I ran out of shaving cream, and as I was still a little kinked up from helping a friend move on Friday, I decided to buck the LA trend and 'walk it out' to the store. It would be about a 30 minute round-trip walk and it's a beautiful day here today, so I thought it would do me a world of good.
The store I was headed to is the recently opened Trader Joe's located in the back end of the new Hollywood and Vine W Hotel complex on the corner of Selma and Vine. As I walked up Vine Street I did what I always do (and don't think I'll ever tire of): I read the names on the parade of stars in the sidewalk that were passing under my feet. ...Fanny Brice, Chester Conklin, Tony Bennett, Clara Bow.... Why do I do this. There is no meaning, it's not like they're buried here or that their spirit lives here or anything. It's just some terrazzo and fake brass in a sidewalk. ....Mae West, Billie Holiday, Yakima Cannut, Cary Grant.... I am unable to stop myself. By the way, if your destination is the Trader Joe's, and you are walking north on Vine, simply make a right turn at Donna Reed.
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Coming out of the store, I was suddenly completely aware of some loud swingin' music. I looked across the street and saw:
All the years I've lived here, I've never attended one of these ceremonies, so I hung out to let Louis take my cherry (so to speak) (to coin a phrase). It was a mixture of Chamber of Commerce nonsense, and actual heartfelt emotion. There were a couple hundred people gathered around. A mix of tourists and neighborhood folks. After city council members, Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge patted everyone (including themselves) on the back, Prima's children, Lena and Louis Jr. came up and made some very moving remarks. Apparently, Louis Prima, Jr. and his mother have been working for years to get him a star and, appropriately, it happened this year during his centennial celebration. They choked up and we, the onlookers, did too. When the covering was lifted to reveal the star, a huge roar went up from the crowd and for a moment we were all huge Louis Prima fans.
It was starting to get a little hot in the sun, so I made my way back down the street toward home. ...Louis Prima, Jackie Cooper, Dick Powell, Ann Southern.... And I couldn't stop smiling.
And as everybody knows, When You're Smiling; The Whole World Smiles With You.