Written by MilwVon on 08 Dec, 2010
Hollywood is a very eclectic and rather bizarre place. As our bus turned the corner onto Hollywood Blvd to head up to the street address of 6925, it was as though we had turned down a block into some foreign country or perhaps onto…Read More
Hollywood is a very eclectic and rather bizarre place. As our bus turned the corner onto Hollywood Blvd to head up to the street address of 6925, it was as though we had turned down a block into some foreign country or perhaps onto an actual movie set. Just beyond the H&H Mall, was Grauman's Chinese Theatre, a true icon in LA's rich history.Our little group of four (a couple from Dallas, a lady from Jacksonville, FL and me) got off the bus as we were led over to the Starline tour kiosk. We were like kids, in awe as a Michael Jackson impersonator pimped for photos at the Walk of Fame Star honoring the singer . . . SpongeBob Square Pants was waving to children . . . and Spiderman was posing with fans willing to pony up the $5 for the privilege of the photograph.At first, I felt a bit strange stepping on the Hollywood greats who had committed their foot and hand prints in the cement leading up to the front of the theatre. Yul Brenner and Debra Kerr's were done together in a double-wide rectangle . . . as were several other famous Hollywood co-stars.With check-in taken care of at Starline, we had a few minutes for a potty break (upstairs, second level of the H&H) and to wander around a bit. I got sidetracked by the 24 Marathon contest being held in a courtyard. A large tent had been set up and was 42 hours into the marathon. The last man (or woman) watching the epic series was to win $10,000. We were told there were just 18 remaining in the contest. Now I LOVED the series 24, but I'm not sure that "Jack" could have kept me awake for a couple of days without some nodding. Heck on some nights at Casa Bennett, I couldn't stay awake for a single hour episode.Out on Hollywood Blvd, I walked several blocks to see what famous stars I could find along the sidewalk. Marilyn Monroe, Billy Crystal, Christina Aguilera and Jackie Chan were just a few that caught my eye. It did leave me pondering whether or not Bruce Springsteen had a star, and if so, where I might find it. Unfortunately, I didn't see it so I'll have to look it up on Google or something to find out.From Hollywood Blvd the next major Los Angeles attraction is probably the Sunset Strip. Some very historical venues are found there including the fictitious "77 Sunset Strip" which was memorialized into the sidewalk in front of a rather unassuming office building. The Comedy Store with the hundreds of autographs around the building's black siding was very interesting. Comedy stars including Arsenio Hall and Jay Leno have performed there and signed the building.Also on "the strip" is Whisky a Go-Go, known for the performances of Jim Morrison & the Doors, Buffalo Springfield, The Animals and The Allman Brothers as well as many other rock groups.More tragically, the Viper Room where River Phoenix died outside on the front sidewalk and the Chateau Marmont that saw the demise of John Belushi are also located in this area of Hollywood.Beyond Hollywood is Beverly Hills . . . 90201. HA! If you couldn't smell the money, you certainly could see it everywhere around you, especially in the expensive high end luxury cars. During our Movie Stars' Home Tour, our driver pointed out several $300-$500k automobiles. Mostly low riding two seater sports cars like BMW's, Mercedes, and other makes I had never heard of.As we drove down Rodeo Drive, what struck me the most was that it was primarily a residential area. That is, until you ended up at the final mile or so where the stores that make Beverly Hills famous are. We also drove by the Wilshire Hotel, where the movie Pretty Woman was filmed. It was pretty funny that a woman was entering the front of the hotel as we drove past and she really even looked like Julia Roberts from behind . . . just like a scene from the movie.There is certainly enough to keep you busy and entertained as you drive around Hollywood. I wish I had more time than just the short afternoon, but I'm also glad I opted to do my visit with a small group from San Diego. I do not think this would be a place I would feel very comfortable venturing out on my own, and especially at night. I do wish there had been enough time to actually get out and walk around Beverly Hills but alas, that will be something for a future trip.Close
Written by PhotoSafariDude on 12 Feb, 2008
California Drivers....Leave your car behind ...I am a 15 year resident of Southern California after having lived in San Francisco ( 5 years ) & Los Angeles ( 3 years ),I can saythe Amtrak California Surfliner is the best stress free experience.What you can do…Read More
