Tarzana Is My Heroine

a poet considers the imaginary and reality of Tarzana


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Three Views of Dusk–Encino

Winter yields to spring.
I’m left with
three images of dusk—

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One is a nondescript skyline, seen
from the Bank of America
at Ventura & Libbit;

a cement wall
foregrounds the parking lot
snapshot.

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Then a stand of Washington palms
commands
the rose-gray sky

first clear, then

blurred, showing
how winter’s hush
effaces things.

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Aloha, Tarzana

I found another ad for the Los Angeles Steamship Company I wrote about in the previous post

Hawaii ad

I surprised myself when I wrote “Aloha, Tarzana”, because Tarzana, and the Valley in general, seem far from the Land of Aloha. Malibu maybe seems closer, but the Valley? But I’ve found some more images showing the connection between the founder of Tarzana and the Islands, meaning that Burroughs went to Hawai’i, but he sent Aloha back!

Here is Edgar Rice Burroughs (from the back) at Pearl Harbor

ERB at Pearl Harbor

ERB at Pearl Harbor

 

I also discovered, looking through an online Burroughs archives, that he had gone to Hawaii on the Matson steamer, Lurline, in 1935. That was five years before he moved there for a few years in 1940. I also saw, from that collection of letters (www.angelfire.com/trek/erbzine22/erbz1049.html), that he stayed first in Lanikai–a beautiful neighborhood and beach on O’ahu–, then apparently moved to Kapiolani Blvd. in Honolulu, near Waikiki.

Here are a couple of images of Lanikai Beach, on the Windward side of O’ahu.

Lanikai Beach - Saturday morning around 8am

Lanikai Beach – Saturday morning around 8am (Photo credit: ShaneRobinson)

English: Sida fallax (habit and view Mokuluas)...

English: Sida fallax (habit and view Mokuluas). Location: Oahu, Lanikai (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now here is an even weirder tidbit I found alleging to recount a conversation about Burroughs between two soldiers on O’ahu:

Burroughs was became the topic of conversation between Jim Petersonand a major who was a Burroughs fanatic, while the two were preparing to defend the Kolekole Pass at the Waianae Range. Peterson doubted Tarzan of the Apes would be able to navigate the difficult terrain of the Waianae Range. The major went into a lengthy and unavoidable speech about Tarzan – telling Peterson Tarzan had “got around a lot” in his many adventures – before going on to John Carter on Mars, Carson Napier on Venus, and then Burroughs himself. When learning the author had spent a good deal of time on Oahu, Peterson wondered if Burroughs’ stay was a way to get away from his eager fans.

http://turtledove.wikia.com/wiki/Edgar_Rice_Burroughs

I’m still looking for a photo I saw showing a group of Hawaiian musicians playing for an event at Burroughs’ estate in Tarzana, but haven’t found it yet. I’ll post it when I do!


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Storybook Ranch Homes

Here are snapshots of a few storybook ranch houses I’ve seen around Encino, north of the Boulevard. These homes epitomize what my favorite retro home blog, Retro Renovation (http://retrorenovation.com), would call “mid-century modest” homes.

Fortunately not too many of these homes have been torn down to build Spanish-style McMansions–as happened to one very lovely barn-red storybook ranch home on the corner of Hayvenhurst and Adlon a few years ago. Some of you may remember the house I’m talking about….

I love the pale yellow exterior of this first house below, and of course the diamond-pane windows on the garage too!

Look at the mix of horizontal and vertical batten boards here (behind the white picket fence!)

I love storybook ranches in barn or carriage red with white trim

Look at the little dovecote tucked just under the eaves

This house below is so attractive with its row of diamond-paned windows, pale green exterior, and the peeling bark of the gum or melaleuca tree in front.

I have in mind starting a project of getting a photo of every storybook ranch in town.

Maybe you can help!


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Art-In-The-Wild

As I go around the Valley, I often see some bit of visual poetry or installation art-in-the-wild which catches my eye.

Here are a few things I saw recently:

@ Balboa x Balboa off ramp

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@ Encino Oaks shopping center

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There was this evocative scene in an alley just off Ventura Blvd. near Hazeltine

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And perhaps my favorite: Theophile Gaultier’s slogan “L’art pour l’art” (“Art for art’s sake”) slapped onto a sink drain at Crave Cafe in Sherman Oaks.

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Is it possible it was just by chance that the bilingual pun on the word “pour” was stuck on to a drainpipe? I think not.

After a quick Google search, I’m guessing that the sticker is actually an ad for the L’art Pour L’art mixer events created by Baha Danesh.

Their slogan is “connect. collaborate. create” (Nice!) and this is their website:

http://artforartmixer.com/


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Tarzana Is What Paradise?

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Tarzana Is What Paradise?

It is a finite neon thing;
A flame-out orange & spiky thing.
I think it is a final thing
I’m coming to understand.

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Paradise, acetylene torch,
Lights us up but casts a shadow

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Taking the shape of possible fates
Unrecognized as our own doing.

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Tarzana is a paradise
Of Canada geese & lost dogs.
It is jungle-fevered profit made
Off twice-removed celebrity.

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What paradise has lost its birds?
Has busy streets, but empty stores;
Not enough parks? These late fall
Days bring forth something amazing,

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Something I didn’t realize before:
Birds-of-paradise die. Fall will
Come for what’s ready and what’s not,
For the citrus and the root crops.

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It comes to the year-round summer
Spoiling us for anywhere else.
Our heaven is a tropical
Bloom wilting in the desert weather

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Of someone’s paradise idea.
Whoever planted these flowers
Forgot they die. So did I.
Tarzana is my told-you-so.