Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Celluloid Heroes Revisited

' You can see all the stars as you walk down Hollywood Boulevard,
Some that you recognize, some that you've hardly even heard of.
People who worked and suffered and struggled for fame,
Some who succeeded and some who suffered in vain.'
The KINKS - Celluloïd heroes (1972)Uploaded by Petite-Rigolote

What makes us so fond of the whole Hollywood scene ?
When I visited the Hollywood Walk of Fame recently I knew
I was doing it somewhat halfheartedly, since my
passion had long cooled with the passing of years.
And the
passion was not easily re-ignited when we got out
Hollywood Boulevard into the intermittent drizzle and
damp of a rare Weather day in L.A. As the old '70s song
'It Never Rains in Southern California' but it
certainly did
when I was there....three out of five days !

As I walked along the 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' for real,
I soaked in the sights even as I got soaked....frequently.
But Hollywood by day seemed a lot different, not as crazy and
jumping as say, the Vegas Strip at dusk or Bourbon Street
a pre-Katrina night. There were a lot of tourists waiting
in line for
tours of the Stars' homes, Cemeteries and hideouts,
but luckily
for me even the drastic discounts offered by
Limo Drivers could not entice me to be a Tourist
Instead, I walked all over the glitzy stars on the
Boulevard, and
true to Ray Davies' lyrics, there really were'some that you've never even heard of'. That's when it
struck me that with the current economic crisis this Blvd.

might be dying as a major destination spot for many Tourists.

I mean, how many of us can name a film that Silver Screen
Betty Grable starred in ? Although The Walk does
keep up
enough to sustain itself with names like Paula Abdul,
Antonio Banderas
, and the one embedded star with the
most gawkers, Arnold Schwarzenegger a.k.a. nowadays as
The Governator

My nephew wanted me to visit every single
attraction but all
I wanted was to take some memorable pics
of this long-running
Tourist Attraction to share with the folks
back home.
Talk about bad luck, I was getting my fill as I
discovered that
between my nephew, his mom and myself
we had three digital
cameras with batteries as dead as Groucho Marx, rest his soul.
truly unflappable and unfazed just went into the
Grauman's Theatre
and bought new batteries. Tossed out
the old ones and then
rushed to the huge urn/garbage
receptacle to recover the old
ones which were the expensive
rechargeable kind. But the
new ones I bought weren't, so we
resorted to the new backup,
camera phones ! And so I did
salvage a few moments from the
whole trip and actually made
a go of it after meeting up
with some of the strangest
performers I've come across in
America. I posed with a
Marilyn Monroe
impersonator with a fur-collared jacket

on, covering that famous dress with the low-cut neckline,
a grate that blew the wind up her dress to make it
just as in the classic pinup pose, while wondering how
could be out on the street in the chilly, damp weather.

I met Christopher Dennis, an unusual Superman impersonator

who believes like the rest of the 'actors' there that something
eventually turn up, and his fate will improve. Except it's
something that he and the
Captain America, Cat Woman,
Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk,
Marilyn (Melissa J Weiss)

and Jack Sparrow
characters have been doing for years. Many years.

Even while their fortitude is tested on a daily basis in all
kinds of weather, these denizens of Hollywood and Vine
are not just earning their living by posing for a Dollar.
'Marilyn' claimed she was a Scriptwriter and Director,
as did 'Superman', which I swallowed in a kindly gesture
even as I mentally pitied their fantasy world.

Well, I was more than a bit wrong....later that evening
my nephew asked me to watch a film
that he streamed
via Netflix
called 'Confessions of a Superhero'.
Surprise, surprise....all that these Superhero characters
claimed seemed to be true. Someone else was intrigued
by their lives, too. Matt Ogens made a Documentary that
opened at the SXSW Film Festival and it was a hit there
as well as a hit in my book.

I like rooting for the underdog and the creative souls who
try to rise above their surroundings. These struggling 'Heroes'
are in no way as unfortunate as the people starving in real
conditions in India, the Dominican Republic and Darfur,
to name a few of the poverty-ridden countries that are
often glossed over in our comfortable little existences.
And yet, in America where folks own large homes but have
no Health Insurance and face growing Unemployment, these
'Heroes' still display a Superhuman resolve, giving their all
as they pose for that one lousy Dollar tip which they
earn, since Panhandling is against the law.
The Photos are from my Flickr set
'Confessions of a Superhero' Official Site
AFI Fest Photos from

Lyn Uline-Gatt March 30 at 2:28pm Report
I tried to post this to your Blog...did it go through?
I wasn't sure so I thought i would send it as a message as well... :)

Very interesting blog my friend. Your insight regarding the slow decay of
‘the Hollywood experience’ is likely correct. The icons and Hollywood mystic
has been eroded, replaced by the phenomenon of ‘reality stars’… everyday
folks like you and me??...I don’t think so…but J.Q. Public does. 
Perhaps it was apropos that it rained and the images of those struggling
actors looked so bleak…these are in any case bleak times.
~ from Lyn on Facebook

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