Posts Tagged ‘Neighborhood’

HOOD – Laurel & Hardy’s Culver City

YouTube Preview Image “Many scenes in the Hal Roach comedies were shot on the streets of Culver City. The brilliant designer and pop culture historian Piet Schreuders creates a computer model of Culver City as it looked in the 20′s – and matches-in scenes from Laurel and Hardy comedies that were shot on site.”

I saw this a few years ago and it just blew me away. The amount of loving and precise effort this one man put into matching up the scenery is so impressive. Unfortunately, some of it isn’t subtitled, but it doesn’t really matter.

For a 13-page PDF of background about this clip, click here.

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POLL – Name your neighborhood coffee hangout!

What are your fave places to relax with a cup of coffee?

You can choose more than one. Add your thoughts and more suggestions in the comments below!

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FLASHBACK – A Day with The Doors

The following video “tells the story of Gary and Henry, two wild and crazy guys from the 60′s who designed albums covers for some of the biggest names in Rock and Roll… Gary and Henry discuss (with Ray Manzarek) how they came up with the infamous MORRISON HOTEL cover. They revisit the old hotel in downtown Los Angeles where they took the now classic shots of the doors in the hotel window. What’s amazing about this story is how different the world was back then. You can imagine today, taking a major rock and roll band to hotel with no advance notice and asking, “Hey mind if we take a few pictures?” Today, it would take months to set up the shoot and it would include bus loads of advertising people, reps from the record company, legal observers, and many many assistants. Ad to this, a full catering truck and security and you get the picture!”

See what The Morrison Hotel looks like today after the jump. Let’s just say I doubt you’ll be rushing there to book a room.

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FLASHBACK – Black Gold at Kiddyland

Ever wonder what was on the corner of Beverly and La Cienega before the Beverly Center existed?

Kiddie rides and oil rigs. And the oil rigs are still there. Huh.

YouTube Preview Image “In 1946, Dave Bradley opened Beverly Park and Playland (Kiddyland) at Beverly and LaCienega. It had a Tilt-a-Whirl, bumper cars, a roller coaster, merry-go-round, pony rides, blue hippo, you name it. And gourmet food, according to their ads.

…One of his visitors at Playland (Kiddyland) was Walt Disney, and Bradley became an advisor to Disney on many of the rides at Disneyland. He was one of the geniuses who decided that everything on Main Street would be built to 7/8 scale, so people would feel tall and not so overwhelmed as they walked around.” (SOURCE)

“This little amusement park, complete with roller coaster and spook house, sat in the shadow of one of the thousands of disguised oil pumps creakily pumping up profits from the huge oil reservoir under the area. Many a bedraggled parent found solace here, as for the price of a few 25 cent tickets, children could be let loose to ply the cheesy old rides while Mom and Dad sipped soda under a tree.” (SOURCE)

After 28 years, Beverly Park closed in 1974 and in 1978 plans for Beverly Center were announced. The mall opened in 1982. More than you ever needed to know about Kiddyland can be found on the Facebook page dedicated to the park.

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RESOURCE – Movie Locations Galore

YouTube Preview Image After the jump are links to some of the best web resources identifying movie locations.

As I’ve mentioned before, my first inspiration to explore L.A. was an old film. Love it or hate it, the entertainment business is what Los Angeles is famous for worldwide. Residents here are surrounded by familiar, comfortable* images whenever we drive down the street, whether we recognize them or not. You may easily be surprised to find that you’ve been driving past iconic buildings on your way to the grocery store without even realizing it. Funny thing is… there are people who will travel across the world just to see these buildings that we pass by without a thought. Most movie locations are free to discover, so instead of sitting home & watching stuff on tv this weekend why not have an adventure and explore the sights in person?

“It’s only a matter of time before local film and TV buffs experience a sense of déjà vu around Los Angeles. That place looks familiar. Did you see it on the way home from work, or when you checked in with your favorite characters? Could be both. Most productions not filmed on studio lots are shot within the 30-mile zone from Beverly and La Cienega boulevards, with some locations more popular than others. (more…)

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MATINEE – Simon Rodia & The Watts Towers

YouTube Preview Image rodiaTHE TOWERS (1957; 12 minutes) is a documentary about Simon Rodia (1879-1965) building the Watts Towers.

Details: Born near the Naples, Italy, Simon Rodia emigrated to Pennsylvania at 15. When his brother was killed in a mining accident, Simon moved to the West Coast and eventually settled in Watts in the early 1920s. He began creating the towers in 1921 and finished in 1948. Seven years later, frustrated by vandalism and disputes with his neighbors, he suddenly gave the property to neighbor Luis Sauceda and walked away. He was 75 years of age.

