24 hours of happy

All posts tagged 24 hours of happy

9:00 We’re still in the parking garage. We emerge into the sunlight at 9:09. Now where are we? I see the letters GB in neon and the number 225. Not enough to go on. Yet. I see the words “General Thaddeus Kosciuszko,” which is the name of a street. So we’re on Olive Street right now heading southwest-ish. This couple can really dance, but I sincerely hope that those are some version of cheerleader “spankies” under her skirt. We make a left onto 4th Street. We go a block and then everything starts to look different from how it looks in Google Street View, but the view behind the dancer matches, so we’ll assume that we’re still on 4th. We cross Broadway and then make a right. I panicked for a moment when we could see a sign that said “4th Street” behind the 9:24 again, but then we passed what was a Walgreens in January of 2017 and a sign that said “5th Street” and I knew that everything was all right.

9:28 Our dancer is a woman in a motorized wheelchair or scooter of some sort. As we reach the intersection, Beattie heads a little to the south and I thought that we were going to turn. Nope. He was walking down the curb cut so that she could use it as well. That made me smile.

9:32 We are now filming a guy carrying a pizza. Is he a delivery guy? Is it his pizza? Is he doing a favor for a friend? We don’t know yet. He does make a left onto 7th, though. And he starts dancing with the pizza. I hope he’s not a delivery guy because that pizza is definitely not held level throughout. He holds the pizza out to some people he passes. Maybe he’s selling the pizza? At any rate, he puts it down and then makes a left onto Spring Street. I hope one of the crew (from what I’ve read, there are like 15 people involved at any moment) is watching the pizza. Boy, Downtown LA has big blocks.

9:36 We’re somewhere else now. Let’s find out where. We’re still on Spring Street between 6th and 7th, still going the same direction, even. But we’re on the other side of the street. We then turn right onto 7th and head northwest.

9:44 We’re just all over the place today. We have the word “Tower” and a sign that says “8th Street,” so it looks like we’re at 8th and Broadway headed northeast on Broadway. If you ever get invited to dance in a video, you can’t go wrong with The Pony. If I had more intestinal fortitude than I currently possess, I would go back and figure out exactly how many dancers are doing The Pony in this thing.

9:50 This kid is a good dancer. Also, there’s another police car.

9:52 Another small kid with better moves than I’ve ever had. Don’t know where we are yet, though. She passes a Famima!! (yes, the exclamation points are part of the name) store. I think I see the Los Angeles theater in the background, which means that we’re still on Broadway. Yeah. I think we’re between 5th and 6th on Broadway.

9:56 Let’s find out where we’re going to spend the hour between 9:56 and 10:56. I can see a sign that says Cesar E. Chavez Drive. Another sign says “Mozaic.” That ought to be enough to go on. We’re now near Union Station on Union Station Driveway, near as I can tell. And then we dance our way right into the station. Let me guess that this is where Pharrell will turn up next. I love train stations. I guess I know one place we’ll be going the next time we’re in California.

Believe it or not, Union Station is just within the boundaries of our polygon. So now our polygon is 21.64 square miles.

Also, this is when I realized that Pharrell has to be between the Alexandra Hotel and the next building over in his 1:00 am appearance. You can see the arched windows of the building at 5th and Broadway behind him.

10:00 I guess that 10:00 will have to go with 9:00. All hour, the dancers have stayed in or near Union Station. They occasionally have walked outside of Union Station, but no one has actually left the property.

10:56 Let’s see where we go next. I wish I could read the name of the street in the background there. It’s a short name and the first letter looks like maybe an “M”? There’s something that looks like a convenience store there on the right. We head down an alley and I still haven’t been able to identify anything. I can see the word “shop” one of the windows. Maybe it’s a barber shop, maybe it’s a tailor shop. I guess we’ll find out.

I’m finally getting back to posting these and I owe it all to J. Balvin. I heard his song “Safari” (that is a YouTube link; this is the Amazon link) on the radio and the voice of the man singing “Vente conmigo. Solo conmigo” sounded so damn familiar. And it turned out to be Pharrell Williams, which reminded me why Pharrell’s voice sounds so familiar. This project.

Lots of people dancing up the river for the first hour but not many landmarks, so we’re getting two hours for the price of one here.

Next up, the rest of 6:56, followed immediately by 7:00.

