Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Oddly enough the thing that comes to mind when looking at this picture is Stephen King's novel, It. When he was still scary and fun to read. If I remember correctly the youthful protagonist's bike was a Stingray named Silver for the Lone Ranger's horse. He pinned playing cards in the spokes and outraced the devil (of sorts). Not of the caliber of The Stand, but pretty good King, nonetheless.

I remember my own Stingray fondly. Growing up in West Hollywood, we would bike up Kings Road to Sunset and come racing down the hill, with our own playing cards rattling in the spokes like a motorcycle engine. We'd pop wheelies on the pavement in front of my apartment building and imitate Steve McQueen, sliding under the barbed wire in The Great Escape, laying our bikes down on the neighbor's lawn.

Friday, September 23, 2005


"Now Mr. Mutt's fountain is not immoral, that is absurd, no more than a bathtub is immoral. It is a fixture that you see every day in plumbers' show windows. Whether Mr. Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view -- created a new thought for that object."

From an anonymous article published by Duchamp, Beatrice Wood, and H.-P. Roche in Blind Man, May 1917.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Under the Wheel

Random farm machinery from Wilder Ranch.

I was in Carmel last weekend for our wedding anniversary. Left the camera at home, it being our wedding anniversary and all. Thought the wife might appreciate it if my attention was focused on her and not on the viewfinder. Well, I'll never do that again. So many great shots and no camera to shoot them. Like the old joke about hell for a smoker being a place without fire to light up, that's Carmel without a camera for a photographer.

We're going back for my birthday in October, so hopefully the weather will cooperate and I can scout out some of the same locations.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Happiest Place on Earth

These two snapshots have been posted before, but I was waxing nostalgic this morning and felt to re-post these images with some commentary.

I was born in Southern California in the San Fernando Valley, but we left Pacoima and moved to West Hollywood when I was very small. My earliest memories are living in a stucco duplex on Spaulding and Waring, about 3 blocks from Fairfax Avenue. Fairfax is the center of the Jewish community in Los Angeles. It is Brooklyn with sunshine and palm trees at the foot of the Hollywood Hills. When I was a kid, the Jewish neighborhood extended from Santa Monica Blvd. south to Pico and from the border of Beverly Hills at La Cienega, all the way to Highland. Today it is more concentrated, surrounded by trendy Hollywood neighborhoods, little Ethiopia and that amorphous thing called Greater LA.

The community continues and in some ways thrives. In the 60s there was a brief influx of hippies, in the 80s there was an attempt at gentrification of the neighborhood, but although it has shrunken, it continues to pulse. The Lubavitchers will still ask you to put on the Tefillin, Canter's deli still serves up corned beef and pastrami 24/7, Diamond's and Schwartz's still have the most delicious baked goods you can find on the west coast. The hassids walk to temple on a Shabbos morning and congregate at the newsstand, just like when I was a little pisher, as my mother would say.

My dad worked at the May Co. on Fairfax and La Brea, right around the corner from the tar pits. This fantastic art deco building is now the annex to the LA County Museum of Art, and was also destroyed by flowing Lava in the 1997 film Volcano. My mom shopped along Fairfax, and I attended Hebrew school at the synagogue on Beverly. In spite of the fact that we were and are a fairly secular family, our lives were still intertwined with the neighborhood and its culture. As the Jews have been dispersed around the globe, those flavors and sites were all concentrated along Fairfax Ave, Sephardics and Ashkenazi, Hungarian, Russian, Israeli, it was all there.

I haven't lived in LA in over 20 years, and I make my home in the deli-free zone of San Jose, California, but once or twice a year, the pastrami calls me and I'll drive to LA,and for a few short hours, I feel at home.