I realize that despite the title of this blog, I’ve not been doing very much walking in Hollywood lately. The reasons are explicable enough. I’ve been finishing a novel, I’ve been away, and the weather has been punishingly hot. On the first day of October the temperature around these parts hit the high nineties. Come on. That’s not right.
So it was good to get out last week, walk from the lower slopes of the Hollywood Hills and head down for lunch at a little place on Melrose Boulevard - Melrose being the southern boundary of Hollywood in most people’s estimation – and then I walked back again. It was about a 3 and a half mile walk in each direction, and it did punch a bit of a hole in the day, but that was the idea. Of course I saw the “typical” Hollywood stuff, which in some ways was a bit predictable: the big cacti, the stylish architecture, the cool old cars, the interesting people. But a walk in Hollywood is never wholly predictable.
As I walked along Hollywood Boulevard, for instance, there was a parade, or I suppose motorcade, of vintage police cars. My first thought was OK, well maybe this is just the kind of thing that happens in Hollywood on a weekday afternoon, but I discovered later that it was an event “to increase awareness of public safety officers,” and the cars were driving from the Los Angeles Fire Museum to Broderick Crawford’s Walk of Fame star – not a huge distance. And it’s true - nothing heightens your awareness of cops like hearing sirens, seeing a bunch them packed into old cars and glaring out the windows at pedestrians.
|Broderick Crawford - good looking cop.|
Of course there was feral furniture: mattresses, couches, a gigantic mirror There even seemed to be some feral art – though it could just have been a piece of old board with paint on it, but who am I to judge?
Everyone says that LA is the most suburban major city in the world and that’s probably true – but it did strike me on my walk just how industrial parts of Hollywood are. The industry in question happens to be the movies, but a warehouse or storage facility for movie equipment or props looks much like a warehouse or storage facility for anything else.
And then right there on La Brea Avenue there’s the Cemex cement works, churning out lord knows how many tons of ready mix, right across the street from the Target and the Best Buy. How many major western cities have one of those in the middle of a shopping area?
And of course I saw some fellow walkers – not so very many but enough, a combination of the cool and quirky, those who were working too hard at being cool and quirky, and those who were just downright quirky.
There were graffiti-slash-street art, naturally – some Bansky-esque stenciling – which is getting a bit old, surely, although it hasn’t got to look actually retro just yet. And I saw this extraordinary graffito on Melrose itself:
When did anyone last feel the need to write Bill Cosby’s name large on the side of anything? And did it have some connection with the vaguely lewd ad for pants on the bench next to it? Or with the pita store behind it? I don’t know. Every city has its mysteries, and some just have to remain that way.