Thursday, September 6, 2012
Behold: The Darkroom Camera Store, formerly at 5370 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles. The building is still there but it's a Mexican restaurant that's trying to hide it's photographic past by placing palm trees and an awning in front. Even though camera stores are going the way of newsstands and book shops, I have hope that one day the Darkroom will be restored to it's former glory. It would make a lovely gallery...
There was a time when shops like this were all over Los Angeles. The giant hot dog where you bought hot dogs. The humungous donut under which one purchased donuts. The seafood restaurant where you entered through the mouth of a whale. No, Los Angeles has never been afraid of the obvious.
Most of these literal structures are gone now. The others pop up in movies from time to time. Corny as they are, I like them. If only because as a kid you sat in the passenger seat, forehead leaning on the window, wondering if the backdoor of the whale was the tail, if the giant hot dog tasted good, and deciding exactly what would you do with all that donut.
My First Real Boyfriend moved to San Francisco to earn a degree in, get this, performance art. So 18-year-old me would take the Greyhound Bus from the Hollywood station and ride 400 miles to see him.
The drill was simple: I'd buy a ticket for the midnight bus which would meander up Interstate 5 at a pace so slow and soothing that it inevitably caused my seat mate, the closest of all the mustachioed convicts on board, to fall asleep on my shoulder. You know the type. Smells of old alcohol. Has pores that could catch a golf ball.
Around mile 200, the coach would pull over, the driver would flip on the lights, you and the criminal would awkwardly untangle from your unfortunate embrace to find yourselves in the parking lot of a Carl's Jr. For reasons I've never understood, everyone on the bus would sleepwalk into the night, eat greasy fast food, then go back to sleep as if it were normal or necessary.
I always got the deep fried zucchini. It came with blue cheese dressing which, I believed, made it just as healthy as a salad.
By daybreak, you were in SF.
Oh, the things we do for "love."
Speaking of love, this is Lie down i think i love you, a women's clothing store in London. As far as I can tell, it's got the best shop name in the world.
Other Good Store Names
Rose of Jerusalem - Never was there a more poetically named place to buy Lotto tickets and cigs.
Drink Liquor - Well, okay, if you insist.
Dinersty - A Chinese take out and epic saga all rolled into one.
Kabob Shop Names That Don't Exist But Should