Sunday, March 10, 2013

Los Angeles

The final day of the trip was spent with a whistle stop tour of LA. In the past I'd hated this city as it was just too much of a sprawl and the dependency on a car too great for me, a non-driver (by choice). So I decided to challenge myself to use the public transport to get around. There is a metro and plenty of buses to get around. Walking would be an option but I wouldn't want to go too stupid, lesson learnt from Vegas I guess.

The hotel I was staying at was the Crowne Plaza close to LAX airport. A shuttle bus provided free transport between the two locations. From the airport there is also a free shuttle bus to the Metro station, a short drive away. So I can get from the hotel to the metro for free. 

This is Aviation station on the green line which is raised above street level. The seating area looked a bit odd considering the location, not far from South Central. A one-day pass only cost $5. Clearly this is subsidised heavily or London is just bloody expensive. With this pass I could get from the hotel right up to Hollywood and beyond. The taxi would cost at least 10 times that. 

Now the plan was to visit some off-the-beaten-track movie locations. There was some engineering work today that prevented me getting down to Long Beach where I would have liked to visit Donnie Darko's and Ferris Bueller's homes (they're on the same street). So instead of changing at Wilmington and heading South I went North. The train did stop momentarily whilst armed policed searched for someone in another carriage, and further engineering work meant I had to get a bus for some of the blue line journey. 

I also passed a travelling fair complete with a small rollercoaster and I did think about jumping out to ride it. However it was right in South Central LA and I didn't want to bring too much attention to myself. It was also a non-coaster trip and I had stayed true to my word so far, and wasn't prepared to sneak it in. 

The blue line ends at the Metro Center (a popular sport and music venue) and from there I transferred for one stop on the red/purple line to Pershing Square. Pershing square features in GTA San Andreas.

Overlooking the NW corner of the square is Millennium Biltmore hotel which featured in Ghostbusters. 

Some building based artwork of various sizes.


The Angel's Flight is a funicular railway that runs on the side of Bunker Hill. This has featured in some films but I know it from a Tony Hawk video game. 

Close by is the Bradbury Building which was used by Ridley Scott in the Blade Runner film. Whilst companies reside in here you are allowed to enter the ground floor to take in the simply amazing architecture. You're just not allowed to travel up to the other floors. I was facing a major lighting challenge in here. The glass pyramid skylight filling the top half with light.

As a little nod to the theatre district close by there's also full-sized statue of Charlie Chaplin in the Bradbury building. 

Continuing on the red line east you end up at the main train station Union Station. Plenty of films have been shot here. This was quite a nice structure, the only problem I had with it was later in the day when I tried to find the silver line, not realising it was a bus route and not a train or metro line. Oh well. 

From Union Station I caught the gold line (this one is a metro) which heads out through Chinatown, where Big Trouble in Little China was too easy a destination so I skipped it, out towards Sierra Madre. I got off fairly early then walked a bit to N Ave. 19 where I found this building, the old Lincoln Heights Jail. A favourite of Wes Craven who filmed some of the original Nightmare on Elm St here (the boiler room is in the basement). It also features in LA Confidential. 

Now from here I was deciding whether to head back to the coaster or to the one destination I wanted to visit, and I plumped for the latter however to get here meant I'd have to travel by bus from East, all the way over to the West. This took some time but was covered by the $5 day pass bought earlier. Sweet!

So, by the time I'd made it to the Nakatomi Plaza from Die Hard it was late, dark and rather disappointingly not lit up. 

But I was able to walk around it. This is the entrance where Bruce gets the cops attention by dropping a corpse onto the police car. 

I spotted Betty Boo looking a little bit sorry for herself under a nearby shopping mall.

Some nice old motors on Santa Monica Boulevard, close to my final destination.

The Troubadour is a small nightclub at the Western end of the commercial district on Santa Monica Boulevard, close to the border of Beverly Hills. Over the years it has become famous for many artists including Lenny Bruce (arrested here), Guns and Roses, Cheech and Chong (both played their first gigs here) and is now popular for emerging artists.

Support came from K Flay, who reminded me a bit of Lady Soverign. She was alright.

But everyone was here to see Icona Pop who have only been going a couple of years and have are due to release their first album but they're destined for greatness. I'd heard some of their tracks previously but it was their release of "I Love It" that won me over. If you own the latest Need for Speed game then this track features on that. OK, so it's just Swedish shouty electro pop, but I love it and I don't care, and I'm seeing them again in London soon :)

As it was my last night in America, I also made sure I had a good finale, which I achieved but which left me too drunk to make it home on the public transport. This is how I knew how much more expensive the taxi drive would be :)

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