New Photography

Find links to photography dating back to Monday, March 2, 2015 at the Photography tab above – other photography dating back to 2003 can be found in the complete archives –

The latest galleries at the sister site Just Above Sunset Photography –

October 2021 Photography

Enigmatic Light: There was a green Lamborghini parked in front of Enigma Coffee. The light was good. ~  Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Going Formal: This is new. Two shades of gray with brilliant white accents. This is The Television Center, 6311 Romaine Street, 1930, an Art Deco landmark that from 1930 to 1975 was the Hollywood home of Technicolor. All of their films were processed in the labs here, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938) to The Godfather, Part II (1974) – the last American film to use the Technicolor dye process. Now the place is filled with independent television production companies and high-tech soundstages. But the building’s new owners decided to repaint the original all-white landmark and make it formal and classy. Technicolor? Technicolor is long gone. ~ Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Catching Sun: A day in the sun. Echo Park Lake. Halfway between Hollywood and Chinatown. Hanging with these guys. Seemed like a good idea. ~ Monday, October 18, 2021

Blasted Roses: Ninety at noon. Humidity at zero. The Santa Ana winds off the Mojave, howling. Red Flag warning. High fire danger everywhere. And the heat has blasted the roses here. That makes them more interesting. ~ Saturday, October 16, 2021

Interior Los Angeles: The local gardens on an October afternoon. Everything is a bit magical. ~ Saturday, October 16, 2021

All Possible Colors: The colors of Los Angeles from Koreatown to the Sunset Strip. Nothing is dull in this city. ~ Friday, October 15, 2021

Under New Management: The Wilshire Boulevard Christian Church, 1925, Romanesque Revival with Byzantine elements, designed by Robert H. Orr, a prominent architect of Protestant churches in Southern California and a member of the congregation. The rose window by Judson Studios is said to be a copy of one in the Rheims Cathedral. At the building’s dedication on April 3, 1927, Dr Charles S. Medbury, pastor of the University Christian Church and “the most useful citizen of Des Moines” according to a newspaper contest, gave the dedicatory sermon. Also part of the ceremony, Miss Julie Keller led an ensemble of seven harps and a violin, and dedicatory meetings were held every evening for the following two weeks. The wealthy had their impressive church. The building was bought by the Oasis Church in 2012. That church started as a Bible-study group, ten people in Beverly Hills. One of the original members of the Bible-study group was the singer Donna Summer, but now there are thousands of members, including Viola Davis. They do social justice work, to make the world a better place. And this is their place now. ~ Thursday, October 14, 2021

Street Doves: White doves in a local parking lot. Street art about hope. ~ Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Clear Air: A night of high winds cleared the air. Los Angeles became vivid again. ~ Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Beverly Hills Autumn: This isn’t Vermont. Autumn here is fan palms, and Australian Tree Fern hiding behind giant ornamental-banana fronds, and Imperial Palms being quite imperial, and Banyan trees in bloom everywhere. This is autumn at a small park in Beverly Hills. It will have to do. ~  Monday, October 11, 2021

Beyond Pink: Autumn roses in the local gardens. The colors have moved beyond the ordinary. ~ Saturday, October 9, 2021

Close Inspection: The closer one looks, the stranger Los Angeles’ gardens become. ~ Saturday, October 9, 2021

City Light: The light was good. The clouds were even better. Frank Gehry’s 2003 infinitely-curved Walt Disney Concert Hall fills the block between Grand Avenue and Hope Street. That caught both nicely. So did his nearly complete and more geometric Grand Avenue Project, across the street at First and Grand. But the clouds stole the show. The view down Grand Avenue confirmed that. ~ Friday, October 8, 2021

Boulevard Ruins: The pandemic closed the movie theaters but new streaming technologies had already started making those theaters unnecessary. The major studios didn’t know what to do and then had to shut down production for a year. Everything went wrong. Hollywood was dead. All that’s left are the ruins of what was, long ago. These are the ruins, Hollywood Boulevard now, with rain on the way. ~ Thursday, October 7, 2021

Industrial Light: Industrial Light and Magic is George Lucas’ visual effects company he created when he began production of the Star Wars movies. Now they do everyone’s special effects. Their work is amazing. But there’s industrial light and magic everywhere. This is the corner of Romaine and Sycamore in the industrial flats south of Hollywood. The light here is magical too. ~ Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Hollywood Highs: The alumni mural at Hollywood High School on Highland Avenue between Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard. Everyone knows these people. The Hollywood High School football team is The Sheiks. Directly across the street it’s retro-kitsch neon at a tourist trap attached to the former Max Factor Makeup Studio, a 1934 Hollywood Regency renovation by the architect S. Charles Lee. Max Factor, legendary make-up artist to the stars, bought the building in 1928, but the Great Depression got in the way. His massive “studio” opened in 1935 – the place to be in Hollywood at the time. But now it’s the Hollywood Museum, filled with kitsch from the past. All of Hollywood is. ~ Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Cloud Cover: The weather was changing. The medical office buildings on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, midafternoon. The heavy thunderstorms would roll through the Los Angeles basin at sunset. This was the warning. ~ Monday, October 4, 2021

Ongoing Roses: It’s autumn. No, it isn’t. The summer roses are still here, and maturing nicely. ~ Saturday, October 2, 2021

Mainly Hibiscus: The first Saturday in October in Los Angeles. One hundred in the shade at noon. Dry as a bone. The sky impossibly blue and the sun brutal, and great Hibiscus everywhere. It’s autumn in Hollywood. There are those Birds of Paradise everywhere. ~ Saturday, October 2, 2021

Trash Time: Hollywood prepares for Halloween. Trashy Lingerie and the Cactus Wall across the street. ~ Friday, October 1, 2021

September 2021 Photography

The Hollywood Years: After twenty-seven years the light is still good at this apartment building just above the Sunset Strip. It’s classic Hollywood from the early sixties. Yes, the view from the balcony out back isn’t much – the white walls of another apartment building. But the shadows are good, and there’s a sideways view of the pool next door. Fine, but real Hollywood is outside the front door, all the curious shadows and that big blue gem of a pool in the middle of everything. That’s Hollywood. David Hockney painted it. Some of us lived it. ~ Thursday, September 30, 2021

A Bit Scary: The Sunset Strip gets a bit scary in the weeks before Halloween, but the Sunset Strip is always a bit scary. ~ Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Ground Transportation: Angels Flight, the narrow-gauge funicular railway from 1901, climbs from Hill Street to the big glass skyscrapers up on Bunker Hill. But it’s still long ago down on Hill Street. There’s the train station from 1925, Subway Terminal, once the main station of the Pacific Electric Railway, with connections to everywhere, designed by the New York firm Schultze and Weaver, an Italian Renaissance Revival giant with amazing arches. But no trains. It’s luxury condos now, and they all face the 1913 Hotel Clark across the street. The architect, Harrison Albright, had fun with that. Downtown Los Angeles was a bustling place long ago too. ~ Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Late September Roses: This week’s roses are the same as last week’s roses, except as the autumn light changes, they get even more dramatic. ~ Saturday, September 25, 2021

Nicely Ordinary: Pay attention to the ordinary flowers in the gardens here. Look closely. They can turn extraordinary. ~ Saturday, September 25, 2021

A Quiet Day: That was odd. The sun was hidden all day. The light was subdued. Hollywood was quiet. A good day to drop by the Harper Avenue Historic District just off the Sunset Strip. The light was perfect for a visit to Hollywood’s Golden Age long ago, but still here. ~ Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Equinox: The 2021 autumnal equinox, when the sun is exactly above the equator and day and night are of equal length, occurred at 7.21 pm GMT – which was 12:21 pm here in Hollywood, and at that moment, the skies at Barnsdall Park on Olive Hill looked like this. Unsettled. Autumn begins. It only gets darker now. ~ Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Body Electric: “I sing the body electric, / The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them…” But this is just another alley out here, behind a curiously named tattoo and body piercing shop. Walt Whitman had something else in mind. Or perhaps not. ~ Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Cool Waters: Once again, because it was too hot and too dry, and the blistering Santa Ana winds were howling in off the Mojave, the fountain at the SAG-AFTRA Plaza on Wilshire Boulevard. Fountains fix heat waves. Here, two abstract shapes dance in the sun. Yes, this is the home of the combined Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists – another place where Hollywood does business – but the plaza was empty – no screen actors anywhere. That didn’t matter. The place was cool anyway. ~ Monday, September 20, 2021

Silent Roses: Los Angeles is filled with autumn roses. They have nothing to say. They say everything. ~ Saturday, September 18, 2021

Ordinary Pleasures: There are small pleasures in the ordinary, in the corners of Los Angeles’ gardens, every single day. Like these. ~ Saturday, September 18, 2021

Sitting Quietly: This is the hidden pocket park on the corner of Rexford Drive and Burton Way in Beverly Hills. This is a good place to sit quietly. The geometry is good. The wood is good. The shadows are perfect. Life is good. ~ Friday, September 17, 2021

New Blue Glass: The light was good. The geometry severe. ViacomCBS at Columbia Square, 6121 Sunset Boulevard at Gower, the home of CBS’s west coast radio and television operations from 1938 until 2007, that opened in 1938 with a special radio broadcast starring Bob Hope, Al Jolson and Cecil B. DeMille. Lucille Ball filmed the pilot episode of “I Love Lucy” here in 1951, and James Dean once worked here as an usher – but CBS moved out and it’s been rebuilt and it’s all glass now. And now it’s ViacomCBS. And it’s spooky. ~ Thursday, September 16, 2021

At Sycamore: The Hollywood Professional Building on Hollywood Boulevard at Sycamore – Gothic Revival, John Lautner, completed in 1925 – once where the headquarters of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences could be found, and later the headquarters of Screen Actors Guild. When Ronald Reagan was president of the Screen Actors Guild, from 1947 to 1952, when he was a Democrat and the president of an actual labor union, he had an office on the eighth floor. But everything changes. The tan building across the street is another Scientology office complex, and everything else is white modern or mirror glass. Ronald Reagan wouldn’t recognize the place. ~ Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Not My Circus: The west wall of American Vintage on Melrose Avenue. Salvador Dalí dropped by, or his ghost did. ~ Monday, September 13, 2021

Glowing Roses: The roses were glowing this week. The light was just right. ~ Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Brightest Now: Bougainvillea and gazania are the two brightest things in the neighborhood now. They want you to pay attention. They’re rather insistent. ~ Saturday, September 11, 2021

Bright White Walls: Vine Street in Hollywood. The white west walls of Capitol Records in the bright sun. Good shadows, and stars underfoot. ~ Friday, September 10, 2021

The Jagged Edge: Mulholland Drive. Dry up there. Autumn trees. This is not Vermont. This is the jagged edge of this country. This is the other end of America. ~ Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Small Late Wright: The Anderton Court Shops, 333 North Rodeo Drive, in the center of Beverly Hills, 1952, Frank Lloyd Wright, the only commercial project he ever designed from scratch and his last project in the Los Angeles. It’s small, and now obscured by all the dramatic new flagship stores on this the most expensive shopping street in the world, but it’s pure Wright, designed during the time the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan was being planned. And somehow it still fits in, almost entirely unchanged after all these years. It just feels right. ~ Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Cartoon Corner: Things return to normal. Down on Melrose Avenue, at Spaulding, Vintage T-Shirts has reopened, with all the slightly warped cartoon characters everywhere. This is Cartoon Conner once again. Even the new commercial building on the other corner is a bit cartoonish. There’s a bit of M. C. Escher about it. Yes, this is normal out here, once again. ~ Monday, September 6, 2021

High-Definition Roses: The sun was brutal. But the shadows were deep and dark. The roses were wonderful. ~ Saturday, September 4, 2021

A Bit Twisted: Slightly twisted blooms in the local gardens. Symmetry is overrated. This is better. ~ Saturday, September 4, 2021

Renegade: Gardner Street just of Sunset Boulevard, an obscure actor’s studio, a minor talent agency, an experimental art gallery in the middle of a crumbling old brick block, and a Russian motorcycle with a sidecar. This is Hollywood too. ~ Friday, September 3, 2021

Dramatic Lighting: Pay attention to the light. It changes as summer ends. This dark mirror-glass skyscraper on the southeast corner of Wilshire and La Cienega was once the world headquarters of Larry Flynt Enterprises – Hustler magazine and so on – but now it’s a boring bank once again. Still, the historic Saban Theater, just across the street, is floating in its glass. The Saban was the Fox Wilshire when it opened in 1930. The architect was S. Charles Lee and his walls are still dramatic when the distinct late summer light catches them. And that Lamborghini helps too. A little extra drama. ~ Thursday, September 2, 2021

Lost Angels: Hollywood is full of lost angels. This is the Body Shop down on the corner here on the Sunset Strip, across Sunset Boulevard from the Chateau Marmont, where John Belushi died of a drug overdose years ago. Speedballs. And the Body Shop is closed now. Nothing is sexy in the middle of a pandemic. And everything is dark. ~ Wednesday, September 1, 2021

August 2021 Photography

Under Los Angeles: The Neon Man on the wall of the Olive Street underpass, under Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles, and under Angels Flight, the restored turn-of-the-century short funicular railroad to the top of the hill, under the tall glass skyscrapers. Los Angeles is a curious place. ~ Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Street (Art) Party: It’s party time in that odd parking lot down on Melrose Avenue, the one with all the street art. They did just add party lights. ~ Monday, August 30, 2021

Lighting Up Roses: Sometimes the late summer light is just too good. It lights up the local roses to perfection. ~ Saturday, August 28, 2021

Late Summer Miniatures: Miniature gems curbside in the local gardens. Each is a gem. ~ Saturday, August 28, 2021

Beverly Hills Metal: Hot metal, Beverly Hills, and another piano in the park. Summer. ~ Friday, August 27, 2021

Since 1916: The Mack Sennett Studios – 1215 Bates Avenue at Effie Street in Silver Lake – Hollywood’s oldest continually operating movie studio, now an independent contract studio used for music videos and commercials, and by the major studios now and then when they need a bit more production space. This was the home of the Keystone Cops. Mabel Normand, Charlie Chaplin and W. C. Fields got their start here. Sennett built the studio 1916 for Mabel Normand, a gift for her and her career. But those days are long gone. Shepard Fairey arrived. His mural still covers the west wall. ~ Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Under Some Trees: An old truck parked under some trees here in Hollywood. ~ Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Wigging Out: Hollywood can be a dark place. And on Hollywood Boulevard it’s the wigs. ~ Monday, August 23, 2021

