Monday, November 09, 2009

A Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod Sixties Sunday in Los Angeles

Talk about a coincidence: AMC ran the season finale of 1960s-set "Mad Men" on Sunday, on the same day we spent several hours traveling back in time to experience some of Los Angeles' and the South Bay's 1960s-era architecture.

It's the 50th anniversary of the modern architectural revolution of the 1960s, and the Los Angeles Conservancy (along with its Modern Committee) is celebrating with a year's worth of events. That included "It's a Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod City," Sunday's all-day driving tour of some memorable architecture in L.A.

Similar to the Conservancy's 2005 driving tour of Wilshire (see our coverage of that event here), "Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod City" included a booklet of 37 buildings and sites in the area for drivers to check out on their own. Six of those sites included docents and guided tours:

The Proud Bird Restaurant (11022 Aviation Blvd., Westchester)

Flight Path Learning Center and Museum (6661 W. Imperial Hwy., Westchester)

Theme Building at LAX (In the middle of LAX)

Otis College of Art and Design (9045 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester)

St. Jerome Catholic Church (5580 Thornburn St., Westchester)

Northrop Grumman Space Park (Redondo Beach)

The Blogger Preschooler joined me -- much like he did, back when he wasn't even quite 1 years old, for the Wilshire event in 2005. This time around, he's nearly five -- and was obviously much more interested in what was going on. That's why I was glad that we hit the Theme Building first.

The famed space age-style building, which has inspired everything from the Jetsons to the stage for U2's new tour, was itself inspired by the 1953 film "War of the Worlds." Built in 1961, the Theme Building is now home to Encounter restaurant -- as well as an observation deck that has been closed since 9/11. (It opened to tour participants on Sunday for the first time in years.)

The Theme Building has been undergoing renovation ever since a 1,000 pound chunk of its stucco fell to the ground a few years ago. As the fix went on, the airport realized that the aging building needed more than just a little rehab.

These rust stains came directly from the soda machines at Encounter, which dripped enough fluid that it caused this. Mmm... a reminder that if soda can trigger massive rust, then it must be doing a number on your body.

LAX's star burst street lights.

More on the other stops -- including the very cool (but little-known) Flight Path Learning Center and Museum -- in upcoming posts.

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