24 Hours of Happy: 12 noon to 12:56 pm

Let’s see. Let’s give both Pharrell and me some money today. I first became aware of Pharrell’s work through the movie Despicable Me. The commercials made it look like a boring Spy vs. Spy knockoff with Gru and Vector as the “spies.” But then I read a blurb that explained the whole plot with the girls and I thought I’d give it a try. I loved it. And I loved the music. And I bought the CD of the soundtrack (link to follow in a future post). And I saw the second movie and I loved that one, too (again, link to follow someday).


12:00 Pharrell walks through the same back room and out into the dining room of a restaurant. And the table linens are white, so maybe there’s no hotel after all. The dining room is a very nice shade of dark green. As I tell people when we talk about the color scheme of my house, I’m not afraid of color, but maybe color should be afraid of me* (when I go back to renting an apartment once Alex is done with college, I’m going to invest in removable stick-on wallpaper for the apartment). Pharrell is at a table, sitting across from a woman in a short bob haircut and Beattie is circling the table in a way that is making me kind of dizzy. I may have to stop here for the night.

12:00 (continued) Pharrell and the woman are going to leave the restaurant and we’ll see where they are. No such luck. They are just lip-syncing and dancing around in the restaurant. The woman is probably someone famous, but she kind of reminds me of Sandra Bullock. The light is getting whiter, so they’re getting closer to the door. There’s the inspection grade. They’re out the door and now the song is over.

12:04 We’re outside now. Are we still in the same place? I see a bit of painted wood that looks to be the same color as the doorjamb that Pharrell and the woman passed, so I certainly hope so. And now, just before I go to work and will have to finish this later, I get the impression that this next dancer actually kind of looks like my friend Jim. It’d be funny if it was, but I’ll have to wait until 10:00 tonight to find out.

It’s 10:44 pm and I’m just getting back to this. On the other hand, I’ve earned $1.81 for my foreign language project and I’m now a day ahead on my pedometer steps. Okay, so I can see a liquor store and there’s, like, the third or fourth loading zone sign that I’ve seen in this project. Someone must’ve been selling those things door-to-door. Alex agrees that this guy looks kind of like Jim.

It looks like maybe a hospital across the street there? We turn right and pass a multi-level parking garage. There are high-rise buildings in the distance but I can’t identify any of them.

12:08 A black lady with a white mohawk is up next and there are agaves near the parking garage. The agaves look very nice, but they don’t help me figure out where we are. Palm trees, bougainvillea. Ah-ha! Something I can read! “Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Office Building.” I can work with that. Hopefully.

So, looks like the restaurant is “Pacific Dining Car” and we start out at 6th and Witmer. The agaves are gone now and there’s a small palm tree in their place. The palm trees and bougainvillea are gone, too. At Witmer & Shatto, we cross Shatto and continue down to Wilshire and then make a left onto Wilshire.

My computer is so slow right now. I’m going to close everything and reboot so that hopefully things will be less frustrating tomorrow morning.

Never mind. I missed a turn. We start at 6th and Witmer, then make a right turn at Witmer & Shatto and go down to Shatto & Valencia. Then we make a left, cross Shatto and go down to Valencia & Wilshire.

So the agaves are still gone but the palm trees are not. The jury’s still out on whether the bougainvillea are there or not. I can’t see their flowers on the Google Street View.

I’m not sure what’s going on, but the 12:12 dancer got almost to the end of the block and then turned around and headed back the way he came. Well, Wilshire was nice while it lasted, I guess.

12:16 We’re still on Wilshire and this time we cross Valencia and keep going. How far down are the La Brea Tar Pits anyhow?

5.6 miles. I don’t think we’re going to get that far out on Wilshire. It’s the right direction, though, so that’s something.

We cross Union Avenue and Google Street View’s version of Wilshire heads off into a parking lot. It’s very strange. In the process of reporting this to Google and trying to remember exactly where the street goes off the proverbial rails, I realize how close we are to MacArthur Park (which may or may not be melting in the dark). Will we make it that far? Will we see the homeless camps that are there now? Were the homeless camps there in 2013? I almost can’t wait to find out. It will, however, have to wait for Donna Summer to finish singing.

12:24 Okay, maybe we won’t get to MacArthur Park. I . . . don’t know where we are. I suppose it’s too much to hope that we’re just seeing the same place from a different angle. I think we’re back in Hollywood. I can see that the street they’re crossing is Sunset Boulevard. And no Norma Desmond in sight. I think that’s a school behind them. Is that Hollywood High School, again? Yes, yes it is. The good news is that we seem to be going south on Highland, so we’ll be venturing into new-to-us territory. We definitely are going south. I’m recognizing the buildings. These guys made good time. They’re probably at DeLongpre? Yes, definitely DeLongpre. I can see the Firestone store behind the 12:28 dancer. Who is definitely a dancer. I’ve never seen such a small child do such a high kick before. I’m pretty sure my eyes bugged out of my head when I saw that.

