Photography

The latest galleries at the sister site Just Above Sunset Photography

Sunset Dreams
“If your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough.” That’s what the sign in the window said. That must be true. This is Hollywood – and these are the forgotten blocks of Sunset Boulevard, on the way to the Sunset Strip but not quite there yet. Here the dreams are odd. ~ Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Malibu Inside-Out
No one expected a massive heat wave this early. It turned Malibu inside-out. This is Pacific Coast Highway near the foot of Topanga Canyon. ~ Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Sunset Swans
The swans are at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine, just up the hill from Pacific Coast Highway, at the edge of Malibu, on Sunset Boulevard. In the twenties this was Inceville – Thomas Ince Studios shot silent films here – and then it changed hands a few times. Paramahansa Yogananda founded the Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920 “to make available the universal teachings of Kriya Yoga” and bought the property – and in 1950 this Shire was opened to the public. Elvis Presley, when he was out here making those dumb movies – Jailhouse Rock and whatnot – spent a lot of time here – at the far end of Sunset Boulevard, above the Pacific. The swans must have calmed him. ~ Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June Up-Close
Summertime is in the details. A garden in West Hollywood, Saturday, June 17, 2017 – in detail –

The City in Heat
Summer in the city – an early heat wave lights up Los Angeles City Hall and the Los Angeles Times building, and much more. The city is in heat. ~ Friday, June 16, 2017

Flying the City
There are mysteries and messages in downtown Los Angeles. ~ Friday, June 16, 2017

Hollywood Head Shop
In the sixties they were called head shops. They sold little pipes, and bongs, and roach-clips and rolling paper – and incense and posters – but they didn’t sell the good stuff. That was illegal. Now they’re called medical marijuana dispensaries and they sell the good stuff – but not the fun stuff. That’s on the outside now. This is the new mural on the new medical marijuana dispensary – “New Greens” – on Hollywood Boulevard, next to the Fonda Theater. The sixties are back, and so is irony. “The Book of Mormon” is playing at the Pantages Theater across the street. Mormons would not approve. ~ Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sweetness and Light
Summer has arrived. Love is in the air – summertime romance – or if love is not in the air, at least it’s in the local street art. ~ Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Big Sun on Sunset
The dreary June Gloom was suddenly gone. That persistent marine layer, day after day after day, that makes Los Angeles a dark place from late May through early July, simply disappeared. There was big sun on the Sunset Strip. Much was revealed. ~ Monday, June 12, 2017

A Subtle Garden
The usual June Gloom doesn’t matter. This public garden in Hollywood does just fine when the sun is hidden all day. ~ Saturday, June 10, 2017

Good Hollywood Light
There’s a new “Mummy” movie – with Tom Cruise this time – and they take such things seriously out here, so a giant mummy just popped up in the middle of Hollywood, at the Hollywood and Highland complex. The courtyard there was inspired by the Babylon set from the 1916 D. W. Griffith film “Intolerance” – which explains the elephant. Nothing explains the 1926 Chinese Theater next door, or the rest of the middle of Hollywood, but the light was good. That’s enough. None of this has to make sense. ~ Friday, June 9, 2017

Kiss the Sky
The Parking Lot Zombie Jimi Hendrix presides over a day of strange light and strange messaging on Melrose Avenue. Kiss the sky. ~ Thursday, June 8, 2017

A College Town
The college town is Westwood Village at UCLA and the landmarks are the Fox Bruin Theater, from 1937, by S. Charles Lee, with its Streamline Moderne marquee, designated a world heritage site in 1988, and across the street, the Fox Theater Westwood Village, designed by architect Percy Parke Lewis. That opened on August 14, 1931 – a Spanish Mission style flight of fancy. And in the middle of the village there’s the English-Norman clock tower at Holmby Hall from 1929, from the architects Gordon Kaufmann and John and Donald Parkinson. The college kids don’t notice, but this is an amazing town. ~ Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rain at Dawn
There was a trace of rain at dawn. It’s June in Los Angeles. The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden on the UCLA campus over in Westwood turned mysterious. ~ Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Transformations
There are Buddhas on the walls down on Heliotrope Drive – and butterflies and mandalas amid the strange little shops. Heliotrope Drive at Melrose Avenue – another sleepy Los Angeles neighborhood transformed. ~ Monday, June 5, 2017

Processing June
The first Saturday in June in the gardens here – a lot to process – Saturday, June 3, 2017

Walls of Sound
Hollywood recording studios – the new mural at The Sound Factory on Selma – the “flower wall” at the Grandmaster Recorders building on Cahuenga, where Stevie Wonder recorded “Songs in the Key of Life” – and the billboards floating above it all – Friday, June 2, 2017

The Concept of Hollywood
The concept of Hollywood is floating around Sunset and Vine. ~ Friday, June 2, 2017

Puffery
June opened with unsettled skies, with puffs of scattered small clouds. The geometry of Museum Row down on Wilshire Boulevard set them off nicely. It was a good day. ~ Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dark Village Streets
The village is Los Feliz – just east of Hollywood, hidden below Griffith Park – where the young Hollywood stars hang out. It’s hip. It’s also a dark place, at least on a day of low clouds and no sun at all. ~ Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Flower Power
The Summer of Love was the summer of 1967 – fifty years ago up the coast in San Francisco – and there are the anniversary celebrations up there. Down here there’s only the street art, and no one has to listen to the dumb song from 1967 – “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” – thank goodness. But the spirit lives on. ~ Monday, May 29, 2017

Summer Begins
Forget the summer solstice. In America, summer begins on Memorial Day weekend. It began in the gardens here. ~ Saturday, May 27, 2017

California Avenue
California Avenue at Fourth Street in Santa Monica – Art Deco meets Big Glass – the past and the present side by side – Friday, May 26, 2017

The Saint on the Cliff
Palisades Park on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica – where Saint Monica hangs out – Friday, May 26, 2017

Hollywood Wall Work
The walls tell stories. On Highland Avenue, just south of Sunset Boulevard, all in a row, the Rug Rats building, a cartoon studio, then the Los Angeles LGBT Center, with those mysterious eyes, then the Baja Cantina with its painted fish scales, because they specialize in fish tacos. Then it’s another outpost of Siren Studios, adding more mystery – and across the streets it’s pure geometry – but that’s just another story. ~ Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Lotus Eaters
Odysseus gets blown off course and ends up in the land of the Lotus Eaters – “who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened to them, but were for staying without thinking further of their return; nevertheless, though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars.” Los Angeles has such a place. It’s Echo Park Lake. Taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home. ~ Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Intuition
Of course the street art in Los Angeles makes no sense, but your intuition says it does. ~ Monday, May 22, 2017

Full May
It might as well be summer. It’s already summer in the gardens here. ~ Saturday, May 20, 2017

Playing in the Mud
The hidden lagoon in Playa Del Rey is pretty much a mud hole now – the drought isn’t over – but the birds don’t mind. The egrets play in the mud, and the gulls and ducks and pigeons keep them company. ~ Friday, May 19, 2017

Beach Freak
Southern California inside out – because that captures the feel of the place better – a wonderfully strange place. ~ Friday, May 19, 2017

White Elephants
The white elephants are the massive white industrial buildings left over from the thirties down in the flats below Hollywood – the gritty part of town with all the warehouses and postproduction studios and whatnot. These monsters still stand. They’re quite mysterious – but everything is mysterious down there. ~ Thursday, May 18, 2017

Having Gone Dark
Hollywood was bright in the thirties. The studios had just added sound to their movies. There was witty dialog, and singing and dancing too, and everyone was getting rich. Luxury apartment buildings were popping up everywhere, to house the new stars – Spanish Revival flights of fancy, and Italianate fantasies, and finally eye-popping Art Deco edifices – the offices where deals were made. Most of that is still here – but it’s all gone dark now. Hollywood is now a dark place. Expect ghosts. ~ Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Applying Color
There’s a rule down on Melrose Avenue. When in doubt, apply color – sign painters transforming a giant wall, and more. ~ Monday, May 15, 2017

The Mysterious Garden
Nothing is simple in the gardens out here. Everything seems mysterious. ~ Saturday, May 13, 2017

At Beethoven
Art districts pop up everywhere in Los Angeles. The one is in Mar Vista – Inland Venice – Venice Boulevard at Beethoven. It’s all new, except for the mural that pays homage to the skateboard legends that lived here a few decades ago. This is Venice after all. This is also pure Los Angeles. Roll over, Beethoven. ~ Friday, May 12, 2017

Sunset Square Afternoon
A quiet day in the neighborhood – Sunset Square, the historic district – Hollywood Boulevard on the north, Sunset Boulevard on the South, Fairfax on the west. It’s a good place. ~ Thursday, May 11, 2017

Los Angeles Monochrome
The Art Deco skyscrapers on Wilshire Boulevard on a dark afternoon in May – the Miracle Mile goes monochrome – and even the modern Brutalist white skyscraper next door is oddly dark. The only color comes from the Jacaranda trees now in bloom. It’s Jacaranda Time in Los Angeles – a heavy marine layer all day, every day. The sun returns in late June. ~ Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hollywood Shows Off
The Sunset Strip is where Hollywood shows off, with giant billboards and supergraphics (building wraps) promoting the latest movies and television shows – but this can’t be marketing. Too few people drive down the Sunset Strip. The rest of America is elsewhere – so this is no more than these guys showing off for each other. It’s competitive graphic design. They try to top each other. It makes for a good show for the locals. There are still a few untouched surfaces of course. That’s a relief. ~ Monday, May 8, 2017

Shots in the Dark
Rain on the way – a dark day in Los Angeles – but some things glow in the dark, in the gardens. ~ Saturday, May 6, 2017

Technicolor Dreams
Sunset at Gordon – Emerson College and the new Technicolor building – and an odd tree – processed color – Friday, May 5, 2017

Sky-Glass
On Sunset Boulevard, the new Sunset-Bronson Studios skyscraper, and across the street, the redone Metropolitan Lofts – and some minor matters – in good light – Friday, May 5, 2017

Hollywood Head Shots
The birds at Echo Park Lake posing for the camera – perhaps hoping that some casting agent will “discover” them and they’ll land a part up the street in Hollywood – and there are potential child stars too – impossibly cute. And this is the place to be seen. Location managers love the lotus pools at Echo Park Lake – very Zen. They do shoot movies here. ~ Thursday, May 4, 2017

Rolling Through Hollywood
The local zeitgeist, as seen in the streets, Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Making Los Angeles Dark
Raymond Chandler made Los Angeles dark – The Big Sleep (1939) and Farewell, My Lovely (1940) and The Long Goodbye (1953) – with Philip Marlowe, the cynical lone-wolf private detective with his strict personal moral code. Humphrey Bogart played him in the movies, in and out of sinister old Los Angeles apartment buildings – Art Deco and French-Norman and Spanish Revival – where there’d be tense talk with bad guys, and cowards, and some very bad girls. Los Angeles was dark, even in the sunshine. This is the Serrano Tower, 1928, near Sixth and Western, and the other Raymond Chandler buildings in the neighborhood. Philip Marlowe is in there, somewhere. ~ Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Curbside Los Angeles
Just another Saturday in Los Angeles – local color – everything’s in bloom. ~ Saturday, April 29, 2017

By the Buddhist Temple
The lanterns at the Buddhist temple on Serrano in Koreatown – the new David Gilmore mural just down the block at Sixth Street – the other Los Angeles – Friday, April 28, 2017

All Lit Up
Good light in the middle of Hollywood on a late April afternoon – and it’s not about Hollywood. It’s about the light. It’s always about the light. ~ Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spring Surfing
There’s April in Paris. There’s April in Malibu. There’s April in Pittsburgh. This is the middle one. ~ Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Imagining Malibu
There’s no need to imagine Malibu. It’s real enough. ~ Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Playing in the Streets
Just another Monday morning on Melrose Avenue – a playful place – Monday, April 24, 2017

Sudden April Heat
A sudden heat wave in the middle of April – ninety in the shade at noon – and in the local gardens, a sudden burst of enthusiasm – Saturday, April 22, 2017

Behind Guitar Row
Guitar Row – the 7500 block of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood – is where rock stars and session players get their gear, and get their gear repaired. And there are tattoo parlors and a Russian bookstore, and a Manga superstore for those into Japanese fantasy. And there’s commentary everywhere. Rebellious street art follows those rock folks everywhere. ~ Friday, April 21, 2017

Guarding the Galaxy
Some days on Hollywood Boulevard are stranger than others, and this was one of them, with the premiere of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” – as if the first one wasn’t absurd enough. The production company was Marvel Studios and the distributor is Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures – so this is pure Hollywood – except this odd movie was filmed at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, with additional filming in Cartersville, Georgia, and at the Georgia International Convention Center. This is comic science fiction fantasy from the New South. These are strange times – but apparently the galaxy is safe. ~ Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Faces of Hollywood
Rock stars – Einstein – palm trees and pirates, and strange shadows on old buildings from the past. That’s Hollywood. ~ Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Inside the Painting
A quiet weekday afternoon here on North Laurel Avenue just off the Sunset Strip – mysterious clouds outside the office window – the empty central courtyard and the vacant pool – it’s like living inside a David Hockney painting. ~ Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Kind of Blue
“Kind of Blue” was that famous Miles Davis album recorded between March 2, 1959, and April 22, 1959, at Columbia Records’ 30th Street Studio in New York. It was very cool. Blue is cool. This is Melrose Avenue, Monday, April 17, 2017. Blue is cool.

An Easter Garden
Roses and more – the full array – Easter weekend in the gardens at the Crossroads of the World on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood – April 15, 2017

Upper Hayworth
Hollywood turned severe – at North Hayworth and Sunset Boulevard, the forbidding glass and stone Directors Guild of America building – with new and somewhat nasty geometric condo complexes popping up around it. It’s all visually interesting, but a bit alienating. Hollywood can be like that. ~ Friday, April 14, 2017

Lower Hayworth
Past decades live on, on North Hayworth between Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue. From the late twenties, a masterful Art Deco apartment building – from the forties, traditional courtyard bungalow complexes – and from the fifties, a “birth of the cool” midcentury modern hideaway – and they all get along just fine. ~ Friday, April 14, 2017

Good April Light
Good April light with well-defined shadows in the middle of Hollywood – Capitol Records and the Pantages and the Frolic Room and the Avalon – Hollywood and Vine – the old and the new. This sort of light adds the appropriate Hollywood drama – in the abstract. ~ Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Kitchen Sink
Hollywood has everything – everything but the kitchen sink. No, wait – there’s a kitchen sink in the gardens at the Crossroads of the World on Sunset Boulevard – America’s first outdoor shopping mall – designed by Robert V. Derrah and built in 1936. Crossroads of the World is the original Hollywood hot mess – little fake “ethnic” villages surrounding a giant fake ocean liner – now next door to a massive Catholic church – with new glass towers going up too. This place has everything – and a kitchen sink. ~ Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shot in Los Angeles
There’s no place like Los Angeles. There’s no avenue like Melrose Avenue. There’s no street art like Los Angeles street art. That’s probably a good thing. ~ Monday, April 10, 2017

April Bight
After a passing shower in the night, bright sunshine in the rose garden at Beverly Park – with bright roses of course – Saturday, April 8, 2017

Chinese April
There’s April in Paris. There’s April in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. It’s just as nice. ~ Friday, April 7, 2017

Heavenly Darkness
Heavenly Pond in the Franklin Hills – an oddly dark day in Los Angeles – duck weather – Thursday, April 6, 2017

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

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

April Dreams
Dream at your own risk – that’s what it says in the streets. April is the cruelest month. ~ Monday, April 3, 2017

Starting April Right
Forget April Fools Day. Start April in a Los Angeles garden. This is how the month should begin. ~ Saturday, April 1, 2017

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

Old Money
From 1904, the Farmers and Merchants Bank at the corner of 4th and Los Angeles Street in downtown Los Angeles – and up the block at Spring Street, its competitors – there was a lot of money sloshing around Los Angeles back then. The old downtown banks made sure that everyone knew that. They were solid. They were flamboyant. ~ Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Little Paris
The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) was held in Paris in 1925. That gave the world Art Deco, and it has finally changed Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles. It’s now a sort of mini-Paris. It has that feel. ~ Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Street Enlightenment
Let the street enlighten you. That’s the aim of all street art. ~ Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Under the Observatory
A walk through the mysterious dark woods under the Griffith Observatory – where there’s often a film crew, doing a location shoot for some mysterious dark movie – but not this day. Still, it’s quiet – too quiet. ~ Monday, March 27, 2017

Roses and Poppies
Roses and poppies make an odd mix, but late March in Los Angeles is an odd time of year. ~ Saturday, March 25, 2017

Alley Eyes
There are strange people in the alleys out here, and strange sights. ~ Friday, March 24, 2017

Sun on Strange Walls
The strange walls in the heart of Los Angeles’ Koreatown – the blocks around Western and Wilshire – on a sunny spring day – Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lost in the Clouds
It isn’t all sunshine – mysterious late March clouds from the Sunset Strip down to the Pacific Design Center and at the Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House, floating high above the east end of Hollywood Boulevard, with its view of the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign. Hollywood goes dark. ~ Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hollywood Cleans House
The current array of discards at Nick Metropolis’ prop shop on La Brea – this is what Hollywood has thrown away this month. ~ Monday, March 20, 2017

Diego Rivera
A Los Angeles garden in the middle of March, with the appropriate Diego Rivera Calla Lilies – Saturday, March 18, 2017

Good Times
Good times in Hollywood aren’t what they used to be. Now they’re when a new glass residential tower is going up on every corner. This is Hollywood and Argyle, next door to the new severely geometric “W” Hotel. When this is finished this will be just another anonymous glass and concrete tower. These things are far more visually interesting when they’re going up. And note – those stairs lead to nowhere. ~ Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hollywood at Home
A cluster of four apartment buildings on Harper Avenue a few steps from the Sunset Strip – the big white Colonial House commissioned by Paul Whiteman – Bette Davis lived in the penthouse for years. The historic Andalusia, from 1926, is across the street – as “Old Spain” as it gets. Next door the Colonial House, a Spanish Revival extravaganza, and across the street, a Midcentury Modern deck home, next to someone’s homage to Frank Lloyd Wright. This is Hollywood at Home. ~ Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Infinitely Cool
In the shadow of the famous Chateau Marmont on the Sunset Strip, an infinitely cool 1957 Thunderbird from the days of “77 Sunset Strip” – surrounded by the infinitely cool billboards of the moment. Retro cool meets the current hip. ~ Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Faces of March
March is a strange month out here in Los Angeles. There are strange faces everywhere, and strange skies above. ~ Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Saving That Daylight
A Los Angeles garden the weekend that Daylight Saving Time begins again – but this garden is already saving all the daylight it can. ~ Saturday, March 11, 2017

At the Edges
Hollywood and Vine is the historic center of Hollywood, even if all the action long ago moved a few blocks west to the Dolby Theater, where they hold the Oscars, and the Chinese and El Capitan, where there seems to be a snazzy red-carpet premiere at least once a week. Nothing much happens at Hollywood and Vine now. But things are always more interesting at the edges. There are new glass skyscrapers at Hollywood and Vine, wedged between what is left from the twenties and thirties – and odd things tucked in the corners. This is the edgy stuff. ~ Friday, March 10, 2017

Where Hollywood Begins
Hollywood Boulevard begins at the five-way intersection in Los Feliz where Vermont crosses Sunset Boulevard. Hollywood Boulevard scoots off to the north and parallels Sunset all the way out to Laurel Canyon. Hollywood starts here, with the Vista – the “Little Egyptian” – the perfect movie palace from the twenties. And there’s the Lion Sun, and the Tiki Bar, and the Mexican restaurant with the giant Aztec mural, and the Chinese acupuncture shop, and the urban-hip barbershop in an old industrial warehouse – and cute little bungalows on the side streets. This is Hollywood. ~ Thursday, March 9, 2017

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

Devilry in the Streets
The devil is in the streets out here – Tuesday, March 7, 2017 –

March Openings
The first Saturday of March in Los Angeles – a bit gloomy – but not in the neighborhood gardens – Saturday, March 4, 2017