California Drivers....Leave your car behind ...I am a 15 year resident of Southern California after having lived in San Francisco ( 5 years ) & Los Angeles ( 3 years ),I can saythe Amtrak California Surfliner is the best stress free experience.What you can do in the train that you can't do white driving - Catch up on homework, write the Great American novel, chat with your friends while sipping your cappucino, catch a nap.For the cost of less than $ 70 per day ( coming from San Diego ), I was able to hang out in downtown Los Angeles & Hollywood for the day. It took less than 2-1/2 hours to get to the Union Station from dwntown San Diego and take the Metro( $ 5 all day ). At Pershing Square Stop on the red line is a cool Wifi place, Los Souls Cafe that sells gelato and great sandwiches.Attracts a lot of young people and artistic types.They have live bands on weekends.A second cool coffee shop is the Audrey Cafe on Hollywood Blvd. and Highland. Quiet atmosphere in an Art Deco Building.Great service. A quick walk to Chinese Mann Theater.I enjoyed the street performers, the young break dancers, the gold metallic man, the drummer.The ride on the Metro Red Line was fast except for a certain smell on one of the rail cars. The Metro substation has really nice local artwork. Its not exactly as efficient or confusing as the New York subway.Lots of people from all cultures ride the Metro. Like I said, it ain't New York where even well to do people ride the subway. Not Donald Trump though.Close
Written by gsingh on 02 Aug, 2001
A long time ago--long before rock 'n' roll--there existed the phenomenon of the circus-side show. Traveling freak shows crisscrossed the countryside showcasing all sorts of peculiar acts and bizarre human oddities. Somewhere in the course of inhuman events, the sideshow disappeared from mainstream culture until…Read More
A long time ago--long before rock 'n' roll--there existed the phenomenon of the circus-side show. Traveling freak shows crisscrossed the countryside showcasing all sorts of peculiar acts and bizarre human oddities. Somewhere in the course of inhuman events, the sideshow disappeared from mainstream culture until Jim Rose came along in the early 1990's and revived the idea. He put the feelers out, scoured the bowels of society and put together his own assemblage of freaks. After a few years of touring to excess, his conglomeration of freaks wound up as a main act on the Lollapalooza tour.
Nowadays we live in a time of overdone epic sagas filled with ridiculous, in-your-face, eye-candy special effects and most people don’t get a chance to see good old fashioned side-show entertainment.
Billed as "an array of acts including weird science, electrical stunts, mythical monstrosities, and a liaison with the exotic and erotic," the Girly Freak Show came to California in late June. I saw the show in San Jose on Thursday the 29th and had a splendid time chewing fat with the performers. The next day I drove to L.A. to stay at Buky House Bed & Breakfast and it turned out that the same show was at the Key Club in Hollywood on Friday night. The tour manager recognized me from the San Jose show and got me in for free, which saved me twelve dollars. (Which I subsequently spent on two Heinekens.)
Comprised of three girls and one male, The Girly Freak Show featured: Slymenstra Hymen, the fire-slinging wizardress from the gore-metal band GWAR; Zamora the Torture King (Tim Cridland) from the Jim Rose Circus Side Show; a trapeze artist/contortionist girl whose name I forget; and an eye-patch-toting temptress named Reina Terror, who usually does her own solo freak show in New York.
After the opening bit with Slymenstra performing as the "cannibal stripper," Reina did her "fire dance" with a few small torches. She inhaled the fire a few times and spit it back out. Nothing like good old-fashioned fire eating.
Next were the pussywhipping cowgirls. Slymenstra stood there with a long whip while the Torture King held up a page from a newspaper. With a crack of the whip, she was able to slice the newspaper exactly in half. And then in half again, and again, and again. What a talent! Next, Reina stood with a lit cigarette in her mouth while Slymenstra whipped out the cigarette from twenty feet away.
After some more fire eating by the Torture King, Reina came back, decked out in a sultry red outfit while she hammered a nail up her nose and then pulled it back out.
Next, she took a skinny necklace, sniffed half of it up her nose and then pulled it out her mouth. One end of the necklace was hanging out her nose and the other end was hanging out her mouth. With one hand on each end of the necklace, she pulled it back and forth, as if she was flossing out her insides. Wonderful stuff.
Another girl, whose name I can't recall--it was something like Ooh-lah--came out and did a splendid trapeze act followed by yoga-type contortionist maneuvers. Man, this gal could probably twist her body into a freakin' pretzel if she wanted to! Then she lay down on a bed of nails while Slymenstra smashed a concrete block on her stomach.
Reina appeared on the stage again, wearing nothing but baby panties while the Torture King threw darts right into her back. Actually, they weren't darts, Reina told me after the show -- they were homemade piercing needles that were converted into darts. These particular needles make a different type of cut than regular darts do, so she ended up bleeding all over the stage, which made the show even better. This act was titled, "The Human Dartboard."
