Saturday, December 15, 2012

Have a Very Constructivist Christmas

Hollywood is a city of hermit crabs.  If you loiter on the corner of Hollywood and La Brea and look east, toward the touristy environs, most of the major buildings that defined the Boulevard in the 1920s are still standing.  There are some sad exceptions of course, such as the Hollywood Hotel, but the majority of the marquee names -- the Chinese, Egyptian, Pantages, and El Capitan theaters, the Montmartre building, the Hotel Christie, the Masonic Lodge, Capitol Records, and the Doctor Greenleaf Medical Marijuana Clinic -- have endured.  A few have even retained a semblance of their original form and function, but most have been repurposed over the last eight decades.  The Hollywood Theater is now a Ripley's Believe It Or Not; the Vogue Theater is a nightclub for homesick Eurotrash, the old Warner Theater (featured in Plan 9 From Outer Space) is a church, the Broadway Hollywood department store has undergone a painful condo conversion, the News-View newsreel theater now serves a Spanish-speaking congregation, after a prolonged pupal stage as a Pussycat Theater (where a double bill of Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones ran for eight straight years) while the gorgeous S.H. Kress five and dime store became Frederick's of Hollywood, then a restaurant and nightclub, and ultimately a boarded-up monument to Fail.

While I don't have use for any of these new occupants, I'm glad their host organisms have survived, since every example of new construction on Hollywood Boulevard is uniformly hideous.  Which brings us to our local church.

The Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, 1948.

Built in 1914-1915, its neoclassical facade reminds of a line from Mystery Science Theater 3000, "Visit your government church!"  But it perfectly fit the mentality of Silent Era Hollywood, which like a lot of boom towns had more money than prestige, and made liberal use of the former in an effort to buy the latter.

However, come the Atomic Age, this pile of Greek Revival began to strike the Christian Scientists as unbearably quaint, so in 1959 they gave it a futuristic make over:
There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day
There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
And tomorrow’s just a dream away

But a couple of years ago Christ, Scientist (A Quinn Martin Production) packed up and moved on, and a group of hipster clergy took over, rebranding the church as "MOSAIC."  Now it's all grunge folks masses and liturgical breakdancing, or however it is that hipsters worship, and last week they put up their Christmas tree on the lawn:
And by "put up their tree" I mean "pulled out their Makita tools and painstakingly assembled it," which left me pondering a question I hope you guys can answer (click to embiggen):

Public art installation, or prefabricated bonfire?


M. Bouffant said...

I'm much more comfortable w/ Xmas tree burnings than cross burnings.

Do they still sell kerosene at gas stations?

Anonymous said...

Well, at a guess, I'd say your local congregation aren't treehuggers.I mean -one poor pine tree against a mountain of wood - I vote these earth-haters are gonna burn that sucker down come Xmas.
Take all necessary precautions.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

a nightclub for homesick Eurotrash

I loled.

heydave said...

Seriously funky, all around.

Yeah, burn that thing.

Chris Vosburg said...

Does look like a Burning Man wannabe thing, doesn't it, which would be sort of a problem within LA city limits.

Had a visit this morning to the mosaic website and was treated to live video of a young man evangelobabbling non-stop in that annoyingly relentless cadence favored by not only evangelists, but self-help seminar hosts.

In the middle of his stream-of-consciousless musings, he actually just said that listening is important; listening is an underrated skill, and better than talking.

Yeah, he could go on and about how much more important it is to listen than it is to talk.

Chris Vosburg said...

Looks like I screwed up the link:

Weird Dave said...

To quote David Byrne, "Who got a match?"

Li'l Innocent said...

Guy Fawkes! Thou should'st be in effigy at this hour!

Anonymous said...

Heh. Several good ones there... maybe they're imitating the levee bonfires, guiding "Pere Noel" to the right neighborhoods along The Strip... and hell yeah, I'd burn that fugly thing, especially if Dick Cheney's under it.

