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Celebrating the 170 in a Big, LA Way

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, so I wanted to make this next one worthwhile.

Last month, I completed an eight-year odyssey in completing my 170 list just before my 30th birthday. I wanted to celebrate finishing my list and this milestone birthday in a big movie way, so I decided to take my first trip to LA. Together with my friend Stephanie, we spent six days and six nights making our way through the Hollywood Walk of Fame, movie studios, and Sunset & Vine. Here’s how it all went down last month.

(For over 300 photos of my trip, click here.)

Day 1

November 8

We departed from New York’s JKF Airport and touched down at LAX on Tuesday, November 8. For years, I had heard about how great In-N-Out Burger is, but all of the restaurants seem to be concentrated around the West Coast, so I knew our first stop after landing had to be the famous burger joint where the food is always fresh. I had a Double Double with fries and a shake, and I have to say, although it was very good, it was just a burger and some fries. I’m left scratching my head, wondering where the hype ever came from. But this was just the beginning of what would be a long and exhausting day.

Stephanie and I took our rental van straight to Hollywood, where we headed straight to the Kodak Theatre, the home of the Oscars. I had been wanting to take a tour of the theatre for a long time, so I was excited to finally get the opportunity. We were the only ones on our tour, which made our trip through those hallowed halls a private one, making it that much more special. Our tour guide’s name was Barbara, and I have to say she was pretty awesome. A movie buff herself, she was thrilled to have Stephanie and me on the tour. She said that some people take the tour without ever having even heard of the Oscars! Blasphemy! She said she was happy to have real movie folk on the tour and Stephanie and I both engaged her in an educated way. In fact, the 30-minute tour was extended to just passed an hour, and no one minded. This was the highlight of my entire LA trip. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside.

Next up was Hollywood & Highland, the outdoor shopping mall that sits right in the heart of Hollywood (and just outside the Kodak Theatre). I was surprised to see a Crumbs Bake Shop there, as I didn’t know my favorite cupcake shop existed outside New York. Of course, I had to pay a visit. It was the day before my birthday, after all.

Next door to the Kodak is the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, which was being set up for one of its many premiers to be held later that night. The film was The Artist, which will undoubtedly be a Best Picture nominee this year. Since the inside of the theatre was closed off, we had to come back another day. More on that later.

We walked down Hollywood Blvd. and found ourselves at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, which was playing some AFI Fest films. (The festival was running during the first days of our visit, though we didn’t partake.) We stepped inside to take a look at the lobby and snap some photos before heading over to the Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Academy Awards in 1929. Stephanie and I made our way inside, taking in the 1920s decor. I felt like we stepped into a Bogart film. The hotel was beautiful, inside and out.

Continue reading Celebrating the 170 in a Big, LA Way

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