Thursday, April 2, 2015

Los Angeles Doors Tour Part III

The third installment of the LA Doors Tour starts us in Venice and Santa Monica. After that we go back to West Hollywood, Hollywood, and then Fairfax.

#30 Brooks Ave., Venice

#50 Brooks Ave., Venice
These were the locations of Harry Diltz's photo shoot in 1969. Jim stood in front of the second panel from the right.

#1 Navy St.?, Venice

This location was a bit of a mystery. I was looking for the Cheetah Club which existed from 1967-70. It was destroyed by a fire in 1970. I'm guessing it was renumbered when it was rebuilt because the  address of the above building is 11 Navy St. It is the first odd numbered building on Navy St. I thought the building in the picture below was the former location as this is the first building on the odd-numbered side of the street. However, it has an Ocean Front Walk address. One could submit this is the former location because Ocean Front Walk did not exist in 1970 and was once was 1 Navy St. I am doing supplementary research on this and will update my findings. 

1855 Main St., Santa Monica
The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The Doors played here on July 3, 1967.

2615 Main St., Santa Monica
 This is the former location of Olivia's, a soul food eatery.  Jim ate here when he went to UCLA and  was the inspiration for, "Soul Kitchen".

147 Fraser St., Santa Monica
Ray and Dorothy were living here in July 1965.  Ray invited Jim to live with them after that faithful chance meeting on beach where they decided to start a rock-and roll band. However, there is a problem with this location. It appears the correct address 154 Fraser St.  A thread on a Doors forum  and the ariel view on Google Maps supports this. There is a video where Ray goes back to this location to reminisce the old days. When I went to 147, I walked down the driveway to see the apartment over the garage. It did not look the same. What I saw was different house in the video. Since I was very pressed for time, I could not investigate this further (more on that later).

116 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica
This now British pub was once known as the Turkey Joint West. Jim used to eat here but, far more significantly, it is the first time Jim Morrison was on a stage with an audience present. The exact date of this occurrence is bit fuzzy. One source stipulates late May and another suggests early June of 1965. 

1616 Butler Ave, West LA
This is Village Recorders. This location is important because on December 8 1970, Jim recorded what was to become, "An American Prayer". It was his birthday and he wanted to record some of his poetry.  I wandered in and was greeted by Jeff Greenberg, the CEO of The Village Studios. I explained what I was doing and asked if I could take a picture of the studio Jim used. Unfortunately, that was not possible as there were paying clients using the studios and he was not sure which studio Jim had actually used. I had the same experience when I went to Sunset Sound which I completely understand. He asked me the name of my blog and brought it up in his iPad. He took the time to check it out and ask me a few questions. He suggested maybe with a heads up next time I was in LA he could do something for me. I thanked him for his time and went on my way. 

I am noticing a slight difference in the name. My sources have it listed as, "Village Recorders" and now the name is, "Village Studios". I wonder when the name changed and why.

11272 Santa Monica Blvd, West LA
This is the former location of the Lucky U, a UCLA days eatery.

Hollywood/West Hollywood/Fairfax

1441 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood
This is where, "Waiting for the Sun", was recorded.

8512 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood

This is what the stairs looked like back in 1968. On this trip, the stairs are now enclosed and closed off. If you look closely, it is the black square to the left of the brown wooden pole. No chance to get to them. Damn!

947 N. La Cienega, West Hollywood
Suite K was where Jim edited his film, HYW. I went to the door and knocked. No answer. I started to walk away when a woman on the phone opened the door. I wanted to ask her if I could enter the room, but she cut me off saying she was on the phone, then she closed the door. So close! I could not wait for her to get off the phone because my stomach gave me a subtle reminder that it was lunch time.

419 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax
This is a famous eatery in LA. Canter's has been around since 1931 and is open 24 hours a day. I included in my tour because, I was hungry and it was popular with the rock-and-rollers of the 60's. After you finished your gig this was the place to eat and be seen.

As much as I throughly enjoy visiting the sites of my all-time favorite band, my quest is hampered by two challenges, time and distance.

The locations are spread out throughout the metropolis that is known as Los Angeles. Being based in Hollywood does not help. Just to get to Venice, it took me 50 minutes by the Metro to get to Culver City, then a 20 minute bus ride that eventually dropped me off near Brooks Ave. Then I hit spots between Brooks to Santa Monica Blvd, another 30 minutes. Then another bus to the 11000 block of Santa Monica Blvd to check out Lucky U and Village Recorder. Finally a 15 minute taxi ride to Culver City where I had another 50 minute Metro ride back to Hollywood. I wanted to check out Lookout Mountain Ave in Laurel Canyon and The Topanga Corral in Topanga Canyon. Unfortunately, Lookout Mountain is 5 miles away and The Topanga Corral is 24 miles away from where I was staying. These locations would require a rental car or a very expensive taxi ride. I walk to as many locations as humanly possible.

My visit to LA is not primarily to research The Doors. I attend the Turner Classic Movie Film Festival. That is why I am based out of Hollywood. I purchase an expensive pass to see classic movies on the big screen and attend once-in-a-lifetime events. So I need to be at a certain place by a certain time. This makes the time I have to visit Door sites very very limited. That is why I could not take more time to figure out the Fraser Street location. I was also in the vicinity of 14 Westminster Ave., but was too pressed for time to visit. The Laurel and Topanga Canyon sites continue to elude me. I would also like to visit Fairhaven Cemetery in Santa Ana to see where Pam Courson is interred.

I consulted the my usual sources and came up with more locations for next year. They are The Sea Witch, The Warner Playhouse, Brave New World, and 1403 N. Laurel Ave. These locations are not too far apart.

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