Let’s go bowling with Chris Nichols

Architecture & Design

These evocative photos speak reams to arts·meme friend Chris Nichols, a mid-century-modern architecture/culture expert and founder of the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Modern Committee, the infamous “Modcom.”


So much so that Chris has organized an entire museum exhibit to celebrate the design universe of bowling alleys … the show just opened at the A + D Museum on Museum Row on Wilshire Boulevard.

Nichols, a native Southern Californian, also lived it. We naturally assumed he was a bowling trophy winner. But apparently not. Chris explained his background in the sport, speaking from his office at Los Angeles Magazine where he is a longtime writer/editor and author of the “Ask Chris” column:

Was I a big bowler? Not really. But I did have a lot of birthday parties at the Covina Bowl. My family liked to go there for parties. It was a community place, with a coffee shop. The bar was hopping; you could get haircut; there was a Radio Shack. It was a giant, crazy entertainment emporium.

The A + D show includes bowling paraphernalia, architectural elements, decorative art from bowling alley lounges, mosaic tile items, outdoor signage, both neon and plastic back-lit (in Googie fonts), modernist architectural renderings in pen and ink, vintage Brunswick bowling equipment — a ball return and projection stands from Hollywood Star Lanes where The Big Lebowski was shot.

Nichols will give an architecture talk Thursday night at the Los Feliz branch of LAPL. Bring bowling shoes, trophies and lots of lore and scorecards to the talk.

Bowling architecture talk | Los Angeles Public LIbrary, Los Feliz branch | Thursday April 17, 6: 30 pm

Bowlerama | A + D Museum | thru May 11

photo credit

Magic Carpet Room, Futurama Lanes, San Jose, CA Courtesy Luby Publishing
Pyramid Room, Covina Bowl, Courtesy Adriene Biondo
Holiday Bowl (night) Courtesy Armet Davis Newlove, Architects

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