Path of Flight

Do you ever sit at home and wonder, what do airlines do with all of the flight attendant garb from over the years? And the cutlery, and maybe even the old planes?

I hope TJ Maxx has something similar.

Lucky for all of us, the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners gave the thumbs up for an educational center to be built in LAX’s Imperial Terminal. The main focus of the museum is to celebrate LAX’s big 75th anniversary, and the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first powered flight.

Flight Path was founded in 1995 as a nonprofit, community-based organization to honor aviation pioneers, recognize the economic importance of aviation and aerospace to Southern California, and encourage youth to pursue education and careers in aviation-related fields.

The Flight Path museum has open galleries filled with intriguing items ranging from the glorious uniforms of flight attendants past, to sublime plane models, entertaining collectables, and useful oddities that airlines have issued. There’s even a DC3 humbly parked in the back, for your exploring pleasure. You can take in what leisurely lives passengers once had aboard.

Among the DC3, there are other commercial planes that are no longer in service. If your timing is right, the all-volunteer staff will allow you to tour these majestic beasts.

Possible Virgin Galactic uniform

You could spend an hour in here if you’re not reading all the signs, but for the aviation enthusiasts, I would say a few hours for full immersion and make believe. If you get to LAX with a few extra hours due to neurotically overthinking the commute, swing by the Flight Path Museum for some history and fashion inspiration.

 

16 hour flights were meant to be chain smoked on.

Flight Path Museum and Learning Center

6661 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles (South side of the airport)

Parking: Free

Flight Times:

Tuesday – Saturday: 10AM – 3PM

Closed Sundays

Guided Tours: Thursdays at 10AM

Admission: Free

*UPDATE* Wende Museum

Inconspicuously located in Culver City at the 1949 National Guard Armory building, is the Wende (pronounced “venda”) Museum.

Garden Egg Chair, 1968, Peter Ghyczy

For those not acquainted with the The Wende:

 Examining the history of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union can be fraught with political and personal bias, and the complex, often contradictory stories that underlie the Museum’s artifacts may provoke uncomfortable questions. The Museum’s location in Culver City, California, provides independence and critical distance from current political debates in Europe, and also facilitates the questioning of preconceived ideas about our past and present. Moreover, the Museum’s physical remoteness from Central and Eastern Europe has enabled it to attract significant artifacts and collections that might otherwise have been destroyed as a result of emotional and political reactions. – Wende Museum

Growing up in the United States, we are blindly sheltered from any true political strife: war, brainwashing, and public executions are things we have been fortunate to have avoided.

Immersing yourself in such powerful relics is to observe a life you’ll (hopefully) never experience.

                      Stasi’s stalking tools

As you walk in, you are greeted by a gift shop on the left, and the product of the Monday Demonstrations on Lenin to the right.

This is what protesting looks like

As you enter the general space, the walls are succinctly curated with the current revolving exhibitions. The two latest installations that adorned the space were: “Promote, Tolerate, Ban: Art and Culture in Cold War Hungary”, which is a collaborative initiative with the Getty Research Institute, and “Socialist Flower Power: Soviet Hippie Culture”.

Clothing from “Socialist Flower Power”

 

A piece from “Promote, Tolerate, Ban”

In the two alley ways that run parallel, there are enough books, furniture, clothing, toys, and other household items to keep you intrigued and satiated for hours.

           Google translate can’t keep up.

 

    This probably doesn’t have the ‘Gram on it.

 

                  Definitely not fast fashion

 

              Checkpoint Charlie curiosity fix

 

I wonder if they made one of him in pajamas.

 

The Wende is one of Culver City’s best kept secrets, but with your help, it won’t be for much longer.

 

The Wende Museum 

10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230

Hours of Enjoyment:

Friday:  10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Along the Velvet Trail.

When someone murmurs on about velvet paintings, where does your mind drift to?

Psychedelia with fluorescent mushrooms, bug-eyed elves, and vivid cheshire cats that beg to be viewed with a black light from Spencer’s?

Or, do you imagine demure women that belong on a Pacific isle?

Either way, Carl Baldwin and Caren Anderson want you to see velvet paintings as more than just a pop culture throwaway. Frustrated with the disdain that has relegated the paintings as the 50 Shades of Gray of the art world, they knew they needed to educate the public about this expressive art form.

Carl was my Velvet connoisseur for the day.

They did what any art savvy folk would do: together, they opened the Velveteria museum in Portland, Oregon in 2005. After spending almost 10 weird years in the Pacific Northwest, they packed up, and relocated to Chinatown, Los Angeles in 2013.

Here, is where over 3,000 paintings from almost every continent richly adorn each wall. From Polynesian princesses, to David Bowie, no one leaves without seeing something that sends their hearts a flutter. They even have a black light room with the art you haven’t seen since high school/college – but of a higher quality, and much more trippy, as the kids used to say.