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

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

Hollywood Fairy Tale
Setting up for Emma (Hermione) over on Hollywood Boulevard – fairy tales take a lot of work. She’ll drop by in the evening – the premiere of Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast – and that would be Emma Watson from the Harry Potter movies. This isn’t the spooky 1946 Jean Cocteau version. This is Hollywood – just another premiere in the usual setting. ~ Thursday, March 2, 2017

Driftwood and Pacific
Parking in Venice Beach is difficult, but there was an open spot at Driftwood and Pacific, a few feet from the sand – and out there a crew was shooting a display ad for the latest in surfer fashion. Cool. And they rolled in the perfect Woodie. Cool. And there were real surfers in the distance. Cool. This was pure California, in the dead of winter. ~ Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Touch of the Poet
A celebration of multiculturalism at the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) on Venice Boulevard – everyone is welcome in Los Angeles. ~ Tuesday, February 28, 2017

An Oscar Garden
The day before the Oscars, up in Hollywood, down the hill in West Hollywood, the real stars of the weekend – Saturday, February 25, 2017

Setting the Scene Again
It’s that time again. The center of Hollywood is shut down. They’re setting for the Oscars – riggers and electricians and camera folks, and the press, everywhere. This is Hollywood’s one big night, and things must be just right. This takes a lot of work. This is Thursday afternoon before the Sunday worldwide broadcast. ~ Thursday, February 23, 2017

Back to the Streets
After a month of storms, with dark gloomy days in between, the sun is back. So is the street art. Street art never sleeps. ~ Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Rainy Day Peace
The world’s a mess. A massive storm rolled though Los Angeles over the weekend – it was mudslides and sinkholes and power outages. But that’s gone. Now it’s just quiet dark rainy days, and a good time to visit Echo Park Lake. It’s peaceful there. Watch the birds. That will do. ~ Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Down Dark Alleys
Los Angeles turned dark – days and days of rain. No one has seen this for years, and now there are strange creatures in the alleys. ~ Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Winter in the West
“Rainy days and Mondays…” Winter out here – Griffith Park at the edge of Hollywood on a rainy Monday morning in February – Monday, February 6, 2017

Signs of Life
Two days ago, somewhere north of Pittsburgh, that groundhog saw its shadow – six more weeks of winter. Not here – Los Angeles, Saturday, February 4, 2017

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

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

Wilshire Echoes
The Angel of Mid-Wilshire stands near the spot where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 – at the old Ambassador Hotel, which isn’t there anymore – but there are echoes of the past everywhere – fancy buildings from the twenties and thirties, wedged between the new skyscrapers. Those are the echoes of the past. ~ Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Discontent in the Streets
Things have changed. Donald Trump is America’s president now. Everything will be about unfettered capitalism, and winning. Some are unhappy about that. Their discontent is in the streets. ~ Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A January Garden
Friday it was heavy rain in Los Angeles from before dawn to late afternoon. Sunday it will be the most massive storm in seven years. Between the two, a local garden in the in the mixed shade and sun – Saturday, January 21, 2017

Shopping for Color
The west end of Melrose Avenue – near Beverly Center and Melrose Place (yes, there really is a Melrose Place) – is where the New York and Paris fashion houses have set up shop – and as this is California you can buy a surfboard or snowboard down there too. But forget all that. The colors are amazing. ~ Thursday, January 19, 2017

Meanwhile
Meanwhile in America – dark days in Hollywood – rain on the way – but things are dark everywhere. ~ Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mayan Zen
There’s a new yoga studio in bright red Mayan office building from the thirties, and a dress shop. There’s a Buddha at the Mongolian restaurant next door, and there’s Moon Juice, and there’s the surreal “apple” mural on the wall at the auto repair yard across the street. Sunset Boulevard at Occidental in Silver Lake – just another corner of Los Angeles – Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fading Away
The El Mirador, a landmark apartment building in West Hollywood – 1929, S. Charles Lee – now abandoned. It may be gone soon. The architect would understand. S. Charles Lee (1899-1990) designed the similarly flamboyant Los Angeles Theater in downtown Los Angeles, then just about every swoopy Art Deco movie palace out here. Then he moved on to Streamline Moderne movie palaces – when Bauhaus was big. Then the market dried up. His work in the field of tilt-up building systems was published in Architectural Record in 1952 – so it was giant blank warehouses in the end. But 1929 was a good year. ~ Monday, January 16, 2017

Winter Light
In the shadows in the gardens at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, Saturday, January 14, 2017

Caught in the Web
A strange bit of gossamer netting just appeared on the Sunset Strip between two new skyscrapers – the art of capturing the sky or something – but capturing the essence of this place is more difficult. There’s something odd everywhere. ~ Friday, January 13, 2017

Reversing the Clouds
Making the best of the end of a rainy day here in Hollywood – the rest of Hollywood, at ground-level, was dreary. ~ Thursday, January 12, 2017

Winter in Malibu
At the Malibu Pier between winter rainstorms – a quiet weekday afternoon – high sun and long shadows – hardly anyone around – Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Darkest Days
A dark and rainy day in Hollywood – the old and the new – winter here – Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dodging the Rain
It never rains in Southern California, until it does. After years of drought it looks like a wet January, which may help a bit. The gardens look a bit different, with only a sudden stab of sunshine now and then. This won’t last. ~ Saturday, January 7, 2017

Not Sane Yet
Two weeks before the Trump inauguration Bill Mayer was floating above the Sunset Strip. “Let’s Make America Sane Again.” That was the message. Good luck with that. And good luck with that on the Sunset Strip. ~ Friday, January 6, 2017

Urban Forestry
A rainy day in Hollywood’s local forest – Fern Dell in Griffith Park – a reminder of that other world that’s not Hollywood at all – Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Curious Corner
Every corner in Los Angeles is curious in its own way. The corner where Fountain Avenue crosses Sunset Boulevard at the edge of Los Feliz is more curious that most. On a dark winter day it’s almost menacing, or wonderful. ~ Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Dark Days
Another year begins in the streets of Los Angeles, and the first days of the year are cold and dark. So is the street art. ~ Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ending in Darkness
The odd last day of an odd year – a Los Angeles garden in the rain – Saturday, December 31, 2016

Year-End Skies
At the end of an odd year, odd skies over the Sunset Strip – the last fitful sun of the year – it’ll be rain through New Year’s Eve. ~ Friday, December 30, 2016

Death in Hollywood
On Tuesday, Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies, died. No one expected that. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, the perky ingénue in Singing in the Rain, died the next day. No one expected that either. The next day fans left flowers and candles and whatnot on Debbie Reynolds’ two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Carrie Fisher doesn’t have a star. Her fans commandeered a blank one. The media showed up with their big cameras and interviewed everyone in sight – and of course every theater on Hollywood Boulevard was screening the new Star Wars movie. One wasn’t. Other than that, it was just another day in Hollywood. ~ Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Calm Ending
Everyone seems to agree that 2016 was an awful year. There’s only one way to end this kind of year – take a walk around Echo Park Lake – calm waters and waterfowl utterly indifferent to human anger and distress. That helps. ~ Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Using the Walls
Venice, California, a block in from the beach – the walls are covered with meaning, or with whimsy, or simply with color. ~ Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Arrest
It seems that Los Angeles’ young urban hipsters are a bit worried about the coming Trump years. This popped up – but on the day that the Electoral College confirmed the vote, down on La Brea, even the ordinary seemed a bit ominous. ~ Monday, December 19, 2016

City of Stars
“City of Stars” – that’s what is said in the sky over Hollywood. The stars were in the garden below. ~ Saturday, December 17, 2016

Positive Days Ahead
New York has its Greenwich Village – the home of everything hip for more than a century. Los Angeles has Fairfax Village on the edge of Hollywood, one of the oldest Jewish communities in the city, now being overrun by young urban hipsters. This makes for an odd mix, especially in the last few weeks before the start of the Trump presidency. No one is happy. ~ Friday, December 16, 2016

At Christmas
Christmas in Hollywood over the years, always a bit odd – Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dolores Restored
Sixteen years of sunshine had bleached out most of the color. Two years ago the taggers started covering it with gang scrawls and whatnot. It was gone. But now it’s back – Alfredo de Batuc’s 1990 mural “A Tribute to Dolores del Rio” – 6529 Hollywood Boulevard at Hudson Avenue – completely restored and as vivid as it was meant to be. Dolores del Rio (1906-1983) was a major Hollywood star long ago – one of the mysterious “exotic” ones – so this sets things right. The tattoo parlor next door carries on the tradition. Hollywood should be vivid. ~ Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Local Version
America, the local version in the streets out here, Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Beverly Hills Roses
Winter roses along Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rodeo Drive Christmas
The days just before Christmas in the land of palm trees and the absurdly rich – Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills – Friday, December 9, 2016

Twisted Christmas
Christmas is different out here – the old Christie Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, now a Scientology Center – and how Christmas gets twisted down on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills – Friday, December 9, 2016

Deco Sunshine
Shining in the sun, the EL Rey Theater – 5515 Wilshire Boulevard on the Miracle Mile – 1936, Clifford A. Balch – surrounded by the Art Deco skyscrapers from the thirties – Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Still Here
Dark winter skies down on Sunset Boulevard at Gower – the new Emerson College building looked spooky. It all looked spooky, but across the street from the big glass Technicolor building at Sunset-Gower Studios, those who were aghast at the election of Donald Trump decided to grab a wall for a little defiance. They’re “still here” – but their bright and hopeful wall was the only brightness down there this day. ~ Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Politics and Beyond
Current political issues in the street art here – soon to be forgotten – but the rest won’t be forgotten. There are deeper and stranger issues. ~ Monday, December 5, 2016

Garden Work
A garden in West Hollywood, full of bees, Saturday, December 3, 2016

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

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

Christmas Releases
Paramount Pictures at Christmas – Christmas in Hollywood isn’t like Christmas anywhere else. ~ Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Bradbury Effect
The Bradbury Building, 304 South Broadway at West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, from 1906 – “Designed by a $5-a-week draftsman named George Wyman, who had neither an architecture degree nor experience, the $500,000 Bradbury has nonetheless caused generations to marvel at its Eclectic Victorian Pre-Modern design. The untrained architect took the job on advice from his dead brother via Ouija board, and was influenced by the 1887 best-selling book, Looking Backward, by Edward Bellamy – a Victorian’s view of what a futuristic building would look like in the year 2000. It was featured in the film Blade Runner. To add to the building’s mystique, Wyman never again designed a building of significance, in Los Angeles or anywhere else.” It’s across the street from the Million Dollar Theater at 307 South Broadway –1917, by A. C. Martin – which is just as curious. ~ Monday, November 28, 2016

Los Angeles Times
Tony Sheets’ bas-relief history of Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Times complex – and the actual city around it – Monday, November 28, 2016

Last Light
A garden in West Hollywood in late November as a dark wall of rain approaches from the north – the last light for this day – Saturday, November 26, 2016

Late November Darkness
The streets in late November… The sun is shining – this is Los Angeles – but it’s dark out there. ~ Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Washed Clean
Palisades Park, Santa Monica, the day after a rare day of heavy rain – washed all clean and new. ~ Monday, November 21, 2016

Los Angeles November
It’s snowing back east. It doesn’t do that here. It does this. ~ Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Big White Jump
The Emser Tile building on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood – the Suicide Building – in the 1987 movie Lethal Weapon, Mel Gibson goes up there to talk a “jumper” down. They end up jumping off the roof together – but the building does have an existential blankness to it. The location manager got this one right. ~ Saturday, November 19, 2016

Carrying On
The election is over. The counterculture lost, but the street art carries on, as enigmatic as ever. ~ Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Calculus of Los Angeles
Those marginalized Hispanic kids, the children of immigrants here legally or illegally, could learn calculus. “Los Angeles Teachers” – Hector Ponce, 1997 – on the northeast corner of Wilshire and Alvarado, facing MacArthur Park. Edward James Olmos played their math teacher, Jaime Escalante, in the 1988 film Stand and Deliver, the story of how Jaime Escalante, at Garfield High in East Los Angeles, got those kids through AP Calculus. They aced the AP test. The Educational Testing Service was sure they had cheated and made them take the test again. They aced the test again – every one of them. Never underestimate what can bloom in the neighborhoods. ~ Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Just Birds
Sometimes birds are better than people. These times are those times. MacArthur Park, Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Confessions
The Maroon 5 “Don’t Wanna Know Confessional Wall” at La Brea and Second, to promote their newest single “Don’t Wanna Know” – but a sign of the times – their fans submit their “darkest secrets” to the band’s Tumblr page. That’s the anonymous virtual confession wall. Those show up here. But who wants to know such things? No one keeps anything to themselves anymore, and these secrets aren’t all that dark anyway. The world itself is much darker. ~ Monday, November 14, 2016

The Perpetual Garden
There’s no winter here. The gardens are forever. West Hollywood, Saturday, November 12, 2016 –

Troubled Skies
In troubled times even the skies are troubled. The skies over the Sunset Strip, Saturday, November 12, 2016 –

Electric Again
The Electric Fountain – from 1931 – on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards, one of the busiest intersections in the world, has been restored – made as good as new. The plaza and fountain are the work of the architect Ralph Carlin Flewelling and the sculpture is by Robert Merrell Gage – one sad Indian and many heroic white pioneers. It’s a bit politically incorrect now, and the new Waldorf Astoria is going up across the street, to match the one in midtown Manhattan. It’s an odd mix, and the Electric Fountain got its name because it stopped traffic for hours when it was unveiled in 1931 – there were water jets and color effects timed to give sixty different combinations every eight minutes. It doesn’t do that anymore, but there’s still something electric about it. ~ Thursday, November 10, 2016

Calm Waters
In times of national dismay and distress, like the day after Donald Trump won the presidency, there are calm waters, if you know where to look. In Los Angeles, that would be Echo Park Lake. ~ Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election Depression
Melrose Avenue on the day of the strangest election in American history, Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Burnside Avenue
Burnside Avenue between Wilshire Boulevard and Sixth Street – a bit of Los Angeles’ past, specifically the late twenties and early thirties – and yes, people out here used to live like this. It was an age of odd elegance. It’s been preserved. ~ Monday, November 7, 2016

Saving Daylight
A garden in West Hollywood on the last day of Daylight Savings Time – light worth saving – Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Election in the Streets
Triple anxiety – Hillary Clinton as Wonder Woman – the election is a few days away. All the street artists have something to say. ~ Friday, November 4, 2016

Coming to Hollywood
They keep coming to Hollywood, the young kids who want to be stars. They wait tables, hoping to be discovered. At best, they land a non-speaking bit part in the background of a commercial. They form bands. There’s nowhere to play. They go home. Hollywood’s not like that. There’s no magic. There’s just the illusion of magic. ~ Thursday, November 3, 2016

Luminaries of Pantheism
This is new – “Luminaries of Pantheism” by Levi Ponce (design by Peter Moriarty) – South Venice Boulevard between Speedway and Ocean Front Walk. It’s Albert Einstein, Alan Watts, Baruch Spinoza, Terence McKenna, Carl Jung, Carl Sagan, Emily Dickinson, Nikola Tesla, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ralph Waldo Emerson, W. E. B. Du Bois, Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rumi, Adi Shankara, and Lao Tzu – together at last. Abbot Kinney – the man who created Venice, California – is just around the corner. So is Charlie Chaplin. He’s always butting in. But they’re all luminaries. ~ Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Walking Around Venice
Early November, midweek, Venice Beach – it’s always new, and familiar, at the same time. ~ Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ghost Skies
Halloween afternoon at the Griffith Observatory high above Hollywood – ghost skies – and the ghosts have to do with “Rebel Without a Cause” – the field trip there at the beginning of that 1955 movie with the knife fight – James Dean versus Dennis Hopper – and the shoot-out there with the police at the end of the movie – Sal Mineo (“Plato”) dies and Natalie Wood is very sad. All four of those Hollywood stars are now dead. It’s a spooky place. ~ Monday, October 31, 2016

The Subtle Garden
Low clouds – rain on the way – a Los Angeles garden turns a bit subtle. ~ Saturday, October 29, 2016

Nightmare Clouds
It was supposed to rain, finally. There were flashflood warnings. None of it happened. There were only the nightmare clouds. But was Halloween weekend, so that seemed right. ~ Friday, October 28, 2016

Angelino Heights
West Kensington and Douglas in Angelino Heights, high above Echo Park – Victorian mansions, circa 1885-1897 when Angelino Heights was one of Los Angeles’ first suburbs. They’re back. They’re still impressive. ~ Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tripping on Sunset
The Sunset Strip a few days before Halloween – it’s a trip. ~ Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Tallest
The Wilshire Grand Center, about to open downtown at Wilshire and Figueroa, features what is now the tallest building in Los Angeles, and the tallest building in the United States outside of New York City and Chicago. The development of the whole complex cost about a billion dollars. The Hanjin Group, the South Korean shipping conglomerate, is paying for it, not Donald Trump. The tower, by AC Martin Partners, is unremarkable, but it is tall and shiny. Expect to see it in movies. It’s the city’s new landmark. ~ Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The October City
The play of light in downtown Los Angeles, in the severely geometric Financial District, Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Paradise Garden
Frederick Delius, the English composer, was sent to Florida in 1884 to manage an orange plantation – his family really didn’t want him in the music business – but he blew that off and in 1886 returned to Europe. He did become a composer. “The Walk to the Paradise Garden” is his most popular piece. That might have been about Florida, but there are Paradise Gardens everywhere. This one is in West Hollywood – just another day in paradise. ~ Saturday, October 22, 2016

At the Movies
When it’s hot as hell, go to the movies. Sit in the artificially chilled darkness and drift away – but getting there is the problem. Hollywood Boulevard on a blisteringly hot afternoon is disconcerting. ~ Friday, October 21, 2016

Deco Echoes
Los Angeles used to be Art Deco – from 1928 to 1938 or so – when Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were making their musicals down at RKO studios. But those days are long gone. Only the Art Deco buildings remain. These are on Beverly Boulevard in West Los Angeles. ~ Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Street Buzz
BuzzFeed calls itself a “social news and entertainment company” with a focus on digital media to provide “the most shareable breaking news, original reporting, entertainment, and video” – so they’re hip and surprising, they hope. They have a mysterious eye on the wall of their offices in West Los Angeles, and they chose an appropriately mysterious stretch of Beverly Boulevard. Things are odd down there. ~ Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Mysterious East
It’s not Hollywood. It’s East Hollywood – Hollywood Boulevard between Wilton and Western. And it is a mysterious place. ~ Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Things That Don’t Exist
“Don’t waste time being afraid of things that don’t exist.” That’s easier said than done. Take a look at the week’s new street art. ~ Monday, October 17, 2016

October Sunshine
A garden in West Hollywood in the long mid-October light – Saturday, October 15, 2016

At the Moment
Hollywood and Vine, Friday, October 14, 2016 – the old and the new – what remains and what is always being added –

Full Circle
The old church on the corner of Rose and Hampton in Venice had been empty for years. Now it’s where actor Andrew Keegan runs his spiritual organization Full Circle. “Full Circle is the organizational heartbeat of an emerging culture that units mind, body, and soul by empowering people from all beliefs and backgrounds to be the brightest versions of themselves.” They painted it appropriately – but there’s still that odd giant clown just down the street. ~ Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Painting Venice Beach
Sometimes the beach isn’t enough. You have to paint it. ~ Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Before the Sun
In autumn, there are those days when the sun doesn’t pop out until late afternoon. This is Venice Beach on one of those days. ~ Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Nice Day
“Have a nice day, or else…” That’s the current message in the local street art. It’s a California thing. ~ Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Sunset Sun
The early October sun lights up the Sunset Strip. ~ Friday, October 7, 2016

At the Troubadour
The curious corner down on Santa Monica Boulevard at the Troubadour, 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” and so forth. The corner has a strange vibe. ~ Friday, October 7, 2016

Pink-Red-White-Yellow
A color gradient of Los Angeles roses in early October – Friday, October 7, 2016

