A Trip to Hollywood Boulevard

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


Playing Tourist in Los Angeles

Today we had some dear friends down from the Bay Area, so I did some work from home in the morning, and then burned a few vacation hours to go to Universal Studios with everyone. The park wasn’t at all crowded, and it was quite fun. We did the obligatory studio tour (the tour guide, as usual, was quite good). We did the Waterworld show, which I always enjoy because the actors have such fun with it. We did Jurassic Park (my first time on it), and it was actually quite fun (more like Pirates but with a bigger drop at the end). Lastly, we did the Backdraft attraction, which was quite good but should be avoided if you are sensitive to kerosene. Quite fun, and things like this make the annual pass worthwhile (plus Versailles at Citywalk for lunch)

I’ll note that work is proceedings on the Simpsons ride (opens May 17); the Nickelodeon wet zone is now Curious George themed, and the I-Love-Lucy walk-through in the lower park appears to be gone (apparently it is being replaced with a Universal Museum, opening in April).

I still miss the days of the old stunt show with the western actors, but I guess kids these days don’t understand from westerns. I still have fond memories of the old days of the studio tour, and the plaza with the giant pencils, the McHales Navy set, Ma and Pa Kettle Farm, and walking through the bungalows. I could swear that Frank was bigger then.


On The Set

This afternoon, we went to the Hollywood Entertainment Museum, which, alas, closes tomorrow. My daughter thought I would be interested in such attractions as the set from ST:TNG (looks like the first season set) and the Okudagrams (and their in-jokes) thereupon, the set from Cheers, the set from X-Files, and so on. Myself, I was more interesting in the mechanics of a museum closing. Where do the exhibits go? Why are they closing? What will happen?

In this case, some of the exhibits will be stored. The sets will go back to their original owners. They are hoping to find a larger space in a few years and reopen. They chose not to renew the lease because of the space limitations, the bad location (in a basement), and the low traffic.

Still, I found the exhibit, as they say, “fascinating” (raising an eyebrow).

Dumb moment of the day: When I got home, I found a message about the location of the valet button on the new alarm system. So I went out to try it. Afterwards, I couldn’t get the car to alarm. I was getting annoyed with the system and the dealer… until one tech asked: did you check the hatch glass. I went outside. Silly me: somehow, I must have bumped the “open hatch glass” button. Closed it. Now things work. I guess I get to join the “cute but dumb” category (at least my wife thinks I’m cute).


I’m Melting! I’m Melting!

Movieland Wax Museum is breathing its last, closing its doors on Halloween. So, in honor of their closing, I look at look at their web page. Creepy. Some of the likenesses don’t even look right. Evidently, they are moving some to San Francisco, and selling others. Ebay? Would you buy a wax figurine of your own? Who? Just imagine… Buddy Ebsen for your backyard. The Olsen twins in your bedroom (actually, they’re going to San Francisco). Liza Minnelli to frighten the children at Halloween. Jim Carrey in your bar. The possibilities are endless.

They are also closing the Ripleys Believe It or Not franchise in Buena Park. Both were done in by Disneyland, and their ever increasing number of days of attendance, which is killing the smaller attractions in the area.