Its beautifully muted art deco exterior camouflages into the dusty side streets of Hollywood south of Santa Monica Boulevard, among warehouses and studios and parking lots and new construction sites. Despite its elegance, it’s the sort of building on a forgettable street that you might drive by countless times without a second glance. But rounding the perimeter from North Sycamore Ave, the unsuspecting visitor is all of a sudden met with a bright, lush entrance behind wrought iron deco gates. It's as if this journey moves its passenger from the world of black and white to color--an unintentional metaphor for the building’s beginnings as an early color film processing plant, and the colorful, outlandish, and at times disturbing life that 7000 Romaine Street has lived since its construction in 1930. And it is no less a metaphor for its former owner who was often inextricable from the building itself--Howard Hughes, the eccentric Texan who burst on the Hollywood scene while battling his own sickness, demons, and brilliance, overflowing from his mind like the wild ivy that overtakes the entrance to his former command center.
In one of the most oft-quoted lines of 1989’s Field of Dreams, and possibly one of the most memorable quotes from any baseball movie, author Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) says, “[t]he one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again.”
When a curious bowler hat-shaped restaurant opened on Wilshire Boulevard in 1926, it didn’t signal the beginning of Los Angeles’ relationship to hats, but, intentional or not, it did convey a preoccupation with fashionable headgear during that time….
A concrete den of sex, scandal, and intrigue. A stunning example of Mayan Revival American architecture. A glamorous Hollywood haunt. And perhaps where Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, met her deadly demise. For more than 90 years, the Sowden House has captured the morbid curiosity of true crime fiends, Old Hollywood lovers and architecture admirers alike….
On February 25, 1942, the city of Los Angeles awoke to a startling and terrifying scene: “powerful searchlights from countless stations stabbed the sky with brilliant probing fingers while anti-aircraft batteries dotted the heavens with beautiful, if sinister, orange bursts of shrapnel.” To Angelinos―already on edge from the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor just a few months earlier…
Since the early days of LA’s Chinatown, the Golden Dragon Parade has remained the main event of New Year celebrations. One 1927 article recalls: "The great, green Chinese dragon which has been hibernating somewhere in the mysterious precincts of Chinatown…
Imagine for a moment some quintessential images of any noir film or novel—an unsolved murder; cops with questionable motives; starry-eyed Hollywood hopefuls on the wrong path; the moonlight shining through horizontal blinds and a puff of cigarette smoke; the dull humming of a glowing neon sign outside; and of course, a dark, seedy motel at the center of it all….
Rome has the Colosseum, Greece the Parthenon, and then there’s Machu Picchu in Peru. In a city like Los Angeles, a mere infant in comparison, the idea of “ruins” and lost history doesn’t always come to mind. But here we prove otherwise by telling a story that involves a Hollywood eccentric, a house made of movie props, a spider-clad pool, a fire that nearly destroyed it all, and our modern quest to locate these, well, modern ruins—the “Spider Pool.”