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Photo Albums from Just Above Sunset -



The Edge of the Pacific - as photographed Thursday, February 9, 2006, the very edge of the Pacific, at Venice Beach. The Santa Ana winds are blowing in off the desert and on the sand it's in the eighties just before noon. Late morning the shops are just opening, the dancing rollerblade folks aren't there yet, but the surfers have been out there in dawn, and the surf isn't bad. (Sixteen shots.)

Walls and Folk Art, Venice Beach, California - murals, architectural detail and general oddness, photographed Thursday, February 9, 2006, at Venice Beach. Tourists flock here for the madness on the strand - skaters and oddballs and Muscle Beach and all the little shops and strange food and loud music. Here are the details they often ignore. (Thirty shots.)


Gritty Hollywood - odd details of central Hollywood, just north of Sunset and Vine, February 2, 2006 (Twenty-nine photographs)


Hollywood Landmarks - Worldly and Otherworldly - Crossroad of the World on Sunset Boulevard, and Blessed Sacrament next door, February 2, 2006 (Sixteen photographs)


Groundhog Day Blooms - botanical close-up shots of what was in bloom in Hollywood, February 2, 2006 (Twelve photographs)


Backstage: Building the Floats for the Tournament of Roses Parade

Sixty-one shots of the floats under construction, and more, from Thursday, 19 December 2005


Christmas at the Beach – A Los Angeles Album 

Thursday, December 22, 2005 - a storm a thousand miles out in the Pacific brings the highest surf anyone can remember. Inland it was sunny and eighty, but the beaches were socked in with fog.  Surfers.  Gulls.  Christmas at the Beach.


Christmas 2005 in the Land of the Obscenely Wealthy   

Thursday, December 8, 2005, a trek to the land of the obscenely wealthy - Rodeo Drive and the center of Beverly Hills - for Christmas photos of what's on display in the windows of Saxs Fifth Avenue and Barney's and Neiman-Marcus - and what's on the streets.


On Location: The Santa Monica Pier

Thursday, December 1, 2005, late morning, fifty-eight shots of the Santa Monica Pier, where Route 66 finally ends...


On Location: Greystone Mansion

You've seen this place in many, many movies.  Location directors love the site.  Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Drive, Beverly Hills - a new album of twenty-six photos from Wednesday, November 23, 2005, late afternoon…


Melrose Avenue - Peculiarly Los Angeles

Sixty photos from Thursday, November 10, 2005 - one of the oddest and hippest places on earth.


A Tour of the Sunset Strip - thirty-nine shots, an idiosyncratic view on a foggy fall morning - Thursday, October 27, 2005.


Halloween in Hollywood 2005

Halloween is the 31st, but on Friday, October 21, you would see, in and around Hollywood, the displays are up, and on Hollywood Boulevard the folks are out in costumes, but then, they always are. These thirty-one shots, late morning, Friday, October 21, 2005, will confirm to those elsewhere that Southern California is a strange place.


It's Only Rock 'n' Roll - "Guitar Row" on Sunset Boulevard

Just down the street is a section of Hollywood - the seven thousand block of Sunset Boulevard - known as "Guitar Row." Here you will find the Hollywood "Rock Walk."  Photos from late morning, Wednesday, October 12, 2005.  Thirty-four photographs.


Topanga Canyon - Its Own Place  

A full photo album, thirty-eight shots - the community of Topanga, about six thousand residents, and home to those who play by their own rules - once the blacklisted in Hollywood, then counterculture types (Neil Young, Jim Morrison), now a mixture of folks who won't ever give up the hippie thing, the rich, the famous and the eccentric. 


Dead Hollywood: The Stars at Rest

Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park - a hidden, tiny place covering about a city block.  The final resting place of Marilyn Monroe, Donna Reed, Dean Martin, Natalie Wood, Roy Orbison, Carroll O'Connor, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, George C. Scott, Burt Lancaster, Eve Arden, Eva Gabor and even Truman Capote.  Frank Zappa's grave is unmarked - number 100.