Somewhat Subdued: A rare sunless August day in Los Angeles. The light changed. The roses turned subtle. ~ Saturday, August 21, 2021

Subtle Blooms: Minor details in the local gardens on a cloudy morning, subtle details. ~ Saturday, August 21, 2021

Paramount Pictures: Paramount Pictures on a quiet summer afternoon as the pandemic worsens again. There’s no one around. There are no studio tours. They might be making movies in there. They might not, but Astro Burger next door is open and doing just fine. These are strange times. ~ Friday, August 20, 2021

Chocolate Photography: The darkest building in Koreatown is the 1928 Spanish Revival fantasy, or nightmare, at 3275 Wilshire Boulevard, at Berendo Street, two blocks east of the site of the former Ambassador Hotel, where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, and across the street from a giant dark and intimating neogothic church from the late twenties. This is a dark neighborhood, but that Spanish Revival fantasy now houses an odd yoga studio and a raucous Korean speakeasy, for those who speak Korean, and Chocolate Photography – wedding and event photography – but the name also matches this street corner. Chocolate photography is also dark photography like this. ~ Thursday, August 19, 2021

Chinese Darkness: The pandemic won’t end. Everyone’s angry, and Los Angeles’ Chinatown remains empty and abandoned, and very quiet, and very strange. ~ Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Up Olive Hill: Drive up through the olive trees to the pines, and beyond, to even odder trees. This is Barnsdall Park at Olive Hill at the far east end of Hollywood Boulevard. But this is not Hollywood. ~ Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Just One Block: One short block – Fourth Street between Spring Street and Main in downtown Los Angeles – the old banks. Hollywood had just started making feature-length silent movies. Color and sound would come later. Automobiles were a new idea. So was radio. William Howard Taft was gone. Woodrow Wilson was the new president. And the big money was downtown. Back then, Los Angeles looked like this. ~ Monday, August 16, 2021

The Summer Roses: Los Angeles roses in the middle of August. The heat is brutal. Only the strong survive. But they do it with style. ~ Saturday, August 14, 2021

Parking Lot Beauties: Who needs botanical gardens? This was the scene in the parking lot behind the shops at Sunset Plaza. Hey, it’s California! ~ Saturday, August 14, 2021

Serious Neon: The Fine Arts Theater, 8556 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, designed by the Seattle-based architect B. Marcus Priteca, the primary architect for the Pantages circuit. He designed the Hollywood Pantages (1930) and this one opened on April 21, 1937, as the Wilshire Regina Theater with “That Girl from Paris” and “Black Legion” and a March of Time newsreel and a cartoon. It became the Fine Arts Theater in December 1948 after a renovation by Fox West Coast Theaters, but it has changed hands many times since then, even if it now has Historic Landmark status. Michael Hall’s Screening Services Group assumed management November 1, 2019. They had been the operators from 2005 to 2009 when the building had been owned by Italian distributor Cecchi Gori. But that doesn’t matter. The neon is amazing. And it’s always 1937 down there. ~ Friday, August 13, 2021

Sing for Hope: That’s odd. There was a piano in the park, covered with butterflies painted by a local artist originally from Panama. And it had a sign on it. Sing for Hope. Can’t sing a lick. Never could. But no one was around – it was a brutally hot afternoon – and the piano was there for everyone or anyone. So it was a quick run through Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark” – the right song for the day – and then some quiet time in the shade. Will Rogers Park on Sunset Boulevard is a good place, and hope is a good thing. ~ Thursday, August 12, 2021

Thick Air: Hollywood went dark. A river of thick low clouds blew up from storms down in the Baja, so it was hot as hell and so close it was hard to breath. But it wouldn’t rain. There would be no relief. There was only odd light down on the corner. The Directors Guild of America building turned spooky in the thick air. ~ Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Managing California Light: These are the sunscreens on the International Cinematographers Guild’s building on Sunset Boulevard, Cinematographers know how to manage light and make it dramatic. The Motion Picture Editors Guild, next door, does the same, and so does that odd white brick wall, and then the brutalist concrete Harmony Gold building next to that. It’s all about the light, ending with the pure white walls of that abandoned Moroccan restaurant. ~ Monday, August 9, 2021

The August Roses: There is little to say. Deep summer comes the local parks. Life is good. Roses, Los Angeles, Saturday, August 7, 2021

The Summer Light: Deep summer is here and now everything in the local gardens is backlit. This is quite dramatic. Hollywood knows how to do these things. ~ Saturday, August 7, 2021

Significantly Los Angeles: A wall of drag queens across the street from a cactus garden filled with pink plastic flamingos? This must be Los Angeles. ~ Friday, August 6, 2021

Books and Movies: The giant Hollywood stars had remained on the north wall, but the pandemic had closed the historic Los Feliz Theater, 1822 North Vermont Avenue, three blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard, for the first time since 1934. But now it’s being rebuilt and restored for better times, next to the Art Deco bookstore that had never closed at all, in a neighborhood full of surprises. ~ Thursday, August 5, 2021

Statements Under Glass: The pandemic turned the Hollywood Palladium into a mostly virtual art gallery. The art is in the windows. This is the Windows of Expression exhibition, original works of fourteen Los Angeles artists on equality and social justice. This opened on Juneteenth, 2021, for obvious reasons, but the bands will be back soon, which is a bit of a shame. Hollywood needs the art as much as it needs those bands. ~ Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Bare Bones: Griffith Park is dry as a bone and they say that this severe drought is not going to end. Not this time. The climate did change. The water is gone now, or will be gone soon. This is it. It’s bare bones out here now. ~ Tuesday, August 3, 2021

On Yucca Street: Yucca Street between Argyle and Vine. The telephoto lens. The old Capitol Records building. The new highly-geometric offices and condominiums. Bright blazing sun. Empty streets. Hollywood on an impossibly hot day. ~ Monday, August 2, 2021

July 2021 Photography

Hot Roses: Now it’s heat waves that never end, and in the gardens only the strong survive. These roses made it to the last day of July. They will survive this. ~ Saturday, July 31, 2021

A Few Hidden Gems: In the summer gardens the best things are hidden. Summer is a treasure hunt here. ~ Saturday, July 31, 2021

Swan Song: The boathouse at Echo Park Lake on a summer afternoon – the swan boats – the amazing California sun – the waterlilies – all is right with the world. ~ Friday, July 30, 2021

Entirely White: The Community Laundry Building, on the northeast corner of Highland and Willoughby, 1928, W. J. Saunders. It’s entirely white. It’s entirely strange. And it’s still a commercial laundry, supplying fresh linens and uniforms to Los Angeles’ hotels and restaurants, but Saunders had something else in mind. He had somewhere else in mind. This is Barcelona at its most whimsical. He had fun with this. ~ Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Hot Summer Glass: Consider it urban Zen. When it’s too hot to move, and all of Hollywood seems to be hiding, there’s the brutal sunshine bouncing off all the glass along Sunset Boulevard. That’s mesmerizing. Get lost in it. ~ Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Oldest Hollywood: Quentin Tarantino just bought the other Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, the Vista Theater, 4473 Sunset Boulevard, at the far east end of Hollywood Boulevard. The Vista was designed by Lewis A. Smith and opened on October 16, 1923, with Baby Peggy in “Tips” along with live vaudeville acts on stage. Six years later it was showing the new talkies and it just kept going. Ed Wood – voted the worst director of all time again and again, mainly for “Plan 9 from Outer Space” in 1956 – had an office in this building. Tarantino will reopen the place and only show movies on film, not with digital projection. This will be Old Hollywood again, not a revival house, but a film house, by Christmas. The past is back. Once upon a time in Hollywood. ~ Monday, July 26, 2021

Rose Clouds: Summer roses here in Los Angeles doing their imitation of clouds, strange surreal clouds. ~ Saturday, July 24, 2021

Summer Close Up: Details matter. Botanical details matter. This is summer in the gardens here in Hollywood. These are the summer close-ups. ~ Saturday, July 24, 2021

A Different Flag: Watch the street art. Los Angeles has a different flag. Los Angeles has a different everything. ~ Friday, July 23, 2021

The Summer Streets: The light is always good in the gallery district at Melrose Avenue and Harper. The light is even better on a summer afternoon. The geometry is hot. ~ Thursday, July 22, 2021

Sofa Entertainment: At the far end of the Sunset Strip, at the edge of Beverly Hills, what was once the offices of David Geffen’s Asylum Records. He signed Joni Mitchell and the entire Laurel Canyon crowd in 1971 – and then signed Bob Dylan – and then moved on. Across the street it’s Sofa Entertainment. They license old television shows for rebroadcast. That’s next door to that odd building buried in ivy, filled with expensive entertainment lawyers. This is a working neighborhood. ~  Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Peace and Love: Ringo Starr has lived out here in Beverly Hills for years, with his wife of nearly forty years, Barbara Bach, the Bond Girl from “The Spy Who Loved Me” – and for two years he’d been trying to give this Peace and Love hand, his hand, by sculptor Jeremy Morrelli, to the city. In late 2019 the City of Beverly Hills finally gave in – this eight-hundred-pound polished steel monument of Ringo’s hand making a peace sign was art after all, and here it is in the park across the street from City Hall. And it’s next to Hunter and Hounds (Le Chausseur et les chiens) by Henri Alfred Marie Jacquemart that stood guard above a subterranean chamber that was an American Army communications center in the 1918 Second Battle of the Marne – now a memorial to those from this area who died there, dedicated on Armistice Day 1925. Ringo would understand. ~ Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Summer Show: This is Fifth and Broadway, the oldest part of Los Angeles, now the rather seedy Jewelry District, on a brutally hot summer afternoon. This corner of Los Angeles has seen better days. But it is kind of funky. Look around. The city is putting on a show. Summer in the city is always an adventure. ~ Monday, July 19, 2021

A Circus of Roses: Variegated roses are sometimes called “circus roses” – for obvious reason – they put on a show. But all the roses now put a summer show. Here’s a circus of thirty roses. ~ Saturday, July 17, 2021

Morning on Sunset: Wake up. This is morning all along Sunset Boulevard. Even the bees are busy. ~ Saturday, July 17, 2021

Deep Summer Trees: Just one corner of Hollywood on a hot summer day – Sierra Bonita at Selma – the Sunset Square district just south of Hollywood Boulevard. One corner is more than enough to get a feel for summer here. Hollywood can be spooky. ~ Friday, July 16, 2021

A Sideways Glance: This is a sideways glance at Sunset and Vine on a summer afternoon in Hollywood. Things look different, sideways. ~ Thursday, July 15, 2021

Out East: Hollywood has an East End. The Hollywood-Western Building, constructed in 1928 from a design by architect S. Charles Lee, on the southwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue – the first headquarters of Central Casting but a municipal building now, next to a branch of California Bank, 1929, by John and Donald B. Parkinson, at 5620 Hollywood Boulevard. It’s heroic. Now it’s a “collision center” – they repair wrecked cars in there. Across the street it’s the dramatic fire escapes at the old Gershwin Apartments, and the neon star at the seedy motel next door. East Hollywood is the forgotten past. ~ Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Music Center: The startlingly angular Los Angeles Department of Water and Power building at Hope and First Street – 1965, Albert C. Martin and Associates – shows up in science fiction movies all the time. But the good stuff is across the street, California Plaza and the Music Center – the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for opera and the swoopy Walt Disney Concert Hall for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and odd new construction everywhere. There’s no music yet, but there will be soon. ~ Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Dog Days: The dog days of summer arrived a few weeks early this year. Sirius, the Dog Star, is not in the sky yet, but it is hot and weird out there. ~  Monday, July 12, 2021

Baked Roses: Global warming doesn’t bother the roses here. The current heat wave just bakes them better. ~ Saturday, July 10, 2021

High Summer: In the local gardens at the moment, a real trip. Get close to what’s in bloom now and get high. These are mind-expanding. ~ Saturday, July 10, 2021

Ninety Years Ago: Hollywood ninety years ago – Hayworth Towers, 1314 North Hayworth Avenue – 1931, Leland Bryant – one of his many fantasy apartment buildings for the stars at the time. This one is showing its age, but it’s still glamourous, amid the jacaranda trees and with that Spanish Colonial extravaganza from the same time period just across the street. Those were the days. ~ Friday, July 9, 2021

Steam Heat: This is the doomsday summer heat wave in the middle of the now-endless severe drought, no rain, perhaps ever again, but odd unsettled skies and impossibly high humidity – steam heat. But it’s visually impressive. ~ Thursday, July 8, 2021

Wrought Iron: Everyone needs an escape to the past now and then, and extravagant wrought iron fantasies on old Spanish Colonial Revival buildings from the twenties will do the trick. These are on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, the block where it’s 1928 again, every single day. Old Hollywood soothes the soul. ~ Wednesday, July 7, 2021

This Place: This place is Sunset Plaza, in the middle of the Sunset Strip, the heart of the good life out here, where those who have made it, in one way or another, hang out. And they park their cars out back. Those are statements too. Life is good. ~ Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Hollywood Staples: Consumers Liquor on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Detroit Street has its Rock murals. The Sunset Strip isn’t far away. And it shares a parking lot with Readings by Helen, a thriving psychic shop with its own startling murals. The two somehow complement each other. Both seem necessary; This is Hollywood after all. ~ Monday, July 5, 2021

Mellow Yellow: The yellow rose is a hybrid tea rose named Mellow Yellow – a variety that does well in the summer heat out here – but all the summer roses are mellow out here. They slow everyone down a bit. ~ Saturday, July 3, 2021

Summer Hibiscus: July, and this side of Los Angeles is flooded with hibiscus everywhere, announcing summer, and the trumpet vine everywhere announces it too. ~ Saturday, July 3, 2021

The Cartoon City: And then sometimes Los Angeles is a cartoon. This is Wilshire Boulevard at Westmorland. Roger Rabbit must be around here somewhere. ~ Friday, July 2, 2021

