Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Free Run Days

I spend most of my days working in an office. I enjoy the work I do, but I do not enjoy being inside. I want to create a life in which I work - that is write, act, or some other creative activity - primarily outside, or at the very least, in rooms with big windows.

Luckily, my current work situation is developing ideas for videos that I then produce.  I therefore have the creative liberty to develop and produce ideas that take place under the sun, in fresh air, out in the world.

Most recently, I developed a video featuring parkourists and freerunners (essentially, outdoor gymnasts).  I spent half a day driving around Downtown LA scouting locations, and came across the 6th Street Bridge underpass - an aging yet stately open air arcade boasting rows of art deco stone columns.  These columns line a long tunnel that leads forebodingly to the river's concrete bed.

Spending a day outside, watching athletes launch themselves off of surrounding walls, leap through the air, and spring into unexpected backflips, was very much in line with the vision I have for my ideal life.  I felt exhausted at the end of it (despite having done no flips of my own), but in that way that tells you you've really just lived.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Depression Era Los Angeles

The following photographs were taken by Herman J. Schultheis, a Disney engineer around the time of Fantasia, Pinocchio, Bambi, and Dumbo. The complete slideshow, as well as a brief background on Schultheis is at The Huffington Post.

Employee of the New York Millinery in Downtown L.A. on Broadway. Circa 1937 ( Herman J. Schultheis Collection, Los Angeles Public Library)
The first time I went to the Downtown Art Walk, I spied the brass letters spelling out "New York Millinery" on the tile at the entrance of one of the galleries. "Look! It's a millinery!" I exclaimed. An old, dusty display of ornate hats sat within the glass display to the right. Peering through the door windows, I saw that the retail space is still filled with millinery equipment. The left half of the space is now a gallery and studio co-op. Whether the millinery is still in operation, or just occupies a forgotten space, I don't know.

Men lined up outside a relief office on Flower Street. Circa 1937. (Herman J. Schultheis Collection, Los Angeles Public Library)

Man Jen Low restaurant at 309 1/2 Marchessault Street in Old Chinatown.  It relocated to New Chinatown after Old Chinatown was torn down to build Union Station. Circa 1937. (Herman J. Schultheis Collection, Los Angeles Public Library)

L.A. County Fair visitors take in the Dreamland Circus Sideshow in the fall of 1937. (Herman J. Schultheis Collection, Los Angeles Public Library)
There was a Snooky back then, too. And she was a carny.

Carrying a box of ice, Herman Schultheis heads west towards Ivar Avenue from Lloyd Wright designed Yucca-Vine Market (center) on Yucca Street in Hollywood. (Herman J. Schultheis Collection, Los Angeles Public Library)
Lloyd Wright, the son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, designed the Yucca-Vine Market, a drive-in grocery store that was owned by Raymond Griffith. The building was erected in 1930 for a cost of $9000. This modernistic sheet-metal building has since been torn down.

See, Los Angeles does have history.