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 July ended, from 2015 to 2020, from the archives.

Down at the Lake (35 images): Echo Park, on Sunset Boulevard, halfway between Hollywood and Union Station, downtown, is gritty and a bit dangerous. Echo Park Lake, with the Los Angeles skyscrapers shimmering in the distance, is improbable – the waterfowl, the floating beds of water lily and lotus. It really shouldn’t be here, but on a hot July afternoon, this is the place to be. ~ Friday, July 24, 2015

An Improved Wall (28 images): The new and improved east wall of the La Luz de Jesus Art Gallery – 4633 Hollywood Boulevard – a bit unsettling, but that seems to be the point. ~ Thursday, July 21, 2016

At Hollywood and Vine (33 images): The core of Hollywood, old and new, Hollywood and Vine, Friday, July 29, 2016

High Drama (35 images): The drama was in the skies over Hollywood – the clouds over the new Columbia Square, 6121 Sunset Boulevard, all glass and angles, from House and Robertson Architects and Rios Clementi Hale Studios. Viacom has moved into most of it and added the “California Republic” mural. The “summer water” graphics are on the Sunset-Vine Tower just down the street. The neon dancer is on the wall of the Hollywood Palladium next door – but the summer drama was in the clouds above. ~ Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Professional Light (42 images): Hollywood is the movie industry and the movie industry is quite simple. It’s all about the professional manipulation of light. Get the deeps shadows right. Make the colors pop. The rest will take care of itself – and the professionals are down on Sunset Boulevard – the International Cinematographers Guild – the Motion Picture Editors Guild – Harmony Gold – the professionals who get it right – in their offices with the deep shadows and the colors that pop. They make that stretch of Sunset Boulevard a visual treat – as good as any movie – or maybe better. ~ Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hollywood Housing (45 images): The Ravenswood on Rossmore Avenue in Hancock Park – designed by the architect Max Maltzman and built by Paramount Pictures in 1930. Mae West moved into Apartment 611 when she got to Hollywood in 1932 – the apartment had been reserved for her by Paramount. She liked it so much she never left. She lived here until her death in 1980 – and just down the street, the El Royale – 1929, designed by William Douglas Lee – Clark Gable and Loretta Young lived here. William Faulkner lived here when he was in town writing screenplays with Fitzgerald and Hemingway. George Raft lived in one of the penthouses, and since then Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Uma Thurman, Jack Black, Ellen Page, and Josh Brolin have lived at the El Royale. This is Hollywood housing. ~ Monday, July 29, 2019

Big City Sunshine (35 images): All these skyscrapers are empty now. They may remain empty. There’s no way to cram seven or eight thousand people working together all day long in each of them safely now. That virus is here to stay for a bit, but now there’s no point in working like that anyway. The work that had been done here can easily be done from home. These glass towers are pointless now. Cities may be pointless too, but Los Angeles was pleasantly quiet and the light was good. So here is what used to be. ~ Tuesday, July 28, 2020

About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.
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