Looking Back

The end of November in Southern California, from 2015 to 2020, from the archives –

On the Wright Hill (28 images): The pale November skies over one of the three Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the neighborhood – Hollyhock House on Olive Hill just above Hollywood Boulevard – from 1919, from his Mayan period – and Olive Hill is where the locals here go to step out of time. ~ Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The End of November (37 images): The last day in November in the streets out here – the remains of the month – the remains of the year – the remains of the culture – Monday, November 30, 2015

The Bradbury Effect (26 images): The Bradbury Building, 304 South Broadway at West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, from 1906 – “Designed by a $5-a-week draftsman named George Wyman, who had neither an architecture degree nor experience, the $500,000 Bradbury has nonetheless caused generations to marvel at its Eclectic Victorian Pre-Modern design. The untrained architect took the job on advice from his dead brother via Ouija board, and was influenced by the 1887 best-selling book, Looking Backward, by Edward Bellamy – a Victorian’s view of what a futuristic building would look like in the year 2000. It was featured in the film Blade Runner. To add to the building’s mystique, Wyman never again designed a building of significance, in Los Angeles or anywhere else.” It’s across the street from the Million Dollar Theater at 307 South Broadway –1917, by A. C. Martin – which is just as curious. ~ Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Releases (40 images): Paramount Pictures at Christmas – Christmas in Hollywood isn’t like Christmas anywhere else. ~ Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wilshire Courtyard (30 images): Wilshire Courtyard – 5700 Wilshire Boulevard – 1987, building architect McLarand Vasquez – the offices of E! Entertainment, Daily Variety, Initiative Media, 20th Century Fox Television Animation, Spelling Entertainment, the Los Angeles Business Journal, EMI (Virgin Records, Capital Records), the Oprah Winfrey Network, and so on and so forth. It’s just another office park, but there’s no such thing here in Hollywood. Everything is “dramatic” out here, even the office buildings. And it’s across the street from a union hall – the big white SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) skyscraper – and next door to the curious Los Angeles Crafts and Folk Art Museum. It’s all dramatic out here. ~ Monday, November 27, 2017

Christmas in Hollywood (40 images): Hollywood isn’t the place for Christmas – too much sun – too many palm trees – but Hollywood does its best. The Scientologists set up their annual “Winter Wonderland” with the usual big tree and all the fake snow, but no Jesus of course. The city wraps the lamp posts in secular but seasonal ribbons and bows. And the Jesus People march around urging everyone to repent – not likely in Hollywood. Coptic Christians can always drop by the old Grauman’s Egyptian Theater. This is an approximation of Christmas. ~ Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Between the Storms (30 images): It never rains in Southern California, until it does. A series of storms blow through. This is what Hollywood looked like between the storms, from Columbia Square to the Pacific Design Center. ~ Thursday, November 29, 2018

Praying for Rain (30 images): The Tongva warrior is still kneeling in prayer, praying for rain at the Electric Fountain in Beverly Hills. He’s been doing that since 1931 – the fountain was designed by the architect Ralph Carlin Flewelling in 1931, in partnership with the sculptor Robert Merrell Gage, who created this warrior – a gift to the City of Beverly Hills from Sarah Elizabeth (Fraser) Lloyd, the mother of silent-screen actor Harold Lloyd. It was the Electric Fountain because, in the evening, it was lit by multicolored lights that kept changing. But that was long ago. This is one of the busiest intersections in the world – Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevard. That would be a safety hazard. So now it’s just the Native American praying for rain, with rainbows of course. ~ Friday, November 30, 2018

The Studio Tour (15 images): This is the alternative Paramount Pictures Studio Tour. This is Gower and Melrose, with the old RKO globe and a curious neighborhood. ~ Monday, November 25, 2019

Shooting Up (40 images): Hollywood and Vine is dreary at eye-level. Hollywood and Vine is dramatic shot from below, looking up, on a dark afternoon with rain on the way. ~ Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Shadow Work (35 images): Black shadows on the white walls of the Wilshire Theater, originally the Fox Wilshire when it opened on September 19, 1930. The architect was S. Charles Lee. On November 4, 1953, it was Marilyn Monroe arriving on the red carpet here for the premiere of “How to Marry a Millionaire.” Now it’s the Saban Theater and it’s gone quiet at the moment. There’s only its reflection in the glass of the nicely rounded skyscraper on the southeast corner of Wilshire and La Cienega next door, once the world headquarters of Larry Flynt Enterprises. The light was good this day. ~ Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Bright Emptiness (40 images): Black Friday 2020 in the year of the killer pandemic – no one was shopping – little remained open. It was a bright empty afternoon on the Boulevard of Abandoned Art Galleries, Beverly Boulevard in West Los Angeles. ~ Friday, November 27, 2020

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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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