Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oscars As We Know It Takes Shape

The red carpet is now in place.

One might wonder, why on Earth do they need to have the red carpet down four days before the event? With rains scheduled?

Here's why. The other biggest addition behind the scenes, visible throughout the alley command center and all around: satellite linkups. News trucks from all over are starting to wander in, for that "Here we are as they prepare the Oscars" story on the red carpet. I swear I saw Chris Harrison out there this morning. Everyone is testing their mics and taking position. Cameras are lining up shots and testing their electricity.

The (what has to be the) credentials booth appears to be made of really strong tenting material, maybe even leather. It has DOORS. Doors with hinges on it. It's pretty much the first thing you see when your limo arrives at the corner of Hollywood and Highland.

What also seems to be happening (subtley) is that the perimeter of their control is pushing further and further out as the days go on. Today (Thursday), you simply cannot go through the alley without a credential and/or being asked for one. There are security lookouts every ten feet. No chance anyone is going to wander somewhere without someone noticing. Although it does bring up the question: what about 3 in the morning? Is someone still out here, guarding things? I suspect yes.

The massive prone Oscars from yesterday have been removed from the command tent, and no doubt put in place. The four smaller statues are also gone. Their place has been filled by news trucks, at this point, mostly from ABC and/or Channel 7. One has to think that ABC owning so much of this block already has to help allow them to do all this. The other merchants are paid handsomely for the inconvenience.

One parking lot, for example, is normally home to a car rental business. The rental cars are lined up throughout the parking lot, and people rent them and drive away. ALL of that is now taken up by the command tents. This person's business is GONE during Oscar week.

So far, you can still get to restaurants in Hollywood & Highland, but man, is it difficult. The elevator is what I normally take. It was subsumed by people laying red carpet, and people taking pictures of the guy laying the red carpet. By tomorrow, it's going to be impossible. The cupcake shop just as you walk in is completely inaccessible too. They must be paid off for this, too.

As you walk on Hollywood Blvd., nearly half of the people you see have laminates with various levels of access on them. Normally, it's 80% tourists, taking pictures. Tourists do not seem as abundant today.

There are also traffic guards, to direct traffic away away away from the Kodak. Don't even THINK of parking on adjoining streets. You will not be able to move until Monday. Actually, if you are driving, at this point, you would be well advised to stay far away from Hollywood and Highland until Monday. It's not going to be pretty for you.

For the rest of us, though, it's beautiful. Look at that big Oscar statue, towering above everything! And the tents to keep everything dry. A walkway for press that doesn't normally even exist is high above Hollywood Blvd. Stunning.


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