Sports Photography - NHL Hockey in Los Angeles 

The Los Angeles Kings NHL Training Camp - first full on-ice session, Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Union Station, Los Angeles (1939) considered to be "The last of America's great rail stations."  Twenty-eight photographs from Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Watching the Hollywood Hills Burn

Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - a wildfire in Nichols Canyon, here in the Holywood Hills.  Twenty-one photographs.

A Ride on the Goodyear Blimp

A ride on the Goodyear blimp, "The Spirit of America" - Thursday, August 4, 2005.  Fifty photographs of the craft, and aerial shots of Los Angeles.


Malibu Calling: The Call to the Wall

The annual "Call to the Wall" surfing contest in Malibu, shot Friday, July 22, 2005 - along with some details of Malibu itself.  Forty–two photographs.


Bastille Day Los Angeles 2005 

The fourth annual Bastille Day Los Angeles held July 17, 2005 at the gardens of the Page Museum, adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits. Supported by the French Consulate in Los Angeles, the Bastille Day LA celebration is meant to "reinforce the undying ties between the French and American people and to promote French heritage and culture."  Twenty-two photographs.


The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits

Twenty-one shots of the famous Los Angeles natural history site and adjacent museum, from July 5, 2005


The Old Cars of the Very Rich: The Rodeo Drive Annual Concours

The Eighth Annual Rodeo Drive Annual Concours, June 19, 2005, Beverly Hills, California

Fifty-seven photographs


Paparazzi Time: Minor Celebrities and Major Oddities

The 2005 West Hollywood Gay Pride Parade, Sunday, June 12, 2005 – Thirty Photos


Late Afternoon Light and the Strangeness of Southern California - From the odder places at the beach, these are from Wednesday, June 8, 2005, almost all after 5:30 in the afternoon, when the light starts to get long.  Venice Beach and inland from Venice Beach.  It can be strange out here.  Forty-three shots.


Hollywood Rides - May 13, 2005  Auction: The George Barris Collection of Kustom Television and Movie Cars and Other Properties
Saturday 14 May 2005
Petersen Automotive Museum 6060 Wilshire Boulevard (at Fairfax)
Los Angeles 90036
Photos as the cars are being prepared on Friday, May 13…  
Thirty-two photographs including many not seen in the original item in these pages.


A Day at the Beach - 6 May 2005  - A drive down to where the editor once lived, Manhattan Beach, and then on to Hermosa Beach, and, on the way home, an encounter with a cherry 1954 Chevrolet Corvette, and a stop at the Western Museum of Flight, across the runway from Northrop Aircraft, where the editor worked when he first moved to California…  Fifty-One Photos


May Day 2005 - Botanicals and Oddities  - From a backyard in Carlsbad, a mile inland from the beach, a few miles north of San Diego… Twelve Shots


Venice and its Canals - 21 April 2005 - The editor of Just Above Sunset and the local staff – and that is just me and Bob Patterson - does a photo shoot in Venice, California.  But not at Venice Beach.  We explored the Venice Canals.


A Flight to the Past: Thursday, April 14, 2005 - A media flight over Los Angeles in a restored Boeing B-17G bomber from WWII.  Twenty-three photographs.


A weekend in and around Manhattan - The editor of Just Above Sunset spends a weekend in and around Manhattan.  Sixty-one shots from the Battery up to mid-town and out to Princeton University.


Local webcams of note….


If your internet connection is speedy and you want to be elsewhere, even out here, this will take you to the live, real-time web camera on top of the Hollywood sign.  And here are two pages of live feed from the security cameras watching over the sign.


Watch them rebuild the nearby Griffith Park Observatory – a live, real-time web camera and check out the still photos of the current reconstruction of the building, updated frequently.


- Friday, March 25, 2005

New Link: Velvel on National Affairs


Friday May 4 I received a note from the office of Dean Lawrence Velvel of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover that said nice things about Just Above Sunset and recommended this to me.  So Just Above Sunset recommends this to you -


Velvel on National Affairs


The web log “sets forth the personal views of the Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, Lawrence R. Velvel, on national events.  Occasionally, the responses to his views or other interesting articles are also posted.”  For those of a legal turn of mind on current events, go there.


