Thursday, October 11, 2007

Locust - Kahn's Persian Palace Theatre

Mann's Chinese Theater here stands in for Kahn's Persian Palace Theater, the site of the final, violent riot in the novel. Kahn's is the pinnacle of glamour, "A Pleasure Dome Decreed," (West, 175), glamour separate even from the celebrities that come there. In fact, the crowd of the scene becomes unmanageable hours before the stars arrive--the place itself is enough to heighten their excitement and emotion, because they so desire excitement and emotion. Yet, as West says, "Once there, they (arriving residents of Los Angeles) discover that sunshine isn't enough. They get tired of oranges, even of avocado pears and passion fruit," (West, 177). The dream has not been all it was imagined to be, and chaos is the result.

Today, practically the entire area of Hollywood that the novel covers is paved with stars. The names of the celebrities for which the crowd waited are possibly underfoot, and tourists flock to the corner of Hollywood and Vine to see them, to see the building where the Oscars are held, and eat at the California Pizza Kitchen franchise. Is the dream being fulfilled? By stepping on the shining names of the rich and famous, has the common man gained a bit of that allure? West would certainly argue that the promise of the Golden Age of Hollywood had not been fulfilled in its own time. And now?

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