Looking Back

As April begins in Southern California, from 2015 to 2020, from the archives –

Furiously Hollywood (28 images): Something screwed up traffic in the neighborhood again. They were setting up for another “world premiere” down the street at the Chinese Theater. These happen in the early evening, but in the middle of the day there were walls of fans, waiting in the sun. This time the premiere was “Furious 7” – the seventh in the wildly popular Fast & Furious series – fast cars – lots of action. One of the stars, Paul Walker, died on November 30, 2013, with filming only half-completed – he crashed a Porsche supercar, fooling around. Filming was delayed for script re-writes, and his brothers Caleb and Cody were used as stand-ins to complete his remaining scenes. It’s an odd story, and that might explain the massive crowds – but there are always massive crowds. It’s Hollywood. ~ Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In the Land of Fame (29 images): Film crews on Hollywood Boulevard, under the giant insistent billboards, here where fame is everything, Thursday, April 2, 2015

Another Day in Hollywood (40 images): There was an unmetered space near the Arena Theater on Las Palmas, behind the famous Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Free parking is good. A walk in the sunshine is good. It was time to see what was new in the neighborhood. The neighborhood is as strange as ever. This is a hell of a place to live, but it is home. Actually, this is America. ~ Thursday, March 31, 2016

La Brea Arts (30 images): An afternoon in the La Brea Arts District just north of Wilshire – but the good stuff isn’t in the many trendy galleries. It’s in the alleys out back and painted on the sidewalks and in what has been discarded. There’s always an alternative to the expected. ~ Friday, April 1, 2016

At Heavenly Pond (25 images): Heavenly Pond, Franklin Canyon, just north of Beverly Hills – there’s a reason the major studios are always filming here. It’s a bit unworldly – back in the late sixties this was the “paradise” planet in a Star Trek episode or two. This day it was Warner Brothers with a major crew and all the trucks and lights and whatnot – but they were out by the dam at the main lake. At Heavenly Pond all was quiet, and strange, as usual. ~ Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Shooting Up Hollywood (41 images): Something’s always happening in Hollywood. What happens in Hollywood is what always happens in Hollywood. It’s always new. It’s always Hollywood. The best way to document Hollywood is shift perspective. Shoot up. Change angles. Then it all seems new. ~ Friday, March 31, 2017

Modern Amusement (25 images): Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier – the geometry of a modern amusement park – along with a trapeze school, and that old carousel in the dark behind those big blue windows. ~ Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Processing the Beach (36 images): There’s a mysterious gazebo at the foot of Bay Street in Santa Monica, at the edge of the Pacific. It’s always empty, but south of the Santa Monica Pier everything is mysterious. Why not highlight the mystery? ~ Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A City of Angels (42 images): Fairfax Village, between Melrose Avenue and Pico, one of the oldest Jewish communities in Los Angeles, has turned irreparably hip – with a location shot for some movie or other this day. Julie Newmar – Catwoman on the old Batman series (1966-1967) – owns most of the buildings down there. She’s eighty-four now. She rents to some strange people – but the real angel is Raoul Wallenberg. He stands on the corner of Fairfax and Pico, and the local street artists have added walls of visual commentary around him. He’s the only angel here. ~ Monday, April 2, 2018

The Power Grid (35 images): Technology can be visually mesmerizing. This is what keeps Los Angeles going – Adams and Electric Drive – just south of Venice Boulevard – the power out here. ~ Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Very High Noon (35 images): There were messages in the clouds. The high winds aloft ripped them apart. And there were odd messages on the ground. This was high noon at Melrose and Harper. ~ Monday, April 1, 2019

Working in White (30 images): Gower Street, one block south of Sunset Boulevard, an old white Spanish Revival municipal building now a warehouse and truck garage, but still impressive, and across the street, the white walls of the oldest part of Sunset-Gower Studios. Frank Capra filmed “It Happened One Night” in there in 1934 and now it’s the home of sitcoms and television crime shows. But this is still Old Hollywood. Old Hollywood used to be bright white. ~ Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Living Elsewhere (25 images): More of Sycamore Street in the Wilshire District – apartment building fantasies from the late twenties and early thirties – when everyone in Los Angeles really wanted to live somewhere else. ~ Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Hollywood Limited (25 images): There are limits. “Everyone in California is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary healthcare, or go to an essential job.” There are no exceptions. And this is home. ~ Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Direct Order (40 images): The city is locked down. Stay home. That’s written on the walls. That’s written in the sky. And one must obey. Shepard Fairey is the street artist and graphic designer best known for his 2008 Barack Obama “Hope” poster. Forget that. Fairey created the “André the Giant Has a Posse” sticker campaign while attending the Rhode Island School of Design and that evolved into his “Obey Giant” campaign, intentionally ambiguous, but something to cause people to question their relationship with just about everything. There’s that face. Obey! Why? Now we know. That’s on the local walls too. ~ Friday, April 3, 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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