Van Gogh on Sunset: Van Gogh on Sunset Boulevard. His sunflowers on the wall of the now empty Amoeba Music building, soon to be the home of the “Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit” – walk though his (virtual) paintings with cool music and words about what Vincent Van Gogh was up to. It’s ready to open now, in just a day or two. But it’s rather strange. He may not belong here. ~ Thursday, July 1, 2021

June 2021 Photography

The Future Corner: Get used to the future on Museum Row, down on Wilshire Boulevard. The Academy Museum will finally open, one day soon, perhaps. The big glass sphere is its movie theater and the access road beside it is now Rodenberry Way, as in Gene Rodenberry, the man who came up with the idea of Star Trek. That fits. This corner does have a science fiction feel to it – this new museum and the swoopy Peterson Automotive Museum across the street and even the abandoned coffee shop on the corner from the space-age fifties. And that space dragon hanging from the local power lines helps too. This is another world. ~ Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Hot Geometry: The main gallery building and the small theater at the Barnsdall Art Park, at the other end of Hollywood Boulevard on Olive Hill, both built in the last sixties, have Mayan detailing that echoes the 1922 Mayan Revival Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House just across the lawn with all its pines. The geometry is rather odd, but on a brutally hot afternoon here in California, only Mayan will do. ~ Monday, June 28, 2021

Late June Roses: These are the last of the June roses. The next weekend will be July, and the July roses will look much like these. This is Los Angeles. The roses never end. ~ Saturday, June 26, 2021

Close-Up Action: Get close enough to what’s in the gardens out here and these things seem to have personalities. They seem to move. And they speak of summer. ~ Saturday, June 26, 2021

That Pacific Light: The summer light at the end of the world, Palisades Park on the cliffs above Pacific Coast Highway, where Route 66 finally ends. The Dust Bowl ate America. Head west. End here. And then there was nowhere else to go. But this would do. ~ Friday, June 25, 2021

Vincent: That’s Vincent van Gogh and his sunflowers, or soon will be, on the wall of the now empty Amoeba Music building on Sunset Boulevard. Far-beyond-hip Amoeba Music, with what seemed like anything ever recorded by anyone, where Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr would drop by and sometimes sing a bit, moved up to Hollywood Boulevard. This building will be torn down and replaced by a new glass skyscraper – luxury condominiums. But for now it’s Lighthouse Los Angeles, the home of the “Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit” – walk though his (virtual) paintings with cool music and words about what he was up to. The exhibit was created by Italian film producer Massimiliano Siccardi with music by Luca Longobardi and premiered in Paris in July 2020 and has popped up in every major city most everywhere since then. Now it’s Hollywood. Opening soon. And this mural is almost finished. ~ Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Lotus Monks: It seemed like a good day to head over to Echo Park Lake and hang out with the Buddhist monks at the lotus beds and snap pictures of the ducks and geese. But it’s always a good day for that. ~ Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tiny Kindness: This is the Tiny Kindness Project on Melrose Avenue, in the parking lot street-art gallery across the street from Fairfax High School. Masks seem to be the tiny kindnesses, or what they represent. But there’s much more going on here. Kindness isn’t everything. ~ Monday, June 21, 2021

Holiday Roses: It’s the brand-new federal holiday, Juneteenth, and these are the holiday roses. The usual Los Angeles roses. But they’re special this day. ~ Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Summer Jungle: Summer here in Los Angeles begins on Sunday evening, the solstice, but it’s already a jungle out there. ~ Saturday, June 19, 2021

Acting Out: Down at the bottom of the hill, on Santa Monica Boulevard, next door to the strip mall with the 7-11 and the laundromat, there’s the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, with its small Marilyn Monroe Theater. That’s him on the wall. Marilyn Monroe was his student for a time. But it’s quiet down there now. The Coast Playhouse just down the street has been shuttered for more than a year. Hollywood isn’t what it used to be. ~ Friday, June 18, 2021

The Rock Walk: There are ninety years of handprints and footprints in the concrete in the courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, all the movie stars. That courtyard is always filled with tourists, and there are the bronze stars in the sidewalks all along Hollywood Boulevard, the Walk of Fame. This is the Hollywood Rock Walk at the Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard at Vista Street, off the beaten path. There are few tourists here. This is about rock stars, and their hands. ~ Thursday, June 17, 2021

On Olive Hill Again: The Barnsdall Art Park at the other end of Hollywood Boulevard, on Olive Hill, finally opened again. The mysterious pines are still there. The sky above was still a wonder. And the Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House is still there, after the pandemic. Drama has returned to Hollywood. ~ Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Excessive Heat Warning: They said stay home and hide. This new heat wave might kill you. But that meant it was time to photograph Hollywood, when it’s hot. There’s the Hollywood Palladium on Sunset Boulevard, almost ready to open again, and the old Earl Carroll Theater across the street. In 1968 that became the Aquarius Theater, the home of the long-running Los Angeles production of “Hair” – night after night after night – and it’s the Aquarius Theater once again. Quentin Tarantino did that. He needed that façade as good as new for a background shot in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” – his movie about those days. Everyone has agreed that façade should stay for now. The big back skyscraper is the Sunset Media Center – industry offices baking in the sun. The green skyscraper is Sunset-Vine Tower, as seen in “The Towering Inferno” of course. And there’s the blazing sun. Yes, Hollywood was hot this day. ~ Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Setting Up Summer: The local roses as June begins – full blooms and lots of buds too – this is going to be good. ~ Saturday, June 5, 2021

Garden Details: Everything is better close up. Everything is stranger close up. ~ Saturday, June 5, 2021

One Crow: On the road up to the observatory, just past the Greek Theater, there’s a dry wash on the right, an arroyo seco, full of twisted old trees. They say it’s a bird sanctuary but there are never any birds, except this day. There was one crow. It was the Old West this day. ~ Thursday, June 3, 2021

Cosmic Energy: The Cosmic Energy mural hidden in an alley off Spaulding Avenue in the Melrose distract. This has been painted over the Free Tibet Now mural that had been on that particular wall for years. This is better. Look around. This is a high-energy place. This is a cosmic place. ~ Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Lighting Up Sunset: The light keeps changing on the Sunset Strip – the Main Room at the Comedy Store, the severely geometric Mondrian Hotel across the street, next to the new Pendry hotel and residences with its six thousand square feet of mesmerizing digital displays, where the House of Blues once stood, and a supergraphic being applied to the hotel that was once known as the Riot House, where all the rock stars stayed, and trashed the place. And on the other side of the Comedy Store there’s Charles Sherman Cobb’s 1927 Italian Renaissance Revival Hacienda Arms, now the Piazza del Sol. Hollywood madam Lee Francis was convicted in 1940 of running a house of ill repute here, but it has since been gutted and restored to perfection and now it catches the light just right. ~ Tuesday, June 1, 2021

May 2021 Photography

Chasing Flags: Memorial Day 2021 – the flags – from Beverly Hills City Hall to the old heroic Art Deco buildings still standing in Hollywood. ~ Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorable Roses: Los Angeles roses, Memorial Day weekend, subdued, no sun this day. That was appropriate. ~ Saturday, May 29, 2021

In Quiet Gardens: Hollywood was socked in. Low clouds all day. No one around. That made the details in the local gardens better than ever. ~ Saturday, May 29, 2021

Jacaranda Once More: Jacaranda mimosifolia coming into bloom down the street here in Hollywood – purple and messy. The live oaks are around the corner on North Orange Grove Avenue. That’s the neighborhood now. It’s Jacaranda Time in Los Angeles again. ~ Friday, May 28, 2021

Sunset Noon: The middle of the Sunset Strip at noon, the middle of the day. That’s when the light is best. Everything pops. ~ Thursday, May 27, 2021

That Other World: The restored mural at the community health clinic on the corner of Echo Park Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard, and the new mural at that odd shop on Mohawk Street. Echo Park is another world. ~  Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Looking Straight Up: No one has returned. The empty city in the sunshine. Sit quietly. Point the camera straight up. This will do. Pure geometry quiets the mind. ~ Tuesday, May 25, 2021

One Year Dark: Hollywood isn’t all movies and television and streaming. Hollywood has its own theater district – live theater – real people on stage in front of real audiences of real people – down on Santa Monica Boulevard between Wilcox and Cole. But all of that has been dark for more than a year. The coronavirus pandemic did that. The theaters are shuttered, Broadway, back east, may recover. Small theaters may not. These may not. They’re still dark. ~ Monday, May 24, 2021

With Bees: You can’t have roses without bees. They’re back. This will be a good summer in Los Angeles. ~ Saturday, May 22, 2021

Curbside Pickup: All the restaurants have curbside pickup now, but there are better things at the curbsides these days, botanical wonders! ~ Saturday, May 22, 2021

Old Scandals: The Sunset Tower Hotel, designed in 1929 by Leland A. Bryant, opened in 1931, right in the middle of the Sunset Strip. Both John Wayne and Howard Hughes lived here for a time, and a young Truman Capote, in Los Angeles in 1947 to write an essay on Hollywood for Vogue, sent this in a note to a friend back east – “I am living in a very posh establishment, the Sunset Tower, which, or so the local gentry tell me, is where every scandal that ever happened happened.” But those days a long gone and only Bryant’s Art Deco masterpiece remains. ~ Friday, May 21, 2021

Good Fences: They say good fences make good neighbors. They say lots of things. Here’s an alley full of good fences. ~ Thursday, May 20, 2021

Changing Landscapes: Dangerbird Records, on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Lucille over in Silver Lake, dropped the post puck scene for a bit. The group Arthur King spent the past year putting the finishing touches on a record, film, and now gallery exhibition here – all about their time on the Scottish Isle of Eigg. Changing Landscapes (Isle of Eigg) – that’s gallery exhibition here – “a spatial interpretation of the Scottish Isle of Eigg brought to life through projected video, amplified audio and three-dimensional design.” These are the exterior walls. Somehow, they fit right in this neighborhood. Everything does. ~ Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Calm: On the southeast corner of Beverly Boulevard and Crescent Heights Boulevard, one of the busiest intersections in West Los Angeles, a new mural by Esao Andrews, interpreting a work by Torie Zalben – “Calm in Chaos” – which doesn’t seem to slow the traffic at all. But it should. And there’s that flower shop on the northwest corner too. ~ Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Bright Shiny Objects: The stainless-steel IAC building on the Sunset Strip – 2005, Frank Gehry – designed for Barry Diller’s media corporation IAC/InterActiveCorp. It’s very shiny, even on a cloudy day. So was new red Ferrari parked at the curb. Sometimes the light on the Sunset Strip is mesmerizing. ~ Monday, May 17, 2021

Subtle Lighting: Los Angeles roses without all that bright sunshine. Diffused light on a cloudy day can change things. ~ Saturday, May 15, 2021

Botanical Detailing: No sun. Dead quiet. A good day to sneak up on the details in the local gardens. This is what’s really there. ~ Saturday, May 15, 2021

Epic Hollywood: Epic, the new thirteen-story office tower designed by the architecture firm Gensler for Hudson Pacific Properties, 5901 Sunset Boulevard, on the northwest corner of Sunset and Bronson – built on speculation “to appeal to creative companies looking for an urban campus-style environment” – with a fitness center, outdoor terraces with fire pits, most with a view of the Hollywood sign, and with landing pads for drones and so on. Most of the space has now been leased to Netflix which has purchased the 1918 Sunset Bronson Studios across the street, the original home of Warner Brothers, now the home to all Netflix productions. Epic, however, is all new, and amazingly geometric. ~ Friday, May 14, 2021

Moroccan Dreams: It’s just an abandoned Moroccan restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, but think of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in Casablanca – burnt out and cynical and hiding out the war in his Café Américain there, an apolitical and rather classy gambling joint. Is that this place? And will Ingrid Bergman show up and change everything? Nope. Rick’s Café Américain was just an elaborate set on a Warner Brothers soundstage just off Barham Boulevard over in Burbank. And this is just another failed restaurant. But one can dream, right? That’s what Hollywood is about. ~ Thursday, May 13, 2021

Full Color: Color! Technicolor! Well, the glass walls of the snazzy Technicolor building at Sunset Gower Studios on Sunset Boulevard, with Siren Studios across the street. The sun came out. The movies aren’t back yet, but the color is. ~ Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Late Morning: Late morning, Will Rogers Memorial Park, Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills. The morning gloom off the cold Pacific is just starting to break up. The fountain is from 1912, when this was Sunset Park, long before Will Rogers showed up out here. It’s quiet here. ~ Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Hollywood Bronze: The dark skies are back – deep gloom until late afternoon most every day until July rolls in. Everything looks rather mysterious. This is film noir season in Hollywood, and this is the Directors Guild of America building on Sunset Boulevard at Hayworth Avenue, as in Rita Hayworth, all bronzed glass and dark marble. It’s a mysterious place now. Just down the hill on Hayworth, on December 21, 1940, F. Scott Fitzgerald died of a sudden last heart attack in Sheilah Graham’s apartment there, far from his Paris of the twenties. Hollywood can be a dark place. ~ Monday, May 10, 2021

Increasing Intensity: This week’s Los Angeles roses arranged by color from understated to quite intense. ~ Saturday, May 8, 2021

Getting Subtle: It’s not just the pastel bougainvillea against the white wall. Los Angeles gardens are full of subtle stuff this time of year. Slow down. Stop. Take a look. ~ Saturday, May 8, 2021

Electric Hollywood: Sunset-Bronson Studios on a sunny afternoon. It takes a lot of power to crank out all those movies and television shows. ~ Friday, May 7, 2021

Coming Along Nicely: Just checking. Frank Gehry’s swoopy Walt Disney Concert Hall, that fills the block between Grand and Hope Street, opened on October 24, 2003. That’s a landmark now. It’s doing just fine. And his long delayed Grand Avenue Project, across the street at First and Grand, an odd twenty story hotel and thirty-nine story residential tower, with terraced shops and whatnot, due in 2022 or so, is coming along nicely. That’s the city’s next landmark. This is progress. ~ Thursday, May 6, 2021

