Amoeblog

California Fool's Gold -- A Westside Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 18, 2011 09:46pm | Post a Comment
JUST ANOTHER DAY IN WEST SIDE LA -- THE WESTSIDE


A view of the Westside from my dirigible
 


Around the world, the mere mention of the word "Westside" prompts people to throw up a "W" hand sign, in imitation of many west coast and west coast-affiliated (Tupac was, after all, a native of East Harlem) pop-rappers of the 1990s (to his credit, Snoop Dogg has always repped his Eastside, as does Compton Eastsider The Game). Within LA, the Westside refers to a wealthy, largely white region of the county (or alternately to South LA's Westside to much of LA's black population). It is bordered by the Santa Monica Mountains region to the northwest, the Pacific Ocean to the West, the South Bay to the south, the aforementioned South LA westside to the southeast, and Midtown and Hollywood to the east.


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Official Map of the Westside


Though the Westside is one of LA's whitest regions, it's still only 63% white with a high degree of ethnic (for those who can accept the radical notion that white people have ethnicities too) variety and origins including large numbers of Canadian, English, German, Iranian, Irish, Israelis, Polish, Russian, South African and Spanish-descended Americans. The remainder of the populate is 16% Latino, 12% Asian and 5% black. It's also known for its wealth - Bel-Air, Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills (in Hollywood's Hollywood Hills) make up the ostentatiously-named Platinum Triangle.

It's often said around the city that "Westsiders are different." They're often recognizable in their "Ugh" boots, conspicuous consumption, creepy fake tans and propensity for erroneously referring to Mideast side neighborhoods like Echo Park and Silver Lake as "The Eastside" whilst "slumming it" at a dive bar full of other Westsiders in the Mideast Side (but rarely if ever venturing east of the LA River to the actual Eastside). For these reasons, Westsiders are commonly stereotyped as shallow, clueless, celebrity-obsessed, label-whoring, FOBy, tasteless, uneducated, culture-less, blue-blooded toffs.. As with most stereotypes, especially Angeleno ones, the reality is much more interesting.


The Westside is home to two unique ethnic enclaves, Little Osaka and Tehrangeles. It's the primary destination for those in search of delicious Brazilian, British, Indonesian, Jewish and Persian cuisine. It's home to several great revival theaters including The Aero, The Nuart and The Silent Movie Theater as well as many of LA's best museums. So I say to both ironic Westside-claiming wankstas and Eastside snobs alike, free your ass and your mind will follow.

And now for the neighborhoods:

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BEL AIR


The modest Bel Air home of the Beverly Hillbillies


The Fresh Prince's exhortation, "Yo holmes, to Bel Air!" on TV's The Fresh Prince of Bel Air introduced many NBC viewers to another posh westside community synonymous with affluence on par with Beverly Hills and Brentwood although its median household income is much higher than both of them. In fact, the Beverly Hillbillies' mansion is located in Bel Air. Part of its obscene opulence is preserved by a ban on multifamily housing. It includes the smaller neighborhoods of East Gate Old Bel Air, West Gate Bel Air and Upper Bel Air. It's also home to The UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden. The population is 83% white (mostly Persian, Russian and South African), 9% Asian and 5% Latino.


BEVERLY CREST


The Beverly Crest neighborhood sign


Beverly Crest is located in the southern face of the Santa Monica Mountains between Beverly Hills and Sherman Oaks. It's home of the large Franklin Canyon Park and the Stone Canyon Reservoir. The mostly residential neighborhood's population is 88% white (mostly Russian, Persian and British) and 4% Asian.


BEVERLY GROVE


Canters Restaurant

Beverly Grove is a newly designated Los Angeles neighborhood that's often lumped in with the Fairfax District that it borders (and is still commonly felt to be part of by longtime residents who in most cases don't seem to be fans of Rick Caruso). Indeed, as the home of the Silent Movie Theater and Canter's Deli, it's an intrinsic part of the so-called Kosher Canyon, Fairfax Boulevard. It's also home to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and realtors often refer to it as "Beverly Hills Adjacent." 


