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Arts and Entertainment

Classic Old Signs

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I'm not a sign maker, so maybe what I'm about to say is simplistic or misguided. But the old, classic neon scripted signs that decorate so many pre-WWII buildings are remarakably elegant....and don't look all that difficult to replicate.

"Chinese" "Cinegrill" "Roosevelt"...all these electric signs instantly give an identity that is historical, regional and aesthetic. Part of what makes them so magical is that they also defer, ever so politely, to the buildings on which they are placed. The grotesquely huge marquees of modern Las Vegas or Times Square do not reside on buildings...they overwhelm them.

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In order to properly appreciate a neon sign, you must have a dark midnight blue sky behind it. As Los Angeles attempts to build coherant walking districts around public transportation, the new signage that will adorn these areas should incorporate the best of the old designs that make LA LA.

photos by Rebecca-James

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