John Waters honored on Hollywood Walk of Fame tour

John Waters Receives Star on Walk of Fame

Hollywood Tours Nearby Could Catch a Glimpse

The latest honoree of a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame is offbeat director John Waters. While not a mainstream filmmaker, Waters has gained quite a cult following over the four decades he’s been active. Star Track Tours was on hand for the ceremony and it goes to underscore our advice to those visiting Hollywood: plan your tours of Hollywood on days like these where you can get a glimpse of a celebrity AND see them receive their own star!

John Waters honored on Hollywood Walk of Fame tour

John Waters honored on Hollywood Walk of Fame star tour

A Bit About John Waters

John Waters is a name synonymous with counterculture cinema, a legendary filmmaker whose career has spanned over five decades, marked by a unique blend of audaciousness, irreverence, and subversive storytelling. Born on April 22, 1946, in Baltimore, Maryland, Waters emerged as a trailblazing director, writer, and producer who challenged societal norms and transformed the landscape of independent cinema. His unapologetic embrace of the bizarre, taboo, and provocative has earned him a cult following and secured his place as a cinematic icon.

Early Life and Influences

John Waters’ upbringing and surroundings greatly influenced his artistic sensibilities. Raised in a middle-class family in Baltimore, he grew up amid the social and cultural transformations of the 1960s. Waters developed an early fascination with the grotesque and the unconventional, drawing inspiration from his love for the bizarre and his experiences in the countercultural scene.

One of Waters’ most significant influences was the works of filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis, known for his exploitation films like “Blood Feast” and “Two Thousand Maniacs!” Lewis’s gleeful embrace of gore and shock value left an indelible mark on Waters, inspiring him to push the boundaries of filmmaking.

The Birth of the Dreamlanders

In the late 1960s, Waters assembled a group of like-minded friends and collaborators who would become known as the Dreamlanders. This ragtag ensemble, which included iconic figures like Divine (Glenn Milstead), Mink Stole, and Edith Massey, became the core cast of many of Waters’ early films. Their commitment to Waters’ vision and willingness to embrace outrageous and unconventional roles helped define the distinctive style of his movies.

The Underground Era: Early Works

Waters’ filmmaking journey began in the early 1960s with short films like “Hag in a Black Leather Jacket” (1964) and “Eat Your Makeup” (1967). These early works were characterized by their low budgets, guerrilla-style filmmaking, and a penchant for pushing societal boundaries. It was during this period that Waters coined the term “Trash Cinema,” embracing the unconventional and the taboo as essential elements of his craft.

However, it was his feature-length debut, “Mondo Trasho” (1969), that marked the beginning of his notoriety as a filmmaker. This film, along with subsequent works like “Multiple Maniacs” (1970) and “Pink Flamingos” (1972), catapulted Waters into the underground cinema scene and earned him a cult following.

“Pink Flamingos,” in particular, is a watershed moment in Waters’ career. Notorious for its explicit content and provocative subject matter, the film shocked audiences with its depictions of deviant behavior and challenged conventional notions of taste and decency. Divine’s role as the film’s central character, Babs Johnson, solidified the performer’s status as an iconic figure in underground cinema.

The Transition to the Mainstream: “Polyester” and “Hairspray”

Waters’ early films were celebrated within the underground and counterculture circles but often faced censorship and legal challenges due to their explicit content. It wasn’t until the release of “Polyester” in 1981 that Waters began to transition into more mainstream filmmaking.

“Polyester” was a departure from Waters’ earlier works, featuring a more structured narrative and higher production values. Starring Divine and Tab Hunter, the film still retained Waters’ irreverent humor but was released in “Odorama,” a gimmick that provided scratch-and-sniff cards to the audience, adding an interactive element to the viewing experience.

