Roger L. Simon

Academy Awards? There goes the neighborhood!

Oscar time you don’t want to live in my ‘hood – a mile or so directly up hill of the Kodak Theatre where they give the Academy Awards. Normally a quiet family redoubt in the Hollywood Hills (okay, a bit on the showbiz side, but sedate nevertheless), it has been turned into ground zero for the tragically-hip-public-relations-party-on set replete with non-stop bands from country to alternative. My street, which normally gets about one car every five minutes, is in a permanent state of gridlock with parking valets frantically running up and down the sidewalk, dodging the stares of the traffic control police who are being constantly importuned by my neighbors (and me) to take this moving torture chamber and ship the whole crowd to the New Orleans coliseum. Two nights ago we were kept up until dawn by a non-stop party for Best Actor nominee Joaquin Phoenix – and he was in New York at the time. The following morning it was impossible to get to work because of the catering trucks blocking the road. And this hijinks is supposed to go on until Monday.

And for what reason have the good people of my street been singled out for this treatment? Some cash-rich lowlife – allegedly (though I am not certain) one of the contractors of that mega-boondoggle bordering on theft of public funds known as the LA Metro -for the last several years has been building the most hideous spec house this side of Riyadh about fifty yards up hill of me. If you were going to do a parody of a bad taste neo-Renaissance McMansion (up to the mammoth gaudy pseudo-Venetian chandeliers and the mosaic of Neptune and some sea nymphs at the bottom of the Olympic-sized pool), this would be the place. Upon completion, he put a price on it so steep not even David Geffen could move in. Naturally, the monstrosity didn’t sell. So the guy had to rent it, first to porno filmmakers who were probably using it as a double for Hef’s mansion. But that didn’t last because next door neighbors complained that the nightly climax oohing and aahing was keeping their children up. (One woman told me she broke in on them en flagrante delicto and yelled at the crew to stop. They did.) The owner had to give up that rental. So now he is exacting retribution on all of us –seven days and seven nights of Oscar parties.

Actually there is something funny about us aging hipsters dodging empty boxes of Patron tequila (Hunter Thompson, where are you?) and complaining about the same things our parents did. Still, they didn’t have porno rentals to worry about.

UPDATE: While on the subject of the awards, at least tangentially, I urge you to read Terry Teachout’s analysis of Good Night, and Good Luck in Commentary. (via Powerline)