Friday, February 18, 2011

Lockdown at the Kodak

I never really thought about it, frankly. The level of security it would take to keep the Kodak Theatre safe for the Oscars. But since I work close, I thought I'd blog about the transformation as it goes along.

*Bleachers have been erected. Signs are posted on them: "No public access without permission." Seriously? They shut down ALL of the businesses around here? Well, that was my first thought. Upon further examination, it seems that they have guards at each entry point to block access, but with much maneuvering, you can get around.

*Jimmy Kimmel Live has offices across the street from the Oscarcast/Kodak. Under normal circumstances, he uses the parking lot directly behind his offices to put on lavish concert spectacles for his shows. The stage set there is HUGE, nearly two floors high. Spotlights at every angle on six different scaffolds. Public access, of course, is blocked on all sides. Getting off work usually involves fighting through the crowds who are standing in line in the alley, waiting to see the show.

On this day, the entire beautiful massive stage set is being dismantled. In the six months that I've worked in the area, I've only seen it get more and more elaborate and added to. Crews are out there, tearing each piece meticulously down.

*The parking lot where the massive stage had stood is now, actually, a parking lot. With cars. Nothing but cars and empty spaces as far as the eye can see. Weird.

*The parking lot NEXT to this one, that Kimmel had been using for their parking lot, has now become command central. It looks like a movie set. Trailers ring the periphery. Guards at every level. Big signs, saying, basically: Don't even THINK about trying to come through here. Big signs in the alley saying: if you think about parking here, even for a minute, you will be towed. (Where were they a few days ago? Big-ass trucks always block this alley.)

*The normal parade of Elvises, fake cops, Mary Poppins, Spiderman, Darth Vader and such that throng Hollywood Blvd. are gone, daddy, gone. Not a one in sight, which is quite jarring, actually. The only thing left is the musicians trying to hawk their CDs for $5.

*Getting into Hollywood & Highland for a sandwich is actually still possible. But right in the middle... damn my memory... it seemed like there was a fountain or a stone structure of some kind right in the middle. Huge. People used to sit on it. Whatever the hell it was, it's completely GONE now. A big white spot on the floor where it used to be. So the whole entryway is open. Big open space. Crazy. And there are three times the amount of cops there used to be. NINE DAYS BEFORE THE OSCARS.

*Other people I know who live in the area have complained about parking problems, even those living blocks away. Parking's always bad around here, but now, they are just absconding with whatever spaces they feel they need. I'm happy, cause I have all that beat. I take the subway.

Fliers on subway: "Hollywood & Highland Stop will be CLOSED the day of the Oscars." Metro Red Line trains will bypass the station. Street closures around the area prompt four bus line changes. Wow.

Can't wait to see how this evolves over the next week. I'll keep you posted.


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