Wednesday, February 2, 2011

LA, NYC and other imaginary places

from Penelope Trunk (via Joseph):
When I moved from LA to NYC, I was horrified at the lack of yoga studios in NY. Yoga was already huge in LA, but not yet in NY. I was also scared that New Yorkers were always a little bedraggled, and I had just spent ten years learning how to look perfect everywhere I went in LA. It’s fun. It’s fun to have no weather and no fat and no rushing in LA. It’s fun to get a day off from work to prepare for watching the Oscars. I grew up in Illinois, but I got used to living in LA.
I've been living in LA for a few years now and I have a pretty good read on the town. I can show you the trendiest parts of Silver Lake, the funkiest parts of Venice and the toughest parts of Watts. I can take you to the best taco stand in East LA and get you a milk tea with or without boba at four in the morning. I can introduce you to such diverse characters as rocket scientists, a mystic knight of Oingo Boingo, and Frenchy from the original run of Grease on Broadway.

Like I said, I've got a pretty good read on this town and I can tell you that the LA that you hear about doesn't exist. What does exist are little slivers where you can find passable facsimiles of the LA of an Aaron Spelling show, where you can see toned and tanned people who look like what you thought people in LA looked like.

What LA gives people like Trunk is a fantasy, a chance to convince themselves that life is like a TV show and they belong in the cast, but the only way to maintain that fantasy is to tune out or simply avoid almost all of Los Angeles, and that's a shame because it's a helluva town.


  1. I have never been to LA (I would like to remedy that some time). But the point that I was curious about was whether geography can change lifestyle and this take on LA still makes it seem like it is different than (for example) Richmond, Viginia or Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

  2. I dunno about LA, but I noticed that the local news in Seattle was almost all about people who had been killed outdoors: surfing accident, hiking accident, skiing accident. The local news back here in the NY Metro Area is all about people killing people: husbands shooting wives, mothers locking their kids in the car, neighborhood shootings. Maybe it was just a particular weekend, but I really remember being shocked by how all of the Northwest Coast deaths were nature-related.