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 -

Tuesday, 26 December 2006
After Christmas
Topic: Historic Hollywood

After Christmas

Hollywood and Highland - with all the major stores and the Kodak Theater for the Oscars, and restaurants, from California Pizza Kitchen to the vaguely French Vert run by Wolfgang Puck's brother from Chicago - is the commercial heart of Hollywood. Yes, that's the only kind of heart Hollywood has, of course. The day after Christmas the block was filled with Midwestern tourists, from the Chinese Theater on the west to the seedy bars on the east, to Disney's El Capitan Theater across the street. The Christmas stuff is was all over, although Christmas was all over. The sky was growing quite dark - rain on the way.

Christmas stars at Hollywood and Highland



















Their Christmas tree and their signature elephant (the complex was designed to look like the sets from D. W. Griffith's Intolerance, a 1916 epic filmed up the coast in Oxnard) -

Christmas tree and elephant at Hollywood and Highland




















Tigger at the El Capitan Theater, Hollywood Boulevard



















 Where to go to get over Tigger -

Seedy bar, Highland Avenue at Hollywood Boulevard

Posted by Alan at 6:35 PM PST | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Wednesday, 20 December 2006
Pigeons at the Pantages
Topic: Historic Hollywood

Pigeons at the Pantages

The Pantages Theater - an Art Deco thing at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard - was designed by architect B. Marcus Priteca. It was it was the last theater built for the impresario Alexander Pantages and opened on June 4, 1930. The history of the place is below the photographs. The glory days - the Oscars were hosted here for years, Howard Hughes once owned it, and in 1940 Leopold Stowkowsky conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic here for an entire season, featuring Serge Rachmaninoff and Fritz Kreisler - are over. It is used for traveling company musicals now - currently The Lion King, through January 7, should you be interested. But it's a place for pigeons, really.

Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Boulevard - detail














 Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Boulevard - detail


















The neighborhood - Bob Hope Square, Hollywood and Vine -

Bob Hope Square, Hollywood and Vine















Next to the lobby -

Hollywood Visitor and Information Center at the Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Boulevard - Christmas 2006













 The somewhat official history -

The Pantages Theatre came to life on June 4, 1930, opened by the great impresario, Alexander Pantages as part of the Fox Theatre chain. The opening bill was mixed: MGM's The Floradora Girl, starring Marion Davies, an edition of Metronome News, a Walt Disney cartoon, Slim Martin ("The Maestro of Mirth and Melody") conducting the Greater Pantages Orchestra and finally, a Fanchon and Martin stage piece, The Rose Garden Idea.

The opening night audience couldn't have been more impressed by the show than they were by the theatre. Alexander Pantages had conceived of this theatre, the last built to bear his name, as a fitting monument to his position in the entertainment industry. Although the Wall Street Crash occurred between groundbreaking and completion, no expense was spared in its construction. The cost of the Pantages Theatre itself, not counting the considerable expense of theatrical and projection equipment, was $1.25 million - the equivalent of about $10 million in today's dollars.

The Pantages, first to last, was designed for maximum audience comfort, with over 40% of the interior space devoted to public areas, lobbies, lounges and restrooms. One of the first movie houses built after the advent of talking pictures, the Pantages Theatre boasted the most elaborate sound equipment anywhere in the world. For the first time sound could be 'channeled', either from a film's soundtrack or from remote sources, to the public areas of the building.

The mixed bill of movies and staged companion pieces was continued for the first two years of the Pantages' life by its managers, Rodney and Lloyd Pantages, then the Fanchon and Martin prologues were dropped to be replaced occasionally by locally produced extravaganzas. Other sorts of entertainment proved the theatre's versatility: in 1940, for example, Leopold Stowkowsky conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic for an entire season at the Pantages, featuring soloists Serge Rachmaninoff and Fritz Kreisler.

Howard Hughes, through RKO pictures, acquired the Pantages as part of his national chain of movie houses in 1949. A contractual stipulation ensured that the name of its builder would be retained and thus it entered the 1950s as the RKO Pantages. That was the decade when the Pantages played host to Hollywood's most spectacular annual event - The Academy Awards, which were handed out to lucky winners (including Humphrey Bogart, Vivien Leigh and Frank Sinatra) on its stage each year from 1949 to 1959. Yul Brynner received his Best Actor award on the Pantages stage in 1956 for The King & I, and came back to the theatre twenty years later, again to star as the King of Siam, this time in a record-breaking run of the live show.

In 1959, Universal Pictures booked Spartacus into the Pantages as a long-run, sure-fire attraction, but on the condition that the house's capacity be scaled down. The reduction to 1,512 seats forced the Oscars to relocate, but there were still star-studded evenings in store for the Pantages. In 1963, celebrity patrons were treated to a special screening of Cleopatra at $250 apiece, the proceeds going to the construction fund for the new Music Center.

