Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 11 & 12 -- Los Angeles

The day kicked off with a blessing in disguise....the steep driveway of our hotel wasn't conducive with Big Mama's (our tour bus) parking needs. We drove around L.A. for another hour and a half (giving me a considerable amount of additional sleep) and ended up in Marina del Rey....at a hotel that was literally on the beach. We didn't spend much time there, but it was nice to come home at night to see the moon reflecting off the gently swaying little bay and lights flickering atop the sailboat masts a few hundred feet off.

Our first stop on Day 11 was CBS Studios; one of Chris' friends, Canaan Rubin, is a top producer of CBS' Entertainment Tonight and gave us a fantastic tour of the CBS complex. Did you know Seinfeld was filmed in L.A., on a fake street--the buildings were all a fa├žade!?? I always thought it looked so genuine.

Here's Rashina in front of the facade street where Seinfeld was filmed; since Seinfeld went of the air it's been transformed into the set of another series--I'm not sure which.

Entertainment Tonight wasn't supposed to be filming the day that we were there, but Mary Hart (one of the ET anchors) had her family in town and they had the set all lit up for them. The camera crew were very generous with their time. They showed us how everything worked, answered all of our questions, and even took a group photo for us on the set!

I was surprised at how genuinely friendly and down-to-earth everybody at CBS was; there was no trace of the snobbish moviestar attitude with which I expected to be greeted. I was rather amused, however, when one of the fact-checker supervisors told us that ET differs from other news sources in that they report primarily on celebrities, but that they approach their reporting with all the seriousness and preciseness of any respected media outlet. I’ve watched the show on and off during the past 10 years, and I must say, I almost laughed when he said that. It was obvious to me early on that much of the show was based on speculation, or reading an entire story into one photo. But everyone in the whole complex seemed to enjoy their jobs; many had been there upwards of 20 years. Taking the tour confirmed some of the feelings toward the TV world that I developed during my internship at a local NBC affiliate….it’s not as glamorous as it looks!

We concluded our tour and then drove down to Santa Monica for a healthy lunch at Shoop's European Delicatessen (where I found Speculoos, my favorite Belgian cookie) and walked the block down to the beach for a little fun in the sun. I was so exhausted from the traveling though; as soon as I spread out my beach towel I went to sleep and didn't even go down to the water.

We drove down to Huntington Beach for an annual surf festival, had dinner at a great little Hawaiian place, and watched some amusing street performers. 5 or 6 young men in their early 20's had prepared a synchronized routine which consisted of break dancing, call-outs, big flips (over people), and clever means of asking for money. Their tagline was, “Stay in school, don’t do drugs.” I wondered if they were really concerned about school and drugs, or if they just thought it might earn them a few brownie points from parents, the ones with the wallets.

We spent an incredible amount of time in traffic during both days. As much I was bothered by carsickness and the inherent noise level of 12 people stuck in a small area, it was a good experience. I feel like I got a small insight into what it would be like to live in LA as opposed to just visit.

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