Billiken, 1600 Washington Blvd.

October 9, 2009

I’ve been obsessed with this little guy ever since I used to live in a nearby building. Today, I remembered that I was about to drive past on the way back from getting some paint, so I whipped out the Leica and grabbed a few shots at the stoplight.

Hard to believe he’s survived all this time, but his inacessibility (he’s about 12 feet off the sidewalk) might have something to do with it. Notice also that when the building was earthquake retrofitted, they made a nice u-shaped brace to go around his little alcove, instead of just destroying it in the name of expediency.

L.A. is a place where you can find magic and oddness, but you have to be patient and wait for it to come out of hiding, into the light. You always get rewarded with stuff like this.

Oh, and what’s a billiken? Glad you asked.


  1. Sweet jeebus. After pondering the context of your photos and the guts of the article, I’m going to need another cup of joe to deal with the new wrinkle that just creased my brain. From Kansas to Nome to L.A.; from commercial swag to fetish to ensconced brick-dweller? Fuuuuug.

  2. isnt that interesting.. I wonder who he is?

  3. the unfortunate nature of living in a city such as Vancouver is that nothing remains over any great span of time. it’s a young city – keen on demolition & rebuilding. history, even recent history, crumbles under gentrification & the latest & greatest. it’s also a city with a transient nature – people stay a few years then move on – leaving mediocrity and barely a whisper of culture behind. LA is a wonderful place and your fortunate to have it at your fingertips to discover gems such as this. LA is a really cool curiosity shop… Vancouver is IKEA. thanks for sharing this.

  4. What a wonderful little discovery! Looks like there may be a bird nesting behind him… god of interspecies good luck, even.

  5. Right ON, Coop!

  6. This is the kind of stuff that I missed when you took a hiatus from blogging! What an awesome thing.

    BTW, I look forward to more garage sale/flea market treasures, hot rods, rusty old tools, and the rest!

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