August 27, 2008

Summertime, and the Filming is Slow

By Tim Grobaty

TRANSFORMING BIG TOWN: Times is tough in Hollywood, with labor unrest causing a slowdown in filming, which, further, has taken a huge subject matter away from us, prompting lengthy vacations and serial columns about cheese-garlic toast. No one ever thinks about us in these kinds of situations.

"It's the slowest I've seen it," our friend and location manager/ scout John Robinson, of Long Beach Locations, tells us.

Sam Zell's Los Angeles newspaper property reported a few days ago that only two major studio films are being shot in Southern California. It doesn't go on to say that, happily, Long Beach has had, or is having, both of them. "Angels & Demons," the Ron Howard- directed,

Tom Hanks-starrer prequel to Dan Brown's ridiculously popular "The Da Vinci Code," spent a few days here at summer's opening filming scenes at the outdoor pools at the Belmont Pool. We have been told that all went swimmingly. Don't ever say that kind of thing to us again.

And Tuesday found our own street of dreams, Shoreline Drive, closed, even to us, because it was being used by director Michael Bay and a few trillion dollars' worth of toys for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," a sequel to

Bay's "Transformers" of 2007.

Downtown residents and businesses have been given the heads-up regarding explosions, car chases, gunshots and the usual racket that accompanies Bay works ("The Island,""The Rock,""Armageddon,""Transformers").

Crews driving in from out of town follow the cryptic but hardly secret anymore "E7" or "E72" signs to the base camps. "E7" was reportedly the production name given to the then-secret "Transformers" film before it was released in July 2007.

Filming for "Transformers 2" will reportedly go on for 10 days on Shoreline Drive, the oft-filmed stretch of road which saw "Iron Man" making havoc on the drive for a couple of weeks in April '07.

IDIOT BOX: Turning to the tiny screen, the updated "Knight Rider" NBC series snuck in on little cat feet while we were on vacation last week. The futuristic car-star zipped around in the East Village at First Street and Elm Avenue.

And we all know that God is in his heaven whenever "CSI: Miami" and "Dexter" are filming around town, as they are doing now.

WHAT CARE WE FOR THE PRICE OF GAS: And, speaking of car-stars, howzabout stars' cars. Our Motor City correspondent reports that Glenn E. Thomas Dodge of Signal Hill (have we mentioned that on one glorious day in the not too distant future we will lead troops in what we sincerely hope will be a peaceful takeover of the Hill?) has been selling the ultra-muscley new Dodge Challenger to a number of notables, including Jordan/Poly/Mean Streets alum Snoop Dogg, "Old School"-er actor Luke Wilson and the somehow-always-employed David Spade. And here we are, still driving a minivan like a commoner.

HULA HOTNESS: One of the hottest annual event in town, E Hula Mau, comes to the Terrace Theater and the surrounding grounds for a three-day stay starting Friday at noon.

The free stuff in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center Plaza is cool enough, with arts and crafts (our What's Hot! Barn & Lanai is screaming for a Tiki god mask), food and music.

But the hardcore hula-ing happens inside with hula and chant performances. These start at 3:30 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. For a full schedule, check the Web at

The big-ticket performance will be Sunday's 7 p.m. Mahalo Bash, featuring the Grammy Award-winning Masters of Hawaiian Music, slack- key Hawaiian guitarists Cyril Pahinui and Sonny Lim, ukulele kahuna Kunia Galderia and steel guitarist Greg Sardinha.

Tickets are $20 a day, and $30 for the Mahalo Bash.

The lounge at the nearby Westin Long Beach Hotel, 333 E. Ocean Blvd., will be hoppin' in Hawaiian throughout the fest. Isle sounds will be performed in the lounge from 9 p.m. till midnight Friday and Sunday, and from 6 p.m. till midnight on Saturday.

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