We had a brilliant weekend up in LA. The weather was perfect, the sky was clear and blue, visibility was excellent, the traffic was flowing and all was absolutely right with the world. We went mainly to see Rufus Wainwright's show (tickets $22 each) on Sunday night, and Martha Wainwright's show ($12) the next night, but also to check out some possible locations for Bondis two and three - and why not for four and five?
The centre of Los Angeles, its real CBD, seems surprisingly modest in scale ...
... and in all my visits, I've never been to this actual centre. It may look modest, as I said, but it is vastly spread out.
This photo (above), from south-east of the city, was taken through the car window while we were on the 101, the Hollywood Freeway. We'd been driving through the LA metropolitan area for well over an hour and a half by the time we'd got to this point, which gives you some idea of how h-u-g-e the place is. And there are other big city centres in this general metro sprawl, such as Long Beach, Century City, and Burbank. It's a Big Place!
:: We stayed Sunday night in the glorious old Roosevelt Hotel, a perfect example of 1920s California-Spanish architecture on Hollywood Boulevard. This view from our tenth floor window, across the fire escape ...
... gives you another idea of this city. Hollywood, where we are, is quite a long way away from the city centre. In this pic (above), we're looking south-east.
What an exciting, dynamic atmosphere we found ourselves in! As we drew close to our hotel, Hollywood Boulevard (that's the one lined with all the stars of the Walk of Fame) was being barracaded in readiness for a film premiere at the Kodak Theatre and little clusters of fans were starting to line up.
And in our hotel, a film was actually being made. We had to step around piles of gear and over cables, and there were lights and crew and cameras and hustle and bustle everywhere. As we left the lift in the lobby on Monday morning, we heard a voice on a PA system: 'Quiet please! Director on set!' Any closer and we'd have been in it.
:: Apparently, some Angelenos have whinged about the inconvenience they have to live every day with as movie after movie is made in their hometown, but the LA mayor (whose beautiful Mexican name beginning with V escapes me for the mo) has shot back at them, saying that the movie industry provides over 800,000 LA inhabitants with jobs. Not just acting, directing and producing, but all the more everyday jobs, like painting, electrical work, catering and so on.
:: Hollywood itself is pretty tacky and down-at-heel ...
... with low-rent businesses, dodgy-looking apartment blocks and ill-kept footpaths and roads. But there is lots of reconstruction going on as it gets a much needed overhaul and a revamp.
It's been suggested that Bondi put in proposals for two locations here, both in brand-new developments that are still building sites. The first is near the legendary corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, where a whole block has been bulldozed and where a massive new complex of businesses and homes will soon rise.
The second is in a similar redevelopment to the west, near the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. Both are big addresses, so we'll see how we go!
:: But there are fabulous parts to Los Angeles as well. I love Wilshire Boulevard ...
... which is wide and long, stretching west through Hollywood, fashionable West Hollywood, and Beverly Hills all the way to Santa Monica. It's a fabulous drive! In the pic above, we are heading east, with Monday's setting sun behind us, and we're almost in Hollywood.
:: By far the best bit is Santa Monica (so far - though I may yet discover other gorgeous parts as there's so much to see!). If I had to live in LA, I could do it very happily in Santa Monica. But that's another post ...