Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hollywood Adventure – Bonhams and Amoeba

On Friday, I had to pick up my daughter Jasmine at a friend’s house on the way home from work. We were supposed to go to a signing at a local comic book store, but it been a long day at work. Also traffic was a nightmare. Normally, with traffic, it takes me about half hour to get to her friend’s house. That night, it took an hour. Before I even left work, I was looking for an excuse to blow it off the signing, and I figured that Jasmine would probably would want to go straight home anyway. Of course when I mentioned it, she said she wanted to go. It would be an adventure, so we ended up going anyway.

I told that story mostly because it makes a good introduction to this one. The next day, Saturday, I was planning to go to Hollywood for the TCM/Bonham’s Classic Film Auction preview. I'm in San Diego, and it really should only take a two hours to drive to Hollywood, but with traffic it it's always closer to three. Lately I've started taking the train whenever I go to L.A./Hollywood, at least if it's feasible. It takes about the same amount of time and is way more relaxing. This time, it was a little different I ended up taking the combination of the Orange County (OC) Metrolink and the L.A. Metro. They have a deal on the weekend, where it's $10 for an all-day pass. The trick is you have to catch the OC Metrolink at Oceanside which is about as far north as you can go in San Diego, without being in Orange County.

The scenery in the first part of the trip is way cool, as the tracks hug the coast. It must have been high tide that morning. I’ve never seen the water that close before. There are spots where you could literally jump off the train and hit water. Aside from the scenery, I spent most of the time on the train reading and playing around online on my phone. I was texting a friend about going to the movies, and he told me to have fun on my adventure. I didn't really think of it as an adventure, but it was strange that he used the same word that Jasmine had the night before. I got to Hollywood at about 11 am, and Hollywood Boulevard was closed to traffic for some event, another good reason for not driving. I stopped at the Chinese Theater and looked at footprints, mostly because I was going past anyway. The last several times I’ve been to Hollywood, I haven't been able to find Humphrey Bogart's footprints. I found in them this time. Most of the the time when I’m in Hollywood, it's for the TCM Classic Film Festival. It seems to me that they run their Disneyland switchback lines on top of Bogie, which would explain why I can never find him

The auction house is about a mile and a half away from Hollywood and Highland, so I’d brought my skateboard to ride there. I got there by half hour before they opened. Last year, I went to the auction preview, and I could have sworn they were open earlier than noon. It turned out that there was a really cool book store on the same block, Samuel French Hollywood Bookshop. That’s another advantage of not driving. You stumble on things you might not otherwise. I spent the extra half hour looking at books. They had an insane selection of movie and theater books. To give you an idea, they had about four floor to eye-level shelves, dedicated just to screenwriting, and most sections, directors, film genres, etc. had similar space. Most sections had a full set of shelves dedicated just to new titles in that section. I ended up buying only one book, mostly because I knew whatever I bought would need to go in my backpack for the trip home, L.A. Story and Roxanne: Screenplays by Steve Martin. L.A. Story is one of my favorite movies from the 90s.

I went back to Bonhams right at noon when they should have been open, but the gates were still locked. I ended up calling them on the phone, and the woman who answered said they were looking for the keys. I was the first one in the building after they opened the big gate. To be honest, I mostly just came to look. A lot of what they have is either way out of my price range or too big to fit in my house. I love the posters and might even be able to afford some of them if they stayed fairly close to their estimates, but most of them are really large and we just don't have that much wall space in our tiny little house. The items that I want the most are the Spaceballs matte painting and the Megamaid head, also from Spaceballs, but I'm guessing the prices are going to get out of my range quickly. I did buy the auction catalog and plan to peruse it closely. Maybe, there is a photo, screenplay, or cast sheet that jumps out at me. I spent about an hour looking at the auction items. It was a treat seeing these mementos from classic film in person. Still, if prices are similar to last year, I'm sure I'm going to end up empty handed. Still, that's all the more reason to make the trip up to look.

Planet Spaceball matte painting

Herbie the Love Bug from Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo

Don't think Dorothy's dress is in Kansas anymore

James Dean bust from the Natalie Wood collection

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane poster

Mars Attacks the World poster

Anyone remember Bugs and Elmer looking like this?

WWI Era Walt Disney art

Katherine Hepburn costume from The African Queen

Rope poster

Sam Spade's chair

Megamaid from Spaceballs

The next stop was about a mile or so east on Sunset, Amoeba Records. I stopped for lunch at a coffee shop kitty corner from Amoeba, but I would have been better off with fast food on the other corner. I ordered grilled cheese sandwich, and the hipster at the counter forgot to put in the order. I only got my sandwich after 20 minutes and going to the counter and asking about it. Then when it came, it was made on raisin bread with weird cheese and a tiny weed whacker salad. 

Still Amoeba was well worth the trip, despite the bad lunch experience. They're like what a really good record store used to be back when people still bought music. At Amoeba, I actually spent most of my time looking at DVDs. They have a DVD/Blu-ray section upstairs, and I'd never been up there. I ended up buying five clearance CDs and six movies:
  • The Heiress
  • The Front Page
  • Stalag 17 
  • The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
  • Wait Until Dark
  • Three Bad Sister (starring Kathleen Hughes whom I'd just seen at the Palm Springs Classic Science Fiction Film Festival)

By the time I got out of Amoeba Records it was almost time to catch the Metro/Metrolink back to San Diego. The last Union Station to Oceanside train left at 4:40. Amoeba is a lot closer to the Hollywood and Vine Metro station than Hollywood and Highland, so I skated the eight or so blocks to Hollywood and Vine. I got to Union Station with enough time to get coffee before catching the OC Metrolink train. It must have been bad food and drink karma day for me, because the Starbucks missed making my order as well, despite it being one of the simplest thing on the menu. I mean how hard is it to write your name on a cup with a Sharpie. I had to ask for it after half a dozen people who had come in after me got theirs.

I would like to say that the trip back home was uneventful, but unfortunately there was a group of about 20 tween girls on a train, the loudest demographic you'll find among mammal species except for possibly the African elephant in mating season. I put on my headphones, took out my book, and did my best to ignore them. Despite that loud giggling and selfie taking, I survived. All in all, it was "adventure."

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