The 48-acre bohemian folk art compound in the foothills above Altadena where artistic expression and radical self-reliance thrive.
Nestled in the foothills above Fair Oaks Avenue and up a windy dirt road, lies the infamous Z-Ranch.
An invitation grants you access to the property where you’ll be greeted by a large yellow sign warning: “Bridge Dangerous Condition, Subject To Failure At Any Time, Drivers Assume All Risk Associated With Crossing”. It didn’t look that scary to me.
As you wind your way up the steep single-lane road you are rewarded with beautiful views of Pasadena, NELA and DTLA.
If I ever get a free range llama I shall name it, “Dolly Llama”.
When I received the invite, I thought it was going to be small, intimate affair…nope, this shindig was for the legendary “Primavera” party and hundreds of people were in attendance. Awesome!
Jirayr Zorthian was infamous in Southern California for his bacchanalian parties at the Ranch. One of the most anticipated annual parties at Z Ranch was Jirayr’s spring birthday party, called “Primavera”.
Pig Roast Ritual
Large scale sculptures can be found throughout the property. There’s also folksy art walls, built with a variety of found materials including scrap metal, glass, and (broken) ceramics.
Jirayr Zorthian’s old studio was recently converted into a gallery. She thought she knew me but we couldn’t figure out from where.
She told me she was his naked muse and showed me this painting which represents an adolescent Jirayr coming of age and discovering his sexuality (or that’s what I thought she said). I do love the painting.
Also in the gallery was this ornate rocking horse, carved and painted by Zorthian himself and used by a stripper one night back in July 15, 1952 to entertain jazz legend Charlie “Bird” Parker.
The show began shortly after the sun went down.
Channeling Zor-Bacchus, Jirayr’s alter-ego that was an erotic artist who surrounded himself with dancing nude nymphs feeding him grapes off the vine.
Cue the nymphs.
Burning the past and starting anew…sounds familiar.