I really hope that this little girl wants to be dancing like this. If in the 20-year “24 Hours of Happy: Where Are They Now?” retrospective, she says that she didn’t want to dance at all and her mom (or her dad) forced her, I’ll be very disappointed. Particularly since I wanted to dance like that when I was that age.**

We cross Fountain Avenue (is this the same Fountain that the bikers passed 12 hours/a week or so ago?) Actually it kind of is. It’s interrupted by Joseph LeConte Middle School, but the two ends definitely do line up). Hey! This dancer isn’t doing The Pony. Is that a cha-cha-cha, maybe? Dunno.

12:36-ish. There’s The Pony.

12:40 We aren’t moving. I think we’re waiting for the light to change. Yep.

There’s a big building of some sort coming up according to Google Street View. I wonder if we’re going to actually visit it. We pass it around 12:43 but there’s no indication what it is. So I guess I’m going to have to do some Googling.

The building in question is the Hollywood Storage Building, which makes it sound like it’s for storing one’s Hollywoods. According to one article on Curbed.com, it was also a speakeasy during prohibition. We end in that block, in between Santa Monica and Romaine Street.

12:44 This looks kind of familiar. Is it somewhere I’ve been physically, somewhere we’ve seen in this project, or is it just one of those things?

Wait. Never mind. We’re on Romaine Street. Our new dancer starts out apparently inside Anawalt Lumber Company and then comes outside and makes an almost immediate right onto Romaine. Have we seen Romaine Street yet?

I’m wondering if this is one of those times when they had to reroute because of construction or something. Maybe something was going on on Wilshire that made it difficult to film there on these days?

Now we’re jaywalking across Romaine. I wonder where we’re going? Most of these buildings are gone now, so I wonder where we are.

Ah. We evidently want to stop before we get all the way down to La Brea, so we’re going to cross the street and turn around here.

I hate it when I look down and miss a turn. Turns out that at the corner of Romaine and Orange we make a right, so everything from there on is on Orange. I usually catch the turns I’ve missed because the buildings and background don’t match, but there’s a big construction site on Romaine and Orange that goes all the way to Romaine and Sycamore and I figured that they’d razed a lot of buildings to create that.

While looking for where I got lost, I found an interesting building, though, at 7000 Romaine. I figured that it’d turn out to be another glorified storage shed, but instead it turns out to be the building that had, at one time, been the headquarters of Howard Hughes’s empire.

We turn around just short of Santa Monica and head back up watching a guy who is working very hard at learning how to do tricks on his skateboard, but hasn’t quite gotten it yet. Then we turn right back onto Romaine and now we’re going past the building that’s no longer there. We turn right once again onto Sycamore as the song ends and we go to our opening location for the 12:56 to 1:55:59 hour.

12:56 We’re outdoors with a good-looking possibly-Latino guy (I say “possibly” because I get stopped all the time by people who think I’m a Latina based on my coloration and there’s basically no way for me to be anything but European, unless some random person from Asia or Africa wandered into Czechia, Germany, Lithuania/Latvia (depending on the generation), or Scotland at some point in history)***. He’s in good shape and dances really well, though probably the judges would knock off a few points for a few instances of the White Man’s Overbite.

Before I can get any kind of handle on where we are, we go into a gym. I pretty much give it up for lost, but then I see the sign saying “LA Sands Boxing Club.” Yelp and Google Maps both say that the gym is closed, but the website is still going. Looking at the building on Google Street View, it definitely looks closed now. But since we’re talking about 2013 here, let’s see if we can find where we actually are.

After digging around (and checking their previous location at 1515 Compton), it looks like we start in the mid to high 300s on Crocker Street. The dancer dances around the gym and then we watch him exercise for a while. I wonder I they went into the gym and asked for volunteers, because this guy definitely seems comfortable around the equipment.

*My bedroom is Valspar Peach Frenzy and the closest I can find to the color of my entryway is Better Homes and Gardens Stiffkey Blue (and I can’t find any image of that color that isn’t on Pinterest).

**When I did my last couple of years of college, turns out I needed just a couple more hours of physical education so I finally got to take ballet for the first time ever. I was the only ballet virgin (?) in the class, IIRC, and the teacher had us do the first exercise and then went around the room asking pretty much everyone else how much ballet they’d had. She then explained that she graded on improvement, so those who’d had ballet before would be held to a pretty high standard. I got an A in that class because it was really, really obvious that I’d never taken ballet and by the end of the semester I could do everything she’d taught us to do. Not well, necessarily, but competently. I’ve completely lost my turnout in the intervening (oh, dear God, has it really been that long?) 28 years.

***Since I wrote this, I’ve done the 23 and Me DNA thing which says that I’m 100% European, though the rumor is that my dad’s mom had some Rom heritage, if that’s true it must be far enough back that it didn’t show up in my DNA.

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