Friday, March 30, 2012


The Onyx Lounge opened last year with a good share of neighborhood folk vowing to never set foot in there because of the nasty way the previous tenant, The Must wine bar, was pushed aside. I've never had a stake in this...never patronized The Must, never patronized the Onyx...but I have noticed that more and more customers are in there these days. I'm not sure if time heals, time lets people forget, or time lets people move away and new neighbors move in.

I'm also not sure what they're going for with the decal image of a prohibition-era medical prescription for alcoholic drinks, but here's the sign company applying it to the entry windows...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Geodesic dumb

I was chased today in the afternoon by an enraged man who didn't take kindly to me photographing his house. I love geodesic domes...even partial ones like the one in Compton on Alondra Boulevard, so I parked on a side street and walked over. I didn't touch the property in any way.

I was standing in the street median for the pictures. As I lowered my camera, this guy, presumably the property owner, came bounding out of the house. I started with an "I really like your house," but he picked up running speed. I sized up his anger and his build and made the split-second decision to run. Lucky for me I can run a decent speed for short distances, so I outran Mr. Furious, no problem.

He began to turn back, so I thought I'd take a picture of him for defensive reasons. He saw my camera in the air, so again he came charging at me, and again he couldn't keep up.

Man, that was an interesting lunch hour. I wonder if he thought I was going to rob him. Maybe collectors are coming after him. Who knows...but to get back to my car, and without knowing if this fellow would return with a weapon, I had to cautiously walk "the long way."

Anyway, here is his house. I also like the triangle window on the garage...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dog monuments around the world

I'm sure there are more, but in my time I've found three monuments to loyal dogs. Man, these stories can warm the heart of an Orc...

1) At Shibuya Station in Tokyo is a statue honoring Hachiko, the faithful Akita that waited for a University of Tokyo professor every day...even for years after the guy died.

2) In Edinburgh, Scotland, a sculpture of Greyfriars Bobby honors a terrier that stayed every night at the grave of his lost pal.

3) Locally in Inglewood there's an easy-to-miss fountain in the median across from the old post office. On top is a tiny tribute to Rex, the collie that followed the letter carrier from 1926 until her death in 1939. The neighbors along the route rallied together and raised enough funds to buy a metal casket and tribute to their favorite dog. Over 2,000 fans showed up for the dedication of the monument!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Clifton's boxed in

Plywood on the Clifton's entry...

Born Adlai

I read somewhere that the 1952 election was the last presidential matchup between two bald guys...Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike!) vs. Adlai Stevenson. "They" say the man with the most hair typically wins, but comparing photos of these two, the hair test would've made a closer contest than the actual results.

Stevenson was born in a house in Los Angeles in the University Park neighborhood by USC. I've read that the family was just passing through, so I looked into the Los Angeles Times archives to see what the heck the Stevensons, a fun lovin' Illinois political family, were doing here. The answer...they were doing what any self-respecting wealthy family would do. They were "in the city for the winter."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shoots and ladders

Add this to my list of Sure Signs of Unpermitted Construction or extension ladder from the sidewalk to a building on Broadway at night. If I had to put money down, I'd bet these dudes (and the property owner) are cutting corners...correct me if I'm wrong...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Broadway musical chairs

Every Saturday the Los Angeles Conservancy has a walking tour of the historic movie theaters on Broadway. A few Saturdays ago I overheard a walking tour docent pass on one of Downtown's urban myths to his group. "Broadway has the highest rents anywhere in Los Angeles, even higher than Beverly Hills."

That might've been true 20 years ago when Broadway had the foot traffic to support high rents, but the shoppers have moved on to places like Santee Alley and other cities like Huntington Park. Sure, Broadway is shaping up for another renaissance with new restaurants, restored theater venues,  rehabilitated commercial and residential space, and possibly a streetcar in the future, but these tour groups need to be honest about the current lease rates and the transitional state of the retail base.

With all the changes, I find it interesting that some of the mom and pop shops on Broadway often hop from one location to another. They're either playing one landlord off of another for a better deal, downsizing to a floor area that better matches their sales, or getting pushed aside for the Next Big Thing.

For instance, the Luxury Perfumes shop leapfrogged from their old suite over Baraton to the subdivided former location of Shoe Hot. I don't know when they started leasing their previous spot, but this post includes a photo of the night they installed their sign in June 2010.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Marathon sweep

From the Department of Somebody Gots to Do It, these guys are the behind the scenes heroes of the Los Angeles Marathon. I hope they remember to hydrate.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Aoyama tree

After driving to Compton for a look at the easy-to-miss Eagle Tree, I read up on another historic tree in Los Angeles County...the Aoyama Tree in Little Tokyo...and then took a walk over there.

Turns out I've passed by this sprawling ficus tree a dozen times without realizing its historic significix. It's in the parking lot (or I should say literally in the parking lot as the roots are covered by asphalt) next to MOCA, and the 50-footer was planted in 1920 in front of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple before it relocated to the current location on 1st Street. The resilience of the tree through the years, including the wartime internment of Japanese Americans, makes it a symbolic force to reckon with...and now even the anti-ficus crowd will leave this bad boy alone.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The f'n end of F&M

A Farmers & Merchants Bank in North Long Beach closed in December. In the world of online banking, ATMs, and mini-branches inside supermarkets, I suppose a local bank has no use for a 12,500 square foot space.

Nice design...from 1962...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rock lobster

A big honkin' boulder is making its roundabout way from a Riverside quarry to LACMA. I took a lunchless lunch break today to see the 340-ton rock while it decamped for the day in Lakewood. This must be what it's like to see circus animals parade into town.

It's wrapped up to protect it while traveling. That thing is huge...

Roadside history

Like a chump I can't help reading every historic marker and roadside plaque that comes my way. I appreciate reading about historically important places and events, but sometimes it's funny to see a commemorative plaque set up a considerable distance from the actual site. I know of a marker on Monterey Road in South San Jose pointing out the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine...12 miles to the east!

This one in Compton isn't quite so far off...sure it's on a semi-major street, but with no street parking allowed and only private parking lots nearby, it's not very accessible....

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Flatiron Los Angeles

Sure, Manhattan has the Flatiron Building everyone's familiar with, and other cities claim their own flatiron-shaped buildings, like the one built in 1897 in Atlanta and Columbus Tower in San Francisco.

Keeping a lower profile are a couple flatiron buildings in Los Angeles...

This one is the Raphael Junction Block Building on Spring Street in Chinatown..

And here's a flatty on the corner of Main and 3rd...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Love your enemy's mom

Alley-facing side of the Rosslyn Hotel...of course, loving your enemy only works if you accept your enemy's love...can you handle that?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Goodnight, Paul's Electronic Discount

It's closing time for Paul's Electronic Discount on Broadway. You know their number was up when you see their old sign still advertising Kodak. I need to get some pictures of the other electronics shops down the road before they shut too.

The bottom photo is a look at the inside through the roll-up poor dog was startled by the sounds of demolition, slipped out of her collar, and trotted leashless up the sidewalk. This dude at the nearby bus stop said, "Cool dog. Walks herself."