Parting Shots: A few weeks ago, the day after the news hit the wires that the famous Cinerama Dome was closing forever, the local and national media showed up for remotes. The Los Angeles Times sent a photographer. We all took photographs of the shuttered theater, and then everyone left. But it was time to go back. Consider these “parting shots” before they tear the place down. That happens to Hollywood landmarks. The film school across the street stays. ~ Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Meditation: There’s a meditation center on the corner of La Brea and West 4th Street, halfway between Hollywood and Wilshire Boulevard’s Miracle Mile. The corner is visually unsettling. It’s just strange. Los Angeles makes meditation necessary. ~ Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Applying Color: The first Monday in May. The pandemic beginning to end. Businesses reopening. No masks, outdoors. And the crews showed up to hand-paint bright new giant ads on the sides of a few buildings down on Melrose Avenue. Color returns to the world. ~ Monday, May 3, 2021

The May Roses: May Day as it should be. Roses all over Los Angeles. It will be a good summer. ~ Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Small Stuff: Just the details in the local gardens as May arrives. Bees at work. All is well. ~ Saturday, May 1, 2021

April 2021 Photography

Oddly Fascinating: The Residences at 8500 West Sunset Boulevard, the center of the Sunset Strip – with the plaque in the sidewalk saying this was “77 Sunset Strip” in the 1958-1964 television series – now AKA luxury apartments. These two towers were designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in partnership with Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects. The pandemic was not kind to the property. Much of it is empty. But it’s still oddly fascinating. ~ Friday, April 30, 2021

Horizon and Main: They’re old now. Where did all those aging hippies go? Horizon and Main, Venice Beach. And they painted everything is sight. ~ Thursday, April 29, 2021

Cactus Flower: It seemed like kind of a cactus day. They are in bloom. It is spring, after all, even out here in the far west. ~ Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Those City Clouds: The clouds were good. The Caltrans District 7 Headquarters building at 100 South Main Street, for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Thom Mayne won the 2005 Pritzker Prize for this. In the background, the heroic former Los Angeles Times building and the iconic Los Angeles City Hall. And next door, the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, the former cathedral church building of parish of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles – 1876, Ezra F. Kysor – designated a world heritage site on May 10, 1963. It was a good day downtown. ~ Monday, April 26, 2021

The Latest Roses: Another week, another array of the local roses. And this is just the start. May is next, then June. This will be a good year. ~ Saturday, April 24, 2021

Extremely Close: Get too close and the local botanical goodies get a bit surreal. They get better. ~ Saturday, April 24, 2021

Brutal Geometry: A dark day on Wilshire Boulevard – Brutalist architecture, New Brutalism from the late sixties and the last decade too, structural elements over decorative design, angular geometric shapes and a predominantly monochrome color palettes – no nostalgia about anything – high drama on a dark day. The whole city was in a brutal mood and it looked like this. ~ Friday, April 23, 2021

Earth Day 2021: No sun this day – dead gloom – the bare trees up on Mulholland Drive – Robert Merrell Gage’s Noble Savage at the Electric Fountain – from 1931 – on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards, one of the busiest intersections in the world. This was a dark day. ~ Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Abstract: Sometimes this end of Los Angeles is better in the abstract, without all the people. Walls are good. People aren’t. ~ Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Old Light: Over on Havenhurst, just south of the Sunset Strip, Leland Bryant’s 1929 big white Colonial House, commissioned by Paul Whiteman, the man who commissioned “Rhapsody in Blue” and introduced George Gershwin to the world. Whiteman made jazz safe for White folks, got rich, and needed someplace to park his money. Bette Davis lived in the penthouse for years. Next door it’s the Mi Casa complex, a Spanish Revival extravaganza from the same year, four interlocking fantasies, now a bit worse for wear, but these two places are where the stars lived, when Hollywood was young. And they still look good in the bright Hollywood sunshine. ~ Monday, April 19, 2021

The Rose Spectrum: Los Angeles roses come in all colors, some quite unexpected. The spectrum keeps changing. ~ Saturday, April 17, 2021

Never Ordinary: Pay attention to the botanical oddities. The bees do. ~ Saturday, April 17, 2021

Street Poetry: Yes, that’s that famous young poet on the wall down on Melrose Avenue. There’s a lot of street poetry down there. ~ Friday, April 16, 2021

Malibu April: A quiet weekday afternoon in Malibu – Pacific Coast Highway, Big Rock Canyon down to Topanga Canyon – hardly anyone around – just the locals. Maybe the tourists will never return. That would be nice. ~ Thursday, April 15, 2021

California Color: There was a circular rainbow, a rainbow sphere, over the La Cienega Design District on this day. Everything glowed. This is California. ~ Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Elegy Shots: Quentin Tarantino couldn’t save it. It looks like the famous Cinerama Dome is closing forever. The news hit the wires overnight so it was time to head down the street to take “elegy” photos – in a light drizzle on a dark day. Yeah, corny, but the weather is the weather. Then the Los Angeles Times photographer showed up to do the same, on assignment. Then the local NBC affiliate (Channel 4) showed up to do their thing – one guy with an amazing video rig. Everyone showed up. But the place is still closing. Hollywood is dying. ~ Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Abandoned Color: Grauman’s Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard opened in 1922 in the middle of the Egyptian craze, just two weeks after Howard Carter, the real Indiana Jones, finally discovered King Tut’s tomb. A few weeks later it was the first-ever Hollywood premiere, Robin Hood, starring Douglas Fairbanks, on Wednesday, October 18, 1922. But the theater has been shut down for more than a year now. In May 2020, Netflix bought the place and promised to make it wonderful again. That will have to wait. Hollywood is dead quiet now. But the colors are still wonderful, here and around the corner on Las Palmas. That mural is startling. ~ Monday, April 12, 2021

A Flood of Roses: All of the public rose gardens came to life all at once, and the curbside roses were suddenly in bloom everywhere too. Los Angeles was flooded with roses. It’s about time. ~ Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Odd Stuff: This is unconventional spring out here – those strange South African daisies at the local liquor store, heavily geometric lantana in the shadows everywhere, and azalea everywhere too. None of it matches. None of that matters. It’s all good. ~ Saturday, April 10, 2021

Hazardous Voltage: The middle of the Sunset Strip in the bright sunshine, before the evening crowds, is quiet and calm, but still a dangerous place. ~ Friday, April 9, 2021

That Other World: This shouldn’t be here. Fern Dell in Griffith Park, at the edge of Hollywood. It’s full, formal name is “The Fern Dell Nature Museum” but there’s no museum, just a walking path which winds its way for a half-mile alongside a meandering, spring-fed brook, and the deep shade, and the ferns. The first ferns were planted here in 1912, and handrails and rustic bridges were added in the 1920s – but nothing has changed since then. This is another world. It was a good day to visit another world. ~ Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Mysterious Walls: That woman on the wall of the parking structure at Hollywood Center Studios, now Sunset Las Palmas Studios, is forever staring at the blue fractal walls of a set of odd buildings on the northwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Seward Street. There’s no signage. Just the walls. But head north. There’s a fractal lotus blossom at Sunset Boulevard and Seward Street. That’s a hip restaurant. That’s better. ~ Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Coronet Sun: The Coronet Theater, 366 North La Cienega Boulevard, built in 1947, the year of the world premiere of Bertolt Brecht’s “Galileo Galilei” here, the English version Brecht wrote with Charles Laughton, who played Galileo this time – arrogant dogmatism versus his calm scientific evidence, the value of constancy in the face of oppression – that sort of thing. But that was long ago. There’s a cactus mural on the north wall now. And across the street it’s the very pink Trashy Lingerie emporium. But there’s the sun. Galileo was right. Everything really does revolve around it. ~ Monday, April 5, 2021

Easter Roses: Easter was early this year. The roses were ready. This was their show. ~ Saturday, April 3, 2021

Starting Out Right: April isn’t the cruelest month. Not out here in Los Angeles.  April began with this. T. S. Eliot lived elsewhere. ~ Saturday, April 3, 2021

The Art Scene: The light was good at that mural in the manner of Joan Miró at the corner of Melrose and Laurel in West Los Angeles. Miró joined the Surrealist group in Paris in 1924 and hung out with the Dada crowd. And he’s quite dead. But not really. And the real surrealism is across the street – art knitwear. ~ Friday, April 2, 2021

March 2021 Photography

Seafood Alley: Someone’s got to paint the alleys, right? At least they have to in this neighborhood. And they do fine work. ~ Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Vine Street Now: The pandemic is almost over. Hollywood is almost back to normal. But there’s no such thing as normal in Hollywood. So it’s back to whatever. This is Vine Street now. ~ Tuesday, March 30, 2021

High Drama: Sierra Bonita, Sunset Square, the oldest part of Hollywood, streets of restored turn-of-the century Craftsman bungalows that had replaced the original orange groves from long ago, long before the movies, and dramatic tress. Because this is Hollywood. ~ Monday, March 29, 2021

The Sudden Roses: April is just around the corner. That which was dormant sprang to life. Suddenly there are roses everywhere, some quite surprising. ~ Saturday, March 27, 2021

Curbside Attractions: Just a drive down Sunset Boulevard to the edge of Beverly Hills and back. With stops. With the camera. These were the Saturday morning roadside attractions ~ Saturday, March 27, 2021

Quixotic Technicolor: The old Technicolor complex on Romaine Street is black and white. The Quixote Studios warehouse across the street is not. ~ Friday, March 26, 2021

Murder Skies: The wind has been howling for two days. It’s the Santa Anas blowing the alkali dust in off the Mojave, toppling a few trees, and so dry that anything sparks when touched, and putting everyone on edge. This is when the murder rate spikes. This is when the skies over Sunset Boulevard are strangest. ~ Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Remarkable: Beverly Hills. Rodeo Drive. The light was good. The rich were hiding. Champagne wishes and caviar dreams? No, just remarkable geometry. ~ Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Bare Bones: Spring has not yet arrived at the west walls of the Sunset-Gower Studios here in Hollywood. The studio is humming again after a year shut down by the pandemic. But that’s inside. Outside, it’s still bleak. ~ Monday, March 22, 2021

Coming Up Roses: This was the first day of spring in the neighborhood. The local roses were showing off. ~ Saturday, March 20, 2021

Making It Official: This year’s vernal equinox occurred on March 20, 2021, at 2:37 AM Pacific Daylight Savings Time. It’s official. Spring is here. It looked like this. ~ Saturday, March 20, 2021

Sunset Spectacular: Sunset Spectacular is still under construction. That will be the new sixty-seven-foot-tall three-sided digital billboard being assembled in a city-owned parking lot right in the middle of the Sunset Strip. Three twenty-five-foot-wide vertical panels hung on a skeletal frame with giant video screens for digital advertising eighty percent of the time and digital public art the other twenty percent. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) will program the digital public art. Tom Wiscombe is the architect and also designed the accompanying plaza. But it’s not ready yet. This stretch of the Sunset Strip will have to be spectacular all on its own for a few months more. ~ Friday, March 19, 2021

Art Palms: The palms and the public art in front of the Superior Court of the County of Los Angeles, the Beverly Hills Courthouse, on Burton Way in Beverly Hills. There are other laws. ~ Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Actual City: An iconic city hall, a new giant glass and steel police headquarters complex, the remains of a major newspaper – Los Angeles seems to be an actual city. It’s not just a movie set. ~ Wednesday, March 17, 2021

World of Wonder: The Hollywood Center Building – Hollywood Boulevard at Cherokee – the first home of the Screen Actors Guild and of the Writers Guild of America – 1929, by Norton and Wallis – an example of the subset of Art Deco known as Zigzag Moderne – eventually became the home of World of Wonder Productions. They produce reality television shows and one of their biggest hits is RuPaul’s Drag Race. So this is the Drag Queen corner of Hollywood, but the wonder is the architecture – this Zigzag beauty and the Spanish Revival beauty from the same year, just across the street. That’s the world of wonder. ~ Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Tall Buildings: The Sunset Strip ends in tall buildings, with Sierra Towers, the thirty-one-story condominium tower designed by Jack A. Charney, who studied under Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler, both of whom studied under Frank Lloyd Wright. It was completed in 1965 and it’s very angular, and surrounded by other equally odd and angular tall buildings. Sierra Towers, hidden in the middle, is where Peter Lawford and Sidney Poitier and George Hamilton once lived. Elton John and his partner David Furnish commissioned designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard to paint the walls of their unit Kelly green and install a chandelier from the Grand Hotel de Milan in the kitchen. Cher sold her two stories in 2013 and moved elsewhere. Joan Collins’s former unit was sold in 2017 and Courteney Cox sold hers on the same floor last year. But other stars always move in. It’s an odd corner of Hollywood, just where Beverly Hills begins. ~ Monday, March 15, 2021

Washed Clean: A bit of very rare rain washed the roses in Hollywood clean again. They needed that. ~ Saturday, March 13, 2021

Pushing Up Daisies: If you’re going to be pushing up daisies, push up the South African daisies that bloom wild all along Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Go in style. ~ Saturday, March 13, 2021

Rainy Day Women: Bob Dylan recorded “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” at Columbia Studio B in Nashville on March 10, 1966. You know. Everybody must get stoned. This is a parking lot on Melrose Avenue on March 12, 2021. You know. Rainy day women. ~ Friday, March 12, 2021

On June Street: American sycamore (buttonwood) – Platanus occidentalis – June Street – Hancock Park. A bit unsettling in late winter. ~ Thursday, March 11, 2021

A Parting Shot: A quick massive storm passed through Los Angeles in the night. It left clouds over Sunset Boulevard. A parting shot. A parting gift of sorts. It’ll do. ~ Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Dead Again: The Shakespeare Bridge at the far end of Franklin Avenue in Los Feliz was built in 1926 – a public works project, a simple open-spandrel reinforced concrete deck arch bridge – but the designer, J. C. Wright, made it Gothic, with Gothic aedicules at either end. Yes, it’s spooky, and since 1974, a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. It pops up in movies now and then. It didn’t survive its fictional destruction in the 2015 movie “San Andreas Quake” but it’s central in “Dead Heat” – the 1991 neo-noir mystery directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring him and his wife, Emma Thompson. He’s the private eye. She’s the femme fatale. The bad guys chase him across this bridge and beat him up. He’s a famous British Shakespearean actor. Of course he used this bridge. ~ Tuesday, March 9, 2021

