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 -


Monday, 15 May 2006
Pink, Blue, Green, Red
Topic: Insider Stuff

Pink, Blue, Green, Red

Southern California colors - Hollywood Center Studios on Las Palmas a few blocks north of Melrose Avenue on Thursday May 11, late morning. This is down in "the flats," the mixed-use industrial area with Paramount and lots of sound and post-production shops, and Kodak and auto repair shops and small restaurants and strip malls and low, fifties-style apartment buildings, and grit. Hollywood Center Studios is a minor Hollywood studio, not affiliated with any particular motion picture company - these guys rent out the back lot and twelve sound stages to whoever has the cash for movies, television, music videos and whatnot. It was built in 1919 - Howard Hughes shot "Hell's Angels" (1929, silent) here, with Jean Harlow in her first movie role. Mae West and Harold Lloyd made many of their films here. There's more detail below this shot. The photograph is more an exercise in framing and color than in history.

Hollywood Center Studios on Las Palmas a few blocks north of Melrose Avenue on Thursday May 11, late morning



The website "Seeing Stars" has more detail here -

Other early movies shot here included "Pennies From Heaven" (1936, with Bing Crosby), "The Thief Of Baghdad" (1940), "The Jungle Book" (1942 with Sabu), and "Angel On My Shoulder" (1946, with Paul Muni). Shirley Temple had her film debut at this studio.

In the 1930's, it was known as General Service Studios, and produced countless b-movies and independent films. in the late 40's Cagney Productions (Jimmy, and his brother William), owned a large part of the studio.

In 1951, the studio turned to television. The first two years of "I Love Lucy" shows were shot here on Stage 2 (before Lucy & Desi moved Desilu studios over to RKO and moved the show over to Ren-Mar). In fact, the studio's sandwich shop next door to Stage 2 is called the "Babalu Cafe." The "Burns & Allen" show was also filmed here.

More recently, the studio was the scene of a noble failure, as Francis Ford Coppola (the director of "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now") began his ill fated Zoetrope Studio here. Alas, Zoetrope didn't last long; when Coppola's first new release, "One From the Heart," bombed at the box office in 1982, he lost the studio. (Although Zoetrope still exists as a production and post-production company in San Francisco, and online at http://www.zoetrope.com.)

As a rental studio, numerous classic TV series were shot there, including "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Green Acres," "Petticoat Junction," "Mr. Ed," "The Bob Cummings Show," "Ozzie & Harriet," "Our Miss Brooks," "The Addams Family," "The Lone Ranger," "Baretta," "The Rockford Files"... and more recently, "The Cosby Show," "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Boy Meets World" and "Soul Train." "

"The Burns and Allen Show" was also shot there, and George Burns had an office at the studio which he visited almost every day until he died (at age 100). In fact, the Burns office is still there.

Modern films shot here include: "The Shaggy Dog" (with Tim Allen), "Cursed" (with Christina Ricci), "The X-Men," "Bad Santa," "Zoolander," "Dumb And Dumberer," "What Dreams May Come" (with Robin Williams), "Scream 2," "The Out of Towners" (with Steve Martin), "A Walk in the Clouds" (with Keanu Reeves), "Con Air" (with Nicolas Cage), "When Harry Met Sally" (with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan), "The Running Man" (with Arnold Schwarzenegger), "Frances" (with Jessica Lange), "Shampoo" (with Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn), "Save the Tiger" (with Jack Lemmon), "The Player" (with Tim Robbins), "The Karate Kid" and 1997's "Spawn."
There are no public tours. This is a working studio in an ugly part of town - think Steubenville with palm trees. It's not tourist territory.

On the other hand, if you need stage space, and rigging and lighting, and union grips and gaffers and such, for your own next major film, television show or music video, the Hollywood Center Studios website is here. They'll be glad to accommodate you. The site also lists all the films made on site, starting with "Smiling All The Way" in 1920 through the 2005 remake of "The Shaggy Dog" (the long list is here). The list of television productions is here and includes everything from Sky King to the show with the talking horse, Mister Ed - and the Mel Brooks series Get Smart. Very odd.

