I’m in Hollywood. It’s not really my sort of place to be honest. I don’t go in for celebrity culture and kitsch. I do like movies though, and it’s fascinating to walk around the place that defined what movies are today, even if it’s a shadow of its former self. Today Hollywood has more of a spiritual association with filmmaking than a practical one – most films are made elsewhere, and only one studio, Paramount, still has its headquarters here. Even though many stars still live in LA, here you’ll see the people who didn’t make it; brought in by the allure of a fast path to stardom only to have reality hit hard. Strolling down Hollywood Boulevard I overheard a homeless man talking about stage fright, which about sums it up for me. It’s a place of broken dreams. Perhaps that’s what Green Day were really singing about?
My first full day here happens to be the day of the California presidential primary (I can’t help but read that in Kiefer Sutherland’s voice). I haven’t seen much evidence of this. I saw one Hillary sign and one Bernie sign and that was it, although I did find the Hollywood Heritage Museum closed to me when it turned out to be a polling station.
As I write this, the polls are still open for half an hour, and the latest polls have the Democratic candidates neck and neck (Not to get too political, but go Bernie!). Even if Sanders wins here though, the nomination lies pretty securely in Clinton’s hands. The less said about the nominee on the other side the better, I think. I decided earlier that I wouldn’t bring him up unless others do. I think most Americans are a bit embarrassed by him.
After wandering around Hollywood I found an awesome little cafe in the park called the Trails Cafe, which serves very good quiche, and hiked the eponymous trails up to the Griffith Observatory and back. The hilltop offers a stunning panoramic view of the LA skyline, not to mention the famous Hollywood sign. At the observatory a planetarium showed a 360 degree film about water in space. I rather enjoyed it, though it’s hard to be impressed by the technology when you’ve tried an HTC Vive (the dangers of being a tech enthusiast).
I’ve never seen a city as big as Los Angeles in my life. The urban sprawl seemed to spread to the horizon in every direction, and I could barely even make out the coast from my vantage point. Tomorrow though I’m planning to head west, to check out Venice Beach and Santa Monica.