Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Today's walk report: 082713

Walkin' with a dead man over my shoulder.

Today I was in court. Turns out I didn't need to be in court but it also appears to me I had to go there to find that out. I think the courthouse might be in cahoots with the $3 per 15 minutes parking structures.

Anyway, I was out of there in less than an hour... $10 parking.

I decided to hit my old neighborhood again on the way back. I had a plan. Before I got too far with the plan I remembered something that crossed my mind on the way to court. I might have forgotten to put the SD card back into my camera this morning. Sure enough. Highland Avenue going into Hollywood caters well to photographers still however--not like it did back in the early 90s but still better than most places. I might have been the 1st customer of the day here. I told them I'd never been in there but I have. I just never bought anything before. $14.99 + tax for a 4GB no-brand card. That should be a $5-6 card gentlemen.

Back to the plan.

First, near where I parked my car off the famous Larchmont Blvd., there was this guy. I don't see these fruit vendors here in the San Fernando Valley but in my old hood here I used to buy pineapple from one every time I walked to the bank.

I told the guy, vuelvo en un momento. I wanted to walk up the boulevard a ways because I saw something driving by I thought was interesting.

Before I got to that there was this. This used to be a Blockbuster store, now it's Flywheel. Apparently a new 30-something exercise craze using stationary bikes in a "pump it up" atmosphere. The music I could hear inside (a class was in session) was sort of Technopop, I don't know wtf you call it really but I couldn't handle it. I asked out of my own amusement if they had a "progressive rock" class and she said they did. I can't imagine this working for someone like me. I need to get on the bike and do this at least 4-5 times a week. Anyway... more power to them.

The lobby area.

Since there was a class in session I couldn't look inside so I pulled this off the web.

A 10 ride package is $225. You can buy a pretty good indoor trainer for about $400. Despite all of that, I'd be into coaching a 50-60 age group class. That might be a fun little gig. I didn't ask. Thing is a couple of doors down was our old Italian restaurant/deli/market, Alessio's Deliitaliano. I still know this neighborhood.

That's what I was curious to see. After Alessio's was sold it became another Italian eatery called, La Bottega Marino. Not anymore. What I found amusing was when we had the place I often talked about opening a little Mexican eatery on the boulevard. My "Ex" talked about a sushi bar.

Guess what? And by the way, Pinche can mean either "cook assistant" or "fucking." As it this fucking thing isn't working right... or something. I never hear it used in a good way. I've heard it a lot in my life too.

and the sushi bar happened too, it's down about 1/2 a block away.

I headed back to the car and I got my pineapple.

Meanwhile my plan was Astro Burger on Melrose Ave., for a breakfast burrito and a photo walk at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. That boy in front of Alessio's is Alessio by the way and back during early teen years we frequently did the Astro Burger/Hollywood Forever thing for Sunday brunch.

Part II: I see dead people.

Hot and humid. In the rear is the main Mausoleum.

Founded in 1899, Hollywood Forever Cemetery is one of Southern California's oldest cemeteries and it's a reflection of Hollywood's history. I could write a book about it. In fact, I came close. The book was called, The Hollywood Underground and it almost became a video project with an Academy award winning editor, Gene Ruggiero (Around the World in 80 Days.) In the late 1980s I got a photo assignment to photograph where famous people were buried in SoCal for the Italian equivalent of People magazine, Gente (yes, that means People.) This was for November publication that year in honor of the Italian celebration of All Souls and All Saints Day on November 1st and 2nd. I photographed famous people's grave sites at two Forest Lawn cemeteries, Westwood Memorial, Holy Cross Cemetery and Hollywood Forever (Hollywood Memorial Park). 

Hollywood Forever is behind the back lot of Paramount Pictures. Paramount bought the property from the cemetery. They are "mirrored lots." RKO also bought property from the cemetery. Since 2002 the cemetery itself has been engaged with a  nonprofit group called Cinespia using the cemetery as an outdoor movie theater during the summer, showing classic films on the side of a mausoleum while film-watchers picnic on the lawn. Last I checked it's a $10 ticket.

The large tomb at the center of the "lake" belongs to philanthropist William A. Clark Jr., (that's also my photo on the Wikipedia link) who founded the Los Angeles Philharmonic and donated the Clark Library on the UCLA campus. I've been told they open this now for an occasional tour but I've never seen the inside. I have actually seen a number of "forbidden places" in SoCal cemeteries. Most significantly, the private chamber of Jean Harlow in the Great Mausoleum, Forest Lawn, Glendale. I has fine sliding down the steps like a snake to avoid video surveillance but when my camera shutter clicked inside the marble walls it was loud enough to alert the staff--busted!

The sarcophagus of 1930s-50s actor Tyronne Power.

Swan. I believe there are just two. They are a relatively recent addition. Just  a few years ago the park was inundated with Canadian geese. They seemed fine about NOT migrating and shitting everywhere. I wonder how they were dealt with.

I suspect the lake was not very helathful for the water fowl for years. Before the cemetery was bought by Tyler Cassidy (the TV series Six Feet Under is loosely based on Tyler and his brother Brent--they consulted on the show) the lake among other things were in horrible condition. In 1939 the cemetery was bought by an ex-convict named Jules Roth. Among other things he never connected the property to city water, relying on an on-site well instead. Basically the guy ran the place into the ground (sorry) and he went bankrupt in 1997, passing away in 1998. I don't know if he was buried there or not. Shortly there after Tyler Cassidy bought the property for a mere $375,000 and set out to restore it. They've done a good job for the most part except it's blatantly overcrowded now and has had a particular attraction for some rather ostentatious grave sites catering in particular it seems to an Armenian population.

You be the judge...

It just seems to me there could have been a better balance between good taste and the historic significance of the cemetery. However, the entire concept of what cemeteries are all about runs contrary to my beliefs.

Jayne Mansfield's cenotaph. This was defaced years ago, it finally got fixed. Some creep came in and scratched her face off.

There are a number of  cenotaphs on the site.

It reads...

Johnny Ramone

Hattie McDaniel. Jules Roth was not only a crook, he was a racist and wouldn't allow Afro-Americans to be buried in the cemetery.

Meanwhile... Why did the peacock cross the road?

So he could chill out on the other side.

one more...

Tastes like chicken.
Feral cats typically abound. I only saw two today.

They may have scattered some because usually they would group off the mausoleum just inside this construction. I was always under the impression that all of that grass area was part of the Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. & Jr., memorial you see.

Inside the main mausoleum.

David White, Larry Tate of the TV series Bewitched was cremated. His son Johnathan was killed 3 years earlier as one of 270 people to lose their lives in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d'Antonguolla, professionally known as Rudolph Valentino.

One of the many beautiful stained glass windows.

Back outside...

Griffith Jenkins Griffith (the name was so nice they used it twice), 1850-1919. Philanthropist. He was the founder of Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

Cecil B. DeMille, American film director and film producer. His wife Constance is next to him.

Would you believe...? Get Smart, certainly one of my all-time favorite TV series.



  1. Maybe you should write that book, Eric. I'm glad that at least there were no upsets associated with yesterday's court exercise.

  2. I really think you should write that book, if you haven't already.

  3. Read the history book "The Great Los Angeles Swindle". The author didn't realize, until after the book was published in 1994, that the person he referred to as "Jack Roth" had become "Jules Roth". At that point, Mr. Roth had owned the cemetery for 55 years.