BEVERLY HILLS


Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills


Beverly Hills has long been, in the popular conscience, synonymous with wealth, a view perpetuated by its many appearances in film and TV including Beverly Hillbillies, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Slums of Beverly Hills, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills Ninja, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Beverly Hills Cop and Beverly Hills 90201 (to name a few). So symbolic is its name that other neighborhoods often employ it nicknames to reflect their own wealth, including the "Black Beverly Hills" (Baldwin Hills), the "Chicano Beverly Hills" (Hacienda Heights), the "Chinese Beverly Hills" (Monterey Park) as well as the Beverly Hills of Arizona, Las Vegas, England, Dubai, Mexico, The South, Chiwawa, Sydney, Singapore, Cewu and on and on. The population is 82% white (mostly Persian and Russian), 8% Asian (mostly Korean) and 5% Latino.


BEVERLYWOOD


A scene in Beverlywood


Largely residential Beverlywood is one of the main centers of Jewish residential life in Los Angeles. The population 80% white (Russian, Polish, Persian, Israeli), 7% Asian, 6% Latino and 4% black. It's population is the wealthier than the better known symbol of wealth, Beverly Hills, (and Beverly Grove), but not as wealthy as Beverly Crest - the wealthiest of the Beverlies.


BRENTWOOD


Brentwood


Now famous for its mostly wealthy residents, Brentwood was originally known for its avocado and soybean fields. It gained a higher profile and unwanted notoriety in 1994 when Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife of American Footballer/occasional actor OJ Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman were found stabbed to death outside her condo in a crime that was never solved. The population is 84% white (Russian, German, Persian and British), 7% Asian and 5% Latino.


CENTURY CITY


Century City at night


Century City was formerly a western backlot for 20th Century Fox. After a series of box office bombs, most notably Cleopatra, the studio sold 0.73 km2 of their property to developer William Zeckendorf and the Aluminum Co. of America, (Alcoa). The new Century City, its name a nod to it's former owners, was reimagined as a "city within a city." The first building, Century City Gateway West, was erected in 1963 followed by Minoru Yamasaki's Century Plaza Hotel -- two of the first skyscrapers erected in the area after the lifting of earthquake-related height restrictions. Today it's mainly a business center with numerous law firms and entertainment industry offices. The small population of around 6,000 residents is 83% white (mostly Russian, Persian and Canadian), 9% Asian and 4% Latino.


CHEVIOT HILLS


The Ropers in front of their Cheviot Hills residence (maybe)


Tiny Cheviot Hills is dominated by residences and Cheviot Hills Park -- the latter which includes the Cheviot Hills Recreation Center and the Cheviot Hills Tennis Courts. The population is 79% white (Russian and German), 9% Asian (mostly Japanese) and 8% Latino (mostly Mexican). It served as the location for the short-lived Three's Company spin-off The Ropers.


CRESTVIEW

Crestview is a neighborhood bounded by is bounded by La Cienega, Robertson, Sawyer and Pickford. Though mostly residential, it's also home to the Foods of Nature, La Cienega Grill CafeSt. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, Seedling Organic CateringSikh Dharma, and the shopping center, La Cienega Plaza.


CULVER CITY


Downtown Culver City


Since the 1920s, Culver City has been a significant center for motion picture and later television production -- it was formerly home of MGM Studios.  National Public RadioWest and Sony Pictures now have headquarters in the city. The population is 48% white (German), 24% Latino (Mexican), 12% Asian (mostly Filipino) and 11% black. To read more about Culver City, click here.


DEL REY


Pretty self explanatory


Del Rey, situated on the banks of Ballona Creek, takes its name from the nearby Del Rey salt marshes. Del Rey is a largely residential area of 1950s single-story California bungalows. Del Rey has a notable but small Japanese-American population that moved to the area after the end of WWII internment as well as from Hawaii during the 1950s. Today it's 44% Latino (mostly Mexican), 34% white (mostly German), 14% Asian (mostly Filipino) and 4% black.


LA CIENEGA HEIGHTS
The neighborhood centered around Cadillac Avenue and Corning Street (roughly bounded by Culver City to the south, S La Cienega Boulevard to the east, Sawyer Street to the north, and S Robertson to the west), is known as La Cienega Heights. It's home to The Acrylic Museum, Bagel Factory, and Reynier Park.


