Topic: Color Studies
Noted on the ocean front walk, the "boardwalk" in Venice Beach (there are no boards), Thursday, 21 September -
Trompe-l'?il and Other Madness
Topic: Light and Shadow
Trompe-l'œil is of course one of those French terms one can throw around. We're talking optical illusion in what seems to be a realistic painting - as in tromper, to deceive, and l'œil, the eye. You've been had. It's kind of a joke on strict realism - there's more here, with samples, and the note that trompe-l'œil was (and is) often employed in murals, "and instances from Greek and Roman times are known, for instance from Pompeii." And there's Hollywood. Trompe-l'œil is employed in Donald O'Connor's famous "running up the wall" routine in Singin' in the Rain (1952). At the end of the "Make 'em Laugh" number he runs up a real wall, then he runs towards what looks like a hallway painted on a wall, but when he runs up this it's a large trompe-l'œil mural. He crashes through it. Whatever. The inside joke is that the song is a fake too, a shameless rip-off of Be a Clown from the movie The Pirate (1948). Nothing is ever what it seems.
Trompe-l'œil and Other Madness
Here's trompe-l'œil at Venice Beach, Thursday, September 21 - part of a study of four new murals there that will be posted in this Sunday's Just Above Sunset.
Other murals of note - like western line-dancing meets Van Gogh's Starry Night, at the Beach -
Topic: Light and Shadow
Walls in Los Angeles' Thai Town - Hollywood Boulevard from Western Avenue east to Normandie, approximately. The Thai Town photos will follow. The brick walls made for interesting compositions. The first two have been digitally equalized - that's increasing the local contrast of the image by reducing the overall dynamic range. The color values are true. The third photo is "as is" - without processing of any kind.
Topic: Technical Exercises
A technical exercise - shooting through glass to get both what's there and what's reflected from the street - Hollywood Wigs, 6311 Hollywood Boulevard, on the north side, between Ivar and Vine - Tuesday, September 19, 2:00 pm, full sun -
An appropriate place for the woman to wear the wig - The Frolic Room, 6245 Hollywood Boulevard, next to the Pantages - look for Hedy Lamarr's star out front in the sidewalk -
Bob's Frolic Room was featured in the movie LA Confidential - Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) has a drink here, thinking about what to do next. It's just a dive neon bar from the thirties.
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.