Staff Favorites: Los Angeles
I would like to open my love letter to L.A. with a serenade. Introducing . . . Randy Newman.
Okay, so Randy could not be here today. He is too busy rollin' down the Imperial Highway with a redhead. So in his stead, I will paraphrase his seminal song: "I love L.A. (We love it)." Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Randy loves the SoCal city for its Beach Boys (sorry, not a fan of sandy-toes, bouncy bikini music) and babes. But he also admires many of the same traits that won me over and continue to keep me in its thrall: the mountains, Santa Monica Boulevard, the eternally shining sun. Indeed, I can never get enough of the city's Vitamin E.
I have a routine that I follow whenever I visit the City of Angels. My pal Josh knows exactly where to point the car. First I land, then follow some starlet to the bathroom, before realizing that, oops, it's just an ersatz Paris, Reese, Jen, etc. Fooled again!
Then, we head straight for Venice Beach and regardless of the air and water temp, I dip my toes in the Pacific. It is hardly the strangest sight you will see, considering the 24-hour Freak Show that performs there (minus the elephants, but often including a bearded lady of sorts). Sometimes we will sit in on a drum circle; always we grab a mojito at James' Beach Cafe, a half-outdoor bar, where you can feel the ocean breeze without having sand fall into your drink. Eventually, we will drag our sun-baked bodies to West Hollywood and hit a bar, like Lola's, where the martinis sparkle like jewels (it is also the birthplace of the apple martini). Or maybe wander over to the risque theater near his house and play Him or Her? with the drag queens.
The next day, we may hoof it in Runyon Canyon in the Hollywood Hills, trying to peer into the backyards of multi-gazillion-dollar homes, hoping to spy a scandal or crime. Yes, I am still waiting for my "Rear Window" moment, and when it happens, it will undoubtably take place in Los Angeles.
When I am visiting Josh, I feel a bit like a local, falling into the mellow groove of the city, where its denizens are almost European in their love of leisure. Yet, when traveling solo, I kick into tourist gear and explore the myriad landscapes of a city so vast it needs a constellation of freeways to stay connected. (My one big complaint: The city is too car-dependent.) I unabashedly ogle at Hollywood's glitz and still gleefully drop the name Kodak Theatre, where I sat in the same seat that only days later was filled by Julia Robert's derriere.
Whenever I have a long layover, I wander glassy-eyed through the Getty Museum, preferring its stunning art collection to slumber. Or, if I am staying near LAX, I will hop the free shuttle to Manhattan Beach and browse its hipster shops, pretending I can pull off sunglasses the size of Jupiter's moons. I also have done my fair share of tours: the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a Gehry masterpiece that could outsing any soprano, and a dawn's-early market tour of downtown. While most clubbers were peeling off their Choos, these early-bird produce sellers and flower retailers were lining up their wares so Angelenos could have fresh daisies on their kitchen table and crisp apples in their pancakes. When I want an escape that does not involve road rage, I bike from Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach, not turning around until I can see the pink sunset reflecting in my handlebars.
Yes, like Randy, I could keep on singing the praises of Los Angeles until my voice went hoarse. But, as an encore, I just want to say: I love L.A. and I believe L.A. loves me back.
So, tell me, has L.A. won your heart over too, and why?
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Posted by: el viejo | November 8, 2007 9:15 PM
Posted by: Sasquatch | November 13, 2007 5:54 PM
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