Dean Velvel is also author of this –



Simon Zheng - Photographer


Bob Patterson, who writes for Just Above Sunset as both The World’s Laziest Journalist and The Book Wrangler, told me he was going to Pasadena last Sunday to attend the famous Doo Dah Parade - in Old Town, a block from where I work.  I don’t know if he did.  This parade is, of course, the ironic and surreal response to annual Rose Parade that kicks off at dawn New Years Day and has something or other to do with the football game that follows, The Rose Bowl.  I’ve worked on an off in Pasadena for many years.  New Years Day is a good day to be somewhere else.

Bob may or may not have made it to the anti-Rose Bowl Parade.  But a fellow who works with me did.  Simon Zheng.  He is a wonderful photographer and his gallery from the parade is here - and the top level of his photography site will lead you to other amazing galleries.

I feel like such an amateur.  And he grew up in Shanghai – his bio in at the site.  And he’s a super systems guy.

Ah well...

Don Smith –


Don Smith, who wrote this week (August 17th), first picked up a camera thirty-two years ago and he's been visiting Paris on and off for thirty-four years.  He earned his BFA in photography at the San Francisco Art Institute.


First of all, you will find his stunning photographs of Paris at Left Bank Lens from Paris.


Don also teaches photography workshops in Paris – Paris Photo Workshops   (A gallery of student works here).


Over at Visit Paris he has travelogues and trip planning information – click on Travelogues - 1999 


Check it out. 


[ One of mine, not one of Don's... ]

Click here....
Click for full image...




Highly Recommended - and the web log is finally back on line!
Emmanuelle Richard is a French freelance journalist who had been based in Los Angeles since 1998.  She covers news in the western United States for French radio (France Info, France Inter) and Swiss radio (Radio Suisse Romande).  She writes regularly for the daily Libération
Her bilingual (French-English) web log is quite good.  You'll find it here - with daily entries since October 2000.  A good take on life out here.  She once said nice things about
Just Above Sunset there, and I soon saw logons from France, the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal. 



If you have a high speed internet connection note this -


Having (relatively) recently obtained over 100 versions of "Body and Soul", I've decided to share the wealth.  Herein you'll find the first volume of what is planned to be a 5 volume set of my picks of the litter.  This can also serve as a beginner's guide to jazz, as it moves from the most famous version by Billie Holiday, to the most influential version by Coleman Hawkins, to versions by such post-bop luminaries as Eric Dolphy and Sun Ra, to the most impressive recent version by Jason Moran.  I plan (i.e. might) add some of the appropriate history of the various versions, especially those of Hawkins and Holiday, if I can dig up the tomes in which those nuggets are buried.


Handy instructions are included.

Needless to say, at tip of the hat to the web site Body and Soul.


Hugh O'Mara – Artworks


Hugh O'Mara is here in Hollywood and been creating artworks since 1974.


What sort?  I work in a variety of styles and media. My subject matter is varied.  I refer to this approach as ‘symbolism and surrealism meets folk art and some other things’ - a lot of things, anything and everything.”


Visit his site.  He found Just above Sunset, and I found his site. 


Drop by and check this out!
Click on the image to go there....




Gros Morne National Park

A writer's adventures in Newfoundland


Deborah Vatcher, whose fiction has appeared in Just Above Sunset recently, here visits Newfoundland in a long, meditative piece with wonderful photographs and drawings.
A sample (click on the image for a full-size version):

Click on image for the full-size version...

Topical Links and Links of Special Interest



Be worldly.  Understand the French.  Get a daily does of Gallic insight.


You might try Merde In France and this claims to give you all you need to know about the French exception / Tout ce qu'il faut savoir sur 'l'exception française'  … “More than 20 years behind enemy lines / Plus de 20 ans en territoire ennemi …”   Or on its masthead – “The champagne of attitudinal weblogs / Le champagne des blogs à fort temperament.”   The left column is in English, and the right column the same thing in French.  Major attitude here from one Erik Svane.


A new press review in English - ¡No Pasarán! – comments on what’s in the French press and in the English press about the French.  Covers French issues more than international ones.

