Tuesday, October 02, 2007


The towers in downtown Los Angeles that used to be the Arco Plaza back when the Atlantic-Richfield Company was the name on the building are now the City National Plaza.

Regardless of the name, the erstwhile Arco Plaza is what was used by the producers of Heroes as the location for "Kirby Plaza" (a fictional New York place where the climax of the first season transpires). There's a distinct large sculpture in the middle of the open area between the towers (called "Double Staircase") that immediately identifies the actual location as downtown L.A. rather than N.Y.C. to anyone familiar with it. (The California state flag is kind of a giveaway in the shot below.)

In seven and a half years of walking past it, I had never taken any pictures of it. Obviously I've photographed a number of downtown locales over the years, but not there. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it seemed too obvious.

(While I do not consider myself to be in any way groundbreaking in my photography, nor am I above shooting sites that have been done by others before (as this clearly has), but what inspires me is finding some different angle (either literally or figuratively).)

Back in June, just after the first season of Heroes concluded, on my walk back from lunch my path took me right next to the art piece, and the mid-afternoon sun reflected off the north tower on to the piece at an angle opposite that of the actual sun. And as we've seen in the past, that sort of thing intrigues me, so I snapped a few pics. They turned out semi-okay. (Two of which are included here. "Semi-okay.")

As I continued back to the office it occurred to me that the shots could be "marketed" as being the actual site where Hiro ran his katana through Sylar (not that the "running through" was actual, of course) to fans of the program. However, that would tacitly be could be construed as trying to pass myself off as a geek, and that I dare not do.

(And of course, the inspiration sat idle for months, until the fall season debuted. Very un-geek-like.)


It's not that I consider "geek" to be a shameful designation. Quite the contrary: I would not wish to denigrate the term by even implicitly identifying myself as such. While I have certain traits that are associated with geeks (working with computers, having read comic books, watching a show like Heroes, for instance), I do not consider the level of voluntary involvement with these things to be sufficient to qualify for geek-ness (geekitude? geekosity?). I am too much of a dilettante in these areas to warrant such a designation; it would not be fair to the true geeks.

I am completely sincere when I seek to protect the integrity of the term "geek" by not assigning it to myself. Frankly, were I a geek I would undoubtedly make a lot more in my field of employment than I do; I'd actually like computers rather than merely put up with them for my job. I would do infinitely better at Trivial Pursuit. I would not find the message boards on the Battlestar Galactica website to be confusing. I would fit in.

It's not that I completely fail to fit in, on some levels; I can identify that the music the cantina band plays changed from the original 1977 release of Star Wars to the 1997 re-release, but I can't tell you what the names of the band members were. Ultimately, however, it comes down to this: True geeks would see through me if I purported myself as one of them.

It's not that membership was sought back when the "club" started but those who consider themselves part of it do not allow just anyone in the circle. There is no faking it; either you have the tendencies and knowledge and desires to be a geek or you don't.

And I don't. (I just play one on TV.)


  1. ...didn't know the name of the sculpture, but I assumed they used the setting because it looked the like a molecule...the start of a double-helix.

    geek love united.

  2. As a self-proclaimed member of the club, I would gladly nominate you for an honorary doctorate in "geek-itude" if it were in my power (and if there was, in fact, an honorary doctorate in geek-itude to be granted). Until we achieve that level of sophistication, please enjoy the lovely parting gifts...


So, what do you think?