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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Accompanied

On the sidewalk outside of Tiffany on a Friday night in Old Town, these guys sang a capella harmonies. Song after song, they sounded great and I wasn't the only one who thought so.

The crowd loved them. People put money in their bucket. And this kid could not stop dancing. The more he danced, the more money landed in the bucket.

The kid was with his family. He wasn't a shill.

He'd make a good one, though.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chasing the Shot

Last weekend I saw a wonderful exhibit of Vivian Maier's street photography. You can see it, too, at the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles, through November 12th. The fascinating story of Maier's life and the discovery of her photos has intrigued me since it came to light. I love how you can see her, or sense her presence, in her photos.

Street photography had been around for a long time before Maier shot in Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s. It'll be around for a long time to come. She was one of the greats.

Altadena's Ibarionex Perello is also a great street photographer, and photographer in general. Besides being my friend he's the producer and writer of The Candid Frame: A Photography Podcast and an adjunct professor at Art Center College of Design. (Plus there's a photo of Boz in Ibarionex's book, Chasing the Light.) Ibarionex will soon be teaching a Digital Camera Bootcamp for beginning and intermediate photographers. Small groups, instruction on how to use your DSLR, and personal attention from an expert. You can't beat it.

No two photographers are alike, nor should they be. I'm not comparing Ibarionex Perello and Vivian Maier. Their work is their own. What I'm saying is I would have liked to have met Vivian Maier and to have learned from her. That's never going to happen and I'm sorry about that. But Ibarionex is right here right now. Lucky us.

Update: readers of Pasadena Daily Photo will find a coupon for a generous discount on Ibarionex's workshop by reading the comments on this post. Thank you, Ibarionex and CP!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vindicated

I love One Colorado. It's a beautiful part of Old Town Pasadena where late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century historic buildings surround a courtyard. Rather than have these wonderful structures torn down they've been refurbished and are now shops and restaurants.

Even the One Colorado parking is okay. It's across the street at Union and Fair Oaks. The lot is well lit, easy to drive around in. Usually there are plenty of spaces.

Bit these days the lot is automated and the payment system is, shall we say, less than transparent. The machine has a mechanical voice. Pleasant guy. He tells you what to do. You do it. Then a little sign lights up and tells you to wait. You wait. The line behind you gets longer.

There's something else you're supposed to do at this point but the machine doesn't tell you what it is, nor does the sign. You have to guess. You have to hope your intuition will guide you through the final steps of the process.

At first I thought maybe it was me. Maybe I couldn't figure out the machine. Was I (oh no please no) getting old? You know, like I said I never would? Would a 21-year-old know what the last step is?

I had thought the parking garage was automated to save money on employee costs but when I took this photo there were two employees sitting in an office to the left. An office with a window. A window that looks out at the payment booth. This payment booth. Where this line continued to get longer because people were waiting while the machine didn't tell them what to do.

It's a relief, actually.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest Author Robert S. Birchard

Bob Birchard and I might be related--we're not sure how or how many years back, but probably a couple of hundred--times removed as well as years. 
Bob is the president of the Society for Cinephiles/Cinecon, which presents the annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival. He also owns a vast archive of historic Hollywood images.
Bob's knowledge of film history is unsurpassed.
Please welcome today's guest author, Robert S. Birchard.
I was being driven to kindergarten when I first knew I wanted to become a reader. Peggy Phillips, she was seven, sat in the back seat reading out loud, showing off--and I wanted all the attention she was getting...

I was ten when I knew I wanted to write. Mrs. Zimmer handed us pictures clipped from old magazines and told us to compose stories using the pictures as a springboard for our imaginations. I can’t remember the first one I was assigned, but I asked for a second one to do on my own. There was an Indian on horseback, watching a train in the distance...

A year later I got interested in film when I saw the David Wolper NBC special, Hollywood: The Golden Years. I was hooked the second the host walked toward the camera and said: “Hi, I’m Gene Kelly, and I work in the movies . . . ” I thought to myself that I’d like to work in the movies, and discovered through clips from films like The Birth of a Nation (1915), Intolerance (1916), Ben-Hur (1925) and The King of Kings (1927) that silent films were much more than the chopped up slapstick comedies I’d seen on Howdy Doody Time and Lunch With Soupy Sales...

Growing up in Los Angeles, I got to know folks who worked in pictures in the early days—Tom Mix’s friend Sid Jordan, cowboy star George O’Brien, directors Allan Dwan, Henry King and Irvin Willat, comedian Harold Lloyd, singing cowboy Gene Autry and so many more.

I first got published at eighteen when I sent a “most interesting character you’ve ever met” college essay about an old cowboy I knew to Frontier Times on a whim. I received a fast $20 for that literary effort, but it was a start.

UCLA film school, then peanut butter and crackers until my friend from Junior High, Bill Evans, helped me land as a temporary PR officer for the Los Angeles Community College District. Night projectionist at BBS Productions, and projectionist on the “Bel-Air Circuit” for Peter Bogdanovich, Helen Reddy, producer Mike Frankovich, and Barbra Streisand...  

From BBS I landed at rbc films, non-theatrical distributors for the films of Charlie Chaplin, and through a series of “you can’t get there from here” circumstances I did work in the movies as a film editor. And all along the way I wrote...about the movies and the people that made them, and often about nearly forgotten films and filmmakers—over one hundred articles, and books that include Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood, King Cowboy: Tom Mix and the Movies, Silent-Era Filmmaking in Santa Barbara and Early Universal City.  (Bob's books on Amazon here, where they all get five stars, by the way.)

I even found a lost silent movie studio hiding in plain sight in Panorama City, but that is a story for another time...

(However, we do have pictures!)
On July 22, 1925, nineteen trucks hauled lumber from the Builders Lumber Company in Vernon to Uneeda Acres in Van Nuys to begin construction on the Thomas C. Regan Studio. Van Nuys architect H.B. Pentland's design for the administration building, dark stage and dressing rooms was designed to give the studio a distinctive look and attract attention.

Regan Studio today
Although no commercially-released film ever came from the Thomas C. Regan studio, the distinctive "castle" administration building of this "lost" silent movie studio is still standing and looks very much as it did when it was completed in 1926. Today it is home to American Legion Post 817 of Panorama City.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wackarons

When out-of-town bloggers visit--especially Francophile bloggers--the search is on for macarons. (You know better than to ask me about macaroons, right?) This time we tried Lette on Fair Oaks. Pretty! And lots of flavors. I figure you're supposed to eat them.

Apparently no, not if you're a photo-blogger.

(Pictured: Virginia of Birmingham, Alabama Daily Photo and Paris Through My Lens, and Kathy, aka "the Chieftess," of Mammoth Lakes Daily Photo. Here's Kathy's take on the event.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Zen Monday: #168


Zen Monday is the day you interpret the picture and I stay out of the comments box (if I can stand to keep my mouth shut).

Take a look at the photo and tell us what you think. Although sometimes it gets competitive there are no prizes (except bragging rights), so just have fun.

I always do.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ballooning Over Pasadena

Blog friends Kathryn, Tash, Katie and Virginia are visiting this weekend. Yesterday Kevin McCollister of East of West LA joined us for the Vivian Maier photo exhibit at the Stephen Cohen Gallery, then we had lunch at the Farmers' Market in Los Angeles. You can't beat that place for photo ops.

Because most of us met thanks to Paris Daily Photo, and because Kim of Seattle Daily Photo is visiting our Paris blog friends right now, I think a salute to Paris is appropriate. But to tell the truth, after all I ate and drank yesterday, I'm the one who's ballooning.