Archive for the ‘los angeles’ Category

Supersize Me

Monday, February 21st, 2011

I’ve proudly tossed this pano I snapped yesterday morning up on, Facebook, Flickr and the wall of the Mobil Station bathroom on Silver Lake Boulevard and Bellevue. The reason I’m posting it here isn’t just because I’m incorrigibly redundant so much as incorrigibly interested in showing off the largest version of the image so you can see how much I literally lucked out. Seriously, I’ve been doing panoramas since the early 1980s and I’ve never achieved one as large and as detailed as this. Hell, in the fifth frame from the left you can even see a flock of gulls (probably somewhere about a mile away from my lens circling perhaps over the Silver Lake reservoir).

Unfortunately I kept getting an error trying to upload the 350″ x 38″ version to WordPress, which wouldn’t accept the file despite its 5.4 megs being well within established maximum size parameters. So the file connected to the thumbnail below represents a half-full-sized version at 175″ x 19″ — still pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

And along the theme “Where There’s A Will There’s A Way,” I’ve bypassed WordPress and gone ahead and FTP’d the full-size file to the server, viewable in all its 25294 x  2739 pixel glory. Hope you enjoy it (and I hope its loading doesn’t slow down the internest as a whole).

Walk: On!

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Just a companion post to redunduntally augmentalize what I tossed up on this morning. My 2nd-Annual March March is set for March 5 (if raining, postponed to March 12).  I’ll be heading east to explore the historic and amazing Whittier Boulevard.

But instead of an out-and-back entirely on foot, we’ll be gathering at Union Station for a 10 a.m. departure to board the Gold Line out to East Los Angeles. Along the way we’ll be detraining at a few stations (to be determined) for quick loops around those stops.

Eventually we’ll reach the end of the line at Atlantic Boulevard and from there we’ll start walking in earnest, first south to Whittier and then westward until we cross the historic 6th Street viaduct. We’ll then cut up through the Arts District and make our way into downtown and back to Union Station via Los Angeles Plaza and Olvera Street.

With the Gold Line eliminating a substantial amount of mileage, this walk’s total distance will depend in part on the number of tangents we take. The main stretch back to Union Station from East Los Angeles through Boyle Heights is about 7.5 miles, so the total will probably fall somewhere between the 10- to 14-mile range. I’m betting we end up somewhere around 12 miles.

What: 2nd-Annual March March — Whittier
Starts/Ends: Union Station (main entrance)
When: March 5, departing at 10am. (if raining, March 12, 10am rain or shine)
Costs: Bring money for food/drinks and a $6 Metro Day pass is highly recommended
How far: About 12 miles, give or take
How long: Approximately 5 hours. Could be longer, could be shorter

Hope you can come along for the stride.

Follow-up: LA Plays Someplace Else

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Back in November on, I posted about a fancy new fully cinematic and futuristic Air Force “It’s Not Science Fiction” commercial I saw on TV that utilized a decidedly disaster-struck  6th Street Viaduct (over a CGI’d full LA River below) upon which a dramatic rescue operation takes place. I paused the TV to get the following still of the wreckage-strewn bridge:

A search upon the internest for an embeddable version of the ad was fruitless — at least until I saw the ad again a couple days ago and so reminded I did another search that was fruitful. Here’s the full spot in its incredible scifitastic entirety (I particularly love the monster medevac jet coming straight over an enhanced downtown LA skyline and coming in for a landing directly upon the derelict span), but I’d highly recommend going to its YouTube page and experiencing it in all its full-screen HD glory.

Ironically, given the projected 70% failure rate of the decaying bridge in the next natural disaster, the footage showing the bridge collapsing is the one bit of reality in an otherwise fantastic fantasy.

Clouds & Light

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Cruised to Broguiere’s Dairy in Montebello on my lunch hour today so that we’ll have The Best Eggnog for Thanksgiving.

Took surface streets back and in passing Calvary Cemetery I dove in for an amazed first-ever drive around the huge and fantastic place. The cloud action was off the hook.

It’s a funny thing about cemeteries. I’m fascinated by them, but I wouldn’t ever want my earthly remains interred in one.

GLAWkers GLAWking

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Hey! Here’s yours truly with my friends Joni and Don at the beginning of Michael Schneider’s 5th Great Los Angeles Walk (GLAW). I found the above screen capture in Michael’s walk recap on his Franklin Avenue blog, taken from the piece Eyewitness News did Saturday afternoon on the event. Peace.

And for more visuals along the almost-16-mile hike, check out my photoset here on Flickr, and the GLAW group pool here.

Circa 1890s: Sunset & Castelar

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I’ve had this image for several weeks, found in one of my swims through the LA Public Library’s digital archives, but I’ve refrained from posting it because the information packaged with the image is sparse. It lists this is street scene as Sunset and Castelar in 1890, but I’d never heard and could find on no current map this mystery thoroughfare.

Until my copy of the awesome and anticipated Los Angeles in Maps arrived this week and it wasn’t long before I found cartographical proof as to the street’s location, which is basically now Hill  Street.

