The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Goner: Los Angeles, 1862 – 1911

Downtown Los Angeles, 1862


Downtown Los Angeles, intersection of Main, Spring, and Temple streets, 1863


MacArthur Park, 1887


MacArthur Park, 1892


Hollywood, 1900


Hollywood, corner of Highland and Franklin, 1903


Hollywood, Highland Avenue north of Hollywood Boulevard, 1906


Hollywood, Cahuenga Pass, 1878


Beachwood Canyon, 1900


Hollywood Blvd. at Sunset Blvd., 1904


Sunset Blvd. c. Normandie, 1900


Site of future Melrose Avenue, looking north, 1876


Santa Monica Boulevard near the future La Brea Avenue, 1900


Santa Monica Boulevard at Western Avenue, 1906


Western Avenue south of Sunset, 1906


Western Avenue just north of Santa Monica Boulevard, 1896


Western Avenue north of Pico, 1895


Western Avenue at Washington Blvd., 1900


East Hollywood, 1905


Los Feliz, view from the future Barnsdall Park, 1890


Los Feliz, Los Feliz Blvd. at Griffith Park Blvd., 1910


The Los Feliz River, now Los Feliz Blvd. at Hillhurst Ave., 1884


Griffith Park, 1900


Griffith Park, 1902


Silverlake, 1907


Echo Park, Sunset Blvd. and Glendale Avenue, 1904


Echo Park Lake, 1892


The Los Angeles River, near downtown, 1900


The Los Angeles River, near Glendale, 1889


Beverly Hills, Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Drive, 1911


Bel Air, 1907


Coldwater Canyon, 1910


Benedict Canyon, 1890


The La Brea Tar Pits, 1911


Future site of LACMA, 1902


Culver City, 1903


Santa Monica, 1898


Santa Monica, 1895


Santa Monica, 1887


Santa Monica Canyon, 1885


Malibu, future Pacific Coast Highway, 1905


Compton, 1903


The San Fernando Valley, 1875


The San Fernando Valley, 1900


North Hollywood, 1909


Glendale, Verdugo Blvd. and Clifton Place, 1904


Lincoln Heights, Hancock Street, 1900


Highland Park, 1894


Pasadena, Colorado Blvd., 1895


Pasadena, Colorado Boulevard at Marengo Avenue, 1890


Pasadena, southwest corner of East California Blvd. and South Wilson Ave, 1905


Altadena, 1907

Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains, 1893




p.s. Hey. ** Misanthrope, Props to the lulling qualities of your Friday. Okay, step one accomplished, and I hope every other spooky possibility gets ticked off until your stomach is your nirvana. Was your blood test smooth? New Order? I didn’t know they were still staging their stuff. Have fun. My weekend fulfilled the majority of its purpose, and yours? ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. It’s cool that everyone’s mileage varies when you think about it. ** Bernard, Hey, B! David E didn’t answer your question, but that might be the blog’s darned comments visibility issue, so let me feed it to him from here. David Ehrenstein, A question to you from Bernard: ‘What is the link between ‘Los Angeles Plays Itself’ and Fred Halsted’s (very watchable) ‘LA Plays Itself’? Huh?’ I’m of course so happy that the recent posts got that big noggin of your all percolating and everything. My honor, pleasure, and so forth. Yes, both the Z-ster and I are psyched that you’ll be at our two-night Lincoln Center shebang and will do everything in our power to warrant that. Hugs about the Kevin Wolff gathering. Gosh, I sure hope they find those paintings. I mean there’s obviously a way. ** Steve Erickson, Very happy that your shoot seems to have gone so swimmingly, neighbor interference notwithstanding. Luckily, PGL’s neighbors weren’t so bad, but, oh, did we have to erase a shitload of seagull squawking. Grasshopper is doing heroic work, that’s for sure. Thanks for the link to the Errol Morris interview. Herbal cigarette stink makes regular cigarette stink smell like roses. ** Amphibiouspeter, Hi there! My pleasure re: Diggerland. We went to the one in Kent because it’s supposedly the best one, which I guess probably just means it occupies the most property. It’s fun. You’ll be glad if you partake. Dude, that’s a couple of really great breaking news stories about your work! Big congratulations! That’s awesome! I’d love to hear more as the process unfolds. ** H, Hi! I sure hope your flu was a quickie. No, not packing quite yet, but lots of FSoLC <-> us fiddling. Have a fine day. ** Bill, Hi, man. Yeah, it’s from the Joan of Arc ‘heavy metal’ (not really) film. I think if we can figure out some sweet perks, and assuming I’m right that such a ride can be instituted for a price in the low 6 figures, and hoping some carnival has a dark ride they’ll just give us to get it off their hands, yes, I think it could work! ** JM, Hi. Yeah, true, especially after he threw out his films’ recognised playbook and went wacky, although I hear he’s going back down the Bressonian route again next time. The Theme Park Newsletter isn’t annual, it just happens when I’m in the mood and when there’s enough news out there, but it could have been a year since the last one. Let me check. You’re right! It was a year ago! Huh. Well, happy anniversary to both of us. Wish we could clink champagne glasses or cocaine spoons or E tabs or thereabouts to mark the occasion. ** Wolf, Wolf, alpha-god! Interesting about Vauxhall. I don’t I’ve ever been there. Our Air BnB is walking distance from the gallery, that’s all I know. Between that veggie restaurant and the coffee and the farm, I think we’ll be very set. Well, we probably want to hit the Tate or something too. You’re