Tuesday, June 29, 2010
sunset boulevard

Here's a change of pace post. A look at some of Sunset Boulevard, past and present. Sunset Blvd. is 22 miles long and goes from Union Station, downtown Los Angeles, to the Pacific Ocean. You can see just about everything there is to see, on Sunset Blvd. Let's start with the traffic on Sunset Boulevard in the middle of West Hollywood, otherwise known as 'The Strip'. This area is known for many things, not the least of which are lots of Clubs, Great Shopping, Serious Business, and Lots of History.This is the 9000 Building. (Looking east). Back in the day, when it was brand new, it was THE place to have offices, especially if you were in Show Business.... This is a view of the 9000 Building from below, looking North on San Vicente Blvd....It may seem strange that I would care about a building on Sunset Blvd., but this particular building has a lot of history for me, plus, it was, for many years the tallest Office Building on The Strip, and in fact, I think it still is......For many years we had very few tall buildings here in Los Angeles...I think the tallest was 9 stories high.... So, when it was built and finished, (1963) it was quite something, given our earthquake possibilities. By the time this was built in the early 1960's the building laws had changed considerably because of better construction in regard to earthquakes....Above, looking West on Sunset Blvd.....So, about two years after it opened, The Byrds, (the singing group) management people took offices there after their first incredible flush of success with 'Turn Turn Turn' and 'Mr. Tambourine Man'...... What is my connection to The Byrds? Well, I put up a sum of money so that they could rehearse 8 hours a day for six months, honing their skills and becoming a really cohesive group. They were all very talented. And for that sum, I got a small piece of the action. One never knows what will happen when one puts up money in any kind of enterprise like this---it could go either way. Luckily, these young men became a huge success, almost immediately. So, I spent some time in the 9000 building back in those days. More about The Byrds in another post at another time...... Just past the 9000 Building on the right hand side is a street called San Vicente...(That's the same street we were on when I showed you the 9000 Building looking north...) But, back in 1947 it was called Clark Street and it was just a regular two lane street with lots of little Bungalow's, on either side of the street, and I was in Summer School there with this sweet little lady named Miss Thorne. (I have written about her previously a few yearsw back...). Her Bungalow was just south of Sunset Blvd. on the West side of the street....... Miss Thorne wouldn't recognize this street now. It's a wide wide four lane street with left hand turn lanes and big apartments and Condo buildings where her house was and across from her is a big Hotel now.....It would be completely unrecognisable to Miss Thorne, in fact. Dear Miss Thorne wouldn't believe the traffic either, that's for sure. And the amount of advertising that is all over the place....It really looks terrible to my eye.......Here below, the corner of Sunset, Holloway & Horn....I know that sounds impossible, but it's Holloway on the right, as you are going East, and Horn is on the left..... Another closer view of all this junk, below....... And then, below, a view where you cannot see all that distracting advertising...... As we pass the curve here going East, this takes us to a small section of the 'Strip' known as Sunset Plaza. It's a high end shopping area with Boutique type stores and some very busy trendy Restaurants with side-walk seating...... This area holds a lot of memories for me going back to the summer of 1947--the Miss Thorne summer.....See those big buildings over on the right---that one, almost out of sight......There are these charming one and two story buildings over on the North side of the street---just as they were back in 1947. The South side has all these tall many-storied buildings now, to the consternation of many people who live up on Sunset Plaza Drive. Their 'Views' were deeply effected by these big buildings. Below, you can see this very famous Nightclub Restaurant called La Rue's.....And across the street another famous Nightclub back-in-the-day, The Trocadero.....They were both there in 1947.......La Rue's was on the North-West corner of Sunset Blvd., and Sunset Plaza Drive---as you can see in the picture above, as I said, the South side of Sunset had all these lovely low buildings, too. And that's The Trocedaro over on the South side. Both sides looked like a beautiful small-high-end-town with these charming low buildings: It was very welcoming. Both these Nightclub/Restaurants are long gone now, of course. Very near La Rue's---in fact it may have been right next door to it, was this charming 'Ice Cream' Parlor called Will Wright's. It was the richest Ice Cream I have ever tasted...so rich with Butterfat that it coated the roof of your mouth! We spent a lot of time there in the Summer of 1947...lol! And even carried some of their Ice Cream, packed in dry-ice, on the plane going home to New York......Will Wright's was just about here, below.....Will Wright's color scheme was Red & White Stripes, as you can see from the matches...... And their slogan was: "It's Heavenly", and it was, it was, it was.........! And I love the little drawing of the sweet angelic looking boy with wings and a Halo over his head.....Charming as all get out! This place was a real Gem....Back in 1947, this little shop was the one and only, though they did expand as time went on...... I turned 16 years old, that summer of 1947, and we celebrated at the very famous---now gone, too---Coconut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel, not on Sunset Blvd. From left to right, my mother, me, and my sister Gene. They had a roving photographer at The Grove---as they did at all these kinds of places back-in-the-day---and they would take your picture, for a fee, and give them to you at the end of the evening in a folder with what you see below on the front of the folder....... Memorable, in every way.....I am glad I am a pack-rat when it comes to 'history', personal and otherwise........I thought it would be fun since I just celebrated my Birthday to show this picture at The Grove, when I turned sixteen. I have posted it before, but many of you probably have not seen it because it was a long time ago......There will be.....



