Whimsy on Wilshire Boulevard

So this is happening practically outside of Fair Finley's bedroom window right now, and I would be remiss not to share it. Remiss, I say!

The Craft & Folk Art Museum, which Fair could really see from her window, if her window wasn't staring straight down at Monty and Gomery Overboves' bedroom doors, is now covered in 12,000 yarn-based "granny squares."

The installation is called "CAFAM: Granny Squared" and it is amazing. Its purpose is amazing, too: To counter the wrong-headed notion that craftworks, such as knitting and needlepoint, are somehow lesser forms of art than painting or sculpture.

Many hands and hearts went into this mega project.

That concept, to me, is very Wilfair in spirit. Everyone who reads the books or stops by here makes a little psychic square, or many, that I see going on the exterior of The Wilfair Hotel.


It's also kind of perfect for a city neighborhood that I've long thought as magical. I talk a bit about that magic in this article, one of the few times my not-so-secret fictional life does a merry mash-up with my working world.

Here's my argument in favor of the LA neighborhood's whimsical spirit: A yarn square-covered craft museum, the tar pit mammoths (and mastodon!), the giant levitated 340-ton boulder behind the art museum, the 202 vintage lamps in front of the art museum, and Dorothy's ruby slippers (or at least a big photo of them) all exist within one block of each other.

And neighboring all of that swirly strangeness? A secret not-there-but-kind-of hotel and motel that not too many people know about. But you do!

Love this pic, provided to me by Yarn Bombing LA. That there's a banner for "The Shining" -- LACMA currently has a Stanley Kubrick exhibit on -- next to the colorful museum only ups the area's movie-like quality.


Nikki said...

Ha ha! I love how Jack is looking at it with such enthusiasm.

As a knitter, I find this entirely awesome!

Wilfair Book said...

Ha, yes! My thought as well, Nikki. Jack looks VERY happy. Maybe he's a knitting fan? Someone write some "Shining"-knitting fan fiction, please.

(And yes, it is SO awesome. Love the message and how vibrantly it is being broadcasted.)

Oh, on another note about that Kubrick banner. It's showing up in some weird pictures -- the banners are all over town -- but this is the most famous one so far:


Nikki said...

I'm now picturing him knitting a fair isle sweater that uses words instead of shapes: "All knits and no purls make Jack a dull boy." Over and over, line after line, with some beautiful colorwork and set-in sleeves. When he's nearly finished with the sweater, only then does he realize that his gauge is off and this sweater is never going to fit. He finally snaps from the realization that he's put so much time into knitting thousands upon thousands of stitches and it's all for naught, so he starts chasing his family around with knitting needles instead of an ax.

(Jack in Les Mis! I actually snort-laughed at that image. Thanks for the share!)

do dah said...

nikki, that sweater is amazing.

Wilfair Book said...

Wow, Nikki. WOW. I like that the gauge being off is finally what pushes Jack to the brink in this scenario. And the knitting needles!

This is the Shining-knitting fan fiction I craved and you delivered. You. Delivered. Thank you.

Can it be long before some enterprising young filmmaker turns this into a short viral video?

Speaking of knitting and "The Shining," here's a hat that looks like the Overlook Hotel's famous carpet: http://shop.casualco.com/product/the-weir-overlook-special-edition

Nikki said...

Oh wow. Seeing the pattern on that hat immediately conjured the sounds of Danny's big wheel rolling through the lobby and down the hallways. (Certainly better than some of the other things it could have conjured!)

Wilfair Book said...

You just cited one of my favorite sounds from the film. How the Big Wheel sounds when it rolls between carpet then floor then carpet. It's pretty innocuous, which makes it extra eerie.

Should we talk about favorite sounds in films? I bet we all have a few we can name. Worth a post?

Nikki said...

If I recall my trivia correctly, that sound effect was purely accidental and Kubrick almost reshot or covered the sound, until he realized it created PERFECT atmosphere. Where would we be without accepting our mistakes, right?

