October 3, 2012

31 Trips in Cali, Day 3: Lily Goes To Hollywood

Lily in 2005:  You're in kindergarten, and as a special weekend treat, your mom takes you, along with your grandma and aunt, to see the new movie Enchanted, which is playing at the historic El Capitan theater on Hollywood Boulevard, right in the midst of Hollywood proper.

You take in the glamour of the old theater, with it's crystal chandeliers
and listen to the pre-show performance by the in-house organist.
 After the movie (which everybody enjoyed), you head behind the theater to the special Disney princess-themed exhibition, where you're treated like proper Hollywood royalty, with a make-up artist fussing over you:
You take the opportunity to try on some fancy gowns.
All in all, it was a memorable day.

Lily in 2011:  Now you're in 4th grade, and for your 9th birthday, your mom drives you, your BFF and her mom almost 100 miles from home to visit the Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium.  The Ripley's museum is right down the block from the El Capitan theater, but your tastes have changed since your last visit: no more treacly princesses for you; you're fascinated now with all things weird and macabre and just plain creepy.
Photo via Wikipedia
You exit out the parking garage, and your mom makes you and the BFF pose with a Marilyn Monroe statue. You're not quite sure who Marilyn is, but mom says she's still very very famous.
Then you pose with a shopping cart and a Metro bus, to show how you're in this gritty, urban place, far from your safe and suburban town.
You linger for a couple hours over all the cheesy exhibits and dioramas inside Ripley's, which seem created especially for the imaginations of children. You DO know who this guy is, and think it's awesome that his portrait is crafted from pieces of hard candy. 
After the museum, you all head over to the Disney Soda Shoppe for lunch, right next door to the El Capitan.  (On this day, the theater is showing "Mars Needs Moms," but you don't have quite enough time to take in a movie.)
After lunch and sticky sundaes for all, you cross the street and join up with all the other tourists in front of Grauman's Chinese theater.
Then you and the BFF wrap up the day by checking out the hand and footprints of more celebrities you've never heard of.
Even though some of the more vivid displays at the Ripley's Odditorium will freak you out at bedtime and make you sleep with your lights on for a week, all told, it was a pretty great birthday trip.

When you get a little older, your mom will explain how Hollywood Blvd., with its tacky souvenir shops and vendors hawking "Maps to the Stars Homes" every ten feet, is strictly the domain of tourists.  She'll say that Hollywood is more a state of mind than an actual destination, but that if you want a more authentic, grittier scene, you can visit the clubs and bars on Sunset Blvd. And then she will bore you with tales of hanging out there looking for cute long-haired rockers in the late '80s, and how she once shouted a certain famous musician's name outside the Chateau Marmont hotel just to while away a Saturday night.  But we'll save all that for a few years down the road. When you can truly appreciate the concept of "awesome." 

Thanks for coming along! Come back tomorrow for Day 4 of my 31 Trips in California series, when we'll visit one of the best boardwalks in the whole country.

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