Marketing Using Dislocation
The French have this thing with Hollywood. It's not for no reason the most popular chewing gum over there is "Hollywood." At this site you can get back issues of the trash pin-up magazine Paris Hollywood (Beauté de Paris Hollywood and Les Folies de Paris et Hollywood). That was published bi-monthly over there from 1947 through 1973. Here's a cover from 1950. The book on that is Paris-Hollywood: Serge Jacques. At this site you can buy French posters for American Movies, like this one (of course). There used to be a junk jewelry store on Rue des Rennes call Sunset Boulevard - perhaps it's still there. The place that sells "California clothes" in the little square on Boulevard St-Germain across from the centuries-old church where Descartes is buried may be gone. But casually mentioning you're visiting from Hollywood works wonders in Paris.
Marketing Using Dislocation
But we don't have much use for the French. We quite regularly remake their movies (see Encore Hollywood: Remaking French Cinema), but the cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys meme has overwhelmed things. We're supposed to be mad at them all. Hollywood's Johnny Depp may be a wonderful actor, but he married that Frenchwoman, Vanessa Paradis, and settled in the hills east of Avignon to raise his kids and relax. He's seldom at his home here, just down Sunset, at Sweetzer, just above the boulevard. How odd of him.
Now, as you can see with this poster on Hollywood Boulevard, in the middle of all the souvenir shops, tattoo parlors and general junk, the French are coming here to Hollywood. Préparez vous ça va déchirer! Get ready for what? That would be these folks (you might want turn off your speakers). We're talking "urban fashion." It seems the young French who dress like scruffy barely-employed American twenty-somethings to make some sort of point in Paris will be selling their version of our own crap here, to us. Go figure.
The poster is sure to confuse the tourists visiting here from Iowa. They may worry this is something political. We worry about the French. We should, of course.
At Work on Saturday
Topic: Nature and Botanicals
Someone out here in Hollywood is working on Saturday morning…
How We Know What We Know
Topic: Insider Stuff
What passes for epistemology on Hollywood Boulevard -
Topic: Light and Shadow
Even at noon, the autumn light is long - the sun isn't right overhead at this time of year. You get good shadows and odd backlighting. Below, Manhattan Beach, just south of LAX, late October -
Topic: Architectural Notes
Mid-November in Los Angeles is, often, when you get those incredibly clear days - the deep blue skies and warm, relentless sun, and a light breeze. And you get long shadows by mid-afternoon. The sun is low in the sky. Winter is on the way, the kind we have out here. It may be eighty a few hours after noon, but Orion will work his way up over the Hollywood Sign after midnight, and night is desert cold.
You can see why the movie industry ended up here. The light is good. It's better than good.
The shadows here are on the frieze detailing of the Sunset Tower Hotel, the Zigzag Moderne icon smack in the middle of the Sunset Strip (8358 Sunset Boulevard) - 1929, architect Leland A. Bryant. It's very famous, in a good number of films, and once home to Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard, Zasu Pitts, and that famous gangster with the great name, Bugsy Siegel. It seems everyone lived there. The link will tell you more.
I've photographed this building before, as in these recent long shots. Earlier, less polished shots were posted here and here. There may be more. At night the thing is floodlighted and looks like a wedding cake. Photographing that will be a challenge - all evening the Strip is jammed with club goers and kids from all over cruising in their cars, with police everywhere. Walking down with the camera bag and tripod and setting up would be a asking for trouble. This is the "winter series."
In any event, these images provide a sense of how the world was in Hollywood's Golden Age, just before the market crash and the Depression. The world was full of wonder. Then it wasn't.