The Chase
This is new – in the median at Santa Monica Boulevard just east of Doheny Drive “The Chase” by Los Angeles-based artist Hacer – four origami steel sculptures – “Coyote, Stalking” poised for attack and looking east at its potential prey “Rabbit Sitting” – an unaware rabbit. Then “Coyote, Running” is closing in on “Rabbit, Running” – so survival is the theme here. As for Hacer – “Born to teenage Mexican-American gang members, I was abandoned at three months old and placed in a series of foster homes. I was lost in a lifestyle of violence and drug abuse, which I escaped by creating a playful world that evolved from origami cranes.” Then he discovered Alexander Calder. He survived. ~ Thursday, October 6, 2016

Obey
Everyone needs a little Shepard Fairey now and then. Drop by La Brea at Second and get your fix. ~ Tuesday, October 4, 2016

High and Dry
The drought started in late 2011 – the driest period in California history since record-keeping began. Twelve million Southern California trees have died. That changes things. Mulholland Drive – David Lynch territory – Monday, October 3, 2016 –

Entering October
It only gets more intense. A West Hollywood garden as October begins – Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rich Sunshine
Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills on a sunny afternoon, ignoring the famous exclusive stores for the millionaires and paying attention to the sunshine – Friday, September 30, 2016

The Old Cool
The late fifties gave us the Birth of the Cool – Miles Davis back east and the West Coast Sound out here – and in the new Playboy Magazine, once you got past the pictures, there was always detailed advice on how to be cool. And the architecture became cool – out here, low post-and-beam glass-walled elegant houses cantilevered out over the Hollywood Hills. The style became known as Midcentury Modern, but it wasn’t just those houses in the hills. Commercial buildings became midcentury cool, and three of those are here, side by side on Sunset Boulevard – the International Cinematographers Guild, the Motion Picture Editors Guild, and Harmony Gold. They’re pure fifties cool. ~ Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Other Manhattan
A quiet weekday afternoon in late September in the other Manhattan – Manhattan Beach, the north end known as El Porto – and nothing changes here. It’s always summer. It’s always California. ~ Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hot Clouds
Late September heatwave – 104 in the shade for the third day in a row – sit quietly – moving about is painful. Watch the sky. There’s mystery enough up there. ~ Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fighting Those Devils
Street art about fighting devils, internal and external – Monday, September 26, 2016

At the Equinox
A Los Angeles garden a few hours after the autumnal equinox, looking autumnal – Saturday, September 24, 2016

Add Paper Airplanes
New public art – in Los Angeles’ Grand Park, “Paper Airplane” by Elenita Torres and Dean Sherriff – actually a flight of eleven giant “paper” planes – providing shade, and whimsy. And above them, framing the park, the “Dance Door” at the Music Center, and behind that, the tortured “Peace” sculpture – but both of those have been there forever. Only the airplanes are new. Nearby, George Washington looks on. And there are those odd painted steps the lead up to the Music Center. Now the city has added giant paper airplanes. Why not? ~ Friday, September 23, 2016

Downtown Walls
Unusual city walls – “Justice” on the wall of the Superior Court building on Hill Street, and across the street a new glass skyscraper, looking mysterious – and in the background there’s the famous 1928 City Hall, to balance things out. But at the top of the hill, there’s the frieze at the Mark Taper Forum, the oddest wall in Los Angeles. ~ Friday, September 23, 2016

Sun and Glass
A return to the new Columbia Square, 6121 Sunset Boulevard, all glass and angles, from House and Robertson Architects and Rios Clementi Hale Studios, surrounding the original 1938 Bauhaus CBS Studios by the Swiss-born architect William Lescaze – the light was right. Simple geometry can be comforting. ~ Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Adding Faces
The streets of Los Angeles are all about adding faces – hand-painted promos for new Hollywood movies, startling billboards, and sly subversive street art. It never ends. We’re supposed to know these people. We don’t. ~ Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Darker Malibu
Malibu isn’t supposed to look like this. Pacific Coast Highway, late September – a storm off Baja, hundreds of miles south, has sent dark monsoonal clouds streaming in. The place has gone quiet. The local surfers think evil thoughts. ~ Monday, September 19, 2016

White September
It must be autumn. There’s more white in the gardens. This is Will Rogers Memorial Park – going white, with a touch of color. ~ Saturday, September 17, 2016

Hollywood Leftovers
Hollywood’s leftovers end up at Nick Metropolis’ prop shop on La Brea. Set dressers and property masters drop by now and then and rent a piece or two for this shoot or that, but not that often. The odd inventory grows and grows, and Nick seems to amuse himself by artfully arranging his stock so those who drive by are startled. He’s good at that and the display changes from week to week. This week he’s outdone himself. ~ Friday, September 16, 2016

The Trees by the Lake
Hollywood can fill your head with nonsense, but there’s a way to deal with that, and it’s nearby – Echo Park Lake. The trees by the lake have nothing to do movies and celebrity. They are what they are, and the waterfowl know nothing about Hollywood, just a few miles away. No one is hustling anyone here. A walk around the circumference of the lake clears up everything. ~ Thursday, September 15, 2016

All That Jazz
At the corner of Sunset and Bronson, the Old Warner Brothers Studio, now the Sunset Bronson Studios, designated as a Historic Cultural Landmark in 1977 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 – built in 1919 – where the first talkie feature “The Jazz Singer” was filmed in 1927. That makes it a landmark, but Warner Brothers moved out to Burbank in 1934. This place now lives on as an independent production facility. At one time the Gene Autry Golden West Broadcasting organization owned the place. That explains the television tower, but times change. Netflix is building a giant production facility on the site – a glass and concrete cantilevered monster that will open soon. That Al Jolson movie was a long time ago – and across the street there’s the new Metropolitan Lofts with that Space Woman. This is an odd corner of Hollywood. ~ Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Wright Light
Sometimes you have to wait for the right light. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House has been sitting on Olive Hill since 1919, at the east end of Hollywood Boulevard – it’s not going anywhere. But dark days with low clouds rolling by are rare out here. That’s the right light. That makes the place mysterious. ~ Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Stuck on Walls
It must be autumn in Los Angeles – a sudden day of dark skies, and dark street art on the walls. ~ Monday, September 12, 2016

The Saturday Garden
Los Angeles can be boring, in a nice way. The gardens never change. Each Saturday is much the one before – the roses and whatnot remain rather amazing. ~ Saturday, September 10, 2016

Setting the Scene
“The Big Sleep” is that 1946 Howard Hawks film noir, the first film version of Raymond Chandler’s 1939 novel. Humphrey Bogart is the cynical private detective, Philip Marlowe, and Lauren Bacall is Vivian Rutledge, his sexy mysterious client. William Faulkner wrote the screenplay, along with Leigh Brackett, and Jules Furthman, but it never made much sense. That didn’t matter. The movie was dark and moody and complex, and set in Hollywood, which still looks much the same. Here, starting at the “Cahuenga Building” where Marlowe had his office, is Hollywood still looking all noir-in-the-sunshine. ~ Friday, September 9, 2016

Bluebirds
Bluebirds and other critters showing up in West Los Angeles – and parked behind Melrose and Heliotrope, the Bluebird of Happiness – Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thugs
Gang-related street art out here – Los Angeles is a rough place. ~ Thursday, September 8, 2016

California Inclined
The California Incline in Santa Monica has been rebuilt. It just reopened. It was originally a walkway, the Sunset Trail at the end of California Avenue, cut through the bluffs in 1896 to provide beach access to the locals. The roadway was built in 1930, a steep extension of California Avenue that fed traffic down to Pacific Coast Highway and on out to Malibu. Before the Santa Monica freeway was completed in the early fifties this was the only way for those in Los Angeles to drive up the coast – but it hadn’t been touched since 1930 and was crumbing away. Now it’s better than new, and above it all there’s Palisades Park. ~ Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Masks
The streets out here at the beginning of September – life is masked and mysterious – Monday, September 5, 2016

The Last Summer Garden
Labor Day weekend is the informal end of summer – it’s all downhill from here. The gardens here offer the appropriate one last blast of color – but this is Los Angeles. The gardens here will look much like this in December. Summer should end, but out here it doesn’t. ~ Saturday, September 3, 2016

Mondrian Sunset
The Mondrian Hotel on the Sunset Strip has been there since 1985 or so, but it’s changed hands a lot. In 1996 the new owners renamed the Mondrian Hotel Los Angeles, then they sold it in 2011 to a real estate trust – but they still run the place, although the rooftop Sky Bar is no longer the place where the a-list stars go to see and be seen. What is hot only stays hot for a day out here. Still, playful pure geometry never goes out of style. One block west, the two new mixed-use towers are very Mondrian. Piet Mondrian died in 1944, but he would get this. Mondrian lives. ~ Friday, September 2, 2016

Sensing the End
There’s something nicely apocalyptic about Hollywood. There’s that last scene in the Nathanael West novel Day of the Locust – that’s where it all burns to the ground, all of Hollywood, and then all of Los Angeles, as the hapless and emblematic victim-of-everything – appropriately named Homer Simpson – just loses it. He goes murderously nuts – and here is the 7000 block of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood at the moment, looking much as West might have imagined it. ~ Thursday, September 1, 2016

Sunset Rock
Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard a few blocks east of Fairfax, on a quiet afternoon, where the business of rock ‘n’ roll is transacted. ~ Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stop Making Sense
“Stop Making Sense” is that famous 1984 concert film, a live performance by Talking Heads, directed by Jonathan Demme, shot over the course of three nights at the Pantages Theater down the street here in Hollywood. That band started out at the Rhode Island School of Design nine years earlier, but Rhode Island makes sense. Hollywood doesn’t. Look around. They had to film out here. ~ Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Down in K-Town
It’s not Seoul but it seems foreign enough – the center of Los Angeles’ Koreatown, Wilshire at Western, with the blue terra cotta art deco Wiltern Theater surrounded by new glass skyscrapers and all manner of stuff Korean – mysterious shops and odd restaurants. It’s a trip. ~ Monday, August 29, 2016

At the Formal Garden
All the neighborhood gardens in Hollywood are a bit over the top in late August. The formal gardens at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills are not. These are serious gardens. Sometimes restraint is more impressive. ~ Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lost in Hollywood
A quiet Friday afternoon in late August in Hollywood, taking note of the forgotten background, the odd buildings and alleys that were always there, lost in the noise. ~ Friday, August 26, 2016

Sunset Boulevard Cats
Los Angeles’ cat wall – that concrete retaining wall on Sunset Boulevard at Barton Way in Silver Lake covered with very happy cats – Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Stranger Sunset
Sunset Boulevard at Rampart in Silver Lake is a mysterious and enigmatic place. It’s a bit sinister in the sunshine. ~ Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Hot August Streets
August is nasty out here. So are the billboards and so is the street art out here. ~ Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mid-Century Mid-City
There something retro about the area down by the Coronet Theater, at La Cienega at Oakwood. It’s a bit of the fifties and sixties. ~ Monday, August 22, 2016

Deepest Summer
It’s always summer in Los Angeles, but in the middle of August, summer here is even deeper. ~ Saturday, August 20, 2016

Another Odd Corner
Sunset Boulevard and Stewart, just another odd corner of Hollywood – Saturday, August 20, 2016

When Hollywood Was Young
It was a different time – the Hollywood Athletic Club on Sunset Boulevard, founded in 1924 by Charlie Chaplin, Cecil B. DeMille and Rudolph Valentino – a private men’s club for stars like Errol Flynn and Clark Gable. Dick Powell brought the corpse of John Barrymore there for “one last drink” and John Wayne used to toss billiard balls from the roof at passing cars down below. For those who weren’t stars, one block north, the Hollywood YMCA, 1923, from the architect Paul R. Williams. Obscure young men could hang out there. And the neighborhood still has those Spanish Revival buildings from the period, for now. ~ Friday, August 19, 2016

Street Punk
Sid Vicious died in February 2, 1979, and he’s still quite dead – and maybe Punk Rock is dead too. But for a time, he and the Sex Pistols were punk, the core of it all. It seems some people miss those days. The street art out here has gone punk at the moment. Nostalgia takes many forms. ~ Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ocean Park August
There are massive fires out east – eighty thousand people evacuated from the area – and it’s getting worse. But down at Ocean Park it’s still paradise out here. ~ Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Not Just Hillary
Down at Nick Metropolis’ prop shop, Nick now has his “Hollywood for Hillary” display out there facing the street – the sort of thing one might expect out here – but that’s the only halfway normal thing down on that corner these days. ~ Monday, August 15, 2016

Looking Sharp
Los Angeles may be in the middle of another long August heat wave, and the smog is back – the worst air quality in the last twenty years – but the neighborhood gardens here in Hollywood still look pretty sharp. ~ Saturday, August 13, 2016

Friday at Pink’s
Pink’s – down on La Brea not far from Paramount Pictures – might be the most famous hot dog stand in the world. Since 1939 that’s where the biggest Hollywood stars mix with the common folks, standing in the long line in the sunshine. And now there’s a dragon next door, and a famous psychic up the street, and all sorts of odd things. A trip to Pink’s has become a real trip. ~ Friday, August 12, 2016

August Street Stories
The streets out here are full of stories. Sure, they’re ambiguous. But the best stories always are. ~ Thursday, August 11, 2016

Pershing Party
At Pershing Square in the middle of Los Angeles – “Liquid Shard” designed and built by artist Patrick Shearn, made from holographic Mylar and monofilament, now floats above most of the park and ripples in the hot city breezes. The square is filed with food booths and there’s a Brazilian band ready to make everyone dance – and there’s a new party mural. It’s summer in the city. ~ Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Noir Summer City
The center of Los Angeles still looks like it did to Raymond Chandler long ago. It’s a bit menacing. ~ Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What Might Have Been
California’s Democratic primary was in early June. Bernie Sanders lost to Hillary Clinton. It doesn’t matter now, but at Fairfax and Wilshire it once mattered – the Bernie folks had rented and fixed up what used to be Johnie’s Coffee Shop on Wilshire – an amazing Googie thing from the late fifties, designed by Armet and Davis, but it’s empty again. Oh well. What might have been is still on the walls, for now. ~ Monday, August 8, 2016

Opening August
Now this is how August is supposed to open. A sidewalk garden in West Hollywood, Saturday, August 6, 2016 –

Secondary Hollywood
Hollywood, August, the curious detail that is secondary to the tourist stuff – what they don’t notice – Friday, August 5, 2016

Restoring the Masons
The restoration of the former Masonic Scottish Rite Temple designed by the late architect and artist Millard Sheets, at 4357 Wilshire Boulevard, is almost complete. Soon the Masons will be back. Masons use the metaphor of stonemasons’ tools and implements, against the allegorical backdrop of the building of King Solomon’s Temple, to convey what they see as “a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.” That explains a lot of this. ~ Thursday, August 4, 2016

Victorian Los Angeles
Before Los Angeles turned all Art Deco in the late twenties, then Streamline Moderne in the thirties, then Mid-Century Modern post-and-beam and glass in the fifties, Los Angeles was Victorian. This is a bit of that – a well-preserved Victorian mansion in the mid-Wilshire district, where the fabulously rich used to live long ago. Now there’s an odd Masonic Temple next door, and on the other side of Wilshire, a mysterious church – but this is still standing, and impressive. ~ Friday, August 5, 2016

Los Feliz Village
Los Feliz Village, just east of Hollywood and below Griffith Park, where you’re likely to run into Scarlett Johansson or Kristen Stewart or Zac Efron, in the tiny beyond-cool shops and hip little restaurants, is anchored by an impressive 1934 art deco movie palace, still going strong. It’s quite purple at the moment. It’s been other colors over the years, but the movie-stars mural on the north wall needs work – it has faded in the sun of too many summers. The village is still hidden-hip. It has a Charles Bukowski wall. He was Los Angeles’ poet of despair and anger, and thus the favorite of those who now think they know what’s what. But who knows? The pretty people walk around this village. Maybe they know something. ~ Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Anger in the Streets
August here opened with anger in the streets, at least in the street art. It’s an election year. Everyone is angry about something. ~ Monday, August 1, 2016

Deep Summer
Late July, the rose garden near Beverly Hills City Hall is where you’ll find deep summer here. ~ Saturday, July 30, 2016

At Hollywood and Vine
The core of Hollywood, old and new, Hollywood and Vine, Friday, July 29, 2016

Young Hollywood
The current faces at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood – this is no country for old men. ~ Friday, July 29, 2016

Strong Women
On the day that Hillary Clinton accepts her party’s nomination – the first woman who might actually become president – strong women on the east end of Sunset Boulevard here in Los Angeles, near the House of Intuition of course. ~ Thursday, July 28, 2016

Trippy
Remember the sixties? Maybe they never ended – the exterior of a new store about to open down on Melrose Avenue, with one wall to go – and the other trippy stuff nearby. ~ Tuesday, July 26, 2016

American Echoes
A giant new American Eagle in East Hollywood – hand-painted but really just a beer advertisement, even if it is a bit scary – and down at Echo Park Lake, a new brutalist pergola by Mexican artist Teresa Margolles that pays tribute to the Angelenos killed in violent crimes over the last eighteen months – La Sombra (The Shade). “The piece is the shadow,” says Margolles, “I made shade in an ardent summer.” But to counter those echoes there are the lake’s endless lotus beds, the Art Deco Lady of the Lake, the ducks, the egret, and the endless blue skies. Ignore the echoes. ~ Monday, July 25, 2016

Filtered Light
“A wildfire in the Santa Clarita Valley area has burned more than 11,000 acres, prompting mandatory evacuations in some areas and covering much of the Los Angeles basin with smoke and ash.” That changed the light in the local gardens. It was nicely diffused. ~ Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sunset Jam
The middle of the Sunset Strip on a hot Friday afternoon in July – yeah, it’s hot. It’s always hot. ~ Friday, July 22, 2016

An Improved Wall
The new and improved east wall of the La Luz de Jesus Art Gallery – 4633 Hollywood Boulevard – a bit unsettling, but that seems to be the point. ~ Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hot Paint
Strangeness is good. The graphics at the Soap Plant / Wacko / La Luz de Jesus Art Gallery, at 4633 Hollywood Boulevard, over where Los Feliz meets Silver Lake, have been refreshed. And the dancing stick-people next door have been repainted too. Things are as they should be. ~ Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pacific High
The Marina Peninsula, the middle of July, odd skies in the middle of a massive heat wave – and there are strange boats in dry-dock. ~ Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The July Streets
Yes, that’s a dog on a skateboard. Why not? All bets are off in the streets here in mid-July. Melrose Avenue, Tuesday, July 19, 2016 –

Electric Roses
The roses aren’t really electric, but they are lit up. ~ Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Sunny Past
Hollywood apartment buildings from the twenties on a sunny July afternoon, Friday, July 15, 2016

Hollywood Patterns
Hollywood in the abstract, Friday, July 15, 2016

Ali and Friends
Down on La Brea, in a scruffy part of town, now it’s Muhammad Ali – and in an alley in Fairfax Village, a wall of angry ghosts – and out on Fairfax Avenue, a giant happy cat, and much more. This is the other population of Los Angeles. ~ Thursday, July 14, 2016

Two Sides of Town
Echo Park, Honduras mixed with hipsters, and across town, Museum Row on Wilshire, Robert Mapplethorpe territory, Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Repainted
Repainted and reopened to the public – Chris Burden’s “Urban Light” – his iconic grouping 202 vintage Los Angeles streetlamps – on Wilshire at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. They had gotten a bit shabby. Now they’re looking appropriately mysterious again. ~ Monday, July 11, 2016

July Roses
Roses, and more, Los Angeles, Saturday, July 9, 2016

Deco in the Sun
From the late twenties, the old police station in Venice, now an arts center, and the Yucca-Vine Tower in Hollywood, now a school for the performing arts, Friday, July 8, 2016

Southern California July
Pure California – Venice Beach – Friday, July 8, 2016

Ocean Front Art Walk
The art scene in Venice Beach, Ocean Front Walk, Friday, July 8, 2016

Mayhem
Mayhem in the streets of Los Angeles, or at least mayhem in the street art of Los Angeles, Wednesday, July 6, 2016 –

