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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hoo-fucking-ray For Hollywood

posted by on May 29 at 12:00 PM


I’m officially in and registered at BEA.

In order to save a little money, I decided to split a hotel room with a bookseller from a Seattle-area bookstore. I let the bookstore pick the hotel.

This was a mistake.

I am now lodged at the Renaissance Hollywood at Hollywood and Highland, and it will kill me before the end of the weekend. The hotel is literally connected to an outdoor mall, and outside, tourists are posing for photos around the clock on the Walk of Fame. There’s the Kodak Theater and a wax museum and the Guinness Book of World Records Museum and a Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, too. And a Disney Store and Soda Fountain. I do not get along well with tourists.

Last night, I was walking a friend to a taxi and the sidewalk was blocked by a mass of people. It turns out that the front of Graumann’s Chinese Theater was blocked for the world premiere of You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, the new Adam Sandler movie about a Mossad agent (Sandler) who wants to move to America and become a hairdresser. This will no doubt be hee-larious.

I wound up in the crush of the Sandlerphiliacs. Tourists wandered into the mass of people holding their cel phones and cameras high in the air, pointed at the red carpet. “Who are we waiting for?” the tourists would say, “What’s going on?” And then, after nobody would tell them, they’d take out their cameras and hold them high in the air and point them at the red carpet, figuring that they’d at least wind up with a picture of a celebrity, even if they don’t know who that celebrity will be.

A woman tried to step off the curb to get a better picture, even though there was no Sandler in sight. One of Sandler’s body guards started yelling at her. “What’s your problem?” the woman asked him. “You are my problem. You are my very big problem,’ he said. She started arguing with him until he told her to “Shut up! Shut your damn mouth!” over and over again and ushered the woman out of the mass of people.

I got tired of waiting and left, went back to my hotel, and called a cab for my friend from there. I didn’t see Adam Sandler, or any of his costars, and I didn’t get any photos at all. I apologize to the Sandler-happy Slog public.

Today is a slow day at BEA. There are a lot of educational programs. Almost all the booksellers are at my hotel for something called Bookseller School. There will apparently be a major announcement about ABA, the conglomeration of independent booksellers, this afternoon. Nobody knows what it will be.

I took the subway in to the Staples Center. I have learned two gross generalizations about Los Angeles already. Gross generalization number one: There are cameras everywhere, and there are signs everywhere telling you that there are cameras everywhere. There’s a scary billboard of a cop’s chest and it reads “I’m watching. Are you?” It feels kind of military police-y.

Gross generalization number two: There is no free wi-fi anywhere. My hotel requires a fee for wi-fi, and so does the Staples Center. My poor little Asus EEE laptop is virtually useless here. I am typing this on a rickety old Windows computer in the press lounge. Someone from some magazine is breathing down my neck for the computer. If I should disappear, blame U.S. News and World Report. I’ve always had the feeling that that magazine had it in for me.

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US News and World Report, back in the day, was one of the few sources, other than World Press Review, for non-US news in Seattle way back when.

Cut them some slack, and tell the tourists you're sleeping with Adam Sandler.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 29, 2008 12:24 PM

Yeah, you're WAY TOO COOL to have deal with all that.

Posted by i'm better than other people too | May 29, 2008 12:29 PM

There are still Adam Sandler fans in 2008?

Posted by bluh? | May 29, 2008 12:34 PM

zohan blows big time...i got to see it last many levels

Posted by Jiberish | May 29, 2008 12:37 PM

Don't Mess with the Girly Man....

Posted by michael strangeways | May 29, 2008 12:57 PM

Across the street (Highland) is the Power House, a pretty good bar and a nice antidote to all that faux glam. And a short Metro ride away is Jumbo's Clown Room for all your lapdancing needs. It's fun! Who knows, maybe they have free wi-fi, too.

Posted by Explorer | May 29, 2008 1:17 PM

I feel for you-- that was an awful scene. I got caught in the traffic. At the same time, The Police (the band, that is) were at the Hollywood Bowl. Everything around Highland was impassable.

Before all of Slog jumps on me-- I was in fact carpooling and there was no good transit route to cover the trip. Dropped off a friend who lives in the neighborhood, then it took me 20 minutes to break free of the mess.

LA is not always like that. You're seeing the worst people on the worst night.

Elvis Costello gave a free show that last night! Can't believe I missed it.

Posted by eclexia | May 29, 2008 1:22 PM

That damn Zohan premier made my bus ride about 30 minutes longer than normal. But i did see David Hasselhof signing autographs out front. Which is only noteworthy because I really loved his work as "Boner" in Revenge of the Cheerleaders.

Posted by Dan F | May 29, 2008 1:22 PM

That damn Zohan premier made my bus ride about 30 minutes longer than normal. But i did see David Hasselhof signing autographs out front. Which is only noteworthy because I really loved his work as "Boner" in Revenge of the Cheerleaders.

Posted by Dan F | May 29, 2008 1:23 PM

Whenever I hear Zohan, I think of a mix of Zardoz and Lohan.

The worst parts of both.

But Adam's a nice guy in person, even if half of his movies make me wince.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 29, 2008 1:27 PM

Los Angeles native here, and your account of the Sandler premiere is hilarious. That's exactly why most of us try to avoid the Hollywood & Highland area as much as possible. Sorry you got stuck there.

So, not to completely disagree with you, but maybe supply you with some answers...

Re: Gross Generalization #1 - There are not cameras everywhere in Los Angeles. If there were, the crime rate would be much lower (among both citizens and the LAPD). Don't know where you encountered those signs. If it was while you were riding the subway, then there's only one explanation - rather than spend the money to install turnstiles in the subway stations so that the city can actually earn some revenue, they'd rather spend it on poorly monitored security systems and posters advertising their poorly monitored security systems. (Although, I did hear that they planned to install some turnstiles in the near future... Anyway, they weren't there the last time I rode the Red Line, which was last December.)

Re: GG#2 - Sucks that your hotel doesn't have free wifi, especially with it being available at most of the local cheap motels. I guess you need to start trolling around the local coffee shops or find your nearest Apple store. Apparently, of all places, the Disney Soda Fountain near you is supposed to have it.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the rest of your stay here in sunny California!

Posted by jakay | May 29, 2008 1:36 PM

We'd rather not moderate your comments, but off-topic, gratuitously inflammatory, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate remarks may be removed, and repeat offenders may be banned from commenting. We never censor comments based on ideology. Thanks to all who add to the conversation on Slog.

Posted by I see your boobie | May 29, 2008 2:02 PM

There are good aspects to Zardoz and Lohan?

oh, yeah....Sean Connery in a big red diaper...

Posted by michael strangeways | May 29, 2008 2:26 PM

Zohan? Never heard of him. Whoever he, she or it might be, they're surely no match for . . . ZONTAR!

Posted by Cookie W. Monster | May 29, 2008 4:23 PM

Hollywood and Highland is uber-touristy, but head east and south a few blocks, and there are some great bars and restaurants. Check out the Bowery down on Sunset. Great Thai food is about a mile east in Thai Town. Check out the Spotlight for the diviest gay bar ever. Your immediate two block radius is obnoxious, but the rest of the neighborhood is fun.

Also Seattlites being too cool for LA is an old and tired trope.

Posted by tb | May 31, 2008 3:55 PM

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