Thursday, March 28, 2013

No rhyme or reason ... well, yes, rhyme, but what's the reason?

Hollywood, California, the real Hollywood, not the other one in Florida; what's that about? As any tourist can tell you, the sidewalks on Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street are paved with stars. Each star represents a famous (sometimes not-so-famous) person whose fan club raised the $15,000 it costs to be so strangely immortalized. Dubious glory, having people step, litter and hock loogies all over your name. We locals, don't tend to spend much time in this neighborhood, unless we happen to be young and hip, in which case we come to the clubs or live in the relatively cheap digs nearby. I lived in Hollywood when I first moved to Los Angeles. Back then - about one million years ago - it was still pretty rangy. But I was a lot younger and really enjoyed the marginal quality of the area. The store fronts were occupied by low-end retailers, wig stores, tacky souvenir shops, lousy pizza-by-the-slice joints and a few dusty used book sellers. Over the years, a lot of Urban Outfittery places, including Urban Outfitters, have moved in, along with cool bars and restaurants. I almost never get back to Hollywood, but when I do I'm always a little sorry I left. I'm not young or hip, but I do like vibrant street life. That's not easy to find in L.A.

One oddity I came across years ago was the juxtaposition of two stars in particular. She's a country singer and he was an actor who I think did a lot of westerns. The symbol on her star looks like a plate with two chopsticks cradling a pea. It's actually a record album (a piece of technology from last century) with a stylus arm and needle. That's the pea. His symbol looks like a Chinese take-out box with two chopsticks stuck in it. It's actually an old-timey television set with something called "rabbit ears," or an "antenna," a metal contraption that gathered TV signals from the air. What's cool about these two stars, in addition to their hieroglyphics, is the names set in them. She is Loretta Lynn and he is Keenan Wynn. Might not be the only case of rhyming names side-by-side, but it's the only case of it that I know of.

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