Written by aboutthatplace on 06 Jun, 2010
Ah, come on. It’s Southern California. You have to try it at least once, man. Surfing. You just have to surf. So, I will tell you what not to do the first time out on your board. I didn’t…Read More
Ah, come on. It’s Southern California. You have to try it at least once, man. Surfing. You just have to surf. So, I will tell you what not to do the first time out on your board. I didn’t take any classes. I read no books. Watched no videos. Instead, I went to a surf shop and purchased the cheapest used board they had ($100 and full of dings). Then, I went to where I knew the surfers would be, Huntington Beach, allegedly the first town built by surf.I watched the waves roll in, and how the surfers rode them. Probably for an hour or so. Then I practiced getting on the board while still on the sandy shore. I did a couple of pop-ups and tossed my board into the waves -- donning shorts and a T-shirt (this is not surf ware). It took an eternity to figure out how to paddle beyond the first set of smaller waves breaking closest to the shore. A real good kick and thrust did the job. Then came a second, larger set of waves further out. Now that took some time to work through, but eventually, I saw that others actually dove with their board under the wave. Ah-ha!An hour later I was sitting atop my cheap longboard, legs dangling in the water, bobbing along, waiting for the perfect wave. Trouble is, I didn’t know what one looked like. So I tried to ride everything. I was out there several hours before I got tired of standing up, falling off and swimming to shore to retrieve my board only to have to paddle back out through both sets of waves again.Plus, I was now starved. I figured, one more time, then I’d forget about this California obsession. And, that’s when the Big Mama started to roll in. I felt my board start to push forward, looked over my shoulder, realized ‘this is it’ and I popped up, balancing myself with both arms, left foot forward. You can feel the power under your feet, how the energy pushes your body along. Don’t fight it, let the wave move you. It was mesmerizing. And, I was hooked.Certainly, I drank enough salt water to brine a turkey, and I hit the sea floor several times, and that first board was smashed into two pieces on a rock in Malibu, but it became an addiction. Sunday was Surf Day. Here’s some tips to save you hours of beatings on a board:1) Take a few lessons. Consistently good teachers are available through Personal Surf Lessons (www.personalsurflessons.com)2) Find a good surf shop where you can purchase a decent board. Suggestions: Shelter Surf Shop, 2148 E. 4th St. in Long Beach -and- Harbour Surfboards at 329 Main St. in Seal Beach. (If you’re a beginner, you will want a longboard. The longer the better.)3) Check the wave report before you push your way through L.A. traffic. www.surfline.com.Best Surf Spots:1) Zuma Beach: 19 miles north of Malibu on Pacific Coast Highway. No entrance fee. Free parking along PCH (if you get there early). During the week it’s peaceful, but oh, the summer weekends are terrible. It has restrooms, showers with changing facilities and a small snack bar. No dogs.2) Manhattan Beach: Exit the I-405 at Hawthorne Blvd., go north and turn left onto Manhattan Beach Blvd. No entrance fee. Street parking is available, but hard to find. They offer restrooms and showers. No dogs on the beach itself. Note: Do not use this beach after it has rained as the water quality is disgusting.3) Santa Monica Beach: Where the PCH and I-10 collide. No entrance fee. Parking available on the street or in lots at Ocean Ave. They offer restrooms, showers and plenty of restaurants are nearby. No dogs. This is a great beginners beach as the slope allows for gentle waves.4) Huntington State Beach: Two miles of shoreline from Newport Beach north to Beach Blvd. No entrance fee. Parking available along the street and in lots. They offer restrooms, and there are restaurants nearby. No dogs. Sandbars dramatically shift for three-quarters of the year which makes for exciting surf conditions, and swells.5) County Line: At the county line north of Malibu along the PCH. No entrance fee. Free parking wherever you can find it along PCH. Port-o-potties are available and I’ve seen plenty of dogs on the beach. It has a beach break which allows for a great ride. But the best reason to come to county line:Neptune’s Netwww.neptunesnet.comThis is a true surf shack with the freshest fish around. There are two sides to the place: those who want fried or those who prefer steamed. The steamed side is also a seafood market. And help yourself to the wall of coolers, for the beer of your choice. Simply place your order at the counter and head out to the patio (often packed with surfers and bikers). Condiments are at a small table outside. Wait for your number to be called through the window.Nothing bets sitting on their front porch, watching the sun dip into the water, salty breeze caressing you, as you suck down a cold one, and crack open more crab legs. This isn’t a fancy place if you haven’t figured that out. (The bathrooms are around back and are of the ‘temporary’ variety.) Close
One of the best memories that I have of Los Angeles, is not necessarily Los Angeles, but an activity which took me from San Francisco to L.A. It wasn’t for myself, it was to help another human being, someone that I didn’t even know.…Read More
One of the best memories that I have of Los Angeles, is not necessarily Los Angeles, but an activity which took me from San Francisco to L.A. It wasn’t for myself, it was to help another human being, someone that I didn’t even know. I rode a bicycle 563 miles to raise money -- and awareness -- for AIDS and HIV research and education.Certainly I had known those with AIDS, but I buried the last in 1998. Collectively, we have buried more than 25 million family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers since 1981. And, 2.7 million new cases are reported every year. I couldn’t sit on my butt, er, actually I could, as I pedaled those miles, each mile representing 1 pill for someone desperately in need. For example, Aptivus, which has the ability to inhibit the replication of viruses that are resistant to other protease inhibitors, and that is recommended for patients who are resistant to other treatments, can cost upwards of $1,100 a month. The Mission: Ride To End AIDS (www.aidslifecycle.org)The Amount To Raise: $11 million (to fund the GLBT centers in LA and San Francisco)The AIDS Lifecycle (ALC) is a fully supported ride with Roadies, medical personnel and cheerleaders to help along the way. All meals are included, and you are given a tent to camp in, with shower and toilet facilities for you to use. (Wow. What can I say about the mobile showers with lukewarm water and the "dear God" port-o-potties?) All you have to do is raise $2500 in sponsorship for this amazing memory. Oh, and train. Seriously, for like nine months.The Ride:Day 1: San Francisco to Santa CruzAfter the Opening Ceremonies I rode ride out from the Cow Palace in Daly City (along with 2500 of my closest friends) with a quick change from the rolling hills of the city to the mountains surrounding the bay area. One of the treats was pumping up a 12-mile climb with 6% grade. When I thought my lungs would burst, I was only half-way. However, there was a nice African drumming corp keeping a beat for us at