Sunday, November 20, 2011
THE GREAT LOS ANGELES WALK 2011 RECAP: 19.5 Miles of Downtown, Hollywood and Beyond
And they're off! (Photo by Anthony Uy)
We made it! After a semi-grueling 19.5 mile hike across Los Angeles, a few hundred passionate Angelenos successfully endured the sixth annual Great Los Angeles Walk.
More than 200 participants -- including visitors from locales such as London (at least two British visitors!) and Pennsylvania -- met at downtown's gaudy Triforium sculpture (across the street from City Hall) on Saturday. From there, they hit the sidewalks of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica on their way to the ocean.
"This has to be the most diverse number of neighborhoods we have ever walked through," Great Los Angeles Walk regular Waltarrrrr wrote on Twitter.
Along the way, this year's Walk centered on Hollywood, where Walkers took a look at classic theatres like the Pantages, the Warner Pacific, the Egyptian, the Chinese, the Henry Fonda and the El Capitan, as well as historic buildings such as the Taft Building, the Janes House (the last remaining Victorian Queen Anne house on Hollywood) and the Guaranty Building.
The morning started with a guest speaker: L.A.'s and America's favorite histo-tainer, Charles Phoenix. Charles gave a brief speech about downtown kitsch -- including the 1975 Triforium sculpture we were standing under. (In Charles' famed "Disneyland" Tour of Downtown Los Angeles, he includes the Triforium as part of "Tomorrowland.") "I thought this was a 'cake walk' to the ocean," Phoenix quipped. "Maybe you should do that next year." Sounds like a delicious idea.
At 9:15, we embarked on our journey -- and quickly experienced a wide swath of Los Angeles neighborhoods. From downtown, we continued down Temple, through Historic Filipinotown, to Beverly and Vermont. We then hiked north on Vermont, past the Los Angeles City College and past the neighborhood swap meet and plenty of street vendors. Turning west on Hollywood Boulevard, we marched through Little Armenia and Thai Town to Hollywood.
Waiting for us in the Toyota of Hollywood parking lot, the Food Truck Army had brought along three gourmet food trucks for us to enjoy lunch: Cheer Burger, Gypsy Toast and Sura Truck.
From there, it was off to Hollywood, where some Walkers took our advice to grab a martini at Musso & Franks and a jalapeno margarita at Loteria Grill. After Hollywood, we made our way down Fairfax to Santa Monica Boulevard, then hiked through West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Brentwood and Santa Monica.
Swift walkers got to the end by sunset. Most made it to the end during the 5 p.m. hour, while the Walkers who did it right (i.e., stopped at Mussos, Loteria or Trader Vic's at the Beverly Hilton) made it closer to 7 p.m. In the end, we overwhelmed the waiters and cooks at Locando del Lago in Santa Monica -- but for those who got a table, we munched on $8 pizzas and finally rested our feet.
Among my highlights: The guy who screamed, "COMMUNISTAS!" at us (assuming we were part of the Occupy LA crowd). Also: The foul-mouthed, cigarette-chomping, green-wearing little person who was standing outside a Hollywood theater.
It was another successful walk -- and even the weather cooperated, as cool temps and partly sunny skies greeted the Great LA Walkers as they made their way through town. I hope to see all of you -- and even more -- at next year's event -- remember to always keep the Saturday before Thanksgiving free!
Read most of the Tweets from the day -- at least the ones with the #glaw hashtag -- here!
And post your Great Los Angeles Walk photos to our Flickr stream here.
Some pics from the day:
The crowd gathers. (Photo by Anthony Uy)
Charles Phoenix talks to the crowd
The crowd listens.
Organizer Michael Schneider (hey, that's me, identifying myself in the third person!), with Charles Phoenix, as the walk kicks off.
Occupy LA, as we "Occupy LA Sidewalks."
The walk heads down Temple.
Hands Across Temple. (Photo by Anthony Uy)
The Ukulele Bunny of Temple
The infamous headquarters from "CHiPs," on Vermont Ave.
Outside the Vermont Ave. swap meet, it's the official food of Los Angeles: Bacon-wrapped hot dogs.
The real star of Hollywood: Self-loathing.
Quite possibly the coolest mural of the walk: Michael Jackson.
Hollywood Premiere Motel.
Self-affirmation on Hollywood Boulevard.
Gateway to Thai Town.
Keeping guard on Hollywood.
Lunch with the Food Truck Army.
Museum of Death.
Warner Pacific Theatre.
Musso and Franks.
Joni poses with the cigarette-chomping, foul-mouthed, green-suited little person. What's going on?
Anthony poses with the Hollywood crew. Still not clear what's going on.
Religious marchers attempt to educate us unwashed Hollywood masses.
Suddenly, a popular star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: Charlie Sheen.
Blues on Hollywood. (Photo by Anthony Uy)
In Beverly Hills. Still not sure what this is supposed to be.
Mormon temple on Santa Monica.
Style is confidence, says Amir.
We made it to the ocean at around 5:40 a.m. -- toward the end of the pack (along with several others). Groups were pretty spread out by the end. (Photo by Anthony Uy)
Thanks to Charles Phoenix, Rocky from the Food Truck Army, and Lago in Santa Monica for participating in this year's event! And most importantly, thank you to the 200-plus die-hard Los Angeles fans who took part in the walk!
Save the date for next year -- Saturday, November 17, 2012. And yes, we'll trim a few miles off next year's walk.
Here are some links to other recaps of this year's Great Los Angeles Walk. Send us your links!
The Great Los Angeles Walk 2011 Flickr Pool
Charles Phoenix, Bullet Casings & O.J.'s Last Stop: the Great Los Angeles Walk in Photos (LAist)
Jonathan Wilson's Great LA Walk Photos (Jawsnap.net)