A classic example of Los Angeles movie-theater architecture from the early days of cinema, the Vista on Sunset Boulevard in Los Feliz is a landmark. Built in 1923, it has been a part of the LA urban landscape for nearly a century, from the silent-film era through to the recent “La La Land,” which can be seen promotoed on the theater marquee.
On a recent visit to WiSpa, a sprawling Korean day-spa complex in Los Angeles, we spied from the spa’s rooftop lounge the top half of an elegant, old high-rise building in the distance. Atop the building was its name, Royale, in large, dark blue letters.
The building is a New York-style apartment building officially known as the Royale Wilshire. It stands out in the otherwise gritty urban landscape of its neighborhood, a blighted area tucked between the fringes of Downtown LA and Koreatown. Buildings of this style, size and age are rare in Los Angeles and harken to a bygone golden era of Hollywood glamour.
In spite of our many years of frequent visits to L.A. and living in the city part-time or for short spells, we’d never seen the Royale. A renovation of the building is planned as the neighborhood itself is slowly shedding its shabby skin and giving way to the gentrification wave. We imagine the building will become re-discovered landmark as the neighborhood’s profile rises in the years ahead.
This image of a woman’s face is in an of itself not a remarkable image, and such subject matter and high-contrast portraits are so common to street art so as to scarcely give it further thought.
But this artwork is unusual in its use of materials and aesthetic. Look closely and the viewer will notice that it is neither painting, stencil nor wheat-pasted print. The image as been created by cutting out pieces of the wall’s plaster-like layer to expense sections of brick underneath. Clever.
We’ve gone to Los Angeles for a few days to experience some art currently on view at LACMA and MoCA and to check out some new spaces in DTLA. (We’re also catching up with friends and squeezing in a few hours of surfing, of course.) On our first day, we started our morning with a strong cup of coffee and copies of L.A.’s two main broadsheet newspapers (actual news on actual paper!), the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News. The front pages of these are pictured above. It’s so rare these days that we consume our news via newsprint.