Tarzana Is My Heroine

a poet considers the imaginary and reality of Tarzana

Leave a comment

Three Views of Dusk–Encino

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


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

a cement wall
foregrounds the parking lot



Then a stand of Washington palms
the rose-gray sky

first clear, then

blurred, showing
how winter’s hush
effaces things.


Leave a comment

The Ooze In Encino


Water is still seeping from that pipe on Louise Ave. that’s been leaking for 10 years. I wrote about it in a previous post, under the title “Something Rotten In Encino”:¬†https://tarzanaismyheroine.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/something-rotten-in-encino/. And now I’m starting to get annoyed, so I’m going to keep writing about it until a) it gets fixed, or b) I figure out who can get it fixed.

The morass of moss, algae, and rust-colored gunk around the leak is almost big enough to qualify as a city pond. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but it is an overly healthy muck habitat.

I bet mosquitos breed there in the summer too. Hello West Nile virus!

So I wonder what it will take to get the LA Bureau of Street Services to fix this? I posted a photo and note about this eyesore on the Encino Neighborhood Council Facebook page, but no response there–at least so far!

Now I’ve found a page on the LA Public Works website where problems with street drainage can be reported.

Let’s all report this!

The page has a form which asks for the address or location of the drainage problem. The location is south of the Louise Ave./Rochelle Place intersection in Encino on the west side of the street.

Here is a link to the form for reporting a problem:


Maybe if more people report it, we can get some action on the ooze!


And in case anyone is curious and wants a close-up so they can identify the species of algae, moss, or what have you, here you go



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!

Leave a comment

Premier Car Wash, Encino

Premier Car Wash

This is my local car wash, and they do a good job and they don’t do the hard-sell of higher-priced services like some other places do.

And they are honest–they once found my son’s Playstation, left in the car, and kept it carefully put away for me, assuming I’d eventually come back for it.

They’ve updated the look of the carwash since I took this photo some months ago, but with the retro features intact. Kudos to the owners!

That said, I can’t properly convey how this particular photo hits me. It’s not as bad as some visual equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard, but there is something jarring about it.

I think it just screams “Valley!” It’s a microcosm of Valley style: one endless mash-up of signage, ads, colors, and architecture styles. Or should I say “architecture” styles?

The bright blues, yellows, and reds compound the garish effect here and everywhere in the Valley, and the starburst–or is it a sunburst?–feature atop each column of the carwash gives a dated, space-age look to the place. (The Space Age of the 1960s, that is.)

It’s a kitsch-meets-mindlessly-trashy look all the way, so I’m going to file this photo under my new “Valley Ugly/Valley Pretty” blog category.

Or is it just this particular photo?

Did my mind skew my eye so that I made the kind of visual I expect to see in the Valley–you know, *that* Valley!

To prove my own point, stay tuned for another post in which I show that the same car wash can look perfectly tasteful and fetchingly retro.

And I’ll even turn it into Vispo–visual poetry–wait and see!


If anyone has a photo they think is the epitome of “Valley Ugly” or “Valley Pretty,” please include it–or a link to it–in the comment section!