LADERA HEIGHTS



A view of Ladera Heights - NB: gas prices may not be current


When Frank Robinson and other notable black sports heroes began moving to Ladera Heights in the 1970s, many other affluent blacks integrated into the neighborhood, which is adjacent to one of the wealthier parts of South LA, Baldwin Hills. In the early 1980s, the neighborhood became a mecca for wealthy black families, a rarity for the Westside. Today, even with LA's black population declining dramatically, the neighborhood is still 71% black (mostly West African and Trinidadian) and 19% white (mostly English, German and Canadian).


LITTLE OSAKA


An uncommonly calm street scene in Little Osaka


Little Osaka (小大阪) is a small district centered along Sawtelle Boulevard between Nebraska and Tennesee in the Sawtelle neighborhood of Los Angeles. In the 1920s and 30s, what's now Little Osaka was dominated by Japanese-owned nurseries. By 1941, there were 26 nurseries in the area. When Japanese-Americans were unjustly interred during World War II, the neighborhood went into decline. Today it retains a diminished but strong Japanese character (including several nurseries) and is a J-Town favored by trendy Japanese, foodies, otaku, hentai and nipponophiles. To read more, click here.


MAR VISTA


The view from atop Mar Vista Hill


Mar Vista is a westside neighborhood that includes the smaller neighborhoods of Westdale, Mar Vista Hill, the Gregory Ain Mar Vista Tract, McLaughlin and Culver West. The residents of Mar Vista are approximately 51% White (mostly Germanic), 29% Latino (mostly Mexican with a large number of Oaxaqueños in particular) and 13% Asian (mostly Korean). To read more about Mar Vista, click here.


MARINA DEL REY


Fisherman's Village in Marina del Rey


Marina del Rey is dominated by the Fisherman's Village boat harbor, which has nineteen marinas and room for 5,300 boats. The area was originally a salt marsh formed by Ballona Creek's flow into Santa Monica Bay. The population is 78% white (mostly English, German and Persian), 8% Asian (mostly Japanese), 5% Latino and 5% black.


PACIFIC PALISADES


The Eames House 


Pacific Palisades stands out even in the mostly-white Westside with a population that's 89% white (mostly English, German, Persian and Canadian) and 6% Asian, making it the least racially, if not ethnically, communities in the Westside. It's population is generally quite wealthy and residential. Some of the most noteworthy homes include the Eames House and the Getty Villa. It was repped by Tom Hanks's rapping son, Chet Haze, in his song "West Side LA" (from whence the title of this blog entry is derived).


PALMS


A view of my favorite Palms parking lot 


Palms was founded as its own community in 1886 and annexed by LA in 1915. Palms is fairly atypical for the Westside with a population that's both working class and very ethnically diverse -- 38% white (mostly Irish), 23% Latino (mostly Mexican), 20% Asian (mostly Korean) and 12% black. It's even home to multiple Brazilian and Indonesian restaurants. It's also home of the great Museum of Jurassic Technology


PLAYA VISTA


A view of Playa Vista from the Ballona Wetlands


Between Playa Vista and the Santa Monica Bay lie the Ballona Wetlands. The neighborhood lies at the foot of the Westchester Bluffs that was once a sacred Tongva burial ground. Long after the Tongva themselves were removed, their ancestors' remains were uncovered during development and relocated as well. Today the population is 35% Latino (mostly Mexican and Guatemalan), 32% white, 21% Asian (mostly Japanese) and 5% black.


PICO-ROBERTSON


The intersection of Pico and Robertson... in Pico-Robertson


Pico-Robertson is today the heart of LA's Jewish community. The population is 74% white (mostly Persian, Russian and Israeli), 7% Latino, 6% Asian 6% black. It is home to more than 30 kosher restaurants including not just Jewish food, but kosher Chinese, Italian, Mexican and more. It's also home to the largest women's mikvah in LA as well as four men's mikvahs and several Jewish schools. It's sometimes referred to as "South Robertson" which has given rise to the Scooby-Doo-sounding "SoRo Rillage," I mean, "SoRo Village."


