Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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Mining billboard history

On Tuesday Echo Park landscape architect/historian Rhett Beavers will be grist in Huell Howser's magnificent subject mill. KCET will broadcast the short segment at 7:30. The subject? Billboards and gardens.

According to Beavers, Howser introduces the interview with the comment "this is obscure." Which is fitting, considering that one of Beaver's avenues of inquiry, according to his TED profile, is "remnant landscapes -- when only the memory remains." In this case, we're talking billboards set amid gardens designed specifically for them, once a common sight along Wilshire Boulevard and other major streets in Los Angeles.

At least one of these garden-billboards still exists -- at the corner of Glenarm and the mouth of the 110, where it becomes Arroyo. I drove past it hundreds of times without noticing. But there it was on Sunday, billboard and modest garden setting together as if the whole point of a billboard (besides advertising) was not blight.

Speaking of Howser, the original video blogger, he'll be one of the hosts at the This is Your Library after-hours event on June 23 at Central.

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