Amoeblog

Hollywood Swinging: a primer for the neighborhoods of Hollywood

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 26, 2012 09:42pm | Post a Comment
HOLLYWOOD
 

Hollywood Boulevard - 1927
Hollywood Boulevard in 1927 at the opening of Hells Angels at Grauman's Chinese

Hollywood is famous around the world as the one-time center of the American film industry. Although Hollywood isn't the original home of the west coast film industry (nearby Edendale in Echo Park and Sycamore Grove in Highland Park both have stronger claims to that distinction), Hollywood has for almost a century continued to serve as a metonym for that industry (and inspire portmanteaus like Bollywood, Dollywood, Ghallywood, Kollywood, Mollywood, Nollywood, Tollywood, etc); even though that most of the film industry mostly long ago abandoned the neighborhood, primarily for the San Fernando Valley. Hollywood has done an excellent job of branding though. After all, you don't have other countries referring to their film industries as "Bedendale," "Nycamore Grove", or "the Ghalley."


Vintage Hollywood Postcard

The Hollywood neighborhood has expertly continued to pimp its association with the American film industry that formerly called it home where the other neighborhoods did not. In Edendale, the oldest studio was torn down and is now a vacant lot where the 2 Freeway meets Glendale. The old Mack Sennet Studio where Charlie Chaplin and Keystone Cops movies were made is now a public storage facility unceremoniously tucked behind a Jack in the Box. Hollywood, on the other hand, continues to bill itself as "The Entertainment Capital of the World" and adds industry-related tourist attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which was installed long after the last pieces of tinsel in tinseltown had blown over the hills.
Homeless on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Today there are relatively few vestiges of Hollywood's cinematic past not installed merely to attract tourists -- of the film studios, only Paramount remains. Of the major label music industry, only Capitol Records remains. The aforementioned Walk of Fame -- to me, at least -- serves primarily as a testament to the ephemeral nature of stardom. Not to be hopelessly cynical but the first time I saw the names like Bryan Adams, Sean "Diddy" Combs, and Paula Abdul, I felt nothing but disinterest. However, for roughly ten million annual visitors it's presumably something terribly exciting and I honestly don't want to disparage that.


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Little Armenia - Լիթլ Արմենիայում

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 7, 2008 01:13pm | Post a Comment
Map of Little Armenia
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Little Armenia

In the Los Angeles Neighborhood poll, right behind Morningside Circle is Little Armenia. To vote in the Los Angeles County Community poll, go here.


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of Hollywood
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Hollywood

When I first moved to Silver Lakefrom Chino I got a job in nearby Burbank. I drove through Glendale and noticed that the population of both cities was largely Armenian. The signs were written in that unique Armenian alphabet that kind of looks like broken bits of elbow macaroni glued to croquet hoops. I think that, at the time, I had only the vaguest notion of where Armenia was. (For the record, at Amoeba we file it in the Middle East, to the consternation of many since it's a Christian nation in South Eastern Europe).

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Spirit of Armenia

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 2, 2007 06:22pm | Post a Comment
I checked out the "Spirit of Armenia!" Sunday night up at the Hollywood Bowl with my beloved Ngoc em. I've lived in Los Angeles. for more than a few years now and, shamefully, it was my first time up there. I'd definitely like to go back soon.

Anyway, I didn't know what to expect at all. My exposure to Armenian music is mostly limited to KSCI where I've seen seen more than enough Tupac-indebted gangsta rap. Still, I would possibly prefer that to my even stronger dislike of five thousand-year-old tunes played on a fretless bass.

The Bowl was pretty full. Even though we were outside and there was no smoking except outside, the air hung heavy with cigarette/cigar smoke and perfume. We brought 2 Buck Chuck and cheese with sesame pita chips. We found our seats. Saw a couple of friends near us but sat where we were assigned.

I don't think I've ever been to one of those concerts with the big screens projecting what's going on the stage before. No lie, I think the biggest concert I'd ever been to (before last night) was Big Audio Dynamite in a park in 1992.

I found myself alternating between squinting at the stage and craning at the big screens. I wished I'd brought binoculars or opera glasses or something. It's like being at a sports bar. Even if you want to focus on something, the televisions all around hypnotize with their pretty colors! It's even more difficult to look away when you're periodically blinded by the gleam of gargantuan images of Adiss Harmandian cracking smirks and busting out in his Tom Jones-like gestures.

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