Urbanization
The locals couldn’t stop it. The preservationists couldn’t stop it. Hollywood became a city. ~ Monday, July 4, 2016

Starting July Right
The first Saturday in July – the middle of another heat wave – the gardens in the neighborhood respond. ~ Saturday, July 2, 2016

Prehistoric Los Angeles
Life was always a struggle in Los Angeles. The “prehistoric Los Angeles” mural hidden in an alley just north of Melrose, at La Brea, Wednesday, June 29, 2016 –

Read Kerouac
Jack Kerouac was always on the road. Los Angeles understands him. Read him. ~ Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Unreal Life
There’s real life, and then there’s Hollywood, filled with unreal life. Sunset Boulevard, Monday, June 27, 2016 –

Extra Bright
Full summer sun in a West Hollywood garden, Saturday, June 25, 2016

Friday in the Streets
There were strange characters, and an even stranger turtle, in the streets out here on the last Friday in June – Friday, June 24, 2016 –

Armenia 1915
Los Angeles’ Little Armenia is East Hollywood south of Hollywood Boulevard. They won’t forget the 1915 genocide of one and a half million Christian Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, even if the United States, for various geopolitical reasons, has never acknowledged that event. Two murals just off Hollywood Boulevard, Wednesday, June 22, 2016 –

At the Clown Room
Jumbo’s Clown Room is just another dive bar in East Hollywood. Courtney Love started out as a dancer here, long before Kurt Cobain came along. The neighborhood is still full of clowns. ~ Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Smoke in the Air
The massive brush fires in the San Gabriel Valley filled the Los Angeles harbor with smoke. The Korean Peace Bell and the Point Fermin lighthouse, Tuesday, June 21, 2016 –

Where Los Angeles Ends
The basketball court at the end of the world and the rocky cliffs below, and the harbor at San Pedro, Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Coming In
A garden in West Hollywood the weekend that summer actually begins, not that that matters much here in Los Angeles. It’s always summer here. ~ Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Hollywood Bubble
Hollywood is a world unto itself. Hollywood Boulevard on a hazy Friday afternoon in June – Friday, June 17, 2016

Surfing Topanga
Topanga State Beach, Malibu, Thursday, June 16, 2016

Malibu Blue
The coast at Malibu, Thursday, June 16, 2016

Devil Girl
A dark June day in Los Angeles – June is when the sun won’t come out until late afternoon, if then. The local meteorologists call it our June Gloom – weeks on end of a heavy marine layer off the Pacific. It makes Melrose Avenue look extraordinarily sinister. ~ Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Under the Weather
A trace of rain – the gardens at the Crossroads of the World on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood – Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Portrait Gallery
Think of Melrose Avenue and no more than a portrait gallery. These are the faces of Los Angeles at the moment. ~ Friday, June 10, 2016

1927
They tore down the old Ambassador Hotel, down on Wilshire Boulevard, where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, long ago. Donald Trump wanted to build another giant Trump Tower there, but the city told him to stuff it and built a sleek new high school instead. There were already more than enough giant glass skyscrapers there – but that stretch of Wilshire Boulevard had been the hottest part of town in the late twenties, and a lot of 1927 is still there. It’s just hidden in the corners. ~ Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fish Story
Summer begins. Full-employment here in Hollywood, at least for gaffers – setting up for another “World Premiere” down the street at the El Capitan Theater – “Finding Dory” this time. This one looks amusing. ~ Wednesday, June 8, 2016

In a Lonely Place
Villa Primavera (1923), 1300-08 North Harper Avenue, is the Spanish-style courtyard apartment building from “In a Lonely Place” (1950) – directed by Nicolas Ray and starring Humphrey Bogart as the psychotic murderous screenwriter. It seems peaceful enough. Katherine Hepburn and James Dean once lived there – but across the street is Leland Bryant’s Romanesque Villa (1928) where the infamous “triangle” between Marlene Dietrich and Josef and Riza Von Sternberg played out. That got nasty, but this is the Harper Avenue Historic District – North Harper Avenue just south of the Sunset Strip – a block of fantastic and elaborate apartment buildings from Hollywood’s Golden Age – where Norma Talmadge and Gilbert Roland also once lived, in an odd sort of splendor. The buildings have been carefully restored, and they’re still in use – and there are angels too. ~ Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June Classics
June in Los Angeles opens with the standard roses out here – Topsy-Turvy, Julia Child and Gemini – and in the shadows, Agapanthus. ~ Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Twenties Corner
A bit of what’s left of the late twenties in Los Angeles, the Versailles Apartments, 608 South Saint Andrews Place, just north of Wilshire Boulevard – “20’s Elegance” as the sign advertises – and on the corner, the massive Wilshire Professional Building, 3875 Wilshire Boulevard, Arthur E. Harvey, 1929 – Art Deco write large. But that’s it. Wilshire Boulevard is now all glass skyscrapers, except for the giant Saint James Episcopal Church on the same corner. And on the side streets there are odd Korean nightclubs. It’s an odd little corner of Los Angeles. ~ Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Punk Me Tender
The street artist known as Punk Me Tender has taken over another parking lot, this one down on Melrose Avenue. He’s everywhere in Los Angeles. This is his year – but all street art intends to punk you. Look around. ~ Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memory Day
Memorial Day at the local prop shop out here in Hollywood – it’s all memories, of something or other. ~ Monday, May 30, 2016

The End of May
Early morning in the gardens of Los Angeles on the last Saturday in May, Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Hollywood Afternoon
Just another Friday afternoon on Hollywood Boulevard, where American popular culture implodes – Friday, May 27, 2016

Cheap Theatrics
There’s always something new in Hollywood’s theater district, Theater Row, Santa Monica Boulevard between Wilcox and Cole. In the quiet daytime the little theaters and art galleries and minor studios are still highly theatrical – and it costs nothing to walk around and be appropriately startled. ~ Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mystery Skies
An odd day in late May here in Hollywood – dark mysterious clouds all day that seemed even more mysterious over the Griffith Observatory, where that famous James Dean movie opens and closes. ~ Wednesday, May 25, 2016

These End Times
It seems the street artists out here have given up on what’s left of our civilization. This was the week it was all end-times stuff – on a day when dark clouds blowing by made things even more apocalyptic. ~ Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hypnotic Windows
New construction on the Sunset Strip – reflective glass at the oddly brutalist new condos at the 8000 block of Sunset – and further down the Strip, the newly white IAC building just down the street from the Whisky. It’s a bit hypnotic. The Strip is supposed to be hypnotic. ~ Monday, May 23, 2016

Coming Along Nicely
The same neighborhood garden again, in the middle of May, coming along nicely – Saturday, May 21, 2016

Ghost Town
They say that the ghost of Montgomery Clift roams the hallways of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel late at night, playing the trumpet, like he did as the doomed soldier in “From Here to Eternity” – but the Chinese Theater across the street is just as spooky. All of Hollywood is spooky on an unstable Friday afternoon in May. Even the tourists seem bewildered. ~ Friday, May 20, 2016

The Junction
The current heart of all things urban-hip in Los Angeles, Sunset Junction in Silver Lake, east of Hollywood – some call it Los Angeles’ Brooklyn, which is also surprisingly hip at the moment. Who knew? A walk through the streets of Sunset Junction, Thursday, May 19, 2016 –

Wilshire Formal
The Dominguez Wilshire Building, 5410 Wilshire Boulevard – 1930, by Morgan, Walls, and Clement – originally the Myer Siegel Department Store – has just gone severely black and white. That improves it. It’s quite formal now. Desmond’s, originally Desmond’s Hancock Park Store, 5514 Wilshire Boulevard – 1928, by architect Gilbert S. Underwood – remains its original dismal dull sepia. It’s just frightening. And across the street there’s that old bank building with the eagles – newly spiffed up. That’s now the Korea Center – but it’s all amazing Art Deco down there. ~ Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spooky Spanish
Hidden behind the glass skyscrapers and giant billboards on Wilshire Boulevard’s Miracle Mile, on the side streets, rather spooky old Spanish Revival apartment buildings from the late twenties – Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Navigating Monday
Just another Monday in the neighborhood – the new street art shows that. Mondays are difficult. ~ Monday, May 16, 2016

The Middle of May
A Los Angeles in the middle of May – gray days with only fitful sun, late in the afternoon – but that makes the light better. ~ Saturday, May 14, 2016

Day for Night
Back in the fifties, Hollywood used to shoot night scenes in the daytime, and used filters to make it look like night, which it never did. This is the club scene on Las Palmas in Hollywood, in the daytime, when the place only looks good at night. This too is day for night. Nothing is hidden in the full sun. ~ Friday, May 13, 2016

Hollywood Being Hollywood
Friday afternoon on Hollywood Boulevard – the past is everywhere, but there’s always an odd promo – this one with a giant upside-down church – and there are buskers – this time a young violinist playing Bach – and there’s always a film or television crew setting up a location shoot. Friday afternoon walks out here are always entertaining. ~ Friday, May 13, 2016

Our Lady of the Angels
The Brown Derby is gone. The old Ambassador Hotel where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated is gone. Mid-Wilshire is now glass skyscrapers towering over the few remaining fantasy apartment buildings from the late twenties, and an old church or two, and everything is newly hip, and everyone speaks Korean. And there’s the new severely modern Saint Basil’s – that’s where you’ll find Our Lady of the Angels. This is Los Angeles now. It’s pretty cool. ~ Thursday, May 12, 2016

Newcomers
Early May, Echo Park Lake just north of downtown Los Angeles, this year’s new ducklings join the crowd of regulars at the closest thing Los Angeles has to Monet’s gardens at Giverny – Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Monday in the Dark
May and June in Los Angeles are dark – dense low clouds at dawn that last all day, until late afternoon when the sun finally breaks through for perhaps an hour. Then the gloom rolls in off the Pacific again. There is no sunset. And this is what a dark Monday looks like in the streets. The street art looks even more sinister in the dark. ~ Monday, May 9, 2016

Overnight Rain
A Los Angeles garden on a rare dark May morning after a bit of rain overnight, Saturday, May 7, 2016

Storms Passing By
The weather turned unstable – heavy rain in the foothills and out in the desert – flash flood warnings – but the coast was clear. Venice Beach with the storms all around, but not there, Friday, May 6, 2016.

Behind the News
Sexy women, dressed as butterflies, riding tricycles, on a parking lot wall behind the CNN building on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood – and a curious “head” wall – and the purple jacaranda trees in full bloom – that’s what’s behind the news. ~ Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Music of Sunset
Down at Amoeba Music on Sunset Boulevard – the music scene and more – Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Our Zombie Stars
This was the week that famous dead Hollywood stars appeared down on Melrose Avenue as tattooed zombie street thugs. This might mean something, but probably not. Street art is meant to be provocative, or evocative, or simply a bit disturbing. All this is disturbing, without really meaning much. It just makes the world out here a little odder. ~ Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In the Hard Daylight
The Sunset Strip at night is wonderful – or at least full of wonders. In the hard Monday morning sun, this end of the Sunset Strip seems a bit evil. ~ Monday, May 2, 2016

Curbside Attractions
Curbside, Los Angeles, Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Sound of Hollywood
Sunset Sound, 6650 Sunset Boulevard, where Prince recorded the Purple Rain album, and where the Beach Boys recorded Pet Sounds, and where The Doors recorded their first two albums – and the new yellow mural at the original and parent Sound Factory, Selma Avenue at Cosmo Street in the middle of Hollywood – Linda Ronstadt recorded most of her hits here. Ringo Starr and Dolly Parton and the Jackson 5 recorded here. The sound of America comes from these places, for the hip people on the nearby utility box. This is the center of it all. ~ Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hollywood Stories
There’s a story behind everything you see on the streets of Hollywood. The problem is trying to figure out just what the story is. ~ Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cartoon Life
Life in Los Angeles is pretty much a cartoon. The street art should concede that, and does. ~ Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New Profanity
A walk through the twisted streets – Melrose Avenue, early morning, no one around – strangeness in the air – Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pacific High Winds
Late April – a surprise out of the blue – a day of cold gale-force winds howling in from the north for no reason at all – and suddenly the Pacific wasn’t so pacific. This was Manhattan Beach. ~ Monday, April 25, 2016

The Look of April
Colors in April are a bit subtle out here, at least in the gardens. ~ Saturday, April 23, 2016

Big Eyes
Big eyes above the corner of Orange Drive and Melrose Avenue, where there’s that odd liquor store surrounded by chic new art galleries, Friday, April 22, 2016 –

Sunset for the Prince
Thursday, April 21, 2016 – “The artist Prince, one of the most well-known and beloved rock musician who helped shape modern rock and funk music during a decades-long career, died Thursday at his famed estate in Minnesota, his publicist confirmed.” Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, that afternoon –

Artificial Colors
The colors of Southern California – or at least the colors of this side of Los Angeles. Everything is far too vivid. That may be why everyone out here is so overstimulated. This is not a subtle place. ~ Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sailing Away
Sometimes it’s best to be elsewhere, and in Hollywood that means another visit to the Crossroads of the World – 6671 Sunset Boulevard – Robert V. Derrah, 1936 – built as “the world’s first modern shopping center” – a big Streamline Moderne ocean liner sailing the world, surrounded by Spanish Colonial, Tudor, Moorish, and all sorts of little shops – with the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, from 1928, next door. The whole world is here, sort of – but not really. It’s just a total escape. Sometimes that’s just what you want. ~ Tuesday, April 19, 2016

And Rudolph Valentino
Rudolph Valentino in the little pocket park hidden behind the US Post Office over on Cherokee – where Rickie Nelson hung out when he was skipping class at the nearby Hollywood High School. He said he wrote “Travelin’ Man” here – and maybe he did. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a good place to hang out when you’re skipping class. You can hang out with Rudolph Valentino, in the shadow of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament up on Sunset Boulevard. ~ Tuesday, April 19, 2016

More than Roses
Los Angeles, Saturday, April 16, 2016 – the local gardens are filling up with more than roses –

Neon and Sunshine
There’s April in Paris, and then there’s April in Hollywood. Neon and sunshine – it’s an acquired taste. ~ Friday, April 15, 2016

Visiting with Frank
At least once a year it’s time to drop by the Walt Disney Concert Hall at First and Hope, downtown, just for the names of the streets – but Frank Gehry’s swoopy Disney Hall, the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, also loves the camera. It always looks new, even if it opened on October 24, 2003 – and the light is good in the middle of April. The Broad is the new contemporary art museum next door, with its honeycomb-style concrete-and-steel outer structure, the “veil” that wraps around the actual box of a museum, designed by the firm of Diller Scofidio and Renfro – but it’s just there for contrast. The 1929 City Hall in the distance grounds things. It’s a good place. It was time for another visit, with Frank and his friends. ~ Thursday, April 14, 2016

Southern California Mellow
A pavilion in the park above the sea – Palisades Park, Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, on a quiet weekday afternoon – and a guy singing old Eagles songs. This is how it should be. ~ Tuesday, April 12, 2016

On the Palisades
On the palisades above Pacific Coast Highway, just north of the Santa Monica Pier, Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Monday Line-Up
These guys just showed up in the neighborhood, all in a row – a line-up of nasty characters – but the neighborhood is full of characters. ~ Monday, April 11, 2016

Those April Showers
Shooting roses in the rain, Saturday, April 9, 2016 –

A Rain Day
A rare rainy day in Los Angeles – Ferndell in Griffith Park, and the mists in the hills up at the observatory – Friday, April 8, 2016

Strange Music
A walk through the back end of Hollywood’s Guitar Row, Sunset Boulevard a few blocks east of Fairfax – there are strange things hidden behind all the guitar and amp shops. The best of Hollywood is always hidden. ~ Wednesday, April 6, 2016

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

Street Thugs
Genesee Street at Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, Monday, April 4, 2016 – street thugs and whimsy –

An Explosion of Roses
Everything is always a bit over the top here in Hollywood. That goes for the gardens too. Early April is a bit much out here in the neighborhood. Everyone’s a garden in now an extravaganza. ~ Saturday, April 2, 2016

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

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

Rescuing the Past
Everything in Los Angeles is always new – what was built ten or fifteen years ago is torn down and replaced – but there are pockets of the past. On Fountain Avenue, just south of Sunset near Vermont, there’s a new Native American mural. There used to be Indians here, and that’s next to a mysterious white Art Deco building from the late twenties, looking like new – and next to that is the former Cedars of Lebanon Hospital at 4833 Fountain Avenue, built in 1929, now the centerpiece of the Scientology complex – their Pacific Area Command at the corner of L. Rod Hubbard Way. The Church acquired it in 1977 and decided to paint it chalky azure, replacing the former light-beige stucco. Perhaps that’s an improvement. Perhaps it looks better than ever. Either way, they did rescue the past. Someone has to do that now and then. ~ Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Darker Nature
Late March, Griffith Park, up the hill from Hollywood, a late spring storm passed through overnight. That made the day mysterious. Sunny Southern California is a myth. ~ Monday, March 28, 2016

On Bernie Street
Most of the street art out here is political in one way or another. Now it’s official. In the spring of this election year there is a new street art collective in support of Bernie Sanders – but what’s here already fits right in anyway. Melrose Avenue was always Bernie Street. ~ Friday, March 25, 2016

Bus Stop
This curious, and new – in the park across the street from the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood – “Bus Stop” by the Korean artist Yi Hwan-Kwon – nine hand-painted sculptures – a bus stop, a fire hydrant and seven “city” people that have been stretched vertically. It’s a bit hypnotic – but the neon diver is still there, and the skinny bronze dog. Those are permanent. These people are just waiting for the next bus. ~ Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Another City
The old Hollywood is almost gone. The locals are hopping mad – there are glass and steel skyscrapers going up everywhere – nothing charmingly eccentric will be left – and the center of it all is down at the Hollywood Palladium on Sunset Boulevard. That will stay – in the shadows of the new glass towers. But soon Hollywood will be just another city. That’s pretty much what it is now. Take a look. ~ Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The New Village
Fairfax Village, just down the hill between Melrose and Pico, is one of the oldest Jewish communities in Los Angeles, but it’s been overrun by hipsters. Canter’s Deli and all the little glatt kosher markets are now surrounded by conceptual-art galleries and impossibly trendy shops of all sorts. Visually, the place now has that Village of the Damned thing going – but the mural at the National Council of Jewish Women has been restored in a bit of vivid defiance. Still, the place will never be the same. ~ Monday, March 21, 2016

A Sudden Spring
For weeks the gardens here were dormant, and then they weren’t. They exploded. It’s now spring – the vernal equinox in Los Angeles fell at 9:30 in the evening on Saturday, March 19, 2016. This is noon in the neighborhood – a few hours earlier. Now it’s spring.

