Today, I took a trip to Hollywood Boulevard to get tickets for some shows at the Pantages. As you may recall, I wrote last week about the odd season ticket policies at the Pantages, where a $8 service charge is added to every ticket online, which for a 12-ticket flex package was $96! There is no service charge at the box office window, so $25 Flex Seating E tickets were $25, and $38.50 Flex Area D tickets were $40, actually saving me money over the Flex package. I got half the tickets (Billy Elliott and Addams Family); I’ll get the other shows in early February (Million Dollar Quartet and Memphis). The service charge? My $3 round-trip metro ticket.
After I got the tickets, I walked down Hollywood Boulevard to La Brea, and then back to the Hollywood/Vine metro station. Here are some observations from that walk:
- Hollywood Boulevard is nice to walk on a Sunday morning. Most stores are not yet open, but the tourists are still out, and it is fun to watch them.
- On the Las Vegas Strip, you have people constantly handing you ads for escorts and the like. On Hollywood Boulevard? It it tours. I couldn’t go a half-block without seeing 3-4 people whose job it was to recruit people to go on this tour or that tour. Given that those people are likely being paid, think of how much profit is made by those tour companies.
- Of course, they are not the only come-on on Hollywood Boulevard. As I walked past a medical marijuana dispensary, someone tried to had me a card to go in and use their services.
- It is sad to see how many movie theatres that once existed on Hollywood Boulevard have gone dark, been turned into stores, been turned into nightclubs, or turned into large churches. In the stretch between the Pantages and La Brea, I think the only movie theaters that are left are the Chinese (and Chinese 6) and the El Capitan. The Hollywood Pacific is now a church (as is the former Pussycat), the Fox is a performance venue, still another is a nightclub, the Pantages is a Broadway house, the Egyptian only does special engagements, and a few others were obviously churches or attractions.
- Also sad was to see the costumed characters, clustered in front of Hollywood and Highland and the Chinese. The tourists know these aren’t the characters in the movies–just some out of work actor putting on a costume. I feel sorry for the actor, living off of tips and not being able to use their craft. I feel sorry for the tourist who takes pictures with these folks. Some of the sights I saw included a Catwoman with a handy spray bottle of mace on her belt, the midget dressed up as Mr. T. getting off of Metrorail, the 3 or 4 Capt. Sparrows (both male and female), and numerous folks dress from various forgotten movies.
- The battle between the wax museums is heating up. This was written up in mid-December in the LA Times, but I got to see it in action. There was nothing for the Hollywood Wax Museum, but boy was Madame Tussauds really pimping their wares: signs everywhere, statues placed to attract and point people.
- Hollywood is an interesting mix of glamour and old-Times Square. Much as the movie business is emphasizes, what is seemingly being sold is sex. Between Highland and Vine there are numerous stores focused on the sale of “dancers clothes” — in other words, sexy lingerie (think Fredericks of Hollywood, but sluttier). There are also numerous stores selling drug paraphenalia, but not calling it that (they are hookah stores).
- The Walk of Fame is nice, but do you realize most people have no idea who most of the people are these days. I went by the star for Bob Arthur and Ken Minyard, and realized most tourists would have no idea who those folks are.
Music: Stoned Soul Picnic: The Best Of Laura Nyro (Laura Nyro): New York Tendaberry