1811: November 2018 Photography

November 2018 Photography

Praying for Rain: The Tongva warrior is still kneeling in prayer, praying for rain at the Electric Fountain in Beverly Hills. He’s been doing that since 1931 – the fountain was designed by the architect Ralph Carlin Flewelling in 1931, in partnership with the sculptor Robert Merrell Gage, who created this warrior – a gift to the City of Beverly Hills from Sarah Elizabeth (Fraser) Lloyd, the mother of silent-screen actor Harold Lloyd. It was the Electric Fountain because, in the evening, it was lit by multicolored lights that kept changing. But that was long ago. This is one of the busiest intersections in the world – Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevard. That would be a safety hazard. So now it’s just the Native American praying for rain, with rainbows of course. ~ Friday, November 30, 2018

Between the Storms: It never rains in Southern California, until it does. A series of storms blow through. This is what Hollywood looked like between the storms, from Columbia Square to the Pacific Design Center. ~ Thursday, November 29, 2018

Street Paint: It never ends. The streets are painted and repainted endlessly. The new colors pop. The feel of the place keeps changing. But this is good. No one needs drab streets, and everyone needs another world now and then. ~ Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Hollywood Fractals: Things are different out here. Once again there’s a giant fractal Christmas tree at Hollywood Gateway, Hollywood Boulevard at La Brea – emblematic of all of Hollywood of course. ~ Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Things Looking Up: Hollywood is scruffy at ground-level. Look up. The skies over Sunset and Vine are always the best show in town. Don’t tell the major studios. ~ Monday, November 26, 2018

Winter Begins: The Saturday after Thanksgiving – the roses are looking a bit ragged, but the white Hawaiian hibiscus is now in bloom everywhere and the bougainvillea is suddenly out of control. This is the beginning of winter on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. ~ Saturday, November 24, 2018

Three Women: Dangerbird Records, the independent record label in Silver Lake, on Sunset Boulevard at Lucile, keeps changing. Now it’s three dancing women and odd drawings on the sidewalk – but this is the home of Fitz and The Tantrums and Minus the Bear. This is the home of ironic beyond-hip music. The women are fine. The neighborhood is fine – full of color. It’s all fine. ~ Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Streets: Thanksgiving in the streets of Los Angeles – turkey with all the trimmings – even if a bit surreal – Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The November City: Forget the sunshine. This is Los Angeles in November. ~ Monday, November 19, 2018

Surviving in Style: Malibu was still on fire and Hollywood was filled with smoke, and it was the middle of November, but that didn’t matter. The local gardens were ablaze too. ~ Saturday, November 17, 2018

California Fire: There were sirens at dawn and the low thumping of helicopters – another fire in the hills – this one right out back just off Laurel Canyon – something to watch from the kitchen window with the morning coffee. It wasn’t much. It was all over in an hour – but sometimes it does feel like the end of the world out here. The sky over the Sunset Strip later in the day did look apocalyptic, as if all of Southern California was on fire all the time – and maybe it is. ~ Friday, November 16, 2018

Wright Again: It was that time again, time to return to Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1919 Hollyhock House on Olive Hill at the east end of Hollywood Boulevard – because the light had changed. Hollywood had filled with smoke from all the massive fires to the north, and the skies were slowly clearing, but there was still mystery in the air. It was time for some Hollywood drama. ~ Thursday, November 15, 2018

That Tin Man: There’s a new tin man in Beverly Hills at the entrance to the public sculpture garden at the top of Rodeo Drive, but this isn’t the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. This seems to be the Tin-Foil-Hat Conspiracy-Theory Man everyone knows from talk radio. He’s quite mad of course, but that sculpture garden is a bit mad too. Or it’s bold. Beverly Hills is like that. ~ Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The End of the World: Malibu was still evacuated. Malibu was still burning. Everything up the coast to the next county was still burning. Santa Monica Bay was filled with smoke after five days of this. It looked like the end of the world. Maybe it was. ~ Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Still Spellbound: Salvador Dalí created the dream sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Spellbound” – the new head of a mental asylum turns out not to be what he claims, causing no end of trouble for Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck. A repressed experience can directly trigger a neurosis. Dalí could illustrate that. That was 1945 and the next year Dalí worked with Walt Disney on the short film “Destino” – based on Mexican songwriter Armando Dominguez’ song “Destino” – but that went nowhere. Baker Bloodworth and Roy E. Disney completed that short in 2003 – dreamlike images of strange figures flying and walking around. Now that’s just a curiosity. Still, Hollywood loved Salvador Dalí. Hollywood still loves Salvador Dalí. He’s in the streets. These are his streets. ~ Monday, November 12, 2018