Other bits included Reina walking barefoot on broken glass, the Torture King placing a burning hot steel rod onto his tongue, and Slymenstra eating crickets and igniting light bulbs with her tongue.
The show finished off with the Torture King doing what he's known best for: shoving 12-inch steel needles through his face and arms. What a sight! A 12 inch needle straight through his bicep. And another one straight through the inside of his mouth and sticking out from the bottom of his chin. I ran out of film at this point, but if you want to see some quality photos of this, and I absolutely recommend it, go here.
If you happen to be a jaded bastard like myself, a good portion of the program might seem to be run-of-the-mill freak show fare, but all in all, it was an outstanding variety show involving several hilarious costumes and rotating performers. A sufficient alternative to all the boring watered-down, Hallmark Card entertainment we're usually subjected to.
The parts 2, 3, 4 of this journal entry are mostly just to show you more pictures, since we're only allowed four shots per entry. Please read on!!
Written by VickiFunes on 31 Jul, 2005
What would Hollywood be without its famous "HOLLYWOOD" sign? It would seem like something was missing! Even though it is truly a permanent fixture nowadays, it began as just a real-estate advertising gimmick. In the 1920s, when this section of Los Angeles…Read More
What would Hollywood be without its famous "HOLLYWOOD" sign? It would seem like something was missing! Even though it is truly a permanent fixture nowadays, it began as just a real-estate advertising gimmick. In the 1920s, when this section of Los Angeles was being developed, the real estate developers erected a sign steering people towards the new construction site, like most developers still do---but what a sign this particular one was! The letters were 50 feet high and 30 feet across! Its goal was not to advertise the town of Hollywood, but rather, the real estate being sold there, so the sign DIDN'T say just "Hollywood." It read "HOLLYWOODLAND," just like the name of the development. Well, of course, the developing period wound down, and the developer just abandoned its maintenance of the sign. For a decade, it sat abandoned. Finally, in 1949, one of the letters blew down, and the people of Hollywood realized just how much they'd grown attached to their funky local monument. It was restored, this time just as the word "Hollywood," and the rest is history.
You can see the sign from a number of places in town. If you're at the Hollywood & Highland Center, it can be seen from the upper levels. I like to drive up Beechwood Canyon Drive--that's where my photo of the sign below was taken. (Note: The hill around the sign will be green only during the rainy season, winter through early spring. The rest of the year it's brownish.) You can't drive up to the sign or even WALK up to it, because that's forbidden. (Warning: enforcement by security cameras!) But there are other historical things to see in this area. You can see the "gates" of Hollywoodland and the Hollywoodland Realty Co. office. You can admire the old-fashioned architecture. The homes built during the early days are distinctly different from the more modern ones. The older homes have more rounded features and almost remind me of the illustrations seen in fairy-tale books.
Receiving between 2 and 4 million tourist visits per year (depending on your source of info), Graumann's Chinese Theater is undoubtedly the USA's most famous theater. Heck, maybe it's the WORLD'S most famous movie house! Though it's perhaps most famous for the hand…Read More
Receiving between 2 and 4 million tourist visits per year (depending on your source of info), Graumann's Chinese Theater is undoubtedly the USA's most famous theater. Heck, maybe it's the WORLD'S most famous movie house! Though it's perhaps most famous for the hand and footprints of celebrities, you can indeed watch a movie here. And it won't cost you any more to see a movie here than anywhere else in the area, either.
Graumann's Chinese was built by Sid Graumann in 1927. It opened with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's "King of Kings." Many other movie premiers have been held here, including the classic "Wizard of Oz" in 1939. The addition of the footprints-in-the-cement was an accident. Silent film star Norma Talmadge unknowingly stepped into some wet cement at the new theater, and a tradition was born.
Graumann's Chinese is not Sid Graumann's only grand theater on Hollywood Boulevard, however. His earlier theater, "The Egyptian," which opened in 1922, has been painstakingly restored and reigns again in its original glory. Inspired by the discovery of King Tut's tomb in the early '20s, the outdoor courtyard features interesting and beautiful hieroglyphic murals. It is the home of the movie-preservationist group American Cinematheque. You can view a showing of their scheduled movie, or you can see the special tourist movie "Forever Hollywood," which chronicles the history of the Hollywood movie industry. Showings are every Saturday and Sunday at 2 and at 3:30pm.
Still another grand theater in which Sid Graumann had a hand is the magnificently restored El Capitan Theater, across the street from the new Hollywood & Highland Center. Disney premiers its films here, generally along with an accompanying stage show, animation exhibit, or children's fun house as an added treat. The public loves Disney's screenings at the El Capitan--this theater is the highest-grossing single-screen theater in America! It's open daily, and ticket prices range from $9.50 to $20.
