Lon Chaney’s CabinPosted: August 29, 2012 Filed under: California, celebrity, heroes Leave a comment
High in the Sierras, the cabin of actor Lon Chaney, Sr., “the man of a thousand faces.”
Both of Chaney’s parents were deaf, and as a child of deaf adults Chaney became skilled in pantomime.
From this LA Times article:
“Tonight I start out for the High Sierra. No shaving, no makeup, no interviews for four long, lazy weeks. We take a stove along and the wife cooks the fish I catch. We sleep under the pines and I try to climb high enough to reach the snows. Camping’s the biggest kick in life for me,” Chaney told a writer in 1928.
The Forest Service considered destroying the cabin to comply with the 1964 Wilderness Act, which calls for the restoration of natural conditions in wilderness areas. But the agency changed its mind when it became clear that the amount of dynamite required to demolish the massive stone structure would cause major damage to the surrounding trees.
Vincent Thomas BridgePosted: August 20, 2012 Filed under: California Leave a comment
On October 26, 1990, 1964 Olympic diving bronze medalist Larry Andreasen was killed jumping from the west tower of the bridge in an attempt to set a diving record.
Automatic Dumper, Jack Delano, 1943Posted: August 15, 2012 Filed under: California, pictures Leave a comment
from Library of Congress
The Los Angeles BasinPosted: August 13, 2012 Filed under: California Leave a comment
(wikipedia via Landsat)
Albert BierstadtPosted: July 2, 2012 Filed under: California, painting Leave a comment
Bierstadt sometimes changed details of the landscape to inspire awe. The colors he used are also not always true. He painted what he believed was the way things should be: water is ultramarine, vegetation is lush and green, etc.
HamburgersPosted: June 26, 2012 Filed under: California, writing Leave a comment
Like the film, the hamburger is a non-California invention that has achieved a kind of symbolic apotheosis in Los Angeles; symbolic, that is, of the way fantasy can lord it over function in Southern California. The purely functional hamburger, as delivered across the counter of say, the Gipsy Wagon on the UCLA campus, the Surf-Boarder at Hermosa Beach or any McDonald’s or Jack-In-The Box outlet anywhere, is a pretty well-balanced meal that he who runs (surfs, drives, studies) can eat with one hand; not only the ground beef but all the sauce, cheese, shredded lettuce, and other garnishes are firmly gripped between two halves of the bun.
But the fantastic hamburger as served on a platter at a sit-down restaurant is something else again. Its component parts have been carefully opened up and separated out into an assemblage of functional and symbolic elements, or alternatively, a fantasia on functional themes. The two halves of the bun lie face up with the ground beef on one and, sometimes, the cheese on the other. Around and alongside on the platter are the lettuce leaves, gherkins, onion rings, fried potatoes, paper cups of relish or coleslaw, pineapple rings, and much more besides, because the invention of new varieties of hamburger is a major Angeleno culinary art. Assembled with proper care it can be a work of visual art as well; indeed, it must be considered as visual art first and foremost, since some components are present in too small a quantity generally to make a significant gustatory as opposed to visual contribution – for instance, the seemingly mandatory ring of red-dyed apple, which does a lot for the eye as a foil to the general greenery of the salads, but precious little for the palate.
Reyner Banham was writing in 1971. I have a used addition, in which someone (I like to imagine a foreign student) has underlined the word “hamburger.”
Baton Practice at the Manzanar War Relocation Center, 1943Posted: June 21, 2012 Filed under: California, photography Leave a comment
Ansel Adams, the original king of US 395.
Los AngelesPosted: April 5, 2012 Filed under: California Leave a comment
Someone tagged this tree.
“In Shark’s life there had been no literary romance.”Posted: April 4, 2012 Filed under: books, California, love, Steinbeck Leave a comment
In Shark’s life there had been no literary romance. At nineteen he took Katherine Mullock to three dances because she was available. This started the machine of precedent and he married her because her family and all of the neighbors expected it. Katherine was not pretty, but she had the firm freshness of a new weed, and the bridling vigor of a young mare. After her marriage she lost her vigor and her freshness as a flower does once it has received pollen. Her face sagged, her hips broadened, and she entered into her second destiny, that of work.
In his treatment of her, Shark was neither tender nor cruel. He governed her with the same gentle inflexibility he used on horses. Cruelty would have seemed to him as foolish as indulgence. He never talked to her as to human, never spoke of his hopes or thoughts or failures, of his paper wealth nor of the peach crop. Katherine would have been puzzled and worried if he had. Her life was sufficiently complicated without the added burden of another’s thoughts and problems.
Pacific-Union Club PunchPosted: April 2, 2012 Filed under: California, how to live, people, San Francisco 1 Comment
This is the Pacific-Union Club, at the top of Nob Hill in San Francisco:
Are you going to tell me you can walk by that building and not think, “I want to make their famous punch!”
For a party of ten. Into a large punch-bowl place ten tablespoonfuls of bar sugar and ten tablespoonfuls of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice. Add two jiggers of Curaçao and dissolve the whole in about a quart of effervescent water. Add two quarts of champagne and one bottle of good cognac. Stir thoroughly, ice, decorate and serve in thin glassware.
READER: be sure to use regular, orange Curacao, not blue curacao, or your punch will be a revolting green color.
That recipe is from William “Cocktail” Boothby’s 1908 book, The World’s Cocktails and How To Make Them. Let’s take a look at Boothby’s resume, just to make sure he’s for real:
- Minstrel performer.
- Bartender in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Kansas City.
- Bartender at Byron Hot Springs.
- Bartender (or in his terms “presiding deity”) at Hotel Rafael, San Rafael, California, in “the gay days when Baron von Schroeder was making history over there”.
- Bartender at the Silver Palace, San Francisco
- Bartender at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco.
- Saloon owner.
- Assemblyman in California in 1895. The 1908 edition of The World’s Drinks & How To Mix Them begins “To the liquor dealers of San Francisco who unanimously assisted in my election to the Legislature by an unprecedented majority.”
- Soda drink counter supervisor, Olympic Club, during Prohibition