Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960’s, there were two types of people — those who read the Los Angeles Times, and those who read the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner — and our family was of that latter persuasion — Dad not knowing that the “Herald” wasn’t the best of papers, Mom not really caring, and me delighted just to be able to see Hubenthal’s cartoons each day.
Hubenthal. I’d heard it said as “hoo-ben-thal” once or twice, yet Dad had always pronounced it (rightly) “hugh-ben-thal”, and while at the time I wasn’t sure which was correct, one thing was certain: this Hubenthal could draw.
I found this series last year via a scene from an actor’s showreel on YouTube and it offered some comfort during Lockdown 1.0.
Hug It Out tells the story of Gwen, a recent divorcee from LA who restarts her life as a professional snuggler (someone who is paid to cuddle or snuggle). Cue all kinds of awkwardness, inappropriate exposure, emotions, and swearing from a host of characters.
Kincaid Walker executive produced the web series and stars as Gwen alongside Jason Eksuzian who directed.
Hug It Out isn’t relatable on the surface—I neither have the money nor the necessity to hire a snuggler, in or out of a pandemic—but the subtext resonated with me a little. Having to start again after a relationship break up and not knowing where to go or how to navigate your new life is difficult and Gwen’s character had her fair share of mishaps throughout the series. But she grew into her new job and gained some confidence back for herself, expertly shown in one episode where she confronts an old friend who she’d fallen out with after Gwen’s marriage and subsequent breakup.
Hidden in a 5,000 sq-ft warehouse in Los Angeles lives the Japanese Cultural Village. Fashion designer Peter Lai is the owner of the space and it holds a tremendous collection of Japanese art, antiques, and design.
Lai was born in Hong Kong and initially went into the family business as a costume designer. But in a bold move, he decided to leave China and move to Los Angeles to pursue fashion, an endeavor in which he was extremely successful. His eccentric and flamboyant designs, inspired by traditional Japanese and Chinese styles, were highly acclaimed and have been worn by Hollywood celebrities.
Not sure on the protocol for visits but regular visits and guided private tours were $15 and $30 respectively and available by appointment only, according to Lai’s Facebook page.
28th Street YMCA, Theme Building at LAX, and Frank Sinatra Residence on Bowmont Drive in Hollywood. What do they all have in common? A Black American architect named Paul Revere Williams.
Born in Los Angeles in 1894, Williams designed a mixture of celebrity homes for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball but also had a hand in designing iconic buildings such as 28th Street YMCA and Theme Building at Los Angeles Airport (LAX), the latter a significant piece of Googie architecture.
His award-winning career started in 1916 when he studied architectural engineering at the University of Southern California. He became a certified architect in 1921 and the first certified African-American architect anywhere west of Mississippi.
While Williams didn’t design the original hotel, he did design the Crescent Wing and the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel signage. The hotel now has a suite named after him, with “a large patio for entertaining and a cool, 1950s vibe”.
This project was the first of many for Williams at the hotel. Throughout the 1940s he designed additions and alterations, updating much of the Mission-style hotel complex. Williams was responsible for creating the hotel’s aesthetics, which have essentially remained unchanged even with new ownership in the 1990s.
2. First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles
Completed in 1968, the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles (also known as First A.M.E. or FAME) was designed in the Late Moderne style with “a zigzag motif used along the roofline and the porch of the front entrance enlivening the simple stucco exterior of the building”. When Williams passed away in 1980, his funeral was held at the church.
3. Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building
Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company commissioned Williams to design the new building. Built in the Late Moderne style, he used steel and concrete to create a five-story building with a mezzanine, basement, and enough space for GSM’s 300+ employees. The building also had a 400-seat auditorium, a cafeteria, employee lounge and medical department and cost over $1.06m to build (including the cost of the furniture). After a renovation in 2015, a monument was erected in Paul R. Williams’s honour.
4. Jay Paley House
The Jay Paley House was designed by Williams for businessman Jacob Jay Paley and his wife in the 1930s. Construction started in 1932 and was completed in 1936, with subsequent renovations in 1945 and 1961. It cost $100,000 to build and stayed in Paley’s hands until his death in 1961, when the estate was subdivided and sold for $475,000 to Barron Hilton, who lived there until his death in 2019.
The Hollywood Regency-style house covered two stories and contained 32 rooms. According to The Jeffrey Hyland in his book, Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills, it was a departure from Williams’s previous styles at the time:
“He started with the traditional English Georgian style and then gave the residence a thoroughly modernist spirit, creating a residence that was both traditional and contemporary.”
5. Theme Building (LAX)
And last but not least is The Theme Building, a Googie structure housed at the Los Angeles International Airport. Williams was part of a team of architects who turned the design into a Space Age reality including William Pereira and Charles Luckman of Pereira & Luckman, and Welton Becket.
The secret to the building’s iconic “crossed” arches lies in an illusion. What appears to be a single construction is, in fact, a combination of four 15 foot-long concrete legs reinforced by steel. The Theme Building was a cultural crossover between pop culture, architecture, and a growing interest in the space age. In 1993, The City of Los Angeles designated the interior and exterior as a historic-cultural monument.
LA photographer Jonpaul Douglass has worked with the likes of Google, Facebook, and Apple but for this project, entitled Pizza In The Wild, he used the popular dish as the focal point.
As the title suggests, Douglass photographed pepperoni pizzas in different places involving road signs, shire ponies, tanks and his pug. There’s certainly something enchanting about them, especially the pug shots.
Pizza in the Wild is a personal project I started when I first moved to Los Angeles in 2013. It was essentially a product of having the free time to create something purely for fun. I had about 15-20 pizza images up on my Instagram account when it started to get featured all over.. thus kickstarting my creative life in LA. Thank you pizza.
The idea of uneaten pizza is usually a bad sign in my book but I don’t mind it in this case (and sometimes it’s comical, like in that episode of Breaking Bad.) The inclusion of Jonpaul’s pug is also a cute touch and I’m a sucker for a pug. But who isn’t?