That Woman: That woman. That neighborhood. Once upon a time in Hollywood. That sort of thing. ~ Monday, March 8, 2021

Budding Now: Winter was dull. Most of the local roses were dormant. But they’re budding now. And so it begins. Summer soon enough. ~ Saturday, March 6, 2021

More Than Subtle: This is Los Angeles as March begins, subtle in places, flashy and extreme in other corners. This applies to the city too, not just the gardens. ~ Saturday, March 6, 2021

Absolute Sunshine: This is as California as it gets. Friday afternoon on Guitar Row and the Sunset Strip – absolutely brilliant sunshine – and yeah, hot babes in a Ferrari too. ~ Friday, March 5, 2021

Still There: No one has been out and about for almost a year now. It was time for a quick drive over to Santa Monica. It’s still there. The cliffs are still there. The beach is still there. The Pacific is still there. It’s not Hollywood. ~ Thursday, March 4, 2021

Jailhouse Rock: The abandoned studio where Elvis recorded Jailhouse Rock, and where Bing Crosby recorded White Christmas, on the corner of Orange Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard, has been taken over by Postcommodity, the Southwest Native American Artist collective founded in 2007 by Kade Twist and Steve Yazzie. They’ve covered it in words and filled it with books and conceptual art. There’s no color. That’s provided by the “art wall” at Libra Leather across the street. Elvis would approve. ~ Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Bright White Walls: White walls. Blue skies. Wilshire Boulevard at Cloverdale – the Dominguez-Wilshire Building, 1930, by Morgan, Walls & Clements, at 5410 Wilshire Boulevard – mainly the work of Stiles O. Clements (1883-1966) – and across the street, the Streamline Moderne walls of the old Sontag Drug Store – quite the place in 1939 but empty now – and on the corner, the blank white windows of a wig shop. The heads are pure white too. The wigs are not. ~ Monday, March 1, 2021

February 2021 Photography

Rose Row: Winter roses all in a row here in Hollywood and at the edge of Beverly Hills. ~ Saturday, February 27, 2021

A Closer Look: Winter colors close up in the gardens of Los Angeles. ~ Saturday, February 27, 2021

Playing the Angles: Those two union halls just down the street, the International Cinematographers Guild and the Motion Picture Editors Guild, Sunset Boulevard at Genesee, somehow turned surreal in the afternoon winter sunlight. These people know what to do. Shoot at an angle. That’s always more dramatic. ~ Friday, February 26, 2021

Down Descanso Way: There’s nothing nice down at Sunset Boulevard and Descanso Drive in Silver Lake. It’s just another scruffy corner on the way to someplace else on the edge of Los Angeles. Echo Park is just down the street. There’s nothing else. But it’s still a bit of an art colony, for the down and out. No one is hip here. No one tries to be. That makes things better. ~ Thursday, February 25, 2021

Gordon and Lily: Hanging with Gordon and Lily at that bank plaza on Camden Drive in Beverly Hills. Gordon and Lily have friends here. ~ Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Silent Future: The West Coast campus of Boston’s Emerson College – 2014, Thom Mayne, principal of Morphosis Architects – Sunset Boulevard at Gordon – empty in winter. There are no students majoring in television, film, marketing, acting, screenwriting, or journalism here now. The pandemic has shut this place down. No one knows if it will reopen. ~ Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Like Royalty: The El Royale on Rossmore Avenue in Hancock Park – 1929, designed by William Douglas Lee – Clark Gable and Loretta Young lived here. William Faulkner lived here when he was writing screenplays for MGM in the forties. George Raft lived in one of the penthouses, and since then Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Uma Thurman, Jack Black, Ellen Page and Josh Brolin have lived at the El Royale. Next door it’s Art Deco. And next door to that it’s stylized French-Norman. This is Hollywood housing. ~ Monday, February 22, 2021

The Lady Bug: This week’s roses were magnificent, as usual. The bonus is that lady bug, and of course that bee. ~ Saturday, February 20, 2021

Brightest February: There’s no need to look very far for color in the middle of winter here. These were at the edge of a parking lot behind Sunset Plaza. Just the usual suspects. ~ Saturday, February 20, 2021

Long Gone: This corner of Hollywood isn’t what it used to be. ~ Friday, February 19, 2021

Dragons: Six days into the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Ox – diligence, dependability, strength and determination – the Dragon Gate where Los Angeles’ Chinatown begins. Forget the oxen. It’s all about the dragons. ~ Thursday, February 18, 2021

Levitated: Levitated Mass, 2012, Michael Heizer, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a 340-ton boulder placed above a 456-foot viewing pathway, a concrete trench in the ground. This is art for these times. The museum has been closed for a year. The grounds are deserted. But there’s this rock. Now it’s a metaphor. A heavy weight weighs on the world. It may crush us all. And now everything looks surreal. Get used to it. ~ Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Nightingale: The wind was howling. The skies were strange. La Cienega was deserted. Nightingale, the absurdly hip dance club, has been closed for almost a year now – the pandemic of course. But it still looked hip. That stretch of La Cienega always is. The camera loves the place. ~ Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Dark Wood: Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto I, The Dark Wood and the Hill – “I came to myself, in a dark wood, where the direct way was lost. It is a hard thing to speak of, how wild, harsh and impenetrable that wood was, so that thinking of it recreates the fear.” And this is Griffith Park, the dark wood on the road up to the big white observatory, up on the hill. ~ Monday, February 15, 2021

A Botanical Valentine: This is Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles, curbside in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, no florist necessary. ~ Saturday, February 13, 2021

Hill Street Blues: Suddenly, in the eighties, gritty neorealism was hot. Hill Street Blues was the hot television show – cops and robbers with multiple layers of moral ambiguity in an unnamed fictional city that looked like a quite real inner city, a place where nothing is easy. Let’s be careful out there. Most of the location shooting was done here in Los Angeles, but not on our Hill Street. This is South Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles. It’s not gritty at all. It’s pretty cool. ~ Friday, February 12, 2021

Route 66 Neon: Santa Monica Boulevard at the bottom of the hill is also “Historic Route 66” – the last of it before it ends out at the Santa Monica Pier. Here, in West Hollywood, it has neon. ~ Thursday, February 11, 2021

Vivid: The days are dreary. The local streets aren’t. The local street artists make sure of that. ~ Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Morning Coffee: A man sitting on the fire escape at a transient hotel on Sunset Boulevard at Bronson, nursing his morning coffee on a cold winter morning. Life may be hard. But the view is good. ~ Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Bauhaus Blues: The Beverly Hills Media Center, 100 North Crescent Drive at Wilshire Boulevard, an old office building, was transformed by the architectural firm Gensler (M. Arthur Gensler Jr. & Associates, Inc.) – because everybody needs a bit of Bauhaus now and then. Bauhaus was that German art school, founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, that gave the world the Bauhaus style in modern design and Modernist architecture. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe took over the school in 1930, and that’s what this is about, streamlined highly geometric architecture. It never gets old. ~ Monday, February 8, 2021

Bright Winter: No, really, this is how February opens in Los Angeles’ gardens. Yes, it’s not fair, but this is why people still stay in California. There’s no winter here. ~ Saturday, February 6, 2021

Southwest: This is the southwest, an improbably bright white elaborate Catholic church surrounded by cactus and dust. But this isn’t the crumbling white village church in the middle of nowhere from the Magnificent Seven. There are no oppressed peasants here. This is Good Shepard Catholic Church in Beverly Hills, next to the city’s formal cactus garden. This is the southwest done right. ~ Friday, February 5, 2021

City of Angels: The recent City of Angels mural at Willoughby and Vine just behind Red Studios Hollywood, formerly the Desilu Cahuenga Studio and then Ren-Mar Studios. The front gate was the “Maroon Cartoon Studio” in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988) and then, in January 2010, the Red Digital Cinema Camera Company bought the whole complex – thus the name. And now there’s this mural out back. This is a strange town. ~ Thursday, February 4, 2021

Rock Light: Even with no one around now, or perhaps forever, the Sunset Strip still glows, but now it’s just the winter light of a quiet weekday afternoon. ~ Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Six More Weeks: Groundhog Day at Echo Park Lake. Six more weeks of winter. Obviously. But that would be Los Angeles winter. ~ Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Curious Winter Light: Monday in the city – 8th and Figueroa – tall buildings and sidewalks and that sort of thing – and curious winter light. ~ Monday, February 1, 2021

January 2021 Photography

Mixed Winter Roses: Almost everyone has cut back their roses to bare stem and root. Only the white roses remain. The others here are from four years ago this month, when life out here wasn’t so severe. ~ Saturday, January 30, 2021

Extra Bright: Los Angeles gardens in the sudden sunshine after two days of steady rain. They woke up. ~ Saturday, January 30, 2021

Darkness on Sunset: This is Sunset Boulevard at the Hollywood Palladium on a rainy winter day. Alfred Hitchcock would understand. Things turned sinister. Viacom-CBS just added a big shiny star to their new offices. It doesn’t help. This was a dark day. ~ Friday, January 29, 2021

The Hardest Part: Waiting for better days at the El Rey on Wilshire Boulevard. ~ Thursday, January 28, 2021

These Dark Streets: The other Los Angeles. A dark winter day in the neighborhood here. But of course this matches everyone’s mood at the moment. ~ Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Live Oak: This is Maple Drive in Beverly Hills just off Sunset Boulevard, and these are not maples. These are live oaks, but not the usual southern live oak, Quercus virginiana. These are Quercus chrysolepis – canyon live oak. This is California after all, and Coldwater Canyon starts up into the hills just across Sunset. Maple Drive’s maples are down in the flats near Beverly Hills City Hall. Up here it’s the Wild West. ~ Tuesday, January 26, 2021

New Norms: Things change. The skies above Los Angeles suddenly got interesting, between winter storms. ~ Monday, January 25, 2021

Gone Dark: Winter is here. Rain. Dark skies. The local gardens were almost bare, and a bit mysterious. ~ Saturday, January 23, 2021

High Drama: Rain on the way, a series of winter storms barreling toward Los Angeles, but not here quite yet. That’s when the skies get dramatic. That’s when it’s time to drive over to the Pacific Design Center. Everything is more dramatic there. ~ Friday, January 22, 2021

Heliotrope Drive: Heliotrope Drive at Melrose Avenue, the rather obscure minor arts and theater district over by Los Angeles City College, is now dead. Everything is closed and empty. None of it will ever reopen. It’s all gone. But the residue is still cool. The Ukrainian Community Center is still open. So is the Zen Center. Val Kilmer, the guy from Top Gun who was also Jim Morrison in The Doors, now immobilized with cancer, lives in a little arts center here – hiding from the world. Or so they say. No one has seen him in years. It’s that kind of neighborhood. ~ Thursday, January 21, 2021

Hollywood Whitewalls: Some days the light is just too good. Stop. Take it all in. ~ Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Double Indemnity: The Bryson Apartment Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard just north of MacArthur Park, from 1913, is an odd Beaux Arts fantasy. Hugh W. Bryson, the developer, hired architects Frederick Noonan and Charles H. Kyser to design this, and it eventually became almost a character in Raymond Chandler’s dark and nasty crime novels. Philip Marlowe looked for bad guys here. Chandler also used The Bryson as a setting when he co-wrote the screenplay for the 1944 film noir classic Double Indemnity, starring Fred MacMurray, who then bought the place. He owned the building for thirty years, and now it has been restored as good as new. Next door it’s the Wilshire Royale, 1927, from Walker and Eisen, a residential hotel built for the local leader of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Olive Philips, as the Arcady, advertised for people who were accustomed to fine living. It eventually ended up as the retirement home for the elderly of First Congregational Church at Lafayette Park, but was recently renovated as the Wilshire Royale luxury apartments. And now this corner is back to what it was supposed to be. ~ Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Local Life: Tommy Lasorda has died. But it’s all part of the Los Angeles Circle of Life. ~ Monday, January 18, 2021

Even More Roses: These shouldn’t be. These are Los Angeles roses when the rest of America is buried in snow. ~ Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Wild West: Yes, it’s wild out here. This is what’s in bloom in Los Angeles in the middle of winter. ~ Saturday, January 16, 2021

Ghost Light: Hollywood and Vine on a winter afternoon in this year of the plague. Hollywood is a ghost town now. But the light has never been better. ~ Friday, January 15, 2021

Now Pink: Sunset Las Palmas Studios was built by Charlie Chaplin’s studio manager, John Jasper, in 1919, as Jasper Studios. Then it became Metropolitan Pictures. Harold Lloyd rented the studio in 1925 and Howard Hughes shot the silent version of Hells Angels here 1929 and then it grew into General Services Studios. In 1980, Francis Ford Coppola bought the whole place for his American Zoetrope company and sold all of it in 1983 when that didn’t work out. Then it became Hollywood Center Studios and got bigger and bigger, and in 2017 Hudson Capital purchased the whole campus and renamed it Sunset Las Palmas Studios. Everyone uses this place. In 1951, Stage 2 became the first home to I Love Lucy, and from 1951 to 1953, it was the home of Desilu Productions, owned by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. CBS used the place for Petticoat Junction and Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies. The Lone Ranger was produced on the lot. And now they’ve painted the old core studios bright pink. Why not? ~ Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Split: This is where Hollywood begins, that intersection in Silver Lake where Hollywood Boulevard begins, where it splits off from Sunset Boulevard at the old movie palace, near the Tiki bar, both now closed, where everything is now closed, and quite strange. ~ Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Villa Carlotta: Villa Carlotta is the villa and botanical garden in Tremezzo on Lake Como in Northern Italy. Villa Carlotta is the Spanish Colonial apartment building on Franklin Avenue in Franklin Village, just below Griffith Park, here in Hollywood. It was built in 1926 for the widow of Thomas Ince and designed by Arthur E. Harvey, who also designed the elaborate Château Élysée across the street, now the Scientology Celebrity Center – but Edward G. Robinson once lived at this Villa Carlotta. So did Marion Davies. So did William Saroyan. So did David O. Selznick. Louella Parsons wrote her gossip column from her two-story apartment here. That was long ago, but there are ghosts. ~ Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Off Broadway: The city is empty. There was an open parking space on Second at Broadway. Up on the hill, Frank Gehry’s long delayed Grand Avenue Project, an odd twenty story hotel and thirty-nine story residential tower due in 2022 or so, is coming along nicely, if somewhat oddly. And below it’s the new (2016) United States Courthouse, another big glass box from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill – but a magnificent big glass box – and there are those winter shadows across the street. The city is better empty. ~ Monday, January 11, 2021

