I live in Los Angeles. Specifically Koreatown in the Mid-Wilshire district. I like the hustle & bustle of the area. There’s good transportation – the subway station is nearby. My bank is 2 blocks away, there’s a grocery store a few blocks away, a Korean movie theater that also plays American films here and tons of signage that I can’t read – makes me feel like I’m in a foreign city. Downtown Los Angeles is 15 minutes away (Anime Expo !!!!) and to the north of me 15 minutes away is Hollywood Blvd.
For many people, Hollywood is the beacon. Countless people moved here from across the world to make it in the Industry. Actors, directors, producers, even photographers (raised hand). Los Angeles is not an easy city to survive in – though I would call New York City a much tougher nut to crack. I’ve seen a lot of people move into the city here – and after a few years move out. My sister bought a really nice house in Austin. For the same amount of money, you can’t even get a decent condo here.
One of the sights every visitor wants to see is Hollywood Blvd. It is our version of Time Square. Bright neon flashing lights, tons of people and shopping. The Jimmy Kimmel Show tapes at The El Capitan Theatre across the street from the Mann’s Chinese Theater. Everyone knows this theater. Movie stars’ footprints and handprints cover the front pavement. Tourists are always taking photos and this is where you find costumed folks dressed as Superman, Batman, Hulk, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin where for a suggested tip, you can get your photos taken with them.
I’ve always wonder about the lives of these folks. A lot of people did.
(more after the jump)
Recently I came across this 12 minute document done by California is a Place, an excellent series of stories done by filmmakers Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari. This particular video follows Christopher Dennis, the Hollywood Blvd Superman. A really touching piece.
This actually isn’t the first time I’ve seen Christopher Dennis. Back in 2007, Matthew Ogens directed a documentary called Confessions of a Superhero. I saw it on my Netflix suggestion and decided to watch it. This turned out to be one of the most fascinating documentaries I’ve seen (next to The Great Happiness Space ). Confessions of a Superhero gives us a chance to really get to know four Hollywood Superheroes. Believe me, I wasn’t expecting much. As with facades, we find out what is behind the mask – the tragedies and triumphs of their lives. Highly suggested and if you happen to have a hour and a half to spare, you can watch it below.
And finally, as you may or may not know, one of the many jobs I do to support myself is working as a freelance photo assistant. Gregg Segal is one of the many photographers I’ve worked with over the years and I’ve always loved his personal projects. In 2006, he did a series on the Hollywood Blvd. Superheroes which you can find on his site. You may also want to check out his State of the Union series where he photographed Civil War reenactors in specific battles – except today that battlefield may be a shopping center or an apartment complex. Anyways, check out Gregg’s work.
Perhaps it isn’t too strange I did a book on cosplay. I live in a city where everything could be taken as a facade. There are secrets and stories hidden everywhere in plain sight. You just have to know where to find it.