Skip to main content

Venice - Santa Monica - Hollywood

Good Day everybody,

many days later and my LA adventure still continues.  Me, the screenwriter in hope of fame and fortune in a kingdom far far away. Over 60 applications, 2 interviews down. I'll keep plodding.

I have successfully moved out of my gross wee hostel in Venice Beach and play with the big boys in Hollywood now. The grossness also increased subtantially since my two Russian girlfriends left me and were replaced by three guys:
One, I never really saw. Whenever I put my head to rest, he wasn't home yet, and whenever I woke up, he was already gone. It's a mystery.
Two, a hairy moustached Pakistani with too much energy, a Persian carpet, and unpredictable snoring habits.
Three, a Greek musician, mostly running around naked, with everything, yes EVERYthing hanging out, but a cute accent. "Are you go to the beats?" [beach]
Needless to say, it was dire time to move on. On a sidenote, the hostel also blocked domains like youtube and imdb, and quite frankly, that's just a no-go when you try to do research for job interviews in the industry. So, there. I'm slightly affronted.

Because my lovely carlords bestowed upon me the gift of free GPS, I sit solid in my saddle and never look back. The Sunset Blvd is mine, and Hollywood here I come.

Obituary to Venice Beach
It's awful. With no nice word could this desparate spring-break-vomit reminiscent sandy stretch be circumscribed.
no nice words.

BUT, and here comes the big BUT, it has charm if you ever make it inland. A couple of blocks towards civilization and away from the grossness of the beach, you hit Abbot Kinney Blvd, and man, that's where it's at. Tiny shops, tiny cafés, tiny restuarants, everything tiny but ever so sweet. On the lookout for cafés with wifi, you might as well toss your laptop under a truck. There is one. BUT, no sockets, no nothing. Run out of battery, bitches.

Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice Beach - where everything's at.
And then there is that ONE reason to visit Venice Beach:
Abbot's Pizza Company - Home of the Bagel Crust. Let me repeat: Bagel crust. If it made me speechlessly happy - so can you.
Pure happiness.

Oh, how wonderful is LA's little holy sister. Parking regulations outta hell shouldn't be a problem for the foot soldiers. Santa Monica pier marks the Pacific end of Route 66. This, my friends, is a place to live. Everybody walks, lots and lots of little cafés, and small town flair, with the random vegan, gluten-free, yoga doobie.
Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade.

So, there is me, strolling down along the ocean with my guide book under my arm when an elderly gentleman chats me up, offering help with directions. As it turns out, he is a screenwriter and producer. Yep, that's how it's done: walking around looking lost.

Santa Monica Pier. Iconic end of Route 66.

is a little area in the highlands above Santa Monica. This is where the famous Sunset Blvd begins to meander its way through the, well, the palisades. It has the feel of a little town of its own. The children laugh and run around freely in the sun. They must be rich.
Driving the Sunset Blvd is scenic, educational, and gives you a sunburn on your driver side arm (left). But you pass UCLA and the Playboy Mansion, so no complaints filed here.

UCLA. What? You thought I was going to show you the Playboy Mansion?

My new hostel (orangedrive) is a-ma-zing. Spacious rooms, QUIET, and it has a parking lot in the back for $5 a day, which I didn't know about, so my Rio is parked in the netherhills of Hollywood. I wish I had come here earlier. I am directly around the corner from the Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Blvd with all things fame.
The stars, oh the stars.Catherine Zeta Jones and her ole man prance down the carpet towards the Dolby Theatre, because somebody thought it appropriate to give Jane Fonda a Lifetime Achievement Award. Everybody's excited; Michael Douglas looks old and tired.

the late grand critic.

yep, this is Hollywood, too.

The nameless broken star. Reality-check.

Skooby's Hot Dogs. Even those dudes liked it.
The more you distance yourself from the main artery of the Walk of Fame, the more dodgy the street becomes, the more unknown the names on the stars, except for the Village People. BUT it is worth strolling down Hollywood Blvd just far enough... to Skooby's Hot Dog shack. It's easy to find: it's right next to Errol Flynn's star. Get yourselves a cheese and bacon dog and a freshly squeezes lemonade and cherish your life and tastebuds during the minutes the sausage melts on your tongue. Dogs straight outta heaven!

