L.A. Weekly's recent "2010 People" issue includes a nice write-up of local urban chronicler, neon sign collector, Los Angeles fan and all-around good guy Eric Lynxwiler.
Eric first came on my radar thanks to the "Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse" book he co-authored with Kevin Roderick; it's still one of my favorite books about L.A. history. Later, Maria worked with Eric at one of her freelance design gigs, and we got the chance to invite him to speak at one of our Great Los Angeles Walks. (Like I said, good guy.)
What Eric has really been passionate about for the last several years has been signs -- specifically, the classic neon signs that have become an endangered species in our city. Sadly, too many cool, classic signs have disappeared as clueless business owners haven't realized the treasure that they're replacing -- and shoving in the dumpster.
Eric has been a volunteer guide for years at the Museum of Neon Art, and his guided bus tours of L.A.'s neon quickly sell out.
The weekly writes:
It isn't only glowing glass tubes that Lynxwiler, 35, brings to life; it's architecture and a close-up view of the city's ornate history that even astutely observant locals are likely to have missed.
"Los Angeles becomes a great, big toy box when you're on the top deck of a bus gliding down Broadway, and these giant movie marquees with their flashing neon lights are just feet away from you," he notes. "When you're elevated above the second floor like that, you can see the intricate terra-cotta in the beaux arts, Italianate and art-deco building styles. From that level, above the canopy of trees, Los Angeles is a whole new world."
Eric frequently drives around town saving old signs for the museum -- and has stored some at his house as the museum (now heading from Downtown L.A. to Glendale) finds a permanent home. That's dedication.
(L.A. Weekly pic by Kevin Scanlon)