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Posts Tagged ‘Nevada

“There is a sociology of horses, as well as a psychology”*…

 

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Clubhouse Mezzanine

 

On a cool and sunny Wednesday afternoon in December 2013, I pulled into a massive parking lot in Inglewood, California. My plan was to photograph Hollywood Park Racetrack before it closed forever. At the time, I was a portrait photographer and had spent many years capturing the subtleties of facial expressions, watching carefully how happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and surprise unfold in the muscles of the face. The work of portraiture is exhilarating but also profoundly exhausting, and I was interested in shifting my attention to buildings, particularly buildings that had been lived in and well worn. I liked the idea of working with less, and also working alone, and I was curious, too. What does a building reveal? How is a building like a face?

Growing up in Los Angeles I had spent many evenings right next door to Hollywood Park. I watched Lakers games, basketball at the summer Olympics, and countless rock concerts at The Forum. Although the neighboring track was enormous — 300 acres, a capacity of 80,000 guests — I had never paid any attention until now…

Photographer Michele Asselin spent the next several days intensively documenting Hollywood Park…

It was almost impossible to stop taking photos, but finally, on December 22, 2013, at 11:00 p.m., my hand was forced. The crowd filed out for the last time as the loudspeakers played “At Last” and “Happy Trails.” Some people were crying, some were singing, some were nonchalant. Those trying to filch a little piece of history — a sign or a doorknob — were stopped by a security guard. When the last person exited the grounds, the gates were locked. The horses were loaded into trailers in the coming weeks and moved across town or to Oklahoma, New Jersey, or Kentucky. The auctioneers sifted through what was left, and then, in 2014, Hollywood Park was razed.

After 15 days of circling the grounds, hauling my equipment from place to place, I was 12 pounds thinner and had hardly seen my kids. I had taken 25,000 photos. It would be a year before I finished sorting through them. I wondered what I had fixed in time. The end of something? Evidence of its existence? The traces of time? I tried to keep in mind what an arborist had once told me — that it’s okay to cut down a struggling tree as long as another is planted in its place. I hope that the same is true of buildings…

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Jay Cohen. Bugler.

From Asselin’s introduction to her new book, Clubhouse Turn- The Twilight of Hollywood Park Race Track.  For the full intro and more of her photos: “Say Goodbye to Hollywood Park: Photographing the Twilight of a Racetrack” and her website.

* Jane Smiley (Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and horse owner/breeder)

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As we place our bets, we might recall that it was on this date in 1931 that the state legislature in Nevada legalized casino gambling in the state.  In fact, gambling had been legal in Nevada until 1909 (by which time it was the only state with legal gambling), when an earlier instantiation of the legislature outlawed it.

(Coincidentally, it was on this date in 1942 that Alfred G. Vanderbilt and number of horse racing luminaries established the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America.)

gambling source

 

“Dinner was made for eating, not for talking”*…

 

Still, talking is, more often than not, part of the program.  How to increase the odds that the discussion will be as tasty as the dinner?  Alex Cornell has the key:

larger version here

One of the most complex social situations you will encounter is the 45 seconds that elapse while deciding where to sit for dinner at a restaurant. Your choice should appear natural, unbiased and haphazard if executed properly. Timing is everything.

These 45 seconds determine how enjoyable your next 2 hours will be. Once the pieces start to fall into place and people take their seats, your choices narrow. People sit, seemingly at random, and if you don’t take the appropriate measures, you’re inevitably stuck at the least interesting end of the table.

I have compiled the above infographic to assist you with some of the common configuration patterns…

More at “Musical Chairs.”

* William Makepeace Thackeray

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As we fiddle with our forks, we might recall that it was on this date in 1931 that tables of a different sort became the main event in Nevada, when the economic pressures of the Great Depression (and the opportunity to entertain workers arriving to build Hoover Dam) moved the state legislature to legalize gambling.  But it wasn’t until after World War II, when Bugsy Siegel decided to go (sort of) legit and took control of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, that the Land of Casinos began to glow in the way that, to this day, it does.

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Written by LW

March 19, 2013 at 1:01 am

Ocean’s Ten…

One can’t be too careful.  It’s something of a relief, then, to find Money Mumbo Jumbo’s “Ten Safes Capable of Protecting the World’s Riches“– from Fort Knox and the Doomsday Seed Vault to Karl Lagerfeld’s tres chic accessories cache.

Still, lest one rest easy, consider the Antwerp Diamond Center’s vault (pictured above):  It was considered the safest precious stone repository in the world, protected as it was by 10 layers of security– including Doppler radar, magnetic field locking system, seismic sensors, infrared detectors and a main door lock with over a 100 million possible combinations.  One can read here how it was that, nonetheless, a team of thieves made off with over $100 million worth of sparklers from the vault.

As we contemplate life in the Age of Schlage, we might recall that it was on this date in 1931 that the State of Nevada legalized most forms of gambling.  Anxious to cash in the the tourist boom that was expected to follow the (then-imminent) completion of Hoover (nee Boulder) Dam, the state legislature in effect simply legitimized what was an already-flourishing (albeit illegal) gaming industry.  (There was nothing that the State legislature could do about Prohibition, then in effect; but then, liquor was already flowing freely, if illicitly, in Nevada, as elsewhere in the U.S.)

Ever watchful for ways to attract more visitors, Nevada also eased the threshold for divorce– and became a “divorce haven.”  (Prior to the no-fault divorce revolution of the 1970s, divorces were quite difficult to obtain in other states.)

Nevada State Journal
March 20, 1931

Collect all seven!…

The Shadow asked, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”  Well, as it happens, Thomas Vought and a team of geographers from Kansas State University do, at least in the U.S.  Vought and his team first mapped transgression in the state of Nevada– “The Spatial Distribution of the Seven Deadly Sins Within Nevada”— then expanded their survey (at a county-specific level) nationwide…

Click here to see how one’s home stacks up in the other six dimensions of damnation.

As we reach for our rosaries, we might ruminate on the ways in which standards change:  it was on this date in 1970 that  Ray Davies of the Kinks travelled round-trip New York-London-New York– literally on this date, in 24 hours– to change a single word in his immortal “Lola”  (“Coca Cola” became “cherry cola”) to satisfy a ban on commercial reference by the BBC.  How quaint.

I can’t see a thing in the video
I can’t hear a sound on the radio
In stereo in the Static Age

— “The Static Age,” Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown

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