Pascal Riché est le correspondant de Libération à Washington – and he has a blog in French on the American presidential race – La course à la Masion blanche – if your French is up to it.


Libération is one of the major French dailies - actually one of the founders was Sartre, or was is Camus?   I forget.  Libération is a bit to the left... well, it's a lot to the left.  I think I first noticed the paper back in the sixties when I saw Claude Lelouch's film "A Man and A Woman" (Un Homme et Une Femme) - that was 1966 - and the gorgeous Anouk Aimée was reading a copy of Libération in bed and smiling.  Ah, Anouk Aimée, né en 1932 à Paris.  De son vrai nom Nicole Françoise Dreyfus.  HA!  Does anyone "accuse" her of that?  And does anyone recall 1949's "Lovers of Verona" specifically written for her by Jacques Prevert?  No?  I digress.


Try the links.





Slicing and dicing odd kinds of data…


So… plug in you zip code here. 

Just click on ZIP-Code Look Up for all sorts of information. 

The premise is clear. 


People living in the same neighborhoods tend to have similar lifestyles, proving the old adage that "birds of a feather flock together" still holds true.  To a large extent, you are where you live!

PRIZM NE, Claritas' newest segmentation system, defines every neighborhood in the U.S.  in terms of 66 distinct lifestyle types using ground-breaking segmentation techniques.  You can get a first look at your neighborhood using PRIZM NE using MyBestSegments.com – and you can still access the lifestyle detail of Claritas' legacy systems, PRIZM and MicroVision. 

Select the segmentation system you prefer and enter your 5-digit ZIP Code – you'll get your neighborhood's top five segments, along with some descriptive detail about each segment's lifestyle traits. 


My zip code (90046) is cool –

I see the count for my neighborhood, according to PRIZM NE, is this:

31 Urban Achievers
16 Bohemian Mix
59 Urban Elders
03 Movers & Shakers
01 Upper Crust

Let’s assume I’m an Urban Elder –

US Households: 1,429,902 (1.33%)
US Population: 3,496,741 (1.22%)
Median HH Income: $25,866

Lifestyle Traits
1.  Shop at Banana Republic
2.  Collect stamps
3.  Watch Steve Harvey show
4.  Watch Daytime TV
5.  Drive a Dodge Neon

Demographics Traits:
Ethnic Diversity: High Black, Asian and Hispanic
Family Types: Singles
Age Ranges: 55+
Education Levels: Elementary/H.S. 
Employment Levels: Service, BC, WC,
Housing Types: Renters
Urbanicity: Urban
Income: Poor

Nope, that doesn’t work…. 

Well, a year and a half ago when attending a wedding in the bayous south of New Orleans, I rented a Dodge Neon.  It was a nice little car.  But this is not me.  I don’t collect stamps

So I toggle to LifeP$YCLE and get this population distribution for my zip code:

19 Affluent Renting Equity Beginners
55 Downscale Metro Lower Market
03 Metro Estate Planners
15 Young Elite Equity Beginners
42 Metro Young Carefree Renters

Let’s assume I’m one of these “Metro Estate Planners” for example…

US Households: 2,580,318 (2.39%)
US Population: not applicable
Median HH Income: $113,268

Lifestyle Traits
1.  Buy a Montblanc/Waterman pen
2.  Own/lease a Mercedes
3.  Own/lease an Acura
4.  Buy an umbrella policy
5.  Go sailing

Demographics Traits:
Ethnic Diversity: not applicable
Family Types: No Children
Age Ranges: 35-54
Education Levels: not applicable
Employment Levels: not applicable
Housing Types: Homeowner
Urbanicity: Metro
Income: $75,000 or More

Closer.  I lease a Mercedes SLK.  But I don’t have Montblanc pen – not even a Waterman.  And I rent.  And I’m a few years over the age limit here. 

Oh well. 

But this is endless fun. 


