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. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  2. A photo of the interior of a WeWork co-working office.
    Design

    WeWork Wants to Build the ‘Future of Cities.’ What Does That Mean?

    The co-working startup is hatching plans to deploy data to reimagine urban problems. In the past, it has profiled neighborhoods based on class indicators.

  3. An illustration of a private train.
    Transportation

    Let’s Buy a Train

    If you dream of roaming the U.S. in a your own personal train car, you still can. But Amtrak cuts have railcar owners wondering if their days are numbered.

  4. A photo of San Antonio's Latino High Line
    Equity

    A 'Latino High Line' Promises Change for San Antonio

    The San Pedro Creek Culture Park stands to be a transformative project for nearby neighborhoods. To fight displacement, the city is creating a risk mitigation fund.

  5. Equity

    How to Measure Partisan Gerrymandering

    Computer-based techniques can prove that partisan advantage isn’t an accident.