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let me serenade the streets of L.A.*

17 July, 2008

This post is part two of my adventures in California. You can find part one here. This and the next installment are probably going to be long posts, but they’re worth it!

Friday,  7/11

  • We started the day out fairly early, getting up and getting ready. I ate my leftover el Coyote for breakfast with the pilfered fork. And it was still amazing.
  • First thing, we headed to the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner. That’s right. We were really there to see the gift shop, Skeletons in the Closet. But I couldn’t help but hurry and get a picture of me under the sign. What? I have a criminal justice degree. It was cool!

  • We went into the gift shop, which only one of a couple in the world. The proceeds fund the Youthful Drunk Driver Program, so our money went to a good cause. The only disturbing part was that there was a thrift shop that appeared to be attached to the coroner’s office… We weren’t sure but our conspiracy theory is that they sell dead people’s stuff there. Okay, maybe not. But isn’t it a creepy thought?
  • We headed down to Hollywood to catch a special ceremony. On the way we finally saw the Hollywood sign. (The night before we’d tried to find it but learned that they don’t light it up at night. For some reason we thought they did.) We parked on Hollywood Boulevard and looked at the stars on the Walk of Fame as we made our way to Grauman’s Chinese Theater. This one was my favorite because I’m a Gilmore Girls fan…and it foreshadowed events to follow later in the day:

  •  The reason we headed to Grauman’s was to see the handprint ceremony for Sir Michael Caine. It was crazy – we were pressed into a crowd directly across the street from the theater. It was so warm, but the wait was worth it. First, Leonard Maltin talked for a few minutes. He then introduced the bigwig of Warner Brothers, Alan Horn, who introduced the director of The Dark Knight – Christopher Nolan. Finally, out came Michael Caine who talked for a few minutes. We listened to him as best we could, but then had to leave for the next adventure of our trip: our Warner Brothers VIP Studio Tour.

  • Up next was our tour, and we started out by watching a quick movie to get us excited about the tour. I never realized just how many TV shows and movies Warner Brothers is responsible for. We got the best tour guide – Kevin. He was very knowledgeable and made it a point to be upbeat and keep things interesting. We started out in the backlot, where we saw lots of interesting stuff. The fake streets that they use for filming were pretty incredible. We saw a room used in Something’s Gotta Give, a doorway famous from Spiderman, a building front used as the orphanage in the original Annie, set up for a carnival scene in a new episode of Cold Case, and even some actors filming an episode of Pushing Daisies. Watch for nuns dressed in white and green if you like the show. We were allowed to take pictures in some areas, but not everywhere. For the picture below, take away the archway in front and it’s Mrs. Hannigan’s turf.

  • We got to go into the sound stage for Two and a Half Men and sit where the live studio audience sits during filming. Kevin explained how everything is set up. It was really interesting, but kind of ruins the show for me because now all I can think about is what is real and what is fake. 🙂 We couldn’t take pictures, but I would have loved to!
  • Another fun part of the trip was this little room where they had a bunch of vehicles from Warner Brother’s films. We even had our picture taken in front of a green screen to put us on the platform of the Hogwart’s Express! See if you recognize a few of these.

 

  • We went into their museum next, where photos were not allowed. The lower floor had all kinds of costumes and props from movies. I had asked Kevin if there was anything Gilmore Girls, but sadly there wasn’t. The upper floor, however, was entirely devoted to Harry Potter. It was pretty cool – they had textbooks and costumes and wands and Tom Riddle’s diary and Aragog and Hermione when she was petrified and Harry’s room under the stairs. I could go on and on. The best part was the real sorting hat from the first movie, and the fact that we were “sorted”. Shakira went into Hufflepuff after the hat thought about it a bit. I went straight into Gryffindor! I know, I’m silly.
  • Next we checked out on of the highlights of the tour. After the show ended, the crew couldn’t bear to tear this set down, so now it’s got a room all it’s own. I’m sure you’ll recognize it!

  •  We also saw more of the backlot, including the ambulance bay for ER complete with the el right outside. Then…Kevin took us to the street that used to be a main street and the square in Star’s Hollow, Connecticut. If you watch Gilmore Girls, you will know what I am talking about. Though the signs have long been gone, Luke’s, Miss Patty’s, Doose’s and the gazebo were all recognizable. Somehow I didn’t get a shot of Doose’s though. Shakira and I were thrilled!!! Kevin actually cut us short at the museum so that we’d have a couple of minutes to see what was left of GG sets! That’s him on the steps of Miss Patty’s in the top right corner – warning us to watch out for loose screws.

  • We wrapped up the tour and bought some souvenirs (I got a Luke’s coffee cup and posed for a picture with a wand from Harry Potter…). After we ate some yummy gelato, we were on our way for *cue scary music* sushi!
  • We decided to name the GPS Babette after the Gilmore’s neighbors from Gilmore Girls. She’s loud, bossy, and kind of flaky. Perfectly fitting!
  • However, on our way to our next destination, we were stopped at a red light on Sunset Blvd. when someone familiar walked in front of us. It was Dick Donato – the winner of Big Brother 8! He was talking on his cell phone. We raced around the block, found him in a parking lot and waited until he was done with his conversation. We asked for pictures and chatted with him for a minute. He’s a really cool guy! While we were there, Danielle texted him and asked him about books for school. 🙂

  • Next, we were off to Beverly Hills to check out Rodeo Drive and get some sushi. Rodeo Drive? Um…it was kind of boring because I can’t even afford to walk into a store on that street let alone entertain the thought of purchasing something. It was cool, though – exactly how I pictured it. We saw an actress, but we have no idea what her name is. I’m still trying to figure out who she was – no, of course I don’t have a picture.
  • We went to Yu & Mi sushi next and ordered California rolls and cucumber & avocado rolls. I ate one of the vegetarian, but Shakira bravely tried both! Then…we asked for a box and threw it away on the way back to the car. Sushi is not for us!