That Glow: The winter light really does make Los Angeles’ gardens glow. That makes winter all better. ~ Saturday, January 9, 2021

Winter on Wilshire: This is winter on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, just trees and a glass. And that’s enough. ~ Friday, January 8, 2021

The Auction House: All better now. The plaster detailing on the Italianate but quite British auction house, Bonham’s, that has been down on the corner on Sunset Boulevard since the days of silent movies, has been restored to perfection. It’s a Norma Desmond thing. So is the sky. ~ Thursday, January 7, 2021

Telling Stories: The streets tell stories. This is Sunset Boulevard at Gardner, just around the corner. The stories here are ambiguous. ~ Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Royal Trees: Hancock Park, just off Wilshire Boulevard, was developed in the 1920s an enclave for the rich. Their mansions still stand. This is the land of old money, with the Official Residence of the British Consul General on June Street in a home designed by Wallace Neff that was completed in 1928. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stayed there in July 2011 on their first visit to the United States after their wedding. Nat King Cole was first black resident of Hancock Park. It’s a royal place. It has royal trees. ~ Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Strip Lighting: A winter urban light show, a short drive down the Sunset Strip from the Roxy to the Directors Guild. Los Angeles is shut down, but the light is still amazing. ~ Monday, January 4, 2021

The Constant Garden: So, another year begins. In the gardens the roses and all the rest don’t care. They just go on, and that’s a comfort. ~ Saturday, January 2, 2021

First Light: The first light on the first day of the new year in Los Angeles was extraordinary. Perhaps it will be a good year. ~ Friday, January 1, 2021

December 2020 Photography

The Last Echoes: So this is how it ends. The last day of the year at Echo Park Lake, with the birds. ~ Thursday, December 31, 2020

The End Trees: The trees at the end if the world – but not really. This is on top of the hill out back. A short drive up through Laurel Canyon – Joni Mitchell and all that – turn left on Mulholland Drive – like in the David Lynch movie – and there’s a “scenic overlook” with these trees. They’re just trees at the end of the year. Or maybe this is the end of the world. ~ Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Tickled Pink: A day of heavy rain did wash Hollywood clean. Santa Monica Boulevard at Cole Avenue in the flats south of Hollywood, old buildings built by the Technicolor Corporation long ago, now restored, catch the fresh sun. The Art Deco building on the corner is now very pink. Technicolor is long gone from this neighborhood, but the memory lingers on. And the light was good. ~ Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Year-End Roses: This was an awful year. But the all year long the Los Angeles roses were just fine. These are the last of them for the year, sitting pretty on the last weekend of an odd year. ~ Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Final Close-Ups: This is how the year ends in the local gardens, a few daisies, the usual hibiscus, but wait! Lantana! Yucca! Yucca! Yucca! ~ Saturday, December 26, 2020

An Escape: The North Harper Avenue Historic District just off the Sunset Strip. Turn left at the strip club with the giant neon sign – Live Nude Girls – and suddenly it’s a different world. And it’s very quiet. And a bit strange. But in a nice way. ~ Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Compelling Pictures: Just one block. But one block is enough. This is Cahuenga and Selma in the middle of Hollywood. Just point and shoot. Cool stuff. Compelling stuff. The new film and video production company on the corner is Compelling Pictures. Of course it is. ~ Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Pink This Year: This has not been a good year and now it’s ending with Southern California in crisis, the hospitals filled with the dying and Christmas pretty much cancelled. Everything’s wrong. So why not a surreal Pink Christmas this year? ~ Monday, December 21, 2020

The Late Roses: Los Angeles roses one week before Christmas. Save the best for last. ~ Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Season: Poinsettia in everyone’s garden, bright red bougainvillea everywhere, no snow, but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, in Los Angeles. ~ Saturday, December 19, 2020

Turquoise Boulevard: The winter light was good. Bullocks Wilshire, 3050 Wilshire Boulevard, is the landmark Art Deco building from 1929, from Los Angeles architects John and Donald Parkinson, a luxury department store for more than sixty years and now a private law school, and restored to its turquoise copper glory. It does light up the boulevard, as does the anonymous midcentury office building across the street, painted turquoise to match it. It’s a good color. ~ Friday, December 18, 2020

Into the Darkness: No sun this day, a good day to dive into the darkness, so, at that odd Art Deco building on Hollywood Boulevard, turn left onto Whitley Avenue and suddenly it’s 1923 again, with that nightmare Italianate fantasy apartment building, and then the dark French-Norman one, and then the brutal concrete one, with those odd women. This was the place to be in the twenties, and now it’s the darkest place in Hollywood. ~ Thursday, December 17, 2020

Bright Desolation: Another afternoon here on the Sunset Strip – no one around – the sightlines open – the light was good. California has been shut down, and here, in the heart of Hollywood, that ends in quiet but total desolation. It’s bright and vibrant, but this is a graveyard. This is the last of the Sunset Strip. ~ Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Danger: “One person was killed and another hospitalized after a shooting Tuesday afternoon on Melrose Avenue in the Fairfax district, police said. Both victims, identified as men in their early to mid-20s, were standing near Melrose and Stanley avenues when the gunman, also a man in his mid-20s, approached them on foot and fired multiple times. The block where the shooting occurred is a popular shopping destination, with a Starbucks, Urban Outfitters and several other businesses.” – But there was an open parking space next to the police tape, and there was the street art. This is life out here. ~ Tuesday, December 15, 2020

High Skies: Suddenly the winds were howling, all day, and just as suddenly the sky turned strange. This was Sunset Boulevard at Western Avenue over to Sunset and Vine. ~ Monday, December 14, 2020

The Dark Roses: The local roses got dark in a Bruegel sort of way. That’s how one knows that it’s winter out here in the land of endless summer. ~ Saturday, December 12, 2020

The Enhanced Ordinary: The usual suspects in the local gardens turn unusual, close up and in tight. So, pay attention. ~ Saturday, December 12, 2020

The Remaining Light: Almost all the galleries in the arts district all along North La Brea Avenue have gone under. They’re empty shells now. Only the gallery selling art lighting seems to have survived. The light survives. The avenue glows. ~ Friday, December 11, 2020

Painting Those Walls: This is the land of giant hand-painted display advertising, whole walls of it, and they were at it again down on Melrose on that wall across the street from Fairfax High School. Start with the flowers and one face. Something will come of this – but here all the walls are painted, one way or another. The messages are mixed. ~ Thursday, December 10, 2020

Spaced Out: Sometimes the empty streets of Los Angeles look like the streets of some strange alien planet. This is Sunset Boulevard at Bronson. Or it’s the set of a science fiction movie. ~ Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Still Golden: Gold – Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills – Christmas – this year much is closed and no one is around, but the rich will have their Christmas. ~ Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Stay at Home: There’s a new stay-at-home order. Stay at home for the rest of the year. On Hollywood Boulevard, the Frolic Room at the Pantages Theater has closed. The theater itself has gone dark. It’s locked up tight. And the sun did not come out this day. This is going to be a strange Christmas. ~ Monday, December 7, 2020

The Winter Roses: So, December begins. But the roses never end. And the lighting is even better now. ~ Saturday, December 5, 2020

Boulevard Blooms: Sunset Boulevard as the holiday season begins. But it’s always a holiday of some sort here in Hollywood. ~ Saturday, December 5, 2020

Chasing Geese: 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

Pandemic Paramount: Down the street at Paramount Pictures. It was quiet down there. It was too quiet. It’s the pandemic. But damn, the light was good. ~ Thursday, December 3, 2020

Old Medicine: 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

Icons of Darkness: Forget that “rich Corinthian leather” in the long-forgotten Chrysler Cordoba, and forget Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The theater seating inside the Ricardo Montalbán Theater on Vine Street, the Montalbán, has been removed for Icons of Darkness, an exhibition from the largest private collection of sci-fi, horror and fantasy memorabilia in the world, and the place looks scary. And the opening has been delayed indefinitely. The coronavirus pandemic is scarier. The place is locked tight. But that’s okay – this end of Hollywood is scary enough. ~ Tuesday, December 1, 2020

November 2020 Photography

Dead Quiet: California has been shut down again. The Sunset Strip feels like a graveyard. The Rainbow Room and the Roxy may never reopen. They may disappear forever, but they haven’t disappeared yet. They’re just dead quiet at the moment. ~ Monday, November 30, 2020

The Roses Persist: Yes, Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is on the way, but that doesn’t matter. There are always roses in the neighborhood. This is Southern California. ~ Saturday, November 28, 2020

Color Saturation: The skies cleared. The bright angled autumn sun backlit everything in the gardens. The colors jumped out. ~ Saturday, November 28, 2020

Bright Emptiness: 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

Shadow Work: 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

Misplaced Concreteness: Industrial geometry old and new, Romaine and Sycamore by the CEMEX plant – ready-mix concrete moving out in giant mixer trucks all day long. In Alfred North Whitehead’s Science and the Modern World, the fallacy of misplaced concreteness is central to his analysis, a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction is treated as if it were a concrete real event or physical entity. So, what is this Mexican concrete plant doing here? ~ Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Outside the Box: Think outside the box. This is a quiet afternoon at Melrose and Ogden, where everything is outside the box. ~ Monday, November 23, 2020

Rose Glow: Late autumn sunlight comes in at a low angle in Los Angeles and makes the local roses glow. ~ Saturday, November 21, 2020

A Close Look: This is what Hollywood looks like in late autumn, if you look closely. The local gardens are ironic. ~ Saturday, November 21, 2020

South of Pink: The block down the street from Pink’s Hot Dogs, on North La Brea at Melrose, isn’t pink at all. It’s severe black and white Art Deco, with an abandoned pastel movie theater from the thirties, next to the giant colored cubes of Torath Emeth Academy. And there’s Spider Man too. It’s very Los Angeles. ~ Friday, November 20, 2020

Just About Everything: Just one block – Wilshire Boulevard at Ardmore, at the edge of Koreatown – one block west of the site of the former Ambassador Hotel where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June 1968 – but that was long ago and now this place is urban hip and a curious mix of just about everything. ~ Thursday, November 19, 2020

Quiet Hollywood: The neighborhood was looking all Edward Hopper empty.  This was Sunset Boulevard between Formosa Avenue and Poinsettia Place. Hollywood should be lively. Maybe it’s the pandemic. ~ Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Quite Twisted: North Orange Grove Avenue just off Sunset Boulevard, just around the corner here. Yes, Hollywood has tree-lined streets. They’re just a bit strange. And they’re even stranger in late autumn. ~ Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Lighting Tricks: This is Hollywood. Sometimes the light is so good that every shot is a trick shot, and it was one of those late autumn days. This is Viacom-CBS on Sunset Boulevard at Gower, lit wonderfully. ~ Monday, November 16, 2020

Monet Roses: Claude Monet painted water lilies. But had he painted roses, which he didn’t, they would have looked like this, Los Angeles roses on his birthday. ~ Saturday, November

November Reds: Los Angeles gardens turn red in this month, loosely red. There are all sorts of shades here. ~ Saturday, November 14, 2020

By Design: There’s Autumn in New York, glittering crowds and shimmering clouds in canyons of steel, that sort of thing. And then there’s autumn at the Pacific Design Center. ~ Friday, November 13, 2020

Hollywood Rides: These are the rides of the one percent, on the streets of Hollywood, for now. By the time the coronavirus pandemic finally fades away, if it does, these won’t matter much at all. The world will have changed. But for now, they do catch the light nicely. ~ Thursday, November 12, 2020

California November: This is California in November. It’s a walk in the park. It’s a walk in a Beverly Hills park. ~ Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Light Fantastic: It was 1894 – the “Sidewalks of New York” – “Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O’Rourke / Tripped the light fantastic / On the sidewalks of New York.” But the light was fantastic out here on the sidewalks of Los Angeles all these years later. And it was pretty trippy too. ~ Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Raymond Chandler Square: The Security Pacific Bank Building at 6383 Hollywood Boulevard, at Cahuenga, from 1921, by the father and son architects John and Donald B. Parkinson. This is also known as the Cahuenga Building. Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) was the creator of the cynical private investigator Phillip Marlowe, with his office here, high over Hollywood Boulevard. Chandler’s first Marlowe novel was The Big Sleep (1939) but most people remember the Howard Hawks movie (1946) with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Hawks had William Faulkner help with the screenplay. Faulkner decided he hated Hollywood and never returned. This is Raymond Chandler Square. It is an odd place. ~ Monday, November 9, 2020

A Victory Garden: Everyone was in the streets, celebrating the election of a new president, and at the side of the street, a victory garden. Look. Things will get better. ~ Saturday, November 7, 2020

The Dark Side: The first rain in six months is on the way. The day gets darker and darker, and this brings out the mysterious dark side of the Sunset Strip. ~ Friday, November 6, 2020

Sweet Air: Something changed. Sunset Boulevard from the Directors Guild building on west down the Sunset Strip to the edge of Beverly Hills – the smoke is gone. There’s light rain on the way soon, or not. This is Southern California. But the air was sweet this day. ~ Thursday, November 5, 2020

While Waiting: This year’s Election Day never ended. Nothing was decided. They were still counting votes the next day, and the street was waiting to see who’d be president now. The concerned constituents are an odd lot. ~ Wednesday, November 4, 2020

A Bit Unnerving: The Chateau Marmont on the Sunset Strip, modeled loosely on the Château d’Amboise, a royal retreat in the Loire Valley, has been a Hollywood institution since 1929. Everyone has stayed here, and worked here, and some of them died here. John Belushi died of a drug overdose in Bungalow 3 on March 5, 1982, and the famous photographer Helmut Newton died here on January 23, 2004, after crashing his car pulling out of the driveway. That makes this block of the Sunset Strip a bit unnerving. ~ Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Plastic People: The coronavirus pandemic is only getting worse. The streets are empty. There’s no one around. But that doesn’t matter in Beverly Hills. Those odd plastic people are still there, frozen in place forever. And the brilliant colors all around are lively enough. It’s all artificial, but it is rather pleasant. ~ Monday, November 2, 2020

