My husband's brother, along with his wife (the brother's) and four kids, have been visiting from Canada. They had a van big enough for all of us (including my husband, daughter and me) for only one day, so we had a short time to play tour guides properly. And in that one day we needed to find things that would intrigue a group ranging in ages from six to fifty-something, many of whom have an interest in music.
So here's our lightning speed L.A. itinerary:
From West San Fernando Valley, we drove along Ventura Boulevard - noting to my fourteen-year-old music-loving nephew that Tom Petty and Frank Zappa are just a few artists who mention the boulevard in their lyrics. I mentioned the "Brady Bunch" house (11222 Dilling Street, Studio City) but apparently the kids are all too young to remember the Bradys (Ouch! I'm that old?) So Up Coldwater Canyon we headed to Franklin Lake. Upon sight of the familiar setting, my husband and I began whistling the opening theme to the "Andy Griffith Show", and mentioned the lake's use in the show's opening sequence, along with other shows such as "Bonanza," which filmed there. Without getting out of the van, we headed down Coldwater Canyon to Beverly Hills where the kids' mouths hung open in awe at the size of the homes.
To satisfy the 6-year-old's hunger pangs, we zoomed over for a quick bite at the Farmers Market on 3rd and Fairfax. We piled back into the van and headed over to Amoeba music in Hollywood. Here, the kids could have stayed all day, but we pulled them away after buying stacks of C.D.s to park and walk over to the hand-prints at Mann's theater - wading our group through the wacky gathering of panhandlers dressed like Elvis, Michael Jackson and Darth Vader.
After Amoeba, hand-prints of stars the kids never heard of was not quite as thrilling, but I figured we were in the neighborhood. I helped wake up the six year old and his mom (my sister-in-law) by walking ahead and asking Frankenstein to give him a little scare. What kind of Aunt does that? I'm mean, I know (See photo).
After a quick glance at the Hollywood sign, again we belted into the short-bus. This time, we headed for the Guitar Center. Most of the kids ran to separate instruments: one to the drums, one to the basses and another to the guitars. My sister-in-law and I joked about becoming the new Partridge family - all she and I would need are me some triangles and tambourines...oh, and talent! (The kids are talented; I am not)
A little more weary this time, we again passed through Beverly Hills and snaked our way down Sunset Boulevard, where my husband and I pointed out various landmarks: where I got mugged in the eighties, the legendary "Riot House" (Hyatt House), and the Viper Room where River Phoenix died... you know, nice stuff like that. And on toward the beach we traveled - just in time to reach the Santa Monica Pier for an inky orange-pink sunset, a ride on the roller-coaster and to eat some greasy hot dogs.