Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hollywood Sunset - Part Two

If you "Wiki" Sunset Boulevard you will find that it is a winding and gently hilly 22 miles (35km),  "following the path of a 1780s cattle trail from the Pueblo de Los Angeles to the ocean".  You will also find fragments of the Camino Real and Route 66 along Sunset, (part of it also renamed Cesar Chavez Boulevard in honor of the Civil Rights and Farm Workers' Leader of the 70's)

The character of the road changes (sometimes dramatically) every two miles or so according to the neighborhood.  I posted about it here last January where it passes through Silver Lake and retains a very Latino flavor.  The part featured here, (and in Part One) covers a more recent history, of movie and music making, of great migrations, which lately comprise Thai and Armenian populations (this stretch of Sunset abuts both Little Armenia and Thai Town).  Huge film studios are close by, like the Sunset Gower studios (Frank Capra to I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched) and the old Warner Brothers studio (now Sunset Bronson where the Jazz Singer and Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons were made).

With all this going on over so many years, you might not expect to find majestic, surviving California Redwoods plonked right down in the middle of the 'hood.  (I didn't!)  No really, a street full of them!

And maybe not so much (!) miles of aisles of discount shoes!  To some people this might be something close to H-E-A-V-E-N........but.........I don't know.  In the 21st century it sometimes now seems that the most significant thing that the American culture has to offer the world is an endless supply and the widest variety imaginable of complete and utter rubbish.

BIG SIGH.  Moi, personellement.  I could hardly find a single shoe in all this space (of which you're seeing just a small fraction) that I found to be attractive or of good quality.

But let's move on.....

And yet, and yet, remember?  We're in Paradise?  A Meyer lemon tree, anyone?  For all those folks coming out of the Hills requiring a little something special for their gardens?

Or the glories of a shrubby succulent?  In nice little Edens of garden supply stores.  Two to be exact.

I mentioned migrations, did I not?  Sunset Boulevard is also lined, surprisingly perhaps to some, with a bevy of motor hotels.  To welcome, one has to suppose, the endless succeeding generations of wannabes from every corner of America, and ultimately, the world.  Personally, maybe not SUCH an auspicious start to their sojourns in la-La-LAnd?

They DO accommodate, but, in consistent-but-various states of ..... we'll have to say it: decrepitude......

And this one: very much "dans son jus", gave Mr. Paradis to think...(as he has had some experience in this area of study) that its proprietorship might incline to the Chinese........(remember he is married to someone with a Chinese mother).  

I said to him: It's possible you're right.  There's that certain benign, insouciant neglect about it. Attending to the essentials, like plentiful potted plants, and fully functioning vintage soda machines....whilst shrugging off the incidental: like sagging foundations and rooflines, hole-y roofs and abandoned swimming pool refurbishments.  His hunch was somewhat confirmed.....(in the better of ways) by this:

(Yes, Mlle. Paradis, you should have gotten a better picture, but you were just TOOOOO concerned with filling your pockets with fruity booty).  Because allllllllllllllll those golden yellow flecks?  Against the evening sky?

.......Turned out to be this.

And how many German-Irish-Italian-Swedish-Brazilian-Nigerian people DO YOU KNOW?  That have a starfruit tree in their front yard?????  I knew that.

And the only other starfruit tree I'VE KNOWN?  In my own life?  In my own Chinese grandmother's yard. 

Theory perhaps proven. 

So there!  But, moving on - and picking up the pace, cuz I know you don't have all day!

Grau (with an umlaut that my computer is incapable of.)

(Photo from the Grau website here)

An arty creative bolthole with massive makings going on....located, where?  I mean, "WHAT IS IT?"

Wondered Mr. Paradis.

"Why Honey", I said.  "I think it's a strip-mall".   With office spaces.  One of the very first ever.  (In America).   It's called:  CROSSROADS OF THE WORLD.  (You can Wiki it here and learn more about it here.)  Crosby Stills and Nash, F. Scott Fitzgerald and potter, Beatrice Wood, all made art here at times in their careers.

Well I've said it before.  It's a 'Wood of Wonder.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING (no, really, everything) in your and your many loved ones' lives of rock'n'roll was recorded here.  Check it out.  Says Mr. P.   Authoritatively.  (Because this is his area of expertise.)

Now.  You might have been living under a rock if you never heard about Tom Cruise's couch-leaping rant on Oprah about the evils of Psychiatry (fine print reads: "Industry of Death").  This charming place will fill you in on the official Scientology position thereto.  In case Tom missed any salient points. 

(Note: Views Expressed by the Museum do not necessarily reflect Those of this Writer or Anyone Else associated with this Web Publication.)

In a dusty window on Sunset Blvd.

Got a few minutes for more bizarre Hollywood?  This pink suitcase was in her trunk on the day that blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield met her (career already failing) demise at age 34 in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Why anyone (including my Mom) cares particularly about this tragic star is beyond me.  (Or specifically, her suitcase????  Huh?)  But apparently, they do.  

The now vacant and available for lease stunning former premises of the Hollywood Athletic Club.  Once the tallest building in Hollywood and counting among its members Walt Disney, Humphrey Bogart, Charlie Chaplin.  As you would expect.

OK we're almost done here, guys.

Finally:  This little sign right here?   Points "THIS WAY" to a "medicinal" marijuana dispensary.

But that's a whole other Blog Post!

Hollywood Sunset?  Been there.  Done that.

Now for the other 21 miles!


  1. 35 km ! Incroyable. En tous les cas, la visite pas à pas est passionnante !

  2. Wow, interesting take on Sunset. You really found some obscure corners and I'm very impressed! The corner I remember and frequented... Chin Chin (pot stickers), Book Soup, Tower Records (I'm sure it's gone), The Source (Annie Hall Location), Wolfgang Puck (never ate there)... do you know where I'm talking about? Oh those where the days!

    What's up next MP, show us more :^)

  3. Aah, a great and fun stroll along Sunset - thank you! Those California Redwoods are magnificent... as are the former premises of the Hollywood Athletic Club (they're crying out to be put to good use!).

  4. De belles découvertes dans tes pas...merci pour ce dépaysement assuré..!