Posted by: Brad Nixon | December 17, 2011

Exhibitionists

I’m not a shy person, as those of you who know me are already aware. There’s a certain degree of presumption — pretentiousness? posturing? — in assuming that a self-published blog will find any audience at all.

Some of my favorite aspects of the work I do are also not small or retiring. As an example, here’s the big projection screen at a conference last summer (click on images for larger view):

The Big Screen

A single, brilliant image 105 feet wide and 22 feet high. And a sound and lighting system on a scale to match. And we could put multiple images inside the main image, as a sort of super-sized version of the picture-in-picture function of your TV. That is about as good as it gets for big excitement in my biz.

This town — Los Angeles — is not a place for shy people, either. It’s full of bravado, swagger, self-promotion, egotism and flackery of all sorts, since — after all — it’s the center of the entertainment and promotion world (whatever New Yorkers may say to the contrary). This is the town that owns the reality TV business and the even wider world of celebrities who are famous simply for being famous (or notorious). Thanks to the miracles of TV, movies and the Internet, we all reap their myriad benefits.

As a result, there are plenty of places to go around here to witness the excess of display. Take, for instance, Beverly Hills. Wealth unimaginable, and, to provide a place to spend your limitless wealth (or watch others do it), B.H. has Rodeo Drive.

6227 Rodeo Dr sign Beverly Hills

I was in that part of town a few months ago and caught one photo that does, perhaps, convey a thousand or so words’ worth of this notion. There are numerous big-name design, couture and style houses with storefronts there on the Drive. One of them, named after the designer himself, is perpetually touting itself with large billboards in various highly traveled corridors around the west side of the city. So, you’re a designer, and you want to put your mark on something eye-catching, with the appropriate upscale cachet that places you firmly in the big-spenders’ eyes? How about designing a SPECIAL EDITION of an automobile that STARTS at a million dollars before you add your special features?

Bijan's Bugatti Veyron, Beverly Hillls

Bijan’s Bugatti Veyron, Beverly Hillls

That’s a Bugatti Veyron, tricked out in its custom design, parked in front of the shop. It gets a lot of attention, as you can see from the people posing next to it. THIS SITE¬†attributes a price of $1.7 million to the car. I have no way of knowing.

There are a couple of back stories worth briefly relating. For one, this designer, Bijan Pakzad, died a couple of months before I took this photo, but the enterprise continued to display his Bugatti (and other over-the-top cars in Bijan’s collection). Secondly, someone vandalized the car in broad daylight about a month after I shot this photo, smashing one of the windows. Think about that before you park your million dollar car unattended!

Regular readers of Under Western Skies are familiar with one of the central tenets of what we cover here: that there are fascinating stories and eye-catching details in infinite supply, if one only keeps on the lookout for them. And, while one can go to the Grand Canyon or Disneyland or the edge of the crashing sea to be guaranteed a stimulating environment, I like this example of everyday wonderment on a quiet suburban street not far from our house.

Diving bell mailbox

It’s a mailbox made from some sort of underwater gear (I could have been fooled, but if that’s not a genuine piece of equipment, it’s a very convincing simulation). The houses on that street have a view westward out over the Pacific. Many people in this area, of course, actually have their business on, in or around the water, including, one assumes, this resident, since the logo on the diving bell says “Global Diving Services.” A lot of ingenuity and a fair amount of mechanical skill went into creating that mailbox (not the least challenge would be making it adhere to U.S. Postal Service regulations). Just as eye-catching as a million-dollar car and, somehow, more human-scaled.

Keep your eyes open, whenever you travel out under those western skies.

© 2013 Brad Nixon

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