the midway point. From looking up at the redwood trees I started looking down at them, and deer could be seen running next to us in the forest. Lunch was atop a bluff with an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean.This is when I discovered two vital things: 1) Keep your mouth shut going down hill or you’ll swallow a bug. 2) When I asked what happened if it rains, the reply was, "Pedal faster."Day 2: Santa Cruz to King CityAfter dodging rush hour commuters we spent a long day (and over a 100 miles) pedaling. The flat terrain boasts vineyards and fields of artichokes and strawberries. There was a place to stop to purchase a steamed artichoke, which proved a very nice break. That night, after the best dinner ever (grilled meats of all sorts), we collapsed in our tents to discover the sound of wind. And more wind. Washed outfits flew from make-shift clotheslines and more then one tent blew over. We thought we’d lose a port-o-potty or two. Day 3: King City to Paso RoblesYou know when bicyclists name a hill, it’s going to be a rough climb. Today was Quadbusters, followed by an unnamed hill, which we quickly dubbed ‘Brokeback Mountain’. Today, I was honored by being inducted into the ‘Positive Pedalers’. Three of the group gave me pig ears for my helmet and I was given a pig-name, Slops. (A PIG is Passion In Gear). I honestly don’t know if ‘Positive Pedalers’ stood for their HIV status or their energy. Day 4: Paso Robles to Santa MariaThe Evil Twins. Another glorious hill. But, by the second Twin, I was half-way to L.A. Then came some farmland, rolling vistas and seaside towns, such as Pismo Beach, where they welcomed us with saltwater taffy. (The great thing about this ride is that you can eat EVERYTHING and still wear off the calories. I lost 20 pounds!). Along the second hill the Opera Singer arrived. He sang ‘Habanera’ from Carmen, ‘O Patria Mia’ from Aida, ‘Una Furtiva’ from the Elixir of Love, and ‘Porgi Amor’ from The Marriage of Figaro, until each and every rider had made it to the top. I also had the honor of meeting Ginger Brulee, a drag queen who cheered us on from start to finish, and Beth, the transportation manager who stood by every morning flashing riders as we headed out from camp. (She wore a different colored bra every day). I did the ride for people, but it was the people who really made the ride.Day 5: Santa Maria to LompocThis was a wine country day, with many miles through rolling vineyards. Lunch was served in the Danish-inspired town of Solvang. The best part of the day: Red Dress. Many years ago, when the ride first began to be an annual event, a rider noted that the stream of bicyclists winding through a twisting hill looked like the AIDS Ribbon. It became ‘Dress in Red’ Day. Or, given to a group of fashionable gay guys, Red Dress Day. Yes, the beads, lace and wigs all came out in force. Everyone was deepingly impressed by the queen who turned his 6-inch stilettos into bike clips. After lunch I had to stop to help another poor queen. Her feather boa had become trapped in her wheel spokes. Sadly, I had to snip her free. (Only during the ALC will a biker every encounter an "Accessory Accident").Now, imagine this display rolling through Kalispell (where the population is under 1,000... including dogs). But, the townspeople opened up the general store to hand out ice pops and turned up their stereos in the street. We were the biggest thing to hit town all year. And, every rider bought at least one candy bar from the kids trying to raise money for the Little League.Day 6: Lompoc to VenturaThis day brought wildflower-covered ranch lands followed by riding the rolling hills next to the coast. The day couldn’t have been prettier. But, I had been warned, as you get more tired, and are alone on long stretches of road, you start thinking. And I was reviewing my life. Though it wasn’t pretty, and I was disappointed in some things, I made a vow to continue writing, as long as it took to get published. (If you do this ride, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Your demons will appear.)And, this day I embraced a biker’s product. Butt Butt’r. On day one I slid discreetly into the port-o-potty and applied it carefully. By day six I dropped my shorts in broad daylight and slathered it maniacally with a smile on my face.Day 7: Ventura to Los AngelesI passed a few small towns, and could see military aircraft taking off from the Naval Air Station before I began the rollers in Malibu. And, I must say it was nice to see the Ferrari-drivers pull over and get out to applaud -- everyone in L.A. knew that we were coming. The last part of the trip is filled with banners and well-wishers. But, my highlight is the Santa Barbara Pit Stop. The entire SB Bike Club rode with us and/or stuffed us with cookies and home-made ice cream. They go all out. Trust me.Though the Ride was filled with so much goodness, one moment was more poignant than any other. In a small town along the coast I stopped at a family-run convenience store. I was out of Gatorade. The young clerk behind the counter asked me about all of the bicyclists and I explained the Ride to her. She paused then announced "You should ride to New York, across the whole country." She didn’t charge me for the Gatorade. If an event like that was organized, I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up, because for one week I saw the world as it should be. Everyone helping each other, and people focused on one goal, a goal which could change the world.www.aidslifecycle.org Close
It’s the food. Los Angeles offers over 25,000 restaurants, and 26 ethnic groups cook up dinner. The choices are limitless. Even in a town where you have to get financing for dinner at one of those trendy restaurants, there are options…Read More
It’s the food. Los Angeles offers over 25,000 restaurants, and 26 ethnic groups cook up dinner. The choices are limitless. Even in a town where you have to get financing for dinner at one of those trendy restaurants, there are options for those who are broker than the ten commandments.Or, you can go to the trendy places to see stars. But, here’s some advice. 1) Stars don’t want to be bothered so they will dine at out-of-the-way, hole-in-the-wall places. Somewhere that a celebrity wouldn’t be caught dead in. 2) If the star wants to be seen (oh, say, they have a movie coming out soon) they will go to some place like The Ivy (113 Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills). The restaurant is named for the ivy growing on the (raised) front patio. The Ivy wants to show off who’s eating there and the celeb needs to be promoted. But, they don’t want to be seen, so they surround themselves with bodyguards. J-Lo once had her bodyguards open umbrellas to shield her, which drew more attention, and the papparazzi swarmed. I honestly don’t see how anyone could enjoy their apricot-glazed pork tenderloins like this, but that’s just me.Now, for real food for real people:The Apple Pan10801 West Pico Blvd.Across from the Westside PavilionSince before you were born, there have been a dozen or so seats lined up around the U-shaped counter of the Apple Pan. The open grill cooks up the juiciest burgers (get them with the unbelievably good hickory sauce) and the best fries in L.A. It’s the fries and the pies, man. They use grandma’s recipes for heavenly banana cream pies. There’s always a wait, but everyone maintains an "we’re all in