Simon Rodia lived in Martinez, California until his death in 1965. He never viewed his Towers again. (more…)

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EVENTS – The Close Up 7/6-12

Note: Event listings are updated during the week as we see fit.

Now through 8/31/09 – Photography: The Billboard Show
7/9/09 – Downtown LA Artwalk
7/10-12/09 – Echo Park Community Festival
7/11/09 – Historic North Hollywood Walking Tour, 80′s Prom
Party
7/12/09
– Bastille Day Los Angeles; Art and Poetry with Exene Cervenka

billboard showONGOING THROUGH AUGUST 31st
What: THE BILLBOARD SHOW
Selling the California Lifestyle – Photographic Landscapes of the 1950s & 1960s
Where:
Take My Picture Gary Leonard 860 South Broadway, Downtown (213) 622-2256
When:
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10am–2pm & 3–6pm; Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am–2pm; Saturdays 12–6pm; Sundays 12–3pm
Price: FREEEEE!

Details: “Ever since taking a photograph of the Dodgers as a little boy in 1959, Gary Leonard has documented the mercurial landscape of Los Angeles, from the political to the cultural and economic. A former employee of billboard advertising company Pacific Outdoor recently gave Leonard thousands of billboard slides, a hundred of which are now on view at Leonard’s gallery, Take My Picture (named after his column in various regional publications). Advertising everything from funeral services and early fax machines to civic defense and entertainment, the images provide a rare historical survey of mid-century American commercial design, proving that, much like one of his influences, Weegee, Gary Leonard has an excellent sense of timing.” (SOURCE)

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LOCAL – The Crazy Robertson

YouTube Preview Image I’ve been learning surprising new things every single day since I created this site. I now know that there’s a catfish pond on La Cienega and a secret DMV, for example! But today’s revelation has blown me away.

Right after I moved back into town last August, I was walking down Robertson and pondered aloud to a friend, “I wonder what ever happened to the homeless guy who used to roller disco on this corner…” Prior to moving away, I had eaten many a weekend breakfast while watching this long-limbed man in spandex dancing spastically to a boombox… the corner seemed so empty and sad without him on it. My friends and I always commented on his groovy dance routines (while wondering aloud how anyone could possibly bear to exercise in the Santa Ana sun while wearing so much tight black clothing), and I’ll admit I felt a pang of remorse to consider I might never have his sweet moves to go with my pancakes ever again. Fearful that the man’s story of homelessness and mental issues may have ended in the worst way, I tried not to dwell on it. But the thing is, I’m a dweller. I *had* to know the answer of what happened to him. So today I turned to Google to research the fate of my mystery homeless dance king.

There was no possibly way on Earth to expect what I found… it appears that John Wesley Jermien (AKA “Crazy Robertson“) apparently became a hipster fashion icon while I was away.

WAIT… WHAT??!?

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MATINEE – Muscle Beach Party

FULL FILM AFTER THE JUMP! YAY!
In honor of the upcoming festivities celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Venice’s Historic Muscle Beach and the crowning of Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach 2009, we would like to take this moment to present a true piece of Southern California movie nostalgia, the star-studded 1960′s beach classic… MUSCLE BEACH PARTY!!! WOOO HOOOOO!!!!

Okay, so it’s no Beach Blanket Bingo, I’ll admit… but if you have doubts about the cheesy, iconic goodness of this hormonal-teens-on-the-beach saga then dig this, chickies:

  1. The film was directed by William Asher, who besides being a driving force of the beach movie genre was the lead director on both I Love Lucy and Bewitched (he was also Elizabeth Montgomery‘s husband). All of which by default brands him as permanently awesome.
  2. The cast of this little flick included the following people: Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Don Rickles, Dick Dale, Morey Amsterdam, Buddy Hackett, Dan Haggerty (aka Grizzly Adams), Bill Graham (!!!), Peter Lorre (!!?) and LITTLE STEVIE FRIGGIN’ WONDER (he’s towards the end).

Yes that’s right. Stevie Wonder was actually in Muscle Beach Party. Learned something today, didn’t you? Well, don’t worry… school’s over now. Time to hit the beach, moondoggie! (more…)

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IMAGERY – Adventures in Stupid Signage

SOME PEOPLE JUST *WANT* YOU TO FAIL.
“Hey there, drivers on Fairfax! I’m a fancy sign the city paid for you to see! Yooo hooo! Look up here! I wanna tell you something… look up here! Come on… look up here! NOOOO! FOCUS ON THE ROAD, YOU IDIOT!!!! What is WRONG with you!? What the Hell were you looking up here for!? What are you trying to do, kill someone!?

