2007: July 2020 Photography

July 2020 Photography

A Few Leftovers: Just one corner, Wilshire Boulevard at South Dunsmuir Avenue on the Miracle Mile, which was an economic miracle in the late twenties, and these are the leftovers from long ago. The money soon moved on west to Beverly Hills and left these dramatic buildings behind. But the brutal summer sun does make them shine again. ~ Friday, July 31, 2020

This Summer Street: The out of control coronavirus pandemic now in every state, the collapse the economy with a wave of evictions and foreclosures about to come now, the people in the streets, everywhere, all the people, for months now, demanding racial justice – nothing has gotten any better. None of it makes sense. This is chaos. It may never end. That’s why, this particular summer afternoon, Melrose Avenue looks like this. ~ Thursday, July 30, 2020

A Summer Light Show: There was no one at the pocket park across the street from the county courthouse on Burton Way in Beverly Hills, just around the corner from the Civic Center, with those twisted palms in the median. The summer light was dramatic, and that was enough. ~ Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Big City Sunshine: All these skyscrapers are empty now. They may remain empty. There’s no way to cram seven or eight thousand people working together all day long in each of them safely now. That virus is here to stay for a bit, but now there’s no point in working like that anyway. The work that had been done here can easily be done from home. These glass towers are pointless now. Cities may be pointless too, but Los Angeles was pleasantly quiet and the light was good. So here is what used to be. ~ Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Vine Street: Things have changed. In 1945, Tom Breneman opened his restaurant in a converted bowling alley on this corner, to house his wildly popular radio show “Breakfast in Hollywood” that ran from 1941 to 1948. He had ten million listeners. Jimmy Durante and Andy Devine and Orson Welles would drop by. So would Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, to sing a bit. Breneman created his own magazine covering the show, and there was a movie too. And then it was all gone. Vine Street just north of Sunset Boulevard is now… something else. No one is serving breakfast here now. ~ Monday, July 27, 2020

Late July Roses: Everyone’s hiding. July is too hot here in Los Angeles. These roses should burnt back to nothing. But here they are. They don’t give up. They don’t hide. ~ Saturday, July 25, 2020

Summer Blooms: This is late July here. Even the Prickly Pear cactus is in bloom. But there’s no way to explain the hat. ~ Saturday, July 25, 2020

Los Angeles 1925: This is Elks Lodge Number 99, built in 1925, now the Park Plaza Hotel – 607 South Park View, just off Wilshire Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles – the work of architect Claude Beelman, during the time he was a senior partner at the firm he co-owned, Curlett and Beelman. It faces MacArthur Park – Neo-Gothic spooky with its dark angels, with a brass sculpture of a set of elk antlers embedded in the clock above the entry too. The Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks sold the building long ago and it fell into disrepair, but it’s been restored and 1983 declared a Los Angles Historic Cultural Monument. The pool hosted indoor swimming events during the 1932 Summer Olympics. The exterior has popped up in a few movies – The Mask, Bugsy, The Bodyguard, and a few others – but the place is too strange for much of that. The Roaring Twenties seems to have been a very dark time out here. But there’s the bright white Asbury Apartments just around the corner, from the same year. That helps lighten the mood. ~ Friday, July 24, 2020

Totally Brainwashed: Mr. Brainwash is the French-born, Los Angeles-based street artist Thierry Guetta. He’s from Garges-lès-Gonesse, a suburb just north of Paris. He’s ours now, world famous – there’s his cover for Madonna’s 2009 greatest hits collection, Celebration – but an Angelino at heart. He’s been here thirty years and this is his new wall on South La Brea Avenue – Los Angeles in the middle of 2020 – and as he told Los Angeles Magazine about this wall, “We need positivity. We’re not just Los Angeles, we are a family today. We are all together. We all have problems, but we’re all going to resolve it together. We’re going to make it better together. Los Angeles, it’s a family.” So, he’s been brainwashed, in a good way. ~ Thursday, July 23, 2020

At Kings Road: This hotel at Kings Road on the Sunset Strip opened in 1963 as Gene Autry’s Hotel Continental but he soon sold out to Hyatt Hotels and it became the Continental Hyatt House in the sixties and seventies – the “Riot House” – Keith Richards dropped a hotel television set out the window of Room 1015 in 1972 – Jim Morrison lived here until he was evicted for hanging out his window by his fingertips, dangling over the pavement, just for the fun of it – and Little Richard lived in room 319 for twenty years. Now it’s the sleek Andaz West Hollywood and kind of boring. It’s across the street from the Sunset Tower Hotel, designed in 1929 by Leland A. Bryant and opened in 1931 – both John Wayne and Howard Hughes lived here for a time. Now all the rooms look out on the Saddle Ranch Chop House – kitsch from 1999 but in a lot of movies. In 2013, Business Insider named it the rowdiest bar in the United States. This is an odd corner. ~ Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A Summer Afternoon: Geese, just geese – that’s all – oh, and lotus too – and the summer sky – and a turtle – Echo Park Lake on a summer afternoon is a fine place. ~ Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Facing Reality: This is not Trump country. These are the local walls as everything falls apart this pandemic summer. ~ Monday, July 20, 2020

Dancing Roses: No, these roses are not dancing. But they look like they’re working on it. ~ Saturday, July 18, 2020

