Funky cold median

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Oh man, Mom's in town and already she's all wah wah wah about how she wants to visit a museum. A real museum. Last time she was here she declared the Museum of Online Museums "not a real museum," and she got so confused in a bad way by the Museum of Jurassic Technology that she forgot to pick up the bill at dinner that night. Damn. You're not gonna let that happen again.

The solution? Take her to Vermonica. Vermonica is a collection of Los Angeles area street lights, assembled in a row on one median in the parking lot of the Staples store at the corner of Vermont Ave. and Santa Monica Blvd. Some are Art Nouveau, some are mid-century Modern, some are simply utilitarian; all but two of the styles are currently in operation around the city. Each light is adorned with a little plaque at its base that notes the model number and specific part of town in which it's employed. Like the Eiffel Tower, it defies most photography.

Artist Sheila Klein conceived of the piece as a sort of "urban candelabra," and received funding from the city Cultural Affairs Board to have it installed in the spring of 1993 by a crew of volunteers from the Bureau of Street Lighting. It was only supposed to stay up for a year, but due in part to the support of fans like Huell Howser (who once featured it on his amaazing show), it has remained in the parking lot to this day. If Mom's not impressed by that, take her across the parking lot to experience the horror that is Filipino fast food, and tell her you'll buy. She'll be so scarred by the incident she won't remember anything else about the trip.

Photo by the author