Tuesday, May 12, 2009

California Dreamin'

I can see why California earned a sort of mythical status among Americans back in the middle of the last century, when our culture was centered more or less on the snowy, gray, industrial northeast and midwest. It can be really beautiful out there. This weekend was unbelievable -- sunny but cool, jacarandas blooming in clouds of purple, jasmine scenting the air. It was like a pop song, “California Dreamin’,” maybe.

My friends Christopher and Gerardo live near West Hollywood, right between Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards -- a green oasis of a neighborhood. They just got a new apartment, and their balcony has a view of downtown Hollywood, the Hollywood sign up in the hills, and downtown L.A. in the distance. Pretty swank!

On Saturday we went to Venice Beach and walked around a bit. It’s always a lively spot, with its beachfront tattoo emporiums and cafes. On Sunday we went to LACMA, the art museum, and saw its exhibit on Pompeii, which included some really stunning pieces of Roman art. We took in a couple of excellent movies, “Star Trek” and “Outrage,” and went to dinner one night with some of their friends.

I also did some exploring in their neighborhood, shooting small pieces of street art and grabbing coffee at The Coffee Bean on Sunset. I went running Sunday morning along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which I always like to do when I’m out there -- if you go early enough, there are no people around, and being reminded of all the entertainment greats of the past diverts you from thinking about how tired your legs are!

(Photo: Palm shadows in West Hollywood)


  1. As a former San Franciscan, I was not supposed to like L.A. but I love it! My brother lives in Silver Lake, also a fantastic green oasis.

    It's just the driving around that I dislike about the city. Otherwise, I love L.A.

  2. Silver Lake is great! And I agree about the driving -- if I worked from home or something, it would be great.

  3. The jacarandas and jasmine are blooming over here, too - but I bet the traffic is way easier to deal with in Graulhet ! What I most remember of L.A. is all the space taken up by the highways and how hard it was to get around on foot.

    Reads like a great weekend and your friends' place sounds pretty swank, indeed.

  4. Sounds like a weekend was not enough time to enjoy L.A.! It would be a big change for you to adjust to a place that never gets cold after living in NYC for so long. Can't wait to see what sorts of LA graffiti you brought home with you! :)

  5. Glad you enjoyed your trip to L.A. I live about 12 hours north of there, just below the Oregon border. L.A. has an energy all of it's own.

    I like that you "ran" along the Walk of Fame. I can almost see the spirits of non-living stars falling in stride with you.

  6. LA is great! I always end up in OC with family and OC is very conservative, but friends and I have taken side trips and always had a wonderful time!

    I'm glad you enjoyed it...

  7. My time in LA is generally spent going to or from the airport. Not really my cup of tea.