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 -


Saturday, 6 May 2006
Floral Still Life
Topic: Color Studies

Floral Still Life

At the edge of a driveway on Laurel Pass Avenue in the Hollywood Hills, noon, Friday, May 5, 2006 -

Floral Still Life at the edge of a driveway on Laurel Pass Avenue in the Hollywood Hills


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Friday, 5 May 2006
Small Details: The George Harrison Tree at Griffith Park Observatory
Topic: Historic Hollywood

Small Details: The George Harrison Tree at Griffith Park Observatory

Now here's an odd little historical marker, sitting under an adolescent pine tree.

George Harrison, the lead guitarist of The Beatles, died at the home of a friend, a security specialist named Gavin de Becker, out here in Los Angeles on November 29, 2001, at the age of 58. His body was cremated at Hollywood Forever Memorial Park, and there were reports that his ashes has been flown to India and scattered in the Ganges. The problem is the ceremony was not conducted at the expected time and no one knows where is ashes really are, if that is an issue for anyone (and if so, go here and nose around).

But even if the ashes have gone missing, he does have a tree, at the edge of the parking lot at the Griffith Park Observatory, as you can see in this archived news item from February 19, 2004 -
The City of Los Angeles has declared Sunday 22 February 2004 GEORGE HARRISON DAY. A plaque will be unveiled at the base of the George Harrison Tree in Griffith Park at 3:00 pm and there will be a live musical performance by Keith Chagall and 'The Fab Four' tribute band. Special guests Billy Preston and Jackie Lomax will also be in attendance. Jackie intends playing a song he has written as a tribute to George, "Friend Of Mine."
On that day there was this press release (PDF format) from City Councilmember Tom LaBonge (great name) - 4th District, Los Angeles. The heading reads - "L.A. Musician, Humanitarian and 'Gardener' Lauded by Councilmember LaBonge, Many Others in Free Public Event in Griffith Park as Bronze Plaque is Unveiled to Sounds of Harrison's Music"

Some of that -
The City of Los Angeles proclaimed Sunday, February 22, 2004 "George Harrison Day" in the City of Los Angeles and marked his life and work in a special celebration hosted by Councilmember Tom LaBonge with live performances of his music, remembrances by friends and associates and the unveiling of a bronze plaque in his memory at the base of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park.

"George Harrison was and always will be one of our favorite Angelenos," said Councilmember LaBonge. "His performance with the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl was unforgettable. He lived on Blue Jay Way in the Hollywood Hills and wrote a haunting song about it. He married a native Angeleno, Olivia Arias, and they were a devoted team. His legacy as a humanitarian has few equals in the world. And, sadly, he died in Los Angeles. But upon his demise, he became an angel in the City of Angels and we are forever grateful for his contributions to the world."

... Singer-songwriter Keith Chagall performed "Soundlight" written as an homage to Harrison in Beatles-esque style and was later joined by members of the Fab Four to sing two of Harrison's best known compositions, "Here Comes the Sun" and "My Sweet Lord." Jackie Lomax, one of the first solo artists signed by the Beatles' Apple Records and a longtime friend of Harrison's, was also in attendance. He sang an acoustic version of a song he wrote for Harrison.
Billy Preston didn't show up, but sent a nice statement that was read to all the people who did, as was a message sent by Olivia Harrison thanking everyone for remembering her husband George.

The George Harrison Tree at Griffith Park Observatory, Griffith Park, Los Angeles (Hollywood)



The George Harrison Tree at Griffith Park Observatory, Griffith Park, Los Angeles (Hollywood)



Turn around and you'll see they're almost finished restoring the observatory, and you'll soon be about to walk out there and check out the bust of James Dean, on a pedestal to the right out of the frame, having something to do with all the scenes in his "Rebel Without a Cause" that were filmed right here. Hollywood is an odd place.

Restoration of the Griffith Park Observatory, Griffith Park, Los Angeles (Hollywood)


Posted by Alan at 7:51 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Thursday, 4 May 2006
LA Reflections
Topic: Color Studies

LA Reflections

Sushi in the sky, early in the afternoon, Thursday, May 4, 2006 - a west facing wall on South Serrano Avenue at Wilshire Boulevard. This is so Los Angeles. It's all surface and mirrors, and, now and then, raw fish.

