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The latest Google Street View images of Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena seem to have been taken after sunset. How could this happen? It’s hard to see anything on the images but headlights and signs. As far as I know, there’s no way to view older pictures (though that would be a great feature).

Google’s quality control is slipping…

Lorene Yarnell, half of the mime team Shields and Yarnell has died.  Some of my early memories of TV were of them doing their robot act.  According to the LA Times obituary, she got her start as a dancer on variety shows before marrying and collaborating with street mime Robert Shields.  She also played the robot Dot Matrix in Spaceballs (voiced by Joan Rivers).

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Here she is doing what she wasn’t famous for.
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Shields and Yarnell doing what they did best.

I didn’t know until I stumbled across this today that Liza Minnelli collaborated with the Pet Shop Boys in 1989 to produce her album Results.  And the song “Losing My Mind,” originally from Stephen Sondheim’s 1971 show Follies was a bit of a hit.  (Warning: If you don’t like watching ironically posted videos of pop culture train wrecks, skip to the last video right now…)

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Here’s Ms. Minnelli performing live with the Pet Shop Boys.  For some reason, the BBC director is fixated on their adding machines.

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A live Pet Shop Boys show from 1991 without Liza.  I don’t think the people on the leashes were in the original musical.

There are about 75 others clips on Youtube of various “live” performances of this song, as well as a horrid music video.

This is all evidence that, among other things, the 80’s were not kind to women’s fashion and hair styles.  Or men’s fashion and hair styles for that matter.  I’ll be burning my high school yearbook now.

I love Liza Minnelli and like the Pet Shop Boys, but for some reason, I have a tough time getting into this version of the song.

Directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett, Stephen Sondheim’s Follies opened on Broadway in 1971.  Though not a commercial success at the time, it’s regarded in retrospect as a groundbreaking work of musical theatre.  It’s a is a show about middle aged adults reliving their years of missed opportunities and bad decisions with bitterness and regret.  Dorothy Collins created the role of Sally and was nominated for a Tony.  Here she is singing “Losing My Mind” around what appears to be some time during the original run:

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Now THIS is how it’s done.  The dress.  The hair.  The earrings.  The posture.  Her incredible range.  The seemingly bottomless well of pain so subtly expressed.  Watching this, 1971 seems like 100 years before 1989.

(My ’89 high school yearbook proves otherwise.)

For those who can’t get enough of Bunker Hill the way it used to be,  Bunker Hill 1956 has just been posted to vimeo.

The 17-minute film was a project by students at USC Film School, directed by Kent MacKenzie, who went on to direct The Exiles, a feature about Native Americans living on Bunker Hill.  As with the series of stunning color photographs mentioned here before, those documenting the neighborhood for this film knew that its days were numbered.  In this case, the focus is on the pensioners living there and what was to become of them.  As one longtime resident says of the Community Redevelopment Agency’s plan:

Their method of going about it is to not only clear the slums but clear all the people out of the area, and rebeautify the whole thing, rebuild and  put an opera house up here.  Make a picture area out of it, without keeping the inhabitants in mind at all.

The film vividly captures the fabric of the area, the rich textures of a drug store, a shoemaker’s shop, meager apartments, and everyday street scenes.  And there are great shots of Angels’ Flight (in its original form) and the Grand Central Market.

(via LA Observed)

CalArts was founded by Walt and Roy Disney in 1961 with the merger of the LA Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art Institute.  Classes weren’t offered until 1970, and the current location in Valencia didn’t open until 1971, so the vision set forth in this mid-60’s film was pretty much just that.

But the quality of the film and the vibrancy of the color is stunning.  There are gorgeous renderings of the future Music Center downtown, as well as a LACMA that didn’t materialize as shown.  And a huge modern film museum across from the Hollywood Bowl that also didn’t happen, though the site currently houses the Hollywood Heritage Museum‘s Lasky-Demille Barn.

The most shocking revelation are the renderings of the proposed campus perched high above Hollywood in the Cahuenga Pass between the 101 and Lake Hollywood.  When I checked Google Earth, the ridge today is still mostly open space, save for one tiny feature: the beautiful and historic Ford Amphitheater.  Now how could the city allow a venerable landmark to be destroyed to build a school?  Oh right.

via The CalArts Story on Vimeo.