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Life at the Bon Air: Hollywood & Western to the Big Screen?

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[ Toshima filming this afternoon; photos of the destruction so far taken this morning ]

This being Hollywood, of course there is a cinematic angle to the saga of Hollywood and Western, site of three CIM-owned properties, including the Bon Air Motel, that are in the process of being torn down. Meet Goro Toshima. He's a 39-year-old filmmaker making a documentary about a local homeless couple, Rico and Starr. For the last five months, Rico and Starr (both are 21; Rico is a man, Starr a woman) lived in a room in the Bon Air Motel, according to Toshima, who says he's visited the motel about 20 times since March. Explaining that he's cut about 1/3 of the movie, Toshima says: "There are probably four or five scenes of them in the motel. In one scene they're cooking dinner." Given that there's no electricity in the motel, they were cooking dinner over candlelight. Developer CIM and the LAFD will likely pleased to hear about the domesticity underway at the Bon Air. Toshima's last documentary, "Hard Straight," was about the penal system.

While Toshima says he never went into the other rooms, he believes the motel was filled with homeless people. And he says he never heard all the screaming and fighting that other neighbors complained about. He also says he never saw any drug dealing, although he acknowledged that dealing goes on all around the neighborhood.

Given that the motel is now in the process of being torn down, he's been filming some of the destruction of the building. Since moving out, Rico and Starr have been "bouncing around," he says, sleeping on friends' couches, for instance.

As for the overall theme of this documentary, Toshima says the film is really character-driven (both Rico and Star attend the Hollywood Arts, a nearby arts and music academy for at-risk kids). It's not, as we suggested it may be, a "Homeless-in-America" kind of documentary.

Meanwhile, the destruction continues! Most of the massage parlor is gone. The house between the hotel and the massage parlor is also gone. And only the front of the motel remains--and it looks like the motel could be totally down by the end of the week.

· Hollywood Eyesores Are Coming Down, Says CIM [Curbed LA]