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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

L.A.'s Eccentrics and their Art Facing Greater Scrutiny

Endangered Off-beat Charm and Colorful Folk Art Defines L.A.

Like a not-ready-for-prime-time-at-Disneyland's Small World attraction attraction, or a rejected eighth-hole miniature golf course design, this blue tree, it's attendant lawn gnomes and a watchful blue owl atop its branches constitute a fixture in someone's idea of Shangri-La. Repulbic Of L.A. spotted this unusual assemblage lovingly appointed to the front yard of a corner-lot home in Los Angeles, near L.A. City College.

Perhaps the coolest aspect of this Dali-esque affair is the fact that it barely stands out amid the delightful (delightful--if you're in a similar mood that this blogger happened to be when charmed by the scene pictured above) hodgepodge of bungalow-style, mid-century, post-modern, contemporary, residential and commercial structures and the equally discordant intentional-aesthetic-meets-obvious-neglect atmosphere that define this and so many Los Angeles neighborhoods.

On the topic of L.A.'s oddest charmers, is the apparently imminent demolition by county bulldozers of Phonehenge West and the jailing last week of its 59-year-old builder, who refused the county's order to tear down the surprisingly "right-looking" buildings.

Kim Fahey, a retired phone-company technician, built an outlandish and playful world for his children and visitors to Lancaster to enjoy. In fact, there's a proper gift shop and regular tours at Phonehenge West. (We're not sure if there's a Phonehenge East.) The County of Los Angeles ordered him to tear down the permit-less buildings, and after years of battles in court, which Mr. Fahey seems to have lost, he's been incarcerated for not following those orders. Because of the inherent property and claimed constitutional rights issues, not to mention the great visuals, plus the David vs. Goliath theme of the story, Phonehenge West has captured national attention. Click here for a link to the Washington Times' reporting of the Fahey and the D.A., and here for an earlier piece by the Huffingtonpost

It's interesting to note that the current edition of the L.A. Weekly has a cover story about L.A. County's "War on Desert Rats" which the paper says is currently underway near Lancaster in the Antelope Valley. Here is a link to that story.

RoLA will keep the exact location of our whimsical creation secret. lest the city attorney tries to pull a (District Attorney) Steve Cooley on it.

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