Sunday, November 28, 2010


Greetings Theory Cornerites! Uncle Eddie here for the first of several Christmas editions of "Lunchtime Book Chat." Our guest reviewer today is Isobel Wren,  the famous internet model and book fancier.

Um...those aren't zits on Isobel's face. They're just artifacts of hasty Photoshopping.

I gotta warn ya....Isobel gets...gets kinda "unclothed" in this review. I guess she thinks it's too hot in here.

Oops! Dropped my book!

Darn book!

Whew! I hate to see a good book get dirty like that.

Oops! 'Dropped the book again!

'Doggone book!

Boy, that book is really slippery!

Anyway, here's (below) Isobel Wren reviewing "Forever: a Novel" by Pete Hamill.


Sorry for the minimal post. Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping, and agonizing over whether to buy a copy of Painter 11 at a "Black Friday" price, took all my time. Boy, I love Christmas but we can all be thankful that it's only once a year.

Making a decision about Painter 11 was hard because the specs support Leopard, but not Snow Leopard, which is my operating system. People on the net were divided about whether Snow Leopard is compatible. Half said it worked just fine for them and half said it didn't. Ordinarily I'd skip something as risky as this but the asking price was ridiculously low....I just couldn't pass it up. Geez, I hope I did the right thing.

Anyway, how do you like these Wolvertons!?  They're made by someone who doesn't identify himself on his site, but whose watermark moniker is Stu Sutcliffe. Nice job, Stu!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Since we're on the subject of Frank Lloyd Wright's son Lloyd, I thought I'd put up a couple more of his projects. Here's (above) his Samuel Navarro house in Los Feliz, only a short drive from the Sowden House. It's beautiful when seen from this angle.

From the road (above) it looks like an Art Deco fortress.

Unfortunately the beautiful trim (above) doesn't hold up under close inspection.

The interior (above) isn't much either. I wish I knew the story behind this. Who's at fault? My guess is that a later remodeling destroyed the original. I feel sorry for architects. No one would think of buying a Rembrandt and repainting it, yet great architecture is routinely modified to fit each new owner.

I like the modest spiral staircase (above) and thin iron gate.

Here's (above) Lloyd's breathtaking Wayfarer Chapel in Palas Verdes. It's mostly glass. A critic described it as having trees for walls and the sky for a ceiling.

While researching Lloyd I came across some interesting pictures of houses made by his dad. Wouldn't you kill to own this one (above)? How do you like the razor sharp angles? And isn't it amazing that he was able to combine so many styles? I see the German 19th century railroad station style combined with Mayan and Tudor. The wide, blocky porch area reminds me of Bejing's Forbidden City.

Above, the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Alas, it no longer exists.

I like that band-of-squares decoration above the first floor windows (above).  Other architects use patterns like that in moldings, but Wright uses them as sculptural elements.

Good for him! Here (above) he brings the roof down close to the ground where it belongs. Too long have we wasted beautiful roofs by putting them too high for people to see.

I assume every Theory Cornerite has a set of Froebbel blocks (above) on his coffee table. It's fun to build Frank Lloyd Wright forms with them.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Lloyd Wright's Sowden House in Hollywood is said to be famous, but is it? For years I've lived within half an hour's drive of it, and I only heard about it for the first time last week.  Now I'm chomping at the bit to see it.

That's Lloyd Wright, not Frank Lloyd Wright. Lloyd was Wright's son. He also designed sets for Hollywood films. Maybe that's what accounts for the cheesy armoured guards at the entrance.

The house is also famous as the home of Dr. George Hodel, a wealthy doctor who is believed by some to have killed Elizabeth Short, the famous Black Dahlia. 

One of his accusers is his own son, former police detective Steve Hodel. Steve claims his dad was a sadist and a serial killer, and he lays out the case for that on his site (above). Short might even have been killed in the Sowden House.

Horrible though he might have been, you can't fault the doctor's taste in architecture.  With the blocks stacked in geometric patterns, and with the exotic landscaping, the house looks like a majestic jungle ruin. Here's (above) the view from Franklin Ave.

This (above) is the facade, pre-landscape. Gee, it's not the same without the trees and shrubs.  It reminds me of old Hollywood sets which were mostly blank punctuated by areas of great complexity.

