Photo Walk

A “roll the dice” photo walk to Donald Trump’s Star on Hollywood Blvd.

Let’s go for a Photo Walk…

FRIDAY 25 JANUARY ’19 – I wanted to do a simple photo story this afternoon. But I wasn’t sure where to go. My favorite focal length is 35mm. I did, and still sometimes do, use a 35mm f1.8 lens on my Nikon D750. More recently, I’ve been using a 35mm f2.8 lens on my Sony a7iii. But I do have other lenses that are fun to work with from time to time.

I decided to roll 3 dice and let them pick the Camera, Lens, and Location for my photo walk.

I rolled an icosahedron, a cube, and a dodecahedron. My roll came up with 6-4-4, which translates to taking the Sony a7iii with a 35mm lens out to Donald Trump’s star on Hollywood Blvd.
Die #1 – Icosahedron Die – Camera
Any odd number = Nikon D750
Any even number = Sony a7iii
Die #2 – Cube Die – Lensif D750if a7iii
124mm14mm
235mm20mm
350mm28mm
460mm35mm
585mm35mm
6105mm135mm
Die #3 – Dodecahedron Die – Location
1End of Gold Line
2Arts District
3Griffith Observatory
4Trump Star
5Santa Monica
6Venice
7Los Feliz
8Koreatown
9Flower District
10La Plaza
11Chinatown
12Little Tokyo

To the Trump Star

With my recently returned, after a month of warranty repair for a faulty USB output, a7iii, and featherlight 120gm 35mm lens in hand, I headed out to the Trump Star…

Glenn Zucman taking a selfie on the Metro Gold Line
3:52 pmMetro Gold Line. On my way through East LA and toward Union Station.
a man plays the piano inside Union Station in DTLA.
4:18 pmUnion Station. Playing Piano in the concourse. While playing piano (limit 20 minutes) is the only place in all of Union Station that a visitor without a specific departing train ticket or enough cash for an upscale restaurant is allowed to sit.
people file onto an already crowded Red Line car
4:35 pmMetro Red Line. Rush hour crowd @ 7th Street Metro Center.
Sitting in the stairwell from the Metro Red Line platform up to the intersection of Hollywood & Highland, a man uses a convenient outlet to charge a cell phone or some other electronic device.
4:53 pmMetro Electric. Sitting in the stairwell from the Metro Red Line platform up to the intersection of Hollywood & Highland, a man uses a convenient outlet to charge a cell phone or some other electronic device.
Photo of Donald Trump's star on Hollywood Blvd near the entrance to the Hollywood & Highland shopping center.
4:54 pmThe Trump Star. That I know of, this is currently at least the 4th version of Donald Trump’s star on Hollywood Blvd., the previous versions having been destroyed by unhappy citizens. The current Trump Star is mostly intact, with only a few small divots taken out of it so far, a couple in the terrazzo, and a few nicks into the metal letters. I’d like to come back with a macro lens and shoot some closeups of the incised metal.
a big plate of radiant tater tots with a small cup of catsup
5:35 pmTater Tots. I dropped into the Rusty Mullet for some tater tots and a Diet Coke.
At the bar at The Rusty Mullet
5:52 pmRusty Mullet. Bartender Perla “P Diddy” serving a customer.
Bartender  Perla leaning on the bar at the Rusty Mullet on Hollywood Blvd.
6:09 pmPerla. After 5 years at the Rusty Mullet, it’s Perla’s last week. When she came out from Florida she started waiting tables at The Mullet. Eventually, enough people left and she had the chance to bartend. Now she’s moving to manage a bar closer to home. She says the new place’s food menu is “less fried” than the Rusty Mullet.

With the bar’s sort of "no BS" attitude, the screaming fans if it’s game day, and, well, it’s a sports bar on Hollywood Blvd., I don’t tend to think of the Rusty Mullet as an exactly nurturing space. Yet on a couple of occasions, I’ve seen Perla be considerate and caring for some elderly man, or seen an elderly woman eating a tiny meal. When I mentioned that she’d be leaving these friends, Perla said,


Oh, Leonard! He’s so alone. He doesn’t have any family or friends left out here. So I’m his friend. I told him I could come back and meet him here sometimes.

P Diddy

I’ve learned that Bartenders, Hair Stylists, Psychologists, Priests, Psychics, Tarot Card Readers, and sometimes even Faculty Office Hours, all serve a similar function. You might get a drink or a haircut, but these encounters often also serve a social function. For Leonard, it might be a bit of human contact in a too fast-moving world. For others, it can be someone to listen as you try to pull the things you know somewhere deep in your brain up into your consciousness.

