A couple years back we motored up California Route 99 to Kern county– Bakersfield to be exact. We wanted to see what, if anything, was left of the independent labels responsible for the original Bakersfield sound. With a stack of old 45 rpm records in tow, we drove to nearly every address printed on the labels, and sadly we came up short.
But the road trip brought other surprises– great food, a burgeoning beer scene, and loads of photographic eye candy. We found a treasure trove of classic storefronts and signage seemingly unscathed by the march of time. A couple days in Bakersfield kept the old shutter finger in shape.
As they say, when one door closes another door opens. While we may not have gotten to the bottom of the Bakersfield sound, we got a taste of of the sights and will be back for more when the coast is clear.
So you’re driving along and suddenly notice the city has lost a tooth. Where things once stood– a block is suddenly vacant, a lot is suddenly empty, a sign has disappeared.
You scratch your head and and rack your brain trying to remember what was there before. And then if you are lucky enough, you remember it was a spot that added color and life to the city. Then you kick yourself for never buying a burrito, a burger, or a shrimp there. And another kick for never getting a proper photo of the joint before it died, before it gentrified.
This was Tom’s Burgers. Its mighty sign and distinctive green tiled building anchored the corner of Sunset and Silverlake ever since I was a mere passenger in the back of the wood paneled Country Squire station wagon.
Yeah, Tom’s didn’t get rave reviews but its presence was a fixture in my LA geography. A few years back, the sign went blank and Tom’s was gone. I regretted never stopping in or to take a shot or two of Tom’s. Eh, why bother? It’ll always be there. I’ll drive-thru next time. Until there wasn’t a next time.
Now every time I pass the modern pizza joint that replaced it, I try to envision Tom’s. Through my spotty memory and a few random area snapshots I re-imagined the sign for better or worse.
The moral of the story? Go there. Experience the place. At least take a picture of it today. Because it could be gone tomorrow.
Many are bemoaning that Silverlake just lost its iconic Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign at the corner of Sunset & Benton Way. A sad-foot day for sure, but icons have been disappearing from the LA landscape forever. Just ask Ralph Story, or you could if he was here anymore…
Unfortunately, this perpetual change is part of the fabric of Los Angeles. We have seen first hand just how much character our city has lost over the past 30 years and the change is only accelerating.
For example, the perhaps much less beloved Sofa Love sign on the side of the catty-cornered Silverlake Furniture was quietly painted over a few years ago without any hoopla. The spot is now currently occupied by Big & Tiny, an office space start up for working moms. But the honor of the Sofa Love loss goes to PETA, who refashioned and painted the old building obliterating other iconic signage that once greeted us as we left the 101 freeway and headed home.
On your next drive-by, if you squint really hard maybe you can imagine the lost hand painted iconography on the wall.
Need to clean up your music collection? If you still traffic in CD’s, our Upcycled DVD/CD Holders may just do the trick. They are handmade from groovy upcycled record album covers and chockfull of artsy colorful pockets making a spiffy home for stray discs or like-sized mementos.
Each CD Case is one of a kind, so snap ’em up while they’re hot!
Otherwise ordinary notes just may appear more beautiful when taken in our latest handmade Upcycled Mini Journal. At the turn of a page, original photography of urban beauty salons will keep your prose stylin’.
A desktop-daytrip through the mountains. Don’t you love that fresh air? Here’s a closer peek at the peaks of our upcycled Mountaintop + Skyscraper Pocket Cards. They suit either the city mouse or the country mouse!