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Tuesday, July 10, 2007 Precise Alienation

In the block around Hollywood and Vine, if you pay attention to detail, the world can seem sinister, as if Nathanael West (1903-1940, born Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein) was onto something.  See The Day of the Locust (1939), his novel about Hollywood. West, they say, saw the American dream as having been betrayed, both spiritually and materially, in the long years of the Depression. This idea of the corrupt American dream was something he pioneered. W. H. Auden coined the term "West's Disease" to refer that sort of poverty that exists in both a spiritual and economic sense.

After three years in Paris, in 1933, West bought a farm in eastern Pennsylvania but then got a job as a contract scriptwriter for Columbia Pictures and moved to Hollywood. West and his new wife, Eileen McKenney, died in a car accident the day after his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald, who lived a few doors down the street here on Laurel Avenue, had died of a heart attack.

What West saw is still around, and the tour starts at the tourist office next to the Pantages Theater.

At the tourist office next to the Pantages Theater, Hollywood
Billboard behind the Pantages Theater, Hollywood
Burger stand on Vine, Hollywood
"Face" graphic near Hollywood and Vine
"Face" graphic near Hollywood and Vine
"Face" graphic near Hollywood and Vine
VIP Lounge, Hollywood Boulevard
Mural at restaurant on Ivar, Hollywood
Billboard behind the Pantages Theater, Hollywood

If you wish to use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me. And should you choose to download any of these images and use them invoking the 'fair use" provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, please provide credit, and, on the web, a link back this site.

Technical Note:

Most of these photographs were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0.  Earlier photography was done with a Sony Mavica digital still camera (MVC-FD-88) with built-in digital zoom.

[Precise Alienation]

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Alan M. Pavlik