LA VIDA LOCA in L.A.
Another dirty day here in LA, the smog sits over the hills of Hollywood and soon we will be out of here and heading into the desert of Death Valley.
I am simply passing through this town but so many have come to LA from everywhere to pursue a dream. Milk-fed on the ideal of the American Dream Los Angeles would seem to be the epi-centre for such a pursuit.
Waiters, aspiring actors all, are waiting for parts and they will serve you a drink in the meantime. Others seize parts for themselves and dress up in costume to entertain the tourists who throng Hollywood and Highland. As though the circus came to town and left the freaks behind, these characters – Superman, Spiderman,Mary Poppins (who seemed so out-of-place here),little people from Star Wars with Darth Vader as guardian, Samuel L Jackson from Pulp Fiction and the scariest little critter of all, Sponge Bob Whats His Name – smile for the cameras but insist on payment. Which is fair enough I suppose but I have read, and very much enjoyed, Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh who has some very entertaining stories to tell about this particular cast of characters. As for the man with the iguana, he has 360 degree vision which at the mere hint of a camera will have him snapping that “she (the iguana) only does it for the money.”
Not too far away from here is the Sunset Tower Hotel where we enjoyed drinks and a light supper in the low lights of true glamour. Beautiful, well-groomed women sauntered through followed by so many George Clooney look alikes. Meetings to the left of us – “I have one motto in my business, stay in control.” He made it sound so . . . original! Meetings to the right – “The only thing that got Charlie Sheen off the front page was that earthquake in Japan.” This was said with such authority it just has to be true. Doesn’t it?
Back in downtown, however, the situation is a little different. Downtown was where LA began and so many of the streets are full of grandiose but faded picture palaces, old banks, hotels and mercantile concerns. Newer buildings, towers of hovering glass, sit like candles on an old cake. The older buildings, up and down Broadway are now shop fronts for jewellery, clothing and Jesus. Over on Main Street it is a feast of fabrics and more clothing, pinatas and more for the home altar. The patois on the streets is Spanish. Further east of Main is Skid Row where SRO’s line certain streets. The patois here is crack and it is not pretty. I am not calling them crack-heads but that’s what the cop who told me not to go further east than Pershing Square calls them.
Everyone is entitled to a crack at the dream, and, if not in this crazy town, where? Somewhere, you know where!