L.A. cowboys and hockey fans; this town is way more than celebs and wannabe's
LOS ANGELES – Want to watch me go into a tirade? Tell me how L.A. is such a plastic city filled with celebrities and wannabe’s.
I remember reading a column in the Globe and Mail arts section a couple months ago, where the writer went on at length (and ad nauseum) about how everyone out here is a poser and selling movie scripts and all.
Yeah, I guess if you come into town for a movie or TV junket that might be your impression. Certainly, there’s a ton of glitz and no shortage of skinny women perched on heels the size of the Eiffel Tower and all that.
But no area with more than 10 million people can be reduced to any kind of simple stereotype. I went to university at UCLA and most of my friends were paler skinned than your average Winnipeger. I don’t think a couple of them EVER went to the beach. And none of them, despite being born and raised a couple miles from Santa Monica, had ever been on a surfboard.
In my years living here, the only celebrities I ever saw were at concerts. I was a big Warren Zevon fan and went to see him at the Roxy on Sunset Blvd. and ended up sitting 30 feet from Stevie Nicks and members of Fleetwood Mac. Later, I went to an Elvis Costello concert at, oddly enough, Hollywood High School and saw the lovely and talented Linda Ronstadt in the front row. But that was it for five years of living in Tinseltown. Honestly, I didn’t see any celebrities.. Partly because I didn’t give a damn. And partly because I was busy going to basketball games and studying and working, which millions of Angelenos do every year, not giving a tinker’s damn about Lindsay Lohan or George Clooney.
One of the activities they let the media take part in this weekend was a horseback ride in the Hollywood Hills. Okay, the woman leading my horse was a hair stylist, but she’s a true horse girl who grew up in northern California.
“I come up here every day, almost,” she said. “It’s so quiet and peaceful, and there are so many animals.”
The owner of the Sunset Hollywood Ranch, Steve Smith, told me some of his cowboys tell him the only reason they can stand living in L.A. is because of his 60-horse ranch, which feels like something you’d find in British Columbia or Montana.
The ranch, oddly enough, sits in the shadow of the famous Hollywood sign. And the road leading to the ranch is choked with cars filled with people jumping out to take pictures of themselves with the sign hovering in the background.
But the ranch is a real cowboys and horses place, with wild peacocks cawing in the trees and chickens all over the place and scruffy dogs and wild grasses rolling down the hills and deep red-painted barns with rows of horses and well-worn saddles.
Not a celebrity stalker in sight.
In addition to being a cowboy town (in part, of course), L.A. also is a hockey town.
I arrived on Friday of last week and stopped at a store in Westwood Village on the city’s west side. After giving my email address to get a slight discount on some good California wine, the guy behind the counter at the Cost Plus World Market shop said to me, “Is that the Toronto Star? You work there? I read you guys all the time for hockey news.”
He preceded to go into a long rant about the Canucks and the weaknesses of goalie Roberto Luongo and how stupid the NHL and Commissioner Gary Bettman are for the scheduling in the Canucks-Kings series. I suspect he’s calmed down a bit given how the Kings vanquished the highly-rated Canucks, but perhaps he’d had polling done by someone more reliable than the folks in Alberta and knew his Kings would triumph…
The next day, I was getting a tour of the Roosevelt Hotel in the middle of Hollywood. The general manager asked me about the Kings-Canucks, then went into a long discussion about how he hates Vancouver’s team and thinks the Sedin twins are overrated.
Yeah, it’s a hockey town all right. Even more with the Kings moving into the second round….
THIS AND THAT
Is it just me, but does anyone find it weird that a sign for Budget rental cars is one of the first things you see when you drive into Beverly Hills from west L.A. I mean, doesn’t everyone in Beverly Hills already own a car?
The other thing a visitor who hasn’t been to BH notices is a giant office tower with the words TD Ameritrade on top. Yeah, Canadians are taking over Southern California, too. Not so much the Canucks, though.