1801: January 2018 Photography

January 2018 Photography

A Little Ethiopia: Los Angeles is an international city. There’s that “blue boy” on the south wall of the French and Hebrew immersion preschool down in Little Ethiopia – Fairfax south of Olympic – which really shouldn’t be there, because Little Ethiopia is the heart of the Ethiopian community in Los Angeles. And there’s good coffee down there. Those folks invented coffee. It’s a good place. ~ Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Street Poetry: There’s poetry in the streets. In fact, there’s a poem, of sorts, on a wall. But there’s poetry everywhere. ~ Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Grand Illusions: It was just another Monday in Hollywood, and Hollywood was being Hollywood – another “world premiere” at the El Capitan and Dolby theaters – another superhero movie – and there was bit of Isaac Babel live on stage down the street at the Stella Adler – just to add to the mix. And all around, the fantasy buildings from the twenties, with their odd figures, stood watch. It’s all illusion. But that’s fine. It’s supposed to illusion. ~ Monday, January 29, 2018

A Bit Subtle: Not everything is gaudy in Hollywood. In the long light in January, the local gardens can be subtle. This one is. It’s all in the lighting. ~ Saturday, January 27, 2018

Stanley Avenue: The past is just down the street – one block of it – Stanley Avenue between Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. There’s a quite formal and nicely maintained Italianate apartment building from the late twenties at Hollywood Boulevard, and a short walk down the street is a walk through an array of restored turn-of-the-century California Craftsman bungalows. This is part of Sunset Square – a new historic preservation zone. Harry Houdini lived in one of those bungalows. The place may be magical. ~ Friday, January 26, 2018

The Now: Silver Lake is a mysterious place – mysterious women at a construction site on Sunset Boulevard – a hidden stairway to heaven, or elsewhere – ominous dark shadows on a white wall. Something is up. ~ Thursday, January 25, 2018

Cloud Therapy: Try to remain calm. Drop by Echo Park Lake. Stare at the sky. It helps. ~ Thursday, January 25, 2018

In the Clover: Bing Crosby died a long time ago – 1977 – and he’s still quite dead. The original Tinder Box over in Santa Monica, where they made his custom pipes and blended his custom tobacco, is gone now – but he’s still around. There’s this over on Cloverdale in the Miracle Mile district. He was into real estate – somewhat absurd real estate. Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument 427, Cloverdale Manor – next door at 364 South Cloverdale – is real Art Deco – designed in 1930 by Clarence J. Smale. Smale liked it so much he actually lived here, and the penthouse used to be Fred Astaire’s dance studio. The rest of the neighborhood is equally curious. Bing Crosby understood. Live here and live in the clover. ~ Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Light on Sunset: Just another corner of Sunset Boulevard in the extraordinary January sunshine – down at the Guitar Center across the street from the Japanese Manga store – where things are strange, and brilliant – Tuesday, January 23, 2018

January Close-Ups: It may be the middle of winter, but in this garden in the middle of Hollywood, everyone is ready for their close-up. ~ Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Brown Afternoon: A dark winter afternoon in the streets just south of Hollywood – an old brown Ford parked at the local motorcycle shop – an old brown Ford turned into a chopped and channeled rather menacing-looking Mexican hot rod. The storm clouds are rolling in too. Every wall looks menacing. It’s easy to fall into what poets used to call “a brown study” – a mood of deep absorption or thoughtfulness, or of reverie or melancholy. The term has fallen out of use, but some winter days are like that in Los Angeles. ~ Friday, January 19, 2018

Hollywood’s Future: The Capitol Records Building – 1956, designed by Louis Naidorf working for Welton Becket Associates – is a Hollywood landmark – a circular thirteen-story office tower with a tall spike up top. It was designed to look like a stack of records on a turntable. But it’s being buried. All the blocks around it are now being filled with taller and more modern buildings – the severely geometric “1800 Vine” across the street – the zigzag balconied Argyle House next door. The only other thing left from the fifties is that abandoned mid-century-modern Department of Water and Power building, with those odd holes. Hollywood’s future is here. ~ Thursday, January 18, 2018