On the political side you can click in a zip code here and find out who is donating to which side in the current races … Try FUNDRACE.ORG

And you can find out things like this about the center of Manhattan –

Top Democratic Buildings

770 Park Ave $52,000
300 Central Park W $51,125
211 Central Park W $36,650
120 E End Ave $36,300
895 Park Ave $34,000

Top Republican Buildings

85 Broad St $29,500
345 Park Ave $27,750
383 Madison Ave $22,500
834 5Th Ave $18,000
70 Pine St $17,000

Fascinating stuff…

The most interesting thing is you can see, by name and address, and occupation, exactly who sent in what funds to whom.  Really.  Individuals are named. 




Highly Recommend!


This is Louisa Chu's Moveable Feast   


NOTE:  This was former called Food, France, Now and was offline for some months.


The blog explains itself.  Louisa is in Paris, at the center of the gastronomical world, so to speak, having just finished a stint at Restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee.  These are insider details.

I have known Louisa for a few years and we trade emails about food and Paris now and then.  I haven't seen her years, but you can hear her sometimes out here, reporting from Paris for the weekend "Food News Hour" on the radio out here - on KCRW.

Oddly enough in mid-December a few years ago I arrived at my hotel in Paris after many, many hours in the air non-stop from LAX, and after a crazy taxi ride from CDG into the 6th with a surly driver and his friendly dog in the front seat, I took a quick shower and headed across the street for a cognac at the Flore.  And of course I discovered my French was awfully rusty - well, awful actually.  So when I returned to my room I flipped on the television.  "Friends" dubbed in French helped a bit with the rhythms and pronunciations, and then on Arte I watched a documentary on the most unique radio station in America - KCRW in Santa Monica.  Huh?  I was in Paris listening to the French, in French, explaining my local NPR station.

But then again these days I can hear Louisa here, reporting from Paris, thanks to the folks in Santa Monica.

Odd connections....  Here and Paris.  And of course, on that visit I noticed the cinema just off rue St-Benoit was showing "Mulholland Drive" - I could see marquee in the distance from my hotel window.  Damned odd.  Just up rue des Rennes I found I junk jewelry store named "Sunset Boulevard."  Yipes.

Oh heck, read Louisas columns.  Great stuff.


Heather Stimmler-Hall in her Secrets of Paris Newsletter has posted the link too.


She calls the site "lovely stuff" and adds if you like foodies in Paris you should check out David Lebovitz's site full of good food humor.


And she adds this:


Speaking of Odd Connections, I was just back in the US in January for two weeks, and it seems like everywhere I went everything was "French" (even when it wasn't, like French Vanilla Coffee).  Very bizarre, especially considering the whole Freedom Fries thing...


Indeed so.



And Louisa comments


I'm still waiting for my contract to go through at the Crillon - and my French working papers.  Somehow the Crillon will have to justify hiring me to the French government - kind of a tough sell when we're talking about why I'm a better French cook than a French guy - in a French restaurant.  And the Crillon might be one of the Frenchest of French restaurants left in the world - except maybe Japan.  And another weird full circle kind of thing - I'll be on an Arte documentary sometime in April - they shot one on ADPA - Restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee.  In the meantime, I'm getting ready to go to El Bulli - anyone fluent in Catalan?


Readers?  Anyone fluent in Catalan?





I came across this.  A live web camera showing Hollywood in real time, with The Eagles' Hotel California playing in the background.  If you have a high-speed internet connection you can sort of be here in real time - and in the upper right you can keep an eye on the Hollywood sign.  If you're stuck in Detroit in the snow it will make you happy.  Or not.


If you have a high-speed internet connection you might want to try this: the two dozen webcams offering live real-time views (streaming video) of Paris.   I am fond of Les Champs Elysées depuis "Atelier Renault" - La mairie de Paris depuis la place de l'Hôtel de Ville will give you a live shot of city hall.   Les quais de Seine (2) will give you a good view of the traffic across the bridges right in front of the big department store La Samaritaine - there's a nice gift book section on the third or fourth floor. 


If you're in Paris and miss California, here's a live camera at Venice Beach.


Either way, remember the time difference between here and there.





