Before leaving the sprawl that is Los Angeles we were very kindly given a 3-hour tour around the city. I'm not a fan of the city at all, in previous visits I found it too big and a sprawl to have any sort of character but it was nice to be given the opportunity of seeing those parts of the city that are deemed touristy. Below is a recollection of the facts I could remember being told and the gaps being filled with made up nonsense...much like the majority of the report.
First stop was the Hollywood Bowl, a music venue built into the Hollywood hills and quite surprising in that we were able to stroll in and walk around with out being stopped (although there were some people working on the stage that prevented us from rushing it). Whilst really well known to the locals, the most famous event that took place here that the Brits know of would probably be the Monty Python concert, which took place exactly 30 years ago.
Hilarious! No it's not!
From the bowl you can also catch sight of the famous Hollywood sign that used to actually read "Hollywood Land" until the "Land" part fell out of it's foundations due to weather damage. It was here that the word "landslide" was coined.
Another famous landmark is this cross that was built by a woman who had some involvement in the bowl's construction. When Pope John Paul visited LA they changed the Hollywood sign to read "Holywood". Sad!
The people in LA are really keen that you don't stuff marine wild life into the sewer system. There have not been any recorded instances of sewer-dolphins being found in LA, a sign that this particular campaign is very successful. Previous campaigns involved not hiding giraffes in trees and storing elephants in landfill.
Beverly Hills is the city within a city where the rich paranoid people live, but this sign is nothing to do with that. It's a display getting ready for the impending visit of Beverly Hills, the British actress famous her roles in such TV classics as Dalziel & Pascoe, Casualty and Holby City.
This is the Chinese Mann theatre which is surrounded by some really bad dressed characters who you have to pay if you photograph and some homeless people, who you feel guilty about not paying if you photograph. I photographed neither, instead I took pictures of...
The original condom full of walnuts, Arnie Schwarzenegger, star of 80s action movies, Californian governor and pizza proprietor ! Apparently when he wanted to do this the cement wasn't ready so he came back later in the day...and there's my second "I'll be back" crap pun of the trip. I promise there will be no more.
If you're asking what the pizza comment was about then click this.
What the hell is broccoli anyway?
Nicholas Cage was also there, I know there's a saying about big feet but what about little hands and big feet together?
Keeping the action star thing going here's Bruce Willis's attempt. It's interesting how most of them write like illiterates, but what does it matter if they earn millions for being so.
and just as we were about to leave I spotted this from my Hollywood nemesis, Tom (signs his cheques "thanks") Hanks. For those that don't know I've not seen any of his movies, except for Big, which was great when I was a child (or was I grown up), and Splash, which was shite. Someone making the cheques comment was enough to make me hate him for ever.
As well as the concrete abuse, which if I repeated in the UK I'd be arrested for, they also have thousands and thousands of stars along the boulevard.
Star of Iron Man 2, in which she played boobs in a cat suit, and The Avengers, in which she placed arse in a catsuit Scarlet Johannsson is one of the more recent stars to be added.
Arguably the most famous star on the strip and the one that had queues to photo is this one for the King of Pop. The symbols below the name indicate the industry in which the person was most famous. This one is obviously music, although given the final years of his life I'm surprised it wasn't awarded for his service to child care.
Some of the recipients are imaginary, which I think makes a mockery of the whole place. Unless one of the natural disasters that hit the city was a giant dinosaur coming out of the sea, I doubt very much that he'd have been able to attend his ordaining.
There is only person who insisted their star be placed on a vertical service instead of on the ground as he didn't want anyone to walk over it. Realising I didn't get the best photo, well done if you knew it was Muhammad Ali.
Inside the Kodak theatre, where the Oscars are often presented, they keep a record of every Best picture winner on the pillars within it. 2011's winner the Artist joins such other best pictures as Gigi, the Bridge on the River Kwai, Driving Miss Daisy and Kramer vs Kramer.