this together" attitude. A small parking lot is available out back, but its usually packed. Cash only.Clifton’s Cafeteria648 S. BroadwayDowntownSince 1935 Clifton’s has been serving up over 100 choices on their buffet — from salads, hot entrees, breads, desserts and more — for a fraction of the cost of other places. The food is average, but you’re coming for the price and the decor, a setting right out of a Woodland Wonderland. There’s a cabin and critters, and even a creek. Kids love this place. Closes early (7:30PM). Street parking.Grub911 Seward StreetHollywoodTucked away amid post-production facilities and warehouses is this little cottage turned cafe. Sit outside where you are surrounded by a garden. The staff is always friendly. But, what you are here for is the food. Wow. They serve "crack bacon" which is crisp and spicy (and helps them to win "Best Breakfast" awards again and again). They also offer their very own homemade ginger ale, and you can use the choice of flavorings on the table for any drink you order. And, no matter what you decide on, it will be good. Period. A free parking lot is available down the street and limited alcohol choices are available at dinner.Honey’s Kettle Fried ChickenTwo locations.The staff gets hurried during lunch rush and the place is small without much decor, but I still dream of their biscuits. The fried chicken is hand-dipped, and some of the best that I’ve had. Juicy, juicy, juicy. This is some really good soul food! A small parking lot available nearby.The Pantry877 S. Figueroa St.DowntownWho said this place was a cafe? It’s a large old-style diner, complete with counter space. And, no matter how large the place is, there’s always a wait. Let’s face it, this is a breakfast joint. And, what you order is meat and eggs. Large portions, small prices. Pay lot. Cash only. Open 24/7 — since 1924.Pink’s709 N. La Brea Ave.HollywoodThis is the first place everyone hears about when they come to LA. It’s a legend, it’s famous, and it’s all about hot dogs. If you stop by and it’s not crowded, it’s worth it. If theres a two-hour wait (seriously), then keep on going. There are quite the variety of dogs, and you can mix and match whatever toppings you want. And check out all of the signed celeb photos on the wall of this expanded shack. Open until 2AM. Small parking lot.Porto’s315 N. Brand Blvd.GlendaleThis is great Cuban-style food, and super bakery. I just couldn’t believe this place when we found it. The decor is nothing special, and the staff is only so-so, but the food will bring you back. They serve the juiciest sandwiches, full of flavor, and pastries flaky and drenched in sin. This little gem has been discovered so you will be waiting. Street parking. Outside seating available. Closes early (7PM)Roscoe’s Chicken & WafflesMultiple locations but we prefer the original at Gower St.A tiny, tucked away place. Look for the line out the door. It has old photos of African American celebs on the wall, and a tired wait staff. The menu isn’t large, strictly chicken and/or waffles. It’s the food that draws the crowd. (And, don’t over order because the servings are large.) The biscuits are buttery and the chicken nicely fried, but the gravy... now, this is gravy. Flavorful, thick, spiced properly. Perfect gravy. Street parking. Good luck.Tito’s Tacos11222 Washington PlaceCulver CityThere’s seating, but we always ordered to go because we could never find any available chairs at this taco shack. This is a great place for value. For less than $2 you can get a taco (no cheese) which is juicy and spiced to perfection. Run by the third generation of the family, this is a real find. Cash only. Parking lot.VersaillesMultiple locations.Another great Cuban restaurant. The food is moist and tasty — get the chicken. It has garlic and citrus flavorings, and is served with beans and rice. Don’t forget the fried plantains! You will have leftovers. Close
You’re just trying to return a library book, but the street is blocked off - without warning - by uniformed police officers (who are strangely off-duty). You’re simply carrying groceries to your car when someone runs up, clipboard in hand, and tells you to…Read More
You’re just trying to return a library book, but the street is blocked off - without warning - by uniformed police officers (who are strangely off-duty). You’re simply carrying groceries to your car when someone runs up, clipboard in hand, and tells you to "Get out of the shot". Or, suddenly, the bar you’re trying to enter, breaks out in a large fistfight -- all captured on film. Welcome to "Location Filming" in L.A.There are a few ways to find out where films have been shot, and where they are currently filming. 1) You can pester the people at the L.A. film permit office for a "daily shoot sheet". Film L.A. Inc. Physical address: Los Angeles Center Studios, 450 S. Bixel St., Ste T-800, downtown. Mailing address: 1201 W. 5th St., Ste T-800, LA, CA 90017. Phone (213) 977-8600.2) Buy a $5 map from any of the many, many vendors around the Hollywood area. They’ll point out the locations of past films, and stars homes. (Don’t expect to see Jennifer Aniston’s house listed. It’s behind 45 different gates, locked up like a prison. These are the home of the ‘by gone’ era stars.)3) Sign up for a Hollywood Tour - information is available at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. (See the note about ‘by gone’ era).4) Check out the following websites: www.movie-locations.com or www.wheredidtheyfilmthat.co.uk (British locations) or http://www.insidecollege.com/reno/Campuses-Where-Movies-Were-Filmed/764/list.do (college campuses)If you are looking for somewhere a bit less crowded, and a location which has been used multiple times, we have a couple of suggestions for you.Greystone Mansion905 Loma Vista Driveoff of Sunset Blvd. in Beverly HillsIt all began with the 1929 short film, Small Talk. Forever Amber – The Invisible Boy – General Hospital – The Day Mars Invaded Earth – The Disorderly Orderly – Dead Ringer – The Loved One – Brainstorm – Picture Mommy Dead – Maryjane – Phantom of the Paradise – Eraserhead – The Stronger – Stripes – Knight Rider – Bare Essence – The Winds of War – Murder, She Wrote – Ghost Busters – All of Me – Jumpin’ Jack Flash – MacGyver – Dark Mansions – The Witches of Eastwick – Flowers in the Attic – Falcon Crest – Ghostbusters II – The Fabulous Baker Boys – Dynasty: The Reunion – The Marrying Man – Dark Shadows – Nothing But Trouble – Guilty By Suspicion – Memoirs of an Invisible Man – The Bodyguard – Death Becomes Her – Indecent Proposal – The Puppet Masters – Cabin Boy – Nixon – Marvin’s Room – The Phantom – The Lost World: Jurassic Park – Batman & Robin – The Beautician and the Beast – Air Force One – The Inheritance – The Big Lewbowski – Jane Austen’s Mafia – The Astronaut’s Wife – What Women Want – Hanging Up – Gilmore Girls – X-Men – Town & Country – Rock Star – A Mighty Wind – The Prestige – Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties – The Holiday – My First Time Driving – There Will be Blood – National Treasure: Book of Secrets….More than 65 films, TV shows and music videos have one thing in common: Greystone Mansion. This ever popular film location is the largest home ever built in Beverly Hills. The Tudor mansion, on 16 acres, boasts 55 rooms and 46,000 square feet of living space, and was built by oil tycoon Edward Doheny in 1928 to the tune of $4 