The Clash And The Glow

Today was one of those "Hollywood the street" meets "Hollywood the industry" moments, which actually doesn't happen very often - most Hollywoodness doesn't happen in Hollywood proper.

This morning, Bear and I went to a ceremony for Producer, Gale Anne Hurd, who was getting her own star on the walk of fame. A Big deal! And just in case her name is unfamiliar to you, Gale has produced little indie films like The Terminator, Terminator 2 and Aliens – she’s also been a major door breaker for many professional industry women who have since followed her. Anyway, we were there because Gale also produces a little known, niche, genre show called The Walking Dead, which Bear scores, and to which I have contributed vocally.

So everyone was gathered right on the street, in front of a place called Napoleon’s, next to a moveable stage. When we joined the blob of humanity gathered around the presentation area, it felt like the line for a really slow ride. The low demeanors of the “behind-the-scenes” crowd, clashed with the fundamental glitz of the zip code. There was a memorabilia shop across the street selling shiny fake Oscars and bright pink cameras, just paces away from these people who had actual ones. These were some of the most influential people in the business, but you would never know it if they weren’t the ones behind the red velvet ropes.

In contrast to the famous image, Hollywood is created in woolly sweaters in front of greasy computer monitors. Hollywood is created in old t-shirts and bad hair days. Hollywood is created in sweat pants, business casual slacks, college hoodies, low-heel pumps, and forever 21 on forever 39 year olds. Glamour is in the mind.

So back on the sidewalk, under the Jacaranda trees, I figure we were the thick bottom slice of a publicity sandwich, with a side dish of celebrities off to one side. The speeches were insightful, Gale talked about her family’s humble beginnings, and her own struggle to success in the business – it was truly sincere. She wore a necklace of sparkly stars around her neck, which was tastefully ironic, and genuinely chic. I dug it. She thanked the fans, and people who have always had her back, her friends and her family, but during the course of this heartfelt talk, at least five bright red Tour buses grundled by, and one garbage truck dude caught sight of the Walking Dead cast and yelled “woo hoo!” as his truck rattled on. That’s the clash I’m talking about. I think someone tipped off the local Hollywood tour buses, because they started coming by the site every three minutes. Seriously, these big fuck-off double decker red buses, with cyclopses hanging out, blinking their adjustable eyes and flashing, chattering, waving to each other "it's James Cameron!" which it was, never mind that he was trying to talk.

After the ceremony we went inside, and the climate changed. It was more than the God-sent rush of air conditioning; it was the whole atmosphere. The world settled back into the normal concerns and distractions. There were hors d'oeuvres, and lemonade, and remembering to hold your drink in your left hand so you could shake hands with your right. There were compliments to start a conversation, which lead to laughter, or went nowhere. There was wondering if I could have a conversation with this person outside of work, and discovering that I could, or I couldn’t. Once we were off the boulevard, Hollywood the industry, the metaphor, the clutch of misfits, could gather and talk and bitch, and just be people. And the glamour returned to the inside, to incubate, to fuss, to go home and renew in the glow behind woolly sweaters.

Raya Yarbrough

Singer, Composer, writer of absurd stories about LA, chanteuse on Outlander, BSG, DaVinci's Demons, & I used to date Dick Grayson.