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. a map comparing the sizes of several cities
    Maps

    The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

  2. A woman looks straight at camera with others people and trees in background.
    Equity

    Why Pittsburgh Is the Worst City for Black Women, in 6 Charts

    Pittsburgh is the worst place for black women to live in for just about every indicator of livability, says the city’s Gender Equity Commission.

  3. a photo of a full parking lot with a double rainbow over it
    Transportation

    Parking Reform Will Save the City

    Cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability. But we can break the vicious cycle.   

  4. Life

    Mapping the Changing Colors of Fall Across the U.S.

    Much of the country won’t see those vibrant oranges and reds until mid-October, which leaves plenty of time for leaf peepers to plan their autumn road trips.

  5. A rendering of Oakland, California, that replaces Interstate 980 with a surface boulevard
    Transportation

    Here Are the Urban Highways That Deserve to Die

    The Congress for New Urbanism once again ranks the most-loathed urban freeways in North America—and makes the case for tearing them down.

×