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, 18 June 2006
All Roads Lead to Hollywood
Topic: Technical Exercises

All Roads Lead to Hollywood

Hollywood Boulevard at Orange, looking south at the entrance of The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
They do?

Hollywood Boulevard at Orange, looking south at the entrance to The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, in deep shadow, in the early afternoon of Friday, June 16, 2006.

Posted by Alan at 6:02 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Saturday, 17 June 2006
Close-Up Color

Close-Up Color

A little preview of tomorrow's Just Above Sunset, two of the botanicals - shots from Saturday, June 17, 2006, at the curb in front of a shabby stucco apartment building on the northwest corner of Hayworth and Norton, West Hollywood.

Botanical close-up

Circus Rose - bud and pine needles

Posted by Alan at 4:07 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Friday, 16 June 2006
The Hollywood Tourist
Topic: Landmarks

The Hollywood Tourist

Film crew on Hollywood Boulevard
The weekend begins on Hollywood Boulevard - some shots from Friday afternoon, June 16, 2006.

What is this crew doing across the street from Grauman's Chinese Theater? They didn't want to be bothered. They were busy. It's Hollywood. And it's a classic candid shot.

And here's some weekend tourist stuff.

See below. Grauman's is famous for the collection of handprints, footprints, and autographs in the theater's courtyard - two hundred movie folk have put their hands or feet or whatever in the cement there. As for whatever, you can find the imprint of Harold Lloyd's glasses, the cigar-print of the cigars of Groucho Marx and of George Burns - and Betty Grable's legs, John Wayne's fist, and Al Jolson's knees. There are two nose prints - Jimmy Durante and Bob Hope. William S. Hart and Roy Rogers left imprints of their guns, and there are hoof prints - Tom Mix's "Tony," Gene Autry's "Champion," and of course Roy Rodgers' "Trigger." It's a very odd place. But Sid Grauman was a showman.

This has been going on since 1927, and, should you be in town, this might be useful - a clickable map of the courtyard so you can find what interests you, if any this does.

And you might also remember the end of Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles -
Hedley Lamarr is driven to Grauman's Chinese where the marquee flashes the current film "Blazing Saddles." To hide and escape from Bart, he pays for one full admission to the film after failing to convince the attendant that he is a student. A female tourist remarks to her husband as she tries out the footprints of actress Hedy Lamarr - "Look, Herman, I'm in Hedy Lamarr's shoes!" - Hedley corrects her as he passes by: "Hedley." In the lobby of the theatre are noisy, bleating cattle as he purchases Raisinettes at the candy counter.

As the film begins to play with the familiar opening song, Lamarr suddenly realizes that he is going to be viewing "Blazing Saddles" and he exits in disgust. Outside, he is outdrawn in a gunfight with Bart and shot in the groin. As Lamarr falls and dies in front of the theatre, he studies the cement imprints (hand and feet) of Douglas Fairbanks - "How did he do such fantastic stunts with such little feet?"

He lands in fresh cement - before he expires, he scratches out his own name followed by a dollar sign in the wet cement for his own epitaph. Bart and the Waco Kid enter the theatre to see the end of the film, both wishing for a happy ending.
Yeah, it's sort of an inside joke, a Hollywood thing.

Check out these.

Grauman's Chinese Theater - hand and footprints - Humphrey Bogart

Grauman's Chinese Theater - hand and footprints - Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe

And for what's playing at the Chinese this weekend, it's certainly not "Blazing Saddles" - and it's not Chinese. But it is Asian, sort of. One of the cars from the film was on display in the courtyard, the front bumper just above Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers. But you couldn't get near it with all the thirteen-year-old boys checking it out. Ah well. Times change.

Grauman's Chinese Theater - wall detail

Posted by Alan at 6:46 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Thursday, 15 June 2006
Topic: Historic Hollywood


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.


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

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."

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

Updated: Wednesday, 14 June 2006 7:54 PM PDT

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