The Friday Streets
This end of Los Angeles, from East Hollywood down to Melrose Avenue, is famous for its street art – most of it from the CBS crew – “Can’t Be Stopped” or “City Bomb Squad” – but none of it can be stopped. And now some of it has turned commercial – but not all of it. This is just another Friday out here – something new in the works and surprises in every corner. ~ Friday, March 18, 2016

Detailing Hollywood
The essence of Hollywood is in the details – a walk though Hollywood on a sunny spring day – Wilcox over to Hollywood and Vine and back again. This is a wonderfully odd place. ~ Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Geometry of Los Angeles
Basic geometry on Museum Row down on Wilshire Boulevard, Wednesday, Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Museum Walk
It was a strange day down at the county art museum. There was a parade. ~ Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Waters of March
The Waters of March – the Águas de Março in the Jobim song – Echo Park Lake on a fine day in March – Monday, March 14, 2016

Washed Clean
A garden in West Hollywood in the bright sun, after a day of dark storms – Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Saturday Streets
Melrose Avenue on a Saturday morning – odd beasts and whatnot – Saturday, March 12, 2016

That Deco Tower
Monet painted the Rouen Cathedral thirty times in 1892 and 1893 – the light kept changing. The place looked different every time and that series of paintings is famous – but here, Bullocks Wilshire, 3050 Wilshire Boulevard, will have to do. This landmark Art Deco building is from 1929, by Los Angeles architects John and Donald Parkinson – a luxury department store for more than sixty years and now a private law school. But there is a French connection. The architects had been to the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts (L’Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes) at the World’s Fair held in Paris from April to October 1925. “Art Deco” comes from the words Arts Décoratifs – the title of that exposition that gave the world a new style – and Bullocks Wilshire is Los Angeles’ Rouen Cathedral. This day’s light made it look different again. ~ Thursday, March 10, 2016

Psychedelic Again
In the middle of the sixties rock turned psychedelic. That started in San Francisco, but down here in Los Angeles, the Sunset Strip turned psychedelic too – the Doors were the house band at the Whisky at the time and there was the 1967 album Strange Days with its “People Are Strange” hit single. There was something in the air, and it’s back. This week the Whisky got new psychedelic graphics – just like old times. In fact, the whole Strip is looking psychedelic at the moment. It’s 1967 again. ~ Wednesday, March 9, 2016

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

After the Rain
An El Niño storm leaving Malibu, Monday, March 7, 2016

Beginning Spring
Just before the rain rolls in, a West Hollywood garden on the first Saturday in March – Saturday, March 5, 2016

Echo Park Rooftop
An abandoned building on Glendale Boulevard at Aaron Street in Echo Park transformed – it became a pop-up street art gallery. ~ Friday, March 4, 2016

La Raza
A mural and a loading dock in Echo Park – the deep roots of the other culture out here – Friday, March 4, 2016

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

Hollywood Thai
It’s an odd mix. Hollywood Boulevard between Western Avenue and Harvard is Thai Town – but it’s still Hollywood. It has the iconography of each. The old Central Casting building from 1928 and the murals are pure Hollywood. The rest is pure Bangkok. It’s a bit unsettling. ~ Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Darker Venice
An odd dark day in Venice, California – Leap Year Day – the deep morning fog never really lifted. The streets and the beach seemed somehow menacing. ~ Monday, February 29, 2016

Pale Roses
Things are a bit subdued out here in Los Angeles at the end of February – the pale roses along Santa Monica Boulevard, Saturday, February 27, 2016 –

Rock and Manga
Just another day in the neighborhood – down on Guitar Row – Sunset Boulevard just west of La Brea – where the professional rock people buy their custom gear – there’s a masterful drummer wailing away in the back of a pickup truck. A large crowd gathers – but it’s not all rock. Across the street there’s the largest Manga store in Los Angeles. It’s easy enough to get all Japanese too. And odd words are plastered everywhere too. Daily life out here is a trip. ~ Thursday, February 25, 2016

Big Color
The colors were really popping down on Melrose Avenue this afternoon. ~ Wednesday, February 24, 2016

That Mushroom House
Everyone calls it the Mushroom House – the O’Neill House at 507 North Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Don O’Neill was a successful art dealer specializing in art nouveau, and in 1978, he and his wife Sandy began to renovate this property in homage to his favorite architect, the surrealist Antoni Gaudi. Don O’Neill died in 1985, just as the project got underway, but his wife vowed to finish it in his honor. In 1988 she finally did, and it certainly is surreal – and now there’s a sculpture garden across the street to match it. One block south, Rodeo Drive turns commercial – the most expensive shopping street in the world and surreal in its own way – and one block east is the way-over-the-top City Hall. Beverly Hills is a trip. It’s the mushrooms. ~ Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Six Days Out
A lot of the streets around here are closed. It seems to be Oscar time again. This is the scene in front the Dolby Theater on Hollywood Boulevard six days out – behind the chain-link fence they’re setting up for Sunday night, when the stars arrive on the red carpet. They haven’t got to that yet – they’re still working on the scaffolding, getting ready to rig the lights. The red carpet comes later. As for now, the town has come to a halt, but that’s Hollywood. It happens every year. ~ Monday, February 22, 2016

A February Summer Day
Late February, sunny and in the eighties in the middle of Hollywood – summertime in this public garden on Sunset Boulevard – Saturday, February 20, 2016

Los Angeles Cool
Melrose Avenue between Crescent Heights and Harper – Fred Segal and Paul Smith and Yves Saint Laurent and so on – where young Hollywood actually shops – is an infinitely cool obscure block. But forget the hip shopping. The streets down there are infinitely cool too. ~ Friday, February 19, 2016

Folks in the Alley
The back of Bernie Sanders’ head, that other guy, and a kid, in an alley out here, and more – life is full of surprises. ~ Thursday, February 18, 2016

Darker Hollywood
The clouds had been rolling in all morning. By noon it smelled like rain. And then it began, slow and steady. There’ll be a day of rain – February is like that out here – and just as it was beginning, Hollywood Boulevard turned all Film Noir – odd shadows and mysterious walls and mean streets. It’s kind of cool. Sunshine is boring. ~ Wednesday, February 17, 2016

At the Hidden Lagoon
There’s a hidden lagoon in Playa del Rey, at the end of a long stretch of protected wetlands south of Venice Beach, between the coast highway and the open ocean. Few know it’s there, but all the birds know it’s there. Even when it’s half-empty and the muck kind of stinks, the local ducks and egrets are happy with it. No one else is around. It’s a good place – no people. ~ Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A California Reminder
The word from friends back east, in Rochester, in the far upper left-hand corner of New York, was that there was snow – lots of it. Not here – a few shots of the quiet beach at Playa del Rey – a reminder that moving out here in 1981 was a good idea. ~ Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bright Spots
In the middle of February, when the public gardens out here have gone dormant, there are still bright spots. Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills, Saturday, February 13, 2016

Intensely Chinese
The new cultural center of the Southern California Teo-Chew Association at 649 North Broadway in Chinatown – ready to open. The Teo-Chew are Han Chinese people native to the Chaoshan region of eastern Guangdong province in southern China, who speak their own Teochew dialect, and now most Teochew people live outside China in Southeast Asia – in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia, and here in the United States. The civil wars during the Jin Dynasty were a bit much for them – but now they see themselves as the “real” Chinese, in exile, the cultural elite. Perhaps this building proves that. ~ Friday, February 12, 2016

The Year of the Monkey
This is the Year of the Monkey – Los Angeles’s Chinatown a few days after the New Year and the day before the annual Golden Dragon Parade. It will be a good year. ~ Friday, February 12, 2016

Basic Winter Light
The only subject matter is the light. Out here, in the winter, that’s enough. ~ Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Little Bit French
Franklin Village on the east side of Hollywood is a quiet little neighborhood that’s oddly French. It’s not just the row of funky little French restaurants. It’s the classy Claridge Hollywood – in 1934, Charlie Chaplin commissioned European craftsmen to build him this very French looking project, after staying at the Hotel Claridge Paris on a honeymoon. To the left is the massive French-Norman Chateau Elysee – 1927, by architect Arthur E. Harvey – built for Elinor “Nell” Kershaw, the widow of Thomas Ince, the man who invented the Hollywood studio system back in the silent days. It was the place to see and be seen in the twenties and thirties, but now it’s the Scientology Celebrity Center. The spooky abandoned building across the street is the 1926 Villa Carlotta Apartments. That was Nell Kershaw’s first project on the street, and Italianate, not French. Maybe that’s why it failed. It’s a strange little neighborhood. ~ Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Spaced Out
Sometimes Hollywood seems totally alien. Perhaps that’s intentional. Sunset and Vine, Monday, February 8, 2016

Deep Winter Roses
A public rose garden in Beverly Hills on the first Saturday in February – perpetual roses out here – another day in paradise – Saturday, February 6, 2016

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

A Winter Walk
A walk through Sunset Square, the Craftsman district of odd old houses between Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard on the west edge of Hollywood, on a sunny winter day – but of course we don’t have winter out here. There’s no such thing out here. Winter is in the details, and the long shadows. ~ Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Shape of Things
Paying attention to the local geometry down on Melrose Avenue – just the geometry – oddly calming – Wednesday, February 3, 2016

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

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

Nicely Ordinary
The gardens here in Los Angeles are dormant in late January – the roses cut back to stubs and nothing much new. But the ordinary stuff is fine. It deserves attention. ~ Saturday, January 30, 2016

Shadow Studios
Sunset Gower Studios on a winter afternoon – the light was good – the shadows were mysterious. They’re shooting movies and television shows in there, but the old walls in the bright sunshine will do just fine. ~ Friday, January 29, 2016

Sunset Strip Blues
Color studies – the Sunset Strip on a winter afternoon – Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Living on the Strip
Some people live right on the Sunset Strip, like the folks at Villa Madrid that hovers over the center of everything. But now it looks down on the new condos being built just below, at 8500 Sunset. The promotional banners hiding the construction hint at who should really be living on the Strip – and there’s that unhappy family off to the left. Living here isn’t easy. ~ Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sky Work
The plan was to drop by Melrose Avenue and photograph the latest street art, but the high sky stole the show. There are days like this out here in late January, when the light is perfect. ~ Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hollywood Grove
Hollywood Grove, north of Franklin at the base of Griffith Park, is a small neighborhood of 139 craftsman and colonial and Mediterranean homes dating from the early 1900’s – from before the movie business. The area was originally citrus and avocado groves – many of these homes were built for the grove managers and their families. The old houses remain – some restored and some waiting to be restored – but the real anchor of the neighborhood is the rococo apartment building from the twenties at Franklin and Taft – all flowers and vines. That captures the essence of the place. But times change – things get hip – some odd street art pops up here and there. ~ Monday, January 25, 2016

Out of the Darkness
A Los Angeles garden on a dark Saturday afternoon in late January – what winter looks like out here. ~ Saturday, January 23, 2016

Building Hollywood
An afternoon ramble through the architecture of Hollywood, starting with the cubist public library on Ivar – early Frank Gehry, before he got all swoopy – and then on past the landmarks and oddities – Friday, January 22, 2016

Out of the Blue
The streets out here keep changing. Melrose Avenue seems to have turned blue. ~ Thursday, January 21, 2016

Among the Idle Rich
Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, on a quiet afternoon in the middle of the week, where those with far too much money drop by the most expensive stores in the world and idly pick up this or that, and then move on. It is another world – and off to the side, the oddly emblematic Golden Triangle Medical Building from the twenties, at Brighton Way and Camden, now filled with the most expensive private psychiatrists in the world, and at the foot of Rodeo Drive, the rococo Beverly Wilshire Hotel, looking ominous. In one of the alleys there’s a bit of appropriate street art. ~ Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dark Waters
Winter in Los Angeles – Echo Park Lake just before the rain – Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hollywood Junkyard
The detritus of Hollywood eventually washes up at Nick Metropolis’ place down on La Brea. This is what pop culture left behind, although someone from the studios may drop by now and then and buy a piece, to dress a set – but probably not, unless the production designer calls for a bit more rueful irony. This is what is left of the culture’s dreams – and out back, on Sycamore, there’s that sycamore. ~ Monday, January 18, 2016

Different Light
The same Los Angeles roses, but the light is different in the middle of January. ~ Saturday, January 16, 2016

Memento Mori
In ancient Rome, the victorious general would parade through the streets after some victory while the throngs cheered his triumph, and standing behind him would be his slave, who was doing exactly what he’d been told to do – he’d tell the general “Memento mori.” He’d just whisper those two words over and over – remember, you too will die – everyone does. This is important to remember. The streets out here, the week of David Bowie’s death – Friday, January 15, 2016

High Skies
The winter skies over west Los Angeles and the Wilshire District – they call it the Miracle Mile. What’s below is dreary and a bit shabby. What’s above is rather wonderful. ~ Wednesday, January 13, 2016

California Long Shots
A bright January afternoon, snow in the mountains off in the distance – time for a spin along Mulholland Drive, high above Hollywood, and time to drop by the Griffith Observatory. You can see forever up there, through the telephoto lens. ~ Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Town Goes Dark
David Bowie died over the weekend. Monday morning this town went dark, from the Sunset Strip down to Melrose Avenue – or what was already dark suddenly seemed more obvious. And only a few days earlier that abandoned recording studio up on Gower looked so cool in the bright sunshine. ~ Monday, January 11, 2016

Winter Formal
Winter in the gardens at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills – subdued and a bit mysterious, after a week of heavy rains, with more on the way – Saturday, January 9, 2016

Bauhaus on Sunset
A bit of Bauhaus on Sunset Boulevard – the new Columbia Square, 6121 Sunset Boulevard, all glass and angles, from House and Robertson Architects and Rios Clementi Hale Studios, surrounding the original 1938 Bauhaus CBS Studios by the Swiss-born architect William Lescaze – International Modernism reinterpreted. The odd figures in glass frames are by Dustin Yellin. They fit right in. ~ Friday, January 8, 2016

At the Malibu Pier
The Malibu Pier and Surfrider Beach between the early January storms that roll in off the Pacific – it’s cool and bright blue out there. Winter is good out here. ~ Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hollywood Rain
Hollywood in the rain – the El Niño storms begin. Hollywood looks better in the rain. ~ Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Alternative Universe
Los Angeles really is an alternative universe. Just look around. ~ Monday, January 4, 2016

Subdued
A Los Angeles garden, Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Light
New Year’s Day in Hollywood – new light on the odd landmarks – odd light – starting down Sunset Boulevard – side by side, the Cinerama Dome, Amoeba Music, CNN and so on – and then moving up to Hollywood Boulevard. The new light changes things. ~ Friday, January 1, 2016

The Last Afternoon
The afternoon of New Year’s Eve on the Sunset Strip, before the madness starts, as if the Strip wasn’t mad enough already ~ Thursday, December 31, 2015

Cool Beach
Venice Beach at the end of December is really cool, when it’s really cool. ~ Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Year-End Street
The local street art at the end of a very odd year – Monday, December 28, 2015

Before the Rain
The gardens at Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills on a December Saturday – the last light before the rain – Saturday, December 19, 2015

Twisted Christmas
Christmas in Hollywood isn’t like Christmas anywhere else. It gets a little twisted out here. ~ Friday, December 18, 2015

Animal Alley
Jason Ostro’s Alley Project, an ongoing public-art initiative on the edge of downtown Los Angeles, has produced more than 75 murals by about 50 artists since April. Ostro, owner of the nearby Gabba Gallery, has now created “Animal Alley L.A.” – still in progress. The Chilean-German street artist Otto Schade flew here to provide the elephants. The artist who goes by the name Random Act teamed up with Clinton Bopp to provide the tiger with the bees and hummingbirds. Venice-based Jules Muck painted the tabby cat with angel’s wings and the street artist known as Phobik provided the cheetah. This obscure alleyway off Glendale Boulevard, just behind the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, is getting crowded, and getting rather cool. ~ Thursday, December 17, 2015

Locals Only
The other Los Angeles, on the edge of downtown at 1st Street, where gritty Echo Park begins – another world, perhaps the Third World, or the New World – Thursday, December 17, 2015

It’s Complicated
Things are complicated in West Hollywood and the public art reflects that. In front of the new public library, “Michelangelo 2020: A Tribute to Women” by Mauro Perucchetti – Michelangelo’s David in female form, here in a town where gender rules are fluid, and complicated. On Santa Monica Boulevard in the Doheny Sculpture Median, basically outside the front door of the Troubadour, six odd spheres by Ivan McLean. The only complications here are visual, and they are considerable, and impressive. The tiger and the dog were just hanging around down there. ~ Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hollywood Being Hollywood
The streets of Hollywood have been closed for days. Crews have been setting up for the biggest premiere in years, the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens – the seventh in saga. The first of them, Star Wars – later renamed Episode IV: A New Hope – premiered here at the Chinese Theater in 1977 without much fanfare. But then it was Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) then Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) then Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) then Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) then Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) – so it’s been ten years. This is Episode VII: The Force Awakens – a big deal. This is the afternoon, as the crowds gather. The big stars will be along soon, and Hollywood continues to be Hollywood. ~ Monday, December 14, 2015

The December Light
After a day of intermittent rain and high wind, the soft December light in a garden in West Hollywood ~ Saturday, December 12, 2015

Heavy Weather
The rarest of days in Hollywood, a series of brief dark storms roll in off the Pacific, changing the look of the place – for at least one afternoon. ~ Friday, December 11, 2015

Face the Strange
That’s what it says, and that’s what’s lurking in the corners in the neighborhood – the street art in the shadows. ~ Wednesday, December 9, 2015

High Surf
El Porto, Manhattan Beach at 42nd Street – high surf warning on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 – and thus a good day.

The Winter Coast
San Pedro and the coast, Tuesday, December 8, 2015 –

Gemini and Julia
There’s never a time when roses are not in bloom in Los Angeles. In Beverly Garden Park, Gemini and Julia Child and New Dawn – Saturday, December 5, 2015 – but they’re always there.

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

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

December Lake
Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at Echo Park Lake – geese, ducks, an egret – perfect –

The End of November
The last day in November in the streets out here – the remains of the month – the remains of the year – the remains of the culture – Monday, November 30, 2015

On the Wright Hill
The pale November skies over one of the three Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the neighborhood – Hollyhock House on Olive Hill just above Hollywood Boulevard – from 1919, from his Mayan period – and Olive Hill is where the locals here go to step out of time. ~ Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Museum Monday
At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art down on Wilshire at Fairfax in mid-November, lost gulls, far from the ocean, and something new – Rodin reinterpreted – and the swoopy new Petersen Automotive Museum almost finished and just about ready to open – and what’s always there, Renzo Piano’s severely geometric Broad Contemporary Art Museum and Chris Burden’s “Urban Light” – those vintage Los Angeles streetlamps. It’s a good place. ~ Monday, November 23, 2015

The November Roses
November in Los Angeles is much like July in Los Angeles, and every other month – but the light changes in November. It arrives at an angle. That makes it deep autumn in the gardens. ~ Saturday, November 21, 2015

Friday Afternoon Light
November afternoons are rather fine out here – the play of light down at La Brea and First, where the odd apartment buildings from the thirties give way to the arts district down there. ~ Friday, November 20, 2015

Hollywood Muse
David Lynch made that puzzling movie “Mulholland Drive” and no one ever knew quite what that was about – but it was somehow about Hollywood. Mulholland Drive runs along the spine of Hollywood Hills, with Hollywood far below, and this is the overlook above the Hollywood Bowl. Lynch was right. It is surreal up there, and down below, at the entrance to the Bowl, there’s George Stanley’s “Muse of Music, Dance, Drama” – a bit of Art Deco madness from 1940, the largest and last of the WPA arts projects on the West Coast. Stanley also designed the famous Oscar statuette. This is a surreal town. ~ Thursday, November 19, 2015

Building Strip City
A lot of rock ‘n’ roll was born in the scruffy clubs on the Sunset Strip. In the thirties and forties it was the Hollywood stars at the Trocadero and Ciro’s and the Mocambo – long gone now. Now the Sunset Strip is turning into a city – glass towers are going up everywhere, hiding what’s left of the past. This is Strip City in progress. ~ Wednesday, November 18, 2015

High-Contrast Hollywood
A brilliant day on Hollywood Boulevard – an impossibly blue sky and that long November light that makes everything pop out. Everything’s in high contrast and a bit dramatic, but this is Hollywood after all. ~ Tuesday, November 17, 2015

After Paris
The streets out here on the Monday morning after the massive terrorist attacks in Paris – there’s a kind of emptiness to it all. ~ Monday, November 16, 2015

Opening in November
This is how Los Angeles looks in November. The light is long. The gardens glow. ~ Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Shape of Things
This end of Sunset Boulevard on a Friday afternoon – odd geometry and odd patterns – Friday, November 13, 2015

Hollywood Moments
Just another quiet weekday afternoon here it Hollywood – still trying to get a feel for this place after all these years – and that’s difficult. But the light is good. ~ Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hollywood Veterans Day
Things are different out here. “In 1941, more than 250,000 Filipino soldiers responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-arms and later fought under the American flag during World War II. Many made the ultimate sacrifice as both soldiers in the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East and as guerilla fighters during the Imperial Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Later, many of these brave individuals became proud United States citizens. For over 60 years, Filipino veterans and community advocates have fought to obtain compensation for those who served with American soldiers during World War II.” They’re still working on that. Each Veterans Day they hold a big rally on Hollywood Boulevard. This year they had a rapper – amid all the heroic war-movie trappings that have always lined the boulevard. ~ Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Addition of Color
The premise of the street art out here seems to be that any city is improved with addition of intense color anywhere and everywhere. This might be so. This might not be so. Take a look. This is around Melrose and Fairfax. ~ Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November Empty
Early November, a weekday afternoon at Palisades Park on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica – breezy, in the sixties – and no one is around. The beach below is empty. This is a world without people. California is better that way. ~ Monday, November 9, 2015

Past Novembers
This is how November begins in the gardens here in Los Angeles – early November, 2009 and 2010 – but it could be any November.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Abbot Kinney Boulevard is Venice California’s Main Street – a few blocks inland from Venice Beach and far hipper. Abbott Kinney was the tobacco magnate who decided we needed a Venice of America, so he built one out here, with canals and everything. That opened in 1905, and some of the canals are still here, but this town may not be what he had in mind. ~ Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stranger Faces
The faces that face you on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California ~ Thursday, October 29, 2015

Not Broadway
Hollywood does have a theater district, Theater Row, down on Santa Monica Boulevard between Wilcox and Cole, amid the warehouses and strip malls and postproduction houses down in the flats. It’s a bit shabby, but that’s its charm. It’s anchored by an odd Art Deco building from the thirties at Cole. Live theater out here is an oddity. ~ Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Shooting the Hollywood Streets
Those are the photographers there. This is what they’re shooting. Hollywood is a strange place, even if all this down on Melrose Avenue is only metaphoric. ~ Monday, October 26, 2015

Extra Bright
A Los Angeles garden in late October – the colors pop. There is no autumn here. There is no winter coming. There are only endless roses. ~ Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hollywood Late Afternoon
The light is always extraordinary. Here on North Laurel Avenue, late afternoon, Friday, October 23, 2015.