I think Monty and, especially, Clementine would approve of a post about sounds in film.

Wilfair Book said...

I have a few Clementine posts ahead. Kicking those off with our favorite movie sounds is perfect!

I'm impressed by your Kubrickian knowledge. Can you make the exhibit before it closes at the end of June? I'm serious. I'd happily go again.

Jack's "all work/no play" typewriter is in it! Spooky.

Wilfair Book said...

Okay, upon reflection, Nikki, I realize saying "get out to LA for this movie exhibit! In the next couple of weeks!" isn't at all realistic. The issue is I get FILLED with excitement sometimes. Then I simmer down and really think things over.

All that said, if you have a favorite Kubrick film or prop from a film tell me, I'll zip by the museum, take a special snapshot just for you, and post it. So you'll be here in spirit. :)

Some of the "2001" stuff is SO cool. The HAL 9000 red eye light! Amazing.

Nikki said...

Haha! No worries, Alysia. Leah and I (and another of our online friends) often do the same thing, even though we all know there's a snowball's chance in hell that it'll actually happen. We love living in that unrealistic place where we can just pop over and hang out whenever we want. We'll often talk about food we're preparing for dinner, invite the other over, and say we'll keep a plate warm because it's a really long walk from Canada to Kentucky. So I wasn't at all thrown off by your invitation because we do a lot of those "Come see this cool thing!" // "I'll be right over!" interactions.

Ya know, I've only seen 2 or 3 of Kubrick's films all the way through and The Shining is the only one that has really stuck with me. If any props were to ping movie nostalgia, odds are good they would come from that. That said, I would so love to be able to go and see all of the amazingness! I'm sure each piece is fascinating even outside of context.

Wilfair Book said...

I'm glad to hear that you do that, too. One of my very best pals lives in Berlin and I'm forever writing her and demanding she meet me for lunch at one of our favorite spots. As if all it would take would be a snap of the fingers. If only!

The isolation of "The Shining" is almost too much to bear. So quiet, so silent, so snowy.

Nikki said...

For two years I lived out in the middle of the woods with the nearest neighbor (though that house was usually vacant) being a mile away and the nearest one after that? At least five miles. The closest store, a small country store, was a thirty minute drive and if we wanted to go to a 'real' store or restaurant, it was an hour away. All on winding roads through the woods. While our snows are mild and certainly nothing compared to Colorado, I would imagine the feeling is not dissimilar. Know what, though? I adored it. There's a similarity to how I imagine The Redwoodian, too, which is why I loved the group's stay there ever so much.

It does help that I was there taking care of rescue dogs and it was just so indescribably cool to walk out the door, down a deer path, and find your way to a lake all with 20 or so dogs following along. They might have had better luck at The Overlook if they had a pack of animals to distract from the hauntings. ;)

Wilfair Book said...

How wonderful. I'd love such a peaceful, quiet, woodsy existence, at least for a time! When I wrote "Redwoodian" I lived off a very busy LA street. It kind of helped me deal with the traffic noise and daily clamor. When I was inside that quiet lodge, in the book, writing, I felt the silence, even if horns were honking out my window.

And I love x 100 that you are a rescue dog person, Nikki. Walking to a lake with 20 beasties sounds like it might be a perfect day out. Do you have dogs now? Do I know this? Please remind me.

Nikki said...

We all create the environment we crave or simply need, in one way or another. I have a feeling many of these creations have a similar sense of serenity.

I only have a cat (Faye) and one dog now (Romeo, a 17 year old chow-jack russell mix), though I would probably have a few more if we had the space/money. He was actually one of the dogs from that house at the lake, too, and may well be the last one still alive as he was one of the youngest at the time. He was usually shy and hid away but ultimately claimed me as his very own, relocating his sleeping spot to my room and everything. When we started finding homes for everyone, it was without question that he was staying with me. Him, and a cat, though I would have taken them all if I could have.

