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 -


Tuesday, 2 May 2006
It's big and green...
Topic: Color Studies

It's big and green...

The Wiltern Theatre and adjacent Pellissier Building, an Art Deco landmark located on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue in Los Angeles, CaliforniaJust the basics -

"The Wiltern Theatre and adjacent twelve-story Pellissier Building are an Art Deco landmark located on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue in Los Angeles, California (the entire complex is commonly referred to as simply the Wiltern). Clad in a blue-green terra-cotta tile and situated on a diagonal to the street corner, the complex is considered one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the United States. In addition to the building's architectural significance, the construction of the Wiltern marked the beginning of the change in Wilshire Boulevard from a sleepy residential street to a busy commercial one and of Los Angeles from a city with a central core to one of many "centers".

"... Originally built in 1931, the Wiltern was designed by architect Stiles O. Clements of Morgan, Walls & Clements, the city's oldest architectural firm. The Wiltern Theatre was originally designed as a vaudeville theater and initially opened as the Warner Brothers Western Theater, the flagship for the theater chain. Quickly closing a year later, the theater reopened in the mid 1930s and was renamed the Wiltern Theatre for the major intersection which it faces (Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue).

"In 1956, the building and theater were sold to the Franklin Life Insurance Company of Springfield, Illinois. However, the company ignored the landmark building and by the late 1970s the Wiltern had fallen into complete disarray. Only the intervention of a group of local preservationists saved the complex from being demolished on two occasions in the late 1970s when the owners filed for demolition permits (the preservation of the Wiltern was one of the Los Angeles Conservancy's first victories in its fight to preserve the architectural heritage of the City).

"In 1981, the Wiltern was purchased by developer Wayne Ratkovich who worked with architect Brenda Levin to restore both the theater and the office building to their former glory. The renovation of the office building was complete by 1983, but the Wiltern Theatre presented a much more difficult problem and took another two years to complete. The theater had been poorly maintained - many of the murals and plasterwork were damaged, many of the fixtures had been sold off or pillaged, and portions of the ceiling had crashed onto the ground floor seats. To restore the theater to its original state required some expert craftsmanship to repair what was there (including A.T. Heinsbergen, the son of the original painter) and some creativity to replace what had been lost (including salvaging vintage Art Deco seats from the soon to be demolished Paramount Theater in Portland, Oregon). Further, while originally a movie theater, Ratkovich wanted to convert the Wiltern into a performing arts center that could host live concerts and Broadway level stage performances which entailed extending the rear wall of the theater back thirteen feet. After a four year renovation the Wiltern Theatre finally opened again to the public on May 1, 1985.

"Currently, the Wiltern Theatre is one of the largest in Los Angeles and at one time seated 2,344 (subsequent modifications removed 1,200 seats on the ground floor to allow for a variety of configurations from a standing room only crowd to a more intimate arrangement). Since its renovation, the Wiltern Theatre has hosted a diverse range of performing artists including the Los Angeles Orchestra, the American Ballet Theatre, magician David Copperfield, and popular music icons Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Paul Simon, David Bowie, The Pixies and the Rolling Stones."


Photos from Monday, May 1, 2006, mid-afternoon. More to come in this weekend's Just Above Sunset, the weekly magazine-format parent site to this web log.


The Wiltern Theatre and adjacent Pellissier Building, an Art Deco landmark located on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue in Los Angeles, California


The Wiltern Theatre and adjacent Pellissier Building, an Art Deco landmark located on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue in Los Angeles, California



Posted by Alan at 11:54 AM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Tuesday, 2 May 2006 11:55 AM PDT
Monday, 1 May 2006
Classic LA
Topic: Technical Exercises

Classic LA

Mid-afternoon, May Day 2006, stuck in traffic on Sunset Boulevard. The mirror of the Mini Cooper frames CNN, where Larry King is no doubt working on this evening's show. The traffic doesn't move. Classic Los Angeles.

Sunset Boulevard as seen in the mirror of the Mini Cooper


Posted by Alan at 9:09 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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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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