October 2020 Photography

Extraordinary Light: They’re just the usual roses, the same roses that bloom every Saturday all around Los Angeles, all year long. But the light suddenly changed and made everything translucent. Late autumn can be like that out here. This can be a fine place. ~ Saturday, October 31, 2020

Spooky Blooms: Look at this. Halloween morning in the local gardens actually is a bit spooky. And a full moon will follow. ~ Saturday, October 31, 2020

Dead White: The painted white palm trees are a bit of conceptual art from Vincent Lamouroux, the French artist who painted the old Sunset Pacific Motel on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, and all the trees and bushes around it, a blank dead white, to disrupt the vibrant “commercial landscape” that surrounds it – a public art piece called Projection. That was back in 2015, and then everyone moved on to other matters. But the dead white motel and the white palms are still there, at Sunset and Bates Avenue. Think of it as the Bates Motel, as in the movie Psycho. ~ Friday, October 30, 2020

Painting This Town: Everything is a promotion for something or other. That’s why someone is always painting this end of Los Angeles. Of course, these days, no one is buying anything, but that’s okay. The visuals are great anyway. ~ Thursday, October 29, 2020

Another Hollywood Ghost: Had he lived, which he didn’t, Nat King Cole would have been one hundred years old, last year. Here he haunts the windows at Capitol Records on Vine Street. This is where he recorded almost everything. His ghost has been in the windows for a year now. Things get spooky in Hollywood. ~ Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Not Technicolor: This is the Television Center, 6311 Romaine Street – 1930, an Art Deco landmark that from 1930 to 1975 was the Hollywood home of Technicolor. All of their films were processed in the labs here, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938) to The Godfather, Part II (1974) – the last American film to use the Technicolor dye process. But the technology changed and Technicolor is now a division of the French company Technicolor SA and housed in a new glass box on Sunset Boulevard at Gower, and now this Art Deco landmark is filled with independent television production companies and high-tech soundstages. But it’s still dramatic. And television production obviously requires a whole lot of electricity. ~ Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A Los Angeles Morning: This is early morning at Echo Park Lake, with the city in the distance. That’s where the action is. But it’s serene here. ~ Monday, October 26, 2020

Autumn Roses: Roses just after dawn on an autumn morning in Hollywood make Southern California look like a seventeenth-century still life. ~ Saturday, October 24, 2020

Autumn Darkness: There was no sun. The local gardens didn’t need sun. They create their own light. ~ Saturday, October 24, 2020

This Particular Dream: Perhaps the Hollywood Dream, whatever that really was, is over now. The town is dead. The coronavirus killed it. And this is Cosmo Street and a bit of Cahuenga Boulevard right in the middle of Hollywood on a dark and empty afternoon. The dream has gone dark. ~  Friday, October 23, 2020

The Real City: Too much sunshine can be deceptive. This is Los Angeles on a rare dark day. Now it looks like a real city. Los Angeles is actually a dark place. ~ Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Dark Now: The Craft and Folk Art Museum on Wilshire Boulevard, across the street from the La Brea Tar Pits, changed its name to the Craft Contemporary. The museum’s board of directors decided that the old name had “an association to something very old and very dusty” and they wanted to be rooted in the “now” – and then the coronavirus pandemic shut down all the museums and the place went dark. This is the now. ~ Tuesday, October 20, 2020

These Escher Streets: Los Angeles has turned into an M. C. Escher lithograph. This is the empty Wilshire Courtyard office complex on what was once called the Miracle Mile. Now it’s a surreal geometric maze. ~ Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Justice Corner: RBG down on the corner today, with Shepard Fairey and a few friends, and so on. This must be the justice corner. ~ Monday, October 19, 2020

Even More Roses: There always mores roses in Hollywood. These are seriously dramatic. ~ Saturday, October 17, 2020

In the Corners: There are odd things in the corners in Los Angeles’ gardens these days. ~ Saturday, October 17, 2020

Rich Geometry: Sometimes simple geometry is a comfort. The Beverly Hills Civic Center will do – not a rich person in sight – not a person in sight. That helps. ~ Friday, October 16, 2020

The Immediate Neighborhood: Just down the street – Villa d’Este (1355 Laurel Avenue) – “Italian villas in rural Tuscany inspired architect brothers F. Pierpont Davis and Walter S. Davis when they designed the complex in 1928.”  Romanesque Villa (1928) – “In 1928, Michael and Isaac Mann commissioned Leland Bryant to design an apartment building at the corner of Harper and Fountain Avenues. Bryant combined Spanish Colonial Revival and Churrigueresque, the style named after the 18th century Spanish architect, Jose Churriguera, who used lavish ornamentation in his designs. It was at this building that the infamous ‘triangle’ between Marlene Dietrich and Josef and Riza Von Sternberg took place and led eventually to the divorce of the Von Sternbergs.” Bryant built the Norman-French apartments across the street too. And then just a gate – Villa Primavera (1923) at 1300-08 North Harper Avenue – the Spanish style courtyard apartment building designed and built by Arthur and Nina Zwebell. Katherine Hepburn and James Dean both rented here. It was also used in “In a Lonely Place” (1950) directed by Nicolas Ray and starring Humphrey Bogart as a serial killer screenwriter, who lived right here. That’s the neighborhood. ~ Thursday, October 15, 2020

Absurdly Colorful: They said no pictures at the body shop down on Melrose Avenue where they were working on a brand-new Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Someone had wrecked their new four hundred-thousand-dollar SUV – lots of body damage – probably some ditzy sixteen-year-old girl from Beverly Hills High School. It happens. But no pictures – so it was pictures of their amazing metallic wall instead. And then it was time to look around. This is an absurdly colorful neighborhood. ~ Wednesday, October 14, 2020

High Contrast: Hollywood is always dramatic – that old municipal building, now a Department of Water and Power warehouse and garage, across the street from Sunset-Gower Studios, now pretty much shut down – the light was wonderful. ~ Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Mad Lab: There will be no Halloween this year, but there is that neon skeleton on Sunset Boulevard near Vine. Yes, it’s just a hip coffee shop, but it will do. This block is spooky. There’s that strange striped wall to the right, and to the left, there’s the 1924 Hollywood Athletic Club. Women were prohibited above the first floor. W. C. Fields was known to have wrapped his mistress, Carlotta Monti, in a rug and smuggled her upstairs. That was the real Mad Lab. But that’s all shadows now. That’s Halloween this year. ~ Monday, October 12, 2020

Dark Roses: Sometimes there’s a dark day, even in Southern California. Things change. The roses look baroque. ~ Saturday, October 10, 2020

Brilliant at Breakfast: This is the morning mix in the gardens here, just off Sunset Boulevard, just after dawn. No one is around. This is the way to start the day, even in October. ~ Saturday, October 10, 2020

On Grand Now: Frank Gehry’s swoopy Walt Disney Concert Hall that fills the block between Grand and Hope Street always looks new, even if it opened on October 24, 2003, and his long delayed Grand Avenue Project, across the street at First and Grand, an odd twenty story hotel and thirty-nine story residential tower, with terraced shops and whatnot, due in 2022 or so, is coming along nicely, if somewhat oddly. The Broad is the contemporary art museum on the other corner, with its honeycomb concrete-and-steel outer structure, the “veil” that wraps around the actual box of a museum, all of it designed by the firm of Diller Scofidio and Renfro. That opened on September 20, 2015, but the pandemic has closed it. Still, downtown Los Angeles goes on – just checking to be sure of that. ~ Friday, October 9, 2020

Fading Away: No one is making movies now. No one may make movies ever again. Hollywood may be over. This is the corner of Wilcox Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, abandoned Art Deco buildings and the empty Warner Pacific Theater with its dead radio towers, and the 1983 “You Are the Star” mural by New Mexico artist Thomas Suriya. That’s been vandalized and restored, as good as new, again and again. It’s rather famous. But it won’t be restored again, not now. It’s on the west wall of the Attie Building – 1931, H. A. Minton – with its red windows. That’s been empty for years too. This is where the stars fade away. ~ Thursday, October 8, 2020

Dancing in the Park: It was another day of Hazardous Air Quality (for Sensitive Groups) and breathing was difficult. It was time to head out in the clapped-out old car, still with working air-conditioning, off toward downtown on Sunset Boulevard. And there was Echo Park Lake. And there was a parking space. And there were these people having a fine old time making a dance video of some kind. They seemed happy. That would do. But it’s a jungle out there. ~ Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Quiet Past: Los Angeles used to be a different place. This is Sycamore and First Street, down in the Wilshire District, where it’s always long ago. Go ahead, slip into the past. It’s a quiet place. ~ Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Hollywood Haze: After three weeks of smoke in the air, from the massive distant fires, the haze in Hollywood lifted a bit, here and there, leaving strange skies and odd empty streets below. ~ Monday, October 5, 2020

The Roses: Every Saturday it’s roses. Los Angeles is endless roses. That helps in troubled times. What else is there? ~ Saturday, October 3, 2020

Hot Color: October is autumn everywhere else. In the gardens of Los Angeles, October is an explosion of hot color in the middle of a heat wave. ~ Saturday, October 3, 2020

Esoteric: Brutal heat and bad air, but there’s great color down on Melrose Avenue, all new, so Los Angeles isn’t all that bad, a little surreal, but not all that bad. ~ Friday, October 2, 2020

In Sunset Park: Will Rogers Memorial Park, 9650 Sunset Boulevard, across the street from the Beverly Hills Hotel, constructed in 1912 and dedicated in 1915, the first public park in Beverly Hills. Charlie Chaplin filmed a few scenes here. So did Laurel and Hardy. This was Sunset Park until 1952 when it was renamed the Will Rogers Memorial Park in honor of Rogers, the first Honorary Mayor of Beverly Hills from 1926 to 1928, who rather liked the place. On April 7, 1998, George Michael was arrested for committing a “lewd act” by Marcelo Rodriguez, a plainclothes officer of the Beverly Hills Police Department, in the restrooms here. That was quite the scandal. But that doesn’t matter now. This is a good place to sit quietly on a hot day and chat with the turtles. ~ Thursday, October 1, 2020

September 2020 Photography

Hot Walls: The neighborhood in late September just before another extreme heat advisory forced everyone indoors, and just before the air got so thick that the Air Quality Management District issued its own run-and-hide warning again – sit in the dark and try not to breathe too much – just another day in paradise. But the street art never stops. And these are pretty hot walls. ~ Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Abandoned Art: Ethos Contemporary Art, the beyond-hip art gallery on Highland Avenue just south of Hollywood, went under. They reopened in a small space in downtown Los Angeles, but they left this on Highland, a reminder of the days before the pandemic. And the LGBT center across the street, with its wall of giant eyes, is empty now – the building is for lease. Only one gallery is left here now. And it’s a little scary. ~ Monday, September 28, 2020

Dawn Blooms: The smoke has been awful. The heat has been awful. And neither will end soon, if ever. But there are those few hours of cool morning mist before Los Angeles becomes unbearable once again. That’s when the local gardens are subtle and inviting, like this. ~ Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Piano Corner: There’s an odd Art Deco building on Wilshire Boulevard at Robertson in Beverly Hills. It’s a bit of a nightmare, and across the street from the Steinway showroom, now with one bright red grand piano in the window, next to a big purple one. Someone’s into surrealism. But this corner is like that – all curved glass with the big bronze “Pablo at the Beach” (2013) by Guy Dill on the corner there. Life here is a visual treat. ~ Thursday, September 24, 2020

Old Heroism: The mural next door works. American architecture used to be heroic. This is the heroic California Bank branch, 1929, by John and Donald B. Parkinson, at 5620 Hollywood Boulevard. It has that attitude. America can do anything. There is nothing to fear but fear itself, a useful attitude as the Great Depression deepened. But this bank was abandoned soon enough. Warner Brothers slapped a temporary marquee on it and pretended it was a movie palace in 1997 in “L.A. Confidential” – everyone was corrupt and nasty in that movie. Now it’s a “collision center” – they repair wrecked cars in there. But it’s still heroic. The rest of the neighborhood, East Hollywood where Little Armenia meets Thai Town, isn’t. It’s mysterious. ~ Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Three Walls: There’s the new “Love” wall on Beverly Boulevard. There’s that cactus wall next door. There’s the odd glass wall across the street. And there’s Andy Warhol. This is West Los Angeles. ~ Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Fifty Shades Clearer: The fires are still raging everywhere but the wind shifted. The smoke is gone. After two weeks of thick haze and the constant smell of that smoke in the air, all of Los Angeles is visible again. And the gardens are back. They made it through this. All is well. ~ Saturday, September 19, 2020

I’m suspending the photography until the smoke clears.