Down the street from the El Capitan, you can find another legendary theater, The Pantages. The Pantages is a theater for live stage productions these days, but it originally opened as a movie theater in 1930 by Alexander Pantages. One of its big claims to fame was hosting the Academy Awards here for many years. The Pantages has been remodeled a number of times throughout its long history, but the latest and most glorious remodeling was done for the 2002 live production of "The Lion King." Every effort was made to return the theater to its original splendor, and in addition, technical upgrades were made. For example, the stage was given hydraulic lifts so that "The Lion King" production could make its needed special effects. Visiting any one of these four special theaters will enhance your Hollywood trip--the problem would be how to choose just one! You may just have to drop by them all!
One of your favorite musicians has performed at the Hollywood Bowl. How can I say that--I don't even know you! Because this preeminent venue has hosted so many of the world's top artists, that surely one of your favorites has been among them.
One of your favorite musicians has performed at the Hollywood Bowl. How can I say that--I don't even know you! Because this preeminent venue has hosted so many of the world's top artists, that surely one of your favorites has been among them.
Though the Hollywood Bowl is world-famous for its concerts, perhaps the best time to see and enjoy the Hollywood Bowl is when it's empty. There is a special joy in beholding this very special place in solitude. You can tour the Bowl and the grounds free-of-charge when there's no concert scheduled. If you've never seen it, I'd highly recommend that you go.
Everything about the Hollywood Bowl is extraordinary. The architecture, of course, is a delight to behold. The grounds around the structure are surprisingly green and lush. Some of the other buildings in the complex, such as the box office, have a compelling style of their own. Still, it may be what you CAN'T see that's most impressive of all. It's the "ghosts." It's sitting on an empty bench and letting your mind rove back to the ‘60s to the Beatle's concert. Or back to the ‘20s, imagining the concert-goers arriving in their flivvers, the ladies decked out in their finest flapper regalia. Whatever decade you'd choose to imagine, the best and most talented members of the musical world would have been here.
Would you like to know just who's been on the Bowl's stage? Drop into the Hollywood Bowl museum, also here on the grounds. You'll find not only the answer to your question, but discover the answers to questions you've never conceived about the Bowl. Best of all, the museum is free!
When I lived in L.A., my guests would frequently complain that Hollywood seemed like a letdown to them. When they came from other parts of the country, they expected to see the glamorous Hollywood of their dreams, but found a down-on-its-luck, cheesy tourist trap…Read More
When I lived in L.A., my guests would frequently complain that Hollywood seemed like a letdown to them. When they came from other parts of the country, they expected to see the glamorous Hollywood of their dreams, but found a down-on-its-luck, cheesy tourist trap instead. In my opinion, the still-new Kodak Theater changes the visitor's entire Hollywood Boulevard experience. No, a visitor still isn't going to see movie stars hanging out on Hollywood Boulevard. Yet, it's now unmistakable that something very special happens here. The Academy Awards occurs no other place. And, the Academy Awards are indeed very special. The very movie stars and directors that we movie-goers "worship" crave the attention of the Academy. The rich and the famous enter this building humble and hopeful for recognition. More or less then, this very building is the brick-and-mortar symbol of the dreams and the aspirations of our nation's movie-makers and stars.
You can experience the aura of this building, too. You can enter where the movie stars enter, you can see what they see, and you can step where they step. You can pretend for a moment what it would be like if you, yourself, were on your way to the Oscars ceremony, wondering if you'll win or if you'll be an "also-ran." If you imagine hard enough, you can almost feel the tension that the contenders must feel.
Even if you're not "into" imagining, seeing the building is a great experience. It's beautiful. It has an inlaid, permanent red "carpet." It's adorned with the names of each year's Best Picture winners. And, best of all, it's free to just look around the outer areas. Or you can pay $15 for the behind-the-scenes tour. Or you can attend an event at the theater. No matter how you see it, it's worth the trip. Plus, it's at the heart of the Hollywood Boulevard tourist area, and you can easily walk to other famous sights, such as the Graumann's Chinese Theater, the El Capitan Theater (where Disney holds its movie premiers), the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Wax Museum, Ripley's Believe It or Not "Odditorium," and more.