million.The estate was a gift to his son, Edward Jr. But, just four months after moving into the home with his family, Edward Jr. was part of a murder-suicide, along with his secretary. The deaths were connected to Edward Sr.’s trial over the Teapot Dome scandal (a bribery investigation into Warren G. Harding’s White House administration.)The mansion can only be viewed from the outside, unless you are lucky enough to attend a private event. Soon-to-be President Obama held a $28,500 per plate function here in 2008. Or you could attend a wedding. Both James Woods and Kirk Douglas married (though not to each other) at the estate.Paramount Ranch2813 Paramount Ranch Road (off of Cornell Road) in Agoura Hills.As you stand on a hill topped with long meadow grasses, you look down to see a small, western town, something out of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. You look closer. It is Colorado Springs!A clapboard town filled with a stable, barns, outbuildings, log cabins, a saloon, sheriff’s office, why, it’s the very street Jane Seymour, John Wayne, Cary Grant, Kirk Douglas, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Roy Rogers and Gary Cooper walked.Paramount Ranch was the backdrop for over 200 films and TV shows, in use for more than 60 years. The 2,700 acre parcel of land, on the banks of Malibu Creek, became a filming location in 1927 when Paramount Pictures purchased it. And now, though many of the film sets are gone, you too can stroll the dusty streets, as it became part of the National Park Service in 1980.Other Movie Ranches:Movie ranches sprung up all over Southern California in the 1920s -- partly in an attempt to capture the open range for the newly-popular Western movies. Some ranches are open to the public.1) Hopetown: Bob Hope purchased the property, the Corriganville Movie Ranch, in 1966. It has become part of the Corriganville Regional Park. However, little remains of the sets built for filming. 7001 Smith Road, Simi Valley. 2) Ahmanson Ranch (formerly Lasky Mesa): The 4,000 acre ranch has seen its fair share of big films, including one of the biggest, ‘Gone With The Wind’. It has been absorbed into the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve, and there’s not much left of filming there.3) 20th Century Fox Ranch: The lot was purchased in 1946 by Fox and has remained in the company’s holdings. It’s famous for being the backdrop of the Tarzan movies and MASH TV series. Today, it is still used as a filming location, but has become part of the Malibu Creek State Park.4) The Spahn Movie Ranch: This is now part of the Santa Susana Pass State Historick Park. Most of the movie sets are gone, destroyed in a fire in 1970. Perhaps the park is more famous for it’s connection to the Manson Family, who took up residence here in the late 1960s.5) Golden Oak Ranch: Walt Disney purchased the 315 acre parcel in 1959 and expanded it to 827 acres. It is still a working movie ranch, but open to the public. The ranch is located off of Placerita Canyon Road in Newhall, California.6) Columbia Ranch (Warner Bros): One of the better kept ranches, complete with a New York street, Colonial street, Modern street, etc. and the fountain that can be seen in the opening credits of ‘Friends’. The 40-acre parcel has become part of Columbia’s ‘backlot’, located on Hollywood Way and Oak street.Last Bit o’ Trivia:Florence Lawrence was the first person to receive screen credits in 1910 for ‘The Broken Oath’. Prior to this she was known as the Biograph Girl. The studios didn’t want any one person to be recognized so that they could control the actors. Maybe they should’ve stuck with the plan, then they wouldn’t have had to pay Jim Carrey $20 million for ‘The Cable Guy’ in 1996. (Carrey was the first $20 million celeb, and his salary took up nearly half of the film’s $47 million budget). Close
Disneyland is such a big thing to Californians, I discovered that when you cross the border you have to raise your right hand and take an oath that you believe in Walt Disney -- Jack PaarIn my years of living in L.A. I managed to…Read More
Disneyland is such a big thing to Californians, I discovered that when you cross the border you have to raise your right hand and take an oath that you believe in Walt Disney -- Jack PaarIn my years of living in L.A. I managed to only be forced to Disneyland twice. (I have the firm belief that Disney is out for my soul, and for the money in my wallet). And, I was amazed at what that little rodent has accomplished. Since his 1928 debut in ‘Steamboat Willie’ (which was actually the third MM cartoon) that little mouse has amassed a fortune. Did you know that Disney was the first studio to make $1 billion in one year. (In 1994, with some help from ‘The Lion King’.)If you want something a little less Disney, I will tell you where to go: the El Capitan. It’s owned by Disney, but it’s a movie ‘palace’. It started out as a stage theatre in 1926 but was converted to a movie theatre (the Paramount) in time to premiere ‘Citizen Kane’ in 1941. Disney restored the theatre in 1991, though not to its original interior.The theatre now offers the latest Disney flick, with a pre-movie stage show, and the pricing of your movie ticket reflects this little extra. You get to see people dressed in dog, mouse, horse or whatever costumes dance and sing... in the comfort of a balcony seat, from which they cannot possibly reach to force you to "join the fun".Other Movie Palaces:Grauman’s Chinese6925 Hollywood Blvd.Opened in 1927, its first premiere was Cecil B. DeMille’s ‘King of Kings’ and it hosted the Academy Awards show for some of the 1940s. (The current home of the Oscars, the Kodak Theatre, is located down the street at 6801 Hollywood Blvd.)Grauman’s is the granddaddy of movie palaces, completely restored and mobbed by thousands every year. Many come to see the footprints of movie stars in the cement courtyard. (There are now over 175 sets of prints). It is rumored that Norma Talmage "accidentally" stepped in wet cement to start the enduring trend, but it was actually a publicity stunt by Sid Grauman, the theatre’s original owner.Cinerama Dome6360 Sunset Blvd.Opened in 1963 for the premiere of ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’. The theatre is known for it’s acoustics, 86 foot wide screen and 70 mm film capability. It is now part of a 14-screen complex owned by ArcLight. It still premieres movies, including James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ in December 2009.Grauman’s Egyptian6712 Hollywood Blvd.The predecessor of the Chinese Theatre, the Egyptian opened in 1922 for the premiere of ‘Robin Hood’ (the version starring Douglas Fairbanks). It was originally designed to have a Spanish theme, but King Tut’s tomb was discovered during the building process so the theme was adjusted.The theatre is now home to the American Cinematheque (www.americancinematheque.com), which shows a variety of arthouse, foreign, independent, little known and under shown films.Pantages6233 Hollywood Blvd.Opening in 1930 as RKO Pantages theatre, it was then sold to Fox. After that, Howard Hughes purchased the theater, in 1949, when the Academy Awards show moved here (until 1959). The Art Deco theatre is currently used for stage productions, especially musicals.Hollywood Pacific/Warner Bros Hollywood6433 Hollywood Blvd.This theater opened in 1928, for the premiere of ‘The Glorious Betsy’. It has an Art Deco, or Italianate, or Spanish-Moorish design, or just a hodge podge since its restoration. This theatre closed in 1994 to the public.My recommendations for film viewing: 1. The Vista (4473 Sunset Blvd. in Silverlake). This is a movie palace outside of Hollywood with an Egyptian interior. People with long legs, rejoice, as every other row of seats has been removed from the Vista. It has only one screen and tickets sell out quick for the latest blockbuster. [If you happen to be in the area, you may as well head down to El Cid at 4212 Sunset Blvd. The theatre was built in 1900 by D.W. Griffith and premiered his ‘Birth of a Nation’. It also saw the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson and others who took to the stage. It is currently a Spanish restaurant with live music and theatre shows.] 