1806: June 2018 Photography

June 2018 Photography

Starting Summer Right: The first Saturday of summer in Los Angeles – roses and hibiscus and cactus and everything else all in bloom, all at once. This is how it’s done. ~ Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Urban Landscape: Subway station – bus stop – Koreatown – Wilshire and Western – the city has moved west. This is the new urban landscape. ~ Friday, June 22, 2018

Uncovering the Past: Artificial enhancement can show what’s really underneath, what’s really going on – the Wilshire Professional Building, 3875 Wilshire Boulevard, Arthur E. Harvey, 1929 – the Wiltern Theater and Pellissier Building, 3780 Wilshire Boulevard at Western Avenue – Stiles O. Clements and G. Albert Lansburgh, 1931 – revealed through reversals. ~ Friday, June 22, 2018

Jacaranda Summer Day: It’s Jacaranda Time – the first full day of summer. Those trees that line the streets – Jacaranda mimosifolia – are in full bloom. Their purple flowers fall and make the sidewalks slimy and dangerous, and ruin the finish on any car parked under them – but they turn the neighborhood mysterious. This is Sunset Square in Hollywood. The entire neighborhood is mysterious. ~ Thursday, June 21, 2018

Pour on the Color: Los Angeles is drab. Street art fixes that. Pour on the color. ~ Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Hollywood Street: Wilcox Avenue is Hollywood, from the Lido Apartments – where the famous surrealist Man Ray lived while the Nazis were in Paris – and the mysterious Mayfair Apartments across the street – down to the massive WPA post office from the late thirties – and in between, the abandoned Warner Pacific Theater, where a teenage Carol Burnett was once an usherette. She lived on Wilcox, in a small apartment with her single mother, long ago. The street is full of odd details. The street is Hollywood. ~ Monday, June 18, 2018

Hidden in the Dark: There would be no sun this day, but even in the half-light there were gems glowing in the garden. ~ Saturday, June 16, 2018

Woke: Everything is “woke” at the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) on Venice Boulevard, and at the small theaters next door. The new art is “socially aware” and confrontational – and startling. But everything down there is startling. That’s the message. Wake up. ~ Friday, June 15, 2018

Lighthouse Street: Edward Hopper painted Nighthawks in 1942 – those few lonely people in that city diner late at night – now the definitive visual expression of urban alienation. If Edward Hopper had lived at the beach he would have lived on Lighthouse Street on the Marina Peninsula, with its empty white bridge at one end and the appropriate sign at the other end. It’s the same sort of thing. ~ Friday, June 15, 2018

Deep Under Sunset: There are mysteries under Sunset Boulevard. This is Echo Park Boulevard where it runs under Sunset Boulevard – odd businesses and then a dark echoing tunnel with mysterious faces. This is the underside of Los Angeles. ~ Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Past Fantasies: Someone screwed up. Fountain Avenue was jammed. A quick right on Flores Street would fix that – no one takes Flores – but suddenly everything changed. This was Old Hollywood with its fantasy apartment buildings – a Moorish castle with French-Norman touches from 1928 – a lush garden-apartment complex straight out of Andalusia – an elegant Art Deco tower from the early thirties, when Fred Astaire was a young man and dancing with Ginger down on Melrose at the old RKO studios – one movie after another. And there was the enigmatic “Flores House” with its mysterious turrets. And then it was Santa Monica Boulevard and the drab present. Time travel is possible. ~ Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Down in the Flats: A postproduction house in the flats south of Hollywood, amid the prop warehouses and whatnot – really bad architecture enhanced – the brick arches of the now-defunct Cascade Studios – the Art Deco walls of a studio from the thirties, just across the street. This is another world. ~ Monday, June 11, 2018

June Pride: It’s “Pride Month” in West Hollywood. There are rainbow flags everywhere and thousands of people in the streets – the annual parade is about to begin, near this corner garden. This is June Pride too. ~ Saturday, June 9, 2018

Blade Runner: ”Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” That was the title of the Philip K. Dick novel that Ridley Scott turned into “Blade Runner” in 1982 – set in a dystopian future Los Angeles in 2019, with synthetic humans bioengineered by a powerful corporation. Scott credited Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” and French science fiction comics for the look of the thing. He said he wanted it to look like “Hong Kong on a very bad day” – and production designer Lawrence G. Paull and art director David Snyder pulled that off – and now, with one year to go, Los Angeles does look dystopian. This is an industrial corner a just south Hollywood. Los Angeles did turn into that movie. ~ Friday, June 8, 2018

Under the Sign: The Hollywood Sign used to say HOLLYWOODLAND – to advertise a new fancy housing development at the top of Beachwood Canyon – a “superb environment without excessive cost on the Hollywood side of the hills” – the brainchild of Harry Chandler, the owner of the Los Angeles Times. That was 1923 – but the sign fell apart. The neighborhood didn’t and the old stone gates to the development are still there. So are a lot of the whimsical houses. The land directly under the sign was purchased by Howard Hughes in 1940, to build a hilltop mansion for Ginger Rogers, but she dumped him and that land is still vacant. In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce contacted with the City of Los Angeles Parks Department to repair and rebuild the sign – a contract that stipulated that “LAND” be removed – and then that sign fell into disrepair too. In 1978, Hugh Hefner led the effort to make the Hollywood Sign all spiffy again – and so it is. But behind the stone gates to Hollywoodland it still seems to be 1923 – a “superb environment” – even if a bit odd. ~ Thursday, June 7, 2018

Take Fountain: Betty White said that there’s a secret to living in Hollywood. Take Fountain. It’s a local joke. Fountain Avenue runs parallel to Sunset Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard is always jammed – all those tourists and whatnot – and even if Fountain Avenue is dreary and drab you can get to where you’re going with no trouble. But Fountain Avenue isn’t dreary and drab. It’s just odd. There’s the Fountain Theatre with its odd angel – the best regional theater in the West – also the foremost producer of flamenco on the West Coast. Original plays that start here end up on Broadway. It’s a hidden gem – but there’s that odd mural across the street, with those nasty birds. Fountain Avenue is odd. Take Fountain. ~ Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Playing Ball: Two new basketball murals, one inspired by the current NBA playoffs and the other about kids just having fun – two different things – but it’s not all fun and games. There are other ways of playing ball, and heavy costs for not playing ball. ~ Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Morning on the Strip: The Sunset Strip is no country for old men. The Sunset Strip is a country for young men, at night. But in the quiet morning it’s still fascinating, in an abstract sort of way. ~ Monday, June 4, 2018

Busting Out: “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over!” That’s the song from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. That’s the situation in Los Angeles at the moment. ~ Saturday, June 2, 2018

Silent Comedy: Shepard Fairey meets Mack Sennett – the Shepard Fairey mural at the old Mack Sennett Studios – 1215 Bates Avenue at Effie Street in Silver Lake – Hollywood’s oldest continually operating movie studio, now used for music videos and commercials, and by the major studios now and then when they need the space. This was the home of the Keystone Cops. Mabel Normand, Charlie Chaplin and W. C. Fields got their start here, and this was built in 1912 for Mabel Normand, Sennett’s girlfriend. And it’s all silent comedy now. ~ Friday, June 1, 2018

Some Cars: A gathering of ridiculously expensive exotic cars on Sunset Boulevard – a rally of some sort – but this is Hollywood. There are ridiculously expensive exotic cars everywhere. This was just a chance to explore what really matters – colors and shapes. That’s what’s fascinating here. ~ Friday, June 1, 2018