Monday, January 19, 2009
didion writes of new york what i have discovered i feel for los angeles.
six months ago i pointed out to my friend sara that at twenty six, i had never been in love. not even close.
"that's okay" she said.
"of course its okay," i replied, "it's just interesting to hear out loud"
today i read an article in the new york times questioning if today's new york had lost its recent luster following the fall of wall street and the current rise of washington d.c. surrounding president-elect obama's presidency. [i can't comment on new york but in my opinion, d.c. still has some growing up to do before it might be considered a hot-spot for anything outside of of politics or miller lite consumers]
never one to accept such blanket statements about anything that is considered 'in' or 'out' (how could i ever have come to love los angeles?), i continued reading only to collect key points that i could bring up in some social conversation i hope to never have.
thankfully, miz didion's excerpt made the article worth my while.
now at twenty seven i still have never been in love [in society's definition].
but yes, yes i am in love with los angeles, the city so many love to hate.
- dr. jovel.
when the action moves on
p.s. kelsey i hate this font.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
many people from all over the world come to visit you because of something that has always seemed oh-so-silly to me: the ground. the stars embedded in the sidewalk, the hand and footprints pressed into the concrete, the steps that stars graced back in the studio days.
so silly because, as i see it they should look up. not to the mountains [though they are one of my favorite things about you] or the hollywood sign. somewhere between feet and horizon - to the table.
when i host visitors the very first thing i want to take them to do is eat sushi. what i miss most when i go away is sushi. i crave it more often than i allow myself to eat it. as my friends start to have children the question most on my mind is, 'how will they live without sushi for that long?'
i admit, i may be a bit obsessed. but, if you've had sushi in los angeles, you can hardly blame me. another thing i love about sushi is that it's one of a few things the valley is highly competitive at. all my favorites are in the valley.
tonight we hit midori, an all-you-can-eat place that is a far cry from hometown buffet. skilled sushi chefs, above average cuts of fish, friendly patrons, and a tv that always plays the games [yeah, that part isn't for me.] though my favorite chef moved himself and his family to baltimore, the guys manning the place do a fine job and are very pleasant. favorites here: hawaiian king mackerel [ono] and the clipper roll. tonight the hamachi belly was particularly delish.
by the way, there are three midoris but i drive twenty-five blocks further to the one in studio city 'cause it's my fava-fave.
a few doors down from midori is the well-known katsu-ya. a humble looking, strip mall storefront that i've never been in without a celebrity spotting [most recently sacha baron cohen aka borat]. they have the best cuts of fish in town and by far the most competent chefs. if they have toro, you cannot leave without it. i orchestrate visits here around a waitress named mindy's work schedule. if you are the adventurous type, let her size you up and order for you. if you're not, at least order the honey roll.
good bargain lunch sushi: maki yaki II. there's only one, but i like that they feel the need to dub it the second anyway. these people are the friendliest, most welcoming folks. the place is situated next to a drag queen thrift store and a doggie-u-wash. it's not much to look at, but considering the prices and the quality, it's a go-to. they also nail take out sushi; hard to do.
also notable - iroha, but more for the atmosphere than anything really stand out. it's nestled and lit with white string lights. 'nuff said.
all you can eat runner up - a ca-shi. down the street from cbs radford and the chef/owner jay will know your name after the second visit.
[i realize it is bold to note only sushi restaurants in the valley, but i go where the good is.]
katsu-ya's website doesn't do it for me, here's their citysearch
maki yaki 2
"I just moved back to dc from los angeles" is part of my background
explainer, still, after eight months back on the east coast.
i won't let go. i can't let go.
not yet. maybe not ever.
i feel privlidged to have been a los angeleno. i'm never shy of saying
so. not always fond of the opinions people are compelled to share with
me after hearing I once was, I often eschew the hate or love l.a.
the thought of debating makes me tired. to try and name all the best
that exists in la make me want to take a big ol' nap. I don't want to
defend - you can't love or hate la they way i do. i don't want you
relax. los angelenos know how to make relaxing look GOOD&EASY. better
thank any other major u.s. city.
relax with you next week, my love.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
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."
homelessness in los angeles is a real problem. educate yourself and help:
capital of homelessness
Sunday, January 11, 2009
sundays are perfect. the sky is blue, the air is warm, the sun was bright and now it is fading with an orange glow.
things i typically love to do on sundays: sleep in, get up early and drive around on your empty streets listening to guns'n'roses, read the l.a. times and work the crossword puzzle, drink coffee for breakfast, have lazy brunch, eat cheese and avocado sandwiches, bask in the sun [it's her day after all], have lazy sex, listen to 'this american life' repeats.
driving the 101 towards the valley around ten a.m. this morning, even as hungover and achy as i was, i was lulled into a comfortable adoration.
something about the way the palm trees tip their faces against the blue backdrop makes my heart happy. they are plenty scattershot around town but have enough in common that they seem orderly in my favorite way: disorderly.
it's winter here. and i love winter here.
places to go:
for guns'n'roses - freakbeat records in sherman oaks on ventura.
for lazy brunch - HOME restaurant on hillhurst
for cheese and avocado sandwich [on rosemary bread] - lulu's beehive in studio city on ventura.
for this american life - www.kcrw.com
for a hangover - park in echo park [byob ends tonight though], spaceland on silverlake blvd.
photo credit: sean regan