As much as I enjoy ranting about greedy developers and sleazy politicians, I realize that this blog would be pretty boring if that’s all I ever wrote about. So I’m going to try to mix it up a little.
For over ten years I kept a journal about the Hollywood area. I’ll be posting excerpts here from time to time. Hopefully this will break the monotony of my ongoing diatribes against the powers that be.
A couple notes about the entry below. Those who have only known the Chinese Theatre in recent years may be puzzled by the mention of the two additional marquees. This was written at time when Mann Theatres had built two large auditoriums right next door, hoping to compete in the age of multi-plexes. These two theatres were torn down when Hollywood & Highland was constructed, and replaced by six inside the mall.
If you don’t live in the LA area, you’ll be wondering why I have a problem with Tutor-Saliba. Even back then they were notorious for cost overruns and long delays, but the city still awards them projects because they’re so well-connected. The names and faces may change, but the dynamics that shape the city stay the same.
April, Nineteen Ninety Eight
Sunday. Early afternoon. I’m sitting in a restaurant right across from the Chinese. In God’s Hands is playing at the main theatre. I look to the right and see that Tarzan and the Lost City is playing next door, and at the far end of the building is the now-familiar sign advertising the Titanic.
Beyond that, across Orchid Ave. is a construction site surrounded by a wooden barrier. The side of this barrier that runs along Hollwyood Boulevard is decorated with pink and yellow stars that have the faces of famous actors painted in the center. The Orchid Ave. side is covered with dull beige paint. And there is a sign announcing that the project is being handled by Tutor-Saliba-Perini. Good God, not again.
Beyond the construction site is the office building that stands at the corner of Hollywood and Highland. Off in the distance I can see a tall apartment complex, a billboard and a little piece of the Hollywood Hills.
A few days later I’m in my apartment, just a few blocks from Hollywood Boulevard. It’s after nine PM. I can hear the traffic on the Hollwyood Freeway. It’s always there, kind of like the ocean.
I’m thinking about all the stuff that’s happening in Hollywood, all the changes they’re making. There’s that big project over by the Chinese. The Max Factor building is being restored. The Cinerama Dome is gonna be sucked up into a shopping mall. It seems like the little shops and restaurants along the boulevard are doing better than they were five years ago. And I think the MTA still claims they’re gonna have a subway stop here eventually. I’m not holding my breath.
I’ve lived in or around this area for years. I really love Hollywood. Sometimes it tears my heart out when I see the things the crazy developers are doing. But then, this town wouldn’t even exist without the crazy developers.