The Roosevelt

We’ve been housed at The Roosevelt Hotel  for the past week. I’ve choking on pool floaties, sixteen-dollar Miami Vices, and enough Ed Hardy to bedazzle and silk screen skulls and roses over all the asses in China, but I am going to miss this place and all the ultra celeb photographs like the one of Lou Reed in our room:


and this one in the hallway:


In case you don’t know The Roosevelt is a renovated historical hotel with some major hollywood history. Besides being the place for the first Academy Awards, I am pretty sure that Brando used to beat people up in the hallways and Gable used to get in on with (the real) JC in the cocktail lounge. Now it’s really just a fancy place for long valet lines, Bollywood parties, and for watching people swarm around Grauman's Chinese Theater on the Hotel Streetcam TV channel:


This is what it really looks like outside:


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And from the roof:



And from the doorway:



We leave tomorrow but will be back because it is true:



Behind The Badge

A little visit to the Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum proved to be a worthwhile urban tourist stop.

The building is located in the ol’ Highland Park Station (built in 1925). Yes, because of our stilted imaginations (and love of the Los Angeles of yesteryear) everything reminded us of LA Confidential. The North Hollywood Bank of America Shoot-Out Memorial fixed that (see below).


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The museum professional who greeted us was awesome, but we forgot to heed her advice and check out the cop cars. We were agog after seeing the size of the toilets in the jail cells.

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The LAPD was one of the first police departments to have female officers. According to MyFoxLA, The first woman to work as a police officer anywhere in the United States was Alice Stebbins Wells who wore her LAPD badge for the first time on September 12, 1910. So in the museum (although most of the policewoman stuff was tucked away on the stairwell between the first and second floors) there are tons of radical photos that feature Betty Draper-looking ladies handling handguns and pommel horses:



Click here for a story on the first police woman in THE NATION!

The museum is smallish and doesn’t really address any of the controversial history of the LAPD I’ve read and heard about. But it makes sense in this case because we didn’t have a docent led tour (you can arrange for one if you call ahead) and because the place is meant to be a showcase and memorial for the department.

One of the most ominous family museum exhibits I have (ever) seen was on the upper floor of the museum.  A large corner room is set aside for clippings, artifacts, and life-size models from the North Hollywood Bank of America Shoot-Out.


There are bullet-damaged sections from the bullet-proof glass and a pair of the gunman’s leather gloves, wrinkled from the work of gripping several automatic weapons.


If the life-size mannequins dressed in full bullet-proof body armor and ski masks isn’t enough, you can watch a twenty-minute panic-attack inducing video of the shoot-out (in which the two heavily armed psychotic gunmen nonchalantly take fire at citizens and police at an unbelievably uncomfortable violently slow pace).

After that video, we had to take a long look at the uniform exhibit while exchanging knock-knock jokes just to cleanse our terrified brains.


Some of the other fun things: guns, police calendars, mug shots, bomb squad scooter, and a handwritten confession (that, in my amateur opinion, exhibits NONE of the typical sociopathic tells one would gather from an extensive handwriting analysis) penned by a young kidnapper/murderer.

I order that you check it out the next time you are in Eagle Rock (you can eat at Oinkster after).

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By the way – Not sure about any law enforcement superstars, but did you know that George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, and Stanley Kubrick were born on July 26th? What a day!



There are different kinds of coffee snobs:

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People filming 7-11’s for Big Gulp abuse:


And not only can you wear whatever you want, but however much you want:



California, California


Poppies in front, Sierras in back.  I like to think this would be a pic that John Muir would send to me had he had a digital camera and had I been his sweetheart.


Oh Mono Lake, East of the Sierras


Sunrise at Mono Lake.  Just so you know - it is pronounced like OH-No, according to the Roadside Heritage CD we picked up at the Mono Lake/Lee Vinning Visitors Center – you can download wild west Eastern Sierra stories on their site.

I haven’t seen a sunrise since a really bad national sales meeting team building exercise over a year ago. It hurts to get up that early in the morning. That must be why most of the other photographers were dressed in performance wear:


After the sunrise sesh, we had breakfast at Nicely’s (we ranked it number one restaurant in Lee Vinning) and went north to Bodie, a genuine California gold-mining ghost-town! It is a magnificent abandoned wooden boom town standing in a state of preserved arrested decay. All of the two travel articles I read about it end with a line like, “…and if you listen hard enough you can feel the presence of the Bodie Bad boys ghosts walking down the wooden porches…” or something to that generic effect. However, I was too tired to hear anything past the personal-space-challenged German tourists jibber-jabbering up in my ears every time I tried to ask serious prospecting questions. I kept waiting for people dressed in 19th century garb to offer to show me how they used to bake pies with a wood oven or something. I’d recommend this attraction for the off-season when it is more likely to be a ghost town.

I do enjoy dusty old roulette wheels. (Fast fact: Bodie had FIFTY saloons for a town of 10,000 people):


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When I was walking around taking pictures I kept thinking of the amateur photos (of different areas of Bodie) for sale at Nicely’s Restaurant – every photo was titled “RUSTY MEMORIES”. Pretty catchy, right? So every time I saw something metal I thought; rusty memories.

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I call these, “Faded Dreams” and “Dusty Bottoms”.

The Ol’ Double Rainbow Excuse

Less updates this week – I’m on the road. Headed north on California’s Backroad 395


This is just north of Crowley Lake, round quarter after seven this evening. 




I’m out in sunny LA. We left just moments after a serious mid-south tourist sesh. I hope that I can pay proper tribute to The Crystal Shrine Grotto and Graceland Too in the next couple of days – before the excitement wears off.

For now, I can tell you this – I can start at the end of my night on July 14th. At the end of a two hour too-close-for-comfort-loose-dentured-touchy-feely-mania-induced-name-dropping tour inside a musty tomb of Elvis memorabilia, we walked out on the porch to find a group of five people waiting to get inside Graceland Too, waiting for their turn, looking at us – trying to read our faces – anticipating awe and wonder and confirmation that the drive to Holly Springs was a great idea.

“How was it?” The only guy in the group asked.

“I have no idea.” I said, “I don’t know yet.”

I wasn’t sure if there was anything in my personal language reservoir that could express to anybody how that was. I needed to sit down. Have a coke. Review my emotions. Wash my hands.

And the next day, I read this and was even more dumbfounded that the author had had nearly the exact same experience of what I thought was an un-replicate-able experience. Down to the shoulder taps and obsession with rakes and millions of dollars and flags of New York. Of course the author of that article doesn’t mention being shown a personal photo of a raccoon that our host, the #1 Elvis fan in the world, shot on his porch. He showed that to us.

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