Hollywood, Florida: A global tourist destination?



“Tule Hollywood!”

“Pøijïte do Hollywoodu!”Hollywood’a gel!

From Finland to the Czech Republic to Turkey, that’s the message — “Come to Hollywood!” — being promoted on in-flight videos and hotel TV programming.

Music Voyager spent six days filming Hollywood’s — our Hollywood — hotspots, from The Le Tub Saloon with its toilet bowl decor to Resurrection Drums, one of the largest drum stores in the country, to make the 30-minute program “Florida: The Other Hollywood.”

It will be broadcast across the world, on at least 13 in-flight airlines from Air India to Malaysian Airlines, on in-hotel programming at Sandals, and televised in homes from Korea to Africa.

The goal is to get tourists to pick Hollywood — our Hollywood — to visit.

“I see myself in an airplane and I think that when people watch it, it will grab their attention and they will say ‘wow, I want to go to Hollywood, Florida,’” said Ana Cuenca, who manages Cuenca Cigars, which was mentioned in the program.

Shot in high definition and hosted by ethnomusicologist Jacob Edgar, the program explores the city’s tucked away gems.

“As a tourist, there are specific tourist spots in many cities, but when you’re with a local resident, you get a totally different experience and that’s what Music Voyager aims to deliver,” said Farook Singh, executive producer of Music Voyager.

He added that Hollywood beat out Miami to be featured in the episode.

The city’s live music and its universal acceptance of different styles of music is what made him and his team contact city officials.

Manuel Pila, program manager for the Hollywood Community Redevelopmen Agency, said it cost the city about $65,000, a “bargain,” he added, when compared to $80,000 for a 30-second commercial.

Besides being a great advertisement for the city, having a show like Music Voyager showcase the city “legitimizes what the city is hoping to do,” Pila said.

“We are turning to music, art and culture as a way to reinvent ourselves,” he said.

In recent years, Hollywood has unveiled a made-over amphitheater, hosted a multitude of concerts and events at Young Circle, encouraged business owners to offer live music at night, and passed laws to allow murals downtown.

Among those featured in the program: muralist and sculptor Lebo, aka David Le Batard, whose downtown mural dubbed “Bebop into Outer Space” was recently called “ghetto” by one city commissioner.

Lebo, who said he was happy to be a part of the film, loves Hollywood, but thinks it still has a ways to go before it becomes a music and art mecca.

“They are definitely not there yet,” Lebo said.

But Mayor Peter Bober says anyone who sees the video will get what they see, if they visit.

“Some nights are busier than others, but I really think it’s catching on,” he said.

The Hollywood episode will debut nationwide on the Create TV network at 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. July 23 and July 25, but it’s making its first local broadcast on South Florida’s WPTB2 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. It will be rolled out globally in the next few months.

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