The Saturday Botanicals

JUST ABOVE SUNSET – as a commentary site – has gone dark, at least for now. For now there’s just occasional photography, and each Saturday that would be botanical photography.

Opening August (40 images): The roses that open August here. This summer will end well. ~ Saturday, August 6, 2022

High Intensity Gardens (30 images): The first Saturday in August here in the neighborhood. All the local gardens became quite intense. Too intense? Never. ~ Saturday, August 6, 2022

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Looking Back

New photography has become difficult. Health issues. Limited mobility. The only thing new will be the Saturday botanical galleries, at least for a bit longer. But here is how August began out here, from 2015 to 2020, from the archives.

At the Edge of Malibu (30 images): Pacific Coast Highway at the south end of Malibu, where the glamour isn’t – strange skies and dark cliffs and vagabond surfers in odd buses – Monday afternoon, August 3, 2015

Los Feliz Village (45 images): Los Feliz Village, just east of Hollywood and below Griffith Park, where you’re likely to run into Scarlett Johansson or Kristen Stewart or Zac Efron, in the tiny beyond-cool shops and hip little restaurants, is anchored by an impressive 1934 art deco movie palace, still going strong. It’s quite purple at the moment. It’s been other colors over the years, but the movie-stars mural on the north wall needs work – it has faded in the sun of too many summers. The village is still hidden-hip. It has a Charles Bukowski wall. He was Los Angeles’ poet of despair and anger, and thus the favorite of those who now think they know what’s what. But who knows? The pretty people walk around this village. Maybe they know something. ~ Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sky-Sky (35 images): There’s a new mural on Ocean Front Walk in Venice Beach – but it’s not really a mural. It’s an entire building painted to look like clouds in a blue sky and it fits right in on a hot summer day with an oddly mottled sky, the trailing edge of dark thunderstorms out over the distant desert. The building almost disappears – but down the way, at Muscle Beach, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Morrison will never disappear. And the summer sky in Venice Beach will continue to be one of the best things in Southern California. ~ Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Rest of the World (45 images): There’s always a way to escape the August heat – to escape Los Angeles. There’s the Crossroads of the World on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood – America’s first outdoor shopping mall, designed by Robert V. Derrah in 1936 – a giant ocean liner surrounded by various world villages – or an approximation of that. Of course it’s all fantasy, but it will do. The whole world is there, or an approximation of the rest of the world. It’s an escape. The heat was brutal. The smog was thick. It was time for another visit. It was time to walk around something somewhat like the rest of the world again. ~ Friday, August 3, 2018

Ocean Park Summer (40 images): Down through the odd geometry of the parking lots, past all the bicycles for rent, look left, look right, and suddenly there’s beach volleyball and endless summer in Ocean Park, just south of Santa Monica. It’s perfect. The thunderheads are inland. ~ Wednesday, August 7, 2019

For Rita (35 images): The Hayworth Theatre, the performing arts center at 2511 Wilshire Boulevard, with three auditoriums and large ballroom used for rehearsals, classes, and special events, was designed in 1927 by Stiles O. Clements of the firm Morgan, Walls and Clements. Like his El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, this is extreme Spanish Colonial Revival, also called Churrigueresque. It originally opened as the Masque Theatre, a playhouse. In 1950 the building was renovated by architect Dwight Gibbs and became the Vagabond, a first-run movie theater that went out business in 1985, and then the site was occupied by an evangelical church. In 1983, the theater was restored by the Rita Hayworth Theatre Company, who renamed the space based on someone saying that it was once housed a dance studio for the family of Rita Hayworth. Maybe it did. Earlier, in 1969, the corner of the building became La Fonda de Los Camperos, a very high-end mariachi dinner theater. The whole place was designated as a cultural-historic landmark by the city of Los Angeles in 1983, and in 2013 all of this was purchased by Jenji Kohan, the creator of Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” and Showtime’s “Weeds” – and with her partner Christopher Noxon the two have been renovating and restoring everything. Yep, this place is amazing, but so is the neighborhood. ~ Thursday, August 6, 2020

Get Used To It (35 images): Things didn’t get better. Things were always this way. We simply got used to it. And the street art really didn’t change. ~ Tuesday, August 4, 2020

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