It’s about time I finally talked about my time in Los Angeles earlier this year. It was a long, fun-filled trip, with visits to different districts in the L.A. area. As a result, I decided to make a few posts on the trip, with each installment focusing on a different part of my trip.
The first time I went to L.A. was about 5 years ago. I was still a high school student with extreme perceptions of L.A.; I imagined it as the only place to be to make big blockbuster hits. I ended up thinking L.A. was either an exaggerated version of Hollywood or the beach. This post concerns the former.
Now, Hollywood definitely is an exaggeration of what people might think all of L.A. is (or maybe it was just me), but it’s really the main part of L.A. where tourists go to see things that revolve around the world of entertainment, while the rest of L.A. varies quite drastically. Walking through this particular district kind of felt as though it was Halloween, with people dressed up as film characters parading down Hollywood Boulevard. That brings me to another point – Hollywood (at least, the Hollywood we think of) is rather small. Hollywood as we know it stretches out on Hollywood Boulevard where its main landmarks such as the Kodak Theatre, the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and television studios (ex: Jimmy Kimmel Live) are all set up. There are also studios slightly further out, such as NBC’s studios, but everything is relatively close by, which means that Hollywood can easily be seen in a day.
I happened to stroll around Hollywood Boulevard on two different nights; the first night lasted maybe 2 hours at the very most and consisted of mostly walking down the street and entering interesting looking shops and areas. That first night, I saw the night (obviously) version of Hollywood, which might have been why I walked away thinking it was more eccentric than I had remembered it being a few years ago. My distinct memories include seeing Captain Jack, Wolverine, Spiderman, and other dressed up characters around Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and the Kodak Theatre. Everything seemed kind of odd, and as my unofficial guide (a family member, also a native of L.A.) told me, “Hollywood’s the weird part of L.A.”.
Hollywood was interesting, though, and I enjoyed it enough the first night to be ok with the idea of going back. Well, it was more so a desire to see a late night talk show that got me there. Going to a television set has kind of become an L.A. tradition for me, as the first time I went down, I sat in the audience for “Wheel of Fortune” and (yes, was on television) for “Deal or No Deal”, where my sister and I both shouted out about how Canadian we were along with the show’s host. That was a good enough memory, so this time around I thought, “why not?”. Being in a television audience is actually rather mundane as I learnt the last time, but I had never been to a late night talk show and figured it would be something to check off my list of things to experience in L.A.
I looked around for a show to go to, and ended up picking Jimmy Kimmel because there were tickets for his show on the right night. His show, of course, is set in Hollywood, which sent me back out there. The show solidified my previous belief that being an audience member isn’t all that fun, but it was interesting to see how this different type of show was produced. Again, the opportunity to mention me being Canadian came up as a production member conveniently made a joke at Canada’s expense, and being one of maybe two or three Canadians in the audience, apparently I reacted the most strongly to his comment as he proceeded to point me out. I thought, “hey, I have no problem standing up for us!”, and it contrasted my “Deal or No Deal” experience quite well.
That wasn’t the most interesting part of the night, though – that was yet to come. The night I went was the same day Nathan Fillion (a fellow Canadian!) and Josh Hutcherson were to appear as guests. My Hollywood companions had no idea who Josh was, but having read The Hunger Games and having seen a surprisingly large amount of his films beforehand (in addition to being close to the actor’s age), I had an idea of who he was. This is when the funniest part of the night ensued; “fangirls”, and lots of them. For anyone with a television or access to the internet, the well-known craze over The Hunger Games is.. well, well-known. Picture this: sitting near some very excited, obsessed, and really hilarious girls decked head-to-toe in gear meant to honour the actor and his newest role. Jimmy pointed them out, they went crazy, and the entire studio got a kick out of it.
After the show, I got a chance to quickly go by said fans and make a playful joke about their love for the actor and character, but they took it rather well. My guess is, they probably get a whole lot worse, and they probably have no problem with it. The entire experience reminded me that all those screaming fans I usually see in videos are actually real, and that they couldn’t care less what anyone thinks. It also summed up Hollywood for me: where people come to appreciate a world they love, and as weird as it may be sometimes, it’s a big part of our culture. And yes, this conclusion is also quite weird, but it seems this is the most appropriate word to associate with any Hollywood experience.
Hollywood is only one part of L.A., though, and a rather small part indeed. With that said – if you ever find yourself with some spare time in the L.A. area, a trip to Hollywood might not be a bad idea if you like seeing what goes on behind the scenes, or even if you like to experience new things (as ridiculous as they may be). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a whole lot of great photos of my time in Hollywood, but the photos included here are just an idea of what Hollywood Boulevard is like.
More on L.A. soon!