Written by TravelQueen2001 on 09 Mar, 2001
A fun thing to do in Hollywood is to walk around the Hollywood Hills and look at houses, plants, and the Hollywood sign from the distance, among other things. There are gorgeous homes around here, and they get more impressive as you make your way…Read More
A fun thing to do in Hollywood is to walk around the Hollywood Hills and look at houses, plants, and the Hollywood sign from the distance, among other things. There are gorgeous homes around here, and they get more impressive as you make your way up the hill to Hollywoodland. Hollywoodland was a big housing development in the 1920s, and the Hollywood sign (which actually said "HOLLYWOODLAND" at the time, but has lost the last four latter since) was used to promote the venture. Famous actors such as Humphrey Bogart used to live in the hills around here. So what you should do is if you're around Hollywood Blvd doing touristy things, say you're at the Mann's Chinese theater looking at Marilyn's dainty footprints. You should now walk east to Gower St, make a left (going uphill) and walk to Franklin St. Make a right on Franklin and then a left on Beachwood Canyon. If you look north at this point (and this is the direction you are going now, north and uphill) you'll have a GREAT VIEW of the Hollywood sign. Walk up Beachwood -- it's a nice street. You can also take some of the smaller and quieter side streets, there's beautiful houses and plants -- tons of flowers! As you walk north, there will be fewer apartment buidings and more houses, and the houses will get bigger. When you reach the beginning of Hollywoodland, you'll know because there are big stone pillars on each side of Beachwood that say Hollywoodland. Take a break here, on your right there's the Hollywoodland Cafe, a nice old-fashioned breakfast spot with great french toast. After your break, keep walking north for some breathtaking views of houses. It's so quiet here you'll forget you're in a big city. Close
Written by donnajo on 28 Aug, 2000
Curious? Well, this is a suggestion for those of you who are looking to spend a relaxing day in a rather bohemian atmosphere. Across the street from the Church of Scientology, on Franklin Ave. Between Bronson and Beachwood Street, at the foot of the Hollywood…Read More
Curious? Well, this is a suggestion for those of you who are looking to spend a relaxing day in a rather bohemian atmosphere. Across the street from the Church of Scientology, on Franklin Ave. Between Bronson and Beachwood Street, at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, lies a trendy little unassuming strip that can cater to whatever needs you have, at whatever time of day it happens to be. At the west end of this block, you'll find a lovely little newsstand/gift shop. If you want to relax, and read while you're here, you should give it a shot. Next, may I suggest walking next door to the Bourgeouis Pig (a.k.a. 'The Pig' to locals), a lovely little coffee shop complete with an interior design concept you're never going to see again, and two pool tables in the back, in case you get tired of reading. When you start to feel the pangs of huger, simply walk next door to Birds, a rotisserie restaurant with great chicken dishes. Here, you'll want to sit on the patio, and people-watch, because even if you're not into that type of thing, you're liable to see Vince Vaughan, or any number of celebs who frequent this area. (Remember, you're right across the street from the Church of Scientology) Once you're done with lunch, you may choose to cruise a few doors down to Espiritu, a lovely little gift shop, which features imports from all over the world, mainly the Eastern Hemisphere. You'll especially want to stop here if you're running low on Nag Champa, or you're looking for the perfect piece of earthy jewelry to complete your new outfit. You could also visit the used book and music store while you're here. Whatever it is that you haven't been able to find on vinyl, or at your local bookstore, could very easily be lurking on one of these shelves. When night falls, and you're ready for dinner, you have two choices. French, or Sushi. La Poubelle is the french restaurant, and even if you opt for the sushi, I have to reccommend stopping by La Poubelle for an after dinner drink. All in all, it should be a pleasant day full of interesting people and places. Do relax, and enjoy your stay.Close
Written by El Gallo on 08 Sep, 2000
Okay, it's 'Mann's Chinese Theater, now, but it's still the ultimate pagoda, sitting there un-selfconscious of it's preposterous glitz. You can take in a film there, just to be able to drop the fact in conversation back home, or if you're too cheap to…Read More
Okay, it's 'Mann's Chinese Theater, now, but it's still the ultimate pagoda, sitting there un-selfconscious of it's preposterous glitz. You can take in a film there, just to be able to drop the fact in conversation back home, or if you're too cheap to buy a ticket, just mooch around the courtyard and check out the most famous footprints on earth.
The story has it that Norma Talmadge accidently stepped in wet cement while attending the 1927 premiere of De Mille's 'King of Kings', but you know what stories are worth in Hollywood. At any rate there are now over 160 prints enshrined in the cortyard. And if you get tired of feet and hands, start looking for the odd ones, like Jimmy Durante's 'schnozzola', Whoopi's dreadlocks, Betty Grable's legs, and your occasional butt-print or tit-print.Close