Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Things to do, places to be, people to see

Even though we have plenty of time built into our schedule – Demand Media was very gracious and helpful in scheduling our transportation to fit our desires – we do have a couple of things we need to do.

We want to do some souvenir shopping for our kids, and older son Brandon has made a special request: he collects pins, both Disney and others, and has a growing Hard Rock Café collection. His grandparents brought back one from their recent trip with the Singing Men of Texas to Ukraine (it actually says Hard Rock Café: Chernobyl!), and he also has ones from San Antonio from a choir trip there, and from Philadelphia when our family went there last year with the Vocal Majority. (Affiliation with singing groups is apparently our primary reason for traveling in my family!)

Oddly, he does not have one from the Dallas Hard Rock.

Becky and I cross over to the north side of Hollywood Boulevard at the middle-of-the-block crosswalk, which thankfully has a traffic light. We duck into the Hard Rock Café store, and immediately Becky relaxes. It is loud in there with the music blaring, but amazingly, it seems quieter than out on the street. The main thing, though, is that it’s a break from the crush of people and, um, interesting characters all around us.

(There’s one guy dressed as Michael Myers from the Halloween movies, wearing a pale mask and carrying a large cardboard butcher knife, that especially is creeping Becky out, in spite of my reassurance that he is just a guy in a costume. It would help us both, though, if we ever saw him pose for pictures. Instead, he just silently follows people up and down the street with the “knife” slightly raised.)

A Hard Rock employee pulls the pin display out of the case for us to examine, and we settle on a blue drum set pin which prominently displays the words “Hard Rock Café Hollywood.” Brandon should like that! Once we complete the purchase, we start back out for the street – with Becky asking me, “Do we have to?”

Well, yes, we do, because we have more shopping to do, and we still need tickets for the premiere! We’ve been told that they will be held for us at Will Call, so we turn towards the Chinese Theatre. I’d spotted the Theatre’s box office facing the street between the Theatre courtyard and the Hard Rock Café, and just outside the barricades blocking the sidewalk in front of the Theatre. And… the box office is closed. Hmm.

A couple of signs in the box office window say that it will open at 4:30, and it’s a little after 4:00 now. I snap a few pictures of the work going on in the Chinese Theatre courtyard preparing it for the premiere, and then it’s time to shop.

We passed by a big souvenir store, The Hollywood Experience, on the south side of the street, and Becky wants to take a look inside. We head back across Hollywood Boulevard and to the store.

It’s a fairly sizeable place with all sorts of tchotchkes and memorabilia of all prices, from pencils to magnets, to keychains and t-shirts, to snow globes and autographed items. We browse around and find some little goodies to bring back – fridge magnets for us and my parents, a Hollywood keychain for Benjamin, and a small stuffed bear for Becky, all festooned with Hollywood symbols.

Okay, shopping didn’t take up all of our time, and there’s still time until the box office opens. We could stand around on the sidewalk, but my surgically-altered ankle especially would like me to find a place to sit.

We cross the street again and turn right, past the tour hawkers and CD pushers and costumed superheros and creepy Michael Myers, and head into the Kodak Theatre atrium. Hey, it’s nice and spacious and not at all chaotic in here, and there’s a open bench were we can sit and rest a bit and watch the madness. From a distance.

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