Inside the City ... Outside the Box
Los Angeles pictures and stories by Laurie Allee

Monday, July 11, 2016

Noir Interlude...

Just a little noir photo safari ... from Pasadena, through downtown LA, across mid city, over to Culver City, creeping into the west side and Santa Monica.

(I'm inspired, as you might guess, by this guy.)

Music: 2 Die 4 by Jeff Oster

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hollywood Flashback

Hollywood Boulevard, 1990


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Welcoming Entrance...

Pasadena and South Pasadena have some of the most charming homes.  This one is right on the border, so I'm not sure which city can actually claim it, but it sure has a friendly vibe.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Seen in Pasadena

This sign brought to us by either a very considerate film crew, or a very clever terrorist.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Freeway Noir

Carpooling?  Picture taking.  On the 134 between Pasadena and Burbank you'll find this overpass.  (It looks moody in black and white on a cloudy day.)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Along the Arroyo Seco

Where can you find hawks, hiking trails, stables, canopied streets and glorious sunset views?  Just ten minutes from downtown Los Angeles along the historic Arroyo Seco.

Come along with me for a photo tour of the scenery.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Looking Up and Around...

It's been a mild-mannered winter around here.  Here are a few views from the San Gabriel Valley as we head into spring...

Monday, February 29, 2016

Light on the Pacific

Just a little time out from a shiny, spectacular spot above the beach in Santa Monica.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Musing on Sam Francis' Basel Mural I at the Norton Simon in Pasadena

Lucky for me, I live in a place where masterpieces are literally minutes away from home. Here, at the Norton Simon in Pasadena, Sam Francis' Basel Mural I offers a beautiful, expressive focal point.

Some people meditate for clarity, but I like to stare at something like this to sort out the big questions of life. And, like meditation, staring at artwork often brings surprising revelations.

I've always been partial to Francis, and not just because of his expansive visual style. He belonged to the same era as my father. They were both born in California, both joined the Army Air Corps during World War 2. My father was fortunate enough to serve his time in the Pacific without any physical injuries, but Francis was badly hurt during training maneuvers and spent three years recuperating in bed.

During his recovery, Francis learned to paint. He used his new hobby as an escape as well as an expression. I remember once showing my father a print of a Francis painting. I don't recall if it was the one in today's post, but it was similar in its wild explosions of noisy color. I saw infinite optimism and potential when I looked at it.

"Interesting that he was in the Air Corps," Dad said. "This painting kind of reminds me of what the ground looks like after a bombing mission."

Ever since that conversation I can't look at anything by Sam Francis without thinking of my dad.
In Francis' last years, as he was suffering from cancer and clinging to life, a bad fall took away the use of his right hand. Like so many of his generation, he didn't let the setback stop him from achieving his goals. He simply used his left hand to create a series of brilliant small works.

That also reminded me of Dad. No matter how badly my father's body fell apart during the last years of his life, he was undaunted and without complaint. He might not have painted canvases, but he filled our family's world with great beauty all the same.

When my family and I first visited the Norton Simon a few years ago, I stopped for a while to look at this familiar painting. I was about 15 years older than the last time I saw it. I still found the optimism there that spoke to me in my youth, but I could also imagine the world it brought back to my father.

"What do you think of this one?" I asked my daughter.

"It looks like a map of a sad place," she said. "But it's hopeful too. I'm not sure why."

And right then, I realized how weirdly connected families are ... how my little girl not only saw what I saw in that painting, but also the impressions of her grandfather who died before she was born.

"Or," she said walking away, "Maybe he just liked paint splatters."

Art. It transforms, connects and heals. (And sometimes even makes us laugh.)