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Mystical Journey
 
 
 


Hollywood Boulevard of the Stars

by Dr. Derek Lamar

"Michael and I were in search of an apartment of our own. Laurel Canyon was a bit pricey for our new adventure. We walked with arms around each other in mock defiance as we passed Joni Mitchell's house and exchanged hellos with her and Graham Nash. It was a chilly November day in 1969 and soon we were on Hollywood Boulevard knowing very little about what to do next.

"You can see all the stars as you walk down Hollywood Boulevard, some that you recognize, some that you've hardly even heard of. People who worked and suffered and struggled for fame, some who succeeded and some who suffered in vain." ~ Raymond Douglas Davies, The Kinks (Celluloid Heroes)

We found an apartment on Poinsettia Ave. right in the heart of Hollywood between La Brea and Fairfax. It wasn't that close to the action on the "Strip" but it was walking distance to Hollywood Blvd. The apartment was furnished and when we moved in we were settled. The only other young people in the building were two girls who lived on the other side of the building. It turned out that one of them had been a girlfriend of Jim Morrison. But as Chris Bunch would say: "that put her in an elite category of, oh, half of L.A., and ALL of Barney's Beanery women."

(Above: Joni Mitchell's Ladies of the Canyon)

(Above: Hollywood Walk of Fame... fingerprints of illusion.)

We went on a "double date" one night and for some reason we stopped off at a friend's house which was in a complex of about 6 units. It had this great fireplace which was two-sided: one side in the living room while the other side was in the bedroom. This night no one was home so we walked back to the girls' car. There was a Cadillac parked in the driveway with a kid delivering pizzas. Back then they often had a portable oven which kept more than one pizza warm while they made several deliveries. Michael said: "Let's steal a pizza from this guy's car!" He opened the door and grabbed a box in the oven, shut the door and ran back to the girls'car. We were all hysterically laughing, half nervous half giddy, when all of a sudden we caught sight of the delivery boy and realized that he was actually blocking the way out of the driveway our only escape. We instinctively yelled "Hey, get that car out of here, you're blocking the driveway!!!" Genuinely embarrassed he profusely apologized and jumped in his car, gunned it in reverse and sped off down Curson setting us free to make our getaway. We couldn't believe the timing and how everything fell into place like clockwork. The best pizza we ever had.

(Right: There's always room for pizza... in a Cadillac.)

Toward the end of my sojourn at the L.A. Image we had a Christmas party at the office. Some time during the evening Michael disappeared. I looked everywhere for him. I couldn't believe he would be in the back room with the stacks of back issues of the newspaper but I checked there anyway. No luck.

(Left: Laurel Canyon: "Somewhere between Hollywood and the rest of the world.")

Chris Bunch, always at the ready for a search and rescue mission, set out to find him for me. Sort of a "lost puppy" story in more ways than one. A few minutes later Chris showed up with Michael who had passed out in the front yard of the house next door and was sleeping in the bushes. I never understood that kind of a drunk. Chris with only a motorcycle couldn't get us home so Jim Martin, Texas terror rock critic, dropped us off at our new apartment.

Times were rough for an "alternative" newspaper and soon they were having to cut salaries. At least they wanted to cut mine. It was obvious it was time for me to move on. We had some money with Michael "working" a metal sculpture job at a Beverly Hills studio. At least that was what I thought he was doing. So I began making phone calls to several newspapers and magazines in the Hollywood area.

"Everybody's a dreamer and everybody's a star, and everybody's in show biz, it doesn't matter who you are. And those who are successful, be always on your guard, success walks hand in hand with failure along Hollywood Boulevard." ~ Raymond Douglas Davies, The Kinks (Celluloid Heroes)

Cutting to the chase I was hired at Teen Screen magazine. All sorts of weird metaphysical images were lost on me at the time. I had read Teen Screen as a teenager to which I recall had an article on some group called Raga and the Talas. In a year or so some of those musicians would form a new band: myself as lead vocalist, Ruben Leder, later to be a television producer, played bass, Dennis Nolan played a mean lead guitar while Jackie De Shannon's younger brother, Randy Myers, would go on to compose "Put A Little Love In Your Heart." This would happen shortly after I had moved out of a Hollywood commune called

(Teen Screen Magazine, a pit stop between two worlds.)

The House of Rivendell which had as one of its founders a guy named Terry Blunk who also had been art director of Teen Screen magazine. Now here I was art director of Teen Screen magazine. The owner/landlord of the building Teen Screen magazine was in was Mr. Zidell. On the floor below us was Dr. Erenberg who was also married to Mr. Zidell's daughter. Now Mr. and Mrs. Erenberg were the parents of Phil Erenberg, the drummer we had in the band. But I didn't realize this at the time. Mrs. Erenberg would fix this great spread of food for us during rehearsals but later I was seeing her out of context working in a doctor's office and I couldn't make the connection. It all hit me one day as these memories were flooding my brain. These connections were ringing bells in the silence of my downtime nostalgia as "Worlds in collision" seemed to connect the dots. I would begin to realize more and more that there are connections, complex wave motions, waves and particles and Kevin Bacon wouldn't fit in to any of this until much later.

(Left: Jackie de Shannon: A quiet force behind the birth of The Byrds.)

Working for Teen Screen was crazy. It was different than an underground newspaper but not without its eccentricities. The publisher was having money problems and checks were starting to go NSF. The phones were ringing off the hook. Local supermarkets were calling because they had cashed employee checks which were bouncing. I had to get another checking account, cash my check and take the cash across the street to my other bank so at least I would be able to pay my rent.

It wasn't long after this routine that the IRS came and locked out the publishing company for monies due on payroll taxes. My boss was a fast talker and somehow managed to convince the IRS agents that he had several businesses operating which were not connected to each other. We had the whole floor which accounted for several suites and the reception area was in the middle.

(Right: The IRS adding levity to an otherwise boring week.)

So they yellow taped the office from the reception room on down to the end of the building going one way while the other direction was left to continue to operate. The publisher would crawl on his hands and knees from one end of the building to the other and now I am still left with those images in my mind. He didn't want to take the chance that the Feds might see him illegally entering his other offices, which included his main office and the accounting room. Occasionally he would send one of us in on an errand on all fours, of course.

Saga continues: I scream, you scream, we all scream at Teen Screen near Hollywood and Vine

© Copyright Derek Lamar 2004

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