Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

What the NEON is going on in WeHo?

The City of West Hollywood may not have their own police force, but they do know how to catch your attention with some damn incredible specimens of neon signage. Your east/west evening commute is LITERALLY a trip to the official public installation On Route—66 Lights – a collaboration between the Museum of Neon Arts (of course this exists in LA) and the City of West Hollywood.

 

While all neon lights are eye-catching (sorta the point) these ones get gold stars and extra love:

 

The massive old Emser tile sign which sits atop an Art Deco warehouse – it uses a classic serifed oblique typeface, mimicking calligraphic strokes, with a jiggidy neon outline which I find totally delightful and I really love that the ‘s’ is a little more upright than the rest. Nearly visible from Westwood while eastbound on Santa Monica BLVD it’s simple throwback charm will steal your heart for at least 4 stoplights.

 

EMSER SIGN - PHOTO BY JOSHUA BARASH

EMSER SIGN – PHOTO BY JOSHUA BARASH

 

A replica of the original, but equally rad, The Virginia Court Motel Diver sign is definitely the rockstar of the show. This iconic piece stands proudly among other sculpture pieces (visible by day) in the median on Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny Drive and Altmont Drive. This bathing beauty perfectly embodies the spirit of old Hollywood evoking the imagery of every vintage post card you’ve ever seen involving palm trees.

 

DIVER - PHOTO BY MUSEUM OF NEON ARTS

DIVER – PHOTO BY MUSEUM OF NEON ARTS

 

The Tashman Hardware sign is like a throwback old-timey animation… you know… before computers. Excellent backdrop while you accompany your smoking friends if you’re out in the neighborhood. It also daylights as an actual family run hardware store. Get it, daylights. #dadjoke

 

TASHMAN HARDWARE - PHOTO BY JOSHUA BARASH

TASHMAN HARDWARE – PHOTO BY JOSHUA BARASH

 

This is undoubtedly the weirdest McDonald’s sign ever: I accept any challenge to find one more odd. The animated dancing pig-chef (actually a man with a hamburger patty for a face… equally unexpected) urging you toward the more commonly known golden arches is some throwback character named Speedy and was replaced by Ronald McDonald in 1967. I’m so glad LA is keeping him alive.

 

MCDONALDS - PHOTO BY JOSHUA BARASH

MCDONALDS – PHOTO BY JOSHUA BARASH

 

NUDE GIRLS!

I gotta say, some of the finest examples of neon in LA are those adorning assorted peelers scattered about town. I’m going to have to start hitting them so I can get the full experience – if those exteriors are any reflection of the interior design then I think I’ve found myself a new haunting ground… I wonder if they have WiFi. Pictured here for the sake of keeping it local to the WeHo On Route—66 Lights exhibition is The Body Shop on the Sunset Strip.

 

THE BODY SHOP - PHOTO BY JOSHUA BARASH

THE BODY SHOP – PHOTO BY JOSHUA BARASH

In total there are 51 spots included in the official exhibition (one for every state?) – mad gratitude to the City of West Hollywood for compiling this concise PDF map . This outdoor art exhibition is a GOLD STAR date activity with some mad dreamy make-out spots. It’s probably a good idea to pack yourself some travellers and go on an adventure.

 

Additionally I’d like to highlight how appropriate it is that the neon extravaganza culminates at the very place where Historic Route 66 terminates. What an appropriate finale to the Great American Road Trip.

 

On Route—66 Lights – a collaboration between the Museum of Neon Arts and the City of West Hollywood. On view until forever?

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