Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Might be Able to Get You its Fax Number

Kevin over at East of West L.A. photographed a courtyard not long ago. (Go! Peruse his noir!) It reminded me of my reaction to Los Angeles upon moving to the area: nostalgia. Yet I hadn't been here before.

Why did roaming the streets of a new city make me long for -- what? home? youth? Yes, but not my home, not my youth.

I'd been watching Los Angeles on television all my life. I thought I knew the place and I did, but I didn't know it as itself. I knew it as the place where cowboys rode herd, where Samantha cast spells on Darin, where ET landed and made his phone call home. Seeing it in person was like seeing a movie star and feeling like you know them personally. You don't. You only know the role they play.

Most interiors are shot on a soundstage where lighting and sound can be controlled, but exteriors are usually shot in real places. When an actor steps out of a doorway and kisses his wife the doorway's often real, even if the wife isn't. When the heroine drives down the street it's a real street. The kids play softball on a real ball field and the lovers stroll in a real park, whether it's a movie, a TV show or a commercial.

Show business is still a major industry in Los Angeles County. You can see production trailers in Pasadena, South Pasadena and Altadena every day, especially in areas where no palm trees give southern California away. But it's soCal all the same. Always was, even before I came to know it personally.

19 comments:

HearkenCreative said...

Ah, yes. I tell people from out-of-town: "you don't really know L.A. — it's not exactly like it is on TV." But then I'm not sure even I know L.A., and I grew up here and have lived here all my life. What's wonderful about this place is that I still keep discovering new pieces — new parts of the whole — and each new piece makes me rethink my conception of the entire place. But hey, maybe it's best for us to keep that to ourselves, and let everyone else find their City of Angels in the fictional accounts of it...

Latino Heritage said...

Your thoughts and feelings about LA were similar to the feelings I had about New York and Chicago. Washington Square Arch at night was like being in the city in black and white. The first night I was there some guys were singing doo wop.

altadenahiker said...

What's with the rocks? Is that supposed to be a fashion statement?

Petrea Burchard said...

I have no idea, Hiker. Aren't they weird? That's why I chose to "age" the photo. They seem like an old necklace with beads missing.

Loren, we'll never know it all, but that's part of the fun.

Roberta, I haven't been to New York but I once knew Chicago--and didn't. And now it's changed so much.

Susan Campisi said...

That is part of the fun. The discoveries never end here.

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

The rocks are so uniformly funny.

Irina said...

I have nothing to say here, never been to LA and somehow your country North East feels so much like place I lived in one of my previous lifes. But.
Your text is such pleasure for my mind and your new profile photo is great.

Bellis said...

About 5 years ago, Pasadena City sponsored a series of movies shot in Pasadena, such as Chinatown and Father of the Bride, which was great fun - did you go? I love showing foreign visitors the locations - we all get such a kick out of the recognition. Was anything filmed at the cottages in your photo, Petrea?

Petrea Burchard said...

I don't know if anything was filmed at this cottage row. I just got that nostalgic feeling from it.

I don't know what things have been filmed in Pasadena--some TV episodes, thing things you list, Bellis. I'd love to know more.

Petrea Burchard said...

Irina, thank you. Your visits here are a pleasure to me. You can say whatever you want to!

J+P said...

The boulders, like the bungalows, are classic examples of late-Pleistocene glacial housing deposits. 

When the great ice sheets receded from southern California 22,000 years ago, they left behind uncountable metric tons of trash rock and examples of antediluvian architecture, including the Doheny mansion in Los Angeles, anything in the "rustic" style, and Donald Trump.

Geologically, we're living in a warm interglacial period called the Holocene (sometimes the Anthropocene), characterized by aggregations of loose granitic upthrusts and all those goddam houses you see lining the hills above Interstate 5 in Orange County.

Modern earth-science has yet to account for the disgusting uniformity of the latter; the USGS Center for Glacial Eyesores (at UCLA) has downplayed hopes that such examples of Spanish-style "houses" in SoCal will soon be washed out to sea by a large earthquake.

Margaret said...

Watching productions is sort of like watching birds-- a sort of fun hobby that always has surprises. Did I tell you about the time Ben Stiller jaywalked in front of my car?

Tash said...

WHAT? Darin and Samantha were not really married? I suppose you're going to tell me next that she was not even a witch. Oh, please.

(When we moved to NE LA in 1970, I expected to live in an apartment like Maxwell Smart's. That didn't quite work out, but my crush on Keith Partrige made up for it.)

A nice spot you photo'd there.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Hummmm, I wonder if those rocks are real or if they conceal the water meters or something.... I enjoy reading about your feelings of LA and thinking about places that I used to know only to find them so different when I return.

Your new profile photo is fabulous!

Bises,
Genie

Katie said...

I've only been to the LA area twice but definitely got the feeling that there are countless different "parts of town". I found glimpses of nostalgic LA in signs and interesting buildings, and had fun taking "now" photos to match up with old LA postcards from my collection. Still can't decide if I'd rather live at the Getty Villa or the Huntington. I bet neither place has funky yard rocks like these though.

Petrea Burchard said...

J, when the Big One comes, can we keep the river rocks in our yard?

Margaret, I hope you didn't run him down. John almost hit Billy Wilder in Santa Monica.

I think she was really a witch, Tash, but they were living together in sin. Or maybe it was the other way around.

Thanks, Genie. In this case the rocks are real. But I know of a place in North Hollywood where they make rocks for movies.

Katie, if you like funk yard rocks, I'd say go for the Huntington. They've got a hell of a selection. But you've got a touch choice to make.

TheChieftess said...

Many moons ago...when I was in college...I worked at Jack LaLanne's (yes...really!) We had an opening celebration of a new club and Valerie Bertinelli was a guest celebrity. I was walking down the the hallway and past her...I watched One Day at a Time regularly and felt like I knew her. I was a bit startled when I recognized her, then said hi like I knew her...she looked at me with a scowl, mumbled something and kept walking...

Kind of kicked the crap out of any good feelings I had towards her...

Petrea Burchard said...

Too bad. Maybe she hadn't learned yet how to handle fame. On the other hand, I've heard more than one story about the graciousness of Elizabeth Taylor when she encountered fans.

I was once treated rudely by a guy who mistook me for a star (I'll tell you the story sometime) so I understand they get a lot of strange folks approaching them. They walk a fine line--keep the fans happy/protect their private lives.

Dina said...

So interesting what you tell. And substitute Israel for LA and it could be my feelings too. I also moved to my new home state without ever having visited it.

LOL at John's explanation.