of expression.

Glass mosaics feature quite often in LA Metro art and I was very pleasantly surprised to see LA Metro Art selected the same mosaic I did for their website feature (their photos below). There are other colorways of this motif at the station, but the vibrancy of this particular one has always stood out to me. It reminds me of water in the desert.

A PASSAGE THROUGH MEMORY
Jose Antonio Aguirre, 2015

Project Description
Serving as a landmark and gateway for the city of Azusa, Jose Antonio Aguirre’s A Passage Through Memory (2015) is inspired by local historic architecture and the cultural traditions of the region’s earliest inhabitants. A pair of monumental Spanish colonial-style arched portals is placed at the entry ramps leading to the station platforms. The 16-foot-tall glass-fiber-reinforced concrete structures are each topped with the Azusa name and an illuminated metal crown motif in tribute to the city’s prominent 1923 World War I monument that was removed in 1946. Colorful handmade glass mosaics incorporating designs from native Gabrielino basket weaving wrap the bases of the eight canopy columns on each platform. Aguirre worked with students from Azusa Pacific University and visitors to the Mexican Cultural Institute at El Pueblo Historical Monument to create the mosaics.

Artist Statement
I was inspired by the local expressions of cultural identity and how ancient images that have been painted on rocks in the area or woven into vessels centuries ago by this region’s tribal ancestors have survived as sacred icons and still resonate today. They have the power to collapse time and space between the generations and create a portal for new discoveries.

After a leisurely tour via public transportation, I arrived five minutes before the pool room opened. There is something magical about being the first person there, with the level of magic somewhere between getting a free item by accident from a vending machine and an extra 30 minutes’ sleep on a weekday.

The tables here are worn and inconsistent, the ball sets are worn and inconsistent, but the longer I play, the more I realize this shit don’t make a difference when you can’t make a ball anyway.

This yearly tournament is called “Puss-In-Boots” and for every player wearing boots, our APA league operator adds $10 to the prize fund. (Yes, I wore boots. High heel ones. With gold studs.)

The format is APA races, modified single-elimination. I think I’ve played this event once or twice before and never did any good.

It’s a fun event and our league operator has it catered. This year it was Vietnamese sandwiches (bánh mì ), salad, and eggrolls.

hi marc

In this tournament, I had the pleasure (I mean it) of spotting everyone in the field. Not having to worry about measuring up or playing down to my handicap saves me a few brain cells which I can spend on thoughts like “all burgers are sandwiches but not all sandwiches are burgers.”

For everyone I played and for all their skill levels, and the format of the tournament (which I can never really remember how that shit works) there was only one solution: don’t lose. As with any tournament that is handicapped, I heard rumblings about underrated players, sandbaggery, etc., but I didn’t have to stress about any of that because none of it applied to me. I had nothing but peace of mind and two eggrolls. Shit was fucking beautiful. The peace of mind, too. After a gallon of Vietnamese coffee that was strong enough to make me actually look awake, I ambled my way into the finals.

There was talk of dinner and since I had not eaten anything besides all the coffee produced by a small Central American country and two eggrolls, food sounded kind of nice. And my opponent was kind of nice. Haha, just kidding, she’s really nice–and she has like five cats, two dogs, two turtles, fish, and an adorable boyfriend. Food. Friends. Hmm.

The polite thing to do is split.

I used to make people stay until 4:00 in the morning so I could double-dip someone for that week’s $60 first place prize. I didn’t need the $60 to feed myself (although that much ramen goes a loooong way), I needed the win to feed the insanely driven engine that is my competitive bloodlust. Playing like that did a lot for my game since no one took it easy on me knowing if I made it to the finals, everyone would suffer.

I will never split.

We played one game for the title and $20. I played that game as hard as I did all my other matches, and slipped away with the win. 🙂

We ate that roast Brazilian barbecue-style, with the cooked meat sliced off for serving and the rest of the roast returned to the fire for charring. Prime primal fare.

I went to work the next day—Sunday—because in someone else’s famous words, “I’m an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.”

It was local so not much in the way of traveling expenses.