Occasionally people in my position find that actual factual matters are weirder than we could have even imagined. It’s hard to make fun of people whose publicly revealed antics are not only stranger than fiction but stranger even than satire. The great Mark Russell used to call this kind of material “rip and read.”1
So yesterday, courtesy of the ever-courtly but but not always ever lawful Nicole Shahenian, EHBID ED, all the materials for this afternoon’s East Hollywood BID meeting arrived via email. And there to my wondering eyes did appear the following greasy little slabs of marketitation:2
- EHBID Strategy Report Final — Result of a lot of brainstorming and so forth, prepared for the BID by Counterintuity, who, I hope, have substantial qualifications beyond the fact that they seem to come from Burbank.
- Transcription of the brainstorming session — The raw materials on which the above report was based.
So yeah, you knew they were going to come up with EHO, right? But could you have predicted the “facilitator’s” so-called “tagline,” which is: “Hollywood East. You’re HEre.” That is why the Burbankians get paid the big bucks, see? You and I and normal people throw up a little in our mouths when we read that, but they bill for it. And Jeff Zarrinnam, mastermind of the Hollywood Hotel and man-behind-the-curtain of both the forthcoming Hollywood Western BID and the Route 66 BID, wants to be sure we understand the successes of the EHBID: “We all got to know each other and built relationships around us to partner. Installed trash cans.”
And why do they need to rebrand East Hollywood, pray tell? Well, famed Hollywood developer Jacques Massachi “expressed concern that ‘East Hollywood’ conjures a negative connotation; there was some support for this viewpoint.” Of course, if your neighborhood is conjuring negative connotations, naturally, renaming it XX-HO will cure all ills! And then there’s the part where they compare East Hollywood to Greenwich Village,3 and then talk about how people are finally becoming aware that East Hollywood exists. After more than 100 years, that is, people finally noticed!4
Anyway, they’re so strange, these BIDdies. As I said at the start, it’s really not possible to mock this kind of self-mocking material. All I can really do is point at it and shout “LOOK!” Which is what I’m doing!
Image of EHBID mega-mogul Jeff Zarrinnam is shamelessly reworked from an original at the dude’s Flickr stream. In fact, it’s shamelessly reworked enough so that it is now, I proudly, loudly proclaim, ©2017 MichaelKohlhaas.org.
- Russell claims to have been born in 1932, and came of age in a time when news arrived via teletype.
- Equals crepitation + marketing.
- Freaking ground zero of the fairly unforgivable XX-HO phenomenon.
- The pure, self-absorbed ahistoricism of the BIDs never ceases to amaze. Did no one know that East Hollywood existed e.g. when Charles Bukowski was living on DeLongpre Avenue? Evidently not. They only really started to notice when the BIDdies started making money there.