Frankly, it looks like some inverse-tree-hugging types have been down the shore, gathering-up the remains that keep floating over from Japan's tsunami... or they're burning an effigy of the writers' guild's last strike signs... Though nothing's been the same since that '88 strike, honestly...


Anonymous said...

P.S. Far be it from me to set fire to any PARTICULAR cult (shaddup!), but the Xian "Scientists" can suck a fart out of my ass, as would agree the first wife of one Michael Nesmith, a lady named Phyllis, who nearly died at his hands and those of other similarly "healing prayer" freaks who refused her hospitalization after a canyon-deep car crash in '67 or so, with severe internal injuries. How she survived those morons, I have no fucking idea, but she ought to retroactively sue the heir to the Liquid Paper fortune, who really stuck it to Schick, once PCs & Apple hit the marketplace.

And Li'l, the Guy Fawkes line really made me grin.


Stacia said...

I vote for (c) Future Hilarious YouTube Video.

It's pretty, which I admit begrudgingly, though I also know it is what we in the insurance biz call an "attractive nuisance;" in this case, attractive to anyone with a Bic lighter in their pocket.

Bogie said...

For years I have had in my mind a cartoon (I can't draw) of Jeebus on the cross, wearing a lab coat, holding a test tube in one hand and a microscope in the other. Label of course is "Christ, Scientist." Somebody please draw this.

Li'l Innocent said...

Thanks, Annti sweetie -- you're aces, and I am sure your farts are far too pleasant and high-class for the likes of the heir to the Liquid Paper fortune, whoever he/she may be.

As to Christ, Scientist: Bogie, speaking as a humble ex-Protestant who wasn't brought up with a lot of Christian iconography but who did go to art skewl, I think it'd be funnier if, rather than Christ on the Cross, you used one of those mawkish, soft-focus, high-color late-19th/early 20th style Jesus paintings (there's a particular artist who did these, don't know the name, who crops up all the time - a longtime popular fave amongst devout folks who don't partake of Rembrandt or any of those dudes). You could start with one of those - they are SO mawkish and smarmy! - and than take out your little Photoshop...

Anonymous said...

Lil', darling heart, said heir, who sold-out when the gettin' was good, and who still wallows in his own self-named "preternatural gift" for being on the cuttingest edge of every most-vanguardiest-vanguard of media trends and technological developments was the aformentioned Monkee, one Michael Nesmith. Still can't believe, knowing what I know now, that I was ever such a big fat homebody dork to have *respected* that Texas reject, back during the '80s reunion days... He not only nearly killed Phyllis with his phony/hypocritical cult bullshit, he knowingly & intentionally IGNORED his out-of-wedlock, groupie-spawned SON for THIRTY FUCKING YEARS (and oh, how I can empathize with that boy...)!! I bet that he regrets being so pissy about the 2011 tour that was never to be, now that the Manchester Midget is long-gone, and *he* WAS, after all, the marquee boy, even though Dolenz voiced most of the hits. And yes, y'all, I was THAT big of a dork, so sue me. At least I had Sabbath, Zeppelin, Aretha, Janis & Zappa at the same time, thankyewverymuch. Lost a penpal, sadly, when I tried to enlighten her to the truly unique talents of Sam Kinison... back in the stone ages, when people wrote on PAPER and sent bootleg TAPES in the MAIL, and I had buds in three or four other countries, just from being acquainted through that one goofy-as-hell band... and yes, they WERE a band, no matter how they were formed by Bert & Bob, and financed the production of "Easy Rider."

{Bottomless Depths Of Truly Useless Trivia & Other Never-Getcha-A-Job Bullshit},

Dr.BDH said...

Looks like they're waiting for a witch.

Anntichrist S. Coulter said...

They don't need THAT much wood for one li'l ol' witch, BDH... CHENEY, on the other hand --- bring a plasma cutter.

Anonymous said...

The analogy that springs to mind about the Xmas tree is Lady Gaga's meat dress !