Snapshots L.A.

BIRTHDAY TRIP

 April 2, 2014, I turned seventy. I went to Santa Monica beach. It was cold, blustery, and brilliantly clear. On the pier is a ferris wheel and small roller coaster. When I was four or five I rode a bigger roller coaster on the same pier. It was nighttime. I was scared, thrilled, and happy. We lived only a short distance from the pier…on a hill that jets now fly over as they leave LAX. The houses were torn down fifty years ago. I thought I might get nostalgic - birthday walking on the pier - but didn’t.

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What struck me.  Everything in change. Wave after wave hitting the pilings. Cities of barnacles submerged and then re-emerging. Wet, living.

I was captured by the wind,  movement,

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colors.

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Everywhere cameras and phones trying to preserve time. The poses. The smiles.

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The sun was dazzling.

Photography John Fritzlen

ORYOKI

The word oryoki can be translated as “that which contains just enough.”

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In a more general sense it refers to the ritual use of nested eating bowls during Zen meditation retreats.

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Oryoki meals are simple but precise in detail and flow - from chanting together

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to placement of utensils,

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being served,

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 and finally to washing and re-wrapping the sets of bowls.

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I find it beautiful even though precision and I are not close friends. I had to ask for help innumerable times  when I began the practice. But, if I don’t drift off in daydreams, things pretty much happen when and where they should. I can use the correct hand signal to show the server my bowl “contains just enough.”

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I like the silence of oryoki. Conversation doesn’t seem so necessary after part of an opening chant: “First, 72 labors brought us this food. We should know how it comes to us.”

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A reminder to appreciate my life as well as my interdependence with others.

I look up and see others sharing this life, it’s moment.

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I feel connected and aware of my aloneness at the same time. I appreciate what is in front of me. Oryoki. A good practice.

Photographed at Hazy Moon Zen Center, Los Angeles

Photography John Fritzlen

CROSSING #5

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Harvard and 6th, Koreatown

Photography John Fritzlen

TWILIGHT KOREATOWN FEBRUARY 20, 2014

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Photography John Fritzlen

CROSSING #4

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Kingsley and Fourth, Koreatown, Los Angeles

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Photography Copyright John Fritzlen

THREE BUILDINGS ON WILSHIRE and GOODBYE TO MR. SEEGER

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These under construction apartment towers with lower floor retail space are at the corner of Vermont and Wilshire. Across the street is a huge new residential complex underneath of which is a major subway stop from downtown and Hollywood. Thousands of people move around this intersection, not to mention cars. Don’t worry, hot dogs wrapped in bacon are still sold from shopping cart stoves on the corners.

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Two blocks west at the corner of Wilshire and Berendo is the Talmadge Apartment buiding.

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Built in 1924 (90 years ago!) by the head of United Artists as a present for his wife, Norma Talmadge. They occupied the entire tenth floor which curves around the block, by the way. Lots of fire places, tall ceilings, maids quarters,etc. The only complaint its tenants seem to have is that film crews are always around. You know how that is.

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On the same side of Wilshire Blvd. but just on the other corner of Berendo, fifty feet away, is Immanuel Presbyterian Church - built in 1929 and about as beautiful a church as you’ll find anywhere. So measured and timeless in that self-conscious but reassuring WASP way. I’m talking architecturally of course. Today it’s a polyglot mixture of Spanish, Korean, and English congregants. Here is its facade which isn’t showing Immanuel’s wonderful steeple.

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And here is where the Presbyterian Elders kept the collection money or something.( It couldn’t have been the communion wine. That was always grape juice.) The arched small doorway you see is actually the thick steel entrance to a walk-in safe. The clock and the light stole my heart.

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And this is a big foundation hole for a 15-20 story (depending on who you talk to) building going in right next to the venerable Talmadge Apartments and directly across from the church.   Whooah!   "Turn! Turn! Turn!”  (..to everything there is a season) - a song by Pete Seeger

Thanks Pete for bringing such joy and encouragement to so many of us. I laughed and loved you every time I heard you sing. May your journey go well.

Pete Seeger  May 13, 1919 - January 27, 2014

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Photography by John Fritzlen

PICO HOUSE ART EXHIBITION

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Young photographer photographing art installation

La Placita Olvera, Dia De Los Muertos

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Photography John Fritzlen

EARLY AFTERNOON BROADWAY

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Downtown Los Angeles

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Copyright John Fritzlen

CROSSING #3

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Photography Copyright John Fritzlen