Where It Starts
The Art Deco former Venice Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, at 685 Venice Boulevard, many blocks inland from the beach, was an active jail from 1929 until the early seventies. Now it’s the home of the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) – a gallery, a mural/digital lab, and home to one of the largest collections of murals/public art anywhere around. Most funky public art in Los Angeles starts here, and of course the place always looks different. This time it’s odd birds on the walls, and in the parking lot out back, the ultimate Los Angeles mural. That’s new. But old Venice is still on that garage next door. ~ Thursday, October 22, 2015

Reading Hollywood
Read Hollywood. Understand American popular culture. No, that won’t work. ~ Wednesday, October 21, 2015

New Glass
Columbia Square, 6121 Sunset Boulevard, the home of CBS’s west coast radio and television operations from 1938 until 2007, designed by Swiss-born architect William Lescaze, was an International Modernism masterpiece, but it was abandoned. The new Columbia Square is a residential and retail complex surrounding massive office space, and that will surround the original 1938 buildings. It’s all glass and angles, from House and Robertson Architects and Rios Clementi Hale Studios. MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Spike TV will be moving in soon. The glass is being fitted now. This may not be an improvement. ~ Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bits of Hollywood
Six new Dustin Yellin sculptures – glass and stainless-steel encasements housing elaborate collages – in the central courtyard of the redevelopment project on Sunset Boulevard, just east of Vine, the Columbia Square compound that opened in 1938 as the home of CBS’ West Coast radio and television operations. Yellin calls these “psychogeographies” – thousands of intricate cutouts from magazines and books arranged on 28 sheets of glass, stacked like pancakes then turned vertical. “Imagine if I put you between microscope slides and I slowly cranked the vice until you just exploded,” Yellin says. “And instead of seeing blood and bones and guts and entrails, I would see your memories, your experiences, your thoughts, your history, your future. All those things would come out in this sort of visual DNA, this roadmap, this architecture of space and matter. That’s what these are.” These are also Hollywood. This is the site where the inaugural 1938 broadcast starred Bob Hope, Al Jolson and Cecil B. DeMille. Lucille Ball filmed the pilot episode of “I Love Lucy” at Columbia Square in 1951, and James Dean once worked here as an usher. But now, across the street at Nickelodeon on Sunset, they make those kids’ shows. ~ Monday, October 19, 2015

The Autumn Garden
Will Rogers Memorial Park, Beverly Hills, Saturday, October 17, 2015

Reversing a Dark Day
A dark day down the street at the Hollywood Palladium – it opened on September 23, 1940, with a concert by Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. It’s seen the Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, the Oscars, the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, and so on. It was built on the site of the original Paramount Pictures, between Argyle and El Centro, and it’s all Streamline Moderne – designed by Gordon Kaufmann, the architect of Greystone Mansion and the Los Angeles Times building – and it should be exciting. But the low skies drain all the glamour out of it. It looks far better in the negatives. All of Hollywood does when the day is shadowy. ~ Friday, October 16, 2015

At the Vista
This is the other Egyptian Theater in Hollywood – the Vista Theater, 4473 Sunset Boulevard, out east. It 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. Now it’s a hip art house place, but it’s well-preserved. ~ Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fluid City Rising
Franklin Hills, east of Hollywood, is an odd out-of-the-way place. There’s nothing there, but where Hoover Street dead-ends just below Prospect Avenue, there’s Hoover Walk, built in 1923, and “Fluid City Rising” – an odd mural by Ricardo Mendoza, dedicated on March 26, 2009, now a bit faded. But it’s still startling. Many things in Franklin Hills are. ~ Thursday, October 15, 2015

Under Unstable Skies
The record heat wave ended with odd unstable skies – storms off the Baja sending mystery our way. This made the street art, below, even more mysterious. ~ Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Los Angeles Abstracts
Light and shadow, down at the old Reagent Showcase Theater on North La Brea, an S. Charles Lee movie palace from the thirties, when things got geometric – but the whole neighborhood down there is geometric in its way. It’s like a set from that Fritz Lang movie Metropolis, but real. ~ Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Extreme Heat
What a Los Angeles garden looks like when it’s nearly one hundred degrees at noon on a Saturday in early October ~ October 10, 2015

No Method
Down at the bottom of the hill, next door to the 7-11 and the laundromat, there’s the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, with its little Marilyn Monroe Theater. That’s him on the wall. Strasberg was the father of Method Acting and he did what he could with Marilyn Monroe, but really, life is too random. There’s no method to it. Look around that neighborhood. It’s all random. ~ Friday, October 9, 2015

This Day in Hollywood
It was just another Thursday here in Hollywood – down the street today at the Dolby Theater, the Latin American Music Awards about to begin – lots of lights and cameras – and a new giant strange woman next door at the Chinese Theater – and the usual odd faces, and sun and palms and shadow and sky. Everything is as it should be. ~ Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Scary Season
October is the scary season on the Sunset Strip. The funky shops by the famous clubs do the Halloween thing – amazing displays – and the giant billboards above it all tout the new shows of this fall’s television season. Those are just as scary as the ghouls and ghosts and spiders below. It’s a disturbing time out here. It will pass. Only that tiger is permanent. ~ Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Under October Skies
Melrose Avenue, Monday, October 5, 2015 – a visual feast, of an odd sort –

Value Statements
What you see in the streets out here is who we are, at least out here in Los Angeles. ~ Monday, October 5, 2015

The Central Garden
October opens in the gardens of the Crossroads of the World, the eccentric shopping center from 1936 shaped like a giant white ocean liner, on Sunset Boulevard in the middle of Hollywood. The ladies in the windows of the Millinery Guild of Hollywood wear their flowers on their heads. All is well. ~ Saturday, October 3, 2015

Beaux Arts Los Angeles
It was time to slip into the past. The Rosslyn Hotel at the corner of 5th and Main in Los Angeles was designed by the firm Parkinson & Parkinson in the Beaux Arts style that was all the rage at the time, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When it opened in 1914 it was the largest hotel on the Pacific Coast, and now it has been restored to its original splendor. The same thing is happening to all the other Beaux Arts gems around it. Beaux Arts lives. The few Art Deco buildings from the late twenties in the neighborhood are getting lonely. ~ Thursday, October 1, 2015

Gallery Row
Gallery Row in downtown Los Angeles is relatively new – designated by the City Council in 2003 to promote the concentration of art galleries along Main Street and Spring Street, from 2nd Street in the north to 9th Street in the south. But forget the galleries. The art is in the streets. ~ Thursday, October 1, 2015

Down in Lotus Land
Echo Park Lake on a blistering hot day – it’s cool and calm down there. It’s the lotus. ~ Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Street Elegance
At one end of Melrose Avenue, a new elegant woman on the art wall on Spaulding. At the other end of Melrose, the always elegant Pacific Design Center, and a mystery mural. ~ Monday, September 28, 2015

Beyond Gemini
The rose garden near Beverly Hills City Hall in the second week of a record-setting heat wave – only the strong survive – “Gemini” and a few friends. ~ Saturday, September 26, 2015

Skating Through Venice
Venice Beach in late September – the young are active. This is the Southern California everyone imagines. It’s real enough. ~ Thursday, September 24, 2015

Under the Peace Sign
Under the giant iron Peace Sign in Venice Beach, the graffiti art park where the sixties live on – as it does a few feet away on Ocean Front Walk. ~ Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hush Now
It’s back – the Hillview Hollywood, on Hollywood Boulevard at Hudson. This was Hollywood’s first “artist’s” high-rise, built in 1917 by Jesse L. Lasky, the co-founder of Paramount Pictures, and his brother-in-law Samuel Goldwyn, co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. At the time this was one of Hollywood’s only apartment buildings 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 – and that’s now an exclusive club called Hush. Charlie Chaplin was once a proprietor of the Hillview. Clara Bow found her first home at the Hillview in 1923 – but it was eventually abandoned, and there was structural damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. It was a tear-down, but group of investors restored and completely redid the Hillview in 2005. They went bankrupt, but others jumped in. The Hillview Hollywood is back. Dolores Del Rio is still in the alley. Mary Martin is still across the street. All is well, but next door, behind the vegan restaurant with the dragons, the Warner Pacific Theater is still waiting. No one’s restored that yet. ~ Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pico-Pico
The east end of Pico Boulevard, far inland, near La Brea, Mid City – there are hidden parts of Los Angeles that are rather mysterious. ~ Monday, September 21, 2015

The September Light
The light shifts in September. It arrives at an odd angle. That changes things in the local gardens. West Hollywood, Saturday, September 19, 2015

Up In Hollywood
Hollywood and Vine, at street level, is shabby and nasty – tourists and the homeless sleeping in doorways and the occasional madman stumbling around and shouting at the sky, and cops. It’s best to look up. What’s left of the golden past floats above it all. ~ Friday, September 18, 2015

A September Alley
The good stuff is in the alleys. In an alley just east of Fairfax High School there’s a new yellow woman-warrior from Anthony Lister. There’s always new stuff. This is where the high school kids sneak off to between classes, to smoke and be cool. A new school year has begun. This is the place to be. ~ Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Down Stranger Streets
A walk around Sunset Junction, the achingly hip neighborhood at the junction of Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard, east of Hollywood, the center of Los Angeles’ alternative music scene for the last two decades. That means it’s a strange place. The alternative music generates alternative everything. It’s like walking through one of those odd songs. ~ Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Grabbing the Light
There are days out here when the light is excellent. Down on Wilshire, the severely geometric Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the swoopy new façade of the Petersen Automotive Museum, Chris Burden’s “Urban Light” – the iconic grouping 202 vintage Los Angeles streetlamps – and Renzo Piano’s light and airy Broad Contemporary Art Museum. It’s all good, when the light is good. ~ Monday, September 14, 2015

Dark and Hot
Ninety-five and dark low clouds, a few drops of rain now then – a nasty Saturday in Hollywood – the gardens at the Crossroads of the World on Sunset Boulevard – looking mysterious – Saturday, September 12, 2015

This End of the Strip
This end of the Sunset Strip on a Friday afternoon in September, just down the street – a short walk in the sunshine, into the heart of what’s supposed to be cool – Friday, September 11, 2015

Extreme Local Color
Back east, September means the trees explode in their amazing fall colors. Palm trees don’t do that. Out here in Los Angeles the street art explodes in amazing fall colors. This is Melrose Avenue in the middle of a September heat wave – one hundred in the shade and thunderstorms coming. That’s fall here. ~ Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thunderheads
It was hot as hell in Hollywood – well over one hundred at noon – and something was brewing off in the distance – thunderheads building out over the Mojave – storms on the way. But those never make it to the city. We just get the visual high drama. Hey, it’s Hollywood. ~ Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Double Deco
A return to the Art Deco center of Los Angeles – the Wilshire Professional Building, 3875 Wilshire Boulevard, Arthur E. Harvey, 1929 – and the Wiltern Theater and Pellissier Building, 3780 Wilshire Boulevard at Western Avenue – Stiles O. Clements and G. Albert Lansburgh, 1931. They never get old. They get shabbier, but they never get old. They’re a photographer’s delight. ~ Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Starting September
In the gardens in the neighborhood here in Hollywood on the first Saturday in September – we don’t have seasons out here. ~ Saturday, September 5, 2015

Down at Paramount
Melrose and Gower on a lazy Friday afternoon – Paramount Pictures – always something to see when you’re stuck in traffic down there – Friday, September 4, 2015

Capturing the Light
The light changes our here in September. It gets dramatic. Hollywood looks like a movie set. Maybe it is a movie set. ~ Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pershing Square
Pershing Square is the center of Los Angeles – exactly one square block in size, downtown. In the 1850s this spot was used as a camp by settlers outside of the Pueblo de Los Angeles. The city grew up around it. In 1866 it was dedicated as a public square and called La Plaza Abaja, “The Lower Plaza” – but in 1870 it was officially renamed Los Angeles Park. In 1886 it was renamed 6th Street Park, but in the early 1890s it was renamed again, as Central Park. In November 1918, a week after Armistice Day ended World War I, the park was renamed Pershing Square, in honor of General John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing. That will do for now. Beethoven showed up in 1932 – a little something to honor the founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Pershing Square keeps changing, but it’s still the center of Los Angeles, surrounded by odd buildings from all the years gone by. ~ Tuesday, September 1, 2015

At the Corner of September
The corner of Fairfax and Melrose on the last day of August – the strangeness of summer in Los Angeles lingers. ~ Monday, August 31, 2015

The Fifth Saturday
It was an August that was too long – five Saturdays this time – but that’s fine. It’s an extra weekend for the roses in the local gardens. ~ Saturday, August 29, 2015

Intense Faces
An odd building on Western Avenue just south of Hollywood – someone added faces. Deborah Harry on the Sunset Strip, installed next to the famous Pink Dot Bug – rather unsettling – but this is a strange town. ~ Friday, August 28, 2015

Living in Style
Serious Deco – the Ravenswood – the apartment building on Rossmore Avenue in Hancock Park designed by architect Max Maltzman and built by Paramount Pictures in 1930. Mae West moved into Apartment 611 when she got to Hollywood in 1932 – the apartment had been reserved for her by Paramount. She liked it so much she never left. She lived here until her death in 1980 – with a view of Chateau Rossmore, the Norman-French art deco complex across the street, designed by Milton J. Black in 1934 – with its statue of Eve and her apple. And down the street there’s the El Royale – 1929, designed by William Douglas Lee – a Spanish/French Rococo/Renaissance extravaganza. Clark Gable and Loretta Young lived here. William Faulkner lived here when he was in town writing screenplays with Fitzgerald and Hemingway. 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. This stretch of Rossmore Avenue may be the real center of Hollywood. ~ Thursday, August 27, 2015

Summer Spheres
The lake in MacArthur Park has been covered in twenty-five-hundred hand-painted giant spheres – fish and flowers. “The Spheres of MacArthur Park” is a project of the non-profit group Portraits of Hope, which specializes in large-scale urban arts projects – the Massey organization. This project was first conceived in 2008 and had been destined for Europe, but after Ed Massey and his brother, Bernie, drove down Wilshire Boulevard and saw the park last year, they thought the project would work well for Los Angeles. Their nonprofit Portraits of Hope is devoted to creating public art installations that serve as creative therapy for children with disabilities and those in hospitals coping with cancer, burn trauma, head injuries and so on. The kids painted the spheres, and this is pretty cool. It makes the summer better – but in 2010, the Masseys, who are native Angelinos, launched their “Summer of Color” – for five months they directed the efforts of children and adult volunteers as they painted the walls and roofs of lifeguard towers along the thirty-one miles of beaches from Ventura to San Pedro. One of their first projects in Los Angeles was the 1997 painting of an oil derrick, located on the campus of Beverly Hills High School on Olympic Boulevard. The derrick’s ninety-two panels were covered with images of the four seasons. Someone has to improve Los Angeles. ~ Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Confrontational
He’s back – Anthony Lister, the street artist born in Brisbane in 1979 – graduated from the Queensland College of Art in 2001 – then traveled to New York and ended up here in Los Angeles. He has gallery shows all over, but he prefers the street. This just popped up on Spaulding at Melrose Avenue. It’s confrontational. But it fits right in. Look at what’s around it. ~ Monday, August 24, 2015

Late August Show-Offs
A public garden in Beverly Hills in late August – that place is full of show-offs. ~ Saturday, August 22, 2015

Reversing Hollywood
Display advertising in Hollywood, positive and negative, Friday afternoon, August 21, 2015

Concept Hollywood
It’s hard to get a fix on Hollywood. They’re always rebuilding it. But the basics remain. ~ Friday, August 21, 2015

Echo and Sunset
Echo Park is pretty much Honduras with hipsters – that’s as Los Angeles as it gets. This is one single block, Echo Park Boulevard at Sunset Boulevard. The two cultures coexist. ~ Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Aquatic Life
The sliver of Los Angeles that’s not Hollywood or surfers or aerospace or wheeling and dealing in the glass towers downtown – Marina del Rey on a weekday afternoon in August. This is life on the water. ~ Wednesday, August 19, 2015

These Particular Streets
The street art in Rio and Sao Paulo is about social justice and football (soccer) and samba, and the street art in Berkeley is about social justice and the counterculture. In other American cities the street art is about racial justice, and in Lower Manhattan it’s about the One Percent. Here in Hollywood the street art is about fame and the cost of fame, about assuming roles and being seen, and about people always watching. Of course some of the street art is totally abstract. That’s just set-dressing. ~ Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hot Roses
Ninety-seven at noon, full sun, zero humidity, light breeze off the desert – alkali and dust in the air – these should be dead. They’re not. ~ Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Bit of the Strip
The Sunset Strip – the heart of rock ‘n’ roll – on a blazing hot Friday afternoon in August – the clubs ready for the hot night to come. ~ Friday, August 14, 2015

The Temple Restored
Wilshire Boulevard Temple – from 1862 to 1933 Congregation B’nai B’rith – is the oldest Jewish congregation in Los Angeles. Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s main building is its sanctuary topped by a massive Byzantine Revival dome – a City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was completed in 1929 – designed by architect Abram M. Edelman, the son of the congregation’s first rabbi, Abraham Edelman. It was shut down in 2008 for renovations, restoring it to all its 1929 glory. In late 2013 it was back, better than new. The twenties in Los Angeles never looked better. ~ Thursday, August 13, 2015

Choose Your Past
Side by side on Hobart, in the Wilshire District, two apartment buildings – from the early thirties, Art Deco, and from the late twenties, French-Norman, sharing a common wall – so you can decide in which Old Los Angeles you’d like to live. ~ Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fresh August Paint
In August, when the sun is blazing and it’s ninety at noon and getting hotter by the minute, there’s nothing like smell of acrylic spray-paint in the air. The street artists are at it again, adding more color to Los Angeles. This crew was at it in an alley behind Melrose Avenue. The Funky Lords – that’s what their new mural says – but they were pleasant young men, willing to chat. They were having fun – but there’s not a wall or fence down there that isn’t already taken. The crews paint over last month’s mural. This is August. Next month this will be hidden under that next extravaganza. ~ Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Prop Rentals
Life in Hollywood – the studios need props – independent suppliers provide them. Nick Metropolis’ prop rentals down on La Brea – and all of this is available to the general public too. Who knows? You might need some of these items one day. ~ Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August Garden Mix
The gardens at the Crossroads of the World on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood in early August – this is what survive the brutal August sun. ~ Saturday, August 8, 2015