7:00 We’re on the Los Angeles River now and likely to stay here for a long time. Looks like after 7:04 we start walking north along the river. At around 7:19, we pass a sign that says “Equestrians prohibited” which makes some kind of sense, since the horse chestnuts would probably be difficult for bikers to avoid. But then we pass a “horse crossing” sign and now I’m totally confused. I also don’t buy that this is 7:00 am because (a) the direction of the shadows makes me think that the sun is to the west, and not the east, and (b) cars are actually able to drive on the 5. If I recall correctly, by 7 am traffic is at a standstill on the freeways.

7:56 We move to the actual river itself, rather than the bank. It looks like the place where they filmed the race scene in Grease. And it doesn’t just look like it. This is the same place. The bridge in the background is the 7th Street Bridge in Grease, and today there’s a kind of low-lying building with lots of windows up on the bank. You can see the same building (or a substantially similar one) on Google Street View. Stretching that corner of the polygon out that far brings us to 21.58 square miles. So now we have 163 Hours of Happy.

8:00 We’re still in the LA River. This part of the river has a current. I was not expecting that. Pharrell walks down the dry edge of the river, up the berm under the next bridge, and around what looks to be some homeless person’s shopping cart. Hey, loving a city requires you to accept some of the less pleasant aspects (even if you aspire to change them). We end up in some kind of tunnel.

8:04 So this is fun. We dance through that tunnel and out onto the street. You can see that we’re near a bridge, but fuck if I can tell what bridge we’re near. Finally, after 8:08, we dance past a sign saying “590santefestudios.com” so I use that as my signpost to find our location. The closest bridge to that sign is the 4th Street bridge, but that wasn’t right. So I did some digging and found that the 6th Street bridge wasn’t demolished until 2016. So it was still there when the video was made. So I hit Google Street View, and there, in November 2015, is the bridge. And there, from under the bridge, is the building that our 8:08 dancer is passing. Then I took a step forward and the bridge and building are both gone. I couldn’t find the exact spot again, but I found one close to it and went back and forth “Now they’re here” “Now there gone” for a while. That’s always fun to do on Google Street View.

We make a left onto Willow (the building she dances past is still there in October of 2017). She covers a lot of territory in her four minutes. I didn’t expect her to get nearly as far as she did on Willow. We make a right onto Mateo and then another right onto Palmetto and a left onto Santa Fe.

8:20 We’re at a bridge again. What bridge? Dunno. Wait. We’re at the 4th Street bridge. How do I know that? Because with the disappearance of the 6th Street bridge, I was looking around the 4th Street bridge back at 8:04 and I recognize that building behind the dancer. We then follow Santa Fe Street northwards-ish to Mateo, make a right onto Mateo and then a left onto 4th Place, I think?

8:24 We skip ahead a bit to Molina Street and make a left and then a right onto Palmetto and then another right onto what I think is probably Colyton. “Colyton”? That looks like a typo, but it’s really the street name.

8:36 We return to Hollywood for the appearance of some kind of fighter or other (Youtube comments say that it’s Urijah Faber?) and a young woman who is apparently his sister. We start on Argyle Street just north of the W hotel and make a right onto Hollywood Boulevard.

8:40 I don’t know. Probably back where we were before on Colyton, I guess? No, we’re definitely somewhere else. I see the number “500” and the word “Enterprises” but unfortunately they’re on different buildings. This is no help. Oh, good. “Enterprises” is apparently 439. Wait. We are still on Colyton, only at the other end of the street. And, yep. There’s “Enterprises” on Google Street View. The other side of the sign reads “Lidderdale.” We make a left back onto Palmetto.

8:48 Now where are we? Okay. Now we’re going down Hewitt, which we skipped before for some reason. I wonder if the road was blocked off before. Huh. There’s a police car back there. I wonder if he (or she; can’t tell at this distance) has noticed our little guerrilla music video. I used to have long hair and it never swung like that. It always kind of moved in a big chunk. Does the 8:48 dancer use any kind of product to get that or is she just lucky? I go back and forth between watching her hair and watching that police car, which pulls to a stop right behind her as the song ends. I wonder if we find out what happened next? Well, I guess the police officer was just parking. We get to the intersection of Hewitt and 4th and then turn back around and head back up Hewitt. At 8:55, the 8:52 dancer goes right past that police car and we can see that it’s a sheriff’s car. For what that’s worth.

8:56 We’re somewhere else now. I see a sign that looks like it says “Music Center” with an arrow pointing left. And upon looking it up, it seems that “Music Center” is something that a sign in Los Angles might say, so we’ll go with that. Another sign that says “Grand” and Grand is a street near the Music Center, so we’re making progress. We’re shooting looking up at this dancer for some reason. I just accidentally found our location. We’re in an underground parking garage at 4th Street and Grand Avenue. I wish I could figure out why Google Street View will suddenly send me underground or beneath streets when I don’t mean it to, even if it worked out in my favor this time.