So if my guess is correct that the photographer is standing in the middle of the intersection of what was then Castelar and now Hill, then what  you’re looking at is eastward along Sunset Boulevard toward the plaza.

And just in time for Halloween, what you’re not seeing behind you to the right beginning with the southwest corner of the intersection is what had been the old Fort Hill Cemetery, a graveyard of Los Angeles pioneers. Thanks to unscrupulous city officials  who subdivided the 10-acres into residential lots in 1884 and subsequent unethical developers who built upon it without relocating many of the remains, there very well still might be bodies buried beneath what’s now the new high school and — typically — a parking lot that stands upon the property now.

From the Southern California Genealogy Society (SCGS) website:

In 1884, the city sold twenty-four residential lots on land previously part of the city cemetery complex. Several years later, Major Horace Bell, in his study on the land boom of the 1880s, decried the sale: “…A recital of the various forms of rascality perpetrated by the boomers would fill a volume. But the one greatest piece of rascality of all, to my mind, was the desecration of one of the city graveyards. It was a small pioneer graveyard covering ten acres. Some of the most honored California pioneers and officers of the army were interred there, but it was no longer used for burials. The city allowed promoters to map it, cut it up and sell it off in small building lots. In building streets through it, human remains were excavated and scattered and to-day [about 1900] wagons rattle through streets built up over buried human bodies. Houses stand on graves. The city of Los Angeles sold…this cemetery plot, a municipal burying ground, without pretending to remove and re-inter elsewhere the bodies resting there.”

The SCGS concludes that the cemetery’s final chapter was written in 1947 with the last remains finally removed perhaps in preparation for the 101 Freeway that would soon be built along the south side of the space. But (queue the spooky music) are we so sure they got every body out…? Mwaaaaaahahahahaha.

The Serendipitous Roundabout Way In Which You Learn Things Like That John Steinbeck Lived For A Time In Los Angeles

Friday, October 15th, 2010

I’m not much on absolute favorites. I’m much more a “Top 5” or “Top 10” kind of guy — the sort who always qualifies his appreciation of things, inserting “one of” into anything I’m glowing and crowing about.

  • “That is one of my favorite Frank Lloyd Wright residences.”
  • “My 19th birthday? One of the best I’ve ever had.”
  • “Without question, Dude Where’s My Car stands as one of the most awesome motion pictures in the history of motion pictures.”

If I do feel particularly daring, I might drop the “one of” for a “probably” or “perhaps.” Bold, right?

But then there’s John Steinbeck and I wipe the wish-wash away.

John Steinbeck is my favorite writer. Absolutely. No “perhaps” or “one of” about it. And I just now learned that he lived in Los Angeles for a spell. Montrose, to be exact. for a few months between 1932-33. And the tiny house he rented still stands behind an apartment building built in the ’60s on Hermosa Avenue.

If you know me at all, you know I go crazy over shit like that, because it’s easy for me to mythologize my heroes as far-removed like gods up on Olympus. I’ve practically made a shrine out of the bungalow Mr. and Mrs. Jackie Robinson lived in near Western and Jefferson in his monumental year of 1947. Hell, I’ve known for a couple years that F. Scott Fitzgerald died a loooong way from West Egg in a West Hollywood apartment on Hayworth Avenue a half-block south of Sunset Boulevard, and whenever I recall that nugget I still shake my head in amazement. F. Scott Fitzfuckinggerald!

The coincidence is that I learned both things via my friend Rodger Jacobs. The irony is that he laid Steinbeck’s LA connection on me after I commented on his blog about “London House,” a unique Hollywood residence south of Melrose Avenue just off Van Ness which legend has it Jack London lived in during a 1906 visit here. Trouble is the legend’s a total fiction. The house, built by the author’s sculptor friend Finn Frolich, wasn’t constructed until the 1920s, augmented with a bas relief by Frolich of the writer mounted near the entry. London might have lived there in spirit and memory, but spirit and memory only.  He died in 1916.

In response to my comment, Rodger (not coincidentally who’s written the preface to a new book out titled Jack London: San Francisco Stories, which you can buy on Amazon and should) wrote back to me that he once lived a few blocks from where Steinbeck lived in Crescenta Valley.

After I stopped saying “No way!” and “Dood!” to my computer screen, I got out my e-shovel and started digging around the internest, first finding out from a column in the Crescenta Valley Weekly that the home was somewhere on Hermosa Avenue between Sunset Drive and Rosemont in Montrose and ultimately finding out the address from none other than Steinbeck himself, via Google Books and its e-version of Steinbeck: A Life in Letters. Appearing on page 66 is a note written to publisher Robert Ballou, one of several from:

A visit will certainly be in order after this seriously most awesome discovery. No “one of” or “perhaps” about it.

UPDATE (5:39 a.m.): Oh my goodness — a personal connection! Correspondence included in Steinbeck: A Life in Letters shows that for a time in 1930 he lived at 2741 El Roble Drive in Eagle Rock, which was on my route back when I worked for Sparkletts. In fact, if memory serves from checking out the Google Street view image of the house, the occupant at the time was a customer of mine!