Sauntering slowly through each room, Carl become entrenched in each layered detail, and minute description – it was utterly blissful having my own personal docent. Especially one that has such delightful fervor and kind passion for what the uninformed describe as, “a tasteless art form”.

Throughout the attentively curated walls, there are hand written notes, that describe in deep detail about the artist, and their work.

Lots of love and effort.

There are also boards of information that entail the process, and the different qualities of velvet: not all velvet is on the same plane of existence.

To stay relevant in the world of celebrity, Carl mentioned they procure the latest celebrity/politician artwork from an artist in Mexico.  Some of these paintings are just a tad surreal. The details on each work can at times be beyond belief. How one can paint so finely on fabric is hard to wrap one’s mind around.

The good ole days.

Before I ruin your experience of the full splendor of a velvet playground, you should just probably go. An hour should be fine for most, but allot more for a true, in-depth pleasure cruise down the velvet trail.

One more thing – please keep me posted on the new artwork. I’m hoping there’s a fancy Taika Waititi by now.

 

 

The Velveteria 

711 New High St, Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Times for Enjoyment:

Thursday – Sunday

11:00 am – 6:00 pm

Admission: $10

 

“Nobody intends to put up a wall!”

Walter Ulbricht, Leader of the GDR, June 15, 1961 – 2 months before the Berlin Wall was erected.

Bring home a piece of oppression.

Bring home a piece of the oppression.

After 26 years of Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall tumbled down. The haunting combination of barbed wire and cement that segregated Berlin, crumbled by force to reunite the communist-controlled East, with their capitalist West neighbors. East Germany’s way of life that was cultivated under Soviet rule tumbled out as well.

Does IKEA have prints of these?

Does IKEA have prints of these?

Fortunately for us history buffs and curious cats, the Wende Museum has fought to collect, and preserve the remnants of the communist-era. Currently located in Culver City, the collection contains artifacts, personal histories and archival documents that record life, expression and politics during the Cold War period from 1945 to 1991. They have amassed a variety of media including: design objects, periodicals, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, posters, furniture, clothing, films and books. A bragging right of the Wende is that they are one of the few institutions in the world to hold an almost complete run of Neues Deutschland, the official newspaper of the central committee of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), the controlling party of the East German state. Not many can proclaim this: due to the emotionally charged end of the Cold war, a lot of articles were destroyed, or defaced.

I think he looks dashing as a pink head.

I think Lenin looks dashing as a pink head.

The Museum commits its acquisition resources largely to those artifacts, artworks or collections that either make an important addition to core strengths or fill significant gaps, and/or are threatened with imminent destruction or dispersal. This includes historically or culturally significant items likely to be sold to a private collection and removed from public access.  The Wende also attempts to acquire artifacts at the request of scholars in need of specific resources unavailable elsewhere. – The Wende Museum

Despite all my rage, I'm just a Lenin in a cage.

Despite all my rage, I’m still just a Lenin in a cage.

A few of the odds and ends that were recently acquired from the surveillance state were the Stasi espionage cameras and recording equipment, outfitted in various briefcases. For the dames, a purse to discretely snap photos of would-be escapees, radicals, or tunnel diggers. Among the photogenic spy items, there were also various wire tapping devices, just to remind you that you never know who was really listening in.

It's how I keep up with the happenings in my neighborhood.

Talk directly into my briefcase, and tell me about your weekend.

Not all of the Wende is Lenin, and Stasi: they also obtained articles from the East German 6th Sports and Gymnastics Festival, held in Leipzig. From jerseys, helmets, medals, to even the athlete’s sneakers, it is a rather complete assortment.

A locker room, without the unpleasant odor.

A locker room, without the unpleasant odor.

If athletic events don’t interest you, the various records and and play bills might light up your intrigue.

Porgy, is that you?

Porgy, is that you?

At the end of the tour, you’ll find yourself surrounded by relics from the checkpoints at the Wall. One can only imagine the fear and anxiety that permeated German citizens as they crossed.

2015-01-23 02.51.13 1

The Wende Museum is currently in the process of relocating to the Armory, in Culver City, as the tiny confines of the current location do not allow for full displays of all the various collections. Once completely moved in, they plan on accessible hours and days for the public to visit. There is no set opening date, they are still looking for investors and donations to fund the new location. As of late, they only allow guided tours on selected days of the week, since most of the pieces are in a warehouse and storage, wrapped up, in boxes, or in cages.

 

The Wende Museum

5741 Buckingham Parkway, Suite E
Culver City, CA. 90230

Phone: (310) 216-1600

Open to the public on Fridays, from 10am to 5pm, except holidays, guided tours to the public are on Fridays at 11:30 AM and 2 PM

Admission is free.