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Ron Kaye: Thinking, acting regionally

March 04, 2012

The red carpet homage to beautiful actresses bedecked with dazzling diamonds and fabulous gowns ended last Sunday night with a commercial celebrating the genius of German engineering, the evolution over decades of the “best of the best,” the magnificent Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster, a jewel of a car with a $150,000 price tag.

Cut to the opening of the 84th annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater — oops, that American corporate icon is bankrupt and dying, so the announcer's first words were: “Live from the Hollywood and Highland Center....”

Whatever they call this heavily subsidized white-elephant venue — and host Billy Crystal called it a lot of things in the Oscar show's longest-running joke — doesn't matter, because it's the last time this narcissistic party honoring the achievements of “Hollywood” will actually be held in Hollywood.

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The show — so overblown and tired that the New York Times suggested shrinking the Oscar statuette — is moving downtown to the heavily subsidized LA Live, where the power and the money now are.

These are truly strange times, and the winds of change have never blown so hard.

The picture of the year, “The Artist,” was the only one of the nine nominees actually filmed in Los Angeles. But it was made by Europeans, which like the Mercedes-Benz ad opening the Oscars show, is a sign of just how globalized we have become.

Yet, all too often, we still behave provincially right here in our own communities.

Spearheaded by wannabe mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. launched a campaign several years ago to “bring Hollywood back to Hollywood” from Burbank, Glendale, Culver City and Santa Monica and places far and wide, where so many movies are made.

The city provided huge incentives to produce movies in Los Angeles and offered massive tax breaks, and subsidies from redevelopment funds, to lure entertainment companies back from the suburbs to where the celluloid dream factory began a century ago.

A prime example of how that is working is the plan for a $60-million, eight-story premium office building at 1601 N. Vine St. It was supposed to be filled with entertainment industry tenants who were dying to come to Hollywood, if only they could find high-quality office space.

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