Looking Back

This is how the transition of September to October looked, out here, from 2015 to 2020, from the archives.

Down in Lotus Land (40 images): Echo Park Lake on a blistering hot day – it’s cool and calm down there. It’s the lotus. ~ Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beaux Arts Los Angeles (35 images): It was time to slip into the past. The Rosslyn Hotel at the corner of 5th and Main in Los Angeles was designed by the firm Parkinson & Parkinson in the Beaux Arts style that was all the rage at the time, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When it opened in 1914 it was the largest hotel on the Pacific Coast, and now it has been restored to its original splendor. The same thing is happening to all the other Beaux Arts gems around it. Beaux Arts lives. The few Art Deco buildings from the late twenties in the neighborhood are getting lonely. ~ Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Old Cool (30 images): The late fifties gave us the Birth of the Cool – Miles Davis back east and the West Coast Sound out here – and in the new Playboy Magazine, once you got past the pictures, there was always detailed advice on how to be cool. And the architecture became cool – out here, low post-and-beam glass-walled elegant houses cantilevered out over the Hollywood Hills. The style became known as Midcentury Modern, but it wasn’t just those houses in the hills. Commercial buildings became midcentury cool, and three of those are here, side by side on Sunset Boulevard – the International Cinematographers Guild, the Motion Picture Editors Guild, and Harmony Gold. They’re pure fifties cool. ~ Thursday, September 29, 2016

High and Dry (30 images): The drought started in late 2011 – the driest period in California history since record-keeping began. Twelve million Southern California trees have died. That changes things. Mulholland Drive – David Lynch territory – Monday, October 3, 2016

Obey (29 images): Everyone needs a little Shepard Fairey now and then. Drop by La Brea at Second and get your fix. ~ Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Something Wicked (35 images): “Something wicked this way comes” – like in the Ray Bradbury tale of that sinister traveling carnival that comes to a Midwestern town one October long ago. Angelino Heights – Echo Park – early October – the place has the same feel. The place has the same look – dark and mysterious. ~ Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Block Past (40 images): The block is the block just north of MacArthur Park – Park Place on the south, Rampart on the north, between Wilshire Boulevard and Sixth Street – and the past is the Ashbury, a giant wedding cake of an apartment building from long ago, across the street from the heroic Elks Lodge Number 99, built in 1925, now the Park Plaza Hotel. Up the street it’s the big white Royal Wilshire and the Bryson, with its lions – still snazzy after all these years. In between it’s the pink and blue abandoned Hayworth Theater on Wilshire Boulevard – Norman O. Stiles – an oddity from the late twenties. The rest, from the present, is just curious. Take a walk around the block and see. ~ Thursday, October 5, 2017

Catching Clouds (35 images): On the Sunset Strip – “Dream Catcher” – Janet Echelman – between the two towers of the new James West Hollywood Sunset Hotel at La Cienega – but this day it’s catching clouds. Rain on the way – finally – maybe. The last rain was five months ago. But the clouds are a good sign. ~ Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Rain in Malibu (40 images): Standing in Santa Monica watching the rain in Malibu – an odd day – this hasn’t happened in five months. But this is a storm, and Southern California hardly ever looks like this, so here’s proof that the sunshine is not endless out here. Sometimes, very rarely, Southern California looks like this. ~ Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Red Afternoon (40 images): Late afternoon at the county art museum – it’s all Chinese red – the architect, Renzo Piano, is famous for that, and famous for his inside-out museums – and that new museum for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is almost finished – the glass dome shimmers in the sun. But everything shimmers in the sun on this quiet afternoon. ~ Wednesday, October 2, 2019

In Sunshine (40 images): The colors of the Sunset Strip really do pop in the afternoon in the late fall light. Nothing really changes. The Rainbow and Roxy and Whisky are still here. It’s the same rather mad place. But the light changes. And then it’s gone. The Sunset Strip was made for the night. But old men prefer the sunshine. ~ Friday, October 4, 2019

In Sunset Park (35 images): Will Rogers Memorial Park, 9650 Sunset Boulevard, across the street from the Beverly Hills Hotel, constructed in 1912 and dedicated in 1915, the first public park in Beverly Hills. Charlie Chaplin filmed a few scenes here. So did Laurel and Hardy. This was Sunset Park until 1952 when it was renamed the Will Rogers Memorial Park in honor of Rogers, the first Honorary Mayor of Beverly Hills from 1926 to 1928, who rather liked the place. On April 7, 1998, George Michael was arrested for committing a “lewd act” by Marcelo Rodriguez, a plainclothes officer of the Beverly Hills Police Department, in the restrooms here. That was quite the scandal. But that doesn’t matter now. This is a good place to sit quietly on a hot day and chat with the turtles. ~ Thursday, October 1, 2020

Hollywood Haze (40 images): After three weeks of smoke in the air, from the massive distant fires, the haze in Hollywood lifted a bit, here and there, leaving strange skies and odd empty streets below. ~ Monday, October 5, 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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