Also within the Kodak Theatre and when there isn't an Oscar ceremony taking place there's Iris, a Cirque de Soleil show that is themed around the golden era of Hollywood. I'm a big fan of these guys but unfortunately I had no time in our itinerary to squeeze a trip to this in...next time.
Next door to the theatre is the Hollywood and Highland Centre, a large shopping and entertainment complex with a North-East facing arch through which you can see the Hollywood sign again...just not from this angle. I'm such a numpty.
Random marketing which seems quite content to have you live their brand by eating unhealthily. Choosing not to "Rock the Combo" it was time to move on. And as for the vague combo/casbah wordplay, "Sharia don't like it"
For Hard Rock Cafe whores, and I know there are several out there, Hollywood has a new Hard Rock cafe in which you can eat portions big enough to placate a bear and purchase a fridge magnet to celebrate. I know of 2 whores who ate a starter in the other branch before coming here for their main.
Getting back to our coach we had a little bit of entertainment from this truck driver who had managed to beach his truck on the top of the hill. This must happen quite a lot in LA given all the large number of stretch vehicles in the city.
This is the old egyptian theatre that was built in the 1920s and for those who've played LA Noire is the one that you spend ages chasing a guy through fairly early on in the game. It was built by the Grauman's, the same dudes who built the Chinese theatre nearby. Chinese, Egyptian, these guys were well ahead with their theming. If only people didn't go on to ridicule them when they announced the Avatar Pandora theatre with it's 7ft smurfs working behind the counters.
Whilst on the coach we got a brief overview of the area where things such as this expensive restaurant were pointed out. People here are so vain that they eat outdoors so that they might catch a famous person eating or so that people driving past think they're famous. So waving good bye to Elton John, Madonna and Jack Nicholson it was time to move on.
This is the Viper Room, famous for being partly owned by Johnny Depp and having River Phoenix die outside it in its opening year, this place gives me some great memories as I visited it in my first ever trip to LA and partied the night away to the sounds of Bootie Quake, a great covers band. We had ZZ Top there just chilling in the VIP area too. Good times!
Probably a strip joint.
The advertising banners here are huge, probably on account of anyone and everyone in the industry spending their day jobs driving along these roads. Although an argument can be made that if something was really that good you wouldn't need to advertise it. Personally something this big would put me off wanting to see it.
A little advert like this would be better except some of the biggest adverts we saw on this trip were for Brave, the new Pixar movie. Well trying to pitch the film about a ginger-chick with a bow and arrow can't be that easy perhaps there's no choice but to put it in peoples faces.
Jimmy Kimmel is huge in the US. He's practically unheard of in the UK. It's a shame that the tour couldn't be tailored for it's audience. There were 2 Banksy pieces in LA that I couldn't get to in the time we had, drive us to those and you'd have had a huge fan. Alas, not to be the case.
The Capital Records building designed to look like a stack of records. There's a copy of this building in Turkey where it's called Donor Kebab Tower.
Next stop after the Sunset strip took us to Rodeo drive. Reportedly a famous street for shopping and being seen when we got to it there were only tourists walking around, the majority of whom would not have been able to purchase anything. I think the tour comes here on the hope that Kim Kardashian or Julia Roberts might just be out shopping in their spare time. Both of those women used sex in some capacity to make their name in LA, and well done if you knew that I meant Julia Roberts was brought shopping here in Pretty Woman.
Not interested in the shops whatsoever I just spent some time checking out the architecture.
and the cars. I must have been bored, as I'm not a car fan at all!
This did make me chuckle though. I liked the fact that they help you plan meals and need a huge van to do so. Is that because the portions are still massive?
Found not too far from Rodeo Drive, simply clever!
We finished the evening at the La Brea Tar Pits, where there's tar and stuff (I've sold that well) and for those who've played LA Noire is the place that you spend ages chasing a guy through in the middle of the game. By now most of the group were getting tired, in fact more than half remained on the coach for this stop, either asleep or too bored to get off. I had been here before and there's not much to see, just plenty to smell; great if you like the smell of tar.
and as the sun went down it was time to head say goodbye to LA and head to the next hotel, ready for the next day.