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Upstream, Downstream

Aug. 21st, 2014

10:11 am - They Just Keep Building

They Just Keep Building

I can't believe I haven't posted since early July. So much for regaining my momentum. In the meantime, they just keep building this city. This is the construction site where the Statler Hotel used to be. I remember the Statler as a famous name in my childhood, synonymous with modern sophistication, a place where visiting dignitaries stayed. It didn't seem as interesting when they started calling it the Wilshire Grand. We're getting a new hotel in this spot. It's going to be either the tallest or the second tallest building in the city. I wanted to take a lot of demolition and construction pictures, but it's hard to get anywhere near the site. No parking for miles around. I took this from the car window.

Jul. 23rd, 2014

03:10 pm - Eight Years Later

Eight years later

This little piece of found furniture is all shined up. I found her in the street, and named her Phyllis. I saw her sitting there several times before I decided to take her home. I spent more than she was worth on Citristrip, the kinder gentler paint stripper.
I Used a Lot of This Stuff

I named her Phyllis, because she had been a Philco radio cabinet.
Inner Phyllis

This project is not completely finished yet. I'm going to fit her out with shelves that will be accessible from the back. She's rolls on casters, so it isn't difficult to get to the back.

Jul. 19th, 2014

10:24 am - Dream

Picket Fence

Jul. 18th, 2014

11:10 am - How to Meet Your Neighbors

How to Meet Your Neighbors

This is how people meet their neighbors in Los Angeles. They assemble in front of their houses while film crews are at work down the street. I don't know what was being filmed here. Perhaps I will see it on TV some day.

Jul. 17th, 2014

05:32 pm - Los Angeles Police Museum

L.A. Police Museum

L.A. has a police museum. The building is the oldest police building still standing. It was built in the mid-twenties and functioned as a police station until 1983. It was declared an Historic-Cultural Monument. When I moved into Northeastern area of L.A. in 1990, people were still arguing over what should be done with it. A local arts organization wanted it for a gallery, but it became a police museum instead. I walked past and took pictures, but I haven't been inside. The admission is $8 for seniors.

There was an old police car parked outside.
Police Car

A sign from the former central station, named after William H. Parker, was resting outside.
Parker Center Sign

As chief, he replaced the corruption of the previous era with racism and brutality the city has been struggling to correct ever since then.

03:01 pm - In Search of Lost Momentum

Moon over Vernon, California

I never meant to abandon LiveJournal, but my posts have become fewer and farther between. Looking back, it seems that my momentum got lost two years ago, when I was working on my "Palace of Light" basement studio. It was a lot of hard work that I didn't often feel like writing about. Two year later, I'm still trying to get it organized, and still don't feel like writing about it. I'd rather write about my adventures exploring the city. I don't think I'll ever get tired of that. My photography slowed down when I saw how many pictures I had neither uploaded nor posted. So in the spirit of picking up where I left off, I'm posting one of a road in "The Industrial City" of Vernon. It's place popular with photographers of a certain type, loved for its bleakness. It also has an interesting history of corruption.

This is a composite of two or three photographs. I wasn't satisfied with any of them, individually.

Jun. 16th, 2014

11:24 am - The View from the Kitchen Door

View from the Kitchen Door

One day in 2011, I stood at the kitchen door and took this picture. This morning, I opened the file at random out of my collection of photos not previously uploaded. Now I have a new computer, and once again, I have decided to GET ORGANIZED.

I'm still walking with my old hips, and thinking it would be nice to ride a bike.


Jun. 3rd, 2014

10:55 am - Hills of Los Angeles

These Hills

There are still some hills in Los Angeles that are not covered with the houses of movie stars. They have treacherous narrow roads. Some of the roads are not even paved, but I don't drive on those. There are spaces where the grasses grow wild. Isaac Lankersheim once grew thousands of acres of wheat and other grains in the San Fernando Valley. These grasses are the descendants of those crops. They are green for a while after there is rain. Then they turn yellow, and have to be cut down because they are a fire hazard.

how long will these hills look like this? I don't know.

May. 8th, 2014

05:39 pm - Hollywood Was Here

Hollywood Was Here

This is a different view of the house I posted-- "Castles." I discovered it's only pink in front. The north side has this old gray siding, the kind you used to see on old houses. Most of those old houses, if they are still standing, have been resurfaced with stucco now. The other side has some very faded red paint on its wood siding. You could call that pink too, but it's an entirely different shade.

The funny thing is that while I was tinkering with the picture, I happened to see a movie on cable TV called "Showtime." Even though it starred Robert DeNiro and Eddie Murphy, it wasn't very good. Uncle-Social just wanted me to watch it for scenes of L.A. I don't know the Valley or the West Side very well, but I'm an expert on the East of downtown film location district. And sure enough, there was a scene shot on this very street! It looked all sunny and respectable, even though it portrayed the house of a drug dealer. It was shot in 2002, 7 years earlier than my photograph. Maybe that pink paint was only applied for the movie. It looked nice with the sunny yellow of the house next door, which also has that gray siding on the north side only. Maybe there's an entirely different movie where the gray side of these houses is all the audience sees.

May. 3rd, 2014

01:35 pm - Castles


At the edge of the river and the railroad tracks are three little houses. The area is industrial. They form a little island of private life. When I first saw them, I thought they looked like poor miserable places where only the most desperate souls would be willing to live. Then I saw a child's plastic castle in front of one of them. This is a house that someone will remember as their childhood home. They will describe it as happy or unhappy, messy or neat, and remember the year they got the plastic castle for Christmas.

The houses were built in 1905. The railroad was there before then, so all the people who lived in them heard the trains go by, year after year. That was before the first zoning laws in L.A. in 1910, when residence and industry were carefully kept apart. Many houses like these were declared to be slums in the 30's and 40's and replaced by public housing projects, but these somehow survived.

1905 was the year when Los Angeles gave up on its river and its wells as its water supply, and set the big aqueduct project going, the one that would bring water from the distant Owens River, the story fictionalized in "Chinatown." People still argue over whether L.A. really needed that water at the time, but everyone knows it could not have continued to grow without it.

None of the bridges over the river from that time still stand. The one we know now as the N. Broadway Bridge was built in 1909. The most well known nearby landmark was the pigeon farm, where squab were raised for local restaurants. It became a tourist attraction, and there are postcards with pictures of it. The pigeon farm was destroyed in the flood of 1914, but the little houses are still there.

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