Hollywood Center Studios on Las Palmas a few blocks north of Melrose Avenue on Thursday May 11, late morning


Posted by Alan at 6:21 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006 6:27 PM PDT
Sunday, 14 May 2006
The Green Gumball
Topic: Oddities

The Green Gumball

Uno Gomes Cerqueira's Ferrari F430 from the 2006 Gumball 3000 rallyThis will easily get you from a dead stop to sixty in under four seconds, if you have at least 178,906 dollars (before taxes, registration and licensing fees, any options you choose and a chat with your insurance company). You're looking at the intake system of a mid-engine Ferrari F430, their hottest production model now that the Enzo is no more (they built only four hundred of those and they go for a million now, so you rarely see one of them, save for when some fool crashes one in Malibu or you catch a glimpse of Nicholas Cage driving his on the Beverly Hills part of Sunset, a few miles west).

This Ferrari F430 was just sitting in the street just off Melrose Avenue, on Fuller, Thursday May 11th, by the open-air auto repair shop, Ted's Imported Car Service, where there seemed to be a new yellow Lamborghini disassembled for some reason. This is Los Angeles, after all.

But this poison-green Ferrari on the street obviously needed Ted's help. It had been beat to hell and various bits of trim and some body parts had been taped in place with yellow duct tape, and the windshield and forward parts were pitted. It looked tired.

What happened? The racing number on the side - 45 - tells the tale. The Portuguese owner, Uno Gomes Cerqueira, had just driven it three thousand hard miles in six days in the latest version of "Cannonball Run," the rally, of sorts, that is run on public roads and is know as Gumball 3000.

That would be this -
In 1933 legendary motorcycle racer Mister Baker, had crossed the United States coast-to-coast in 54 hours, earning him the nickname Cannonball. He had had an annual race ever since 1914 (when he needed 11 days), and bettered his time ever since. In the 1970s motor journalist Brock Yates of Car and Driver magazine had started the "Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash" in honor of Cannonball. The first race was held on April 1, 1971, and first prize was a Gumball dispenser. The first race was won by Yates and Dan Gurney, former race driver for Formula One and Le Mans, who drove a Ferrari. They needed about 35 hours from New York to L.A. These events inspired the 1976 movies "Gumball Rally" and "Cannonball," as well as sequels such as "Cannonball Run," "Cannonball Run 2," etc. The original Gumball race was finally canceled in 1979.

Drawing inspiration from the 1970s race, the movies and "Smokey and the Bandit," Maximillion Cooper started the modern edition of the game in the summer of 1999 as the Gumball 3000 road rally. Gumball 3000 has since gained the reputation as road race for the modern era and has captured attention. With celebrity participation the public have been bought closer to the race by witnessing it on everything from MTV to reading about it in Vanity Fair.
So where had this F430 been this time to get so beat up? That information would be here - April 30 start in London and get to Belgium, then May 1 to Vienna, then Budapest the next day, and Belgrade the day after, then the cars are all flown of Southeast Asia and on May 5 race from Phuket to Bangkok, ending up at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel there, and then the cars are flown to Utah, to Salt Lake City, where everyone attends "the red carpet Premiere of Mission Impossible III" and the next morning revs up drives like hell to Las Vegas for a private "Snoop Dog" concert, then off to Death Valley and finally, May 7, the dash to the finish line, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. All that was followed by a dinner at the Beverly Hilton and a party at the Playboy Mansion up the hill, where one of the DJ's was the famous porn star Ron Jeremy.

This adds a whole new dimension, or many, to the "idle rich" thing. The "Spirit Trophy" was won by Team 15 - they crashed their Rolls Royce Phantom in Serbia and rode in cabs for the rest of the rally. Others just dodge the police and drive like hell. A few years ago some of us saw the drivers the police had actually caught on the 10 freeway in Covina - they didn't look very worried, and the cars were cool. We all slowed down and checked it out.