  I'll digress to lament that for people with average incomes landscaping is prohibitively expensive.  Not only that but, beautiful trees take years to grow. For the first few years they don't seem to grow at all, because the tree is devoting all its energy into establishing a root system. It's as if you're planting for the benefit of the people who will own the house after you're gone.  

Even so, it's still worth doing. You could argue that landscaping adds so much to the value of a house, that whatever you put into it is free. 

The middle of the house (above) is a big, Mayan courtyard, covered with vines and flowers. I'll bet the original Mayans decorated their public buildings with foliage like this. 

Here's (above) a view looking at the back of the courtyard. No vines here. Do vines grow so fast that you can cut them back in the winter, and still have them cover everything in the summer? 

The swimming pool (a later modification) is raised, which is a nifty way to achieve scale. 

Here's a detail of the molded concrete supports. If Lloyd's dad had built this he probably would have used blocks, which in my opinion wouldn't have worked as well.  

As I said, Wright's son designed sets for the film industry. A number of films were shot here (above), one of the more recent being Scorcese's "Aviator."

Above, the master bedroom. The door it faces may be the big, barnsized, sliding door which opens out into the courtyard. If so, what a view to wake up to in the morning!

Here's (above) a detail of the living room.

This is the house (The two diamond shapes in the middle, above) seen from the air. The address is 5121 Franklin Ave, near Normandie and Franklin. There are no tours, but you can rent the place for a mere $3,900 a night. 

NOTE: Most of the info here was culled from a fascinating new book called "Weird Hollywood," which I'm reading now.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I thought I'd share the photos I took last year at my older brother Billy's house. That's his trailer (above), the white one with the red stripe. I used to live with Billy when I was a kid. How I used to look forward to Thanksgiving dinner when the whole extended family would converge on this trailer for a feast they talked about all year! They're still doing it, and here's how it went last time.

It began with a with a long car trip and a walk to Billy's front door...

From behind a bush....

COUSIN LESTER: "PSSST! Cousin Eddie! Over here!"

UNCLE EDDIE: "Lester! Harlan! Jackson! How come you're hiding out here? Why aren't you inside!??"

MY COUSINS: "Aw, Grandma kicked us out again. You know how she gets.  But she likes you, Eddie. How 'bout puttin' in a good word for us?"

UNCLE EDDIE: "Gee, it would suck to spend Thanksgiving in a bush. I'll talk to her."


MY NIECES AND NEPHEWS: (squeals of delight, then...)  "Uncle Eddie's here! Dad! Dad! Uncle Eddie's here!!!!"

MY BROTHER BILLY: "Eddie! Eddie! Good to see you, man!"

BROTHER BILLY: "Look at that! I can still lift you!"

UNCLE EDDIE: "Gee Billy, everything is just the way I remember it!"

UNCLE EDDIE: "You always did have a knack for decorating!"

UNCLE EDDIE: (Gasp!) It's Poochie!!! How are ya Poochie, ol' boy!?? Remember me, Eddie?"


AUNT MATILDA: "Good ta see ya, Eddie! I think dinner's ready. Better call everybody."

UNCLE EDDIE: "Dinner's ready, Cousin Linus!"

COUSIN LINUS: "Be right there, Eddie!"

UNCLE EDDIE: "Dinner's ready, Grandma!"

GRANDMA: "In a minute! I'm callin' the police to come and nab that no account Lester and his friends!"

UNCLE EDDIE: "Jimmy, dinner's re....oh, sorry. Didn't mean to interrupt."

BROTHER BILLY: "Come on in, Eddie! Have a seat. You're the guest of honor!"

BUFURD: "What are you starin' at? Geek!"

COUSIN EARL: "Now, now Bufurd. That's not polite."

UNCLE EDDIE (V.O.) (DISCREETLY): "Er, Cousin Alice...Cousin Earl, um... he isn't wearing any...."

COUSIN ALICE: "I know, I know. That's his way."

COUSIN ALICE (V.O.): "Earl doesn't need those, Jack. You can put them away."

COUSIN RACHEL: "Can we eat now, pul-leeeezzz!!!????


The food is quickly distributed.

BROTHER BILLY: "Ahh, the bounty of the Earth! We're truly blessed!"