2. Silent Movie Theatre (611 N. Fairfax Ave.) This one screen theatre, with comfy couches up front, hosts a variety of films, aside from silent movies. See cult classics and films which have sat in the vaults for years. 3. Go to any Laemmle Theatre. Multiple locations. This is the place to find indie films, documentaries and those little gems which turn up at all of the awards shows. Do not expect to see a blockbuster with all of the special effects here.Another trivia tidbit:The first movie theatre (built for the sole purpose of showing films) was constructed in Paris. Cinema Omnia Pathe opened on December 1, 1906. The 20 ft by 13 ft screen was the largest at that time. Close
It's part of the mythology, which is: The place didn't exist before I got here. Back home, you were Norma Jean. In California, it's Marilyn Monroe. -- Tim HodsonCertainly, Los Angeles has its flaws. One time, the smoke from the fires kept us inside…Read More
It's part of the mythology, which is: The place didn't exist before I got here. Back home, you were Norma Jean. In California, it's Marilyn Monroe. -- Tim HodsonCertainly, Los Angeles has its flaws. One time, the smoke from the fires kept us inside for three days. Then, there was the permanent Rush Hour - you really do have to see it to believe it. People are flaky and showing up 20 minutes late is the norm -- if people show up at all. And, once, my car was used as a shield, by the police, during a shoot out. But, Los Angeles is remarkable in ways too. No one cares if you show up in a supermarket in PJs to buy cereal at 9:30 at night. It’s a live and let live attitude. People can become who they were meant to be -- because who’s going to tell Pops back in Bancroft, Iowa what you’re doing? And, nothing can surprise someone in Los Angeles. I once came out of a bar in West Hollywood and saw two men (one dressed as Little Bo Peep) heading towards intimacy on the hood of a car right smack in the middle of Santa Monica Blvd. I turned to my friend to make a bet as to when the car alarm would go off.And, then there’s Hollywood. We are not referring to Hollywood as a geographic area. Yes, the historic sites are still there, but the studios have long since moved out, leaving behind an area of T-shirt shacks, smokes-for-less shops and terrible restaurants, which even the hookers shun. (I am really going to be fired from the tourism board after this.) Instead, we mean Hollywood as "the biz", those who make images for the screen, and those obsessed with image.I knew the odds of ‘making it’ were against me, so the very first thing that I did in Hollywood was hunt down the ‘Queen of the Screen’. Who better to bless me than the legend? After a little research (www.findagrave.com) I discovered that she was in Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park. This is not the easiest cemetery to find as skyscrapers and the campus of U.C.L.A. has grown up around it. There are only two entrances, and one is gated (frequently locked). Try entering from the east side, on Glendon Ave.I located her grave (Corridor of Memories, crypt 24), which was a simple plaque on a crypt wall with only Marilyn Monroe and the years of her life inscribed on it. (You can also look for the flowers which adorn her grave — there are always, always flowers). Nearby is a bench also bearing her name. I said a small prayer, wished her well, and set a quarter on the bench. I asked for as much Hollywoodness as she could lend. Then, I sought out a video store to rent ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ and ‘Some Like It Hot’.(Thanks Marilyn.)Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park1218 Glendon Ave., Westwood.Notable graves: Eddie Albert, Ray Bradbury, James Coburn, Rodney Dangerfield, Farrah Fawcett, Eva Gabor, Merv Griffin, Don Knotts, Burt Lancaster, Jack Lemmon, Karl Malden, Dean Martin, Walter Matthau, Carroll O’Connor, Roy Orbison, Bettie Page, Donna Reed, Buddy Rich, George C. Scott, Sidney Sheldon, Robert Stack, Mel Torme, Billy Wilder… and the one everyone goes to see, Norma Jean Baker/Marilyn Monroe.Other cemeteries with stars:Forest Lawn (Glendale)1712 South Glendale Ave., GlendaleIf you can only see one cemetery, this one has the most Hollywood stars per square foot than any other cemetery. It has 300 acres and attracts over a million visitors a year. Plus, you can — and should — get married here. Just as Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman did. Dead celebrities not your thing? Check out the sculptures in the gardens, which are decorated with replicas of famous churches and mosaics.Notable graves: Gracie Allen & George Burns, Humphrey Bogart, Clara Bow, William ‘Hopalong Cassidy’ Boyd, Lon Chaney, Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis Jr., Walt Disney (wasn’t he frozen?), W.C. Fields, Larry Fine (of the Three Stooges), Errol Flynn, Clark Gable & Carole Lombard, Samuel Goldwyn, Jean Harlow, Michael Jackson, Ted Knight, Louis L’Amour, Alan Ladd, Harold Lloyd, Jeanette MacDonald, Chico Marx (of the Marx Brothers), Tom Mix, Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger), Mary Pickford, David O. Selznick, Red Skelton, Jimmy Stewart, Spencer Tracy, Marbeth Wright and Robert Young.Caution: Employees are complete jerks about pointing out the graves of celebrities here. Don’t ask. Use the FindaGrave.com information.Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills)6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los AngelesAppropriately, this cemetery overlooks several movie studios.Notable graves: Steve Allen, Gene Autry, Lucille Ball (original burial site, remains have been removed), Benji (the dog), David Carradine, Bette Davis, Sandra Dee, Andy Gibb, Gabby Hayes, Buster Keaton, Dorothy Lamour, Charles Laughton, Stan Laurel (of Laurel & Hardy), Liberace, Art Linkletter, the Nelson family (Ozzie, Harriet & Ricky), Lou Rawls, John Ritter, Telly Savalas, Rod Steiger and Jack Webb.Again, use FindaGrave.com before you go. Hollywood Forever6000 Santa Monica Blvd., HollywoodThis is an older cemetery (established 1899) in which you’ll find Russian and Polish immigrants buried next to yesterday’s biggest stars.Notable graves: Don Adams, Mel Blanc, Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Estelle Getty, John Huston, Peter Lorre, Hattie McDaniel, Darren McGavin, Tyrone Power Jr., Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer and Rudolph Valentino.Sidenote: As the funeral service of Rudolph Valentino was carried out on August 24th, 1926, in New York City, fans smashed the windows trying to enter the Frank Campbell funeral home. Over 100,000 fans lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the hearse carrying his coffin. Over the next 24 hours, several fans committed suicide.Holy Cross5835 West Slauson Ave., Culver CityAnother extremely large (Roman Catholic) cemetery. Do some research, prior to your visit, to find any celebrity’s grave. (www.findagrave.com).Notable graves: Ray Bolger, John Candy, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, Rita Hayworth, Bela Lugosi, Fred MacMurray, Ricardo Montalban, Pat O’Brien, Sharon Tate, Lawrence Welk and Loretta Young.Inglewood Park720 East Florence Ave., InglewoodA lovely older cemetery with a vast lake, with fewer celebrities than the previous cemeteries.Notable graves: Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Grable, Billy Preston, Sugar Ray Robinson, Cesar Romero and William ‘Buckwheat’ Thomas.Caution: This is not the best area of town. Be careful after dark.Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park10621 Victory Blvd., North HollywoodNotable graves: Amelia Earhart (memorial) and Oliver Hardy (of Laurel & Hardy)Mt. Sinai Memorial Park5950 Forest Lawn Drive, Hollywood HillsThis cemetery bumps up against Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, and is a Jewish cemetery.Notable graves: Cass Elliot, Larry Harmon (Bozo the Clown) and Irving Mills.Hillside Memorial Park6001 West Centinela Ave., Culver CityNotable graves: Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Eddie Cantor, Lorne Greene, Moe Howard (of the Three Stooges), Al Jolson, Michael Landon, Suzanne Pleshette, Dinah Shore, Aaron Spelling and Shelley Winters.Oakwood Memorial Cemetery22600 Lassen Street, ChatsworthLocated out in ‘the valley’ (San Fernando) where you can find peace… so long as you weren’t a celebrity.Notable graves: Fred Astaire and Ginger RogersNow for a bit of trivia:What was the first movie studio?The Black Maria was built by Thomas Edison in 1893 in West Orange, New Jersey. Close
Written by SeenThat on 23 Jul, 2008
Downtown Los Angeles is located close to the geographic center of the metropolitan area, featuring many of the city's major arts institutions and sports facilities, skyscrapers, art works, shopping malls and transportation terminals.BoundariesDowntown LA is delimited by the Los Angeles River on the east, Route…Read More
Downtown Los Angeles is located close to the geographic center of the metropolitan area, featuring many of the city's major arts institutions and sports facilities, skyscrapers, art works, shopping malls and transportation terminals.BoundariesDowntown LA is delimited by the Los Angeles River on the east, Route 101 to the north, Santa Monica Freeway on the south and the Harbor Freeway on the west. On the vertical axis, the US Bank Tower is the tallest building in the United States west of the Mississippi River, reaching 310 m.RevivalDowntown Los Angeles is enjoying a fast transformation in recent years, with historic buildings being converted into lofts, retail businesses and restaurants opening, and high-rise residential buildings being built.HistoryThe town was founded on September 4, 1781, as "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles Del Río de Porciúncula" ("The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels on the River Porciúncula"), on the area known nowadays as the Pueblo de los Angeles, next to Union Station.Later, New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, and the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico. The Mexican-American War ended on January 13, 1847, with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga and with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, the Mexican government formally ceded Alta California and other territories to the United States. Soon California became a state in the union.The Southern Pacific Railway reached Los Angeles in 1876 and changed the city forever. Oil was discovered in 1892; by 1923 Los Angeles produced one-quarter of the world's petroleum. In1913, the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, under the supervision of William Mulholland, assured the continued growth of the city. In this period, Los Angeles began the annexation of many of neighboring communities without water supplies of their own, Hollywood is the most famous of them. In the 1920s, the movies and aviation industries contributed to the fast growing pace of Los Angeles. In 1932, the city hosted the Summer Olympics. World War II and related defense industries brought new growth to the city, though the state succumbed to racism, transporting the Japanese American residents from Los Angeles and other cities to concentration camps.In 1984, the city hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the second time, an event which was boycotted by the Soviet Union in answer to the earlier American boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games.Downtown Los Angeles saw a building revival from the 1980s to 1990s, the city tallest skyscrapers were built during this period, which was plagued with gang violence and police corruption. In 1994, the 6.7 on the Richter scale Northridge Earthquake caused $12.5 billion in damage and 72 deaths.AttractionsThree districts in downtown host most of the attractions: Chinatown, Little Tokyo and El Pueblo de los Angeles are located in a small area surrounding the Union Station; I dedicated to each of them separate entries in this journal. Union Station was the last big railways terminal built in the US and is worth a detailed visit.The modern downtown is not far away from there and is worth a detailed visit. Despite the seventy-six districts forming the city and its relative decentralization, Los Angeles has one of the largest sky-lines in the United States. Between 1917 and 1957, a city ordinance limited building heights at 150 feet, leading to an unusually homogenous skyline, broken only by the well known shape of the City Hall, next to Little Tokyo. Nearby is the blocky, solid, windowless structure of the Los Angeles Times, inaugurated in 1935. In 2003 the Walt Disney Concert Hall was opened and provided the area with the peculiar touch of uneven - sometimes rounded and other angular - metal walls.But all this buildings are dwarfed by the Library Tower, now known as the U.S. Bank Tower, on Bunker Hill. At 310m it is the seventh tallest building in the United States, and the tallest building west of the Mississipi. Traveling AroundTraveling around downtown LA is best accomplished with the help of the Metro Rail; a daily ticket combining the subway and buses services costs $5 and allows exploring the attractions quickly and efficiently. The system is much friendlier that parallel systems in cities like Miami.MoviesOne of the striking characteristics of LA, is that all of us know it, even if we have never visited it. That's mainly the result of movies produces by Hollywood. Maybe two of the most distinctive films dealing with LA - and its future characteristics - are Blade Runner (Union Station is featured there as a police station) and the Terminator's series. Is their violence and pessimistic view of the future a result of living in LA? Close
Written by onesundaymorning on 10 Jun, 2008
Many images are conjured up when one hears "LA". Images of movie stars, perfect weather, and the beach are all part of that ideal. It is hard to deny that California's are beach goers, but unlike many places that I've visited there is a different…Read More
