Sigh… And that’s a wrap for a wondrous, mind-clearing Cali excursion with former work wife and forever friend K’tina. We packed a shitload of activity into five days, I tell you what, including numerous walks around her beautiful Studio City neighborhood. Great meals, too, at The Six, Jerry’s Deli and Laurel Tavern. *
And finally, a collection of drive-by & walk-by random images from my Westward Ho excursion. *Above, Beverly Hills, ooh la la! Look, it’s a MALL! Also Kristina’s favorite destination in L.A., the Beverly Center. How about that view from the terrace on the top floor?An old movie theater craftily turned into Barnes & Noble in Studio City. Well done. *
How perfect is it that the main digs for Scientology are located right in the heart of Hollywood, home of the crazies, land of the loonies? Their “compound” is a sight to see, with a massive powder blue building that looks like a combination hospital/prison. Along the sides are bunches of cottages—all locked tight with multiple iron gates. You can visit… but can you ever leave?
K’tina and I also took in a drive-by of the area surrounding Sunset and Vine, packed with tourists. And the scariest of all: The Hollywood Center Motel, a dive right along Sunset. Kristina commented that this is where folks must come to DIE. Creepy shit. *
Driving is a novelty for me anymore, since New York City is a public transpo kind of town. Kristina allowed me to escort her around Los Angeles in her trusty Toyota as we scoured most every conceivable neighborhood. We walked miles each day as well, but for major triptychs, it was wheels all the way.
She lives in Studio City, which requires navigating the winding mountainous roads of Laurel Canyon, while we also motored into the oh-so-steep roads of the Hollywood Hills. Man, was it a blast to drive up and down, and around and around, mustering speeds as fast as possible…
On Sunday, we dared to take on the infamous Mulholland Drive, off of Laurel Canyon. I can honestly say it scared the living bejesus out of me. We drove about a mile before our mutual ill of ease with heights had us waving the white flag and gently—so gently—returning to the main roads. Horrifying (and no pics of Mulholland, believe me). *
Kristina took me for a grand walk through the campy Sportmen’s Lodge in L.A.’s Studio City, which is packed to the gills with history. The massive hotel complex opened 50 years ago, with a restaurant and trout-fishing lake where families and celebrities such as Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy & Katharine Hepburn, and Marlon Brando came to catch and eat their own dinners, cooked courtesy of the lodge. As the San Fernando Valley evolved, Studio City sprung up around the hotel and historic Trout Lakes. The joint remains as popular today.*
I totally dig the multitude of iconic vintage imagery throughout Los Angeles, from 1950’s signage to old-school vehicles to the architecture of decades-old bungalos. Driving past a 76 gas station with the revolving ball that I haven’t seen since the 1970s or seeing (what to me is) a vintage Arby’s sign is just good clean fun. Following are some of the best throughout my L.A. travels from the past several days. *
With a little investigation, K’tina and I were able to located the original house used for The Brady Bunch exteriors in the 1970s… in Studio City on Dilling Drive. Man, that home looks smaller in real life than it did on TV. Where’s the spacious front yard and all? Crazy fun. Just below is the house as it appeared on the show… *