HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD, Santa Monica Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills, Century City, the Chinese Theater, the Cinerama Dome, Universal Studios, Tower Records, the parking lot outside The Palace, Butterfield's, the Oscars, supermarkets, parties, strip joints, movie premieres, casting calls, department stores, discos, bars, restaurants, beggars, models, stargazers, the homeless, tourists, transvestites, extras, punk-rockers, hustlers, movie executives, prostitutes, celebrity look-alikes, strippers, Elvis impersonators, porn actors, chauffeurs, game-show contestants, cameramen, King Kong, photographers, hotel lobbies, studio lots, religious fanatics, adult bookstores, film sets, the MGM lion, celebrity auctions, the young, the old, the very rich, the destitute.
As a native of the city, I had seen all of this before. These are settings one passes through on almost a daily basis, and characters one encounters, if not on a daily basis, then at least with a regularity that eventually renders them not freaks, but in the particular landscape of Southern California, casual oddities perhaps. So it was a shock to find myself surprised and amused and touched by David Strick's collection of photographs taken in and around Hollywood during the past decade. Shocked because I had been a witness to all of the above for most of my life, and yet these characters and settings really didn't quite register. In fact they barely made a noticeable dent in my consciousness. Like a true Californian I had accepted them with the laid-back ease that is so essential to the city's mellow temperament. Surprised, amused, touched, since Strick has tackled a subject--Hollywood--whose themes have been overworked; yet his presentation is layered with such a cold, hard irony that the explicitness becomes enlightening, maybe profound.