Sunset Strip: A Blast from the Past

Ed Ruscha and friends’ photographs of Sunset Blvd. from 1966 on are now an exhibit at the Getty Museum and an amazing interactive online map/timeline

This is so cool for anyone who’s driven down Sunset Blvd. in LA from the 1960’s on. It’s already documented in a book by artist and photographer Ed Ruscha, and now in an exhibit at the Getty Museum, but I think it’s really best experienced online, in an interactive timeline that lets you move down the street in a leisurely way that you can’t do when driving, and flip to the other side of the street or to another year with a click, and even choose the car you cruise in. It’s brilliant!

It’s amazing how many memories buildings can bring back. Nights at the Laugh Factory and one night at Whiskey A-Go-Go, Emmy parties with Earth, Wind & Fire and Prince at a hotel I can’t remember (Fenix?), an interview with Jon Voight at the old Carolco Building (at which his two young children, Angelina Jolie & brother, showed up and ran around the conference room and made me decide I didn’t want to be a babysitter so I turned the assistant job down), watching “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at midnight at the Tiffany and running into one of my classmates from University of Central Missouri there, watching my friend Amy perform stand-up at Bar One, shopping at Tower Records late at night, lunch at Spago when I got a Paramount expense account, breakfast at the very hip Ben Frank’s late at night, my Disney boss’s retirement party at the Fenix Hotel, many Paramount Christmas parties, drinks at Chateau Marmont, chili cheeseburgers at Carney’s, and a very fun press party in the mid-80’s at the Beverly Hills Hotel for Shirley MacLaine’s first book that attracted Debbie Reynolds and Lucille Ball.

If anyone had asked, I would have replied that I spent a lot of time avoiding Sunset because of the traffic, but I guess I really didn’t. I lived in LA from 1981-2014 and loved every minute of it. Los Angeles is whatever you want it to be: everything is available to you. Make careful choices.

From the website:
“In 1966, Ed Ruscha drove along the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. Using a motorized camera mounted on the back of a pickup truck, he methodically photographed all of the buildings on each side of the street. He assembled the photos in the artists’ book Every Building on the Sunset Strip, which challenged how people thought about Los Angeles, art and photography.”

LA peeps, if you have time to play, this is a blast from the past.


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