I took a hot trip into Hollywood today. As in the weather was sweltering. Got a glimpse of it I haven’t seen in a long time. I work in Hollywood, meaning that I am superficially involved in it. Like most anything associated with work, including people, I keep a very healthy, Grand Canyon-wide distance…an impersonal schism. Working in Hollywood is enough for me. I walk from the train station to work with my head down, using the side streets and I never eat out for lunch. Thus, Hollywood is at most, a cursory experience. I work in Hollywood but I am just a passenger. A disinterested non-observer. The less I know of the town, the better. I lived in Hollywood from 1995-1996. That was my era of “Hollywoodization.” I loved the scene then. I loved the shitty bars and the drinking and the gunk and slime that appeared to coat everything and everyone there. I used to go to the Power House and Boardners “back in the day.” These were grimy joints with customers to match. Especially The Power House. On separate Power House trips I sat next to a cute girl with spectacles who suddenly began letting out the loudest belches after having a couple of beers and once I saw an old lady who had that trademark throat/larynx surgical aftereffect of a staccato voice box which of course did not deter her from smoking and drinking. God love them. Boardners’ clientele was a little more fancy but not by much. It was still a dark bar where you could get lost on your way to the table and an endless parade of shady people trampled by on their way to the outside area beyond the restrooms or to the stairs that led to the mysterious rooms upstairs.
This was Hollywood.
Now. Now they have a boutique at the base of the pretentiously priced W Hotel where you can get your hair washed and blow-dried. That’s it! I think it’s called Blo. I won’t dignify it by using Google to verify this. Take my word for it. I would not make bullshit like this up. What garbage. What a mindless and hollow extravagance. This is what Hollywood is now in 2011. Hollywood is flashy restaurants with overpriced and overrated food. Hollywood is about paying your way in. It’s about hobnobbing with suburban whores and douchebags. It’s about an artificially lubricated glow and spiffy double-decker buses and trendy everything. Hollywood seems like one big put-on now.
I was in Boardners about 4 years ago and it was undergoing a radical image change even then. The old rickety stools and cheap vinyl booths gave way to a neo-20’s motif of the sort you might have seen in Jack Nicholson’s haunted Outlook visitations in the film “The Shining.” Nice, but too nice. Too nice does not come cheaply. Hollywood now demands major league prices for all its extravagant offerings and booze is no exception. The headlining eateries are SWPL crap with narrow niche menus that appeal to about 1 person in 300, but the joy of SWPL is that people will act like they love shit they really don’t because it is the sensible and higher caste thing to do.
Hollywood is sheep now. Trendy, hair product-spewing consumerists and egotistical scumbags.
Hollywood is Blo now. Somewhere you go to get your hair washed and blow-dried which seems like only half the job to me, sorry. Get your Goddamned haircut too. Or don’t you have shampoo in your room? The W Hotel is just conspicuously consumptive enough that I would think all, if not many, of the rooms have complementary blow driers, no?
The epitome of Hollywood’s downfall (really, “upfall”) is the disappearance of the great Spaghetti Factory on Sunset Boulevard. The Spaghetti Factory is a chain of faux Italian cuisine serving basic and uncomplicated food for cheap. The food might be on par with finer frozen entrees, but who gives a crap when you can get lunch for $6? That was the Hollywood Spaghetti Factory’s downfall. It couldn’t keep up with the overpriced Joneses and it was razed to make space for yet another future high rise hotel project. Hollywood has so many future projects on tap and the soul of the town is being gutted by this prima dona gentrification.
When I lived on Orange Drive back in the 90s, I could see the bleak Holiday Inn high rise that sat near the corner of Highland and Hollywood. Gone. Don’t get me started on the smug and narcissistic Kodak Center which replaced it.
Hollywood sucks now. Luckily, I just work there.