(Hooray for) Hollywood, Arguably The Most Shallow & Celebrity Focused Stretch Of Land On Planet Earth
The Walk of Fame, Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. April 4, 2013
On my first trip to Los Angeles back in 2003 I made an effort to do LA: I did the Movie Star Houses Tour of Bel Air & Beverly Hills; I hung out with the beautiful rollerblading bodies on Venice Beach; I spent a day standing in queues for rides at Universal Studios; I went star gazing on Sunset Strip & Hollywood Boulevard; I visited Pacific Park on Santa Monica Pier; & I drove, as you do, in an open-top down Rodeo Drive. I ticked a lot of boxes. But even so, that trip to LA turned out to be one of the least favourite stops on my 2002-2003 round the world trip. I found it – LA – way too big (because it is), impersonal (it’s that too), superficial & lacking character (yep, both). It was all sunglasses, botox & fake tan, just as I expected it to be.
— davidMbyrne.com (@ByrneDavidM) April 13, 2013
On this visit to the LA metropolitan area – which with its several districts houses some 17 million people making it the second-most populous in the US – I was sure to be selective. I based myself in the Hollywood () district of the city, & I was happy to do so without a to-do list. I still got up to stuff, which in Hollywood invariably revolves around TV & the movies, & I now know that being selective in gargantuan LA makes for a much more enjoyable visit.
Horray For Hollywood
Hollywood, the place where movies are made – or to be accurate, were made – is the district of Los Angeles long associated with the American film industry. It’s arguably the most shallow and celebrity focused stretch of land on planet earth. It was founded as an independent city in 1903 and voted to merge with the City of Los Angeles in 1910. That same year also saw the birth of the Southern California motion picture industry when D. W. Griffith relocated his Biograph Company, sparking a westward migration of East Coast filmmakers. As movies exploded in popularity in the 1910s and ’20s, the name Hollywood became synonymous with ‘the Industry’. But in the decades following World War II, Hollywood’s glitz and glamour began to fade as most of the leading film studios moved to other places, mostly to Burbank – today only one major film studio, Paramount, is still based in Hollywood proper. The decline continued right into the 1980s, by which time Hollywood was considered one of the worst neighbourhoods in Los Angeles. A much-needed 1990s makeover saw the beginning of community redevelopment efforts and while its bests days are well & truly behind it, today Hollywood is once again one of the city’s most vibrant areas & still an important player in the entertainment industry with its myriad production and broadcast facilities.
Hollywood Boulevard || Hollywood’s Main Drag
For this visit to Hollywood I based myself just off Hollywood Boulevard, downtown Hollywood’s main drag, a stretch that immortalises the glamour & exclusivity of celebrity, fame & stardom via uber-tacky shops & circus-like attractions. I spent quite a bit of time over quite a few days searching out stars on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame (doing so is strangely addictive), probably Hollywood’s most popular tourist attraction.
OK, so I did venture out of Hollywood proper, although I didn’t go too far. Burbank is a small city located in the San Fernando Valley. It is known as the so-called Media Capital of the World & is considered the real Hollywood given the fact that it is home to studios like Disney, Warner Brothers, CBS and NBC Universal.