in NYC when we are? Whoa! Yeah, we get there on the 4th. There’s a two-night shebang around ‘PGL’ at Lincoln Center on the nights of the 5th and 6th — this thing — and then we’re there ’til the 9th. It might be a bit packed with event prep on the 5th and 6th, or maybe not at all, but it’d be awfully great to see you. Let’s sort it if we can. Ooh, Super Monster Wolf looks insanely awesome! I’ll go kick back and let that video wash over me once I launch this. Love to you, pal o’ pals! ** James Nulick, Thank you, and happy Monday! Yeah, the Michael Siebert piece was cool, right? I’m obviously very chuffed. Oh, gosh, thank you for saying all those wonderful things. I’m blushing, and, yeah, sweet of you to say/type, man. My agent(s) and I have been trying to talk Grove Press into either publishing the Cycle in a single volume or re-issuing the novels with new, thematically linked covers for a very, very long time, and they’re not into it. They want me to make them money, and they don’t think going to that trouble will cause me to make them sufficiently more money than I do, and so that’s that. It’s quite frustrating. I haven’t seen ‘The Exiles’, but I’ll try to find it. Dude, you’re almost at your novel’s finish line. Man, that must feel incredible. Very cool! That flight to Tokyo is giant, but I guess keeping one’s eyes open will probably be the reason or not, right? All very good! If all goes as planned, Zac and I will do the final edit on the new film script either today or tomorrow, and then once we’ve implemented and polished the changes, that should be it. That doesn’t take into account all the revising and fiddling we’ll need to do with the French translation, but yes! Much love back! ** John Fram, Great! Awesome! So glad you can go! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, B. Bruno Dumont is one of the few few interesting, ‘newish’ French filmmakers whose films seem to get something of a decent life outside of France. Wow, Alex is a bit uptight, no? Funnily, or not, I just saw a lengthy report on CNN about Leeds United’s current big success last evening. It’s internationally newsy. Fingers crossed. ** Jamie, Hi, J! You caught me, easy-peasy. My favorite Dumont is ‘Hors Satan’. You could start there or, really, with most of his earlier films before ‘Camille Claudel’. Maybe not ‘Twentynine Palms’, but, otherwise, they’re all good intros. Great, and no surprise, mind you, but great about the success of Hannah’s event! I really look forward to meeting her. Wonderful! Yeah, I just hate that ‘if you sing well technically, and if you want to seem emotional, pick a word in your lyrics that signifies meaning and hold it while throwing your voice around and up and down the scales’ thing. It’s a very tired, see-through trick. Good luck with your play today! Hang way in there! Today Zac and I might do a last edit on the film script, and I have to write an intention letter for a film funding grant proposal, and it’s raining so I want to luxuriate in that. I can’t possibly wish you a better day than you just wished me, whoa. But … hm, okay, I listened to this song about twenty minutes ago, and it covered my scalp with goosebumps, so I’ll wish you a day that makes your scalp transform into my recent scalp’s identical twin. Blister just before it pops love, Dennis ** Okay. I guess today’s post is mostly for people who know Los Angeles well, but I hope it resonates beyond too. See you tomorrow.


  1. There’s no relationship between Thom Anderson’s documentary “Los Angeles Plays Itself” and Fred Halsted’s gay sex film “L.A, Plays Itself” outside of the nearly identical titles.

    Great stuff today. L.A. used to be a vast empty lot. That’s why Hollywood was created. It was a perfect place to build studios. MGM for instance used to cover an enormous expanse — from Culver City to the ocean. Now that’s all gone and L.A. is a giant traffic jam.

  2. Wow. What a great way of waking up and looking at today’s blog. When I look at the picture of Highland Ave and Franklin, I can still see the design that is very much still there today. And I didn’t know there was a Los Feliz river on Los Feliz and Hillhurst. What happened to the river??? Southern California was a paradise, and in some cases, it’s still a great landscape. Different of course, but still fantastic. I love these images.

    I think having your early work (the cycle) in one volume makes perfect marketing sense. If they don’t do it, perhaps a smaller press can do it as a limited edition? I’m kind of surprised that Grove won’t go for this.

  3. Amphibiouspeter

    August 27, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    Hey DC,

    Whoah so interesting, even without knowing the specific places. I guess over here we forget how young the US is as a country. Also, rollercoasters? I’ve seen old photos for the parts of South Wales where mum’s side of the family are from, and it’s hardly changed in 100 years – which has its own uncanny effect too.

    Now I think about it I do remember being at a place once where you could go on a digger. But no recollection of an actual Diggerland. I’ll have to ask my parents when I next speak to them.

    Thanks DC! That’s kind. I’m feeling cautiously pleased, I’ll let you know if there are any developments!

    Not sure if it’s the same for you but it’s a bank holiday here today. Either way, enjoy!