Full court transcript of the Fox-Franken hearing, as discussed at various places in Just Above Sunset:


Click here:

Plaintiff, New York, N.Y.
03 Civ. 6162 (RLC)(DC)




A detailed guide to some great restaurants in France:


Rick Brown, whose comments often appear here in Just Above Sunset publishes a website in Atlanta called City-Directory.  In it you will find just about everything you need to know about what is going on there, and I believe he updates the site daily.  See www.city-directory.com of course.


Now on his site is this week's edition of The Fire & The Hearth billed as "An occasional newsletter devoted to food, wine, and those things that make for a good life" (and named after a short story by William Faulkner), in which host Randy Harber - gourmet chef and globe-trotting bon vivant who, in his spare time, helps run CNN's internal "wire service" - reviews eateries visited during his recent sojourn to Paris and the French (not Texan) countryside.


Here's where: http://city-directory.com/fireandhearth/home.html


Rick comments:

Sounds yummy, even to someone (such as myself) who has traditionally considered eating food a chore that must be endured, in the same general category as putting away the clean laundry.


He even visits, without any prompting whatsoever from me, La Coupole, where "It was said that if you were a young and broke American in the '20s, you could go to La Coupole and that for a few turns on the restaurants dance floor, a wealthy Parisian lady would buy you a meal." (Haven't we Yanks always been like putty in the hands of them Frenchy broads?)


Well, Rick and I, and Ric in Paris (editor of MetropoleParis www.metropoleparis.com), have been batting about how to sell website advertising slots to various places, and we were just discussing La Coupole.  Now Rick's site has a review of the place. 

And as for French women, well, my friends know about Liane.  Sigh.

I read The Fire & The Hearth carefully.  It's great.  I need to get back to Paris, soon.  Highly recommended.


As the country gets more polarized, for opinion, you might check out these sources for political commentary.

On the left, the two general anti-Bush sites that provide daily links to selected commentary on the current issues as seen from that side:

On the right, a general pro-Administration site providing daily links to the major conservative columns:


When I want to know what's happening in two cities I like a lot, one where I visit when I can and one where I live, I consult these links....
Ric Erickson's weekly on-line magazine from Paris, MetropoleParis, updated each Monday night:  http://www.metropoleparis.com
LA Weekly for what is happening out this way, updated every Thursday: http://www.laweekly.com


Other forums, other audiences...
Interested in some Canadian writing?  You might want to check out The Writers' Collective, or maybe even join - I don't think you have to live in Sarnia or Moosejaw or Mississauga or any place like that: http://groups.msn.com/TheWritersCollective/



Reference Links for the Curious


As more and more pages of Just Above Sunset are devoted to photography, more and more people send links to sites –


Martin Schall sends this link to his gallery of Sunset Boulevard Photos.  This is my neighborhood, and we cover some of the same odd places.  What a town!


William Quantrill sends along these photo sites –


Apogee Photo

Vivid Light Photography

ACECamera Web Services

DPII (Digital Photography and Imaging International)

Notes from the Road

Detroit Focus

Max Taylor Panoramas


Bob Patterson finds these of interest –


An index of links to online photography from Shropshire (UK)

Amateur Photographer (the oldest photo magazine)


Time to browse….

New commentary site –


The Platublic Online


What they say -


The motto says it all, really.  “Lucidity and Ethics in Discourse.”  The “lucidity” part implies a promise to publish clear, rational news and opinion content.  The “ethics” portion of the slogan promises an uncompromised public forum, independent, holding content above the acquisition of revenue and placing the pursuit of truth above all.


The name of the publication, “Platublic,” is of course a conjured word, taken from history.  Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher and student of Socrates and what many see as his finest work, The Republic in which he tries to characterize his vision of the best human society.


That is the ultimate aim of The Platublic Online, to comment on events and to pursue an honest portrait of a better and more sustainable world.


Another purpose of The Platublic Online, is to merge the freedom and accessibility of a web log or “blog” with the edited reliability and credibility of the classic newspaper or opinion journal.  Even our layout conveys an admiration for traditional print media sources.  Our readers are our regular contributors.


The Platublic Online was created in early 2005 and continues to serve the world wide web community, delivering independent news and opinion content as well as offering basic advertising opportunities for responsible businesses on a monthly basis.


What Just Above Sunset says?  Check it out.








Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....