Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Here we are as in olden days..."

I'm really not some kind of grinch who looks at an iconic main street dressed in holiday lights and decides to turn it into a shot out of classic film noir. In fact, when I took this picture I was thinking of all the great black and white Christmas movies like Miracle on 34th Street and The Bells of St. Mary's and, of course, It's a Wonderful Life. The old fashioned lights on Mission and Fair Oaks this year are so magical and festive. They evoke images of every happy Christmas wish from a million 20th Century American childhoods.

But on second thought, Orson Welles lurking in a Santa costume is an idea that Gregg Toland could have totally wrapped his lens around...


Mister Earl said...

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question. . .
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.

T.S. Eliot

Yakpate said...

A perfect match of scene and gritty intellect, Mr. Earl.

On a lighter note, just for Laurie:

The photog glides in
On little cat feet
Snaps, overlooking
Her sleeping beat
And moves on

Jutilda said...

WOW -Mr. Earl - Loving the Eliot quote!!!

I didn't notice the tree trunks' holiday wear nearly as well until I clicked to make the shot LARGE and I immediately thought that late late in the wee hours (long after cars are gone and even you, Laurie, are asleep) those trees as if under a spell, get out into the street and dance. Maybe they are rhythmically pirouetting to the Waltz of the Sugar Plum Fairy, or even raising their branches higher into the air to "I Will Survive." Who says that this time of year is only magic for the children?

The black and white makes us study each nuance of shade and shape. I love the soft glow cast by the neons and the blurred orbs created by the street lamps. Could that be Santa hiding behind that pole?

Jutilda said...

While I was typing my diatribe, Yak added that wonderful comment!!! :~)

Mister Earl said...

Judy - Since you quoted Jackson Browne yesterday, next time you're in town have Laurie show you the Abbey San Encino in Highland Park just about a mile from here. It was built entirely of river stone from the Arroyo by Jackon Browne's grandfather, Clyde Browne, a printer and publisher. It's always been owned by the Browne family. Jackson's brother, Severin Browne, still lives there. Jackson lived there during his elementary school years. He's pictured sitting in the courtyard on his album, For Everyman. Google "Abbey San Encino."

Also, to see a rare interior view of Walt Disney Concert Hall, visit the Ben's blog, The Sky is Big in Pasadena today.

Virginia said...

I bow to the poets amongst us today and only add that i feel transported to my childhood by this photo. I can hear Gene Autrey singing "Santy Claus is Coming to Town!" on my scratchy 45rpm record player!

Wayne said...

I'll take care of the Grinching Laurie.

As I was looking at the shot trying to think of something to add to the comments my eye eventually fell on the weather widget. 46ºF!!!! Are you kidding?

I can handle -30ºC in Winnipeg but 46ºF in LA is crazy. I hope you know where your mittens are.

dbdubya said...


Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Another great nighttime shot photo.

Cafe Observer said...

LA, yesterdays pic was at FOaks & Mission? Exactly what I was thinking.

Now, this current shot I'm having trouble knowing where you're at - 'cuz it's so dark I can't make it out!

Now, i gotta get out of here & ck into a Cafe down Colorado. Bye.

Double "D" said...

Deserted streets, dark shadows loom and not
a Santa Clause in sight or is he lurking in one of the dark shadows. He's waiting to jump out and steal your toys. Boo! Is this the year that Christmas doesn't come.

Sorry, couldn't help myself.
Have a nice Christmas Laurie

Dixie Jane said...

This picture evokes memories of the small town where I grew up and this song the speed in which you grew up, Laurie.

To Laurie and all of her loyal friends and fans.


Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on
our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yule-tide gay
From now on
our troubles will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days
happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together
If the Fates allow

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little
Christmas now

With love to all from Laurie's Mom

Dixie Jane said...

In reference to Judy's mention of the trees dancing once the cars are gone and everyone is asleep is part of what we as mother and daughters have to say about inanimate objects that dance in the night. For instance, tables, not endowed with life or spirit and lacking consciousness or power of motion, come to life and dance. It's all in our imaginations but some table legs just look like they could walk or dance. Think about it. You will have a new appreciation of furniture and we may need counselling.

Cafe Observer said...

DJ, you're LA's mom & our blogger Mom! I wouldn't mind being your pet for a day!

Merry Chistmas & The Healthiest New Yr 2 YOU!

Laurie said...

Hey kids,

I am convinced that you guys are the most erudite, creative, poetic, musical, funny and fabulous people in all of cyberspace. How'd I get so lucky to have you read my blog? Thank you for such amazing insight and commentary!

Mister Earl, I love Eliot. I don't recall that particular poem so it was a treat to read it. And what a nice bunch of verse for my image today.

Yak, YOU are my favorite living poet, without question. Little cat feet makes me really happy.

I see Jutilda and Mom have let you all in on our family's particular fascination with not only anthropomorphizing inanimate objects, trees and other items found in our environment ... but turning them into dancers. To this day, I see tables in terms of those that look like they can dance and those that don't.

VIrginia, Gene Autry's Santy Claus! Yes!

DBDubya, you picked up on my song reference and Mom filled in the rest of the lines. Still, without question, my favorite Christmas song of all time. We were discussing Christmas movies over at Second Act in Altadena and I've been thinking about the scene in Meet Me in St. Louis where Judy Garland sings that song. We've all heard the line "until then we'll have to muddle through somehow" alternate with "hang a shining star upon the highest bough." Originally, Hugh Martin wrote the muddle through line -- along with others "faithful friends who are dear to us will be near to us once more" to sum up war-torn Americans and how they felt during the holidays. Both Garland and director Vincente Minelli thought the song was a downer, but Martin only modified it slightly for the film. Later, in 1957, Sinatra was recording his album "A Jolly Christmas" and asked Martin to cheer up the muddle through line. I guess by the martini-laced, post-war boom, Martin agreed. Thus, "hang a shining star" became the standard.

I still like the muddle through line.

Double D, I love your creepy interpretation! Ho ho ho is replaced with Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Wayne, it's funny you mention mittens. I found my gloves today -- haven't worn them since a trip to Alaska.

Cafe, we're happy to adopt you into our family! Ask Judy -- we're big dog lovers here!

Thanks again, fine people. Look for more holiday shenanigans for the rest of the week... hee hee...

Til tomorrow.

Virginia said...

well it's almost 70F here in Bham. weird, very weird.

-K- said...

You've been burning the midnight oil, Laurie. And very productively too.

Sumi Ko said...