Sushi in the sky, early in the afternoon, Thursday, May 4, 2006 - a west facing wall on South Serrano Avenue at Wilshire Boulevard



What they can see directly across from that window? Across the wide square, that would be the Art Deco Wiltern Theater and the twelve-story Pellissier Building at the corner of Wilshire and Western - as they say, one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the United States, and also very LA.

The Wiltern Theater and the twelve-story Pellissier Building at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue



The Wiltern Theater and the twelve-story Pellissier Building at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue


Posted by Alan at 8:06 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Wednesday, 3 May 2006
Notes on Hollywood History
Topic: Historic Hollywood

Notes on Hollywood History

Palm in bloom, Laurel Avenue, Hollywood
The palm on the right, as seen from front door, says it's spring. It's in bloom.

But as May begins, the sunshine is rare. If it's going to be a typical year, each day begins with light fog, the usual marine layer off the Pacific, and then grey low clouds until mid-afternoon, when the sun makes its way out for an hour or two, then the clouds roll in again from the coast. Thus usually goes on, day after day, until late June, but it makes for interesting diffused light.

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The shot below was taken in that diffused light, and whatever you make of the composition, for locals here, the old-timers, it evokes Old Hollywood.

The roof belongs to the last remaining Victorian cottage on Hollywood Boulevard, Jane's House, built in 1903, and once used as a schoolhouse where the children of Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Cecil B. DeMille and all sorts of other early Hollywood moguls and stars. It sits back from the boulevard at the end of a narrow courtyard, and now it's a new trendy restaurant, Memphis (southern cooking), reviewed in the Los Angeles Times here if you'd care to drop by. The Times opens with the history, but the food sounds reasonable, and the scene impressive. How trendy is it? The supermodel Kate Moss celebrated her birthday here, and Dustin Hoffman's son Jake for now is the DJ on Tuesday nights. Whatever. Things change.

The sign in the background is on top of the Fontenoy, a tall concrete apartment building designed by the architect Leland A. Bryant in 1928, the year before he did his famous Sunset Tower over on the Sunset Strip (photos of that here and here).

Memphis and the Fontenoy, Hudson and Hollywood Boulevard



The Fontenoy has its history, as in this, from someone who was living there in 1981 -

Harry and Lee were two old vaudeville veterans who lived across the hall from each other, and who had a million great stories to tell about decades in the entertainment industry, from the Orpheum Circuit to Broadway, Las Vegas to USO camp shows during WWII. Harry produced the "Delmar Revels" revue in 1927, which played 112 performances at New York's Shubert Theater and introduced a young comedian named Bert Lahr to Broadway. Lee had toured extensively throughout Europe following the war, playing for kings and commoners. When I met them they were still working, in vastly diminished roles, filling in as extras on movie sets at Universal, Paramount and Columbia.

They threw legendary parties at the Fontenoy in the 1950s and 1960s, with guest lists that included Mae West, Milton Berle, Jackie Gleason, and Irene Ryan. Lee, who rented the larger apartment on the northwest corner of the second floor, usually played host, entertaining guests on his Steinway grand piano.
Ah, those were the days.

But you can still live there. It's not expensive.

The Fontenoy on Hollywood, negative image



The name? See British Battles on the Battle of Fontenoy during the War of the Austrian Succession (King George's War) - 11th May 1745. It was east of the Scheldt opposite Tournai and around the villages of Fontenoy, Vezin and Saint Anthoine in southwest Belgium - the British, Hanoverians, Austrian and Dutch against the French, about fifty thousand on each side. The link has all the details, and a map of which regiment was where, and the associated paintings. The French won.

See also this from November 1998, where Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis and sometimes contributor to these pages, comments on the Eurostar rail service between London and Paris through the "chunnel." The French didn't think much of the west end of the trip ending at Waterloo Station in London, and joking that maybe Paris' Gare du Nord, at the east end of the trip, should be renamed Fontenoy.

That has nothing to do with Hollywood, but it's amusing.


Posted by Alan at 6:29 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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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

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