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 -


Sunday, 30 April 2006
Walk Like an Egyptian, or Something
Topic: Historic Hollywood

Walk Like an Egyptian, or Something

The Egyptian and the Pig 'n Whistle on Hollywood BoulevardHere's Hollywood Boulevard on a cloudy Saturday morning, looking west, past the Egyptian Theater, past the Pig 'N Whistle, the big Scientology building, to the Guinness "Book of Records" place. It's an odd town. And the fellow in the shot doesn't seem to be walking like an Egyptian.

This Pig 'n Whistle place opened on July 22, 1927, and according to them, was "an instant favorite with the movie colony as well as the local citizenry." Who would that be? Shirley Temple, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable and Loretta Young were regulars, and they say Cary Grant, Jane Wyman or Walter Pidgeon too. The word is that from the late sixties on, whenever the Rolling Stones were in town, Jagger and Richards could be found here, and when the Beatles were in town, recording, as they did, at the Capitol Records Building not that many blocks away, they would drop by. It's supposed to be a hangout for visiting Brit rock stars, but no one really sees them there much, if at all. The menu is pretty much American. And as for the name, that comes from the two words Piggin and Wassail - a piggin is a vessel (usually a jug) used to carry ale, and a wassail is a toast, as in "Good Health," and also a special occasion drink made from spiced wine or sweetened ale. So the name is British, even if the place isn't. Hollywood is a land of fakery.

The Pig 'n Whistle is connected to the forecourt of the Egyptian Theatre by a side entrance, and that place has a history. It was built by Sid Grauman, who also built Chinese Theater, three blocks west across the street, and the Million Dollar Theater on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. In the early twenties this Egyptian thing cost Sid eight hundred thousand dollars, and it took eighteen months to build - the architects were Meyer & Holler and it was built by the Milwaukee Building Company.

Okay, Sid did fake Egyptian, and fake Chinese, and had guys from Milwaukee put it all up, so why not open a fake British pub next door? It's a Hollywood thing.

The joke is that the Egyptian was designed to be Spanish Revival, but they slapped on the Egyptian details at the last moment, just after the discovery of King Tut's tomb by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922 - Sid Grauman was a showman who knew who to ride the buzz. And the Egyptian Theatre was the site of the first-ever Hollywood premiere - "Robin Hood," starring Douglas Fairbanks. That was on Wednesday, October 18, 1922, red carpets and all.

But the Egyptian wasn't to be a success. Grauman abandoned it in 1927, putting up the Chinese Theater down the street. The Egyptian wasn't restored until recently - American Cinematheque purchased it from the City of Los Angeles in 1996 for one dollar, agreeing to restore it. No one likes ratty abandoned historic landmarks, and what could the City do with it? Now it's two smaller halls in the same building, not one big two thousand seat hall, and one of the two is a little seventy-seven seat theater named for Steven Spielberg. The Egyptian reopened on December 4, 1998, after almost thirteen million dollars of work, and it's rather snazzy once again.

The courtyard of the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard



The historical marker at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard



Posted by Alan at 8:22 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Monday, 1 May 2006 6:14 AM PDT
Saturday, 29 April 2006
Studies in Red
Topic: Color Studies

Studies in Red

From Saturday, April 29, 2006, nine in the morning - dark and cloudy - Sunset Boulevard

Red wall and poster at the Whisky a Go-Go, Sunset Boulevard



From Saturday, April 29, 2006, nine thirty in the morning - dark and cloudy - Hollywood Boulevard

Entrance, Geisha House, Hollywood Boulevard



Posted by Alan at 2:24 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Friday, 28 April 2006
Studies in Blue
Topic: Color Studies

Studies in Blue

On the beach, Thursday, April 27, 2006, in Playa del Rey, just north of Los Angeles International Airport. The location is at the breakwater, at the mole leading into the harbor at Marina del Rey, about twelve miles west of Hollywood. These two didn't make it in.

Wreckage on the beach in Playa del Rey, at the breakwater, at the mole leading into the harbor at Marina del Rey



Wreckage on the beach in Playa del Rey, at the breakwater, at the mole leading into the harbor at Marina del Rey



Wreckage on the beach in Playa del Rey, at the breakwater, at the mole leading into the harbor at Marina del Rey




Via Google Earth, the location...

Location of wreckage on the beach in Playa del Rey, at the breakwater, at the mole leading into the harbor at Marina del Rey


Posted by Alan at 6:29 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Thursday, 27 April 2006
The Birds and the Bees
Topic: Nature and Botanicals

The Birds and the Bees

Duck at the edge of the sheltered lagoon in Playa del Rey, Los Angeles County
The bird - Thursday, April 27, 2006, at the edge of the sheltered lagoon in Playa del Rey - is this duck that just woke up in a bed of alyssum, a bit unhappy to be disturbed. (Playa del Rey - "the beach of the king" - is the first beach north of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), between the airport and Marina del Rey, about twelve miles west of Hollywood.)









The bee is nearby, working away in the "ice plant" that grows in the sand at the edge of the beach parking lots. Ice plant? That would be carpobrotus edulis, a creeping, mat-forming succulent, a member of the Stone Plant family Aizoaceae and one of about thirty species in the genus Carpobrotus. It is also known as the Highway Ice Plant, Pigface or Hottentot Fig, and in South Africa known as Sour Fig. It's used all over out here, mainly to hold down hills and loose sand (thus the "highway" name), and as a firebreak (it is a succulent after all, and full of water). It requires next to no care and needs little rain, which is fine because we average little rain out here anyway. And like many things in California, it's very flashy. The bee is just an ordinary bee.

Bee pollinating ice plant blossom in Playa del Rey, Los Angeles County




Birds and bees lead to families. These might be Marbled Godwits.

A late note, Sunday, April 30, from a reader in upstate New York - "Of course the top picture is a beautiful Mallard drake. In the lower pictures, you have two kinds of birds. I am guessing the larger (on left) are Long-billed Dowitcher and the smaller ones, Western Sandpiper."

These are not Marbled Godwits at the edge of the sheltered lagoon in Playa del Rey, Los Angeles County



These are not Marbled Godwits at the edge of the sheltered lagoon in Playa del Rey, Los Angeles County


Posted by Alan at 6:34 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Sunday, 30 April 2006 2:40 PM PDT
Wednesday, 26 April 2006
A Little Geometry...
Topic: Color Studies

A Little Geometry...

Been here fifteen years, living just above the Sunset Strip, and have yet to figure out what's in this round green building down by Tower Records.

Green building on Sunset Strip



Green building on Sunset Strip


Posted by Alan at 4:45 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006 5:46 PM PDT

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