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Southern California Photography by Alan Pavlik, editor and publisher of Just Above Sunset
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Photos and text, unless otherwise noted, Copyright 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.

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Visitors from February 28, 2006, 10:00 am Pacific Time to date -


Thursday, 15 June 2006
Icons
Topic: Historic Hollywood

Icons

Palm trees on Hollywood Boulevard
Here's an iconic shot, palm trees on Hollywood Boulevard. It's the basic California shot and falls under the category of "stock photography" - good for a brochure or whatever. Basic stuff. It's from late afternoon, Wednesday, June 14, 2006, when the light was just right. The building in the frame is a new glass thing, home of Stephen J. Cannell Productions - the outfit that crated stuff like The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero, The A-Team, Wiseguy, 21 Jump Street, and other such television shows. There's more at the link. But the palm trees in the afternoon light are just fine.

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The real icon is below, or the top of it in the same light - the most famous hotel in Hollywood.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was named for Theodore Roosevelt and financed by a group including Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Louis B. Mayer. It opened for business on May 15, 1927, and Will Rogers, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Clara Bow, Greta Garbo, and Gloria Swanson were all there. The banquet and presentation of the first Academy Awards was here, in the "Blossom Room" - May 19, 1929. Douglas Fairbanks and Al Jolson did the honors. The Roosevelt is on the National Historic Register.

What else? Marilyn Monroe lived here for two years when her modeling career started to work out for her, before the movies. Her first magazine shoot was on the diving board at the pool - now gone and replaced by a trendier one. She stayed in Cabana 246, overlooking the pool, and the mirror that hung in her room is now in the lobby - they say it's haunted by her spirit. Right. The staff also claims that the ghost of Montgomery Clift haunts the ninth floor (Suite 928) - he used to pace the halls back in 1953, memorizing his lines for the next day on the set of "From Here to Eternity" - so there are those loud noises coming from the empty suite, and word of phones left mysteriously off the hook that no one can explain. Whatever.

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard stayed in the penthouse when that cost five dollars a night. It's thirty-five hundred a night now. During Prohibition, Errol Flynn mixed his special gin concoctions in the back room of the hotel's barber shop, and Shirley Temple took her first tap-dancing lesson - from Bill "Bojangles" Robinson - on the hotel's tile stairway.

There's more here-
David Niven roomed in the servants' quarters when he first came to Hollywood, and Mary Martin began her singing career performing at the hotel's nightclub, the "Cinegrill," for $35 a week.

... Like most of the surrounding area, the grand Roosevelt Hotel went into a decline in the 1950's; one owner demolished its archways, covered up its elaborately painted ceilings, and painted the entire hotel in a shade of "seafoam green." They came close to tearing it down in the 1980's, but fortunately, the Roosevelt was rescued. A luxury hotel chain, Radisson, bought the historic hotel and set out to restore it to its former glory. Armed with original blueprints and historic photos of the hotel's Spanish Colonial architecture, they undertook a major $35 million renovation, and now, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel shines again.

... At the northern entrance to the hotel was the Cinegrill, a restaurant and cabaret nightclub which hosted top entertainers in the 1940's, and was a major celebrity hangout. Marilyn Monroe was a frequent patron, preferring a dark corner booth.

... That old Cinegrill space reopened as "Teddy's", part of a major renovation that began with the Roosevelt adding star-autographed plaques to their rooms: the first was from Steven Spielberg (who shot some of his Tom Hanks / Leonardo DiCaprio movie, "Catch Me If You Can" in the hallways of the Roosevelt).

... Its new poolside Tropicana Bar was attracting them by the droves, giving Sky Bar at its prime a run for its money. Celebrities such as Bruce Willis, Kirsten Dunst, Lindsay Lohan, Eva Longoria , Jake Gyllenhaal, Scarlett Johansson, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Topher Grace, Hugh Hefner and Hitch's Eva Mendes have been spotted partying at the hotel recently. In 2005, Courtney Love passed out at the hotel and was taken away in by paramedics. But in April of 2006 - just days after a live performance by Prince - the venerable Hotel pulled back a bit from its new party image, severing ties with the architect of their hot scene, Amanda Demme, and temporarily closing Teddy's until they could replace the ultra-lounge's management.
An interesting building. A full photo shoot will follow one day.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel



The old and the new...

Palm trees on Hollywood Boulevard



Posted by Alan at 6:44 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006 6:41 AM PDT
Wednesday, 14 June 2006
Hollywood Murals Old and New
Topic: Historic Hollywood

Hollywood Murals Old and New

Mural on the west wall of Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood Boulevard
Wednesday, June 14, Flag Day 2006, blazing hot in Hollywood, and up on the boulevard there's this odd mural in a parking lot, inviting you into the darkness of Grauman's Chinese Theater. It opened May 18, 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's "The King of Kings." It's still going strong. And now it's air-conditioned. And she's smiling.

















Also, on the same west wall of the theater, there's a reminder of the old days - when the world was back and white, and cute or glamorous, or both, side by side. Yep, that's Shirley Temple on the left, leaving her prints in the concrete out in front of the theater. When that second level movie star from the forties, Ronald Reagan, became president, he appointed her, now Shirley Temple Black, our ambassador to the United Nations. She was not angry and self-righteous and blustering like that John Bolton fellow the younger Bush sent up to the big blue building on the East River. She was fine. Things go better when run by movie people from Hollywood, and not by Texans? Perhaps.

The mural is a bit ratty these days, and in the upper right there's the real world intruding again - the painfully and impossibly blue sky. Who's the blond? Someone long gone.

