Rev. Warlock DRACONIS BLACKTHORNE (dblackthorne) wrote,

Laurel Plaza

On this wonderfully rainy night, it has come to My attention that some of the haunts so frequented by the dracling have been largely abandoned since last visitation. I have noticed an interesting and strange dynamic that those places I have relocated from strangely end up abandoned upon departure. Like steadfast establishments just seemingly dry up and vanish.

This Laurel Plaza area in the San Fernando Valley {a three-block expanse from Victory Blvd. to Vanowen St. on Laurel Canyon Blvd.} was host to a beauty salon the Mother of All Satans was employed at, an elegant establishment which saw a steady clientele of golden era celebrities - now that entire section is occupied by buildings, where the thoroughfare is entirely blocked.

I knew every nook and cranny of this area, the hidden little walkways, the shortcuts, the backways, the alleys, the hidden little shops where instead of gong to some huge impersonal chain, you could get exactly what you needed and wanted with greater quality at one of these...

  • Borrelli's Hair Curl Beauty Salon: We moved to the San Gabriel Valley shortly after the owner was arrested for propositioning an undercover officer for homosexual relations outside a gay club for money - he also happened to be the Principal at a Catholic High School. I spent many hours in the back break room playing with My plethora of action figures, wherein I created My own scenarios and sound effects to the point where people thought that there was a television back there. I remember the table containing sutures on the surface, securely keeping the cover on, the hairspray & smoke-filled air, and the Reader's Digests perpetually available for reading abouts in there. When first arrived, it was owned by some grumpy old lady whom I accidentally caught using the toilet, since it was her peculiar habit to leave the door open - her fault! She despised children anyway, but it seems that this a catylist to change management to the Borelli's, which then upgraded its operation exponentially in aesthetics and clientele.
  • The See's Candy shoppe: There I would frequent several times a week for treats. Unmistakable are the sights, smells, and sounds of this charming place. The checkerboard floors, the smell of candy confections filling the air, that certain bell upon entering. Fortunately, there are other See's candy stores about, but this one held a special appreciation.
  • The burger joint around the corner accessed via an alleyway where I would enjoy several times a week as well, owned by Middle-Eastern fellows. i always had their biggest cheeseburger, fries, and shake, which one could watch them prepare, with one's appetite growing as the olfactory presence grew.
  • Hughes Market {A.K.A., "Market Basket"}: I was a veritable "cart boy" here, bringing in extensive numbers of carts back to the store for something called "blue chip stamps", which were spit out of a machine according to the amount of carts retrieved. Marvelous idea overall. Being a big boy, sometimes I could push in several hundred per session. Once, there was a hotdog stand set up outside in the parking lot, where one could trade in these 'stamps' for hot dogs and pepsi - apparently, I did this so extensively that I was told to please leave that I was eating up all their supplies! However, these of course were much appreciated by my mother. These were earned, not dispensed freely, and were beneficial both physically and monetarily.
    Later on, I also acquired some Heavy Metal magazines from here from time to time when spotted in the magazine shelves by the door, including 'Metal Edge', Circus, and 'Kerrang!'.
    Hughes Market was eventually replaced by a Ralphs, then relocated to Pasadena as a "How's", though the name Hughes is still included as "A Hugh's Grocer". Just keep the original name.
  • The barber shop next door I was sent to on occasion for whatever reason, instead of getting a cut at the beauty salon {perhaps deemed too feminine, or something}: Traditional barber shop complete with barber pole out front.
  • The UA Theater, replaced by a Regency. Still there, but just renamed.
  • Thrifty's {now known as Rite Aid} across the street from there, replaced by "Anna's Linens", a fabric store. JC Penny's next to that, May Company next to that {now Macy's}, and Sear's further down. Love the ice cream cones; always acquired a triple-decker of rocky road, strawberry, and vanilla. Some of these establishments still have the ice cream nooks inside the stores.
  • Woolworth's Dept. Store: Where I would sometimes eat at the indoor diner therein, usually some sort of cheese melt sandwich, watch cartoons, and acquired several great action figures, including an 18" Darth Vader, and an 18" Boba Fett, and My Darth Vader costume from Cooper. I recall once asking an attendant if they had any monster action figures, which they did not, after having viewed Mad Monster Party once. Of course, I have since collected several classic monsters, just like I had envisioned.dracling_hollywood
  • Earl's Toys: I was employed at for a short time passing out fliers for My choice of items therein: There were many toys not available in other places, even Toys 'R' Us stores {although that's where I acquired My Shogun Warriors}, available here, like collector's items. It was here that I acquired a plethora of Mego action figures, such as Batman, Robin, Batgirl, The Batmobile, The Flash, The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, Captain Marvel {Shazam!}, Star Trek figures {and a rare battery-operated phaser by Remco}, Superman {18"}, and I seem to recall even a remote-controlled K.I.T.T.! I can totally see this place in My mind, right now, including the large assortment of army soldiers and dinosaurs set up therein in an aisle.
  • The Auditory Odyssey record store apparently became an appropriately named 'Dementia' smoke shop. Amusingly, there is now a "5150 Tattoo Shop", the legal code for insanity, or "non compos mentis" next door. The memorable sign featured an alluring dark beauty standing before the moon with a black horse. I acquired several favorite records there, including all of My Heavy Metal albums, until the relocation yielded a subsequent interest in Black Metal, where I acquired those later on at Rhino Records, The Private Eye, & Tower Records. The last record I purchased there was Iron Maiden's "Live After Death".
  • The Licorice Pizza music store down the street on Victory Blvd. replaced by an optometrist office. Of course, Victory Blvd. Elementary school is still there, looking basically the same.
  • The distinctive Wells Fargo building with its roof extensions that look like handles, from whence proceeds the sounds of a bell playing the haunting Big Ben theme every hour on the hour followed by its numerical tone.
  • Laurel Plaza {A.K.A., "Valley Plaza"} itself, an early & better version of a 'mall', better known as a 'shopping center', where small businesses were congregated underneath one roof, still maintaining a personal touch, almost like a little township in itself, not a tasteless uniform contagion of replication. There was the Ice Capades Chalet where I took some Hockey classes, also enjoying the ice skating by pretty girls - it was also a very welcomed place to receive relief from the remmus heat. Just outside, an Orange Julius {featuring their trademark demon} stand where I acquired one every time I passed it.

