Hollywood - Television
Topic: Insider Stuff
It will only mean more tourists in their dinky rental cars - only Avis buys the base Chevrolet Cobalt, no "civilians" do. But this replacement for the hapless Chevrolet Cavalier will soon fill the main drag here - the Sunset Strip - with dad driving too slow, mom carefully reading the map (this really isn't Iowa), and the kids poking their heads out the rear windows, looking and looking and looking. Those of us who are locals need to be extra careful. These folks are dangerous. It's the sudden dead stop in the middle of everything, or the u-turn that brings all lanes, both ways, to a halt.
The problem is that the fall television season started Monday, September 18, with the highly anticipated Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip from NBC. The link is to the Tom Shales review in the Washington Post - but what matters out here is that there is just no such place on the Sunset Strip, just the Tiffany Theater at the Actors Studio, with real plays and live actors. It has nothing to do with television. And there's no "Studio 60" anywhere. Oh well. Someone is going to be disappointed.
By the way, Shales is not impressed with this new show. From the folks who gave us The West Wing (Aaron Sorkin and crew), we get a series about backstage life at a sketch-comedy show much like NBC's own "Saturday Night Live." Whatever. You can read the review.
To the right is a real television studio, Jay Silverman Productions, 1541 North Cahuenga Boulevard - in the block between Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards - three big state-of-the-art stages and an exterior "sky wall" if you need one. In spite of this visual filigree, it's the real thing.
Television trivia - about a block east, the side door of Improv Olympic, 6366 Hollywood Boulevard, the west coast branch of the Chicago outfit. Some of the non-fictional "Saturday Nigh Live" folks started here - Rachael Dratch, Tina Fey, Adam McKay, and Horatio Sanz. Conan O'Brien stared here, for what that worth. The tourists never seem to find this place. It's not exactly mainstream. It's pre-mainstream.
Topic: Botanical Studies
Missed a day - but there's a whole lot of fresh high-resolution photography in the new issue of Just Above Sunset, the weekly magazine-format parent to this site. That went online today - Volume 4, Number 38 for the week of September 17, 2006.
The photography pages -
- The Other Primary Colors
- Hollywood Noir
- The Beach
- Signs and Symbols
- American Glory - the BIG Cadillac
- Botanicals - September Blooms
- Botanical Humor
- Pairs Photos - Our Man in Paris: Paris Wants You
- Guest Photography - Teaser - Vintage Cars at Watkins Glen
One of the botanicals -
The Beach Today
Topic: West of Hollywood
California can be rather nice. The Santa Monica beach, Friday, September 15 - late morning - looking down from Palisades Park on Ocean Avenue, across Pacific Coast Highway, to the sand and beyond - using the telephoto lens. This is an exercise in composition and framing.
Signs and Symbols
Topic: Light and Shadow
These two shots seem to be suffused with symbolism, but it's hard to figure out what is it. The man working is covering all that peace stuff with cheery blue skies, on Thursday, September 14, a dreary and dark afternoon in Los Angeles. The location is Sunset Boulevard at Formosa. It must mean something. It probably doesn't.
The location is famous, sort of. Out here we have an odd sense of what makes for historical significance. This will have to do. The spectator is watching the billboard work.
Directly across the street, the ineffable sadness of Los Angeles - a palm tree that makes you want to shoot yourself for ending up out here, at the end of the world.
Topic: Historic Hollywood
Hollywood - Cahuenga Boulevard, the block south of Raymond Chandler Square - film noir lives on in its surrealistic way. As Chandler said, "It is not a fragrant world."
See also - "Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl's clothes off."
"The pebbled glass door is lettered in flaked black paint: 'Phillip Marlowe … Investigations.' It is a reasonably shabby door at the end of a reasonably shabby corridor in the sort of building that was new about the year the all-tile bathroom became the basis of civilization. The door is locked, but next to it is another door with the same legend which is not locked. Come on in - there's nobody in here but me and a big bluebottle fly. But not if you're from Manhattan, Kansas. - The Little Sister
"It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window." - Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 13)
"She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket." - Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 18)
"From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away." - The High Window (Chapter 5)
"I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard." - The King in Yellow
"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Ana's that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge." - Red Wind (opening paragraph)