If you're back at home in Maryland, I want you to know I miss you very much. I wish you could see what I see. You want to know what L.A. is like?
Ok. Here’s my take on LA. There are six or so “pockets” that make up what they call L.A. They each have their own distinct feel and style and perks and downfalls. Silverlake, Echo Park, The Hills, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Culver City, Downtown….I’m sure I missed a few but I don’t know about them yet.
So I live in West Hollywood which is the cleaner, effeminate brother of Hollywood. You know the brother that doesn’t have a drug problem? Anyways, you wake up in the morning and you walk outside. 83 and sunny. A lot like yesterday. You walk down the sidewalk and notice there is basically a Starbucks on every corner of every block. Not literally but unsettlingly close. You’d think Starbucks looses money by competing with itself. Almost everyone and I mean the vast majority of people have dogs. Little dogs. Little well groomed dogs. Tongues flopping out of their yappy, little mouths, pink collars, simultaneously prancing like little show horses, and trying to keep up with their hurried owners. The stop lights here turn red for about eight seconds.
I have never seen stop lights change so fast. It’s almost like a “catch and release” system California has simply to keep all the bald guys in Lamborghini’s from barreling down the roads at 150 to impress their pet supermodels. There is a light at the corner of 235 and route 4 in Maryland that I have sat at for ever 5 minutes straight. I know because I set a stop watch. It was two in the morning. Not everyone is a millionaire like I initially thought but you do see a good amount of Teslas and Mercedes and Bugatis humming down the street.
You can get anywhere in 30 minutes. Not less. Not more. 30 minutes to the mountains. 30 minutes to the next city. 30 minutes to to a gym. It’s like a weird rift in the dimensional fabric, but 30 minutes everywhere. There a dash of desert, a lot of beach all smoothed out by urban sprawl. But the city is clean and very well kept. And unlike the hurried pace of cities on the East Coast, it is strangely very very laid back here.
It’s almost like everyone has found the ultimate efficiency of time so they work like crazy but immediately get done and go do acro-yoga at the beach. I’d say at least 40% of the people here are in the entertainment industry. You can feel the aspirations. Some people are vain and shallow, but most are not (or at least don’t seem to be). There is a certain flakiness that seems to be a social defense mechanism that most people have adopted from having their trust broken or time wasted. When you talk with someone you can feel that they are essentially trying to determine if you are valuable to them. But just as often as I experience this, I also experience people who just like good conversation, making friends and playing music.
The music scene is shifting but vibrant. Old venues are wheezing and holding onto to life as they try to hold on to old business models. You can see an 80’s rock band at Viper Lounge, catch an intimate singer-songwriter’s round at Hotel Cafe and see a disorienting androgenous lounge singer at Silverlake Lounge all within 48 hours. John Mayer actually snuck into a local bar and did a show a few days ago. My girlfriend and I hunted around the city looking for him, but to no avail, we found the place just as he finished. But this is the fun of LA!
LA is a place of heat, adventure and testing yourself. Professionally you’ll be out of your comfort zone. Professionals don’t play here. They are here to win and win big. They grind. Hard. If you’re not a dreamer, don’t waste your time, this place can very easily overwhelm. But the environment and the social part is a nice counterpoint to the intensity of the professional world. They work hard and play long. Although I haven’t explored 5% of this city yet, I have to say it is nice to be able to drive over the Solmons Bridge at sunset and see the boaters and the island full of little people, walking about. If you ever want to come out here, let me know, we’ve got lots of room and I’l show you around town.