RANCHO PARK


Rancho Park


Tiny Rancho Park was named by Bill Heyler, a real estate broker who established his office in the area in 1927. The population is 58% white (mostly German and Persian), 18% Asian, 16% Latino (mostly Mexican), 4% black. Its northwest corner, the intersection of Pico and Sepulveda, was the subject of a song, "Pico and Sepulveda," made popular in 1947 by Freddy Martin and his orchestra using the pseudonym, "Felix Figueroa."


SANTA MONICA


The Santa Monica Pier with downtown Santa Monica in the background


Sunny, coastal Santa Monica is the world's number one destination for British expats, who flock to the un-England like city by the thousands and turn into rosy red lobsters. The population is 71% white (mostly English and Persian), 14% Latino (mostly Mexican), 7% Asian and 4% black. Known as a haven for rich lefties, it's nicknamed the People's Republic of Santa Monica. It was also the first city in California with a Green mayor… and it was the setting for TV's Three's Company.


SAWTELLE 


A typical Sawtelle home with Japanese-inspired landscaping


Sawtelle was formerly recognized for its large Japanese-American population. After the forced internment of all Japanese, it lost most of that character although landscaping and sites here and there still reflect its Japanese past -- nowhere more so than in the tiny Japanese shopping district of Little Osaka which is also home to several nurseries and eateries. However, today Sawtelle's population is 50% white (mostly Persian), 23% Latino (mostly Mexican) and 20% Asian.


TEHRANGELES


A row of Tehrangeles stores with signs in Farsi


Tehrangeles is a small neighborhood along Westwood Boulevard that straddles Westwood and West LA. It's portmanteau name is a reflection of the many Persian-owned and targeted businesses along the commercial corridor as well as the large Persian residential population in the surrounding area.


VENICE


Downtown Venice

Venice is a coastal neighborhood (and former municipality) famous for its canals, Muscle Beach, Venice Beach and Ocean Front Walk  -- "the Boardwalk." Originally designed to attract tourists, it later became famous for its Bohemian music and arts scene. To read more, click here.


WEST HOLLYWOOD


West Hollywood's Sunset Strip at night


I know some people will take issue with my inclusion of WeHo with the Westside. Well the Beverly Hills adjacent city has to fit in somewhere and it feels a lot more Westside to me than the Hollywood region (which, unlike West Hollywood, is all part of Los Angeles). With a population that's 81% white (mostly Russian, German and Ukrainian), 9% Latino, 4% Asian and 3% Black it also looks like the rest of the Westside. It's also where the Sunset Strip begins, home to many famous venues including The House of Blues, The Key Club, The Viper Room, The Roxy, The Whiskey A Go Go… and The Troubadour just a few blocks south on Santa Monica Blvd.


WEST LOS ANGELES


A typical day in West LA


West LA, despite sounding like a large district of Los Angeles, is actually an officially recognized designation for a Westside neighborhood. The population is 77% white (mostly Persian, Russian and English), 11% Asian, 5% Latino. The large Jewish population is reflected in the restaurants. It's also home to Lazer Blazer, which rivals even mighty Amoeba with its selection of Blu-Rays, DVDs and yes, Laser Discs.


WESTSIDE VILLAGE


One of Westside Village's tree-lined streets


Westside Village is a small neighborhood that's sometimes claimed by Mar Vista and sometimes by Palms. It's home to one of the first housing tracts, developed in the 1930s and '40s by Fritz B. Burns.


WESTWOOD


Westwood with the so-called Millionaire's Mile in the background


Westwood is a neighborhood best known for being the home of UCLA. As such, it's also one of LA County's primary cultural centers with sites like Royce Hall, the Armand Hammer Museum, The Fowler Museum and numerous significant theaters. It also includes most of the small Tehrangeles neighborhood within it's borders. The population is 63% white (mostly Persian and Russian), 23% Asian (mostly Taiwanese), 7% Latino and 2% black.

*****
And so Westside riders, to vote for any Westside communities... or any other Los Angeles County communities to be covered on the blog, vote here. To vote for Westside (or and other Los Angeles neighborhoods), click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here. Westsiiiiiiiide!
 

