Friday, October 17, 2008


On Wednesday night I met up with my friend Andrea James to go to dinner at the wonderful shabu shabu restaurant Koji's at the Hollywood & Highland complex. Andrea is as big a shutterbug as I am so of course she had her camera with her. I on the other hand left all my good Nikon gear at home and my little Sony T100 in the car. So at sunset when the sky turned aqua blue with incredible pink clouds, I urged her to put down her chopsticks and go outside and grab what shots she could.

Later in the evening we ended up strolling on Hollywood Boulevard taking in all the neon and kitsch scenery. Unlike tourists who think of Hollywood as a magical place, I grew up here and pretty much do whatever I can to avoid the area. Now that Hollywood is getting gentrified, it's not so bad, and there are actually a lot of beautiful restored theaters (The Egyptian and El Capitan) and wonderful neon marquees (Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and its Cinegrill sign).

But even with the nice cleaned up touches, to me Hollywood in general is schlocky, seedy, and kind of grimy. Although tourists flock to see the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theater with its world famous cement footprints and handprints of the stars - as a local, these things have never been a big deal to me. So when Andrea asked me if I'd like to have a photo taken in front of one of the celebrity cement blocks in front of Grauman's I thought, "Why not, let's have some fun with this."

The first handprints and footprints we spotted belonged to Judy Garland. Her footprints were so tiny they looked like they belonged to a child. I have big honkin' feet so I figured I better start looking for some guy's footprints. To add to the kitsch factor, the one's that fit me the best belonged not to a real actor but a movie character - Darth Vader!

I found that my hands were pretty close in size to Julie Andrews (a lifelong fave of mine). Putting my hand in the cement handprint and posing towards the camera felt and looked like a game of Twister! Now I was really getting into the fun of Grauman's!

Later I noticed Olivia Newton-John's Hollywood Walk of Fame star and Andrea did a nice play on perspective with this super high angle shot.

Hollywood Boulevard turned out to be a great place for photography including Andrea's portrait of us in the reflection of the "Ask The Brain" booth in front of Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum.

So even though I didn't bring my camera along, Andrea took some great shots for the BOTH of us. :-)

The full set of Andrea's Hollywood photos can be seen on her Flickr page.

Andrea also has a great blog called Andrea James: Shared Experiences full of her photography. I subscribe to it in my google reader so I never miss an entry.

No comments: