during my trip in LA, i stayed in hollywood with my friends sean and kate. they live in the hollywood tower ( hollywood tower of terror at disney is modeled after this building). my dearest stacy and allan live across the street. one morning, i met stacy on the corner of franklin and argyle and we walked straight up into the hollywood hills. stacy was taking me on a walking tour of her neighborhood. her and allan, her husband, discovered the gem of a neighborhood right out there front door from a walking tour guide of LA. turned out they were amongst charlie chaplin’s old stomping grounds. sometimes we get caught up in our worlds and forget the history we are standing on. i was more than delighted to be a tourist in “my” city and with one of my favorite people as my tour guide!
it was one of those gloomy LA mornings, but to me coming from winter wonderland, what once would have been daunting, became delightful. it was warm, it was green, it smelled of exotic flowers and plants.
the first stop, stacy showed me a little yoga temple just a few blocks up the street. nestled in a neighborhood, this beautiful,worldly building sets itself off from the rest complete with a bookstore. the blooms taking place had me in awe. i forgot how exotic and exciting the vegetation is in so cal. ( i really need spring to bloom in CO). although, most of what you see is probably not native, the sheer fact that so many different species of plants can thrive in this environment is a blessing.
on the tour we come across two of charlie chaplin’s dwellings. the photo above on the left is now an apartment complex, but was once his apartment. the house on the right was his house, or better – his mansion. the stories stacy would tell along the way of different old hollywood actors living in these dwellings gave me this whole different perspective of LA. being such a new city in relation to the east coast, any history i find even more fascinating. i love movies and photos of LA when it was first developing or when neighborhoods were completely different landscapes. i tried to imagine these hills when they weren’t filled with a gazllion houses, when it might have been peaceful. i often think about old hollywood or what it was like when it was starting up. was it as cut throat? was it as egotistical? who were the starlets and the struggling actors? and who were the people behind the scenes?
i think the most interesting part of the tour for me was the krotona portion. stacy knew a whole lot of details on the era. krotona is a theosophical ” colony that began in 1912. a utopian oasis where practitioners hoped to ” study philosophy, appreciate nature, celebrate performance and otherwise live a fuller life — all in the Hollywood Hills.” the cheap, paradise land below what is now the hollywood sign (and a million dollars for a one bedroom), began a colony. it was finished in 1919. the colony later moved to Ojai in the 20’s as to escape the hollywoodism and growing communities that were infringing on the utopia and is still there today. The photos above are a few of the buildings from the Krotona colony. This is a good article to read for a bit more in-depth info.
i love how on any given street in LA the houses can be different. spanish, modern, traditional, craftsman. especially in the hills. occasionally, you will find these story book houses that look like snow white will be popping her head out at any given moment singing to the birds.
just some more random buildings and architecture. the photo above on the right embodies a house where there a pianist lives and never leaves. the house is decorated with characters outside (hard to see in the photo). and you can’t help but to wonder what kind of stories this pianist could tell.
i wish i would have recorded stacy giving the tour. she did such a good job. if you take a trip to LA, my advice, skip the star tours, beverly hills, and the grauman theater. find a walking tour guide of LA. you will discover and learn more about LA than you thought ever existed. i still am! it is a magical city and i fell in love with it in a new way again.
below are just a few snapshots of the inside of kate and sean’s lobby and from their roof. on my birthday we relaxed in the sun on this roof, drinking a few beers, talking of life, hollywood, and what is next to come for us all.
i use to do a lot of hiking in LA. i hiked up the observatory several times a week when i lived in that hood. griffith park smells glorious in the spring and i longed for the old days. i realized on this hike the things i have taken for granted. the things i forgot to cherish. why must we only see it after it is gone?
my trip to LA, as i knew it would, left me a bit confused. the city seemed different to me on this trip and i loved her in a whole new way. i have this relationship with LA, as if LA was my significant other. sure, i was probably glamorizing it again and remembering back to my dreams of wanting to move there. it was spring in LA (it starts early there). everything was in full bloom and green! (come august, it will be brown again.) i forgot how magical and golden that sun was, and it surpassed any memory i did have. i forgot how luxurious the weather really is. i realized, how much i took for granted all the amazing things about that city. even driving didn’t feel as daunting. funny how only 6 months away changed that place for me. lesson learned: enjoy the place you live as if you are a tourist everyday!
i still can’t say if i will go back. sometimes i want to, sometimes it feels silly to do it over again. my trip back in may i think will be another good lesson, and i can’t wait to spend more time there again.
i can say i am proud i was an angeleno…and after giving it ten years i think i can still call myself one.