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.

Contact the Editor

Visitors from February 28, 2006, 10:00 am Pacific Time to date -

Wednesday, 1 March 2006
Odd Walls
Topic: Historic Hollywood

Odd Walls

The Hyatt on Sunset (8401 Sunset Boulevard) - the "Riot House" where members of Led Zeppelin used to ride motorcycles through the halls. Little Richard still lives in a penthouse suite. Room 1015 is where Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards mooned the world and dropped a television set out the window. The east wall, Wednesday, March 1, 2006.

The Hyatt on Sunset (8401 Sunset Boulevard), the east wall, Wednesday, March 1, 2006.

Across the street, The Argyle Hotel (Sunset Tower) at 8358 Sunset Boulevard -
Designed in 1929 by architect Leland A Bryant, the Sunset Tower was a landmark from the moment it opened. Its dramatic siting on the Sunset Strip and elegant Art Deco styling, together with its proximity to the famous restaurants and nightclubs of the 30's and 40's, contributed to its appeal.

... Former residents include Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Billie Burke, Joseph Schenck, Paulette Goddard, Zasu Pitts, and even gangster Bugsy Siegel.

... The building has appeared in a number of films, including Wayne's World Part II, Get Shorty, The Player, and Strange Days. Recently, it was the setting for interviews with Ringo Starr for the Beatles Reunion TV special. Its first literary mention was in Raymond Chandler's Farewell My Lovely. In the first film version of that novel, Murder, My Sweet (1944), the line from the book is used as dialogue, making it the first screen reference to the Sunset Tower.

... Most of the exterior surface is smooth concrete, the windows forming a pattern of vertical bands which draw the eye upward and emphasize the height of the structure. Faceted windows accent the corners of the building. Above the street entrance and along the building's set-backs, plaster friezes express a tangle of images, some typical of Deco design, others the product of Bryant's creativity. Flora and Fauna, mythological creatures, zeppelins, and even Adam and Eve share the space comfortably. Atop the tower are engaged pylons and a pineapple finial. In a playful reference to its use, sculptured panels depict the radiator grille of a 20's automobile over the entrance to the garage at the rear.
There's this odd detail -

Sunset Towers, 8358 Sunset Boulevard, Wednesday, March 1, 2006, wall detail

How about a wall of Art Deco windows?

Sunset Towers, 8358 Sunset Boulevard, Wednesday, March 1, 2006, Art Deco windows

Posted by Alan at 5:12 PM PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006 8:50 AM PST
Tuesday, 28 February 2006
Topic: East of Hollywood


This is the last day of Black History Month. And this is the African American Fire Fighter Museum (1401 South Central Avenue, Los Angeles) -
The African American Fire Fighter Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, conserving and sharing the heritage of African American firefighters.

The Museum is housed at old Fire Station 30. This station, which was one of two segregated fire stations in Los Angeles, between 1924 and 1955, was established in 1913, to serve the Central Ave community.

This beautifully restored facility has the original apparatus floor tiles, poles and kitchen out-building, dating back to 1913, when the facility opened as a fire station. The Museum has been designated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument 289, and is the recipient of the Los Angeles Conservancy's 1999 preservation Award.
Until 1955 fire stations were segregated? Odd.

These shots were taken February 5, 2006 - it's across the street from The Good Ship Coca-Coca, down in the warehouse district, east of downtown.

The doors -

African American Fire Fighter Museum. Los Angeles, front view

An old machine in the darkness -

African American Fire Fighter Museum. Los Angeles, old fire truck

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

Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006 6:43 PM PST
Monday, 27 February 2006
Topic: Light and Shadow


First, documentation. The rain started in Los Angeles today, and will continue through tomorrow - heavy and sustained. This doesn't happen very often and there may be mudslides. Nichols Canyon burned last summer (see here or here) - so that area is in danger. More to follow, if something happens.

LA rain, Monday, February 27, 2006

Those reflections? The International Cinematographers Guild (7755 Sunset Boulevard). (Basic shots and a write-up here.) Above the door -

 International Cinematographers Guild, Sunset Boulevard, entrance

East wall, Sunday, 26 February 2006 - before the rain.

 International Cinematographers Guild, Sunset Boulevard, east wall

Posted by Alan at 5:31 PM PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Sunday, 26 February 2006
The Industry: Very Local Organizations
Topic: Insider Stuff

The Industry: Very Local Organizations

A block south and one block west is the Directors Guild of America (DGA) an impressive Sunset Boulevard building (photos here). It's a place - if you can manage it - to see major Hollywood movies before they're released. I seem to recall seeing "Braveheart" there some weeks before its release, with short Mel Gibson answering questions after the lights came up. And there's the annual City of Lights thing there each spring - a screening the year's top French films (attended this one - the late director John Frankenheimer gave a short talk in awful French). Then there was that prerelease screening of Serendipity, where the lead, John Cusack, after the film, told us all it would be a big hit. It wasn't. In any event, the DGA isn't exactly a tourist destination. It's a fancy union hall. People in "the industry" hang out there, and hangers on. But there's a good car wash across the street. They do nice work.

Where the industry folks also hang out is another union hall a few doors east - the International Cinematographers Guild (7755 Sunset Boulevard). This is their national headquarters - for six thousand cinematographers the camera crews, and the still photographers and the publicists - the folks who work on studio and independent films, television, commercials, documentaries, music videos and broadcast news. It's a union for the "below the line" folks.

The building was redone and they moved into it in 2003 - Ron Howard gave a speech and all that (see this). It's a cool building - palm trees, reflective glass.

International Cinematographers Guild, 7755 Sunset Boulevard

And across the street is Bug Music with the logo (see the shot below) that makes you think they're in the same business that made Tom DeLay wealthy enough to be able to run for congress. But they don't do pest control. They do something else - administering and collecting royalties on behalf of independent publishers, songwriters, and artists - they track down and collect royalties for their clients, like the Dixie Chicks, Iggy Pop, and the estates of the late Johnny Cash and Janis Ian. They're lawyers, administering publishing catalogs and anything that has an income-earning copyright. They "bug" people.

It all started when they were asked to administer the Del Shannon catalog - "There was a dispute over the copyrights of Del's songs, but when we got the copyrights back for him, we also started to pitch his songs for cover records. We had a big breakthrough, when Bonnie Raitt recorded Del's hit, 'Runaway,' and it became a cover hit. We got a taste for that cover success, and we started aggressively promoting our catalogs."

And it took off. They're international now. You have a copyright and aren't getting paid? They'll get your money for you, and take a cut of it for themselves. And now they work in movies, where many use pop and indie tunes for a soundtrack. They'll work out the licensing and all that - legal consultation. Seen Kill Bill 2, with all those odd songs in the background? They worked out the copyright details.

It's another below-the-line industry insider place. That's the neighborhood here.

And they have a cool bug.

Bug Music, 7750 Sunset Boulevard

Posted by Alan at 6:42 PM PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Updated: Sunday, 26 February 2006 6:46 PM PST
Saturday, 25 February 2006
Winter at the Beach
Topic: Light and Shadow

Winter at the Beach

Saturday, late February - sunny and in the seventies, with high thin clouds hinting at the rain on the way by Monday. Still air and diffused bright light, the kind of light that the cinematographers love. No doubt someone is shooting something today somewhere around here.

Good light means good shots. This is the beach at Encinitas, California, on the coast north of San Diego.

Beach, Encinitas, California 25 December 2005

Posted by Alan at 1:46 PM PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Updated: Sunday, 26 February 2006 4:57 PM PST

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