Pacific Theatres, operated by the Forman family, purchased the Pantages from RKO in December, 1967, after having run the theatre for two years on a lease agreement. Pacific briefly closed the house down for refurbishing and a general relighting, something the theatre had needed for some time. The Pantages reopened, refreshed, again taking its place as one of the finest movie houses on the west coast and continued as such for nearly a decade. But in January, 1977 the silver screen went dark for the last time and work was begun on the Pantages' latest and greatest incarnation.

On February 15, 1977, the Pantages opened its doors again, this time to patrons eager to see the national touring company of the Broadway smash, Bubbling Brown Sugar. The Forman family's Pacific Theatres had been joined by the Nederlander Organization and it was their ambition to bring live theatre back to Hollywood in a big way. The Nederlanders, among the nation's foremost theatrical impresarios, lent their monumental expertise to the task and under the combined Nederlander-Forman aegis, the Pantages opened as one of the finest legitimate theatres in California.

It has remained so to this day. During the 1977 run of Man of La Mancha , the Pantages was restored to 2,691 seats, nearly its original seating capacity, and proved an immediate favorite with both artists and audiences. If favor, esteem and popularity are any indication, the Pantages Theatre is likely to serve the Los Angeles area forever.
And so it will, perhaps.

Posted by Alan at 2:55 PM PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Sunday, 17 December 2006
Hollywood Stars
Topic: Historic Hollywood

Hollywood Stars

This place is crazy. These people are dead, and don't matter - maybe they never did matter. This is a storefront down on Melrose Avenue - Aardvark's. Make of it what you will.

Dead stars mural, Aardvark's, Melrose Avenue














Dead stars mural, Aardvark's, Melrose Avenue














Dead stars mural, Aardvark's, Melrose Avenue

Posted by Alan at 8:52 PM PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Sunday, 10 December 2006
Nightmare Hollywood
Topic: Historic Hollywood

Nightmare Hollywood

Sometimes the images on Hollywood Boulevard are just disturbing. The glamour turns sinister, or grotesque. Someone added a dab of yellow to the eye of Norma Shearer here, and that changed everything. ("Shearer was extremely beautiful, although care was taken in photographing her because she had a lazy eye.")

Norma Shearer image on roll-up door, Hollywood Boulevard




















Take the famous iconic image of Marilyn Monroe from Billy Wilder's 1955 The Seven Year Itch, and render it in bronze, and make it both hyper-realistic physically, with the muscle definition in the leg and the odd kneecaps and the sagging breasts, and a little "off" as the face is too square and the shoulders too masculine, roll it out in front of the Hollywood Museum in the old Max Factor Building, and you get a bit of unsettling surrealism.

Marilyn Monroe in bronze at the Hollywood Museum in the old Max Factor Building, Highland Avenue at Hollywood Boulevard



















About the statue -

On October 26th 2006 the bronze statue of Marilyn Monroe, the work of Domenico Neri, the founder of Neri S.p.A., was inaugurated at the Hollywood Museum of Los Angeles.

The ceremony saw the participation of numerous personalities from the world of culture and the cinema and was a moment of particular intensity and emotion for all who took part. During the ceremony the Municipal Authorities of Los Angeles and Hollywood, as well as the Italian consular representative in Los Angeles, General Diego Brasioli, sent their greetings.

The donation and the organization of the event, in fact, took place as part of a week dedicated to Italian culture, organized in collaboration with the Italian General Consulate with the patronage of the Italian Government and the Region of Emilia Romagna.

The statue, donated to the Museum by Neri S.p.A. and the fruit of long and passionate work by the artist, immortalizes the actress made famous by the film "Seven Year Itch," conserving for ever the diva's unforgettable fascination.

Domenico Neri has for years been dedicating himself to sculpture with increasing commitment, realizing bronze works which have been the subject of various exhibitions and which now constitute the Fondo Permanente di Scultura Domenico Neri, donated in 2003 to the Municipality of Longiano.

The location in Hollywood of his work dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, on the occasion of the eightieth anniversary of the celebrated actress’s birth, constitutes an important recognition of his work as an artist, alongside his achievements as an industrialist and the founder of one of the best established companies in the sector of urban illumination and décor.
It it titled "The Sculpted Beauty."

And Orson Welles tires to be serious, while staring down at Oscar Levant's star in the sidewalk.

Orson Welles image on roll-up door, Hollywood Boulevard

Posted by Alan at 7:54 PM PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006 7:06 PM PST
Wednesday, 18 October 2006
Hollywood: The Dead
Topic: Historic Hollywood
Hollywood: The Dead
There's good money to be made in licensing images of the dead - a wall at the Stella Adler Theater and Academy of Acting, and purses for sale in a window next to the Hollywood Wax Museum. Nathanael West was onto something.

Charlie Chaplin mural, rear of the Stella Adler Theater and Academy of Acting, Hollywood Boulevard




















Marilyn Monroe purse for sale in a window next to the Hollywood Wax Museum, Hollywood Boulevard














Audrey Hepburn purse for sale in a window next to the Hollywood Wax Museum, Hollywood Boulevard













The living - Cherokee Avenue at Hollywood Boulevard -

Dogs in car, Cherokee Avenue at Hollywood Boulevard

Posted by Alan at 6:08 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

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