Looking Back

The first days of March in Southern California, from 2016 to 2020, from the archives –

Larger Than Life (35 images): It’s the spooky part of Hollywood – the giant posters on the walls of Paramount Pictures and Raleigh Studios down on Melrose Avenue. This is what will entertain America for the next few weeks. It’s a little scary. ~ Thursday, March 3, 2016

After the Rain (25 images): An El Niño storm leaving Malibu, Monday, March 7, 2016

The Ultimate Beach House (45 images): The ultimate beach house – the Adamson House, Pacific Coast Highway at the Malibu Lagoon, just north of the Malibu Pier – Stiles Oliver Clements, 1929 – built for Rhoda Rindge Adamson and her husband, Merritt Huntley Adamson, the daughter and son-in-law of last owners of the Malibu Spanish Land Grant. It was occupied in the summers, beginning in 1930, and lived in year-round beginning in 1937, and in 1968, the State purchased the property. In 1971, the president of Pepperdine University moved in – an effort to maintain the house until it could be properly restored and shown to the public. That happened in 1983 – now it’s California Registered Historical Landmark Number 966 – open to the public as a museum of beach life long ago. The ceramic tile was produced by Malibu Potteries (1926-32) – almost all Spanish Colonial Revival architecture here used that. Clements simply took it to the extreme. That worked. ~ Monday, March 7, 2016

Metal in Motion (30 images): Los Angeles is reluctantly getting used to the new absurd façade at the Petersen Automotive Museum at Fairfax and Wilshire. It masks what used to be a big boxy department store, and it’s supposed to represent and express motion. Perhaps it does. ~ Friday, March 3, 2017

Framing the Light (30 images): The light was good down at LACMA – the Los Angeles County Museum of Art – but the March light is always good out here. Alexander Calder’s “Hello, Girls” was catching the light nicely, and Renzo Piano’s highly geometric contribution the campus didn’t look all that brutal – and Chris Burden’s “Urban Light” was made for a day like this. It was a day to sit quietly in the sun. ~ Friday, March 3, 2017

Sunshine and Geometry (35 images): Beverly Hills on a sunny day – Beverly Hills City Hall, the new highly geometric Civic Center, the swoopy retro gas station across the street, the glass and shadows of the storefronts on Rodeo Drive, a perfectly restored 1928 Art Deco gem. Forget the rich people. Enjoy the geometry of the place. ~ Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Blown Away (28 mages): Watching a winter storm depart – from Malibu to Catalina – from Palisades Park in Santa Monica, Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Dry Place (40 images): This is Los Angeles as intended – without the water from elsewhere – the public cactus garden in Beverly Hills. It’s wedged between the Episcopal Church that Humphrey Bogart attended and the Catholic Church where Rod Stewart married one of his many wives, and where they had an amazing funeral service for Frank Sinatra. The cactus garden is a reminder of another world. ~ Monday, March 5, 2018

Hollywood Faith (35 images): Hollywood is not godless. Hollywood is just a little different. Over on Franklin Avenue, on the east side of Hollywood, just below Griffith Park, there’s the old Armenian Evangelical Church of Hollywood, directly across the street from the Kadampa Buddhist Meditation Center, and around the corner there’s the giant Korean “Full Gospel” church. There’s something for everyone on these quiet residential streets – and everyone gets along just fine. ~ Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Among the Dead (35 images): Marilyn Monroe is here – the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary – a small hidden cemetery full of the most famous of dead celebrities, tucked away among the skyscrapers along the Wilshire corridor in Westwood, just south of the giant UCLA campus. Few know that this is here but everyone seems to be here – even Frank Zappa – even if his grave as unmarked, as he asked. Others had a bit of fun. But the place is a bit spooky. Those skyscrapers stand like giant tombstones and the skies are odd. This is what it feels like to be among the dead. ~ Friday, March 1, 2019

Art Light (35 images): Winter sunshine at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Rodin figures seem a bit uncomfortable. ~ Monday, March 4, 2019

High Seas (28 images): Cold steady gale-force winds straight down from the Gulf of Alaska ripping across Santa Monica Bay – small craft warning – riptide warning – no one in the water – this is spring in Los Angeles. ~ Friday, March 8, 2019

Visiting the Gulls (25 images): Hitchcock was wrong. Gulls are good. They bring calm. Visit them more often. ~ Friday, March 8, 2019

Up Top (35 images): Drive up Laurel Canyon. Try not to think about Joni Mitchell, or Mama Cass, or Crosby or Stills or Nash or Young, or about Don Henley and the Eagles. Carole King is not sitting in that window with her tapestry. And up top, hang a left onto Mulholland Drive. And try not to think about that David Lynch movie. Stop at the “scenic overlook” just down the road. Check out the sky. Note that the San Fernando Valley, far below, is filled with smog. It’s good to be above the smog. That’s cool. That’ll do. ~ Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Richest Light (40 images): Somehow the rich get the best of everything, even the amazing light here in Southern California. A return to the Beverly Hills City Hall, 1932, William J. Gage and Harry G. Koerner, in the Spanish Revival Churrigueresque style, after the architect and sculptor, José Benito de Churriguera (1665–1725) – because the light was good, and good right here. And the geometric Beverly Hills Civic Center next door got the best light too. All photographers go back for more. ~ Friday, March 6, 2020

Late Winter Beach (50 images): This is late winter in Southern California, a quiet Monday in early March at Venice Beach. Yes, there is no winter here, really. The rules don’t apply here. They never have. ~ Monday, March 9, 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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