So I spent this past Thursday, June 21st -- the longest day of the year -- in Hollywood. And it was just one of those perfect days. You know, one of those days you have when everything goes just perfectly? Being the first day of summer, I guess, the weather could not have been more desirable: sunny and warm but never too hot, and certainly not a trace of that smog that is so often unfairly associated with LA. But besides the weather, every single person I encountered that day in Hollywood was genuinely warm and friendly and a pleasure to be around. Even the tragic bums along Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards all seemed to have vanished for the day. Not one person asked me for money all day. The opposite happened in fact: not once but twice, glancing down at the pavement I found money -- a quarter on Vine and a crisp new dollar bill blowing on Sunset. Damn! There really is gold on the streets here, I thought. What a perfect day. As I happily walked I couldn't help but remember in my head all of the songs about Hollywood and LA (there is even a Wikipedia page dedicated to them) that include Bob Seger's Hollywood Nights, Murs' LA, Jurassic 5's LAUSD, Kool & the Gang's Hollywood Swinging, Defari's Los Angelinos, and X's Los Angeles. And as I walked down Vine heading towards Sunset, humming Randy Newman's I Love LA, I kept a close eye on the pavement in case I might find even more money, when I noticed that Rin Tin Tin had his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Wow! Even dogs are stars here.
Shortly afterwards at 6400 Sunset Boulevard at Amoeba Music Hollywood (the main reason for my trip down from the Bay for the day) I ran into Amoebite Kara who was walking her cute and affectionate little dog. The last time I was down in LA -- several months previous -- she had just gotten the miniature pooch who she had rescued by adopting him from an unfortunate homeless woman who could no longer take care of her pet. At Amoeba Music I spent the day hanging out and meeting many Amoebites for the first time, like Irene (who works in the office and was sporting a cool Virgin Prunes t-shirt), and some that I knew from before like KP, Tim Ranow, and Ilene. It was about my sixth trip to Amoeba Hollywood since it opened and I tell you the cavernous store never fails to amaze me. It is truly a music fiend's dream! And despite the good amount of time I spent digging in the crates of the endless rows and rows and sections and sections of music, I still only barely scratched the surface of the store's seemingly never ending inventory.
Besides music (vinyl/CDs), I particularly enjoyed the upstairs DVD section, which as the big billboard on the store's roof accurately boasts, offers "LA's largest selection of DVDs." And that's a lot of movies for Hollywood -- the home of movies. And good prices too, with most of the cool used ones I peeped priced at around $6.95. I liked the fact that there were a lot of specialty sections offering a really deep selection, like the black film section, which had some classic blaxploitation flicks on DVD that I didn't even know were available. I met Gabriella, one of the folks who works in the DVD department and who, like everyone at Amoeba, really knows her stuff. She will be among the many Hollywood Amoebites that I will be doing interviews with here on the AMOEBLOG over the next few weeks. Others include Eric who schooled me on reggae, Heidi who is an expert in metal, Vic who really knows his hip-hop, Kim who is cashier/manager, Mike, who just started at the store in security, Simon from new rock, J.D. from country, rockabilly, etc, Joyann and Paul V, both in the vast world music department, Melissa, who does everything around the store, and Kelly, who works in new & used rock CDs and who joked that she is probably the only person at Amoeba Hollywood who "only works" there and doesn't do any outside music or arts stuff.
When I was in the classical section in the back area (behind the stage for all the instore performances) I was impressed to note that Amoeba had gone to the trouble to install a ramp/lift to accommodate wheelchair-bound customers by elevating them up the few feet up to the section's listening stations. I was also impressed with all of the murals outside which I closely studied for the first time and, of course, took pictures of (including top left & below).
Before I knew it, my day at Amoeba Hollywood had come to a close and it was time to hit the road and briefly go visit my friend G, who was working a little late in the Capitol Records building a few blocks away on Vine. She works for EMI -- a part of Capitol -- and inside this famous building I noted the walls adorned with gold and platinum records of all the famous artists that made this music conglomerate so much money over the years. "Wow! Look at all those Beatles' albums," I said aloud in the front lobby. "Oh, Ringo was just here yesterday," my friend said. I joked, in a silly fake Liverpool accent, about how he was probably still trying to wrangle unpaid royalties for Rubber Soul. A few minutes later at a cool cafe nearby, as we ate a quick bite before I split for the Burbank, um the Bob Hope Airport, we talked about the rapidly changing music business, about Hollywood and the difference between living in Los Angeles versus the Bay Area, and about how life can sometimes seem to be perfect some days -- just like this particular day for me in LA.