Pharrell promotion time. I’ve got, like, four things that will give Pharrell money if you buy them, too, and here’s the first. Amazon Associates link this time, since I’ve spent my own money on it: the movie of Despicable Me (the soundtrack will probably be up next).

Note: I am pasting this into the interface (preparatory to scheduling it for midnight on June 11, 2018) and I still cannot swear where we are from 5:00 to 5:35:59. At first I thought it was Griffith Park, but some sites mention that the video was filmed in part at Runyon Canyon Park, but it doesn’t really look like that either, near as I can tell from Google Street View. I guess on Alex and my next trip to California I’ll make him visit Runyon Canyon Park to see if it looks familiar.

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5:00. Wow. I’m stumped. We spend a lot of time in a big flat area where the ground has a kind of pinkish cast, like it’s made from pink granite or something. There are towers with what I at first thought were guy wires, but upon further watching seem to be holding up power lines. But there’s not a single landmark or sign* to be seen. There’s a fence with sharp pointy bits on the top. The fence looks kind of institutional and the pointy bits are pointing outwards towards the viewer, so, I don’t know. The Los Angeles Zoo, maybe? A college or boarding school? Boy, Beattie has been walking downhill backwards for an awfully long time. I hope he’s going to be okay.

Now there’s an I don’t know, water tower? A big green tank of some sort, at any rate. What I wouldn’t give for a street sign. A subway station. A McDonald’s.

Okay, now we have a gate. Not a fancy, identifiable gate, no. Just one of those things that they padlock shut to keep you from driving up that street. It’s probably metal but looks like PVC pipe. A chain-link fence. More chain-link fence. Pine trees. Minions.

5:36 Now we’re at Magic Johnson’s house. Even if I’d been to Magic Johnson’s house, which I haven’t, or I could tell where it is, which I can’t, I wouldn’t be saying, “Hey everyone! Magic Johnson lives at . . . “

5:40 Sigh. A residential neighborhood. No way I can. Oh, wait. Is that Vermont on the way up to Griffith Park? I think it might be. Let’s check. Eee. I got it. Now how on earth did I get it? Apparently the “bumps 15 mph” sign is more memorable than one would expect. We start at Aberdeen and then make a left onto Vermont, heading south on the sidewalk along the northbound lanes. Time to enlarge the polygon. We keep walking down Vermont to Hillhurst and then down Hillhurst to Gainsborough, where we make a left.

5:56 Now we’re somewhere completely new, I think. Let’s find out. The street name behind him looks like “Tempe” or “Temple,” which is probably just my brain filling in because I know that there’s a Temple street in LA. There is something that looks like a school or a church up there on the hill behind him, but I’ve only got 40 seconds left, so I doubt I’ll ever figure this one out. The angle just changed and we seem to be at the top of a very steep hill. I wonder what I’d get if I searched for “the steepest hill in Los Angeles. . . .”

*Well, okay. There are a couple of signs, mostly what looks like of the “put your garbage here” and the “don’t climb on this tower” varieties.

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ETA: I finally found it. Well, part of it, anyhow. It sure looks to me like the 5:04 dancer passes the spot at coordinates 34.1252253,-118.2820732 in Griffith Park. The posts, the buildings, the fire hydrant, and the bollards all match pretty much exactly. Unfortunately I cannot follow the whole trail because no one has driven/walked it yet and posted it to Google Street View.

I definitely think I’m onto something here. We seem to be following Vista del Valle Drive, but I cannot figure out which direction we’re going. I’ll have to do further research.

Pharrell-promoting Amazon link time. I searched for his name on Amazon and came up with a children’s picture book of Happy with the song lyrics illustrated with pictures of kids. The Amazon preview looks cute, so this is my choice for today’s link: Happy by Pharrell Williams

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I hadn’t decided to make these into blog posts yet, so there’s some big gaps here. We spend 1:56 to 2:23:59 in the American Legion Hall.

2:24 East on Selma from Highland to the block between Wilcox and Cahuenga then south on Cahuenga to Sunset and east on Sunset to Gower

2:56 Sunset and Hillhurst* then inside the Vista Theater**, which sits where Hollywood Boulevard becomes Sunset Boulevard then inside the Caffe Vita cafe then back out onto the street about halfway along that block. We next start at the other end of the block, down by Fountain, and head back up northwest to the Vista and then south on Virgil then back up to where we left off after Caffe Vita (the restaurant that’s there, El Chavo, is being torn down or otherwise renovated in Google Street View’s pictures from June of 2017).

