Thursday, January 14, 2010

#30 The Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame

Perhaps one of the most famous "landmarks" in LA, the Walk of Fame is also one of the closest. Just out my front door and down one block, I can reach a mile long section of Hollywood Blvd. dotted with stars with people's names in them. The people range from incredibly famous, to comically obscure. These famous people are never, I repeat, NEVER, seen anywhere near their own stars or anyone else's for that matter. In fact, in a town where I have trouble avoiding celebrity sightings on a daily basis, I don't think I've EVER seen anyone even remotely recognizable on this stretch of Hollywood. Yet, for some reason, thousands of tourists flock here daily to take pictures of semi-famous people's names on a sidewalk.

The scene is something that I am not a good enough writer to describe. Furthermore, there is nothing endearing or even nostalgic about this place. I find the tourists repugnant, the traffic a nuisance, and the commerce catering to them irrelevant. But for some reason, I will miss the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Perhaps some of it is feeling like a "native" amongst tourists in a town I moved to in September 2008. I think that has a lot to do with it actually. As I zip by on my bike armed with a dirty look and a New York attitude, I feel as though they are guests in MY home. With big bulky cameras hanging around their neck and annoying children in tow, it is clear that my life is better than theirs. At least that's how I subconsciously rationalize life amongst a sea of pointless tourist attractions.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the powers that be have created a tourist attraction out of nothing. Most attractions have some sort of natural draw: history (Dealy Plaza), relevance (Washington D.C.), natural spectacle (Grand Canyon), man-made spectacle (Mount Rushmore). But the Walk of Fame only exists within itself as a tourist attraction. It's only meaning is that tourists come here to see it. Tourist attractions are tourist attractions second, and something else first. Not this. It is JUST a tourist attraction, and I think I like that.

I like that there is commerce, and traffic, and hubbub in my neighborhood just because there is commerce, and traffic, and hubbub. That is unique. I can't think of anywhere else on this country that exists in itself as a tourist attraction. And then you throw in the crazy people, like the homeless, legless gentleman who goes down the blvd washing stars for no particular reason other than the monotony of having no home and no legs; pepper in the occasional bar or restaurant that exists, not for the throngs of tourists, but the people living near there; and top it off with the open-top Hollywood tour vans full of German's and Midwesterners getting a peek at my neighborhood (for 25 dollars a head), and you have an icon that I will genuinely miss.


Matt said...

Remember the last night of concert week when i feel asleep across 4 barstools at Blue Palm and then when you turned the alarm on I had to run out the door thus breaking my flip-flop and then i had to walk down Hollywood blvd barefoot. Thats what i'll remember about the dirty decrepit H-wood walk of fame.

Matt Glassman said...

like having that story in the back of my head, is like having a nam story. I had a friend who waked a mile home down the piss-soaked, homeless-laden, vomit-stained hollywood walk of fame. On a Wednesday, at 3:00AM, when he had to work the next torrance.