Tuesday, January 13, 2009

home, sweet...

dear los angeles:

if there's one thing that distinguishes you from all the other cities in the world it is most certainly your homeless. for all the magnificent, unique homes, set into awkward walls of rock or nestled into communities of the rich and famous, it is those with no home to call their own who define you.

a few years ago i worked on a student film with some los angeles film school folk and the sound guy [now a friend and far too talented to simply hold a boom mic] told me about an interesting casting choice he made on accident. he had approached a few strangers on the street in hollywood and asked them if they'd like to be in his short film. it wouldn't require much of them and there would be a meal as payment. they were happy to oblige. at the end of the day of shooting, he asked them where to send the dvd when it was done and after some shuffling of feet, they told him the name of the shelter they stay at occasionally and gave him their cellphone numbers.

over the last weekend, friends from chicago were in town visiting and i took them to los feliz for brunch at a restaurant called HOME. at the stoplight in front of house of pies we spotted a homeless woman doing situps in the parking lot. she got up after a set of 15 and started doing jumping jacks, next in her routine apparently. they were astounded.

having lived in chicago for what is still a majority of my life, i understand. in college i became accustomed to bringing soft foods to give homeless people who asked for money i didn't have. other friends would bring or buy them booze. my suspicion is that only a meal at a hot new restaurant with a celebrity chef and the potential for networking would do the trick here.

last night on my way home, i got off the 101 at my exit and as i sat at the stoplight the man on the corner came over to tell me how much he likes my car:

him: "sweet car. that is THE car."
me: "thank you!"
him: "where'd you get a car like that?"
me: "it was my grandmother's."
him: "i wish i had a car. [points] that's my grocery cart over there."
me: [laughs awkwardly but hopefully politely.]
him: "i'm daniel, what's your name?" [offers fist bump]
me: [accepts fist bump] "i'm kelsey. nice to meet you."
daniel: "i wish i were single."

[green light.]


homelessness in los angeles is a real problem. educate yourself and help:
capital of homelessness
homeless actors
homeless blog

1 comment:

  1. I greatly appreciate this post. The story at the end was fantastic, but I love that you are accustomed to meeting their needs and treating them like people, not things to be stepped over.
    LA needs more like you :)