*I wrote this last month, the day I found out Julius Shulman died. But I just found some photos I took of the day I met Julius on his 95th birthday, and wanted to add them. They show how alive and exuberant he was, even at 95. 1) Julius and Me 2) Julius hoisting a beer -
Julius Shulman died 7/15/2009. This post, below, was originally written 7/16/2009
I just learned Julius Shulman, iconic LA photographer, died Wednesday at the age of 98. As a writer, I was incredibly fortunate to attend his 95th Birthday at the Getty Museum, which coincided with his Modernity and the Metropolis photography exhibit.
Just two days ago, I told someone how inspirational Julius is to me. The day of his 95th birthday at the Getty, after his lecture, people mingled, sipped cocktails - a rather stiff and stuffy affair. Then Julius wheeled into the room. With a huge smile on his face and eyes so alive they seemed to radiate electricity, the entire space buzzed with new energy. Eventually, he got up to talk about the book he was workING on. Yes," ing", not past tense - but at the moment and in the future. The man was 95 and still excited about his work!
And what a lifetime of work he already had accumulated. His stunning photographs conveyed the best of LA: creativity, innovation, sleek style, landmark-worthy architecture. From his lecture, he seemed to say his life in photography all began in a mystical fluke of events. As for mystical, His decades of photographs helped to make LA seem that way, mystical, nearly mythical, a city that stands out as unique from anywhere else, a place where a person can do anything, even build (earthquakes be damned!) a home that seems to float in the air, jutting out from the Hollywood Hills, above the sparkling lights and palm trees of Los Angeles. Julius' photographs captured these midcentury modern architectural masterpieces in such a way that LA looks like a fantasy of possibilities.
Now gone, Julius will live on in his photos and within this city. He made a difference and will be greatly missed.
The Museum of Jurassic Technology- 9341 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232 - (310) 836-6131
Founder David Wilson has created a mystery emporium, an odditorium -
and like carnival mirrors, the exhibits bend and distort.... well,
you'll have to see for yourself.
But think about this before going to the Museum of Jurassic Technology:
can be a very creative state of mind," said David Wilson (museum
founder) in an interview with author Lawrence Weschler, originally
aired on NPR, October 27, 2001. **************************************************
my husband and I stand just feet from the museum's entrance, a couple
exit the building. The man, looking perplexed, rubs and bats his eyes.
The woman with him has a thought bubble over her confused face that
says, "What did we just experience?!!" But they themselves say nothing
at all. My husband and I don't know what to expect. We enter.
dark inside. There are disembodied sounds - howling coyotes and Indian
chants - floating around the serious looking, yet curious, exhibits;
many of these odd exhibits are accompanied by recordings of verbose,
Latin-filled double speak, sounding very authoritative and knowing.
After seconds of listening to this, my brain starts to feel like it's
spinning in my skull on puree.
After nearly an hour of
repeating "What?" about a thousand times, we stumble upon the tea room
with a high Moorish ceiling and a pixy in a Russian dress who asks if
we want tea and cookies. Of course, my husband and I don't resist. We
sit down at a candle lit table and think. A threesome (a guy and two
girls) entwined in a velvety corner alcove, sip tea while discussing
Nietzsche and existentialism. Meanwhile, I'm just thinking, "Hey, these
almond cookies are really good."
Horned humans, bats who can fly
through solid matter, theories on forgetting, yellowed Victorian-era
telegrams that come across as scammy as Nigerian Spam... What? Do you
question? Do you simply trust? Do you have a good ironic laugh? Yep,
and you may just see things a little differently after.
returning to the glare and noise of mid-day Venice Boulevard,
everything looks a little askew, like entering an alternate universe. I
probably look as perplexed as those other people I saw leaving earlier,
but actually I'm just thinking (and not about cookies, this time):
David Wilson is right: "Confusion can be a very creative state of mind."
My husband and I were just in Westwood, last Friday night. We stopped to walk around and find something sweet to eat. As we strolled, we noticed, sadly, that there were two theaters closed. Ugh.
But still, the other theaters - the beautiful old movie cinemas from the '30s glamour days: the Village and the Bruin - are opened, I thought. But when I opened the next morning's Saturday LA Times and read this article, I learned I was wrong.
LA Times: "Preservationists are also bracing for the potential loss of the
village's two most architecturally distinctive theaters: the Village
and Bruin, which date from the 1930s. Encino-based Mann Theatres has
given notice that it intends not to renew its leases on the Broxton
Avenue theaters -- one Spanish Mission style with the famed
neon-lighted Fox tower, the other Art Moderne with a distinctive
wraparound marquee. Both are city historic-cultural monuments."
Now, they'll join the other "Cinema Treasures", those once beautiful, magical buildings now demolished or turned into T-shirt shops.