Boulevard of Broken Dreams
I was back at my Hollywood go to and then it was back to Venice.
Over the Hill
I grew up in the Valley and didn't love it. In fact I left as soon as I could. However I still have friends and memories out there. So I made a day of it.
History for Hire
One of the reasons I made the trip out to LA was to revisit the prop houses and studios that used to be my homes away from home as it were. I had hoped to knock out two birds with the whole work thing, and while I did get to work at a one of the more historic studios in Hollywood, it wasn't one that was so relevant to my personal journey, Sony, Warner Bros., and Universal all had significance to me and I would have liked to visit each of them, however that was not meant to be or at least it became obvious to me that the effort it would take given how little time I had left was not worth it.
That said, I decided to head over to one of my favorite prop-houses, History for Hire. It's like a beautiful museum and one of the owners Pam has always had a soft spot for me and I for her.
She helped me with a homeschool field trip, also a huge support when I was deeply involved with SDSA (Set Decorator Society of America) and just an overall wonderful person.
Was she there when I went to visit?
Of course not.
But I wandered around and took a ton of pictures.
I forgot about the amazing resources available to filmmakers in Los Angeles.
SDSA lives in this wonderful prop-house.
I have spent many a night at meetings there. One reason I managed to make it there was that it was right around the corner from History for Hire, yet another reminder of the amazing infrastructure that exists in Hollywood...at least for now.
Deep in the Valley
After my prop house visits and the decision not to hit Universal and WB, I met up with a dear friend and then cruised down Ventura Blvd., checked out the house I grew up in, where I went to High School, and eventually went out to sushi with another long-time friend, at a restaurant I'd been going to since I was a kid, for like 30 years.
That's the name of the restaurant
For all practical purposes that was the end of my LA Tour.
Out of the Valley
As soon as I was able, I got myself out of the San Fernando Valley where I'd grown up and never really liked.
I crashed in Hollywood with a high school pal for a while and then kicked it over to Venice Beach, to this day my favorite area in Los Angeles.
I love people watching on the Venice Boardwalk, all the tourists and sidewalk vendors and carnie-preformer types.
Hollywood- Boulevard of Broken Dreams
I've been hanging out and kicking' it around Hollywood Blvd since I was a teenager. It can be a rough and heart-breaking adventure.
Like Venice you see all types of folk, the tourists, the crazies, the hipsters and the ones that came to "make it big" and well things didn't work out the way they thought they might.
I still enjoy walking up and down the Boulevard, checking out the Stars in the sidewalk.
And I love hanging out at Roosevelt Hotel bar and if the opportunity presents itself spending the night.
It is rich with history ; the oldest continually operating hotel in Los Angeles. The first Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on May 16, 1929, A private ceremony open only to Academy members, it was hosted by Academy president Douglas Fairbanks and held three months after the winners were announced, with 270 people in attendance.
Once again I must cut things short. The shower is calling me and check-out time is approaching fast.
Moon Baby and Missing the Water
Blame it on the Full Moon we had, living land-locked in Atlanta, growing up in California with the Pacific Ocean always so close, but I was in a pretty deep depression and needed open-water therapy, so I booked a trip out to California.
"All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray
I've been for a walk on a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A.
California dreaming on such a winter's day"
A Working Vacation
I figured I might as well get some set dressing in while I was out in LA LA Land; pay for the trip, see some old friends, visit the prop-houses and studios, etc etc. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
I thought working maybe 3 days while I was out there would be plenty. I got booked for the day after I landed and then 3 more the following week.
Had it not been for the Turkey-holiday thing I'd probably have ended up working everyday.
I had landed myself a great Arbnb in Venice for the first few days. Which I thought was awesome since I was missing the ocean so much except that the first job a I booked happen to be up in the Santa Clarita Studios where we shot part of True Lies, so many years ago. I think we may have been the first feature to shoot there.
Anyhow, it was long commute for three days, no beach time for me.
No Rest for the Wicked
I still managed to do some eating and drinking at some of my old haunts.
We Don't Need No Stinkin' Prophouse
I was back in the trenches, dressing sets as a day-player, which was cool. I was down with that, but because of my skill-set, I was of more value dressing the set than doing returns on the truck.
I still had a heck of a good time, but I didn't make it to any of the prop-houses or studios
Careful what you wish For
The next call I got was wrapping a show. Certainly I'd be on a truck doing returns.
Nope; again because of my particular skill-set I ended up inventorying and then packing a 45' trailer for 3 days. Remember I got into the film business via my furniture moving job at Starving Students.
At least it was at Sunset Gower Studios, some of the oldest and most Iconic of Old Hollywood with a history dating back to 1919.
I booked a hotel around 5 minutes away, so I didn't have any of the commute issues.
With that said I need to get packing.
It's Turkey Day and I've got to get movin'
I've grown quite fond of Atlanta, but being landlocked has been a real problem for me. I need to be able to see the ocean. A lake or river is not enough for me. I need to be able to look out at the endless horizon the ocean provides.
One of Skye's homeschool teachers, Doug, organized a trip to his family's place on Tybee Island. Yes, where the hurricane landed. Luckily, his place survived without too much damage.
It was a heck of a lot of fun, hanging out with the kids, playing card games and scrabble, although in the case of scrabble, it sort of became a chess game between Doug and myself.
I didn't go for an ocean swim because it was cold and even though I've jumped in the north Atlantic in the winter while everyone else was in full length wet-suits, I just didn't feel that call this time around.
I was more than happy with long walks on the beach.
Too Much to Say
We also got to hang out a little in Savannah, a town I love, a light house tour and go on a kayak tour. It was just what the doctor ordered.
You Say Halloween; I Say Hulaween; TomAto, Tomahto; PotAtoe ,Potahto
My friend Charlie Smith invited me to join him and his crew to set up his magical and amazing fire sculptures at a fun festival down in Florida near the Suwannee River called Hulaween.
It was hard work to be sure. I mean, they are these massive sculptures made of steel that have to be broken down so that they can be transported and then you load the pieces into a truck which is it's own challenge, one quite familiar to me given my career as a set dresser. Then of course you drive on down, set them up and then the rest of the crew sets up the pyrotechnics which is spectacular and the skill-set required is quite impressive.
I really had the time of my life.
I wish I had the time to elaborate, but I have to pack and make plans for a trip to Los Angeles. But first to unpack from a wonderful weekend at Tybee Island. As well as getting all sorts of other things sorted.
My blogging has been put on the back-burner to say the least.
A shout out to the crew, Jeremy Barrett, Scott Dupree, Derek Dondeville, Thomas Boston, Aldö Nøva Caine, Joe Moriarty, Claire Ruf and of course Charlie Smith
Jon Danniells is an adventurer and traveler, a teacher and student, a husband and a father, a cook and a farmer, a "week-end warrior" (very amateur athlete) and has not earned any money on these labors of love.When I googled myself what showed up first was my IMDB listing, which is basically a resume for my 20 and then some year career in film, for which I fortunately do get paid.