Wednesday, January 29, 2014

EVENT: Behind the Hollywood Sign, with Obscura Society LA



In addition to my own writing and photography and solo expeditions, I've recently become a field agent for the local LA outpost of international website Atlas Obscura, which encourages people to go out and explore the world around them, giving them opportunities to do so with a group of like-minded people. I never thought there could be so many others out there with weird interests like me, until I started attending Obscura Society events.



Following my first excursion - to the St. Francis Dam disaster site - I've just announced my next public adventure: a trip up to the top of Mt. Lee in Griffith Park, as close as you can get to the Hollywood Sign.



I'm sometimes reticent to invite people to come along with me, because I'm heartbroken when no one wants to. But since my last event was not only sold out, but over capacity, I'm back to do another one. Here's the official announcement and description:
Get the real story about Hollywood's most famous resident:
The Hollywood Sign.
The Hollywood Sign has become a beacon for LA locals and tourists alike: not only a popular photo opp, but an icon for the glitz and glamour of Southern California. 
But the Hollywood Sign - originally reading HOLLYWOODLAND - was actually built in 1923 as a temporary hillside advertisement for the real estate development down below, in the area now known as Beachwood Canyon. 
After appearing in countless movies, the sign was kept atop Mount Lee in celebration of HOLLYWOOD, with the last four letters eventually removed. Originally constructed of telephone poles, metal, wood, wire, pipes, and illuminated at night, the sign has become a legend on it's own. It's been the site for controversy and many true Hollywood tales - tales of murder, arson, suicide, and comebacks. 
After falling into severe disrepair, it was rebuilt in 1978, with each letter sponsored by a different celebrity. The sign was again threatened in 2010, but money was raised to save a neighboring parcel of land from development and include it - along with the Hollywood Sign - officially in Griffith Park. 
Join field agent Sandi Hemmerlein [me!] on February 16 at 10 a.m. as she leads Obscura Society LA through Old Hollywoodland, and up a trail to the top of Mount Lee -- the closest (legal) spot from which to view the newly repainted Hollywood Sign.
We will be joined on our hike by Hollywoodland expert, author, and Hollywood Heritage boardmember Mary Mallory, who will talk history and tell us stories of the past, present, and future of the world's most beloved sign. 
When we reach our destination, we'll be standing behind the letters (each 45 feet tall) and be able to witness spectacular 360 degree views of the Los Angeles Basin and San Fernando Valley. We will explore the Hugh Hefner Overlook and Aileen Getty Ridge Trail to Cahuenga Peak. Plus, we will see the exact spot where the doomed Hollywood actress Peg Entwistle, jumped to her death from the "H" in 1932 at the young age of 24. 
Notes for this adventure:
- This is a 3.5 mile roundtrip hike on both paved/unpaved roads and uphill one way. We are going to move at a slow pace, but be aware of the distance.
- Griffith Park is an urban wilderness, and participants must be aware of their surroundings at all times.
- Trail is dog-friendly!
- Please wear proper footwear and bring plenty of water/sun protection.
- Meeting location will be shared upon registration - in Beachwood Canyon area, from which we will carpool to the trailhead.
- Bathroom facilities only available at the carpool meeting spot. No facilities or rest areas anywhere on the trail or at the Sign.
- Water, coffee, and snacks / pack lunch may also be purchased at the carpool meeting spot if desired.

This should be fun, informative, social, and a bit of a workout if you don't do much hiking (or only walk on flat surfaces). Hopefully people who haven't been before will love it as much as I do.

Related Posts:
EVENT: Explore the St. Francis Dam Disaster Site & LA Aqueduct
Photo Essay: Climbing Hollywoodland
Photo Essay: Climbing the Hidden Hollywoodland Stairs
Photo Essay: Beachwood Canyon, In Search of the Hollywood Sign
Photo Essay: The Found Trail to Cahuenga Peak