Archive for March, 2008

Ah, Los Angeles 2

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Every retail corner in our neighborhood, which is most of the corners, has two things: a donut shop and a thai massage parlor. the donut shops are combos e.g. donut/ice cream, donut/liquor and my favorite, donut/taxprep. I’ve noticed as you travel into the more wealthy sections of town, the donut shops are fewer and further between but they exist. Thai massage disappears completely.

Thai massage is the greatest discovery of our new life. For $40 you can have a lovely young Thai woman use her knees, elbows and fists to make you scream out kam kuon kop which means either thank you or please, for the love of God, stop. I now associate lovely young Thai women with severe pain and, of course, fried bananas. The thing is, when you leave the dungeon, er, massage table, every pain you had in your body or thought you might have sometime in the future is gone and it stays gone for a couple of weeks. It’s completely addictive. Stephanie and I must stop each other from walking to our favorite parlor every night.

This neighborhood has a couple of other things that seem unique to it: very hip coffee shops and good restaurants that have no signs or anything you might notice while driving by.

The coffee shops are filled with young musicians, actors, writers, directors what have you. You can tell the writers. They look dour and all have imacs. I aspire to have an imac one day. The dour look, I’ve got.

You have to be told by a local about the restaurants. You would assume their laundromats or abandoned store fronts driving or walking by but inside, they hold the secret to gastronomic bliss. The best Vietnamese place has about six tables which are always filled with the above mentioned types and the food is outrageous. It is pho which is pronounced every conceivable way and you eat it cafeteria style sitting with the next steven spielberg or michelle pfeiffer or michael stipe. We can walk to it; we’ve eaten there several times and have no idea what it’s called.

My favortie Thai restaurant in on Hollywood Blvd and it’s called PalmsThai. Think of a large school cafeteria in a wealthy community with the stage on one end. Think of Las Vegas and Elvis impersonators. Now combine the two. The owner is an elderly Thai Elvis impersonator. The food is fabulous and cheap. The elk and lobster curries are remarkable. the owner starts the night’s festivities out with Jail House Rock or something then as the night drifts toward the wee hours, hollywood indie groups start playing. He comes up during breaks.

Next: now what?

Love and light always,

Ah, Los Angeles 1

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Much better writers than I have dealt with traffic here. Its presence is always felt. When you think about leaving the house, you have to decide the best possible route which depends on, among other things, the time of day and the day of the week. Although that’s true of most cities, we all have our favorite routes that we learn over time. Here, you throw the favorites out and deal with the reality of the day. You must check with a traffic service?the LA Times provides a good one?that gives up to the moment exit by exit info on the highways and accident reports for the surface streets.

You’ve done your homework. When you leave the house, you bunch appointments together because your day will be taken up by getting where ever you are going and back. Going to a movie or grocery shopping is an exercise in patience and persistence. You pray to whatever saints you think might be looking down on you and take off.
In a city that has come to define log jams, it is interesting that being late for an industry meeting is not acceptable period. The rule of thumb is that you should, within LA County, give yourself 1 hour to get where you?re going. It could be five miles away but give yourself an hour. Highways, surface streets, it?s always a guessing game. You can never tell when an accident or landslide will slow everything down to a crawl. No matter where you?re going, there are thousands of other people going to that neighborhood. So sit back, turn on your blue tooth and call all the people you?ve been putting off calling. Take something to read?in case you actually get there in ten minutes?and something to eat and drink in case it really gets bad.

The thing I didn?t remember at all was the power of the pedestrians. Contrary to Missing Persons? ?Walking in LA?, people do walk in LA by the thousands. What?s interesting is that these people, most of whom just got out of their vehicles, stroll across the streets as if they have no reason to get anywhere. They stop, have conversations, reminisce, change directions and basically make drivers go insane. Trying to turn left or right is an exciting contest between on coming traffic, lights and pedestrians. Whatever you do, don?t find yourself caught by a light in the middle of a crosswalk or a serious ticket awaits. As near as I can tell, no other traffic rules exist.

As I said before, we live on a hill. This neighborhood has hills so steep that the roads and sidewalks end and stairways begin. People actually live somewhere between the lower part and the upper. They carry their groceries, their trash and their children up and down flights and flights of cement stairs every day.

For instance, we live on Lower Angelus. Our house is a lovely, small cottage from the early twenties. Probably a house for film workers because this neighborhood was where the very early studios worked. For anyone who?s familiar with early comedies?i.e., Laurel and Hardy?the stairs were used extensively as gags. The stars of the day lived on Upper Angelus and the stigma of living on Lower Angelus still exists.

The entertainment industry permeates every aspect of life. Everyone here is basically a star-in-waiting or hoping to do business with a star. We bought a new couch and the owner of the shop made an effort to introduce himself and be nice to us because we might make it someday and we could recommend Denzel Washington to his shop.

Next, donuts and Thai massage.

Love and light always