That’s Wright

Last night’s Ride-ARC “Tourismo!!” ride was a long labor of love. All in I tallied about 35 circuitous miles from start to finish, which occured at 2:45 in the a.m. with me almost desperately hungry enough to tack on a couple more miles there and back to Tommy’s for some double-cheese-extra-pickles sustenance. But my fatigue was stronger than the call of the burger and I retired indoors to upload pix and decompress/reflect.

The ride’s first destination was up, up and away into the Hollywood Hills above Los Feliz to the fantastic Frank Lloyd Wright house built for Charles and Mabel Ennis in 1924. I’d toured that house back about 16 years ago (back when it was known as the Ennis-Brown house; the hyphenate being added in honor of the property’s owner August Brown who donated it to the Trust for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage in 1980 and removed in 2005).

Having been alerted to that climb as well as another one up super-steep Kings Road at the end of the ride I was all set to employ my 24-speed road bike to the outing, but five minutes before meeting Sean Bonner and Stephen Roullier at 8 p.m. for a pre-ride visit to Scoops, I discovered the rear innertube had sprung a leak and so rather than induce a delay in changing it out I just hauled The Phoenix in all its single-speediness out for the trek.

Scoops was goodness as usual (I went for the marshmallow and mixed nuts this time; yummus!). And then it was up to the Mayfair on Franklin for the gathering where we met up with Stephen’s wife Alice. Micki K was there and her hilarious friend Greg looking the total tourist and riding a fur-covered bike (“For increased wind resistance!”). I have it on good authority that Militant Angeleno or an exceptional facsimile thereof was present, but am foresworn to disavow any knowledge of his whereabouts, demeanor or swarthy looks. And of course there were many other recognizable ridazz including a couple fine cyclists who participated in the previous weekend’s IAAL•MAF river ride, including Al, aka Digable Soul.

There was also a critical masshole-type who dared to get my attention behind me at a stoplight by intentionally bumping his bike against mine (idiot!) to ask me a question about my rear camera mount, and then bothered me at many other points during the ride with his oppressive anarchic “fuck the cars” philosophy that he espoused at too many opportunities within my vicinity. Let’s call him Richard and hope I don’t encounter him again. ‘Nuff said.

Once on our way around 10 p.m. we turned up Vermont to Glendower and dang if I almost made it all the way up to the twisting grade to the famed residence, but stalled out a 100 feet or so from the entrance and I was forced to walk the rest. No matter as I was tremendously pleased to see much work had been done to the exteriors which looked vastly improved since I last saw pictures of it in 2005 when cumulative damage landed it high on a list of critically endangered national landmarks.

I make no secret of a rabid fanboy fascination of Wright and his works which resonate deep within me, and I rush to a layman’s defense against anyone who discounts or demeans his revolutionary artistry, vision and genius. I can’t argue architectural theory and application and all that academic jazz, but you badmouth my boy Frank or his stuff and it’s like you’re trashtalking my best friend. Hell, I’ve long decided that if I ever get a tattoo it would be a representation of one of the Ennis House’s textile blocks:

Something like from this…


to this…


except black and cherokee red.

That the L.A. area is home to eight of his residences makes the city that much more special to me and in fact I would love to do a trek that visits all of his houses: Pearce House out in Duarte, Millard House in Pasadena; the Freeman, Storer, Ennis and Hollyhock housese in Hollywood, the Anderton Court shopping center on Rodeo Drive (and that we also passed on last night’s ride), the Sturges House in Brentwood Heights and the Arch Oboler House in Malibu. Duarte to Malibu!? Talk about a loooooooooooooong, winding and uphilly ride!

Pix from last night’s Ride-Arc are here on Flickr.

Published by


Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."