Bill Maher may have woken up feeling right at home (if he wasn’t in Hawaii for New Years) as some fun lovers felt it was time for a change in 2017, and it began with the Hollywood sign.
Los Angeles residents awoke New Year’s Day to find a prankster had altered the famed Hollywood sign to read “HOLLYWeeD.”
Security footage taken around midnight Saturday showed a “lone individual” climbing up Mount Lee, scaling the sign using the built-in ladders and hanging tarpaulins over the sign’s O’s to change them to E’s, said Sgt. Guy Juneau of the LAPD’s Security Services division.
“So the sign now reads ‘Hollyweed,’” Juneau said. It could be a New Year’s prank, he said, or the work of “a thrill seeker.”
The incident will be investigated as misdemeanor trespassing, he said. The police have no suspects.
Prankster Danny Finegood famously altered the sign with curtains to read “Hollyweed” in 1976, among other word games over the years, such as “Ollywood” to protest Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North during the Iran-Contra hearings and “Oil War” during the Persian Gulf War. Finegood died in 2007.
Some Angelenos joked that the modification could be a reference to Californians voting on Nov. 8 to legalize recreational marijuana. That policy change took effect the day after the election, but 2017 will be the first full year that the law will be in effect.
Then some CalTech students did this in 1987 pic.twitter.com/qek5hGq7ri
— Shelby Grad (@shelbygrad) January 1, 2017
The sign was similarly modified on Jan. 1, 1976, when an art student from Cal State Northridge hung curtains over the two O’s to celebrate a change in California’s marijuana policy. It’s been altered other times as well.
Mariah Carey ended 2016 and began 2017 with a very memorable news making moment. Ironically enough, while singing ‘Emotions,’ she had to fight hard to keep hers in check as it became very apparent that she was making history for one of the worse lip sync fails ever.
After a brief, flawless “Auld Lang Syne,” it was all downhill for Mariah Carey on New Year’s Eve.
A representative for the million-selling superstar cited technical difficulties for a disastrous appearance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest,” which aired on ABC and was the subject of widespread mockery on social media.
Carey’s mood seemed to range from frustration to resignation as she struggled with the pre-recorded musical tracks. Telling the revelers jammed into Times Square that there had not been a sound check for her hit song “Emotions,” she lamented that “we’re missing some of these vocals, but it is what it is.”
“Let the audience sing,” she decided as she paced the stage.
“I’m trying to be a good sport here,” she said, adding her own sarcastic review of the performance. “That was … amazing.”
Shit happens 😩 Have a happy and healthy new year everybody!🎉 Here's to making more headlines in 2017 😂 pic.twitter.com/0Td8se57jr
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) January 1, 2017
The next song, “We Belong Together,” went no better. At times, she lowered the microphone from her mouth and the music, vocals and all, kept playing, making it clear she was lip-synching.
Even Milli Vanilli is embarrassed by Mariah Carey's debacle. pic.twitter.com/8179cHu7jA
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) January 1, 2017
Mariah Carey fails better than 99% of the world succeeds.
— Dave Holmes (@DaveHolmes) January 1, 2017
“Unfortunately there was nothing she could do to continue with the performance given the circumstances,” Carey spokeswoman Nicole Perna said Sunday.
A representative for Dick Clark productions did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Carey later tweeted about the night, starting with a brief profanity, throwing in a couple of sad emojis and concluding with, “Here’s to making more headlines in 2017.”
On Twitter, commentators called the fiasco a fitting end to a traumatic year for the music industry, marked by the deaths of Prince, David Bowie and George Michael among others. One tweeter, referring to the 2016 presidential campaign, joked that Carey’s show had been hacked by the Russians.
Carey has had a history of vocal breakdowns in concerts in recent years when she appeared unable to hit high notes despite her multi-octave range. In the smartphone era, the full Monty of her embarrassment has been captured on video, posted by mocking TMZ or on YouTube by disgruntled members of the audience.
In 2014, for instance, she had a bad night in Tokyo kicking off The Elusive Chanteuse tour, sounding unsteady on several songs, including Hero and Vision of Love, and failing to hit high notes she has always hit before. TMZ and critics on social media ensured the rest of the world could witness it.