Looking Back

The third full week of November in Southern California, from 2015 to 2020, from the archives –

Hollywood Muse (25 images): David Lynch made that puzzling movie “Mulholland Drive” and no one ever knew quite what that was about – but it was somehow about Hollywood. Mulholland Drive runs along the spine of Hollywood Hills, with Hollywood far below, and this is the overlook above the Hollywood Bowl. Lynch was right. It is surreal up there, and down below, at the entrance to the Bowl, there’s George Stanley’s “Muse of Music, Dance, Drama” – a bit of Art Deco madness from 1940, the largest and last of the WPA arts projects on the West Coast. Stanley also designed the famous Oscar statuette. This is a surreal town. ~ Thursday, November 19, 2015

Friday Afternoon Light (30 images): November afternoons are rather fine out here – the play of light down at La Brea and First, where the odd apartment buildings from the thirties give way to the arts district down there. ~ Friday, November 20, 2015

The Big White Jump (27 images): The Emser Tile building on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood – the Suicide Building – in the 1987 movie Lethal Weapon, Mel Gibson goes up there to talk a “jumper” down. They end up jumping off the roof together – but the building does have an existential blankness to it. The location manager got this one right. ~ Saturday, November 19, 2016

Washed Clean (30 images): Palisades Park, Santa Monica, the day after a rare day of heavy rain – washed all clean and new. ~ Monday, November 21, 2016

November Zen (30 images): At Melrose and Crescent Heights, a Buddha and an angry black man, the walls of dead comics at the Improv, a giant threatening Marilyn Monore – and the blank pink and blue and Art Deco walls under mysterious skies. It’s a bit of Hollywood November Zen. ~ Monday, November 20, 2017

Somewhere Cool (28 images): Ninety-five in Hollywood, twenty-three degrees above normal – a new record high for the day before Thanksgiving – so it was off to Echo Park Lake. It’s always cool there, very cool. ~ Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The November City (35 images): Forget the sunshine. This is Los Angeles in November. ~ Monday, November 19, 2018

Three Women (35 images): Dangerbird Records, the independent record label in Silver Lake, on Sunset Boulevard at Lucile, keeps changing. Now it’s three dancing women and odd drawings on the sidewalk – but this is the home of Fitz and The Tantrums and Minus the Bear. This is the home of ironic beyond-hip music. The women are fine. The neighborhood is fine – full of color. It’s all fine. ~ Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Watching the Skies: The light is extraordinary in Los Angeles in November. Then it’s best to sit quietly and watch the skies. ~ Monday, November 18, 2019

Above Olive Hill (41 images): The skies above Olive Hill at the east end of Hollywood Boulevard – ignoring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House and the art gallery and art school and the big theater – because sometimes, after a winter storm blows through, the sky is enough. ~ Thursday, November 21, 2019

South of Pink (35 images): The block down the street from Pink’s Hot Dogs, on North La Brea at Melrose, isn’t pink at all. It’s severe black and white Art Deco, with an abandoned pastel movie theater from the thirties, next to the giant colored cubes of Torath Emeth Academy. And there’s Spider Man too. It’s very Los Angeles. ~ Friday, November 20, 2020

Misplaced Concreteness (45 images): Industrial geometry old and new, Romaine and Sycamore by the CEMEX plant – ready-mix concrete moving out in giant mixer trucks all day long. In Alfred North Whitehead’s Science and the Modern World, the fallacy of misplaced concreteness is central to his analysis, a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction is treated as if it were a concrete real event or physical entity. So, what is this Mexican concrete plant doing here? ~ Tuesday, November 24, 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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