More To Come.........



NOTE: Our "Ladies Who Lunch" is Wednesday and it will take me a while to get those pictures together. Hopefully though, I can show you some pictures from my actual Birthday Dinner on Sunday at Betty's....I'm working on those now. And I want to thank everyone for their very dear dear Birthday Wishes to me. Each and every one was very meaningful to me and you all enriched my special day, more than I can say.....Hugs To You All......!




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Saturday, June 26, 2010
my birthday

So this little bit of a thing above---is me. I was born at 3:25 a.m., (so I was told), on June 27th 1931....and this Sunday...is my natal-day...I was thinking it would be fun to look up some of the things that happened the year I was born....and other stuff about that year, too....So, here goes! The very beautiful Empire State Building was finished in 1931. It is one of the most exquisite examples of Art Deco Architecture, ever---especially the interior.....Growing up just outside of NYC, we spent a lot of time in that lovely building--especially on the top, and my sister Robin's husband worked in the building 'back in the day'....He was working there when a B-25 plane crashed into it in July, 1945.....Yes, that happened.Click on this link to read about it. The year of my birth, the State of Nevada made gambling, of all kinds, legal! 1931 was a good year, wasn't it? And btw, during the summer of 1945, my mother, my sister Gene, my brother Gordon and I, spent 8 weeks just 12 miles outside of Reno, getting "our" Divorce from my father. It only suppose to take 6 weeks residency, but if someone doesn't sign the papers till he gets good and ready and in the mood---well, we were there for eight weeks! Not a whole lot was happening out there on 'The Ranch' back in 1945....I did find some kind of a bone which I was sure belonged to a very exotic animal...or, maybe a person.....A good segue to something else that happened in 1931.The great Georgia O'Keefe painted her first Cows Skull....This is called "Red, White & Blue Cow Skull", the first of many many beautiful Cow Skulls that O'Keefe painted, all of them really really beautiful.....Here is a picture below, of my father with Georgia O'Keefe, many years later...... They were good friends. (I never met her...). My father and Olga used to go visit O'Keefe in New Mexico where she lived in Abiquiu. It's a sweet picture, isn't it? What a great great Artist she was.....a pioneer in the Art World and a true pioneer for women, too.....The very recent TV Movie about Georgia O'Keefe with Joan Allen playing her is a gem. Very much worth seeing if you haven't seen it....Moving on.....more 1931 stuff...... Did you know that 1931 was the year that The Star Spangled Banner officially became our National Anthem? I didn't know that either. And I have no idea why it took so long.....!This was the year that the notorious Al Capone was convicted of Tax Evasion.....and as you can see from this Newspaper, it is also the year that Thomas Alva Edison died----so odd that these two incidents would have happened on the same day........Here is a picture of Capone, below.......It is interesting that two of the most popular films in 1931 were these two, below......"Little Caesar" and "Public Enemy"...... With two of the most popular and incredibly talented actors---who's careers continued waaaay into the 1970's and 1980's----Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney. I was lucky enough to meet both these wonderfully talented men in the 1960's. Robinson was an avid Art Collector and knew my father, and Cagney was great great friends with the actor/director, Richard Whorf, who's son David, was a great friend of my dear Sammy's---having worked together in "PT-109". I went to a Christmas party at the elder Whorf's in the early '60's, and Cagney was there. What a thrill that was---what a truly thrilling moment that was, to just say, 'Hello', and 'Merry Christmas". Cagney could do anything...Sing, Dance, Comedy, serious Drama, etc.....He was the consummate professional, as was Edward G., too....... The very Beautiful Waldorf=Astoria Hotel---the newer one, opened on Park Avenue, NYC, in 1931. Another gorgeous example of 'Art Deco" architecture, inside and out. This was one of the truly Grand Hotels in the world, but particularly in New York City. Many people lived in The Waldorf Towers on a regular basis---like the incomparable composer, Cole Porter......This Hotel has history in my life, too. My sister Robin, who was eight years older than me and who died, in February, 2005, was married there in 1944....Drat! I don't have any of those pictures---I used to, but I sent them all back to her waaaaay before computer scanning was possible....There is this wonderful Wedding Book. Oh how I wish I could show you some of those pictures....But, suffice it to say, it was a lovely day. It wasn't a huge extravaganza---that was not Robin and Bobby's way---but it was a really really sweet day....Moving along...... Gas was .10 cents a gallon in 1931. Bread, was .8 cents a loaf, and 'Hamburger Meat' was .11 cents a pound! Well, yes....times have changed in 79 years, folks.....lol! There is lots more, but I will only share one more thing about my birth year of 1931...the song, "AS TIME GOES BY" was written that year for a Broadway show by composer/lyricist Herman Hupfield, for a show called, "Everybody's Welcome". No one remembers that or him. What we do remember and deeply cherish, is that 'As Time Goes By' was resurrected in 1942 to be in the classic-most-popular-film-of-all-time, "Casablanca".......
If there is anyone reading this right now who does not know this film----well, rent it, buy it, but please, please, puleaassseee, see it.....Here is a link to the songs that were popular that year....And among them--here are just a few titles: "Who Cares", "I Surrender Dear". "Dancing In The Dark", and "Love Letters In The Sand", along with "As Time Goes By"....