Even More Roses: It may be November but in Los Angeles the roses never stop. Summer never ends. ~ Saturday, November 10, 2018

Distant Smoke: This one was serious. Malibu was under a mandatory evacuation order at dawn – all of Malibu. The massive fire that had started inland, at the Ventura County line, had raced to the sea overnight. The coast was closed. Highways were closed. Malibu was burning to the ground. This is the fire from the other side of the Santa Monica Bay – from Palos Verdes – from a safe distance. But it still seemed like the end of the world. ~ Friday, November 9, 2018

Another Art Show: Los Angeles is one continuous art show, or an ongoing series of ever-changing art shows, neighborhood by neighborhood. Keep driving. There’s always another show. This one was at La Brea and First just north of the Wilshire District and just south of Hollywood. It’ll do. ~ Thursday, November 8, 2018

Levitated: Gravity is overrated. Behind the Los Angeles County Museum of Art there’s “Levitated Mass” by Michael Heizer – a 456-foot-long slot with a 340-ton granite megalith trucked in from the desert balanced over it. Gravity doesn’t matter, and a few feet from the big rock, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Oscar people, are turning the old May Company department store on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax into Los Angeles’ first actual movie museum – adding a new spherical theater out back. The only way to build that is to defy gravity too. Wilshire and Fairfax is a curious place. ~ Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Beyond Purple Rain: New graphics at Sunset Sound, the famous recording studio on Sunset Boulevard at Cherokee – a bit of Shakespeare, a contented leopard, and bit of Paris, where Prince recorded Purple Rain and the Beach Boys recorded Pet Sounds. The studios were created by Walt Disney’s Director of Recording, Tutti Camerota, in 1958, to supply the audio for Disney films – think Mary Poppins – but everyone from the Rolling Stones to Miles Davis has recorded here. The whole world has recorded here. The new graphics reflect that, and across the street it’s the Church of the Blessed Sacrament that’s been there since 1921, where, in 1930, Bing Crosby married to his first wife, Dixie Lee. In 1959 it was the funeral of Mario Lanza and in 1960 the funeral for Mack Sennett. This is a curious corner of Hollywood. It’s quite worldly. ~ Tuesday, November 6, 2018

From a Distance: The waterfowl at Echo Park Lake had no idea they were being photographed. That’s what a telephoto lens is for – Hollywood paparazzi work. That’s what this is. ~ Monday, November 5, 2018

The Idle Class: Nothing changes. “The Idle Class” – the one-reel 1921 silent comedy written and directed by Charlie Chaplin for First National Pictures – about confused and useless rich people – was filmed in this park in the middle of Beverly Hills. Of course rich people are still confused and useless, but the roses here are fine. The whole place is fine. Let those people be idle. ~ Saturday, November 3, 2018

In a New Light: It’s the same old Hollywood – the Chinese Theater, the El Capitan, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and whatnot – but the camera is new. The old Nikon died. The new one is pretty nifty, and it puts things in a new light, as does the oddly-angled long November sunlight. Things do look a bit different now. ~ Friday, November 2, 2018

Testing the Limits: The old camera died. After five years things inside just broke. The new camera is pretty nifty – technology advances – so it was time to see what it could do. Beverly Hills was the challenge. Things are visually complex over there. The new camera was up to the challenge. ~ Thursday, November 1, 2018

Bring Back the Past: The El Mirador Apartments at 1302-1310 North Sweetzer Avenue, West Hollywood – designed by S. Charles Lee in 1929 – an odd mix of Spanish Colonial Revival and Churrigueresque nonsense. In the early thirties movie stars lived here, but that was long ago. The place fell into disrepair – into ruins – as it changed hands again and again – but each new owner tries to bring back the past. That’s what is happening here. The work has just begun, again. This will take time. ~ Thursday, November 1, 2018