However, it was “Hairspray” (1988) that marked Waters’ full-fledged entry into mainstream cinema. This musical comedy, set in 1960s Baltimore, tackled issues of race and integration with a sense of humor and heart. Starring Ricki Lake, Divine, and Debbie Harry, “Hairspray” was a critical and commercial success, earning Waters a wider audience and greater recognition as a filmmaker.

Cultivating Mainstream Success

With “Hairspray” paving the way, John Waters continued to navigate the intersection of underground and mainstream cinema, consistently delivering films that retained his signature style while appealing to a broader audience. “Cry-Baby” (1990), a campy musical comedy starring Johnny Depp, further solidified Waters’ status as a director capable of bridging the gap between subversive and mainstream tastes.

Waters’ films of the 1990s, such as “Serial Mom” (1994) and “Pecker” (1998), continued to explore themes of suburban dysfunction and societal hypocrisy while attracting a growing fan base. These films also featured an evolving cast, including established actors like Kathleen Turner and Edward Furlong alongside Waters’ longtime collaborators.

The Legacy of Divine

A significant part of John Waters’ career and legacy is intertwined with the iconic drag performer Divine. Divine, born Glenn Milstead, was Waters’ muse and appeared in many of his early films, becoming a symbol of countercultural rebellion and pushing the boundaries of gender and sexuality in film.

Tragically, Divine passed away shortly after the release of “Hairspray,” leaving a void in Waters’ creative world. However, Divine’s impact on both Waters’ work and the broader LGBTQ+ community remains immeasurable. Divine’s fearless performances challenged societal norms and paved the way for greater LGBTQ+ visibility in film and popular culture.

The 21st Century: Continuing Creativity

John Waters’ filmmaking career continued into the 21st century with projects like “Cecil B. Demented” (2000) and “A Dirty Shame” (2004). While these films may not have achieved the same level of mainstream success as some of his earlier works, they continued to showcase Waters’ unapologetic approach to storytelling and his penchant for pushing boundaries.

Waters also explored other creative outlets, including writing books, hosting a one-man show, and participating in visual art projects. His diverse artistic endeavors allowed him to reach new audiences while maintaining his status as an iconoclast in the world of cinema.

Awards and Recognition

Over the course of his career, John Waters has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to film and art. In 2019, he was honored with a Special Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival for his outstanding LGBTQ+ advocacy in cinema. Waters’ impact on LGBTQ+ representation in film is undeniable, and he continues to be celebrated for his fearless approach to storytelling.

John Waters’ career is a testament to the power of independent cinema and the ability of one filmmaker to challenge societal norms and push the boundaries of artistic expression. From his early underground works that shocked and delighted audiences to his successful forays into mainstream cinema, Waters has remained a true maverick of filmmaking.

His collaborations with the Dreamlanders, his fearless embrace of taboo subjects, and his willingness to confront societal norms have left an indelible mark on the world of cinema. Waters’ influence can be seen in the work of countless filmmakers who have been inspired by his audacity and irreverence.

As John Waters continues to create and inspire, his legacy as a provocateur and a visionary filmmaker endures, reminding us of the power of cinema to challenge, entertain, and provoke thought. In a world that often craves conformity,

Pantages theater Hollywood Blvd.

Live Performance Theaters in and Around Hollywood, California

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Hollywood is globally renowned as the center of the entertainment industry. While it is primarily associated with film and television, the area is also home to a vibrant theater scene. This article explores the live performance theaters in and around Hollywood, California, highlighting their historical significance, contemporary relevance, and the diverse range of shows they host. When staying in Hollywood and after taking a tour of Hollywood with Star Track Tours, take some time to explore these examples of living architectural history.

Historical Significance: The theater tradition in Hollywood dates back to the early 20th century, when the area emerged as the hub of the fledgling motion picture industry. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that theater productions gained prominence. Historic theaters like the Pantages, El Capitan, and the Egyptian Theatre became iconic landmarks, hosting premieres, stage productions, and star-studded events.

