Looking Back

The beginning of February in Southern California, from 2016 to 2020, from the archives –

The Pier (25 images): The Venice Pier the day after a major storm blew through – high seas but a clear sky – Monday, February 1, 2016

The February Beach (30 images): This is winter out here – Venice Beach – Catalina to left, Malibu to the right, the gulls at rest, the bright sky, the rough seas – all is well. ~ Monday, February 1, 2016

Friday on the Boulevard (32 images): A quiet Friday afternoon on Hollywood Boulevard in early February – impossibly sunny but with those deep long winter shadows – the light is good. ~ Friday, February 5, 2016

Lenin in the Rain (30 images): Los Angeles’ chrome Lenin on a rainy day – “Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin’s Head” – Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang, two Chinese dissidents who won’t be going home now, given this, on the southeast corner at 4th Street and La Brea. It’s best in the rain, in this odd corner of Los Angeles with its arts galleries and “meditation centers” and little vaguely-French restaurants. It’s a good place to spend a rainy day. ~ Friday, February 3, 2017

Dark Music (40 images): It’s not just movies. Hollywood’s other industry is hit music – there are famous recording studios everywhere. It’s in the air, even on a dark and gloomy day. Walk around, starting the Sound Factory just north of Sunset and Vine. ~ Thursday, February 2, 2017

February Shadows (30 images): There’s no famous groundhog in Hollywood who may or may not see his shadow. There’s no six more weeks of winter, but there are dramatic early February shadows. There are at Sunset-Gower Studios. ~ Thursday, February 1, 2018

Local Special Effects (30 images): The winter light on Hollywood walls – Sunset Boulevard at Stanley Avenue – a simple grid of shadows – the striped walls of an abandoned Moroccan restaurant – the Italianate walls of Bonham’s, the British auction house that has been there since the days of silent movies. It’s all quite cinematic. No special effects are necessary. ~ Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Somewhere Else (40 images): Take a wrong turn off Wilshire Boulevard and end up in 1928 – or in a small town on the Amalfi Coast in the middle of winter. These things happen. This is South Sycamore Avenue between First Street and Second Street in the Wilshire District. Or it’s somewhere else. ~ Friday, February 1, 2019

Out of the Darkness (35 images): Hollywood Boulevard at Edgemont, East Hollywood, at the edge of Thai Town (where Thai Town meets Little Armenia under the 1919 Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House) – a full block of new murals – not quite finished yet – but on a rainy day they hit the spot. ~ Monday, February 4, 2019

Rainy Day Color (30 images): On a dark day there’s nothing like stumbling on a sudden burst of bright colors. This was Hollywood Boulevard at Kenmore in East Hollywood on a dark and rainy morning. Someone is making things better. ~ Monday, February 4, 2019

Atmospheric Instability (45 images): There’s extra parking on the roof level at the Home Depot on Sunset Boulevard here. That’s where the sky is – high winds and odd clouds this time – and at the far end of Hollywood Boulevard there are wild skies over Olive Hill with its odd trees. This is winter in Hollywood. Nothing seems stable. ~ Monday, February 3, 2020

Winter Chiaroscuro (40 images): There’s a technical term used by artists and art historians for the use of contrasts of light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects and figures, chiaroscuro. Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio and Rembrandt were the masters of this, but it’s always been basic to black-and-white photography and it’s what defines the shadowy world of film noir, where the Maltese Falcon lives. And it defines Los Angeles in winter. The light is angled and mysterious. This is Wilshire Boulevard. ~ Wednesday, February 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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