Looking Back

October ends in Southern California, from 2015 to 2020, from the archives –

Abbot Kinney Boulevard (26 images): Abbot Kinney Boulevard is Venice California’s Main Street – a few blocks inland from Venice Beach and far hipper. Abbott Kinney was the tobacco magnate who decided we needed a Venice of America, so he built one out here, with canals and everything. That opened in 1905, and some of the canals are still here, but this town may not be what he had in mind. ~ Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stranger Faces (31 images): The faces that face you on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California ~ Thursday, October 29, 2015

Angelino Heights (38 images): West Kensington and Douglas in Angelino Heights, high above Echo Park – Victorian mansions, circa 1885-1897 when Angelino Heights was one of Los Angeles’ first suburbs. They’re back. They’re still impressive. ~ Thursday, October 27, 2016

Nightmare Clouds (30 images): It was supposed to rain, finally. There were flashflood warnings. None of it happened. There were only the nightmare clouds. But was Halloween weekend, so that seemed right. ~ Friday, October 28, 2016

Ghost Skies (35 images): Halloween afternoon at the Griffith Observatory high above Hollywood – ghost skies – and the ghosts have to do with “Rebel Without a Cause” – the field trip there at the beginning of that 1955 movie with the knife fight – James Dean versus Dennis Hopper – and the shoot-out there with the police at the end of the movie – Sal Mineo (“Plato”) dies and Natalie Wood is very sad. All four of those Hollywood stars are now dead. It’s a spooky place. ~ Monday, October 31, 2016

Chinese Geometry (25 images): Ending the week in Los Angeles’ Chinatown – the geometry of things, and the brilliant colors – Friday, October 27, 2017

Korean Skies (40 images): The first day of November in the heart of Los Angeles’ Koreatown – the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue – Los Angeles looks quite Asian here – and what isn’t yet Asian in the neighborhood looks menacing and mysterious. It’s the November skies. ~ Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Low Tide (40 images): November out here at the end of America – Venice Beach – low tide – low clouds – Thursday, November 2, 2017

Someplace Else (35 images): Los Angeles isn’t Boston but this is Fenway Hall on Grammercy Place, just off Wilshire Boulevard, where, in the twenties and thirties, Los Angeles was always someplace else. In the distance there’s a bit of Art Deco, the 1929 Wilshire Professional Building at Manhattan Place, and between the two, the Koreans are giving the staid and stately Episcopalians a run for their money. And on Wilshire there are odd posters everywhere. This can’t be Los Angeles. This must be someplace else. ~ Monday, October 29, 2018

Bring Back the Past (25 images): The El Mirador Apartments at 1302-1310 North Sweetzer Avenue, West Hollywood – designed by S. Charles Lee in 1929 – an odd mix of Spanish Colonial Revival and Churrigueresque nonsense. In the early thirties movie stars lived here, but that was long ago. The place fell into disrepair – into ruins – as it changed hands again and again – but each new owner tries to bring back the past. That’s what is happening here. The work has just begun, again. This will take time. ~ Thursday, November 1, 2018

In the Clear (40 images): The massive fires all around Los Angeles filed the Los Angeles basin with smoke and light ash falling here and there. Breathing was difficult. But the winds kept shifting. And there was no smoke at Echo Park Lake at the edge of the city. And there were the waterfowl. Things are always clearer down there. ~ Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Dive (40 images): The neon diver across the street from Barney’s Beanery, the dive where both Jim Morrison and Janice Joplin used to get thoroughly drunk long ago, down on Santa Monica Boulevard at the bottom of the hill next to the big white Emser Building from the first Lethal Weapon movie, the scene with the suicide jumper… this is a strange neighborhood indeed. ~ Thursday, October 24, 2019

Cactus Life (35 images): A wall of stylized cactus, James Dean, a new Ferrari – Hollywood icons at Trashy Lingerie on La Cienega – another Hollywood icon – just before Halloween.  It’s just Southern California. ~ Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Not Technicolor (35 images): This is the Television Center, 6311 Romaine Street – 1930, an Art Deco landmark that from 1930 to 1975 was the Hollywood home of Technicolor. All of their films were processed in the labs here, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938) to The Godfather, Part II (1974) – the last American film to use the Technicolor dye process. But the technology changed and Technicolor is now a division of the French company Technicolor SA and housed in a new glass box on Sunset Boulevard at Gower, and now this Art Deco landmark is filled with independent television production companies and high-tech soundstages. But it’s still dramatic. And television production obviously requires a whole lot of electricity. ~ Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Another Hollywood Ghost (40 images): Had he lived, which he didn’t, Nat King Cole would have been one hundred years old, last year. Here he haunts the windows at Capitol Records on Vine Street. This is where he recorded almost everything. His ghost has been in the windows for a year now. Things get spooky in Hollywood. ~ Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A Bit Unnerving (35 images): The Chateau Marmont on the Sunset Strip, modeled loosely on the Château d’Amboise, a royal retreat in the Loire Valley, has been a Hollywood institution since 1929. Everyone has stayed here, and worked here, and some of them died here. John Belushi died of a drug overdose in Bungalow 3 on March 5, 1982, and the famous photographer Helmut Newton died here on January 23, 2004, after crashing his car pulling out of the driveway. That makes this block of the Sunset Strip a bit unnerving. ~ Tuesday, November 3, 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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