Many images are conjured up when one hears "LA". Images of movie stars, perfect weather, and the beach are all part of that ideal. It is hard to deny that California's are beach goers, but unlike many places that I've visited there is a different feel that surrounds the beaches of So. Cal. I'm not trying to deny that LA doesn't have its fair share of beach loving tourists, but more often than not the beaches are packed with locals out for the day. This is not only reflected in the people that are there, but also in the shops and entertainment that populate the beach.Walk in any direction long enough and the beach changes. My friend, Ashely, came to visit and was a little taken back when I told her that I couldn't pick one beach to go to so we would do three. I parked my car in a residential area to avoid all parking fees and headed to Santa Monica. Paths line the beach each with an areas for pedestrians and another area those with wheels (bikes, skates, unicycles, etc...). We were walking to Venice. Ashley looked at me like I was nuts, but I quickly explained to her that if you walk three miles in any direction you would hit three different beaches. Not so confident that I wasn't tricking her she sciently followed. The more trendy areas of Santa Monica faded away and quickly turned into the liberal, art infused madness of Venice. Immediately table after table popped up of art, jewelry, and god-knows-what sold by hippies and other people of interest. Acts of every sort dotted the side walks ranging from fortune tellers and knife jugglers to a bushman with a frying pan and a man yelling about the how the free masions ruled the world and he could prove it with the USD. On the opposite side of the street small, tacky tourist shops sell every type of LA, beach related statement that you can find. Although we spend a couple of hours lying on the beach next to the grafitti park watching the boats sailing next to my favorite breakers the real attraction is the people. Ashley and I spent the next couple of hours sitting under a palm tree next to the main drag watching the people who went by and listening to their conversations. My favorite moment that day was happening upon a Muscle Man competition. A pavilion was set up surrounded by photos and the general public snapping away pictures. When I made it through the crowd I saw an elderly gentleman with two older drag queens gushing over him. This was what was drawing the crowd.When the vendors start to disappear and the unique houses that spot the coast start to appear it means that Marina Del Ray is near. I've never actually made it to the larger shopping area along the beach, but I always prefer to stop, just after the pier to lay out. This is the perfect quiet area. No loud attractions in a mainly residential area is the perfect place for a nap. It's also home to some of my favorite restaurants. Located on Marina del Ray Ave. Is a block of places that are so not worried about how trendy they are that they are ultra hot spots or as I like to put it they are "LA trendy". There is a great mix of Cuban, Italian, LA fusion, and bars that are so wacky that they are the perfect beach places to eat. Ashley walked around in awe. I made her choose where to eat. We picked The Terrace, a bright yellow restaurant covered in butterflies. We really lucked out and got seated right away due to someone missing their reservations. Sitting on the patio is a great place to people watch and see the locals and even some things being filmed as we ate.Closer to sunset we began our walk back to Santa Monica. I'm not a huge fan of the beach finding it often over crowed therefore impossible to enjoy myself. Ashley and I pretty much ignored the pier and headed off to the third street promenade. This is where the real excitement is. This area is shut off to cars making it a pedestrian paradise and a shopping mecca. Stores like Urban Outfitters, Sopheria, and Apple line the streets with smaller botiques thrown in. In the streets, normally where cars would park, are amazing acts of those who aren't trying to make money as much as they are trying to make it big. Acrobats, singers, dancers, and child performers are everywhere with the occasional Hari Kershnia added into the mix. Not all of the acts are great, but are fun to watch. On the night that I was there I got to watch a group break dancing for god. They were bad and the moves were mainly from the 80's, but they were dedicated non the less. I watched with great amusement until Ashley couldn't take it anymore and pulled me away. Close
Written by onesundaymorning on 01 Jun, 2008
Being from a small town in Pennsylvania the number one thing that my friends want to see when they come to see me in LA is movie stars. It's hard to explain but spotting a movie star isn't like going to the zoo and finding…Read More
Being from a small town in Pennsylvania the number one thing that my friends want to see when they come to see me in LA is movie stars. It's hard to explain but spotting a movie star isn't like going to the zoo and finding the zebra in its cage; its something that just happens. On the last day of my friend, Ashley's, trip out to California I had exhausted all of my usual star-spotting venues and had all but given up. Everyday she called her family and sadly answered no when they asked her if she saw anyone. Then it happened, at all places we could have seen someone, it was at Disneyland.We had arrived at the park early that morning hoping to beat the Sunday afternoon crowd and score some fastpasses to Splash Mountain, since it was 9am and already 100 degrees. We walked around the park a little so that she could see what Disney had to offer before we went off to Splash Mountain. When we arrived the line for the fastpasses had a 15 minute wait in the sun. Things weren't looking so good. When we finally got ours Ashley looked like she was going to wilt. She looked at me and said "do you realize that in Pennsylvania it hasn't broken 70 degrees yet? I'm going to die." We walked over to one of the fruit stands for some shade and to find a drink when it happened. One of the cast members said "look it's Alec Baldwin!!!" Ashley suddenly perked up and looked like a Phoenix raising out of the ashes. "Oh my god, Sam, look! It's Alec Baldwin!" Being oblivious to everything I looked around not noticing anyone. She spun me around and standing two feet away sure enough was Alec Baldwin.As she fumbled for her camera I said "let's follow him." Knowing that this is something that she would never forget. We keep our distance and followed him from Critter Country through Frontierland. Ashley pulled out her camera and not wanting to run up to him to ask for a picture we began to take pictures of ourselves in what we like to refer to as 'stalking Alec Baldwin.' We followed him for about 10 minutes until a cast member came out to greet him and he was swept off to Fantasyland. Ashely immediately pulled out her phone and called home. I could hear her mom on the other end screaming "Alec Baldwin!!!" I could only smile. Even though he isn't one of my favorite actors and after living in LA for two years I'm not nearly as starstruck as I use to be it was fun to see one of my friends experience her first celebrity sighting. After the phone call she turned to me and said "let's not talk about this until we leave the park. I like the idea that we are one of the few who know that he's in the park." And we were. Not many of the passersby recognized him and it became our running joke throughout the day.Later that night we went through our photos. Many of which were of his back in the distance and one of us grinning stupidity. Even better were the close ups of people's faces in the photos that we snapped at the right time just as they recognized Alec Baldwin passing by them.Disney is a place that I've visited so often that I have begun to miss that magic that the park creates or even the allure that Hollywood creates. I love visitors because they help you see the pleasures in the every day things. Disney and celebrity spotting are a common thing to me, but seeing it through the eyes of someone who are experiencing both for the first time created great memories for me that will last a life time. Close