  • To get some good, real food we headed to a restaurant called the Alcove. Babette’s battery died on our way, so we got lost. We had to stop at a scary gas station in a very scary area, then also ask three people on the side of the street where we were going. But…we found it! And the wait was worth it – it’s a bakery that serves some pretty amazing sandwiches and salads. We both had delicious panini sandwiches and ogled the baked goods before deciding to head down to Hollywood Boulevard to look around again. We actually found it without Babette’s help! Be proud.
  • Parking was…interesting. We found a FREE spot right on the street not far from most of the main museums and theaters. (Shakira broke her foot and has a handicap tag so metered parking is free.) But…there was a Vespa parked in between vehicles. I let Shakira park the Jeep because frankly, I despise parallel parking. I can do it, but not on a busy L.A. street. We got it into the space, but the back tire was up on the curb. We needed about six inches to get in there better, and the Vespa had plenty of room to be moved. These guys in a cab told us to move it, so we tried. *hangs head* We didn’t tip it over, but we managed to get the kick stand out of whack. Some Japanese (I think they were anyway) tourists helped us fix it, and we gave up on the spot and parked in a lot. I was so afraid we were going to wreck the thing!
  • Anyway, we headed back to Grauman’s to see Michael Caine’s prints, but it was all covered up. We wandered around and snapped pictures of other celebrities’ prints, though. My favorite (because I’m a dork) was this one, though it was cool to see the likes of Frank, Dean, Shirley Temple, Julie Andrews, and Judy Garland immortalized.

  • We walked up and down the street, watching street performers, shopping at the Virgin Megastore and street vendors, and generally getting caught up in all the touristy wonder. We even bought matching leather bracelets engraved with the roman numerals ‘VII XI MMVIII’ for the date that was in the middle of our trip.

  • And when we were too exhausted to go on, we hopped in the Jeep and found our way back to the hotel pretty easily. (Really, it was – just took the 101 North from Hollywood Blvd and get off at the Mulholland Drive/Calabasas exit. Beautiful!) We crashed after preparing ourselves for a day at the beach on Saturday. Tomorrow I will detail Saturday, complete with Santa Monica and the Getty Center. Until then!

*lyrics from California Love by 2Pac

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. libby permalink
    17 July, 2008 11:28 am

    DICK! Did you punch him? Send that pick to Adria! I stopped reading cause I was so excited, I’ll go finish now.

  2. 17 July, 2008 3:22 pm

    HAHAHAHAHA! No, I didn’t punch him. Do you have her email address? I don’t think it’s the same as what I have.

  3. 17 July, 2008 4:09 pm

    No, I could ask Shawn tomorrow.

    P.S- Sushi is AWESOME

  4. 17 July, 2008 4:55 pm

    Haha hilarious! The big brother guy looks a little rough 😡

  5. Amber/Daydreamer permalink
    17 July, 2008 5:39 pm

    I am so jealous (but happy for you) because you got to see all the harry potter goodness and the friends set!! How did you know how to do all this stuff? Did you have a travel agent package or did you organize it yourself? I would love to take the VIP tour. So much fun! Also, I am having sushi tonight…I love it so. I’m glad you had fun!

  6. 17 July, 2008 7:35 pm

    What a day for you! Really, all that stuff in one day has to be some kind of record…….Oh! I know how you did it: No booze. Heh.

  7. 17 July, 2008 10:39 pm

    Is that Jeff Daniels behind Michael Caine between the two movie posters?

    You don’t like sushi? Well…at least you tried it. I prefer Unagi (eel) and a raw slab of tuna over rice. nomnomnom.

  8. Aunt Tine permalink
    18 July, 2008 6:55 am

    The jealousy continues…Miss Hanigan’s Haunts? Central Perk? Fabulous! We had the same impression of Rodeo Drive, and we paid about $6 for a glass of lemonade, only to find out it was instant! What the eff? We did get to see someone being arrested for stealing something from a drugstore. Really? In Beverly Hills? Guess nowhere is safe! As always, great pics, Miss Photog!

  9. 18 July, 2008 7:10 am

    Great pictures! And I love the new design!

  10. 18 July, 2008 8:42 am

    Libby: Sushi = death. But that’s just my opinion, I suppose.

    Jansen: Yes, yes he is.

    Amber: I am what you might affectionately refer to as a traveldork. I read about a billion websites and reviews. And I bought a Frommer’s guide to LA. Plus, Shakira has a friend who lives in L.A. and she recommended a couple of restaurants too.

    Hoss: Exactly! Were we to drink lots of booze we would have fizzled out after seeing Michael Caine. 🙂

    Nicky: HA! Good eye. It looks like him, but no. Probably a cheesy impersonator who snuck in to get free publicity. And no…I don’t like sushi. I don’t like fish in general, and the seaweed tasted fishy to me.

    Aunt Tine: I figured you’d be chomping at the bit when you saw those shots. It was so amazing, and I thought of you constantly on the tour because I knew you’d love it. Six bucks for instant lemonade is crazy! Thanks!

    Elizabeth: Thank you!!

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  1. California’s been good to me, hope it don’t fall into the sea.* « terra nullius

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