Softened Light: The smoke was thick all day from the fires everywhere. The air was unbreathable. That made for a day of diffused light. The softened light made the local gardens rather mysterious. ~ September 12, 2020

Smoked Cactus: Hollywood smelled of smoke at dawn and the morning got darker and darker, not lighter. The whole Los Angeles basin filled with smoke from the fires out east and the sky turned dull orange. The air was thick. Breathing was difficult. And it looked like this – the cactus garden in Beverly Hills, looking like the end of the world. ~ Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Empty Plaza: Sunset Plaza on the Sunset Strip is empty all day now, every day. A raging pandemic will do that. But this stretch of the Sunset Strip is still ridiculously photogenic. ~ Wednesday, September 9, 2020

These Dark Days: Hollywood was filled with smoke, not sunshine. All of California seemed to be on fire. But that only makes things more interesting – a new tattoo parlor just off Hollywood Boulevard, the odd façades from long ago, and the Hillview Hollywood built in 1917 by Jesse Lasky, the co-founder of Paramount Pictures, and his brother-in-law Samuel Goldwyn, the co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. At the time this was Hollywood’s only apartment building willing to rent to aspiring actors – they were a suspicious lot – but that only made this “the” place to be. The basement housed a rehearsal space until Rudolph Valentino turned it into a speakeasy. Clara Bow found her first home at the Hillview in 1923 – but the building was eventually abandoned. It was a tear-down, and then a group of investors restored and completely redid the place in 2005, and went bankrupt, and then others jumped in. It was back in 2015 – and now it’s dead again – the Covid pandemic did it in – but Alfredo de Batuc’s 1990 mural “A Tribute to Dolores del Rio” next door has just been restored. She’s not dead yet. But Hollywood is. ~ Tuesday, September 8, 2020

That Dome: At the center of Hollywood, the Cinerama dome on Sunset Boulevard, across the street from the campus of Los Angeles Film School, around the corner from the CNN studios at Larry King Square, all looking quite odd now that Hollywood has been shut down, perhaps forever. ~ Monday, September 7, 2020

Just Too Hot: These are Los Angeles roses in the middle of a heat wave, over one hundred in the shade just before noon. It’s too hot for humans. They persist. They’re doing just fine. ~ Saturday, September 5, 2020

More Hidden Gems: There are curious things hidden in the local gardens on a quiet Saturday morning here in Los Angeles. ~ Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Heat Light: “State of emergency declared as California faces historic heat, possible power outages…” And the Air Quality Index was at 218 and rising – “Very Unhealthy” – don’t breathe that stuff out there. So it was time to drive around and take pictures of nothing at all, of just the light and heat. But that’s really something. ~ Friday, September 4, 2020

Prehistoric Los Angeles: They’re still digging up Wooly Mammoths and Saber-Toothed Tigers down the hill at the La Brea Tar Pits. And they built a nifty new museum next to the excavation pits, with their research facilities in the basement, where they try to reconstruct what they just found. The friezes at the museum are stunning, but this is still a working scientific site. It seems that prehistoric Los Angeles is down there, just three miles from up here in Hollywood. ~ Thursday, September 3, 2020

Can’t Be Stopped: This sort of thing can’t be stopped. Hollywood’s “Can’t Be Stopped” crew was one of the most influential and recognizable graffiti crews in the early eighties, when the initials CBS popped up everywhere. They’re still around, but now no one can be stopped. No one can stop the street art now. ~ Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Reaching Back: The Italianate “luxury” apartment building from the late twenties on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and North Stanley Avenue, surrounded by Craftsman bungalows from a decade earlier, each with a lush garden now – with a new glass McMansion wedged in here and there. Before the bungalows, and long before there was a movie industry, this was all orange groves, and Hollywood Boulevard was a dirt road named Prospect Avenue until 1910, when the town of Hollywood, created by H. J. Whitley, was annexed by the City of Los Angeles. Things change. ~ Tuesday, September 1, 2020

August 2020 Photography

Hollywood Style: The end of summer in the year the pandemic shut down everything, and Hollywood is now dead. Hollywood will not recover. This is Hollywood Boulevard at Cherokee. The streets are empty and silent. There’s only the past. ~ Monday, August 31, 2020

A Blast of Roses: These are insistent. That last roses of August will not be ignored. ~ Saturday, August 29, 2020

Summer High: Everything in bloom all across Los Angeles in high summer would make anyone high. In the sixties they’d call this psychedelic. Out here it’s just summer. ~ Saturday, August 29, 2020

Entirely Abstract: Don’t expect a statement or a story or history or any deep inner meaning. This is one block of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood on sunny summer afternoon, in the abstract. Sometimes the abstract is more than enough. This block just feels kind of cool, for some reason, or for no reason at all. ~ Friday, August 28, 2020

Distant Drums: Stopped at a light just down the street on Sunset Boulevard and a fantastic drum solo from the second floor of the building on the right tickled the air. This is Guitar Row where all the rock stars buy their gear, or have it repaired, and there are private studios above the shops. Roll down the window. This guy was damned good, whoever he was. And that must be his big black motorcycle out front. That’s a rock star’s ride. This is a rock star’s neighborhood. Everything is startling, even the details of the old Italianate auction house on the corner. Bid on Jean Harlow’s old jewelry. And that guy kept drumming away. ~ Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Seville Tower: The La Giralda Tower at the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – 333 South La Cienega Boulevard at Olympic – is modeled after La Giralda, the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville, in Spain. The first two-thirds of that is a former minaret from the Moorish period, with the top third serious Spanish Renaissance detailing. El Cid won. He did drive out the Moors. Here architect Arthur Taylor offers a precise replica of that tower, from 1927, but his sits on top of a Mission-style building, red tile roofs and low arches, which looks like it came from a Roy Rogers movie. All of this was originally the City of Beverly Hills Water Treatment Plant Number 1 – abandoned in 1976 when Beverly Hills began to purchase its water from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District. In March 1988 the City of Beverly Hills accepted a proposal by the Academy that the abandoned waterworks be restored to house their library and film archives, and this opened in January 1991. It’s named after Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. – the first president of the Academy. The Academy Film Archive is here, the most complete film archive in the world, along with just about every screenplay and book on film ever written, and there’s the Cecil B. DeMille Reading Room with all the biographical files. The lobby is named after Bob Hope. But really, it’s all about the tower. ~ Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Set in Stone: The late Millard Sheets was an architect, illustrator, muralist, printmaker, and he juried art exhibitions, and in 1954 he was appointed Director of Otis Art Institute. Back in the thirties he was one of fifteen artists chosen to paint murals in the Department of the Interior in Washington and he served on the executive committee of the Public Works Arts Project, the first New Deal art project. And years later, in 1952, he met Howard Ahmanson, the somewhat eccentric multimillionaire, who asked him if he’d be interested in designing a few buildings on Wilshire Boulevard for him. He was interested and beginning in 1952 designed mosaics for the offices of Ahmanson’s Home Savings of America throughout California, fifty of them, and of course he designed most of the buildings too. This is the mosaic mural at Sunset and Vine for the new bank building that replaced NBC’s 1938 Radio City. Sheets’ mural here is site-specific. This is Hollywood so there’s Greta Garbo and Bette Davis and Gary Cooper and all the rest. The bull in the fountain out front is by Paul Howard Manship, the sculptor who created the iconic big gold Prometheus in Rockefeller Center, just around the corner from Radio City Music Hall. The bull has been here since 1938, left over from this coast’s Radio City, now surrounded by more and more new glass towers. But some things in Hollywood are set in stone. ~ Tuesday, August 25, 2020

These Dog Days: It’s August, the dog days of summer. That’s when Sirius the “dog star” rises with the sun and then sets with the sun. During late July, Sirius is in conjunction with the sun. Roman astronomers had the notion that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and nasty and thoroughly uncomfortable weather. They named this period, from twenty days before the conjunction to twenty days after, the “dog days” after the Dog Star, Sirius. And it’s that time again. Look! Dogs! This is an odd time of year. ~ Monday, August 24, 2020

The Saturday Roses: These need no explanation. It’s August. It’s hot as hell. Roses, Los Angeles, Saturday, August 22, 2020.

Quiet Gardens: There are curious things hidden in the garden shadows here in Hollywood. ~ Saturday, August 22, 2020

No Fairy Tale: August has been brutal, too damned hot to do much of anything, and now dark and steamy all day. So was the Sunset Strip. One of the billboards above it all said “This Is No Fairy Tale.” That’s about right. ~ Friday, August 21, 2020

Coffee with Bernie: On the day Joe Biden accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination as their presidential candidate, with a rip-roaring acceptance speech, coffee with Bernie Sanders seemed like a good idea, at Bernie’s Coffee Shop down on Wilshire Boulevard by the new spherical museum. This used to be Johnny’s Coffee Shop, a bit of kitsch from the late fifties, but it’s been Bernie’s place for years. There’s always hope, even on this strange corner. ~ Thursday, August 20, 2020

City One Hundred: When it’s one hundred in the shade Los Angeles is empty, and the sightlines are clear. There’s the Hotel Figueroa that was opened on August 14, 1926, by the YWCA as a safe haven for unaccompanied female travelers, who were prohibited from checking into most hotels without a male chaperone – Italian Renaissance Revival by local architect Lester Hibbard. Now it’s just hip. Across the street it’s the Friday Morning Club, designed by architects Allison and Allison, built in 1923. The Friday Morning Club was founded by the abolitionist and suffragist Caroline Severance in 1891. She was a good friend of Susan B. Anthony and this was the club’s headquarters, a place for self-improvement and study of the arts, literature and culture, and the political and social advancement of women. William Butler Yeats gave a reading here once, and then it turned into the Variety Arts Center. And down the street it’s the new Grammy Museum. The rest is glass. And no one was around. ~ Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Save Our Stages: The Troubadour down on Santa Monica Boulevard is closed. It’s shut up tight. That’s where Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, the Eagles, the Byrds, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Van Morrison, Buffalo Springfield, and others, established themselves – next door to Dan Tana’s where Frank Sinatra used to hang out and where the Eagles wrote “Lyin’ Eyes” – but there’s a new “Save Our Stages” mural on the plywood encasing the Troubadour. There’s hope. There’s pending legislation, the Save Our Stages Act introduced in the Senate in July, to provide Small Business Administration grants to music venues and theaters and other venues that rely on crowds in order to operate, to tide them over until crowds are possible again. That may save the Troubadour. Until then, everything is visual. ~ Monday, August 17, 2020

Increasing Intensity: An array of August roses here in Los Angeles should be displayed in order of increasing intensity. So here they are. ~ Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Jungle Out There: Another extreme heat advisory and it’s a jungle out there, here in Hollywood. ~ Saturday, August 15, 2020

All Everything: There are urgent sociopolitical messages at the corner of Melrose and Laurel in West Los Angeles, and also that mural in the manner of Joan Miró who joined the Surrealist group in Paris in 1924 and hung out with the Dada crowd, around the corner from a bit of thirties Bauhaus and whatnot. So this corner is right now, and also someplace else, from long ago. This is a bit overwhelming. Los Angeles is perpetually overloaded. ~ Friday, August 14, 2020

Net Sunlight: The light at La Cienega on the Sunset Strip – the new glass towers and strung between them “Dream Catcher” (2016) – Janet Echelman. She was named an Architectural Digest 2012 Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban spaces” and this is what she does – machine-woven polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) suspended between skyscrapers. It shifts and ripples. Perhaps it catches dreams. It did catch the odd summer light this day. ~ Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Best Color: This is Hollywood Boulevard at Schrader – fresh paint just behind the new Hustler Hollywood store just up the street from the Gay and Lesbian Center and other oddities – and the bluest of skies. This is a rather peculiar corner of Hollywood. But the colors were perfect this day. ~ Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Light on Light: These are the art galleries on Melrose Avenue at Orange Drive in bright summer sunshine, with deep shadows. The rows of curved lamps make all of this even more dramatic. They provide commentary. Summer in Los Angeles can be startling. The light is startling. ~ Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Art of Elysium: The Hollywood Palladium opened on September 23, 1940, with a concert by Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The Hollywood Palladium went dark this spring. It was the pandemic. But now, the Art of Elysium, a local nonprofit arts group, has commissioned a new “socially distant public art installation” by Shepard Fairey, filling all the windows along Sunset Boulevard. Art of Elysium founder Jennifer Howell – “August 2020 marks 23 years of the Art of Elysium’s mission and programs that are all centered around bringing the healing power of art to those who need it the most. At this moment in time, the world is in great need and in celebrating our anniversary we wanted to create a moment to honor exactly where we are. My personal belief is that art can change the society for the better much quicker than any politician or policies have been able to. Art unites. Art inspires. Art calls to action the people. Art allows us to transcend. It is an honor to have Shepard and his creativity mark 23 years of this mission.” So here it is. ~ Monday, August 10, 2020

Curbside Roses: No one walks in Los Angeles. Everyone should. There are amazing roses on every street, even on a blazing hot August afternoon. ~ Saturday, August 8, 2020

In the Shadows: The summer sun is brutal. The summer shadows are deep and cool. That’s where the lilies hide. That’s where everything hides. ~ Saturday, August 8, 2020

Late Light: The late afternoon light on Sunset Boulevard was too good to ignore. This is Sunset Boulevard two blocks west of Sunset and Vine, the old part of town, old Hollywood, with some new mixed in. ~ Friday, August 7, 2020

For Rita: The Hayworth Theatre, the performing arts center at 2511 Wilshire Boulevard, with three auditoriums and large ballroom used for rehearsals, classes, and special events, was designed in 1927 by Stiles O. Clements of the firm Morgan, Walls and Clements. Like his El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, this is extreme Spanish Colonial Revival, also called Churrigueresque. It originally opened as the Masque Theatre, a playhouse. In 1950 the building was renovated by architect Dwight Gibbs and became the Vagabond, a first-run movie theater that went out business in 1985, and then the site was occupied by an evangelical church. In 1983, the theater was restored by the Rita Hayworth Theatre Company, who renamed the space based on someone saying that it was once housed a dance studio for the family of Rita Hayworth. Maybe it did. Earlier, in 1969, the corner of the building became La Fonda de Los Camperos, a very high-end mariachi dinner theater. The whole place was designated as a cultural-historic landmark by the city of Los Angeles in 1983, and in 2013 all of this was purchased by Jenji Kohan, the creator of Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” and Showtime’s “Weeds” – and with her partner Christopher Noxon the two have been renovating and restoring everything. Yep, this place is amazing, but so is the neighborhood. ~ Thursday, August 6, 2020

Pacific Design: Sometimes the background becomes the foreground. The Pacific Design Center and the West Hollywood Public Library across the street are the background in the neighborhood. The locals walk by. Commuters drive by. No one pays attention to the background. No one is surprised by what is here any longer. But pause. Look. This is an extraordinary corner. ~ Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Get Used To It: Things didn’t get better. Things were always this way. We simply got used to it. And the street art really didn’t change. ~ Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Emptied Out: Hollywood is best when no one’s around. The empty office buildings on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, on a silent and empty summer afternoon, prove that. ~ Monday, August 3, 2020

Hot Roses: Get ’em while they’re hot! Get your cool roses in a Los Angeles garden on a blistering hot summer afternoon! ~ Saturday, August 1, 2020

August Heat: The month opened with a heat wave, and fires in the hills, and drama in the local gardens. ~ Saturday, August 1, 2020


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