Make More Nonsense: The evil-looking cat on the wall says make more nonsense. That seems to be the general idea with the current street art down on Melrose Avenue. It’s all glorious nonsense. ~ Thursday, January 18, 2018

Written on the Walls: Do not give your past the power to define your future? What does that mean? It’s just another corner of Los Angeles, and it’s written on the walls. It’s always written on the walls. ~ Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hollywood Village Life: Franklin Village over by Griffith Park – very trendy – a good place to spot hot young Hollywood celebrities – they say they’re everywhere there. But they’re the newcomers. There’s that wildly colorful rococo apartment building from the twenties at Franklin and Taft – all flowers and vines. To the west, at Franklin and Tamarind, there’s the severely monochromatic Villa Carlotta – 1926, from the architect Nell Kershaw. The painfully trendy village lies between the two. The past and the present coexist here, uneasily. ~ Monday, January 15, 2018

January Sunshine: The storms are over. The sun is back. The local gardens glow. ~ Saturday, January 13, 2018

More Mysterious Now: Pacific Avenue at Market Street in Venice Beach – Gold’s Gym, where Arnold Schwarzenegger got his start, is abandoned now. This corner of Los Angeles has gotten much more mysterious. It’s gotten better. ~ Friday, January 12, 2018

Moody Blues: Los Angeles was sunny. Venice Beach was socked in all day – the deep marine layer never lifted. That changed things. It was a moody day on Ocean Front Walk. ~ Friday, January 12, 2018

French Hollywood: At the corner of North Alexandria and Franklin Avenue in Los Feliz, under the Griffith Observatory, a row of five stylized French-Norman apartment buildings from the late thirties, when Hollywood was awash in new money but everyone wanted to pretend they were living somewhere else – an imaginary France in this case. Those who live here now can pretend they’re living in the late thirties, which was actually a fine time in Hollywood. But it was an odd time. ~ Thursday, January 11, 2018

Color Saturation: After two days of dark heavy winter rain the Hollywood sun is back – and so are the saturated winter colors in the streets. The streets are vivid again. ~ Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Darkest January: After two days of steady rain the Sunset Strip turns ominous. But maybe it was always this way. It just needed dark rain, to show its darkness. ~ Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Glowing in the Dark: The early January clouds have rolled in – rain on the way – but things glow in the dark in Los Angeles gardens. ~ Saturday, January 6, 2018

That Big Eye: On Fairfax, south of CBS Television City, in a rather nondescript stretch anonymous nothing much, there’s a giant eye on a white wall, for no reason at all. It’s next door to a big gray Art Deco building from the twenties, now the home of Hollywood’s fanciest camera store – for the professionals. But the whole knighthood is a feast for the eyes. The big eye fits right in, as does that cat with a camera. ~ Friday, January 5, 2018

Going Thai: Sometimes it seems best to be somewhere else. The other end of Hollywood Boulevard will do – just beyond Little Armenia, Thai Town. That’s somewhere else. That will do. ~ Thursday, January 4, 2018

Gothic Skies: It’s not all sunshine. There’s always that rare dark winter day in Los Angeles. This is one. The skies above the formal gardens at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills have gone gothic. Everything suddenly seems ominous. This is a different movie. Expect something disturbing. ~ Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Processing Hollywood: The light was good – the blank walls at Siren Studios on Sunset Boulevard – the big glass Technicolor building across the street at Sunset-Gower Studios – the new and odd glass and steel Emerson College next door. This is where the work is done, but this block is just as cinematic as what is processed here. ~ Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Empty Streets: New Year’s Day on Melrose Avenue – the street is empty – the shops are shuttered – the urban hipsters are elsewhere – recovering from the night before. But they’re still here. ~ Monday, January 1, 2018