Tourist Time
Hollywood Boulevard on a Friday afternoon in August – a place meant to bewilder tourists – and it does. ~ Friday, August 7, 2015

Hollywood Gateway
Hollywood itself starts as Hollywood Boulevard crosses La Brea – where’s there that yogurt shop with all the parasols and the odd mural, where Paris Hilton sometimes hangs out, and the stainless steel gazebo on the southeast corner everyone calls the Four Ladies Statue – by production designer and director Catherine Hardwicke, from 1993 – a tribute to the multi-ethnic women of Hollywood. The four life-size silver women supporting the structure are Mae West, Dorothy Dandridge, Anna Mae Wong and Dolores Del Rio. Then Hollywood actually begins. It gets stranger. ~ Friday, August 7, 2015

Devil Skies
Late afternoon on a weekday in early August here at the base of Laurel Canyon – everyone is hiding – a brutal ninety-five in the shade, but there is none, and ice at 35,000 feet – devil skies. ~ Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August Street People
The first week in August in Los Angeles – you meet the oddest people in the street. Actually is so damned hot you don’t meet real people – just these. Melrose Avenue, Tuesday afternoon, August 4, 2015 –

At the Edge of Malibu
Pacific Coast Highway at the south end of Malibu, where the glamour isn’t – strange skies and dark cliffs and vagabond surfers in odd buses – Monday afternoon, August 3, 2015

August: Hollywood
A Hollywood garden on the first Saturday of August, 2015

At the Margins
The immigrant experience – 7th Street at MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, Friday, July 31, 2015

City Park Summer
MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, Friday, July 31, 2015

Sunset Boulevard Faces
What you’ll see while cruising down Sunset Boulevard in late July – an odd array – Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Naming Sunset
Sunset Boulevard, late July, street signs – Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Full Saturation
Los Angeles street art in late July – full sun, full color saturation – Melrose Avenue, Monday afternoon, July 27, 2015

The Roses of July
The last Saturday of July in Los Angeles – hot as hell – the local roses love it. ~ Saturday, July 25, 2015

Down at the Lake
Echo Park, on Sunset Boulevard, halfway between Hollywood and Union Station, downtown, is gritty and a bit dangerous. Echo Park Lake, with the Los Angeles skyscrapers shimmering in the distance, is improbable – the waterfowl, the floating beds of water lily and lotus. It really shouldn’t be here, but on a hot July afternoon, this is the place to be. ~ Friday, July 24, 2015

At the Cat and the Fiddle
The Cat and the Fiddle shouldn’t have been there in the first place. That was the British pub opened by Kim Gardner – one of the founding members of The Birds – in 1982 on Laurel Canyon Boulevard. In 1985 it moved to 6530 Sunset Boulevard – the heart of Hollywood – into the courtyard of a 1923 Spanish Revival mansion. Keith Moon, Rod Stewart, Robert Plant and such folks hung out there all the time, and then in December, 2014, it closed. The new owner of that complex of historic Spanish Revival buildings more than doubled the rents. The Brits were gone. It was 1923 in Hollywood again. ~ Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chasing the July Clouds
A tropical storm off Baja California pumping odd clouds up into Los Angeles – the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, and the library and public pool across the street – clouds – Wednesday afternoon, July 22, 2015

Here’s Looking at You
Here’s looking at you, kid. The faces of Hollywood, Tuesday afternoon, July 21, 2015

The Dark Heart of California
Venice Beach can be a dark and unsettling place, even when it’s sunny. On a muggy Monday afternoon in July, Venice Beach can be even more disconcerting – the weekend tourists are gone. This is the raw strangeness. ~ Monday, July 20, 2015

The Color of Summer
The roses here in Hollywood in the middle of July – Saturday, July 18, 2015

Strange Windows
Walking the back streets of Hollywood, where the strange window are – windows on the past – odd building from Hollywood’s Golden Age, the age of glamour, with a touch of madness. ~ Friday, July 17, 2015

Wright Again
It was time to check on one of the three Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the neighborhood – Hollyhock House on Olive Hill just above Hollywood Boulevard – 1919 – from his Mayan period. The restoration is coming along nicely. His nearby Arts and Crafts House, from 1929, needs work. It’s next. ~ Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Trees on Olive Hill
Olive Hill, above the east end of Hollywood Boulevard, is now an arts complex and a public park. It’s a good place to sit quietly and forget your life. It’s a place to consider the life of trees. ~ Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Sweet Summer Streets
The street art of summer – the middle of July on Melrose Avenue – and there’s even baseball. ~ Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Stepping into the Past
Chapman Market, designed by the firm of Morgan, Walls and Clements, opened in 1929 – and it’s typical of the Churrigueresque Spanish Colonial Revival architecture popular at the time, with a bit of Moorish mixed in, along with some Gothic and Rococo touches. It’s a glorious nightmare of a place, on West 6th Street at Alexandria Avenue in the Wilshire District of Los Angeles. But Stiles O. Clements was on a roll – three years earlier he had given us the exterior of the El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Boulevard – so everyone should have seen this coming. The Chapman Market was designed as the first-ever drive-in market, but now it’s “the” Koreatown hotspot – all the hot clubs and amazing restaurants are here – but it’s a very strange place. It has a past. ~ Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The High-Contrast Garden
The gardens at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills in the middle of summer – pure white, pure black, and only a bit of color – Saturday, July 11, 2015

Full Urbanization
The Sunset Strip used to be a wild place. In the sixties, and then through the eighties, wave after wave of new rock ‘n’ rock was born here in the gritty clubs. No more – cranes fill the skies. They’re building luxury hotel after luxury hotel. The place will never be the same. ~ Saturday, July 11, 2015

Dog City
Dog City – that would be Highland Avenue between Santa Monica Boulevard and Willoughby – the doggie spas, the doggie hotel, the pet hotel – bordered on the north by the giant Iron Mountain warehouse where the Hollywood studios store their old films – a heroic tower from the late twenties with the flag on top – and bordered on the south by the curious white rococo Central Laundry Building, also from the late twenties. Los Angeles has some odd pockets. ~ Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Eyes Have It
New eyes down on Melrose Avenue. And old eyes too. Someone is looking at you. ~ Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Noon on Guitar Row
The seven-thousand block of Sunset Boulevard is known as Guitar Row. There’s the Hollywood Rock Walk – no stars in the sidewalk, just the Hall of Fame wall with some memorial plaques and, instead of the footprints of the celebrities in the sidewalk, the handprints of rock legends. That’s for the tourists. Guitar Row is filled with guitar shops for the professionals, and not just guitarists. There are agents’ offices and music publishers too. Yeah, there are rock stars all over, but they’re quietly going about their business – in the daylight. The tools of the trade do matter. ~ Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Minor Sunset Boulevard
Sunset and Vine is famous. The Sunset Strip is famous. And then there’s that dead zone between them – Sunset Boulevard between Fairfax and La Brea. But this is Hollywood too, even if it is gritty and odd. It has its charms. ~ Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Beyond Roses
A garden in Hollywood on the Fourth of July – this is full-on summer in Los Angeles. ~ Saturday, July 4, 2015

For the Fourth
For the Fourth of July this year, patriotism out here in Southern California – a collection from the archives –

How to Make It
Los Angeles really should come with an instruction manual. It doesn’t. One must rely on the street art to learn how to make it in Los Angeles. Melrose Avenue, Thursday, July 2, 2015 –

Museum Skies
July opened with mysterious skies – a tropical storm somewhere was pushing waves of low dark clouds over Los Angeles. The light changed. Down on Museum Row, at Wilshire and Fairfax, everything was an enigma – or more of an enigma than usual. ~ Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Malaga Cove
Enough of Hollywood – it was time to visit Malaga Cove, down on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It’s quiet there, in the shade of colonnade after colonnade at the local plaza, built in the thirties. Neptune’s Fountain – a replica of the 1567 La Fontana del Nettuno in the main square in Bologna, over in Italy, by Giambologna – is a little spooky. Because of the drought they’ve turned off the water – but there is an actual cove – hidden. This place will clear your head. ~ Tuesday, June 30, 2015

At Cliff’s Edge
The cliffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Under Dark Skies
The last Saturday in June in Hollywood – low dark skies and few raindrops – and the gardens at the Crossroads of the World on Sunset Boulevard are quiet and muted. ~ Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hollywood: Late June
A Friday afternoon in late June in the center of Hollywood, in and around Hollywood and Vine – the town suddenly looked very strange. ~ Friday, June 26, 2015

Just Below Sunset
Hollywood used to be snazzy. Just below the Sunset Strip, at Hayworth and Fountain, Art Deco from the thirties – and five blocks west, an Italianate extravaganza from the late twenties. They’ve seen better days. ~ Thursday, June 25, 2015

From Morocco to Spain
It’s all about being elsewhere. The fancy Moroccan restaurant on Sunset Boulevard at Stanley – the old Spanish apartment complex at Hayworth and Fountain – Thursday, June 25, 2015

Framing Life
The new street art this week actually has frames, or some of it does – but it’s all about framing life in one way or another. By the way, the Ars moriendi are two related Latin texts dating from about 1415 and 1450 which offer advice on the protocols and procedures of a good death, explaining how to “die well” according to Christian precepts of the late Middle Ages. Perhaps the same applies here in Los Angeles. ~ Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Folks in the Alley
There’s an odd collection of new folks in the local alleys, the June crowd. Los Angeles street art is all about the characters. ~ Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June Busting Out All Over
This is what the neighborhood here in Hollywood looks like in June. This is a good place. ~ Saturday, June 20, 2015

Randomly Hollywood
The heart of Hollywood on a hot afternoon in June – the odd stuff – the really odd stuff – Friday, June 19, 2015

Dealing with Death
The statuary at the Hollywood Forever cemetery on Santa Monica Boulevard – behind Paramount Studios – which means high drama. Cecile B. DeMille is here. ~ Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Different Farewell
The Thai-Cambodian-Vietnamese section of the Hollywood Forever cemetery – the only color down there – Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Curious Darkness
Venice Beach on a close and dark steamy weekday in June – there is an odd darkness to the place. ~ Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Out of the Darkness
Beverly Gardens Park, in Beverly Hills, on a foggy Saturday morning in June – Saturday, June 13, 2015

Palace Costume
Palace Costume and Prop Company, 835 North Fairfax Avenue – founded in 1970 after starting out as a vintage clothing store down on Melrose Avenue – is a Hollywood institution. Every movie or television show or commercial with a period piece in it probably utilizes Palace Costume. You call just walk in once you’re on account – no need to make an appointment – but it’s not open to the public. Production designers and costumers and set decorators are the only ones who get inside – but it’s just down the street here and the façade is for everyone in the neighborhood. It used to be whimsical murals and historic scenes painted on large wood panels, making the place look like a movie set. That cost eighty grand and took four years to complete, and then, in March 2009, the taggers got it all, ruining everything. The defaced wood panels were taken down and placed in storage. The walls were bare – until now. There are new murals. The whimsy is gone. ~ Thursday, June 11, 2015

Library Funnies
New at the West Hollywood Public Library, Batman and Superman in a sort of homoerotic Pietà, and around the corner in the alley, those odd cartoon characters on the wall of the parking structure. Life is a cartoon. ~ Thursday, June 11, 2015

Simple Colors
Japanese lanterns at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood – no more than that – for the Gay Pride Festival – Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Dark Coast
A strange June day along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu – eight-five and dark, with a few drops of rain now and then – the air was thick – the trailing edge of a tropical storm down in Baja. No one expected this. The light changed. ~ Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Inevitable
Embrace the inevitable? With Los Angeles’ street art there’s no choice. It is what it is. The themes never vary. The images do. ~ Monday, June 8, 2015

Opening in June
It’s Hollywood. The blockbusters open in June. It happens in the neighborhood gardens too. Down the street here, Saturday, June 6, 2015 –

Los Angeles Brainwash
Mr. Brainwash – out here we know him as MBW – is the name used by the Paris-born, Los Angeles-based street artist Thierry Guetta. Banksy suggested he get into it, but Guetta himself doesn’t have much physical involvement in the construction of what is attributed to him – he passes ideas on to his creative team of graphic designers. They do the work and he gets famous – famous for the giant “Life is Beautiful” stuff that pops up all over out here. His work has sold for five figures, and in 2009, Madonna paid Guetta to design the cover art for her “Celebration” album – and now he owns a lot of expensive Los Angeles real estate. And now he’s at it again. This just popped up on La Brea. But is it true? Look around. ~ Friday, June 5, 2015

Hiding in the Alley
All sorts of new characters just popped up in the mysterious alley behind La Brea, just south of First – and out front, at Nick Metropolis’ prop-shop, there’s a new and disturbing dancing man. Los Angeles gets stranger by the day. ~ Friday, June 5, 2015

Hollywood Achievement
Another day, another awards extravaganza down the street at the Dolby Theater – this time it’s Steve Martin receiving the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award. They’ve rolled out the red carpet. They’re setting up the lights. The limousines full of celebrities will arrive soon, and so will he. And he seems to be a fine fellow. But everyone in Hollywood gets an award sooner or later. “Achievement” is loosely defined out here. What did he achieve? What did any of them achieve? Ah well, it’s Hollywood. ~ Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dark China
The sun never came out. It was dark all day. It was time to visit Chinatown, the back end of Chinatown, where things are mysterious. ~ Wednesday, June 3, 2015

This End of the Strip
It’s odd to have ended up in Southern California, and even odder to have ended up in Hollywood, and even odder to have ended up living just off the Sunset Strip, for more than twenty years now. The place is unsettling, perhaps intentionally so, but this is what is outside the front door – the east end of the Sunset Strip, Sunset Boulevard at Harper. There’s no getting used to it. ~ Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Roses by a Fountain
Roses by a fountain in a public park in Beverley Hills on the last Saturday in May – Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fakery
Beverley Hills is one of the wealthiest places on the planet, which means there are a lot of first-rate plastic surgeons there, keeping the wealthy looking perfect. And of course those people are as unhappy as the rest of us. There’s a lot of fakery in Beverley Hills, and there are the giant fake tulips – “Hymn of Life: Tulips” (2007) by Yayoi Kusama, in Beverly Gardens Park, just off Rodeo Drive. No one sees the irony. ~ Friday, May 29, 2015

Thinking in Metal
These shouldn’t be here – “Endless V” (2012) by Jaume Plensa – the thinker – and “Erratic” (2007) by Roxy Paine – the unearthly stainless steel molten rock – but they are, in Beverly Gardens Park, on Santa Monica Boulevard between Beverly Drive and Rodeo Drive. Beverly Hills is no place for heavy metal. ~ Friday, May 29, 2015

The Weight of the Past
Tourists in the middle of Hollywood probably shouldn’t look up. The Chinese Theater, the El Capitan, the old bank, the Roosevelt Hotel – the dramatic architecture of the past is intimidating now. There are ghosts. This will scare the kids. Don’t look at the details. They’re frightening. ~ Thursday, May 28, 2015

In the Land of Dragons
Two new dragons just appeared in the neighborhood – a new mural from the CBS (Can’t Be Stopped) crew. But the whole neighborhood was already filled with dragons of one sort or another. This is not the City of Angels. ~ Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dancers in the Dark
A low-light late-spring day in Los Angeles – the sun came out in late afternoon, for a few minutes, before the gloom off the Pacific rolled back in. But in the egrets were dancing in the odd darkness down at the Bellona Lagoon by the airport. The ducks watched from the lawn and, on the other side of the sand dunes, the gulls were napping on the empty beach. There was one surfer, and the airliners roared on out, headed elsewhere. ~ Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Almost Summer
Working towards summer – a West Hollywood garden on Memorial Day Weekend – Saturday, May 23, 2015 –

Swoops and Swirls
The Petersen Automotive Museum at Wilshire and Fairfax was pretty cool, but a big boxy white building, a former department store. That’s changing. The museum is undergoing a massive renovation which will feature an amazing new façade designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates – to “evoke the imagery of speed and the organic curves of a couch-built automobile” – and it will be lit from within. It’s snazzy. They’re bolting in on now, for the December opening. It stops traffic already. ~ Thursday, May 21, 2015

Permanent Urban Light
Chris Burden, the artist who created the now iconic “Urban Light” display outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art – all those antique city lampposts – died on May 10, 2015, at his Topanga Canyon home, of melanoma. He was 69 – perhaps too much sunlight really is bad for you. But his light was urban. This is his corner now – that he shares with Rodin and the skyscrapers – at Wilshire and Fairfax. ~ Thursday, May 21, 2015

Surprisingly Intense
Los Angeles street art can be mysterious, or pretentious, or whimsical, and sometimes all three at once. Now and then it gets intense. This was one of those times, Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

Southern California Abstracts
It was one of those David Hockney days out here. Hockney is that British fellow who created all those serenely empty existential-despair-in-the-brilliant-sunshine Southern California swimming-pool paintings that are so famous. He lived out here on and off for thirty years, up the hill out back in Nichols Canyon. He may be considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century, but he captured the essence of Southern California. This is the pool here in the courtyard of the low-rise mid-century apartment building just off the Sunset Strip. It’s pure Hockney. ~ Monday, May 18, 2015

The May Garden
This is what Los Angeles looks like in the middle of May. A public garden on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood at noon, on Saturday, May 16, 2015 –

California Resumes
The Santa Monica Pier after one of those rare long nights of heavy rain – Southern California resumes being what it’s supposed to be, even if the skies won’t yet cooperate. ~ Friday, May 15, 2015

Not Technicolor
May and June are the dark months in Los Angeles, with day after day of deep gloom off the cold Pacific. That drains the color out of Hollywood. This is the new Thom Mayne Hollywood campus of Boston’s Emerson College, five blocks east of Vine. The white façade of the Old Spaghetti factory across the street provides contrast. The Sunset-Gower Studios are to the right, with the new blue-glass Technicolor offices. And the tower behind the bare trees is a new luxury condo complex, just emptied. After it was completed the city rescinded the building permits. And all of it is curiously muted. This is Hollywood, now not in Technicolor. ~ Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hipster Street
After more than twenty years of living just up the hill from Hipster Street – that would be Melrose Avenue – it’s hard to take any of this too seriously. Hipsters, in their self-importance, try far too hard at pretending they don’t care about their self-importance. They generate their casually pretentious look-at-me street art, working on being cool. If you have to work at being cool you’re not. But there is the setting. This is Los Angeles’ last hip street. Or maybe that’s actually over now. ~ Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Muted Colors
Mother’s Day weekend in Los Angeles – cool and clouded over – the colors in the neighborhood gardens are muted. ~ Saturday, May 9, 2015

Changing the Mood
A little rain on a Friday morning in early May won’t do anything at all to end the worst drought in recorded history out here in California, but it changes the mood in Venice Beach. The place becomes quiet and dark and sinister. And then the sun comes out again. ~ Friday, May 8, 2015

The Empty City
Dorothy Parker never actually said that Los Angeles was seventy-two suburbs in search of a city. That’s a paraphrase of Aldous Huxley’s quip in his 1925 book, Americana – he said Los Angeles was “nineteen suburbs in search of a metropolis” – and he was probably quoting someone else who said Los Angeles was seven or six suburbs in search of a city. That’s been attributed to H. L. Menken and Robert Benchley and many others, but it doesn’t matter. We never got the hang of cities out here. Los Angeles is now all giant glass and steel towers, with more on the way, and it looks like a real city. It just doesn’t feel like one. The scale is all wrong. This wasn’t built for humans. It feels empty. The only life here is the bronze bears – Salmon Run – Christopher Keene, 1982 – Manulife Plaza, at Figueroa and 5th Street. The cars on the freeway roar by. No one stops here. Life is elsewhere. ~ Thursday, May 7, 2015

