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.