Photo of my hand holding the cash register receipt for my food & drink. The receipt says "Server: P Diddy"
6:16 pmP Diddy. I’ve noticed before that the receipt lists the server as “P Diddy,” but I’ve never asked why she uses that name. Since it’s the last time I’ll see her, I thought I’d ask. Turns out she didn’t pick it. When she started 5 years ago, perhaps because Perla begins with a “P”, the manager put her in the computer as “P Diddy”. He still calls her “Diddy”.
A brick building on Ivar near Sunset in Hollywood
7:02 pmSunset & Ivar. On the SE corner of Sunset & Ivar is the Arclight complex of movie theaters and restaurants. On the SW corner is Amoeba Music. On the NE corner is the Los Angeles Film School. And on the NW corner is Jack-in-the-Box, followed by Space 15Twenty. In-between Jack & 15Twenty is this abandoned building. Back when 15Twenty got renovated into Urban Outfitters, Umami Burger, and Hennessey & Ingalls, nothing happend with this space. I notice it mostly because ages ago when I was a UCLA Film Student I used to come to this long-empty space’s previous incarnation as Olesen Lighting. I think I mostly bought simple supplies like lighting gels here. And marveled at all the fancy equipment. Today I noticed construction workers inside. The long-ago home of Olesen Lighting will be something once more.
Nadine Kolodziey's foam shapes on a small stage at Space 15Twenty in Hollywood
7:40 pm Nadine Kolodziey. I met Nadine at her Undrawn Drawing: Hollywood Garden installation in the 15Twenty project space on 11 January. She had sent vector files from Berlin to Los Angeles where large foam shapes were cut for her installation. She said they were too bulky to take with her. She offered me a “squiggle”. Tonight I see that, for the time being at least, many of the shapes have made it to the outdoor dining amphitheater between Umami Burger & Urban Outfitters.
pedestrians in a 4-way crosswalk
7:51 pm4-way Crossing @ Hollywood & Vine
D'Andre Newman and his partner on Hollywood Blvd with cameras.
8:22 pmD’Andre Newman. I ran into D’Andre Newman & partner from the Nonfiction Photography workshop and other photo meetup groups.
"CycleTrolley" a 10-person pedal-it-yourself rolling bar cruises down Hollywood Blvd.
8:26 pmCycleTrolley. Aww, the CycleTrolley guy doesn’t have any riders. Is CycleTrolley some sort of cousin to the Barcycle I’ve seen in Venice Beach?
A woman hangs from a chin-up bar and is surrounded by signage explaining the challenge.
8:49 pmChallenge Bar. Oh, no! The “Challenge Bar” is back. In the previous incarnation, there wasn’t any of this signage, just a bar on a couple of 4×4″ posts. What they did have was a charismatic guy and girl running it, and a loudspeaker.

The deal is: put up $20, and if you can hold on for 2 minutes, you win $100. The trick is, that the bar is a rolling bar on ball bearings. It looks like a chin-up bar, and even if you can’t do chin-ups for 2 minutes, it seems pretty easy to at least hang there for 2 minutes. Well, it would be if it were a chin-up bar. This isn’t a test of bicep strength or even just the ability to hang. It’s actually a test of your finger strength to hold your body weight against a turning bar. Maybe a good rock climber could do it. I never saw anyone succeed with the old bar. In the 2 minutes I watched this one, I never saw anyone try. Too many signs and too little charismatic street hucksterism, I guess. (the woman in the photo isn’t taking the challenge, she’s just feeling the bar)

Funny thing is, no one I ever saw lose on the old bar seemed unhappy. Winning would have been nice, but it was mostly just something to do on a night out on the town. The new proprietors are poor hucksters and part of the "joy" of Hollywood Blvd. is the hucksterism. C’mon, take off all the ugly signs and get a loudspeaker!

Two women play basketball on the sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd.
8:59 pm Basketball. “Michael Jordan” is on the boulevard most nights doing his “Magic Finger Spin” for tourist photos and tips. He always has 2 or 3 basketballs and every now and then you’ll see a bit of 1-on-1 play.
black-and-white photo of a man bending over to take a "thumbs up selfie" with Donald Trump's Star on Hollywood Blvd.
9:06 pmTrump Star. Taking a thumbs up selfie with Donald Trump’s star on Hollywood Blvd. People do all kinds of things at the Trump star, but by far the 2 most popular are either a thumbs up selfie, or a middle-finger selfie.
a barber cuts a man's hair inside a Mercedes van
9:56 pmHaircut. Suddenly 2 huge Mercedes megavans rolled up and parked in front of the Trump Star. Most often this might be a limo ride to a dance club. This time they opened their doors to reveal barber’s chairs.
Holding SUTG's business card in front of the lights of Hollywood Blvd.
9:57 pmSUTG Mobile Barbershop & Auto Detailing.
A woman wearing a "Bride to be" sash walks with friends on Hollywood Blvd.
10:02 pmBride-to-be.
A barber cuts a man's hair inside a Mercedes Benz van parked on Hollywood Blvd in front of the Hollywood & Highland shopping center.
10:17 pmAnother Haircut.
two women talk with inspired animation as they wait to get in a limo.
10:28 pmAnother Bride-to-be.
a group of riders has a lot of fun going down Hollywood Blvd on the CycleTrolley.
10:30 pmCycleTrolley. The CycleTrolley finally got some customers.
a woman stands in the moon roof of a limo and smiles to people on Hollywood Blvd.
10:31 pmMoon roof.
a guy does a somersault in front of the Mobile Barber van on Hollywood Blvd.
10:41 pmMobile barbers dancing.
dancing on the sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd.
10:42 pm
women in a car laughing
10:51 pm
a woman on Hollywood Blvd bends toward me and sticks her tongue out.
11:06:18 pm
a group of 6 people pose near Donald Trump's star on Hollywood Blvd.
11:06:31 pmPosse. I have to wonder how much attention I’m actually paying sometimes. I didn’t even realize that this was the same group I photographed on the CycleTrolley until I got back to my studio and looked at the images.
Two women pose on the sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd near Donald Trump's Star.
11:07:18 pm
three women posing on Hollywood Blvd.
11:07:22 pm
a man holds a water bottle to his crotch and uses it to pretend to pee on Donald Trump's star on Hollywood Blvd.
11:25 pm
Donald Trump's star on Hollywood Blvd with a stream of water (pretend pee) rolling off of it
11:26 pm
selfie of Glenn Zucman with the lights of the Metro Gold Line's Atlantic Station in the background.
12:55 amAtlantic Station. Southern end of the Metro Gold Line. Home. (almost)
chalk writing on the sidewalk, "All things are true #anabw"
12:57 amAll things are true. #anabw

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