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Verdugo Views: Long-ago memories of a famous neighbor

January 11, 2013|By Katherine Yamada
  • Ivan Forbes, far left, stands with family members in front of the Forbes home on Perlita Avenue. Famed photographer Edward Weston and his wife Flora lived across the street from them.
Ivan Forbes, far left, stands with family members in front… (Courtesy of Friends…)

Ivan Forbes was in the audience recently when Beth Gates Warren, author of “Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather and the Bohemians of Los Angeles” spoke at the Glendale Central Library.

Warren's book focuses on what she called Weston's ‘lost years,' the years he worked in a small studio at Brand Boulevard and Tropico Avenue (now Los Feliz Road) and lived in Tropico with his wife (the former Flora Chandler).

Weston kept daybooks for his entire career, she said, but later destroyed all those from his Tropico years.

When Warren learned this, she embarked on a hunt for those ‘lost years,' which culminated in her book.

During her talk, Warren described Weston's local career and his involvement with the ‘Bohemians of Los Angeles.'

Later during the question and answer period, Forbes, who was sitting in the front row, spoke up. When he said that he had grown up on Perlita Avenue, across from the Weston home, and that he had witnessed some Weston events, many in the audience (including me) gasped. Here was someone who actually had memories of the famed Westons. Later I went up and introduced myself and asked if I could contact him for an interview.

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In our phone conversation the next week, Forbes said he was born in 1928 in Atwater (formerly Tropico). “We called it Toonerville.”

Perlita is a very short, narrow street. Forbes lived in a small house on the portion of Perlita that runs between Los Feliz Boulevard and Chevy Chase, between Glendale's western border and the Los Angeles River. The Westons lived across the street.

Flora Weston gave birth to four sons, Edward in 1910, Theodore Brett in 1911, Lawrence Neil in 1916 and Cole in 1919, and no doubt she was occupied with raising her family. Meanwhile, Weston became increasingly involved in his photography and with other artists, including Mather, and spent less and less time at home.

He left for Mexico in 1923, then returned in 1926, according to the Edward Weston website. In 1929, he and son Brett relocated to Carmel.

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