Looking Back

As before, new photography has become difficult. The only thing new will be the Saturday botanical galleries, at least for a bit longer. But here is how this last week in August looked, out here, from 2015 to 2020, from the archives.

The Aquatic Life (46 images): The sliver of Los Angeles that’s not Hollywood or surfers or aerospace or wheeling and dealing in the glass towers downtown – Marina del Rey on a weekday afternoon in August. This is life on the water. ~ Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ocean Park August (45 images): There are massive fires out east – eighty thousand people evacuated from the area – and it’s getting worse. But down at Ocean Park it’s still paradise out here. ~ Wednesday, August 17, 2016

When Hollywood Was Young (40 images): It was a different time – the Hollywood Athletic Club on Sunset Boulevard, founded in 1924 by Charlie Chaplin, Cecil B. DeMille and Rudolph Valentino – a private men’s club for stars like Errol Flynn and Clark Gable. Dick Powell brought the corpse of John Barrymore there for “one last drink” and John Wayne used to toss billiard balls from the roof at passing cars down below. For those who weren’t stars, one block north, the Hollywood YMCA, 1923, from the architect Paul R. Williams. Obscure young men could hang out there. And the neighborhood still has those Spanish Revival buildings from the period, for now. ~ Friday, August 19, 2016

Cosmic Love (35 images): Cosmic Love – that’s the new mural in East Hollywood – Hollywood Boulevard on the other side of the freeway. East Hollywood is not Hollywood. East Hollywood is where Little Armenia blends into Thai Town. Everything is a bit cosmic over there. ~ Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer Smoke (30 images): California is on fire. The worst fires are up north, the worst fires that California has ever seen. The smoke has reached Washington and Baltimore. The massive fires in Southern California are in Riverside County, far south of Los Angeles – but the smoke has reached Los Angeles, and Hollywood. The skies are stunning. Breathing is difficult. It’s summer in California. ~ Monday, August 20, 2018

Picture This (40 images): At the far end of the Sunset Strip, where Sunset Boulevard dives into quiet residential (and absurdly rich) Beverly Hills, there’s a bronze movie director from the silent era – “Director” – Frank Meisler and Arie Ovadia, 2007, 9200 Sunset Boulevard. And what’s he looking at now? That would be surreal skyscrapers. Hollywood changed. ~ Thursday, August 15, 2019

City One Hundred (45 images): When it’s one hundred in the shade Los Angeles is empty, and the sightlines are clear. There’s the Hotel Figueroa that was opened on August 14, 1926, by the YWCA as a safe haven for unaccompanied female travelers, who were prohibited from checking into most hotels without a male chaperone – Italian Renaissance Revival by local architect Lester Hibbard. Now it’s just hip. Across the street it’s the Friday Morning Club, designed by architects Allison and Allison, built in 1923. The Friday Morning Club was founded by the abolitionist and suffragist Caroline Severance in 1891. She was a good friend of Susan B. Anthony and this was the club’s headquarters, a place for self-improvement and study of the arts, literature and culture, and the political and social advancement of women. William Butler Yeats gave a reading here once, and then it turned into the Variety Arts Center. And down the street it’s the new Grammy Museum. The rest is glass. And no one was around. ~ Wednesday, August 19, 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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