Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Roosevelt High, 1942

Guns in school, pre-Columbine, when patriotism was the only thing this pictures suggested.

Here's the caption: August 1942. "Training in marksmanship helps girls at Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles develop into responsible women. Part of Victory Corps activities there, rifle practice encourages girls to be accurate in handling firearms. Practicing on the rifle range in the school's basement." Large format acetate negative by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information

All of this comes from Shorpy.com. See the original (quite large) here. And when you see it in all its blown-up glory, please tell me if you agree that these "girls" look just a little too sculpted and flawless to pass for real high schoolers.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mosaic Monday at the Oscars

I saw mosaics at the Oscars last night--mosaics and very Celtic spirals. And I'm not the only one who saw mosaics here--Lillian Sizemore posted the photo at left on her FB page, showing the mandala behind the classy dance number! (which of course came after the raunchy singing number, which was inappropriate but since the grandkids weren't watching...I loved it.)

The designer was Derek McLane. I've looked but have been unable to find anything about the stage design beyond many articles celebrating the 1500 pounds of Swarovski crystals imported to make the shimmering, beautiful, curtain. That got a lot of PR. 100,000 crystals! Although it's not new; McLane has created Swarovski curtains before.

This lovely top picture is from Reuters, btw, taken by Mario Anzuonia. The original & accompanying story is here.

And...that's all I got this Monday.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

True California Adventure

Coming up in May: The California Preservation Conference, in Orange County...which is almost Los Angeles, right?

(I figure if I see no undeveloped areas while traveling from one place to another, I'm still in LA.)

The conference is May 1-3; the title is True California Adventure: Preservation's Wild Ride (clearly developing a Disneyland tie-in) and the four conference tracks sound suspiciously like early drawing-board ideas for Disney's different areas:

  1. Nuts & Bolts, Gadgets & Gizmos: Balancing Traditional Materials and New Technologies

  2. Destination Travel: Economic Development through Heritage Tourism

  3. Futurama: Yesterday’s World of Tomorrow Today

  4. Carousel of Progress: Harnessing Future Trends in Preservation (Sing it with me: 

It's a great big beautiful tomorrow,
Shining at the end of every day!
It's a great big beautiful tomorrow,
And tomorrow is just a dream away....)

I don't blame the Imagineers for dropping that first item; sounds dull. And clearly the second became Adventureland.

Anyway, here's the Conference Website.  As with most conferences, the fun stuff will be all over the community: Old Town Orange, the Crystal Cathedral, Modjeska Canyon, etc. I do not see Disneyland or Knott's on the agenda, though. Now those are the places to go to for private soirees!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Water Henge in Cerritos

At the Regional County Park at 195th and Bloomfield stand five mosaic pillars that were put up only four years ago. Collectively they're titled Water Henge H20 = Life, and they tell the story of water's impact on the area.

The circle below is 20 feet across, and the tallest pillar is 13 feet high, plus two feet for the metal sun.

Kim Emerson, the artist, has a slideshow of the mosaics with lots of close-up shots showing all the details, here. I hope she doesn't mind that borrowed this shot.

In fact, for all I know all these pictures are the artist's, even though I found the others on the Los Angeles County Arts page.

The sun on the tallest pillar is of powdered steel and is aligned to throw its shadow across the center pillar during the spring and fall equinox. Well, the center pillar is probably not much of a descriptive. The center hump?

That tall pillar represents the primordial sea--it has text on it reading, “If you were standing here 40 million years ago, you would be under 5,000 feet of ocean.”  (Since the texts appear on the orange part of the mosaics, I decided to just keep the formatting that appears on the LA County Arts page description). And although this pictures doesn't show it, the top metal sculpture actually has gold paint on it.

The second pillar represents the land mass and the era of the dinosaurs, so it has mosaic representations of dinosaur bones on it. The third shows paw and human footprints, and deliberately appears to have suffered erosion.

The smaller pieces--2 feet high and nine inches high--seem to be melting into the earth. Fossilized plants cover the 2 foot one, and the smallest represents the tiny amount of water available now, compared to the giant sea that was once here.

And in keeping with the message--that water is scarce--this park is and always has been irrigated with reclaimed water. That fact actually appears on one of the orange bands.

The entire sculpture works as a sundial, telling the seasons and the time by where the tallest pillar's shadow falls.

From the City of Cerritos' page I learned that each piece of the five are  "carved out of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS). The forms were imbedded with a steel armature, rebar frame and coated with one-inch thick cement. Ceramic mosaic tiles accented with glass pieces surround the cement."