That Odd Dark Day
The sunshine isn’t eternal. Now and then, in May and June, there’s that odd dark day when the thick marine layer off the cold Pacific just won’t burn off. That’s when Hollywood is a dark place. It’s kind of cool. ~ Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Playing Monopoly
Alec Monopoly is the alias of an unidentified street artist originally from Manhattan. He moved to Los Angeles in 2006 – it was easier to work here – and out here we see his tuxedoed and top-hatted character of Monopoly Man everywhere. He says he was originally inspired by the adventures of Bernie Madoff – but he also does paste-up images of Jack Nicholson. In November 2010 he had his first solo gallery show in New York, and in December 2010, he took part in an exhibition at the Mondrian Hotel as part of Art Basel Miami Beach, and he’s done some work for Justin Bieber. He’s famous, and this is one of his major murals out here, in an alley behind Melrose Avenue. It’s about avarice – but all street art is about what one should or should not value. Look at what’s nearby this mural. Everyone has a message. ~ Monday, May 4, 2015

The Beverly Hills Roses
The formal rose garden at Beverly Gardens Park in Beverly Hills on the first Saturday in May – and there are other things hiding in the shadows. ~ Saturday, May 2, 2015

The End of Los Angeles
This is where Los Angeles ends, San Pedro and the Port of Los Angeles, with its Angels’ Gate lighthouse. That’s it. ~ Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Main Channel
The main channel at the Port of Los Angeles, the commercial fishing fleet on one side, and the cranes of the working port on the other side ~ Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ports of Call
Ports of Call in San Pedro these days… Richard Henry Dana in “Two Years Before the Mast” – adventures on the high seas – told of reaching San Pedro in 1834, when it was all adventure. Maybe it still is. ~ Thursday, April 30, 2015

Playing Piano
Sometimes you need a little geometry. It clears the head, so it was time to revisit the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) down on Wilshire Boulevard, It’s by Renzo Piano. He gave us the famous inside-out Centre Pompidou in Paris and, in Manhattan, the latest New York Times building. His new Whitney Museum of American Art just opened in Manhattan too – at the base of the impossibly trendy High Line district. Like those buildings, this one out here is all geometry, although Piano warms it up with all the grid work in Chinese red, and the exterior is clad squares of Travertine marble that has a nice glow. It’s fun to photograph. That’s what they didn’t tell you in tenth grade. Geometry is fun. ~ Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sloth Day
The present is nothing but trouble. It was time to drop by the La Brea Tar Pits for a dose of the past. The two Giant Tree Sloths greet you. The tar bubbles up in the pools, and there’s “Levitated Mass” by Michael Heizer – a 456-foot-long slot with a 340-ton granite megalith he had trucked in from the desert balanced over it. It’s a very old rock. This place had nothing to do with the present. ~ Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Not That Gloomy
The last Saturday of April here in Los Angeles – overcast and gloomy all day – but that only makes the light a bit more subtle. A neighborhood garden, Saturday, April 25, 2015 –

From the Dirt
“From the dirt a flower must grow…” That just popped up on a wall down on Melrose Avenue. Yeah, it’s pretentious drivel, but Melrose Avenue is a scruffy area, with the most extensive street art in Los Angeles. The local street artists can make something of the dirt – not flowers exactly, but something. ~ Friday, April 24, 2015

Western Wood
Southern California as it used to look, before the Spanish and then the Americans showed up – an untouched corner of Griffith Park, Thursday, April 23, 2015

Earth Day 2015
Earth Day in Los Angeles – Echo Park Lake – the local ducks on a dark and gloomy day – Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dark White
This is scary. The Bates Motel went white. Actually it’s the old Sunset Pacific Motel on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, at Bates Avenue. The city was set to demolish the place in 2009, and that’s coming soon. Frost/Chaddock will be putting one of a three mixed-user modern things on the site, but they’re a big supporter of the French artist Vincent Lamouroux. Lamouroux used a crew of painters armed with sprayers and giant hoses to cover the old motel in an “ecologically safe” lime-wash. For mow the Bates Motel is a public art piece called Projection. Lamouroux says it’s intended to both attract attention and disrupt the colorful “commercial landscape” that surrounds it on this part of busy Sunset Boulevard. It does that. The “transformed” structure doesn’t officially open until April 26. This was Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Getting Political
Yes, that is Hillary Clinton. The next presidential election is eighteen months away, but it’s never too early to start with this stuff. She’s on a wall across the street from the carwash on Melrose Avenue, looking heroic, and there are other political matters scattered about. Some are less overt than others. ~ Monday, April 20, 2015

By the April Fountain
In the gardens that surround the fountain and its pools at Will Rogers Memorial Park, Beverly Hills, Saturday, April 18, 2015 –

Lunch in Hollywood
Lunch in Hollywood is always an adventure. ~ Friday, April 17, 2015

About Fame
Hollywood is all about fame. As for the shoes, that’s Ascent, by Kim Yasuda, 1994 – at the Cherokee-Whitley parking garage. It’s a “stairway to the stars” thing. ~ Friday, April 17, 2015

The Geometry of the Past
Not everything is always new in Los Angeles. A few old buildings from the twenties and thirties still stand, quiet and mysterious – and they keep their secrets. ~ Thursday, April 16, 2015

With Your Dog
Pink’s is the famous hot dog stand down on La Brea not far from Paramount Pictures, and few other almost major studios. The stars eat there. Orson Welles used to come by at least once a week and once ate eighteen dogs on a single visit. Bruce Willis proposed to Demi Moore at Pink’s, and First Lady Michelle Obama has dropped by with her two girls. Martha Stewart did a broadcast from Pink’s, so they named a hot dog in her honor – one with bacon, relish, sauerkraut and sour cream. Aaron Spelling sends a car over twice a week for his Pink’s dogs. Needless to say, the lines are long. While you wait for your dog this is what you’ll see in the streets. Los Angeles is a strange place. ~ Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Persistence of Kitsch
Disneyland opened out here in 1955. It was the age of Kitsch, and the real master of Kitsch was the late Millard Sheets. He was a painter, the driving force behind the California Style watercolor movement, and later the architect of more than fifty branch banks in Southern California, all of which feature his amazing murals – in 1954 he was appointed Director of Otis Art Institute. In 1952, however, he met Howard Ahmanson, the eccentric multi-millionaire who had seen a photograph of one of Sheets’ buildings and wrote him asking him to call if he were interested in designing a couple of buildings on Wilshire Boulevard for him. Sheets called him. And beginning in 1952, Sheets designed mosaics for the offices of Ahmanson’s Home Savings of America throughout California, and he designed most of the buildings too. This one, on Wilshire at Maple, also features a bronze family, by Sheets’ buddy Renzo Fenci (1914 – 1999) – and it’s all pure Kitsch, masterfully calculated to have the broadest popular appeal. It’s the same at the top of Maple Drive, except that thirty years later the Kitsch got abstract. The “palm socks” are a joke on it all. ~ Monday, April 13, 2015

April Hollywood Mix
Everything is blooming. April is not the cruelest month, at least here in Hollywood. A neighbor’s garden, Saturday, April 11, 2015 –

Here in Noir City
Hollywood now has an annual Film Noir festival, called Noir City. They screen the classics like The Big Sleep and others less famous. All these films have the odd shadows and rain-soaked streets and the cynical private eye, who’s seen it all but with his hard-bitten irony tries to do something like the right thing, and then gets beat up a lot. That’s a Raymond Chandler thing. Nothing is what it seems. The world is darkly ambiguous and there’s no comfort there. Deal with it. But every day is a Noir day on Hollywood Boulevard. This was Friday, April 10, 2015.

No Longer Kosher
Things change. The Joohyang Presbyterian Church – Korean and Christian – was designed by S. Tilden Norton as Temple Sinai East for the first services of the Sinai Congregation in 1925 – it’s LA Historic-Cultural Monument Number 91, at the corner of Forth and New Hampshire. The Sinai Congregation, the first Conservative congregation west of Chicago (they broke away from the Orthodox Beth Israel congregation in 1906) has moved on – over to Westwood, at Wilshire and Beverly Glen – but there was no reason to let a good S. Tilden Norton Mediterranean-style masterpiece go to waste. So there’s this – Korean Presbyterians in an old Jewish Temple on New Hampshire, in Los Angeles. These things happen. ~ Thursday, April 9, 2015

For Norma
It’s the Talmadge. In 1922, when Joseph Schenck, the president of United Artists and later the co-founder of 20th Century Fox, presented this 10-story, 48-unit residential palace as a gift for his wife, the silent-film star Norma Talmadge, it was praised as the finest apartment building west of New York. He not only named the building after her but moved them both to the top-floor. The Talmadge was the work of architects Alan Curlett and Claud Beelman, part of the Wilshire Boulevard Art Deco and Art Nouveau construction boom between 1923 and 1929 – but there were other styles – the nearby white-on-white vaguely Norman apartment building down the street, and directly across the street from the Talmadge, a Spanish Revival rococo nightmare. Those were strange times. ~ Thursday, April 9, 2015

Art for All
“Art for All” – that’s what The Feather Project – a new collective of Los Angeles street artists – says they’re all about. They intend to be generous, but here’s what’s in the local streets and alleys at the moment. Who is this for? ~ Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Beach Break
Sometimes Hollywood is too shabby for words. It’s a short drive down to Venice Beach. That place will clear your head, or mess with your head. ~ Tuesday, April 7, 2015

An Easter Garden
In the middle of Hollywood, behind the Baptist Church and beside the Catholic Church, the gardens at the Crossroads of the World on Easter weekend, Saturday, April 4, 2015

That Far End of the Strip
The Sunset Strip starts here where Laurel Canyon Boulevard snakes down out of the Hollywood Hills, to meet Sunset Boulevard where Schwab’s Drugstore used to proudly stand – and it continues west until Sunset Boulevard crosses into Beverly Hills, and then its ten-million-dollar houses left and right, all the way out to UCLA. But that last mile of the Strip is something else, as they used to say. There are the few office towers wrapped in giant graphics promoting this show or that, and the funky little buildings between them – the offices of odd entertainment companies and modeling agencies and whatnot. And there are the clubs, the Roxy and the Rainbow Room and the Viper Room and the Whisky – and Rock history is in the air. There’s a lot in the air. That last mile of the Strip is surreal. In the bright sunshine it’s a bit frightening. ~ Friday, April 3, 2015

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

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

This My Art
Street art is supposed to be defiant. That explains this new installation at the corner of Genesee and Melrose. It’s defiant, and puzzling. So is what’s new in the neighboring streets and alleys. All of this makes perfect sense to someone. That’s a bit disturbing. ~ Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Perpetual Roses
There’s no getting around it. Los Angeles is filled with roses, every day, all year. This is a good thing. ~ Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Past Returns
The scaffolding is gone. The restoration is complete – 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. Central Casting is now out in the San Fernando Valley, and this is a municipal building now, but its past is now on full display. Now it’s time to work on the other buildings in the neighborhood. ~ Friday, March 27, 2015

The Bad Part of Town
East Hollywood is the bad part of town. It’s nasty there. Take a look. ~ Friday, March 27, 2015

This is the City
It’s a hard to get a fix on Los Angeles, as a city, because many say Los Angeles isn’t a city – it’s just a thousand suburbs in search of a city. But there is a city. There’s a real downtown, even if it is a bit strange, a place with no history. On South Main there is the iconic 1928 Los Angeles City Hall, designed by John Parkinson, John C. Austin, and Albert C. Martin. That was on Joe Friday’s badge in the title sequence of every episode of Dragnet, and it’s in lots of movies. But if Joe Friday were working today, he’d be working out of the Los Angeles Police Department’s new all-glass administration building across the street, from 2009, designed by a joint venture of AECOM and Roth Sheppard Architects. The old city hall shows in its glass. The two coexist, but next door, at 100 South Main, there’s the new Caltrans district headquarters building. Its odd futuristic but environmentally-friendly design won Thom Mayne the 2005 Pritzker Prize, even if the massive thing is a bit scary. The old Los Angeles Times building sits off in a corner. It was designed by the fellow who designed the Hoover Dam. As Joe Friday used to say at the start of every episode of Dragnet, “This is the city, Los Angeles, California…” It is? ~ Thursday, March 26, 2015

Across the Last Canal
The isolated Marina Peninsula just south of Venice Beach, on the far side of the last canal down there – it’s all expressive condos, with the widest and emptiest beach in Southern California – and it’s quiet. It’s also a private place. The madness is elsewhere. ~ Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Love Troubles
In spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love, or thoughts of something. It’s now spring, and down on Melrose Avenue, love is in the air, or on the walls. Apparently love isn’t easy. ~ Monday, March 23, 2015

Just Spring Here
The first Saturday of spring, Will Rogers Memorial Park, Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, Saturday, March 21, 2015 –

Down at the Dream Factories
A quiet afternoon at the two dream factories down on the east end of Melrose Avenue, between Gower and Bronson – Paramount Pictures and Raleigh Studios – and the latest dreams are on the walls. Paramount still has that RKO globe, but Raleigh Studios is all glass now, even if it has been there, across the street from Paramount, since 1915, long before Paramount. Raleigh Studios offers no tours. They just do the work, mostly television now. But “In the Heat of the Night” ( Best Picture of 1967) and “The Best Years of Our Lives” (Best Picture of 1946) and “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” (1962, with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford) were made there, along with the original “A Star is Born” (1937) – and there was “Gunsmoke” (James Arness as marshal Matt Dillon) and “Death Valley Days” (starring Ronald Reagan, before the politics) and “Have Gun Will Travel” (Richard Boone as “Paladin” and all that) – and a young Kevin Costner worked at Raleigh Studios as a grip, using his free time to read scripts and audition for parts. He finally got a few. This town is full of dream factories. ~ Friday, March 20, 2015

Love Ugly
A stroll through the La Brea Arts District, the snooty galleries and absurdist curio shops out front, and the angry street art out back in the alleys – the district where the ugly is supposed to be wonderful. Maybe it is. The place is unsettling. That may be the point. ~ Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dark Light
The middle of Hollywood on a dark day, a Film Noir day… Where’s Humphrey Bogart when you need him? ~ Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Heart of Screenland
Culver City is the Heart of Screenland – it says so right on the city seal – and the heart of Culver City is the old MGM Studios, now Sony Pictures Entertainment, containing Sony Pictures Studios. That’s where Oz was. That’s where Tara was. And across the street from the main gate there’s The Film Strip – stainless steel, 1981, by Natalie Krol – in the fountain at the Veterans Memorial Complex. What was once MGM is in the background – and next door to that is the “Path of Life” bronze family – think Frank Capra on drugs. This was the heart of it all. That’s a scary thought. ~ Monday, March 16, 2015

Mysterious Urban Iconography
On an anonymous side street off Washington Boulevard in the industrial back end of Culver City, a wall of images that defies explanation – and on the other side of the boulevard, abstracts. Life out here is a mystery, ~ Monday, March 16, 2015

Local March Madness
The middle of March in Los Angeles – an unexpected heat wave – in the nineties at noon, day after day – and all along the sidewalks the roses go mad. They like this. ~ Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hemmed In
In 1937, the famous Art Deco architect Claud Beelman, a partner at Curlett and Beelman, was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to design the Hollywood Post Office Building. It’s still there, on Wilcox, between Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard, in the center of everything. The groundbreaking was interesting – the man Hollywood brought in to censor all the movies, which had gotten out of hand, Will B. Hayes, used a steam shovel. This edifice was going to last forever. Maybe so, but it’s now being hemmed in by new steel and glass towers. It will disappear in the shadows. ~ Friday, March 13, 2015

Severely Hollywood
The scene in and around Hollywood and Vine on a Friday the Thirteenth – and yes, Hollywood can be a bit scary. ~ Friday, March 13, 2015

A Question of Seriousness
At the east end of the Melrose district, at Detroit Street, just before La Brea, the street art veers in different directions. The new mural in an alley there is “I Said Sorry” – and if Pieter Bruegel had had a graffiti crew he’d have come up with something like this. It’s complex and dramatic and serious, in its way. But out on the street itself there are the new playful and whimsical critters on the utility boxes – commissioned by the City of West Hollywood. Those are far from serious, but on the walls are all the nasty meditations on fame. Hollywood is just up the hill. And the mural on the Melrose Elementary School still says Reach for the Stars. One suspects the neighborhood kids are perpetually confused. ~ Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Beach at the End of the World
Ocean Park, just south of Santa Monica, used to have an amazing amusement pier, and amusement park, and ballroom, and all the rest – the Sea Circus and the Diving Bells and the Ocean Skyway and the Sea Serpent Roller Coaster. It all opened on Saturday, July 28, 1958, and for a time Pacific Ocean Park was as big a deal as Disneyland, down in Anaheim, which had opened three years earlier. Pacific Ocean Park closed on October 6, 1967 – things didn’t work out. The park’s dilapidated buildings and the pier structure remained here, until a series of suspicious fires, and in the winter of 1974-75 those were demolished. The place is a clean slate now. Hip folks with money built condos and beach houses – but the place seems kind of dead – and the homeless sleep on benches here and there. On a dark and cloudy weekday in March, Ocean Park seems like the end of the world. ~ Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Burying the Past
Los Angeles’ past disappears quickly. Landmarks disappear. In the late twenties, when this place was awash in oil money and everyone in the nation went to the movies we made out here, the place to be was the Wilshire Corridor. The money had moved west out of the city and we had a new center of everything – until everyone who was anyone moved even further west, to Beverly Hills. Now at the center of what was once everything, Wilshire and Western, the two anchors of the past – the massive white Art Deco Wilshire Professional Building and the amazing blue terra cotta Wiltern Theater, both from 1928 – are surrounded by severe office towers and new glass condominium skyscrapers. Radio Korea occupies a whole block, and the serene Saint James Church – Gothic with a touch of Art Deco – is behind a karaoke bar. This area is lively and vital again, but this is Koreatown now. The past got buried. These things happen. ~ Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Only Sunny Hours
The first Saturday in March really shouldn’t be like this, absurdly sunny and eight-five at noon – but this is Southern California. The gardens at the Crossroads of the World, on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, kind of exploded. ~ Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Shakespeare Bridge
Okay, it’s odd. The Shakespeare Bridge over in Franklin Hills, designed by J. C. Wright, was built in 1926, and now it’s a Historic-Cultural Monument in the City of Los Angeles (No. 126) – but no one knows why it’s called the Shakespeare Bridge. Perhaps it’s the Gothic arches and, at either end, two pair of “aedicule” – sort of stone gazebos or something. Romeo and Juliet might hang out here, or the crew from A Midsummer’s Night Dream, but probably not. Now and then it appears in the background in crime movies, perhaps because it’s mysterious, but mostly it just is – a curiosity. The locals love it. After the 1992 Northridge earthquake – which nearly destroyed it – this Shakespeare Bridge was restored and retrofitted to flex a bit next time, and it was reopened in 1998 – and the neighborhood had its mystery back. ~ Thursday, March 5, 2015

Looking Up in Hollywood
Hollywood Boulevard, at street level, is rather awful – crowded with tourists – and there are the usual three or four Spiderman impersonators, and a Marilyn Monroe or two and four or five Jack Sparrows – and an assortment of purple-haired punks and panhandlers. Here and there the homeless sleep in doorways, and the cops just try to keep everyone moving along. It’s a scruffy and seedy place. But walk through the center of it all and look up at the old theaters and hotels and office buildings – from long ago. Hollywood was glamorous, once, long ago. ~ Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Chosen Few
Something had to be done. Melrose Avenue had become shabby, and a bit dangerous. The hip had moved on long ago, the deeply ironic and impossibly cool shops had gone out of business one by one, and then even the tourists went elsewhere. But there was always the street art, even if it had gotten nasty and random over the years. Melrose Avenue is Los Angeles street art, and that was something to work with. The City of West Hollywood just commissioned the best of the street artists working in Southern California to have a go at the utility boxes all along the avenue. The chosen few were each given their own corner, and told to let it rip. This may fix things down there, or it may not. But it’s pretty cool. ~ Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Another Day in Malibu
Perhaps every day is a good day in Malibu, but some days are better than others. Malibu – the Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Topanga Canyon, on a Monday afternoon in early March, after a weekend of dark storms – Monday, March 2, 2015 –

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Those have just been added to the complete gallery list – and other photography dating back to 2003 can be found in the complete archives

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