Looking Back

The first days of December in Southern California, from 2015 to 2020, from the archives.

December Lake (26 images): Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at Echo Park Lake – geese, ducks, an egret – perfect –

A Nod to the Past (34 images): Donald Trump wanted to build a HUGE luxury tower on the site of the old Ambassador Hotel down on Wilshire Boulevard, where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in the summer of 1968 – and the City of Los Angeles told him to stuff it. They built a new high school there instead, and this little pocket park, but they didn’t forget the hotel. To the right there’s a bit of the old hotel. That opened on January 1, 1921, and there’s the statue from the lobby and some frescos – but nothing from the old Coconut Grove. Still, the neighborhood holds onto the past, mixed with the new. ~ Thursday, December 3, 2015

December City (35 images): The actual city we have here – Wilshire and Figueroa, Los Angeles, in the light December haze, Friday, December 4, 2015 –

December in Hollywood (35 images): The first day of December in Hollywood – the light is good – the tourists are few – and the oddly quiet boulevard is as strange is ever. This will do for now. ~ Thursday, December 1, 2016

Down in K-Town (30 images): High winds, brilliantly clear skies, and long angled winter light – a good day to stroll around Koreatown, for the colors and the shadows. The center of it all is the black and gold terra cotta building at Third Street and Western Avenue, built in 1931 as the Selig Clothing Store, designed by Arthur E. Harvey – one of only two black-and-gold glazed terra cotta Art Deco buildings left in Los Angeles. The other one is down on Wilshire. This one was declared a Cultural-Historic Monument (#289) in 1985 and once housed a Crocker Bank branch, and now it’s being rebuilt for something else. It’s still fine. It’s all fine. ~ Friday, December 2, 2016

Terror Junior (28 images): Just another afternoon in the neighborhood – “Terror Jr.” will be playing at the Roxy tonight, and the exterior of the Roxy is covered in death images – and HBO has those terrifying new building-wraps across the street. All the promotion graphics on the Sunset Strip are full of fear and terror. Something is up, or it’s just another afternoon in the neighborhood. ~ Friday, December 1, 2017

The Light Today (35 images): The Santa Ana winds howling – fires all around – dry as a bone – the faint smell of smoke in the air – but the light at Hollywood and Vine is wonderful – and a bit spooky. ~ Thursday, December 7, 2017

Below and Above (30 images): The world is a distressing place at street level – a snake pit. It’s best to look up. There’s solace in the skies. ~ Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Old Rain (32 images): It’s a Hollywood thing. Old buildings look best in the rain – Bullocks Wilshire, 3050 Wilshire Boulevard, 1929, by the Los Angeles architects John and Donald Parkinson – the ultimate Art Deco luxury department store for more than sixty years, now a private law school. But the exterior has been restored to its original glory, and on a rare rainy day in Los Angeles, it is evocative of another time and another world. ~ Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Old Days (40 images): Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument 427 – Cloverdale Manor, 364 South Cloverdale at Fourth Street in the Wilshire District – designed in 1930 by Clarence J. Smale. Smale liked it so much he decided to live here. The penthouse used to be Fred Astaire’s dance studio. But those days are long gone. The days are darker now. And everything gets old, particularly in this curious neighborhood. ~ Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Unnatural World (45 images): It was just a shortcut, a right onto Washington Boulevard to get to Venice Beach a bit faster. But that’s the Culver City Arts District. It was a bit frightening. This was not the natural world. ~ Thursday, December 5, 2019

Old Medicine (35 images): The Beverly Professional Building on the corner of Camden Drive and Brighton Way in Beverly Hills, 1926, Spanish Baroque Revival with Churrigueresque detailing, including the traditional symbol of medicine, the Caduceus of Mercury, and it has a goddess too. It was built as a medical office building and it still is a medical office building. But this is old medicine. ~ Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Chasing Geese (35 images): The usual suspects. Using the telephoto lens down at Echo Park Lake. Wasting a perfectly good afternoon with the birds. Or this was a necessary escape. People have messed up this world. These guys didn’t. They’re better company. ~ Friday, December 4, 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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