3:20 It looks like we might be somewhere else. I can see a Chick-Fil-A in the background and the dancer passes a round yellow sign with a smiling mouth in the bottom half. Never mind. We’re going back up Highland now, on the other side of the street, and then we make a right onto Selma on, again, the other side of the street.

3:24 Remember the Vista? We’re here on yet another side of the street now. I think we’re going west on Sunset. I take it back. We’re heading northwest on Hollywood. I think. Yes. Definitely northwest on Hollywood. The Auto Zone should be on our left. There’s the U-Haul on our right. We are going to leave this part of Los Angeles someday, right?

3:32 Farther northwest, starting near . . . Rodney Drive?, this time on the other side of the street. We have a rhythmic gymnast this time, which is a nice change. Then when we reach Vermont, we make a right rather than crossing the street. We get to Vermont and Franklin, then turn around and head right back up Vermont. Palermo was open for breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays in 2013. That’s good to know. And no, I haven’t been to Palermo. Neither the city nor the restaurant. It’s just that it’s almost 4:00 in the morning 24-Hours-of-Happy time and the area we’ve covered is bound by a polygon 5.93 square miles in area. At this rate we’ll need 338.6 Hours of Happy to cover the whole city.

3:56 Where are we? No clue. I can see a McDonald’s in the background. That oughtta narrow it down. Wait. There’s a 76. I wonder if we’re back on Vermont. Nope. Apparently not. No. Wait. Yes. We are back on Vermont just south of where we started out. Our dancer, who looks kind of like a young Lalla Ward (though that may be because I have a head cold and have been at this for two days now), just danced across the entrance to the northbound 101. Yay! With 10 seconds left to go.

And that ends the first four hours of Happy and our polygon is now 6.43 square miles. We now need only 312.3 Hours of Happy to cover the whole city.

I take it back. I forgot about the Alexandria Hotel and the block between 7th and 8th on Hope. So we’re up to 11.42 square miles. So 175 Hours of Happy.

*This one started out as “IDEK. There’s an Auto Zone and a brick wall and the word “Food” in neon”

**This is where Pharrell makes his 3:00 appearance and my original comment is “How many Egyptian-themed movie theaters are there in Los Angles, and why aren’t any of them turning out to be the right one? The word “family” seems to be written above the marquee.”

Okay, here’s the deal. I don’t want Pharrell to be all, “Hey, this lady’s using my work as a naked cash grab!” But then I don’t want to avoid the cash grab completely. But, it is important to me that Pharrell at least have the possibility of making a bit of money off of this.  So, every post will have an Amazon link to something that will potentially put money in Pharrell’s pocket at the beginning. If it’s something that I’ve spent some of my own money on (the DVD of Despicable Me, for example), I’ll link it through my Amazon Associates ID. If it’s not (Britney Spears’s Britney album, which has the song I’m a Slave 4 U, which Pharrell wrote and produced, on it), I’ll post the naked Amazon link. I’m currently toying with buying Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories album, but haven’t decided yet. I guess we’ll find out if I buy it or not when I get there.

So I guess we’ll start with Britney, since it’s on my mind.

I hadn’t decided to do this as blog posts at first, so these first two hours are just my notes on where we go and what we see. Things get chattier and more detailed in future hours.


Midnight Mobil – Vermont at Melrose

12:40 – 4000 Fountain east to Hyperion then north to Glendale then south on San Fernando to Fletcher then northwest on Fletcher to Glendale to Rowena (?)

12:56 between 7th and 8th on Hope

1:00 a.m. Beats me. We’re indoors and the only words I can read look like maybe The Plump Gander? The Palm Court? That looks like a distinct possibility. There’s a Palm Court Ballroom in the old Hotel Alexandria in downtown LA that looks a lot like the room that Pharrell is dancing around in. If only I could see the ceiling. . . . Well, until I find something better, that’s my decision.

1:04 Hollywood American Legion Hall*

1:12 Outside American Legion Hall heading south on Highland to Mel’s Drive In

1:32 Back farther north on just south of Highland and Johnny Grant then west on Hollywood boulevard to Sycamore then back east on Hollywood to Highland and back south on Highland again to Hawthorn

1:56 Back at the Hollywood American Legion Hall, apparently.**

*2035 N. Highland

**You’ll see the term “apparently” a lot in these posts.