Circus worker Adam Tenenbaum's front yard has become a neighborhood gathering place due to one really weird art tree.

This is what happens when you combine a man from the traveling circus, his acrobat roommate and a big pile of chandeliers: a brilliantly beaming carnival tree in the heart of L.A.'s artsy Silver Lake neighborhood.

Adam Tenenbaum, a 38-year-old circus makeup artist, has with the help of friends festooned his front-yard tree with more than 30 hanging lamps, some from garage sales and others he made by hand. He started the quizzical project six years ago after acquiring a couple unwanted chandeliers from a set-building gig. Because his neighbors appear to be cool, non-NIMBYish sorts, he continues adding on lights, using his skills as a general contractor to prevent the whole thing going up in an intense electrical blaze during rainstorms.

"I basically consider my front yard to be like public domain," says Tenenbaum over the phone. And indeed it's become a popular community gathering spot in L.A., with Friday nights seeing children bouncing on a trampoline and adults exchanging gossip. "It's like your local bar, without the alcohol."

The world might not know of this enchanting art tree had not local filmmaker Colin Kennedy recently made the poetic tribute you see above. Since the video hit the Internet this week, the pedestrian traffic under the tree has become "big time – pretty damn busy," Tenenbaum says. But that's fine with him. "It's quite a unique thing to have something that doesn't have any labels or corporate support," he says. "It's really lived off the neighborhood's support.... It's just a magical playground, a fun place to hang out."

Check it out the next time you're at 2811 W. Silver Lake Drive. And if you want to help maintain it, drop a quarter into the parking meter that Tenenbaum has dollied up in a big-top fashion. "It's like lighting 30-plus rooms at a time," he says, adding that his electric bills are "off the chart."

(H/t to The Eastsider L.A.)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    The Cities Americans Want to Flee, and Where They Want to Go

    An Apartment List report reveals the cities apartment-hunters are targeting for their next move—and shows that tales of a California exodus may be overstated.

  2. photo: a pair of homes in Pittsburgh
    Equity

    The House Flippers of Pittsburgh Try a New Tactic

    As the city’s real estate market heats up, neighborhood groups say that cash investors use building code violations to encourage homeowners to sell.  

  3. Life

    Can Toyota Turn Its Utopian Ideal Into a 'Real City'?

    The automaker-turned-mobility-company announced last week it wants to build a living, breathing urban laboratory from the ground up in Japan.

  4. Design

    Why Amsterdam’s Canal Houses Have Endured for 300 Years

    A different kind of wealth distribution in 17th-century Amsterdam paved the way for its quintessential home design.

  5. Design

    Before Paris’s Modern-Day Studios, There Were Chambres de Bonne

    Tiny upper-floor “maids’ rooms” have helped drive down local assumptions about exactly how small a livable home can be.

×