Beating the Heat: Will Rogers was the first mayor of Beverly Hills and deeded a lot of his own land to the new city for public parks. This is one of them, with gardens and a fountain and a pool and benches and shade. He was a good man. This is the place to beat the heat. ~ Saturday, July 18, 2020

A Brutal Place: Harsh sunlight reveals everything. This is the Sunset Strip on a dangerously bright summer afternoon. This is a brutal place. ~ Friday, July 17, 2020

Simple Geometry: Consider it Urban Zen. Simple geometry clears the head. It was time to visit the skyscrapers at the edge of Beverly Hills, down on Wilshire Boulevard, once again. Of course they’re empty now. The pandemic rages on and those who worked here work from home now. Those who worked here may never return. Why would they? There’s no need to work in one of these now. Skyscrapers make no sense now. But more and more of them go up. That’s fine. They’re calming. They create quiet now. ~ Thursday, July 16, 2020

With Bruce: The writing in the sky said “Stay Home” and they say these people are our mortal enemies now, but it seemed like a good day to visit Bruce Lee, and Sun Yat-sen too – the philosopher and physician and politician, the first president of the Republic of China, the “Father of the Nation” given his role in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty during the Xinhai Revolution. He’s a hero in both mainland China and Taiwan. He didn’t live to see his new China split in two. He was there, with Bruce, in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, which was empty. There is the pandemic. ~ Wednesday, July 15, 2020

At Harmony Gold: Sunset Boulevard at Stanley Avenue – the light was good and there was an open parking space in front of the offices of Harmony Gold, the film and television production company, and just around the corner from the fancy Moroccan restaurant. The light is always good here in Hollywood – harmonious and golden. That’s why they make movies here. ~ Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Echo Park Avenue: The past is here, in full color, Echo Park Avenue between Montana and Franklin Street. There’s a reason Hollywood shoots so many gritty crime stories here. This is old Los Angeles, when the town was cruel and unforgiving in the hard sunshine. There are stories here. ~ Monday, July 13, 2020

Extreme Roses: Extreme heat calls for extreme roses. One is supposed to stay home in the dark during any Extreme Heat Advisory. But the roses were calling. They were showing off. ~ Saturday, July 11, 2020

A Bit of Everything: Los Angeles is deep into summer. Just about everything is in bloom, everything for every possible mood. What will it be? Take your pick. ~ Saturday, July 11, 2020

James Baldwin: New on Sunset Boulevard, James Baldwin at Larry King Square – across the street from the CNN building and around the corner from old blues and jazz mural at Amoeba Music – soon to be gone. Amoeba Music lost their lease and has moved. The building is about to be torn down and replaced by a tall glass tower – luxury condominiums – so this is the last of this mural. Go tell it on the mountain. James Baldwin may stay. ~ Friday, July 10, 2020

Architectural Lettuce: Romaine Street at Sycamore is an architectural mess – 7000 Romaine is the Art Deco building that Howard Hughes had purchased in 1927 and made his headquarters, now restored to perfection but surrounded by new sleek glass office buildings, and old exposed major power lines on wooden poles too, and just down the block from the noisy and dusty Mexican cement plant. Everything is all mixed up. It’s a romaine mixed salad. ~ Thursday, July 9, 2020

Enough: One month after that one weekend of rioting that ended with half of Melrose Avenue burnt to the ground and the other half looted and empty, everything is slowly being rebuilt, but with full awareness of why this happened. ~ Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Keep the Paint: No one said the magic words – that’s a wrap – strike the set. The massive “All Black Lives Matter” march started in the center of Hollywood two weeks ago. Those were the words that they painted in giant letters right there on Hollywood Boulevard, and they’re keeping the paint. This might useful again. They didn’t strike this set. ~ Monday, July 6, 2020

Pandemic Hollywood: Things got worse. Everyone has to stay home. And that makes Hollywood a bit odd. Of course it was always odd. ~ Monday, July 6, 2020

These Fireworks: This Fourth of July all the fireworks shows in Los Angeles were cancelled. The coronavirus pandemic is out of control. Stay home. But there were still fireworks in the local gardens. ~ Saturday, July 4, 2020

Long Ago: The Hollywood Sign used to say HOLLYWOODLAND to advertise a new 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. In 1949, the City of Los Angeles repaired and rebuilt the sign without the last four letters. This was no longer a housing development. In 1937, Aldous Huxley – “Brave New World” – moved to Hollywood, to a house up here. He never left. He made a lot of money as a screenwriter, money that he used to smuggle Jewish and left-wing writers and artists out of Hitler’s Germany – to America, to Hollywood. Hollywoodland had turned into a literary and arts community. But the original 1923 real estate office is still here, and the stone gates. Hollywood used to be interesting. ~ Friday, July 3, 2020

Organic Forms: There’s a mysterious odd tree across the street from the Mushroom House, the O’Neill House at 507 North Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Don O’Neill was an 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 finished it for him. And now there’s a sculpture garden across the street to match it. Everything matches. ~ Thursday, July 2, 2020

Speed Metal: The Petersen Automotive Museum at Wilshire and Fairfax was just another big boxy white building, a former department store, but in late 2015 a new façade designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates – to “evoke the imagery of speed and the organic curves of a couch-built automobile” – was bolted onto the old drab building. That changed everything, at it has aged well, and it’s very red. Nothing else is red down there. ~ Wednesday, July 1, 2020