Sunday, March 26, 2017

LA LA Land

March 2017 - Los Angeles CA

This was not a good hop on hop off experience with Starlines. The LA Marathon was taking place and a little customer service would have vastly improved our opinion of this company.
Suffice it to say, due to a lack of communication from the company regarding delays in schedules, which we could gladly and easily have worked around we would have rated them differently. Instead since they made no effort to provide any information, easily done via mass e-mail distribution as we had bought our tickets online and I would assume many people had I have given them a terrible rating.
We ended up wasting four hours of our days standing in line for buses that weren't running and then massive line-ups when they did.

However we did manage to get the red line tour in, although we couldn't hop off where we would have liked now due to time constraints.

This post consists of a lot of walking done independently by us and then a two hour bus tour. It is not precisely in chronological walking order, but rather logical.

Going from seven weeks in sleepy peaceful Mazatlan Mexico on Saturday to manic Los Angeles on a spring break, marathon sunny, warm Sunday was an act of insanity!

This was the first sight as we stepped off the bus.
When we were across and in front of it, the steps are littered with trash and there was a homeless person begging. Not a prestigious sight for an historic landmark.

Hollywood Masonic Temple, now known as the El Capitan Entertainment Centret was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The building, built in 1921, was designed by architect John C. Austin, also noted as the lead architect of the Griffith Observatory. The Masons operated the temple until 1982, when they sold the building after several years of declining membership. The 34,000-square-foot building was then converted into a theater and nightclub, and ownership subsequently changed several times, until it was bought by the Walt Disney Company's Buena Vista Pictures Distribution in 1998 for Buena Vista Theatres, Inc.

Since 2003, the building's theater has been the home of Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

The building is rumored to have had a secret tunnel to Grauman's Chinese Theater that would allow movie stars to evade mobs at movie premieres. If it existed it is possible that the Red Line subway construction destroyed the tunnel.

If you look above the big red banners on the building where Jimmy Kimmel tapes, you’ll notice a quote carved into the building’s fa├žade that reads, “Freemasonry build its temples among the nations and in the hearts of men.”

 We start at one of the most well-known tourist traps in Hollywood Grauman's Chinese Theater. With handprints, footprints and signatures of the stars peppered across the forecourt of the theater and characters from Spiderman to Edward Scissorhands to take pictures with, you can't help yourself, snapping away like crazy.
I will restrain myself here though, and spare you any sidewalk stars in this post, but click here if you feel the need to see some.

Constructed in 1922, the theatre has hosted thousands of premieres and Academy Award ceremonies. The exterior of the theater is designed to resemble a giant red Chinese pagoda. There is a huge Chinese dragon across the front with two Ming Heaven dogs guarding the main entrance. There are also silhouettes of tiny dragons up and down the sides of copper roof.

There are nearly 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs in the concrete of the Chinese theater's forecourt, known as the “Forecourt of the stars”.

Harry Potter! Click here for our amazing Potter adventure in Florida in December.
The magic wands of Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

From across the street.

Ah the over the top of Hollywood! Click here for more crazy signs.

And the characters.

From the ridiculous to the sublime.

This gazebo on the corner of N La Brea Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, adorned with a spire reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower, marks the western border of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

At each corner of the Art Deco inspired structure you'll find a statue of one of four multi-ethnic leading ladies of film, sculpted by Harl West.
First up is Brooklyn-born sex symbol Mae West, known for her acting and singing in I'm No Angel (1933) and My Little Chickadee (1940), to name but two films.

The statue to her left depicts Asian-American actress and fashion icon, Anna May Wong.

Topping it is Marilyn Monroe.

We stroll up and down both sides of Hollywood Blvd.

No comment. There was a woman handing out brochures and we both veered away and said no thank you!

Further up the street on the other side, was a book display of Battlefield Earth written by the founder of scientology L. Ron Hubbard.
He attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C. at the start of the 1930s, before dropping out and beginning his career as a prolific writer of pulp fiction stories.
And in the other direction, also on the other side of the street is the L. Ron Hubbard Museum open to the public, needless to say, we skipped that.


Lunch is at the Roosevelt Hotel. It opened its doors on May 15, 1927, and is the oldest continually operating hotel in Los Angeles.

The hotel was built in 1926, in what is known as the Golden Era of Los Angeles architecture, and was named after the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt It was financed by a group that included Louis B. Mayer, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Sid Grauman. It cost $2.5 million ($34.5 million today) to complete and opened on May 15, 1927.

The hotel went into a decline in the 1950s. An owner around that time demolished its archways, covered up its elaborately painted ceilings and painted the entire hotel seafoam green Radisson Hotels purchased the hotel in 1985 and, using original blueprints and historic photos of the hotel's Spanish Colonial architecture, undertook a $35 million renovation, restoring the lobby's coffered ceiling and adding a three-tiered fountain, among other improvements.

Click here for more of the hotel and our lunch.

We finally board a red line bus around 1:30. This is a two hour tour. We would have liked to have gotten off in several places but based on their erratic schedule on that day we didn't take a chance. Also we had hoped to get the purple tour in as well.

