Yup. It’s just a neighborhood covered in billboards. Due to Botcons and TFcons in the area, I’ve been to Hollywood four or five times myself. Because every time I went, there was someone else in the group who hadn’t seen it. It’s certainly a place. I’m glad I got to see it once. Point at the stars on the Walk, go to the pavement of the Chinese Theatre, and put my own hands where Harrison Ford (and literally thousands and thousands and thousands of foreign tour groups) have put their hands before.
But I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite place to go in LA.
Because it’s a street lined with desperation. Every person you pass that isn’t a tourist is an uncomfortable sales pitch waiting to happen: smiling with their mouth but not their eyes, scanning every fanny-packed stranger, hunting for the barest indication of eye contact to swoop in. Its not the kind of place for the untrained midwesterner who is used to benignly waving with all five fingers extended at strangers when they pass them on the highway.
Everyone in the comments has been shocked by the survival of the Chateau, and most of Hollywood proper. But I’ll remind you that there have numerous Southern California wildfires since the hotel was built in 1929. I pulled up my old map I made of the fire last year, just to confirm that Hollywood was probably spared, while Cindy and Mason’s Malibu McMansion went up in smoke.
So yeah, it would have been a near thing. If I was the owner, I would have been nervously sniffing my dinner plate of cocaine, and making calls with promises of bribes to the Fire Chief.
But the REAL non-sequitur today is the Starbuck Jones billboard. The premier for that movie was supposed to be going on during the fires last year. Were we supposed to have some pandemic related delay? Those things aren’t cheap to rent, and Hollywood regularly repaints itself in the trappings of whatever the next big blockbuster will be. When I was last there, every billboard, bus stop, and park bench was painted with the Hellboy 2019 movie that bombed.(#notmyHellboy.)
So, we have two options. One, the movie’s release was delayed an entire year and I’m just forgetting. I mean the 2021 Comic Con badges were Starbuck Jones too.
Two, this is a Tommy Wiseau The Room situation. The movie’s already bombed, but they’re hoping to drum up interest in the DVD sales. So they’ve paid for a single Hollywood billboard, month after month, year after year. Four years from now, Masone Jarree will still be staring with his black soulless eyes through his fishbowl helmet out at the drivers on Sunset Blvd.
Oh THANK GOODNESS. We don’t have to sit through airport shenanigans, car rental shenanigans, or any other kind of travel nonsense. Someone gifted Cayla a Mother Box straight from Apokolips and they travelled halfway across the country via Boom Tube.
Apparently someone also gifted Cayla some cut-rate plastic surgery, because she’s got a late-stage Michael Jackson nose going on in panel 3 here. With the weird lines under her eyes, she looks like some kind of internet horror creepy pasta.
I hunted around a bit an was able to find a picture of the front desk of the Marmont. Decent enough approximation in the DRAWING. But I don’t think the entire interior of the lobby is painted in graphite grey like the interior of a parking garage.
Any guesses as to who Cayla is gawking at?
Summer? Cayla hasn’t seen her since Christmas, and even then, she quickly shipped the girls off to minimum wage it as Santa’s Helpers at the mall.
I don’t know what she just bought, but Cayla’s jeans magically manifest on her body between panels one and three. Maybe they slithered up her legs in panel two. Maybe that’s why she looks so shocked.
Anyway, she better run out and get dark sunglasses, wide brimmed hats, and old-timey high collared coats, because she’s going to have to wade through a picket line to get into the Chateau.
Once again, Batiuk writing a year in advance shoots him in the foot. Last September The Hollywood Reporterput out an in depth investigative hit piece on the hotel. After nearly all the staff was laid off due to the pandemic, many were willing to speak out against the hotel for discrimination, harassment, and general mismanagement. The allegations went all the way to the very top, with owner, André Balazs, accused of using the hotel as his own private playground, snorting cocaine, getting drunk, and groping workers.
Since then there’s been regular protests outside the hotel, as well as calls to boycott the business. A movie cancelled a planned film shoot there. Celebrities like Jane Fonda, Alfonso Cuaron, and Lena Headey have all supported the boycott. And when Cersei Lannister is ringing the bell and calling ‘Shame!’ you know it’s gotta be bad.
Not that the controversy has completely killed business, the place looks pretty booked up through the end of September. Sometimes, to my folksy midwestern eye, the entire SoCal area looks like a hyper-charged game of social activism whack-a-mole being played by a manic-depressive. Quixotically clutching their pearls in moral outrage over the living conditions of livestock while snorting cocaine off a dinner plate at a hedonism fueled wrap party.
Shame poor Cayla’s excitement had to be marred by this controversy. I wonder if Batiuk is hoping it will fly under the radar of his normal readers. Then again I wouldn’t be surprised if the last news story Batiuk remembers hearing from the Chateau Marmont is John Belushi’s death.
But please, let us discuss poor Funky. When was the last time Funky had an arc that wasn’t pointless filler? There is hardly a character in EITHER Funkyverse strips that is stagnant as this poor lump.
If the arc is dealing with something bordering serious, Funky is the world’s most passive protagonist, reacting to events outside his control and doing what other people tell him to. Alternatively he serves as the distributor of jobs, food, and apartments to whoever wanders by needing them like some kind of slapshod Greek god rising from a rickety machine to fix ‘conflicts’ in a piss poor drama.
If Funky is going to show any initiative of his own, it is to chase down a pizza box monster.