architecture

I Saw The Sign: Noe Valley Edition

by tatiana on October 1, 2009

noevalley

The first thing that I realized I loved about the city of San Francisco was the many many unique store front signs. There are a significantly smaller number of chain stores and franchises in the city (versus the suburbs of Southern California), so it is quite the treat for we design folk who really appreciate good branding or just refreshing imagery in our surroundings. Ahhhh. Take a nice big breath of the fresh Noe Valley air and let’s explore the signage (and really pretty architecture!) in my neighborhood. It’s the signage that you meet, when you’re walkin’ down the street… ok, I’ll stop now.
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I always seem to find myself in blog-worthy situations when I hang out with two of my favorite ladies.

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So, last night we decided to head to beautiful downtown Santa Ana for dinner and a show. Meli suggested that we stop into The Crosby for a drink, and this place was great.

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There’s no sign outside, so unless you have been there before, or accidentally stumble upon it, you might just never be aware of its existence. The place was not crowded at all, and was artsy (with the decor, and the patrons), but in a non-pretentious way. Everyone was really friendly, and good vibes were present.

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We then walked over to the Yost Theater where KUCI Nights was being held. On the way there Meli gave us a brief history lesson as we took in the beautiful architecture of downtown Santa Ana. Apparently, the Yost theater used to screen Spanish speaking films from the 1940s up to the day it closed in 1985. It has recently reopened, and I’m really glad it has. The space is a nice escape from the modernity of the majority of Orange County. The ceiling is intricately designed, the chairs recline… it’s really the little things that count.

We showed up during Death to Anders‘ set. Sitting there in the still quite empty auditorium/theater, I thought to myself… Hmmm, I feel like I’m listening to a college radio station. And then quietly laughed at my own thought.

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Unfortunately, I was not impressed. Fortunately, those reclining seats came in handy. Death to Anders were ok, perhaps just not my cup of tea. The singer’s voice was reminiscent of Stan Ridgway of Wall of Voodoo. And the lyrics just did not resonate with me… “I’m the dollar, you’re the whore”…. No.

In between sets, the afro clad DJ spun disco and dance music… and I quietly wished that we could just dance to that all night.

Next up was The Shys. Already their presence was more captivating than the first band… just with the first few seconds of their first song. They embody everything I imagine an “indie rock” band to be. Clean cut, smart lyrics and uptempo/friendly. Their set was fun. Do I call myself a fan? Not really. But I would want to see them again.

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The last band that we stayed to see was Castledoor… and I’m so happy that we did! They were my favorite band of the evening. They had a very colorful and happy-go-lucky presence; they were such characters. I loved their music and I loved watching them play. They look like a group of friends who are just hanging out, playing music, and having a really great time. My favorite song was “Fifth Tambourine,” which was essentially about dreaming of being a part of your favorite band.

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I thought the show was a great idea for an otherwise dull Thursday night, and I hope to attend more KUCI Nights’ shows.

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“This building is making me sea sick.”

by tatiana on April 6, 2009

chicago!

Yes, I am finally updating about my trip to Chicago that happened over a month ago. Hey! Better now than never, right? I think so.

Looking through my photos, I realized I may have to make this a two parter. A series, if you will. In part one we shall embark on the historical gem that is… dun duN DUN… The Auditorium Building!

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First of all, it was a Saturday. We had been in Chicago for one whole day so far, and my throat was starting to become sore. When I had looked out of my 5 star hotel window that morning and saw that the city looked just plain frozen, I knew it would be a painful trip to our destination. On the way to the subway, I ran into Starbucks to grab a banana for a quick breakfast. Usually one may experience a frozen banana defrosting in the hot summer weather and becoming a regular banana. My experience was the exact opposite (minus the chocolate and nuts of course)! Boy oh boy was it cold… and WINDY! Ain’t nothing worse than feeling your eyeballs becoming numb. Anyway, enough complaining…

We arrived at the Auditorium Building. A little background; as you may know, Chicago is filled with wonderous architecture that people from around the globe travel to marvel at. Amongst it’s many famous architects, the two who designed the Auditorium Building were Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan. During our tour we learned that Frank Lloyd Wright was a junior architect at the time this building was being designed.

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It turns out, Bri and I were very lucky. Due to budget cuts we were on one of the last two tours of the building. According to our guide, the Auditorium Building was one of the first multipurpose buildings to be built in the United States. Built in 1889, the building housed a theater, a hotel and office space.

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But it was the theater that was the most fascinating. Sorry for the dim photos; flash photography was not allowed inside the building. Also, sorry there are no photos of the exterior. I was too cold to remove my gloves to take pictures outside, just use your imagination.

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The theater interior was absolutely gorgeous. So much detail and thought was put into this space. From the lightbulb placement, to the beautiful murals on either side of the theater, this place was awe inspiring. I love being in well preserved historical landmarks, such as this, because my imagination tends to run wild and I often imagine myself being alive during that time period and walking the same floors and hallways in a big fluffy gown waiting to see the National Ballet. Ahhh. Did you know that the Auditorium Theater was the first theater to allow women to attend an opera without a male companion?

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I very much enjoyed my visit to the Auditorium Building. These days, it is home to Roosevelt University, and you can still catch a show in their amazing theater. Oh! I forgot to mention, the building seems to be sinking due to lack of solid foundation. So, when walking around the theater, one may begin to feel a bit sea sick, like Bri did. The floor is very uneven, and it’s a really strange thing to experience. As Bri said at one point, “This building would have been a goner a long time ago if it were in California.” This is probably true. But I guess this is why we have to travel so far to experience living history.

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