So, a lot happened 79 years ago...including me being born at 3:25 am on June 27th, 1931. Happy Birthday To Me. And this little baby turned into this person..... Here I am with my dear friend Kim....Her daughter had brought her over to visit and I thought it would be fun to take a few pictures....And, as I have said before....I don't dye my hair! And it is weird because all of my siblings hair got not only gray, but pretty much white....So I don't know why mine has so little gray, but, it does.....This picture was taken on June 10th....just a few weeks ago. Here below is another picture of me taken at an earlier time....I don't think I have ever posted it before......Taken in 1970......I was in a play called "L.A. Under Siege"......I had turned 39 two months before this picture was taken......That eye make-up is back, once again....(lol)......





More To Come.........






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Wednesday, June 23, 2010
the tile house - 11

When we left off I was looking at this amazing section of tiling above....And, the pictures you are about to see below, encompass some of the area below that section......
I think it is so imaginative of George to have tiled the rocks there and in such a colorful way......And you can just see that area below which is the place that looked like a fountain, but actually never was..... Here is a close-up of that tiled rock above, from the street side, (there are actually two big rocks that are tiled)......And then, below, looking at this area from further away. I love that winged figure at the top there, right in the middle....I'll show you a closer look at him, in a minute....I want you to see the other side of this same area, so you can see a big 'matching' tiled rock........ Waaaay over to the right is the rock I'm talking about. Below, a much closer look at that matching rock.......
And lets take a closer look at that winged creature now.... All of these pictures are what you can see from the street, which is pretty amazing in and of itself. Now, going back to what I could see from above, here is that wonderful winged creature and the beautiful design behind it, that knocked me out. And of course, this is where that design had thinned out, so to speak, because it was very near the wall of the house.....Just to remind you what it looked like in it's broader view, here it is, once again, below......And, here below is how that wonderfully designed circular area looks from where I was standing above..... And as you can see the top part and the bottom part are mirror images of one another--they 'mimic' one another, if you will, in such a beautiful and amazing way.,....A closer look below, at the center section of that circular area..... The work that went into all these areas---the thought and the complexity of design and color, is just astounding, especially when you see it 'in person'. I wish my pictures of this whole section were better than they are---given the opportunity, I would go back and take more photographs now that I know what I am looking at and what I'd like for everyone to see.....Still, seeing it 'in person' is truly a revelation! Above...an even closer look at that middle section....Look at that upper left area. The teeny tiny pieces of tile that George used--I cannot even imagine how painstaking that was to do.....and then when you see the overall 'look'...well, it's pretty mind-boggling! And that very beautiful and complex 'star' design along the sides of this area---again, the work that went into this; the time it took to figure this design out and then actually execute it.....This is what "true art" is all about. We may not understand what motivates someone to do this---to spend, in George's case, more than half a lifetime, to do all of this---to create this, what I think is 'magnificence'---but, hopefully, we can and do appreciate what went into the creation of this extraordinary one-of-a-kind on-going vision. Creative expression is a truly wonderful divine thing....This comes from some inner need---some obsession that must be expressed as all great 'art' does. And when I say 'great', I mean the unexplainable...the inspired---whether we "get" it or not....And there is a lot I don't 'get'....But I get this. I get, that there is something at work here that there is no explanation for. No. No. No. It cannot be 'explained'. It just is. And isn't that truly truly divinely wonderful? Well, it surely is to me.






More To Come..........

Note: My Birthday is coming up in a few days.....There will be a 'Ladies Who Lunch', but it will be a few days after my Birthday, because this year my 'day' falls on a Sunday---a family day---So, our Celebration will be on Wednesday, June 30th. It is almost beyond my comprehension that I am---in a dew days, so you could actually say, I already am----79 years old! Are you kidding me? 79 years old??? Oy! How the hell did that happen? (lol)


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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
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