Saturday, August 02, 2008

Someone's Big Day

Hey! Don't throw that key away! It looks important!

I was going to go to the library to check out Tom Wolfe's "Kool Aid Acid Test", which I don't think I ever read. He writes about the bus stopping at Larry McMurtry's home along the way.

But you don't have to go to the library anymore to see if they have the book-- just check on line. They didn't, but in the process I came upon an amazing feature of the Los Angeles library-- they have a collection of old photos which you can go through by typing any word you want.

Go here and press "Browse the Photo Collection." I spent so many hours just on these photos, and I can imagine there are many more weird and strange. They give a lot of info on where and when and why the photos were taken.

I typed Northridge and Chatsworth, since that's where I live. These are some of the photos.

This is a photo of a strange cult that existed in Chatsworth. Note the speaker's tiptoes and all the bare feet. A suicide bomb ended this cult of mostly women.

This is a picture of a man cutting meat, part of a series on suburban living in Granada Hills. There was also a picture of his wife sitting alone at the same table, eating the meat.

This is (was) film director Joseph von Sternberg's art deco palace designed by Richard Neutra, then demolished to make way for a housing development. Von Sternberg's the man who made Marlene Dietrich a star. I've heard about this house for a long time but don't think I'd seen a picture before. It was in Northridge! It looks like a modern high school to me. I expected something more glamorous.

In this shot you can see there was a moat-- I always like moats.

I just remembered Tom Wolfe once sat next to me, at Smith. He came to do a talk, and I was seated on the side front row. He was wearing a white suit even back then. He was pretty funny.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful photos---the key to the garbage dump?
I've never set foot in California, but the photos at this site make me wanna, more than any natural or artificial glamour I've heard tell of:
Los Angeles River Flood Control Channel

stray g said...

I want a moat now!

Namowal said...

Yeah, where's my moat?
The bird bath isn't cutting it.
That photo archive is neat- I spent a bunch of time there, typing names of local streets. I saw 1950's era grand openings of buildings that I drive by to this day. I also discovered that I live near where something gruesome happened *shiver*, albeit a long time ago.

Sally said...

anonymous,I guess I'm too close to the subject matter to be able to appreciate the flood control photos. One of them is right next to the dog park where I went for many years.

booda baby said...

Wow. This is just cool.

I recently saw Joseph von Sternberg's house on a PBS program and it was pretty darned interesting/exciting/romantic. It's one of my favorite things about LA and Hollywood, the memories and histories that are caught in buildings that still work. Blah blah blah. Point is, the housing development mowing down a Neutra house is disappointing.

Just wanted to say so.

booda baby said...

Oh, and who'd have ever guessed that stuff like that happened in Chatsworth?

Summerland, a town people barely notice, had quite the hopping history, too.

Sally said...

booda baby, were there pictures of the interior on the pbs show? That's what I'd especially like to see. I checked the library for Summerland, but it didn't have many good pictures, just one of a woozy looking babe by a big house.

booda baby said...

Just a few, if I remember right. Mostly shots/scenes of he and his wife entertaining (so, if there was an interior shot, it would have been a cocktail party. Or maybe, vaguely, I recall a library of sorts. Isn't that strange?) The program was about the Jewish refugees' experience and this segment was devoted to the Hollywood.

Sally said...

booda baby, I wish I'd seen that. I did a search on google images but didn't turn up any interiors.

Michael said...

Sally, just browsing the blog and saw the pix of the Sternberg house. I'm a bit obsessed with his pictures so it was great seeing the house I've read about. Did you realize that Ayn Rand owned the house after Sternberg? Hope all is well. Grenadier