In 1926, Fred Horowitz, a prominent Los Angeles attorney, chose the site at Marmont Lane and Sunset Boulevard to construct an apartment building. Horowitz had recently traveled to Europe for inspiration and returned to California with photos of a Gothic Chateau along the Loire River. In 1927, Horowitz commissioned his brother-in-law, European-trained architect Arnold A. Weitzman, to design the seven-story, L-shaped building based on his French photos. When deciding upon a name for the building, Chateau Sunset and Chateau Hollywood were rejected in favor of Chateau Marmont, a name conceived by the small street running across the front of the property.
On February 1, 1929, Chateau Marmont opened its doors to the public as the newest residence of Hollywood. Local newspapers described the Chateau as "Los Angeles's newest, finest and most exclusive apartment house […] superbly situated, close enough to active businesses to be accessible and far enough away to insure quiet and privacy." For the inaugural reception, over 300 people passed through the site, including local press.Due to the high rents and inability to keep tenants for long-term commitments during the depression, Fred Horowitz chose to sell the apartment building to Albert E. Smith for $750,000 in cash. In 1931, Chateau Marmont was converted into a hotel. The apartments became suites with kitchens and living rooms. The property was also refurbished with antiques from depression-era estate sales.

Throughout the years, Chateau Marmont has gained recognition. Director Sofia Coppola shot her film Somewhere at the hotel in 2010. James Franco created a grand scale replica of the Chateau Marmont for his Rebel Without a Cause exhibit at MOCA in 2012. The opening scene of the indie neo-noir film The Canyons was shot at the Bar Marmont. The hotel was also a location for Oliver Stone's The Doors. Singer Lana Del Rey alludes to the hotel in her song "Off To The Races" from her album Born to Die. It is also the office of fictional paparazzi Patrick Immleman in the Panel Syndicate web comic The Private Eye.

Sharon Tate and husband Roman Polanski took up a short-term residency in 1968, as did Jim Morrison in 1970.

John Belushi died of a drug overdose in Bungalow 3 on March 5, 1982.

Originally a Spanish ranch where lima beans were grown, Beverly Hills was incorporated in 1914 by a group of investors who had failed to find oil, but found water instead and eventually decided to develop it into a town. By 2013, its population had grown to 34,658. Sometimes referred to as "90210", one of its primary ZIP codes, it was home to many actors and celebrities throughout the 20th century. The city includes the Rodeo Drive shopping district and the Beverly Hills Oil Field.

The Four Seasons is reputed to be the number one hotel in LA for the entertainment industry. It is the venue for the majority of Hollywood’s press film events. There is a mini version of the Marilyn Monroe statue as you pull into valet.

The redesigned Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles is a blood-red box draped in ribbons of silver.

Historically the Fairfax District has been a center of the Jewish community in Los Angeles. It is known for the Farmer's Market, The Grove, CBS Television City broadcasting center, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in Pan Pacific Park, and Fairfax Avenue restaurants and shops.

This would definitely be a place I would come back to explore on foot.

Click here for some more murals. I will have several posts coming up with the more impressive ones.

Another area to explore at leisure and on foot.

A huge flea market on Melrose. Then there are loads of sidewalk cafes and Pink's Hot Dogs where there is always a lineup.

The tour is winding down and we pass Capitol Records building, we'll walk back later for more photos.

Located just north of the famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine, the landmark Capitol Records Building was designed by Welton Becket.The 13-story tower, which resembles a stack of records, was the world’s first circular office building when it was completed in April 1956.

It is the site of the historic Capitol Studios, where Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Nat “King” Cole, Sir Paul McCartney, and many more music legends recorded some of the most treasured music in history. The first album recorded at Capitol Studios was Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color. The Capitol Studios feature echo chambers that were designed by legendary guitarist and recording innovator Les Paul. The echo chambers are subterranean concrete bunkers that are located 30 feet underground. They can provide reverb that lasts up to five seconds - the effect is perhaps most famously heard on The Beach Boys classic, Good Vibrations.

Hollywood Tower, originally known as La Belle Tour, is a large apartment building. The tower, built in 1929, was a popular residence for entertainment industry employees for many years and has often been cited as the inspiration for Disney's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attractions. The real-life Hollywood Tower was listed in the National Register of Historical Places in 1988.

We rode the Disney version three times in one day years ago!!!

The Hollywood Pantages Theatre, formerly known as RKO Pantages Theatre, is located at Hollywood and Vine. Designed by architect B. Marcus Priteca, it was the last theater built by the vaudeville impresario Alexander Pantages. The palatial Art Deco theater opened on June 4, 1930, as part of the Pantages Theatre Circuit.

The Pantages Theatre Circuit had been built on vaudeville, and the new Hollywood theater programmed first-run movies alternating through the day with vaudeville acts for its first two years. But like other theaters during the Great Depression, it was forced to economize and thereafter operated primarily as a movie theater, though live entertainment was presented occasionally.

Alexander Pantages sold the Hollywood landmark in 1932 to Fox West Coast Theaters. In 1949, Howard Hughes acquired the Hollywood Pantages for his RKO Theatre Circuit and moved his personal offices to the building's second floor. From 1949 through 1959, the theatre hosted the American motion picture industry's annual Academy Award Ceremonies. It continued to be a major venue for roadshow movies into the 1970s. The Hollywood Pantages closed as a movie theater in January, 1977, and re-opened the following month with Bubbling Brown Sugar, the first of the many stage productions that have since become its regular fare.

When we walked back to Hollywood and Vine we took some more photos.

We were able to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood sign.

 In 2003 we had our photo taken underneath the sign. I'm guessing the sun was in my eyes!

The guy in the middle of the street with a megaphone is attempting to "save souls".

 Linking up with:

Whatever the Weather - Wednesday - Friday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global