What may have contributed to its degradation may have been influenced by the infamous North Hollywood Shootout, perhaps terrifying so many people, that the area became somewhat blighted, and the Northridge Earthquake.

What I do not appreciate are the money-based judgements of those who do not even necessarily live here, or are virtual strangers to the history making decisions about its architecture and preservation. These locations should be preserved and brought to new condition, not torn down and replaced by awful eyesores, thus preserving the charm and character.

I imagine a Vampire walking the streets in remembrance of events in his/her existence, reminiscing of a past love, township, the memories of immortality's reward. This tends to be more the case in American society, perhaps with its transitory consumerist culture, rather than in European cultures, where generations of families preserve the family business more frequently, where structures are fixed, repaired, not replaced, where one could return to certain natural and cultivated environments, which remain essentially the same, experienced indefinitely unto timelessness.

At this time, Laurel/Valley Plaza is a virtual ghost town, and in a parallel dimension of the mind, the Dracling dwells therein, and it is a pleasure to experience - it will be fascinating to watch its recreation. This only encompasses a small section of haunts. Fortunately, there are plenty of other evocative places thriving, which are indulged in at leisure. ∞


* North Hollywood.
* Devin Black Haunts.
* Demon Of The Valley. Dracumentary segment.

Tags: autobiography, biogaphy, black earth, dracling, dracumentary, evocation, infernal progeny

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