Douglas, Arizona – January 2023 – Gadsden Hotel

Our last stop in Douglas is the historic Gadsden Hotel.

Completed during the Douglas boomtime of 1907, the hotel was destroyed by a fire in 1928 and rebuilt by the same architect who designed all the other important buildings in town, El Paso architect Henry Trost.

It is a majestic building for such a small town.

Legend has it that Pancho Villa rode his horse up these stairs, resulting in a chip in the 7th step up. How, you say, can the staircases have damage from Pancho Villa, who died in 1923, when the hotel burned in 1928.

They, along with the columns, survived the fire.

The painting at the top of the stairs is titled Cave Creek Canyon – Chiricahua Mountain by Audley Dean Nichols.

Bisbee resident Michael Page is a set designer who has done significant work in Hollywood, and has used these staircases as inspiration for a set he completed for the Oscar’s.

In addition to being inspirations, it has been featured in movies, including the Paul Newman movie The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.

The 42′ long mural at the top of the stairs was completed by Ralph Baker – who was a Tiffany protege.

The columns have gold leafing on them.

A closer look at one of the skylights.

The hotel still uses the old school keys, waiting behind the receptionist desk.

Adding to the overall retro feel is the shoe shine stand, telephone booths and water fountain.

There are conquistador statues gracing the staircase.

The Cafe 333 is the onsite restaurant. It too has the panache to match the rest of the hotel.

In addition to the restaurant they have the Saddle and Spur Tavern.

The Gadsden Hotel is a real treasure of Southern Arizona.

Mescal, Arizona – May 2022 – Old West Movie Studio

For many decades when Hollywood wanted to make a Western movie, they came to Arizona, with Tucson alone having over 1500 location credits on IMDB.

About 40 miles east of downtown Tucson is a small dusty town of Mescal. Just north of town, with a perfect backdrop of the Rincon Mountains, is the Mescal Movie Studio.

Originally built in 1968 for the movie Monte Walsh, it was one of the settings for a number of famous movies including Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Tombstone, The Quick and the Dead, as well as many TV shows including Little House on the Prairie.

Over the years it had fallen into disrepair, until recently when a local family purchased it and began restoring it. Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday they are open for tours, which include volunteer actors.

Our docent lead us on a very informative 1 hour tour. While not a fan of western movies in general, the tour, and the history of the place makes this a great stop – far better than the tacky touristy setting of the actual town of Tombstone.

One of the clock faces from the movie The Quick and the Dead – a key to the movie’s plot.

Buenos Aires – February 2020 – Tango-ing Through More Subway Art

Easily the most recognized aspect of Buenos Aires culture to tourists is the tango. It is sometimes referred to as 2 x 4, as a reference to the rhythm of the dance.

The newest subway line is the city is Line H, and the artwork on this line is known as a Homage to 2 x 4. As with the others this posting is not intended to provide a comprehensive view of all the artwork, as it is far too extensive.

The first station is Facultad de Derecho (The Law School). The mural along the platform is aptly titled ‘Buenos Aires City of Tango’. It recalls the origins of the dance in the immigrant neighborhoods of the city.

The Las Heras Station has some fantastic mosaics and murals by Marino Santa Maria. We had met Marino earlier where he had decorated his entire neighborhood, but here his art is visible by tens of thousands of people a day.

Marino pays tribute to the 1930s tango artist Hugo del Carril, who became the leading tango singer after Carlos Gardel passed away.

The Santa Fe – Carlos Jauregui Station has many tributes to the LGBT community.

At the Cordoba Station you find three large works entitled ‘The Day That You Love Me’, ‘Kindly’ and ‘South’.

The murals are tributes to great tango artists, but it seems to be more of an artistic interpretation than something that is obvious.

The Corrientes Station is one of the major stops along the H Line. One of the archways to the tunnels features Enrique Santos Discepolo, another of the 1930s tango singers.

It is said his song Cambalache was critical of 20th century corruption. The later Argentine leaders/dictators so objected to this song that it was often banned.

This postings feature image, as well as the image below features Discepolo and Gardel. There is significant imagery throughout, including Lady Justic with a Squeezebox.

The next stop is at the Once Train Station, where the artist Hermenegildo Sabat portrays a number of the 1940s tango artists including Anibal Troilo.

As noted much of the H Line celebrates the musical history of the city. At the Once Station however there is a large collection of artwork serving as a memorial for the 194 young people who were killed in a fire at a nightclub on December 30, 2004 – hence the name change of the station to Once – December 30th.

So many of the victims left behind shoes at the scene it has become the symbol of the tragedy.

The Venezuela Station (as with most stations they are named for the cross street the station is located at) has a plethora of works honoring more 1930s artists and bands.

The work below features a trio known as Fresedo, Delfino and Roccatagliata. They were most known for going to the United States to record ‘Buenos Aires Style’ tango in the 1920s.

Humberto Station continues the tour with a large tribute to Francisco Canaro. He had a very long career in tango, with the cariactures being humorous.

At Inclan Mezquita Al Ahmad Station both ends have large murals featuring many of the female stars of tango, including the one below where the lead female singer is dressed as a man.

Most of the station celebrates the early days of tango making into the movies.

The panels on the sides of the station appear to be box seats at the theater with patrons watching the show.

The composers are honored at the Caseros Station including Eduardo Arolas, Julio de Caro, Pedro Maffia, Luis Petrucelli and others.

The Parque Patricios Station had more interesting art outside the station than inside.

As you enter the station you are greeted with a mural from Ricardo Carpani entitled ‘Who Are We, Where Do We Come From and Where Do We Go’, serving as an anthropoligical map of Argentina. It is intended to show the real jungles of Argentina and the urban jungle of Buenos Aires.

Another interesting aspect of this station is the decorated air vents above the platform. Six well known Argentine artists applied their vision to the vents.

Back in the station are a number of pieces from Marcello Mortarotti entitled ‘Bright Memories of Buenos Aires’. The works feature Tito Lusiardo, a dancer and actor from the 1930s and beyond.

The final station is Hospitales, where the singer and actress ‘Tita’ is featured.

As we continue to tour the 6 Buenos Aires subway lines, the quantity and quality of the art continues to impress us. We are looking forward to touring the final 3 lines in the upcoming months.