Monday, July 5, 2010

(Maddie) Rodeo, Hollywood and the Fourth

So, I discovered that I have a Fourth Cousin in the TV comedic screenwriting business (who'd've thunk it?). Last Saturday, we decided to get in some familial bonding (as we have never met before) by visiting the touristy locations of Los Angeles, i.e. Rodeo Drive and Hollywood Boulevard. I have to say, I had fun being a pseudo-tourist for a day, expecially with someone who knew the "ins" and "outs" of the areas. It beats taking Starline Tours, the "premier" Hollywood tour company. Imagine a double-decker bus filled with overweight, sun-burned, obnoxiously-loud New Jersey-ites with bookie visors and fanny packs. Got that picture in your head? Not very attractive, is it? I didn't think so either. I will take the passenger seat of my Fourth Cousin's Lexus convertible any day. Check out the (horrible) picture I took of the Hollywood sign from the convertible!

She decided to take me to Rodeo Drive, the famous high-end designer-drenched shopping district of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. As we were walking, we noticed a bunch of tourists crowding around a really expensive Italian sports car, all taking pictures of or with it. My Fourth Cousin wanted to take me into a coupel stores. She immediately nixed Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Chanel, and some other fancy-schmancy designers; the pre-requisite for becoming a staff member is that one must have the pretentious disposition of a snobbish, vapid jerk. So, we stopped at Harry Winston, the premier diamond jewelers in America. This is the company that loans out jewelry to the stars for the Oscars. We stepped in and talked to representative named Raymond, who was absolutely delightful. Even though he knew we weren't going to be buying anything, he was thoroughly enjoyable to talk to and answered all of my questions. He left me try on a half-inch big sapphire ring! The pieces were works of art. I was thoroughly impressed by their work and their professionalism. The only other shop we stepped into was Armani. My Fourth Cousin got an Oscar dress from this well-known Italian establishment, and they still remember her. We were helped out by Zohar, a man who proved to be very knowlegeable in fashion and, like Raymond, was fun to talk to. My cousin asked if he could show us a few of his favorite classic pieces. He excitedly pulled out his favorites and lovingly showed off each one as if he were the curator of a museum showing off their Impressionist collection. His enthusiasm was contagious. he told us that Armani only makes five copies of a dress per country so that no one will where the same dress to an event. They personally tailor each gown to the wearer's body for free. The staff of Harry Winston and Armani impressed me. Even though they knew I was nto rich and would not buy a thing, they treated me with kindness and respect. They reminded me of the way shops used to be run - personal, not mass-marketed commericialism. I now understand why people would spend such large amounts of money for such great service.

After seeing more bleach-blonde bimbos in booty shorts and ugg boots than I could count, we were back in the convertible and zooming down the pristine, palm tree-lined Beverly Drive toward tourist trap known as Hollywood Boulevard. Hollywood Boulevard is the most famous, yet seemiest side of the Los Angeles area. It was also the most crowded place I have seen during this internship. Torrents of tourists rushed down the star-studded sidewalks along the street, converging upon Grauman's Chinese Theater. Of course, I had to see this at least once in my we parked. The near-impenetrable stream of tourists was the closest I have ever gotten to white-water rafting. I got to see the hands, shoes, messages and signatures of stars, old and new, etched into cement for eternity so that we may walk all over them. Of course, I focused on the older stars, because they actually have talent (plus a few geeky choices): Bette Davis, Roy Rogers + Trigger, Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Fredric March, Gregory Peck, John Wayne, Clark Gable, Cecil B. deMille, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Jimmy Stewart, the Marx Bros., George Lucas + Steven Spielberg, Star Wars (R2D2, C3P0, Darth Vader), Cary Grant, Peter Sellers, Gene Kelly, Harry Potter (Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe), Star Trek crew, Myrna Loy.

Since Independence Day fell on Sunday, I spent half of the day at Church. I have gotten close to one family in particular adn they invited me to come out with them to a Cove close to their house. The view of the Pacific Ocean was beautiful. Unfortunately, high tide was in full swing at the cove and I did not get to see the anemones, hermit crabs, octopi, etc that were promised. It was a stone-covered beach. When the waves crashed in an out, the sound of round rocks rolling over the beach mixed with the sound of rushing water. Some of the larger boulders had cracks in them filled with sparkling crystals. Even though I did not get to see the marine life I was hoping for (damn the Moon!), I had a great time hiking and exploring the area with the church faimly. After dinner, they all drove me back so we could catch some fireworks on the way back. At one point on the highwaty, we saw 7 different fireworks displays! I have to say it was a good Fourth of July weekend. Although, I missed participating in the yearly familial rituals with my parents: watching 1776, playing crochet and bocce ball, and lighting sparklers!

P.S. Here is a little gem from the Grauman Chinese Theater. There were tons of other people crowded around this one. Enjoy my nerdiness! ....And may the Force be with you!

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