Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan
  • Route 66 Revisited and Reversed

    But there has been a nostalgic resurgence of interest in the old Route 66 in recent years. You can see the signs as you barrel down I-40: Historic Route 66. These turnoffs will usually take you to a decaying downtown area that was blighted by the arrival of the Interstate, which bypassed the places people actually lived in favor of straightening out the line and saving time. Always saving time. Don’t get me wrong, we drive on them, too, and we’re often in a hurry. But sometimes we’re not, and we get off, and discover a mining museum, or a diner that offers food much better than McDonalds or Denny’s, or a motel consisting of a dozen plaster wigwams. You just never know. Read more »

  • Days 1, 2, & 3

    There was a lot more to look at, starting with a rather amazing pink and blue art deco building that turned out to be, of all things, a Days Inn. We’ve stayed in a few of them around the country and they’re maybe a percentage point better than a Motel 6, but there’s no way you can tout them as luxury accommodations, and no way you can shout about their usual architecture. But there’s something about Los Angeles, it seems, that makes even big franchisees want to spruce themselves up a little, now and then, here and there. We’ve seen a pretty fancy KFC on Western, and a Phillips 66 station on Robertson that looks something like a stealth fighter and something like a flying saucer. Read more »

  • The 66 Memorial, West Hollywood

    One day when, stuck in traffic, I looked up and thought I saw … is that an armadillo? What’s it doing in California, impaled on a lamppost, and plated in aluminum? The only clue to its meaning is on the bracket below, where the numerals 66 are punched out of the metal … backwards. That’s right, when you’ve driving on the boulevard, which is how 99% of the people who notice these things at all will see them, they are reversed. Very appropriate for our reverse of the traditional 66 trip, but it seems a miscalculation on the part of the artist, whoever he or she may be. Read more »

  • Return to L.A. – Little Moscow – The Theater District

    Then a few doors down on a side street, here is a guy actually painting a mural. Lee is in heaven! The artist’s name is Emilio, and he’s doing a corner of a small, neat little church with a nice garden out front, Guardian Angel Catholic. It’s right next to a small business that sells stock footage, not something you’d find in most towns. My guess is that if you’re making a documentary and want that shot of a Japanese kamikaze being riddled with bullets from an American cruiser, this is the place you’d go. Read more »

  • Silverlake, Again

    Well, it’s now official. Lee has photographed every linear foot of Sunset Boulevard from Sunset Junction to Echo Park. This includes all murals, businesses, houses, stairways, hillsides, sleeping drunks, bus benches, light poles, garbage containers (and random heaps of garbage), and curbs for approximately two miles. You think Google Maps are extensive? You think that new Google Street Level ... Read more »

  • “If you come to a fork in the road … take it”

    Yogi Berra said that … I think. One thing I’m sure he did say is “I didn’t really say all the things I said.” So who knows? Whatever, I never thought it was advice I’d actually take, but like someone said, it ain’t over until it’s over. Sometimes when you come to a fork in the road, you should take it. After all, if you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else. ... Read more »

  • The 2008 Tournament of Roses Parade

    The Tournament of Roses is the largest consumer of flowers in the world. Somewhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people line the parade route, depending on who you believe. It stretches 5½ miles from beginning to end, and takes about two hours to pass any one spot. The mind boggles … Yes, I know, we’re still a few miles away from Pasadena on our bifurcated Route 66 walk, but who said we have ... Read more »

  • 66 North – Highland Park to Pasadena

    Figueroa Street again. Yet another neighborhood where English is definitely the minority language. On this stretch the Metro Gold Line seems to have revitalized the area a bit, as these things tend to do. But south of the main street the houses are larger, and north, lining the tracks, and some quite small ones. Once again, a neighborhood rich in murals. After a while you begin to notice a ... Read more »

  • 66 South – El Sereno, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills

    As a general rule, the higher you go in Los Angeles, the higher the rents. The hills between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley are very expensive real estate. Our place, just south of Franklin in the beginning of the flats is a lot cheaper; right across Franklin the prices begin to skyrocket, in just one block. There are exceptions. In the ‘60s I lived in Echo Park, and rents were ... Read more »

  • The Doo-Dah Parade

    As if to recover from an excess of pomp and pageantry, some crazy people in Pasadena and the rest of the Southland get together for what might be called the Anti-Tournament of Roses Parade. And on Sunday we attended it: The 31st Occasional Doo-Dah Parade. Just about everything about the two parades is different: The TofR is about five miles long. The Doo-Dah is a little over five blocks. ... Read more »

  • Colorado Boulevard

    This will be the last leg of our Route 66 walk, a straight shot down Colorado Boulevard, which is sort of the main street of the northwestern San Gabriel Valley and runs a long ways until it curves south at Santa Anita race track. There Route 66 becomes Huntington Boulevard through Arcadia, Monrovia, and Duarte, then Foothill Boulevard in Azusa, and for a brief time in Glendora is actually ... Read more »

  • Santa ‘Nita Ladies Sing Dis Song

    We’re not what you’d call horse people, Lee and I. Both of us can each count on one hand the times we’ve ridden on a horse. We like going to the county fair and looking at them, but not getting too close. They’re big, and dumb, and apt to hurt you. Every once in a while we used to go to Portland Meadows or the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem and place a few bets. But those are the only race ... Read more »