December 10th, 2004

caillebotte_man at his window

Vanishings

All stars and no moon all night. The moon ought to be rising above the trees soon, but I don't think I'll stay up to see it. It was nice to see Orion again, though, no longer cloaked by clouds. Naked Orion! Right there in front of everybody!

Sorry. I've haven't been getting enough sleep lately, and I'm getting a bit loopy.

Rooting around in the L.A. Public Library's photo database, I've come across quite a few pictures of places in the city which no longer exist. I have vague memories of having seen some of these buildings. Others were quite familiar to me, and I have a hard time imagining them not being there anymore. Still others are places that vanished before I was born, and I try to picture what it must have been like to walk down those streets and see them as they were then. One such building in particular caught my attention. It was a theater, originally called the Kinema, later the Criterion, on Grand Avenue just north of Seventh Street, well outside L.A.s historic theater district. I had no knowledge that this building ever existed, but now that I've seen a picture of it, I wish that I had been around when it was there.

The photograph shows a particularly splendid neo-classical pile dating from sometime around 1920. The theater appears to have been demolished in the 1930s. I've seen references to a fire, but don't know how reliable the sources are, and haven't been able to find any specific information about it. More disturbing, though, is the fact that when I try to recall that location as it was during the years that I knew it, I can't remember anything. I passed by there dozens of times over a period of many years, and no image at all now comes to my mind of what I saw there. My memory has become as unreliable as the scraps of rumor and surmise that are scattered across the Internet. This knowledge gives me the sense that everything from my past is dissolving, and that my brain is subject to some form of demolition as effective as that which has eradicated so much of the reality that I once knew, or that which was known by others before me.

Sometimes, I don't like having the Internet, at all.
laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

Too Bright

This is the time of year when I find leaves stuck to the floor all over the house. They get tracked in while damp, and as they dry they stick to linoleum. I peel them off and toss them several times a day. Those that end up on the carpet don't stick, but sometimes end up being cat toys, causing them to disintegrate, and then I find little leaf fragments all over the place. The implications are clear. The trees wish to reclaim the house. They are trying to build soil in which small plants may take root and begin the process of consuming the structure, so that, in time, the trees will have a place to plant their own progeny. Something there is that does not love a house.

The stars are a bit dim tonight. There might be some thin clouds forming, but I can't see them. My vision is diminished by the persistent porch lights and Christmas lights which are still burning, and the light leaking from windows along the street. I grow impatient for full darkness, and wish my neighbors would turn out their distracting lights and go to sleep. Some of them are probably not home, though, this being Friday night. They have gone off to some public entertainment or other, leaving their lights blazing until they return, hours hence. Where are the bulb-snatchers when you really need them?