Mural on the west wall of Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood Boulevard



Across the street, the new movies get their own wall. Superman Returns - on June 30th as a matter of fact.

Note this -

As the hype machine shifts into high gear for the upcoming release of "Superman Returns," some are reading deeply into the film whose hero returns from a deathlike absence to play savior to the world.

"It is so on the nose that anyone who has not caught on that Superman is a Christ figure, you think, 'Who else could it be referring to?' " said Steve Skelton, who wrote a book examining parallels between Superman and Christ.

As the hype machine shifts into high gear for the upcoming release of "Superman Returns," some are reading deeply into the film whose hero returns from a deathlike absence to play savior to the world.

... Some have also seen the hero as a gay icon, forced to live a double life with his super-self in the closet. A recent edition of the gay magazine "The Advocate" even asked on its cover, "How gay is Superman?"

But the comparison to Jesus is one that's been made almost since the character's origin in 1938, said Skelton, author of "The Gospel According to the World's Greatest Superhero."
Whatever.

Superman promo on office building across the street from Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood Boulevard



Superman promo on office building across the street from Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood Boulevard



Old Hollywood - the roof of Grauman's Chinese Theater and the tower at the El Capitan -

 Old Hollywood - the roof of Grauman's Chinese Theater and the tower at the El Capitan, Hollywood Boulevard



Posted by Alan at 7:47 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Wednesday, 14 June 2006 7:54 PM PDT
Tuesday, 13 June 2006
Jacaranda Time
Topic: Color Studies

Jacaranda Time

Jacaranda in bloom, North Hayworth Avenue, between Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles
Here the weather has turned into "Jacaranda Time" - that period from mid-May to late June when the purple jacaranda trees bloom everywhere.

That would be this -
Jacaranda is a neotropical genus in the family Bignoniaceae. Its members range in size from subshrubs to large trees.

As is often the case with plants, the genus name is also used as the common name for cultivated varieties. The most often seen is the Blue Jacaranda, Jacaranda mimosifolia (syn. J. acutifolia). This is widely grown for its ornamental value.
And more specifically this -
The Blue Jacaranda, more often known simply as the "Jacaranda", is a sub-tropical tree native to South America that has been widely planted elsewhere because of its beautiful and long-lasting blue flowers. Older sources give it the systematic name Jacaranda acutifolia, but it is nowadays more usually classified as Jacaranda mimosifolia. It is also known as the Black Poui, or as the fern tree. In scientific usage, the name "Jacaranda" refers to the genus Jacaranda, which has many other members, but in horticultural and everyday usage, it nearly always means the Blue Jacaranda.

… Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa is popularly and poetically known as Jacaranda City or Jakarandastad in Afrikaans because of the huge number of the trees which turn the city blue when they flower in the spring. The name Jakarandastad is frequently used in Afrikaans songs, such Staan Op by Kurt Darren.

People in Australia sing a Christmas song about Jacaranda trees, as the blooms are only seen in summer time - as the song explains, "When the bloom of the jacaranda tree is here, Christmas time is near."

Argentine writer Alejandro Dolina in his book "Crónicas del Ángel Gris" ("Chronicles of the Gray Angel") refers the legend of a massive jacaranda tree planted in Plaza Flores (Flores Square) in Buenos Aires which was able to whistle Tango songs on demand.
These Jacaranda, one block south of Sunset Boulevard on Hayworth just before Fountain Avenue, weren't whistling any tangos, but then no one asked. And this a quiet street, just below the big Directors Guild of America headquarters - you can hardly hear the traffic up on Sunset at all.

At the end of the street, at Fountain, this Art Deco vaguely French apartment building from the forties is being restored. They have a vacancy. That might be cool - old Hollywood and all that.

Jacaranda in bloom, North Hayworth Avenue, between Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles



Jacaranda in bloom, North Hayworth Avenue, between Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles



Posted by Alan at 6:51 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006 10:34 PM PDT
Monday, 12 June 2006
Wheels Are Turning
Topic: Geometric Shapes

Wheels Are Turning

Wheels, Travel Town Museum, Griffith Park, Los Angeles
Wheels are turning. The Just Above Sunset computer is real dead, and the shop has just transferred the files from the old computer to a new external hard drive to plug into the laptop, which now becomes the new Just Above Sunset server. Now it's getting things set up and settled down.

But all of the photography files have been recovered, including those taken Monday, May 29, 2006, at the Travel Town Museum, an outdoor transportation museum on the other side of Griffith Park, beside Forest Lawn, across the bone-dry Los Angeles River from Warner Brothers and Disney studios - the Burbank side of the park. The focus there is the history of railroad transportation in the western United States from 1880 to the 1930s. The place opened on December 14, 1952, and now has fourteen steam locomotives and twenty-six other pieces of rolling stock. The website is here, with history of how the museum came to be there here, and a list of what's on display here.

And here are some wheels. Now back to systems work.











Wheels, Travel Town Museum, Griffith Park, Los Angeles



Posted by Alan at 8:17 PM PDT | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
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Sunday, 11 June 2006
Perspective
Topic: Technical Exercises

Perspective

An exercise in framing and perspective - Hollywood Boulevard, Monday, 4 June 2006, mid-afternoon, looking west through the June haze, the marine layer finally starting to burn off - the march of the lampposts, the tourists, the traffic - just another day -

 Hollywood Boulevard, Monday, 4 June 2006, mid-afternoon, looking west



Posted by Alan at 5:30 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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