Pantages Theatre: One of the most renowned theaters in Hollywood, the Pantages Theatre, has a storied history that stretches back to 1930. This exquisite Art Deco venue, designed by B. Marcus Priteca, showcases a wide range of live performances, including Broadway shows, musicals, concerts, and dance performances. It has played host to celebrated productions like “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Lion King.”

Pantages theater Hollywood Blvd.

Pantages theater Hollywood Blvd.

El Capitan Theatre: Built in 1926, the El Capitan Theatre stands as a historic gem in the heart of Hollywood. Originally a vaudeville theater, it was later converted into a cinema and eventually restored to its former glory. Today, it serves as a venue for live shows and special events. The El Capitan is particularly known for its Disney productions, featuring exclusive screenings, live performances, and character appearances.

Egyptian Theatre: Located on Hollywood Boulevard, the Egyptian Theatre is an architectural marvel designed in the Egyptian Revival style. Built in 1922, it is one of the oldest movie palaces in Los Angeles and has witnessed the premieres of several iconic films. The theater is now operated by the American Cinematheque, showcasing classic movies, film festivals, and special events.

Contemporary Theaters: While Hollywood’s historical theaters continue to thrive, several contemporary venues have also emerged, enriching the local theater landscape. The Hollywood Pantages Theatre, the Dolby Theatre, and the Hollywood Bowl are notable examples.

Hollywood Pantages Theatre: Adjacent to the iconic Pantages Theatre, the Hollywood Pantages Theatre is a modern addition to the neighborhood. Since its opening in 2000, it has become a sought-after venue for touring Broadway productions, hosting critically acclaimed shows like “Hamilton,” “Wicked,” and “The Book of Mormon.”

Dolby Theatre: The Dolby Theatre, formerly known as the Kodak Theatre, gained international fame as the venue for the annual Academy Awards ceremony. Situated in the Hollywood and Highland Center complex, it boasts a state-of-the-art auditorium, hosting not only the Oscars but also a variety of live performances, concerts, and special events throughout the year.

Hollywood Bowl: Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, the Hollywood Bowl is an iconic outdoor amphitheater renowned for its spectacular setting and world-class performances. The Bowl is the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and hosts a diverse range of concerts, including classical music, pop, rock, jazz, and film score performances.

Indie Theaters: In addition to the well-established venues, Hollywood is home to several independent theaters that cater to niche audiences and experimental productions. The Hudson Theatre, the Theatre at Ace Hotel, and the Ricardo Montalbán Theatre are noteworthy examples.

Hudson Theatre: Originally built in 1912 and recently restored, the Hudson Theatre is an intimate venue known for its diverse repertoire, ranging from plays and musicals to comedy shows and experimental performances. It provides a platform for emerging artists and fosters a vibrant local theater community.

Theatre at Ace Hotel: Situated in the historic United Artists building, the Theatre at Ace Hotel seamlessly blends grandeur with a contemporary vibe. This atmospheric venue hosts a wide range of events, including theater productions, concerts, film screenings, and talks, making it a cultural hotspot in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

Ricardo Montalbán Theatre: Named after the renowned actor Ricardo Montalbán, this theater is dedicated to showcasing diverse and socially conscious works. With a focus on promoting Latinx voices and stories, the Ricardo Montalbán Theatre features plays, musicals, and other performances that highlight the rich cultural heritage of the Latinx community.

The live performance theaters in and around Hollywood, California, provide a vibrant and diverse theater scene. From historic landmarks like the Pantages, El Capitan, and the Egyptian Theatre to modern venues like the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, the Dolby Theatre, and the Hollywood Bowl, the area offers a wide range of shows, including Broadway productions, musicals, concerts, and experimental performances. In addition, the presence of independent theaters like the Hudson Theatre, the Theatre at Ace Hotel, and the Ricardo Montalbán Theatre adds further depth and variety to the local theater landscape. Whether you’re a fan of classic plays, contemporary musicals, or experimental theater, Hollywood’s live performance theaters have something to offer to every theater enthusiast.