Emerson works out of her studio in San Diego (Kim Emerson Mosaics), but her mosaics are all over California, in both public and private hands.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hollywood History on Eye on LA (ABC)

Caught an Eye On LA show this Sunday afternoon--a repeat of a January 19, 2013 show--all focused on Hollywood History, with commentary from Marc Wanamaker and others. It was so interesting I want to provide these links to the show, so you can see it yourself.

(Actually, all of these segments have the same URL--you just have to click on the video you want to see.)

But who knows if they'll broadcast it again? And since it's a local show, if you live near, say Detroit, how would you see it at all?

The ABC website breaks the show up into these segments:

  • Hollywood's basic history and the arrival of the movie studios is summarized in "Studios Arrive, Set up Shop in Hollywood" with tons of pictures. De Longpre, Wilcox, D. W. Griffith, Universal, Paramount, Raleigh Studios, United Artists all get mentioned. Also--Walt Disney explains his 7 Dwarfs and their names, and the early Oscars appear.

  • "Old Hollywood Hot Spots Still Thriving" is my favorite 7-minute segment. It starts with the Hollywood and Highland Center and its link to D.W. Griffith's sets, then goes to Ye Olde Max Factor Building, now the Hollywood Museum. That place has the Hannibal Lector jail cell set from Silence of the Lambs (who would've guessed that?), plus a room dedicated to Lucille Ball. A new exhibit dedicated to Loretta Young started January 2013 is pictured at right. The segment finishes up with visits to Musso & Franks and the Formosa Cafe.

    • More on the first Oscars at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (which begins and ends the segment), Whitley Heights, Harold Lloyd's estate, Greyhall and Greystone, and the Beverly Hills Hotel (below left, circa 1945) are in the segment, "Classic Hollywood Estates Maintain Their Beauty." The Beverly Hills Hotel just celebrated its 100th birthday six or seven months ago and produced a great 5-minute video summarizing the history of Beverly Hills and the hotel here. Guess who did the commentary? Stars like Michael Douglas, Warren Beatty, Jimmy Fallon, and more.

    • Finally, the Hollywood Forever Cemetary dominates the last segment. "Stars Live On at Hollywood Forever Cemetary." Although it starts at Grauman's Chinese Theater.

    The photos of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in the 1930s and the Beverly Hills Hotel Pool circa 1945 are from the Los Angeles Public Library Collections, btw. The The Loretta Young exhibit photo is from the Hollywood Museum website.

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    Valentine's Day--Back in Business

    This olde Valentine comes from the California Historical Society newsletter, with an apology.

    No, a thousand apologies! and a note to Jose, who posted a comment that reminded me how I've been neglecting this blog for the past two weeks.

    I will do better!  I've already got a site for Mosaic Monday next week in Cerritos.

    The truth is, I'm on the last leg of my next book, a treasury of Baby Boomer trivia. I'm trying to pull everything together.

    Everything in this case means:

    • Finishing the book (making progress)

    • A new website & blog (done)

    • Aggregating my blogs at one site (not done)

    • Finding pictures (help! Anyone have pictures of themselves in a coonskin hat, standing in front of an aluminum Christmas tree with their new Schwinn bicycle? Or something like that?)

    • Securing permission for pictures (slowly making progress) (I think)

    • Learning Pinterest (not yet)

    • Learning to use Twitter to find readers (I've taken the first step)

    • Not neglecting the first book, a novel called Death Speaker (scroll down to the right). Which, I can't resist adding, recently "sold" 1,115 copies during two free days on the Kindle Select Program. Yay!

    Back in the old days . . . and I'm talking really old, like Charles Dickens old days . . . authors didn't have to worry about this. They could just shut themselves up in a garret and write. In longhand. And starve.

    Given how much I like food, especially good food that I didn't have to cook, it's probably best that I was born in the 20th century.

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    Filming Mildred Pierce in Glendale

    Sadly, most of the places are no longer around, but the 1945 Mildred Pierce movie was filmed largely in Glendale. In fact, Mildred's restaurant was none other than Henry's restaurant on Colorado Blvd, a "streamline moderne" style place.

    This picture is NOT from 1945--looks a lot more like the 1980s. It came from the LA Library's photo collection.

    I'd like to tell you more about Mildred Pierce but I'd be stealing, so instead, just follow this link to Katherine Yamada's great article in the Glendale News Press. The article has a picture of Henry's too.

    Yamada has tried to pin down the house from the movie, and mentions some other scenes filmed in Glendale.

    And thank you to Hidden Los Angeles (whom I follow on FB) for highlighting the story.