Just finished reading ‘One-storied America’ by Ilf and Petrov, a book about America after the authors’ trip there on 2 months. I had a bigger trip. 3+ months in.. L. A. Yes, just L. A., but I believe I saw something here as well and have my own opinion on everything. Also, can tell something…
The first thing I’m going to tell is about Hollywood. As it is a place I visit every day because my work is there.
Yep, working in Hollywood. Hey, yeah!
Ilf and Petrov called Hollywood a boring place. The most boring place ever, to be precise.
Hollywood is boring??
Hollywood is weird, crazy, busy, even dirty and unpleasant. But Boring? No way!
We imagine Hollywood as a nice posh place with tall palms on both the sides of the street, with stars of all the Stars under the feet, with a lot of music, sunlight or night lights, with rushing famous people.. Imagination usually draw a picture of super-expensive boutiques and !Hollywood studios.
And here is the reality.
Yes, sure, there’s a lot of sunlight (hey, it’s California. How it couldn’t not to be sunny?)
There is colourful electric illumination at night time, but… not that great.
And there’s nothing posh there… Nothing… Is ‘Forever 21’ a boutique? Really? How long?
No studios on boulevard. Not at all. Zero.
And.. you can see some famous people on premiere near Dolby or Chinese theatre on the red carpet. [Btw, red carpet does exist.] To see somebody there is a tricky job. You should squeeze through that crowd.. That’s hard.. And may be.. you’ll see your favourite actor/actress but.. they still may be too far from you and you still may not have even to see their facial expression..
And all the stars in Hollywood… Damn, who are all those people?!
My first meeting with Hollywood was rather prosaic than poetic.
Our office is just on the Hollywood boulevard. The first time I came there was the time I came to the office, I was in rush and all I thought about was how to find the entrance to the office parking and park really fast – I needed work!
Then I walked a couple of times.. And it didn’t take long to understand the reality.
First of all, it smells… You constantly smell weed there and soon you even start to forget the smell of usual cigarettes. But weed is not the most frustrating part. You can smell all the ‘products’ of human life. And a mixture of those smells forms a very unique Hollywood smell you’ll never forget.
Yes, there’re many homeless people there, Hollywood is their home. They live somewhere near the boulevard in a cardboard box and come to the boulevard with their dog and ‘We’re fucked up’ sign for business hours. They need a dollar from tourists. Seems like their business is going pretty good – you can smell it with the weed.
Please, note, they’re not dangerous. They are even friendly. When they see you at least for a couple of days, they start to realise you’re not a tourist, they often say hello, ask how’s your day and start calling you ‘gorgeous’.
There is a guy who’s sitting on the bench near our office, in front of cafe with TV screens, and watching football all the time I pass by. He looks happy. Like nothing bothers him, he’s just watching TV – has a good time! Not like you, hungry rushing to the office to be on time for a meeting..
The next thing you start noticing after the smell is the number of tourists… Can’t say they’re nice… Funny thing just yesterday you was a tourist as well! You had only a ~one day of transitioning from ‘a tourist – [oh, lovely Hollywood’] to ‘hey, don’t touch me, I work there’ and tourists.. start to bother you immediately!
They accidentally stop and start making selfies near the star of their lovers… They make all possible kinds of selfies. With a selfie stick or without.. Standing or sitting, lying or not, happy face, silly face, with the phone up in the air, with the mobile just in front of..
‘Oh, sorry…’ – what else can they say bumping into you without any noticing of things around? Stars stars stars.. They are here for the stars…
Also there are groups.. Mostly Chinese. Extremely loud.. They usually have a guy who holds a stick with some toy – it helps them to recognise their group and not to mix with others. If you ran into one tourist taking selfie – it’s OK, two are still OK, but the group of 10, 20, 40… There’s a pedestrian traffic caused by usual tours near Chinese theatre, Dolby theatre on one side of the street. And there may be some unpredicted delays caused by solo tourists forming groups with the goal of seeing together celebrities houses tour on the other side of the street. ‘Hey, I work there, don’t even try…’
Tourists are mixing up with freaks. Gay policemen, still alive Marilyn Monroe, full of energy and happily dancing Michael Jackson, hip-hop dancers, singers [some of which can’t really sing, it doesn’t matter]. And there’re guys.. who try to give you CDs.. the same way whey give flyers. The main point is that flyers are free, but CDs cost 10$. And you have absolute no idea of what you’re buying – they just give you a CD, then you need then 10$! You wanted that CD really badly, right?
Sure, you still hear music. Music is everywhere. You can hear it from speakers of street musician, singer, dancer, from the cabriolet on the boulevard, some drug-addicts could sing something. But the most powerful songs come from.. the souvenirs stores. LA LA LAND, HOLLYWOOD SOUVENIRS.. They’re trying to get buyers turning on people’s favourite beats. Sellers are dancing, even the security man across the street is dancing. What a rave!
Btw it’s no matter of which music you like most and which store you choose – they are all the same, all expensive…
But there is one store which is selling everything for 5$ only… Only today… Because it’s a 10$-store. But only today is for 5! Furthermore, they’re closing in half an hour. You should be really fast! Oh, almost forgot to mention that you absolutely need to use the BLUE cart, because only items from the BLUE cart cost 5 bucks, elsewise – 10. And now you have only 15 minutes! Lucky you! Hurry up!
Other stores? Well.. Marshalls, CVS pharmacy, H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Skechers… Which of those are boutiques?
Although you have some nice places to eat. Nice and expensive or crappy fast food. McDonald’s is almost empty btw. Cheeseburger for 1.30$, could you imagine? Btw, it’s not that bad..
So here is Hollywood. Only real! Forget everything you saw on pictures, forgot stories about the smell of gas and busy studios full of actors and actresses written in ‘One-storied America’ by Ilf and Petrov. Hollywood is crazy, Hollywood is weird. But still… each time I hear ‘Hello gorgeous’ from homeless, I can’t stop smiling. And sure, each time I come from the office by the end of the day, extremely tired, almost unconscious, Hollywood wakes me up. It’s so crazy that you can’t not to fall in love in it.