To be a star in Hollywood all you really need is a Sharpie pen. And since fame and stardom don't always come a-knockin' on your door, sometimes you just gotta go out there and make it happen yourself -- take control of your own destiny, or stardom, so to speak. This you can do armed with a Sharpie, plus a willingness to commit a minor crime, followed by a quick walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame until you stumble upon one of the blank stars on the sidewalks of Hollywood Blvd. and Vine Street.
There, spread over a combined 18 blocks, sit approximately two and a half thousand five-pointed terrazzo & brass stars brightly embedded in the Hollywood sidewalk, spaced at every six feet. Many of these stars are blank waiting to be officially filled in with the name of some accomplished entertainment figure, typically a movie, TV, or music person. Sometimes these blank stars get unofficially filled in. That is exactly what "Boris P" with his "M" in a circle symbol recently did on Vine in the block just below Hollywood Blvd, where he got busy with his Sharpie pen -- instantly bypassing the typical hard uphill slog to stardom. And with an estimated ten million visitors annually coming to LA specifically to see The Walk, according to a report by NPO/Plog Research, odds are that "Boris P" is a hell of a lot more well known now than he was before he bought that 99 cent Sharpie.
Administrated by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and maintained by the Hollywood Historic Trust, The Hollywood Walk of Fame very recently celebrated its 50th anniversary which I missed by a few days. Held on Sunday, July 25th, the occasion was celebrated with a day-long festival with tours of iconic Hollywood theaters and studios, as well as live music, performances, movie screenings and various other activities including the induction of the late great Louis Prima onto The Walk. I passed his shiny new star -- not too far from Boris P's star.
I discovered Boris P's star last week when I went to LA to visit the Hollywood Amoeba Music store. And I always get a real kick out of visiting the Hollywood store, since everything about being in LA and Hollywood in particular triggers so many memories of movies and songs deeply embedded in my subconscious. I guess if I lived there I would probably take it all for granted, but take something like that backstreet off of Franklin (up a couple of blocks off Vine) in the photo above: to a Hollywood native it's probably viewed as just another ho-hum backstreet but to me it conjures up a million adrenaline fueled movie and TV-show car chase scenes I've seen.
Beyoncé "Welcome To Hollywood"
I feel similarly for the music memories that being in Hollywood triggers. And as I walked down Vine looking down at all the stars, including the broken one for Willard Waterman (poor Willard, dude I hope they fix your star soon), many song melodies and lyrics flooded my brain such as Kool & The Gang's "Hollywood Swinging," Beyoncé's "Welcome To Hollywood," Bob Seger's "Hollywood NIghts," and of course The Kinks' "Celluloid Heroes" (video below).
And as I turned right off of Vine onto Sunset Blvd, that David Bowie lyric from "Cracked Actor" off Aladdin Sane that goes "you caught yourself a trick down on Sunset and Vine. But since he pinned you baby you're a porcupine" jumped into my head and stayed there, with me humming the whole song until I reached my destination -- Amoeba Music at 6400 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, where there were many more songs/records inside to trigger even more memories.
The Kinks "Celluloid Heroes" (aka "Hollywood Blvd") Video by Lloyd & Rob
David Bowie "Cracked Actor" (live)