Sunday, June 26, 2005

Nobody Walks in L.A.

Just back from my trip to Hollywood.  Many interesting sights were seen.  I saw two houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright--the Barnsdall house and the Ennis-Brown house.  Of the two, Ennis Brown is by far the more famous, having been the site of numerous film locations, including The House on Haunted Hill and Disney's The Rocketeer.  I am sad to report that Ennis Brown was catastrophically damaged by the Northridge earthquake (photos 1-2).  Steps are being taken to shore up the hillside and protect the house from further damage, but restoration has not yet begun on the southern facade.  The Barnsdall house, by contrast, was beautifully preserved (3-12).  The kind curator who happened to be there, waiting for someone else, unexpectedly and amazingly invited me inside and I was able to take several pictures of the interior.  She was quite proud of the restoration, and her personal contribution was restoring the carpet with Frank Lloyd Wright's original design.

In addition, with my friend Jeff Goode, the creator of Disney's animated series American Dragon, we got as close as one can possibly get by road to the Hollywood Sign.  We also visited a park in Hollywood that overlooks the reservoir, and is another famous filming location.  (14-17).

Picture #18 is of Universal City at dusk.  I took in Batman Begins at the Universal City Cinema.  I could have seen an IMAX showing, but I worried that I would get sick.

I found a couple of interesting locations which were uncannily similar to settings from my novel.  One, the cafe with the yellow awning is identical to the Paradise Cafe, on Melrose Avenue, where Mark sees Andy Lord (23).  Second, the house Wolf's Lair is a dead-ringer for my concept of Raptor's Roost, Samson Day's gothic mansion in the Hollywood Hills, where Mark and Mondre attend the tragic Halloween party (24-25).  Other photos include the famous Observatory (13)--which is used in hundreds of films, (the observatory was off limits due to construction), the courtyard of the Kodak Theater, where they now have the Academy Awards--constructed like the Babylon set from D.W. Griffith's Intolerance, (19-20) and the famous Capital Records tower, which is destroyed in Earthquake as well as The Day After Tomorrow.  (21)  I finished off with a visit to the famous Santa Monica Pier, and looked at the happy people enjoying the beach (22, 26).  It was a great trip and I saw a lot in 2.5 days.  However, there were too many people, and I had a low-grade headache the entire time I was there.  I'm glad to be back under gray Pacific Northwest sky.

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