Dream of Californication – (Los Angeles, CA)

LA was not my cup of tea.  Granted our first stop was Hollywood Boulevard, home to the iconic Walk of Fame, Chinese theatre, and every single tourist trap imaginable.  Although it was certainly interesting to read the names on the hundreds stars we passed on the sidewalk (an ode to the greats of film, television, and radio), I couldn’t help but be disgusted by the obscene fakeness of it all: Marilyn Monroe sharing a coffee with Batwoman dressed in spandex and stillettos, a man in a burlap sack exclaiming, “I am Sancho Panza on crack!”, rappers pushing their self-burned cds on us, tour guides attacking us with their informational brochures, seemingly everyone trying (hard) to make a buck.

And how did all those stars get their names memorialized in the concrete anyways? I suppose I wouldn’t be surprised if it is quite like the Red Hot Chili Peppers lyrics, “Buy me a star on the boulevard…”

And then there is the insane amount of people on the roads, seemingly causing never-ending traffic.  Does anyone use public transportation here? LA seems to be the epitome of the American ideal, “My car is my freedom”.

For me, the saddest of all though was the blatant division of wealth and poverty.  Walking through the Beverly Hills shopping district, we passed countless shops that I was too overwhelmed to enter: Coach, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, and every other name brand that you may have read in some fancy magazine of the stars. (There was even a store that sold boutique ‘onesies’ for adults for $200 a pop). But crossing the street, literally from one block to the next, the entire scene changed.  Where there once was manicured flowers and tables with fresh herbs growing on them, there now was trash strewn about the sidewalk and grimy windows. This division of overabundance and neglect (which was apparent throughout much of California), was almost exaggerated to the point of unbelievable on the LA streets.

The 'Onesie' Store ??

With 4 million people spread over 468 square miles, LA is a huge city  and I’m sure there is more to it than we saw (since it proceeded to rain over the city for the next two days straight and, feeling rather dejected, we left. — and in fact, just a week later in Phoenix, we did meet an awesome LA native – an artsy, philosophical Dalí scholar)…

But the fact of the matter is, the ugliness of Hollywood still does exist, and it’s supported by our American culture and our American Dollars.

2 Responses to “Dream of Californication – (Los Angeles, CA)”
  1. Vince says:

    What is your mode of transportation for the last two + months?

  2. heliopath says:

    are you here for this (wed night): http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=218440018220793

    totally agree about your post from the limited time i have spent there. though there is some amazing music and art bubbling from underneath the ugliness i imagine. a silent revolution perhaps. its probably not enough to justify living there though.

    our car is our freedom is a realistic but scary proposition

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