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VIDEO – The East Side on a Sunny Day

I’ll totally admit it… I’m a sucker for tilt-shift photography.

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TIP – *ACTUALLY* party like it’s 1999

JUNE 22-28, 2009 – WEEK-LONG DRINK DISCOUNTS
Bigfoot Lodge – TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

Place: 3172 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90039
(323) 662-9227
Time: Opens at 5 p.m. daily, Closes at 2:00 a.m. with happy hour from 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Details: Calling all lushes! Longtime Los Feliz hipster hang the Bigfoot Lodge has officially been around for a decade, and in honor of the bar’s 10th anniversary, drinks will be slashed to 1999 prices through Sunday night. WOO HOO! Plus, if you’re in the mood for a little spa treatment as you get your party cocktail on, just check out Bigfoot’s Happy Hour Friday with dtox Spa. (RSVP required)

“Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Bigfoot Lodge brings us a week of special events, reintroducing live bands on Sunday afternoons, “Sasquatch sightings,” vintage drink prices and the opening of a sister-bar in Culver City, Bigfoot West. Bigfoot Lodge’s weeklong 10-year anniversary party takes place June 22nd-28th. Drinks will be priced as they were way back in 1999! Plus, they’re bringing back Sunday Sessions of live bands to entertain the masses as we down their Bloody Sunday crafty cocktails, which we can only imagine will be spicy as hell. On Tuesday, June 23rd, check out the fourth monthly Knotty Pine Derby—and enter your own pint-sized car for the heated races across the bartop. Take home a trophy! For those who reside on the west side, Bigfoot’s coming to you with a new venue called Bigfoot West, taking the place of the old Rae’s Tavern on Venice Blvd. The flaming Toasted Marshmallow cocktail, of course, is always waiting for a new victim.” SOURCE

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WEB – In SRO Land

Each spring, L.A.’s popular time-travel blog 1947project reinvents itself. For the first three years, it followed a chronological crime-a-day format by painstakingly scouring newspapers for incredible forgotten tales of crime and infamy from particular years (1947, 1927 and 1907 were all featured). Then the On Bunker Hill blog which followed was “a house-by-house survey of the great old downtown residential neighborhood that was demolished to create the high rise district that shares its name, but none of its charms.” The contributors – including authors, librarians, bloggers, psychologists, film scholars, art historians, artists and tour guides – dug deep into historic archives to uncover fascinating tales of more than a century of life on old Bunker Hill.

Well, the latest incarnation of Kim Cooper‘s baby has officially been born as of today, and it’s got a name: In SRO Land: lost lore of the Historic Core. The blog’s contributors are an eclectic mix of prominent social historians and journalists who will “explore the forgotten history of Downtown LA, up the grand entertainment boulevard of Broadway (where SRO means “Standing Room Only”) and down the mean streets of Main (where SRO stands for “Single Room Occupancy,” shorthand for a rented room with a sink in the corner, shared toilet down the hall). Between these two poles, straddling the financial center of Spring Street, modern Los Angeles was born.” Check it out!

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FOCUS – The People of Silver Lake

YouTube Preview Image I hate to break so many fantasies… but quite a few Americans who’ve never stepped within the city limits of Los Angeles have an awfully tough time believing that the typical “LA person” isn’t a shallow, illiterate, wanna-be fame whore who flashes their crotch at strangers and opens fire on other cars in traffic whenever possible. Admittedly, perhaps it seems less fun to acknowledge that the vast majority of our neighbors are actually just average, decent, hard working folks who are more focused on feeding their families than world fame, who regularly wear underwear and who don’t take sawed-off shotguns along to commute the 101. (Well, unless we’re having a really bad day.)

Sometimes the reality is interesting too, though. The People of Silver Lake is a sweet little documentary made by the Silver Lake History Collective in an effort to document and explore the human mixing pot of their neighborhood. The film is divided into four YouTube parts and follows five long-time locals as they tell their stories, exposing the diversity of personalities and cultures that make up a Los Angeles neighborhood. Note: No crotch flashing or violence shown. (Sorry!) Storytellers include: artist Alberto Hernandez, resturauteur Larry Nicola, Marion Spencer, Don Jarvis, and Dr. Sekaye Shigekawa (who tells of her stay in a Japanese internment camp at Santa Anita during WW2).

In case it doesn’t autoplay the clips in order, here is the full playlist for all four parts. Also, a map of Silver Lake is after the jump for those who don’t know the area.

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