Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Water and Power Building

Photo from the internets.

The Water and Power Building is one of my favorite buildings in downtown Los Angeles, rivaled only by the Bradbury Building, the Bonaventure Hotel, and the Los Angeles Theater. To my knowledge, it was first discovered by the movies in Omega Man, but it has recently been used by Inception as well. I loved seeing it in Inception, but I do worry that its use there was slightly unmotivated. In terms of shitty uses of awesome locations, however, it's hard to compete with 500 Days of Summer's use of the Bradbury Building.

Two quick things about the building:

1. As I understand it, it was originally designed to have all of its lights on all the time, so that it would simply glow at night. In the photos I've seen of what this looks like (which I can't seem to find online), the sheer beauty that results from this effect is a partial argument against environmentalism.

2. In what has quickly become my favorite book about L.A., Reyner Banham has this to say about the Water and Power Building:

"[T]he only public building in the conventional sense of the word, the only public building in the whole city that genuinely graces the scene and lifts the spirit (and sits in firm control of the whole basis of human existence in Los Angeles) [is] the Water and Power Building of 1964 by Albert C. Martin and Associates. In daylight it is a conventional rectangular office block closing the end of an uninspired civic vista and standing in an altogether ordinary pool full of the usual fountains, but at night it is transformed. Darkness hides the boredoms of the civic centre and from the flanking curves of the freeways one sees only this brilliant cube of diamond-cool light riding above the lesser lights of downtown. It is the only gesture of public architecture that matches the style and scale of the city." (116)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Music Supervisor

Went to a party at a music supervisor's house in Silver Lake last night. This is a partial view of his very well-organized CD collection. You can see some classic soul and R&B box sets in the middle. The best part was that he had a video projector set up on the deck outside, which he was using to project YouTube videos on the wall. He played a combo of other people's music videos as well as his own. They were mostly video mashups.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Top Five L.A. Books

Here's my current list of my five favorite books about L.A.:

1. Reyner Banham, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies
2. Matt Maranian and Anthony Lovett, L.A. Bizarro
3. Kevin Roderick and Eric Lynxwiler, Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles
4. Jeffrey Stanton, Venice California: 'Coney Island of the Pacific'
5. Jim Heimann, California Crazy and Beyond: Roadside Vernacular Architecture

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Notes

Notes that have been left for me this summer.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

LAPD Museum

We went to the LAPD museum this past weekend and saw a couple of bullet-ridden cars from the North Hollywood shootout, including this police car.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday Evening in 304

One of my favorite things about the summer is that I really get to appreciate Friday evenings. There's a kind of closure to the week that I don't get during the rest of the year.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Harmonic Convergence

Apparently, Chicken Boy has a cameo in the opening sequence of my favorite movie, Q: The Winged Serpent. I must rewatch it to confirm.

The Runza

I saw Charles Phoenix's history of 3-D slide show last weekend. Early on in the show, he mentioned that he was just in Nebraska, where he had a Runza. The funny thing was that the only two people in clapped in recognition were me and the random dude sitting next to me (who was from Nebraska). My Dad and I tried them a few weeks ago. I think they would be best if the ground beef was complemented with something like Peter Luger's creamed spinach.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lucha VaVoom

When I first got to LA a few weeks ago, we went to Lucha VaVoom at the Mayan Theater downtown (which itself is featured in Save the Tiger, which is the movie my parents saw the night before I was born).

Here's a taste of what it's like:

Crazy Chickens
The Birth of Little Chicken

The best part was when one of the commentators said over the PA, "Tonight is why the Tea Party will never take over America, because they'll never understand this shit. They should make way for the Tequila Party."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

LA Day

Partly inspired by my new favorite documentary we went to the following today:

"Our Town" (The Watts Towers)
USC campus (What is it about their campus that makes it seem so sterile?)
The Velaslavasay Panorama (Luckily, we got there right as the light and sound show climaxed. We waited almost an hour for it to happen again, but it didn't come. The images seemed to be moving on the wall when it happened. Some of the other visitors who missed it would go downstairs and ask the docent whether the panorama was supposed to do something.)
Nickel Diner (Batting 100% on taking people here. Everybody loves it.)
Museum of Neon Art
Bullocks Wilshire (We were able to sneak into it, no problem.)
The Great Wall of Los Angeles
The Statue of Liberty of Los Angeles (Got to talk to Chickenboy's Mom, which was wonderful all around. She made a movie about him years ago. I encouraged her to screen it somewhere soon. We also talked about putting together a Googie architecture tour. She and some of her friends did one years ago.)
HMS Bounty
"Bluebeard's Eighth Wife" at LACMA
Kibitz Room at Canter's (saw a pair of pretty mediocre bands)
Outdoor back patio at La Cabana

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Venice is Wet!

So, wonderfully, amazingly, it turns out that LMU's library has an enormous collection of historic postcards, including a fair amount of postcards of Venice Beach. I made a reservation today with the special collections librarian to check it out. And I came across this gem. It almost, just almost, makes everything okay. As we all know, however, that's no longer an option.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pee Wee at the Orpheum

I watched "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" at the Orpheum last week and saw Paul Reubens interviewed afterwords (where it was revealed that Judd Apatow is going to produce a new Pee Wee movie, one that Reubens is currently in the process of writing--though I wish they would just make the "Evil Pee Wee" movie that Reubens wrote years ago). The gags-per-minute ratio in "Big Adventure" is amazingly high. But what I was most struck by about it was how Pee Wee's iconic outfit, especially his suit, is so similar to the suit, Cary Grant's outfit in "North by Northwest". Support for this claim can be found in the movie itself, insofar as when Pee Wee character's story is made into a Hollywood movie (that is, the movie within the movie), he is portrayed as being a James Bond-like spy. And, of course, James Bond is based on Cary Grant.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix)

It's Franny's-level good. Not as good as Una Pizza or, dare I say it, Motorino.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Your Bedroom vs. Your Mind

Compare and contrast.