  4. Hi!

    Your producer sounds more and more like that irritating character in movies/series that doesn’t have a normal role which would push the storyline anywhere but is simply there as a “filler”, to delay the actual, predictable happenings with senseless and annoying waste-of-time scenes.
    Uh. I keep my fingers mega-crossed for the synopsis now! I hope you found some miraculous way to get it done over the weekend!
    Wow, sounds like a pretty tight schedule! Tight but definitely exciting and inspiring! And while we’re here, talking about traveling: yes, I’m going to Amsterdam on Thursday!
    Thank you. I’m determined not to let myself sink too deep, I just need to figure out where to go from here.
    My, both the interview and the whole ‘critical biography’ sound thrilling! I read maybe on twitter that it’s coming in 2019?
    Well, I’m with you on that. The “I need to get out and about more” thing. Was this the motto of your weekend? Did you do something interesting and/or inspiring?
    We held our usual monthly trans group on Saturday and after the last time’s anxious, clammed-up disaster, I now forced myself to talk a bit more and to generally participate a bit more actively. I simply told the group about my problems with speaking up in front of a crowd bigger than… say, 3 people and though I kind of hated doing this, I mean it’s a bit pathetic, I guess, it did help. So I left feeling a bit more satisfied with myself and completely satisfied with the session itself which was fluent and all in all successful. After all this I couldn’t wait Sunday to come – we didn’t have a free-style day now, I devoted the whole day to my books and writing and a series called ‘The Sinner’. I started watching it this week and I really like it.
    Okay. As I’m leaving on Thursday and you’re going to NYC right when I arrive back, I’m not sure when we’ll be able to catch each other again here. I guess I’ll write as soon as I can and we’ll see. (Are you planning to do the p.s. from NYC?) I wish you all the very, very, very best for your journey (and otherwise too) and I’m super excited to hear about everything!
    Take care, Dennis!!

  5. When I first bought the pack of herbal cigarettes, well before the film shoot, I was curious enough that I was tempted to light one and take a hit. Had I tried that, their stink would’ve scared me away. I understand very well why they never worked for their original purpose of being a less harmful alternative for tobacco smokers trying to quit (although they contain tar & carbon monoxide, but no nicotine or other addictive chemicals) and are now basically only used to simulate real cigs in TV and movies.

    The problem with trying to eliminate the bass-heavy music coming into those last few takes is that post-production filtering tends to make the actor’s voice sound weird and hollow. I think the editor will have to go with one of the two good early takes of the shot we got, as limiting as that is.

    I’m talking to RaMell Ross at 11 AM tomorrow. The interview will be published in Studio Daily in about 2 & 1/2 weeks. I am hoping to interview music video director Zev Deans for that website in early September.

    Grasshopper also has an intriguing lineup of films they distribute to the educational/non-theatrical market. While most of these are recent and topical documentaries, some of which played New York theatrically via other distributors, it includes some rare Pere Portabella titles and the entire Heinz Emigholz oeuvre (which Ryan Krivoshey told me they may be making accessible on streaming VOD to everyone.)

  6. It’s really poignant and also awe-inspiring to see these humble LA beginnings.

  7. Dennis, You should show people these pics and be like, “This is what LA looked like when I was growing up” just to see if they question it. I mean, I would…but I imagine some people would be like, “Hmm, nice.” 😛

    Thanks. Yes, the blood test went fine. In and out like a $2 whore.

    My weekend was fine. I can’t remember what I did, but I do know that I was happy to get a lot of good sleep, watch a little baseball -including the Little League World series- and get a little writing and reading done.

    Yepperz, New Order’s still kicking it. I watched some quite recent concert footage and it looks like they still put on a great show. Fingers crossed for that. I hope they play some Joy Division songs, which I know they’re wont to do from time to time, particularly “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” the greatest love song ever.

    Really looking forward to NYC now. And then London. The excitement’s building within me. That only be a good thing.

  8. Hey!

    Weird to see the currently gigantic L.A. streets as dirt roads and farm towns. The whole post gives off a haunted vibe, which I guess is the L.A. vibe to some degree.
    Ugh @ this producer bullshit. You would think they would trust you all to know what you’re doing. Ultra-normalized television is so not what any viewers want anymore (and I’m also speaking for my friends who aren’t super into art). I don’t know anyone who watches a lot of TV right now to do anything but “shut down for a while” because TV is that stupidly fucking normal and boring. I guess there’s a reasonably high demand for “shut down for a while” entertainment, but why would a channel that cares about sharing culture like ARTE care? It might be a naive thing to get upset about, but I’m very much routing for you guys to make this as appropriately odd necessary.
    Anyway, how was your weekend? I got to say bye to friends and family and all that and am moving to Bard tomorrow. Real excited about it / slightly nervous. I decided to stay away from the stories I wrote before my advisor meeting. The new ones, I guess, shouldn’t be rushed into completion, and if I edited the old ones right now I’m pretty sure I’d just muck up the voice I worked on with a flashier, dumber voice. I might touch up the XRAY one based off of minor friendly critiques, but even then I’ll maybe leave it. Mostly just excited to settle into the new place. Wish me luck!

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