I go to the cinema, what else would you do in Hollywood, right?, to watch Maleficent in the old, beautiful cinema El Capitan. I will need another whole new post to sum up what I think about this flick.

A couple of things to round this day up:

Traffic issues in LA: this is really a case of "much ado about nothing". ANYbody who has EVER driven in ANY (European) city before cannot - MUST NOT - be intimidated by LA traffic. You will find that LA drivers are easy going, polite, and courteous, waving people in when in turning need, and generally paying attention to blinkers like no other city folk. It's no big deal - it's traffic, sure! - but driving is nowhere as bad as people mouth it, badmouth it. Having said all that...

Parking in LA is a bloody nightmare. In no other city of the planet are there parking signs of such multitude and fascism. Every pole has at least three signs: One stating that under no circumstance should you ever park there. Another one states that under no circumstance should you park there from 12noon to 2pm on Tuesdays because somebody will be cleaning the street. Another sign tells you that holders of parking permit number 97 are excempted from the first sign. It's pretty mad, but managable, if you're willing to walk a wee while and have patience finding that one little spot. Also, a small car is the rockstar in LA's parking scene.

So people, listen to me and memorize the following:
I believe the best thing about Venice, and Santa Monica, and LA in general is their...
Walkability. Yes, people do it, with coffees in their hands, some have water bottles on their heads (no joke), chatting, strolling, acting the content pedestrian. Nobody stares at you as if you just dropped down from Uranus. Using your own pedes to motion through the city is an accepted method of transport in these latitudes, and it is indeed a safe pleasure. Wear sunscreen. I didn't.

PEOPLE: lovely. friendly. helpful. just. swell.

PAPER BAGS: Allegedly, it is partially thanks to Amy Smart that LA got rid of plastic bags. However she did it, Smart was smart and thorough: No plastic bags as far as the eye can see. Paper's the big deal over here.

THE COFFEE BEAN: a terrific alternative to starbux et al., the Bean serves their ice coffees with purple straws. What else do you need?

So, here I am. Sitting in the Coffee Bean on Hollywood Blvd (wifi and outlets!), dwarved by the historic facade of the Roosevelt Hotel where Marilyn Monroe is said to haunt the overpriced rooms, writing the next Maleficent.
Just Kidding.

new deskspace.

Today's P.S. goes to the owners of Fatburger: "What were you thinking?"

Today's links:


Popular posts from this blog

Shaun the Sheep Movie VS. Fantastic Four

Maryberry’s Hollywood Part Three (THE BIT IN THE END)

The last act is always the shortest. You’ve nearly made it. Thank you for your perseverance. My last months and weeks in LA were pretty good, as I got to spend time with people I was very fond of. Two most lovely guys, Aaron and Kenji, formed an illustrious pub quiz team with me. At our weekly get-togethers at Barney’s Beanery, we looked like a shiny happy Pepsi commercial, if you know what I mean. I eventually moved out of my flat in Hollywood and settled in with a couple a bit further West down Santa Monica Boulevard during my last few weeks. I had met them both a while back in Austria via friends. The male half of the liaison, Bernhard, was an Austrian chef who had opened up an Austrian sausage bar in downtown LA. He was ever so generous, letting me stay in the Spare Oom of their beautiful house in Westwood. The female half, Cindy, was an interior designer and beautiful lass from all over the place, and we easily connected via our shared love for anything British. I recognised in …

Maryberry’s Hollywood Part Two (THE MIDDLE BIT)

Welcome back to the long and winding road that is the recapitulation of my Hollywood Days. I can’t believe you’re still with me. As any second act, this one is the longest and meanders around. Consider yourself warned. We’re now a bit further down the road. I found a flat in the lovingly dodgy heart of Hollywood with a fantastic taqueria nearby, settled in, and got going on some sort of daily routine of living, writing, and miscellaneous work. I started each day with a run in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, listening to Aerosmith. I placed my writing desk at an angle so I could see the humming birds outside my window, doing their humming thing around the lemon trees. I started working with a few small productions. One that sits very fondly in my memory was a costume gig I landed through an acquaintance. I had done some costuming back in Vienna so I felt girt going into this little production. It did quickly bring me back down to Earth, as I was asked to conjure up not only futuristic…