Santa at Hollywood Christmas Parade

Hollywood Traditions: The Christmas Parade

Tours of Hollywood on Our Beloved Thoroughfare

The Hollywood Christmas Parade is an annual event that takes place in Hollywood, California, typically on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It is one of the oldest and largest Christmas parades in the United States, dating back to 1928, and it features celebrities, marching bands, floats, and other festive displays.

The parade route typically runs along Hollywood Boulevard, from the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Drive to the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. The parade is broadcast on television, typically on local stations in the Los Angeles area, as well as nationally on the Hallmark Channel. This is a familiar route of many hollywood tours.

In addition to the parade itself, there are usually pre-parade festivities, such as musical performances and celebrity appearances, as well as a post-parade concert featuring popular musicians. The parade is also a popular tourist attraction, drawing crowds from around the world to see the festive displays and celebrities.

Over the years, the parade has featured a wide range of celebrities and performers, including actors, musicians, athletes, and even politicians. Some of the most notable participants in the parade’s history have included Bob Hope, Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus, Frank Sinatra, and the Rockettes.

The Hollywood Christmas Parade is also known for its charitable efforts, with proceeds from the event going to a variety of local charities and organizations. Overall, the parade is a beloved holiday tradition in Hollywood and a celebration of the festive spirit of Christmas.

Santa at Hollywood Christmas Parade

Santa at Hollywood Christmas Parade

Here are some celebrities who have served as Grand Marshals of the Hollywood Christmas Parade in recent years:

1. Marie Osmond (2020)
2. Mario Lopez (2019)
3. Nancy O’Dell (2018)
4. Dr. Oz (2017)
5. Olivia Newton-John (2016)
6. Penn & Teller (2015)
7. Stevie Wonder (2014)
8. Buzz Aldrin (2013)
9. Erik Estrada (2012)
10. Laura McKenzie (2011)

The Hollywood Christmas Parade traditionally follows a route along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, USA. The parade begins at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Drive, proceeds east along Hollywood Boulevard, turns south on Vine Street, and then turns west on Sunset Boulevard, before returning to Orange Drive. The parade typically lasts for about two hours and features floats, marching bands, celebrities, and other festive elements to celebrate the holiday season. However, please note that the exact route and schedule of the parade may vary from year to year, and it’s always a good idea to check for any updates or changes before planning to attend the parade.

Famous Landmarks Seen During the Parade

Hollywood Boulevard is known for its entertainment history and tourist attractions. Some famous locations on Hollywood Blvd that you might see when watching the Christmas parade include:
1. Hollywood Walk of Fame: This is a sidewalk featuring more than 2,600 five-pointed stars, each containing the name of a celebrity or public figure who has contributed to the entertainment industry.
2. TCL Chinese Theatre: Also known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, this historic cinema is famous for its iconic handprints and footprints of movie stars in the concrete forecourt.
3. Dolby Theatre: This is a state-of-the-art entertainment venue that hosts the annual Academy Awards ceremony.
4. Hollywood & Highland Center: This shopping and entertainment complex features various stores, restaurants, and a viewing deck overlooking the Hollywood Sign.
5. Madame Tussauds Hollywood: This wax museum features lifelike statues of famous celebrities and historical figures.
6. El Capitan Theatre: This is a beautifully restored cinema that features live shows and screenings of Disney movies.
7. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel: This is a historic hotel where many famous celebrities have stayed over the years, including Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin.
8. Pantages Theatre: This is a classic theater that hosts Broadway shows and other live performances.
9. The Egyptian Theatre: This historic movie palace, built in 1922, is one of the oldest theaters in Hollywood and still screens classic films.
10. The Hollywood Museum: This museum is located in the historic Max Factor Building and showcases artifacts and memorabilia from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

If you’re touring Hollywood after Thanksgiving, you may want to make a point of attending the Hollywood Christmas Parade. It’s a Hollywood tradition that’s almost 100 years old!