Here is a picture of a few of them playing in the snow; Romie is the little blonde one jumping on the black dog. I actually have a ton of photos to scan and upload from that time, but don't want to inundate you with my "look-at-my-furbabies" impression. ;)

Wilfair Book said...


So I was just telling Chris yesterday how I'd love to have a chow one day. So how great to see your chow-Jack Russell mix! Chiara, another Wilfair peep you might have met, has a Jack Russell mix as well. Very cute. I believe he's a Jug (a Jack/Pug).

He looks fab for 17, too.

Faye is such a sweetie and I love her intense gaze in the photo.

The snow picture is quite the action shot. I've never seen any of my pups play in snow but I bet it is a total gas.

Of course you can brag it up about your furry ones here, always! Do you want to do a Reader Spotlight? Then that way we can include a few Faye and Romeo pics in the post itself. And you can braaaaag away. I would!

P.S. Seriously, there is no "inundating" at Wilfair HQ. We talk about what we love and that is that. :)

Nikki said...

Thank you! They are two of the most gentle-tempered animals I have ever been around. The absolute best. They're my brats. :)

Have you talked about your pets on the blog? What kind and how many do you have? I am always down for some animal talk!

Reader Spotlight... you know how I feel about the spotlight, but I'm going to go ahead and give a nervous "yes". No rush, though, and I'll be steadying myself for the questions in the meantime.

Wilfair Book said...

I'm so happy! Let's talk in the next few weeks. If you change your mind, no worries, but I would definitely use it to talk up your sweet ones (Chris included). ;)

One of my dearly departed Pugs made it onto a cartoon. Here's a little thing I wrote about him: Based on a True Pug

And here's my current gremlin.

Nikki said...

Aawww! If I'm not mistaken, Bisbee is making a rub-my-belly face in that photo. I will rub the belly of any dog or cat that offers! It's scientifically impossible to refuse.

That is so cool about your pug and his fame! I have often considered writing a series of kids' books, each book based on a different dog from my time at the lake. Maybe one day they'll be famous like Puggo/Jerome. Also, funny coincidence: my first dog, one our family had before I was even born, only had one eye as well! An eye and a half, I guess. Hers was from an accident as a puppy, but it never seemed to stop her.

Wilfair Book said...

Bisbee never, ever turns down a belly rub. That is indeed the face he is making! But then he usually has that face on. He also often has two little bottom fangs that overlap his upper lip, giving him something of a monster look.

I like the idea of a kids' series about different dogs! If you do pursue that, please let me know. I've done some dog writing, too (like the Puggo piece) so we chat. I'd love to read them.

I've met a few people with one-eyed dogs. The pups are all pretty plucky. Jerome actually did have another eye, but, hmmm, how to describe it? It was mostly not there. Kind of like a little hole where his eye should be, and inside it looked like a tiny raisin.

I know, that sounds, uh, a little stomach-turning, but this dog was large and in charge. His tiny raisin eye did not hold him back in any way!

Nikki said...

Romeo is the same way with belly rubs. In fact, that's exactly why they chose that name for him. He's like one of those fainting sheep; reach out to pet him, and he would fall over (from standing) and expose his stomach.

If I ever come up with a solid idea for the dog stories, I will most certainly share them.

YES! That's exactly how our old dog's half-eye looked, like a tiny raisin! A bright pink raisin, in her case, but a raisin indeed. Spot on imagery. And a little stomach-turny, sure, but this was the first dog I ever knew so I was definitely used to it.

Wilfair Book said...

I got just the picture when you said "fainting sheep." Bisbee is the same way. He drops FAST at the first sign of a rubbing hand heading in the direction of his tummy.

Phew. I was worried about grossing you out with the "tiny raisin" description. Awww, sounds like the tiny raisin is more of a common thing in Dog Land!

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