This Ferrari F430 on Melrose, after this year's three thousand miles on three continents, finished in the middle of the pack, but ahead of the guys in the cab. Now it needs work.

Uno Gomes Cerqueira's Ferrari F430 from the 2006 Gumball 3000 rally



Uno Gomes Cerqueira's Ferrari F430 from the 2006 Gumball 3000 rally



Uno Gomes Cerqueira's Ferrari F430 from the 2006 Gumball 3000 rally



Uno Gomes Cerqueira's Ferrari F430 from the 2006 Gumball 3000 rally



Posted by Alan at 7:37 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2006 7:42 PM PDT
Saturday, 13 May 2006
Les Fleurs du Mal
Topic: Color Studies

Les Fleurs du Mal

"Even the most beautiful flowers are spoiled in their centre by hairy sexual organs." - Georges Bataille (not Charles Baudelaire)

For a giggle see Ned Denny in the New Statesman here, on the Dada roots of Surrealism -
In the 1920s Georges Bataille's art magazine Documents embraced all that was "soiled, senile, rank, sordid" in western civilization.

... Bataille thus stayed closer to the surrealists' roots in Dada, that primal howl which rose out of Zurich in the depths of the First World War. The black soil to surrealism's wildly exotic flower, Dada prescribed strange chants and the ancestral throb of drums as remedies for a culture engaged in ritual self-slaughter. Enlightenment and the march of reason having led to a mass grave (both literally and psychologically), Dadaism sought a solution in the healing powers of so-called darkness.

... In many respects, Bataille's Documents magazine ... was a continuation of the Dadaist onslaught against cultural somnambulism. In it, he wrote that "horror alone is brutal enough to break what is stifling," a statement that communicates the essence of his aesthetic. If the European mind had indeed become a "whited sepulchre" (as Marlow describes the unnamed city in Conrad's Heart of Darkness), cracking it open would require formidable tools.
Just flowers here, in front of an apartment building on the southwest corner of Beverly and Sycamore, a few miles west of downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, May 13, 2006, about ten in the morning -

Bloom in front of an apartment building on the south west corner of Beverly and Sycamore, a few miles west of downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, May 13, 2006



Bloom in front of an apartment building on the south west corner of Beverly and Sycamore, a few miles west of downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, May 13, 2006



Bloom in front of an apartment building on the south west corner of Beverly and Sycamore, a few miles west of downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, May 13, 2006



Bloom in front of an apartment building on the south west corner of Beverly and Sycamore, a few miles west of downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, May 13, 2006



Posted by Alan at 3:42 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2006 3:03 PM PDT
Friday, 12 May 2006
Ominous Signs
Topic: Oddities

Ominous Signs

Signs, Melrose Avenue, Thursday, May 11, 2006



Art and chaos, and hints of evil, on Melrose Avenue at Poinsettia in the early afternoon light, Thursday, May 11, 2006 -



























Signs, Melrose Avenue, Thursday, May 11, 2006



Signs, Melrose Avenue, Thursday, May 11, 2006



Signs, Melrose Avenue, Thursday, May 11, 2006



Signs, Melrose Avenue, Thursday, May 11, 2006



Posted by Alan at 6:27 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006 6:32 PM PDT
Thursday, 11 May 2006
A Collection of Walls
Topic: Color Studies

A Collection of Walls

Wall Detail, Melrose Avenue, Thursday, May 11, 2006


Colors and patterns. Walls on Melrose Avenue at Poinsettia in the early afternoon light, Thursday, May 11, 2006 -




























Wall Detail, Melrose Avenue, Thursday, May 11, 2006






































This is actually not on Melrose, but if you entered the Groundings Theater there on Melrose, walked through and out the back door into the alley and turned around, you'd see this.

Wall Detail, Melrose Avenue, Thursday, May 11, 2006



The red wall is just to the left of the flowerpots.

Wall Detail, Melrose Avenue, Thursday, May 11, 2006


Posted by Alan at 7:42 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006 7:49 PM PDT

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