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the skunks of los feliz
6.21.2004
 
Thanks to the good people at IFP, I scored some comps to the Los Angeles Film Festival screening of "Hero" at the Ford Amphitheater last friday night. Now, most film geeks know the convoluted tale of "Hero"'s journey through the Miramax labyrinth, so I won't bore you with that story. I will say that the movie was well worth the effort I expended to actually see it. It rocks.
So, on to the effort I expended. The whole thing started innocently enough. Cami came down with West Nile-like symptoms and had to stay home. Well, I had to see this movie. Had to. I decided to fly solo, and take the train to avoid traffic. I'd get out at the Highland station, walk to Cherokee where I could catch a shuttle to the Ford, and quicker than you can say "wu xia" I'd be watching Jet Li deflect thousands of CGI arrows with a flick of the wrist. All for the price of a $3 MTA day pass.
I walked down to Sunset/Vermont to catch the train. As I was fumbling with the crappy MTA vending machines, the Valley bound train came and went. Do those things ever take any bill on the first try?? wtf??? (For a inside look at the way the MTA views customer problems with their machines, click here) Forty minutes later (including a twenty five minute wait for a train that is supposed to run every 15 minutes), I finally arrived at the Highland station. Too late to mess around with walking to Cherokee, I walked over to that hotel on Highland and caught a cab(!) to the Ford, which, because the cabbie took me to the Valley before doubling back to the Ford, cost me $15. He dropped me in the median of Cahuenga West (not recommended) to hoof it the rest of the way.
I made it to the Ford (a really cool venue) on time, gave my extra ticket to a sweaty faced bald guy with a Zhang Ziyi obsession, and thoroughly enjoyed the movie (special thanks to co-worker Darrien and her husband Robert for letting me sit with them. I should have taken them up on their offer of a ride home....).
Afterwards, I decided to walk back to the Highland station. It wasn't that far, and I wasn't in a real rush to get home. I arrived at the corner of Hollywood and Highland just as the Bomb Squad came squealing in. Some yokel had left his backpack in the station. Hollywood Blvd. was closed. The station was closed. The f-ing Red Line was closed.
There was nothing else for it. I had to walk down Hollywood to the Vine station, and hope that I could at least sit there and wait until the line reopened.
Hollywood Boulevard at night is a weird mix of clubs, tattoo parlors, cross-toting Christians who tell you, one after another, that Jesus loves you, and Scientologists, who kind of look like airline employees in their little polyester get-ups. So you kind of have all of your bases covered there. Did I mention hookers?
Anyway, I made it to Vine, the station was open, and I did get to sit. And sit. And then, twenty minutes later, after the bomb squad sounded the all clear, I stepped onto the Union Station train. Such are the vicissitudes of life in L.A. when you try, for one freaking night, to leave your car at home and rely on the MTA.
I jumped off at Sunset with a homeless couple who were returning to their sleep spots after a long day on the streets of Hollywood. I trudged up the hill and through the village, past the beautiful people at Vermont and Figaro and the freaks at Psychobabble, up my stairs, and into my apartment. I collapsed on the bed and dreamed of wu xia women and a swordfight ballet over a mountain lake.
I did not, thank god, dream of the MTA.
 
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