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Showing posts from June, 2017

Palace

You buy a "Tap" card and proceed down into the Hollywood/Western Metro station.  And you can't help thinking that sardined New York commuters would swoon to have this much room as they go about their rounds about Manhattan.  
Yes, it's all quite tidy and comfortable as you take the Red Line downtown, emerging into the gentle light of early evening at Pershing Square.  You walk down 5th street, a gentle serpentine through the homeless, or those that would appear to be homeless, lingering or drifting on the sidewalk.  Like them, you gape briefly at the requisite film shoot taking place in an alley of the north side of the street.  And then, across Main Street and into Skid Row - in Los Angeles, this is actually a legally defined area.  Despite the city's decades-long attempts to clear the inhabitants of Skid Row like so much rubbish, a homeless population in the thousands persists.  But where sanitizing government has failed, economics might well succeed.  Downtow…

Los Feliz

A perfectly natural first outing when on vacation in Los Angeles is to explore the abandoned zoo in Griffith Park.  Just as your first morning in the city some 15 years ago included an initial stop at the gift shop of the L.A. County Morgue.  As the morning's tide of traffic relentlessly sweeps west on Los Feliz Boulevard, you're happy to be moving against the tide, up Crystal Springs Drive and into the arid, hilly expanse of Griffith Park.   
The Griffith Park Zoo was closed in 1966 in favor of the Los Angeles Zoo, a bit farther north in the park.  The animal enclosures, built right into the hillsides, were left behind, bars now (mainly) keeping humans out and not keeping animals in, a far more humane arrangement as it happens.  
Now the abandoned zoo is a good place to hike a bit, pic-a-nic, or leave your graffiti mark.



And while you're winding your way back to Los Feliz and Hollywood, why not loop around Silverlake, the actual reservoir that gives the neighborhood its n…

Cinefamily

Yes, the California Days.  An endless parade of perfection, replete with brilliant azure, served up almost daily.  And the sunsets, of course.  The twilights.  Rendered by all manner of artist, most of whom, alas, might deserve to be starving.  But rather less is said about night in the Los Angeles basin.

It's simply darker.  Perhaps they just don't have as many streetlights as we do in Chicago, as are planted in Manhattan.  But it's more than that.  Darkness lurks and envelopes this place when you get clear of the klieg lights, actual and mainly figurative.  Here where everything ever done by man and woman to defy age, gravity, climate...where the reversal of every unpleasant manifestation of life has been assayed.  The desert night waits and crashes down, rendering all that hopeful, well-lit striving particularly futile, nightmarishly false.  All of which makes fertile ground indeed for the poet that is David Lynch.  That particularly American clash of darkness and ligh…

New Beverly

If you land at LAX bleary-eyed, intensely sleep deprived and - to maintain this overheated tone - ravenously hungry after a jarringly early flight from Chicago, it might be your temptation to jump in your rental car and make a beeline to points north, Hollywood or wherever you might be bound.  It might well be your temptation in such a state to throw your arms around the first drive-thru you encounter.  Heaven knows your arms and your stomach are all too familiar with such dubious embraces (and yet if to love the drive-thru is wrong, perhaps we do not want to be right, a part of your mind stubbornly contends).
But if you proceed instead east and a couple of miles south through some of the working class neighborhoods of South Los Angeles, you might come on a Googie vision called Chips.

To sit in this impeccably operated joint of a weekday morning and have a large breakfast served to you, nary a hipster in sight amongst the clientele going quietly and happily about their business, to g…