Written by jenandfrank on 15 Feb, 2005
The shopping mecca of the world (or at least it’s what the locals like to think), this street is no longer for just shopping; it is now a bona fide tourist attraction. It’s only three blocks long, on the western side of the…Read More
The shopping mecca of the world (or at least it’s what the locals like to think), this street is no longer for just shopping; it is now a bona fide tourist attraction. It’s only three blocks long, on the western side of the city, beginning at Wilshire Boulevard and running north to Santa Monica Boulevard. It’s here where the rich and famous shop and the rest of us wish we could. It’s pronounced ro-day-o. Rodeo Drive is home to the most expensive store in the world, Bijan (420 Rodeo Drive), which sells men’s clothing, and sales are done by appointment only. You will find Dior, Gucci, Lauren, Armani, Channel, Cartier, and Tiffany, among others. I think it’s fair to say that extravagantly priced items are easily found here. Trees line the streets, which were recently redone in the fall and winter of 2003. The streets themselves are otherwise understated, and if you didn’t know any better, they could be found just about anywhere—that is, until you see the names on top of the shops.
At the south end of Rodeo is Via Rodeo, which is a small cobblestone area filled with restaurants, flowers, fountains, and small shops with a very European feel. It’s almost like an upscale Universal City Walk filled with two- and three-story buildings and quite a few of the higher-end shops like Tiffany’s. This is the newest addition to Rodeo in 75 years, and the street itself is fake—meaning there are no cars on it, ever. Built at a cost of over 200 million, this area was seen in Pretty Woman and Hollywood Homicide. It’s sort of a cross between a movie set and a piazza in Rome. The actual store that Julia Roberts (in Pretty Woman) was asked to leave is a clothing store called Boulmiche and is located at 9501 Santa Monica Boulevard.
Every Father’s Day, Rodeo Drive is closed off for a vintage car show called "Concourse on Rodeo". Entrance is free, and there are, on average, 75 classic cars to see. Some cars are entered by celebrities (like Jay Leno), and there is live music as well. Christmas time is also another nice time of year to visit, especially at night. Many of the stores go above and beyond and spare no expensive to decorate their windows, and all the trees are covered in white lights.
In general, there is some street parking, but it’s limited and usually taken early in the day. Your best bet is to use the 2-hour free valet service under the Two Rodeo Center (Via Rodeo) or the pay-by-the-hour municipal lots, which are sporadic. For food outside of Via Rodeo, walk over to Canon or Rexford Street, where there is an assortment of options both in cuisine and price. At the corner of Rodeo and Wilshire is the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel (another setting in the movie Pretty Woman).
Note: Many stores are closed on Sunday. Overall, it’s a nice way to spend an hour or two just to see what it’s about and say you’ve been. If you miss it altogether, I would say you haven’t missed much other than upscale window-shopping.
Lined with bars, restaurants, and lots of traffic lights, this street isn’t what you’d expect. I mean there aren’t any red carpets filled with celebrities every day, and there aren’t huge clubs with lines down the block like Studio 54. There’s no glamour at all; in fact, parts of the "strip" are actually quite seedy. In reality, the street is called Sunset Boulevard, but the mile-and-a-half stretch between Crescent Heights Boulevard and Doheny Drive is referred to as the Sunset Strip at night. Most of the action begins later in the evening; I would say 10pm and later. The infamous Viper Room, owned by Johnny Depp, is located on the strip; it’s the last place where River Phoenix was seen alive before ODing. For the most part, the strip is filled with neon signs, young people cruising in their cars, bars, and clubs. It’s interesting to take the drive if you have some extra time, but you wouldn’t be missing much if you skipped it altogether. It’s a great place for young people, crowds, singles, etc.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Although you won’t find any real celebs hanging out here, if you look down, you’ll see stars honoring them for blocks on end. These renowned sidewalk "stars" salute the celebrities who made Hollywood great, and they include actors, singers, directors, and the like. Right below the name of each celebrity is a small, round emblem which illustrates the celebrity's category, with one of five symbols: a motion picture camera (for movie stars and directors), a television set (for those in the television industry), a phonograph record (for singers, songwriters, and recording artists), a radio microphone, and the twin theatrical masks of comedy and tragedy (for live stage performers). The Walk of Fame is located on Hollywood Boulevard from Gower Street to La Brea Avenue and on Vine Street from Yucca Street to Sunset Boulevard. The first star, placed on February 9, 1960, was for Joanne Woodward, and now, over 2,000 stars later, it’s an hour well spent.
Along the "walk" is Graumen’s Chinese Theater, the most famous movie theatre in the world. The theater has been opened since 1927 and has been the site for many movie premieres since then. Built by Sid Grauman, putting the stars' footprints in wet cement was his idea. Due to the lack of room and the level of exclusivity the owners wanted to maintain, only a select few have been invited to join the elite society known as the Forecourt to the Stars. The theatre was renamed "Mann's Chinese Theatre" after it was purchased by Ted Mann in 1973. It’s a very large red Chinese building with a huge dragon lying across the front, two stone lion-dogs guarding the main entrance, and the silhouettes of tiny dragons on the sides of the theatre's ornate copper roof. The Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was declared a historic-cultural landmark in 1968, and there has always been a restoration program in progress to maintain the theatre's beauty. Tons of visitors come to put their hands and feet in the cement-celebrity imprints. There are also all kinds of local "talent" outside just waiting for a photo opp (for anyone interested in tipping them, that is). Despite popular belief that the theater is just for show, it does show newly released movies, so if you have an afternoon free, go there and see a movie.