*****


Follow Eric's Blog and check out more episodes of California Fool's Gold

SOUNDTRACK SERIES #5

Posted by Job O Brother, May 2, 2010 12:46pm | Post a Comment
Directions: Imagine Mr. Brother living another day, as always, with music playing. Whether it’s one of his trusty iPods, or his home stereo, or working the soundtracks section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, Mr. Brother is eating, sonically, with the mouths of his ears.

To simulate this experience, as you read the below story of a day lived, you will be given certain music clips to play. These are inserted to provide you with the same tunes Job was hearing as he was doing what you’ll be reading.

For example, while he was writing the above directions, he was listening to this:


The boyfriend and I need a lamp. Not just any lamp – something that can complete his “reading nook” in the prominent corner of our living room. It must be a lamp that won’t be diminished by our awesome Italian chair (roughly the size of my last apartment) which it will stand behind, be powerful enough to provide the boyfriend with the amount of light he likes in order to read (roughly the brightness of two suns) and, in general, should be hella rad.

So, every Sunday for the past month, he and I have set out into the deliciously temperatured* but cruelly trafficked land of Los Angeles. Armed with my trusty iPod, which I plug into his car – a Lexus with a capacity for smarts exceeding most high school students – its music gives me the fortitude to face another shopping day.


We’ve tried most everywhere: trendy boutiques, flea markets, furniture chains, thrift stores, even kept an eye out on the streets of West Hollywood where, for some unexplained reason, you can always find abandoned pieces of living room furniture. Always. It vaguely troubles me.


How can a city with so many interior designers come to this?

Anyway, last week we went to what I once knew as the Fairfax Flea Market but seems to have re-branded itself the Melrose Trading Post – ostensibly because anything with the name "Melrose" in it  attracts swarms of youths with expendable monies.

And I did find a lamp – unfortunately, not for the reading nook, rather, my desk. It was an imitation Art Nouveau affair, with an ornate, glass, tulip bulb atop a Victorian woman in neo-classical gowns actually swinging from a branch in the center of the lamp! Very Maxfield Parrish meets funeral parlor.


"I wonder if they wear clothes on other planets?"
Another smutty painting by playboy of the art-world, Maxfield Parrish

“But you already have a desk lamp!” exclaimed the boyfriend.

“Yes,” I answered, “But it only has a black-light bulb in it, and I’d like to have a little more light at night.”

“Why don’t you just put a normal light-bulb in what you already have?” he asks, his tone betraying knowledge that he’ll regret asking. But I don’t answer directly.

“I need one with a black-light and another with some other color, like red or blue.” And my eyes light up. “It’ll be so spooky!” (It’s important to know that whenever I use the word “spooky” it means for me what most people convey with words like “cozy” and “lovable.”)

After a meal of some Argentinean street food (which seemed to consist of tired spinach dragged through clear oil and dirtied with salt-less scrambled egg whites – ¿Que pasa, Argentina?) we left the flea market – me with a framed, three-dimensional picture of a Greek peasant woman, a 1950’s chip ‘n’ dip, a bullfight advertisement, and yes, a lamp I didn’t truly need – but no lamp for the nook. Back in the car!


Our next stop was the neighborhood of Little Ethiopia, where you can find some swell thrift stores. I love Little Ethiopia because the air always smells of frankincense, sweet tea spices, and exhaust.

The first store we tried had some amazing junk, and I inquired on prices for everything from a metallic etching of a celebrity rabbi (looking like some elder member of the Justice League of America) to a cross-stitched portrait of Shiva (looking like a Playgirl centerfold).


"I like cuddling in front of the fireplace and girls who believe I'm straight."

The boyfriend, seeing I was in danger of spending my rent money on antique ashtrays and politically incorrect lawn-jockeys, dragged me out before I could get a price check on a mounted, electric Jesus head…

“I at least need to find out what it needs electricity for!” I pleaded. I mean, what happens to a mounted Jesus head when you give it the power of voltage? But he showed no mercy, and we entered another shop. One that was playing this on a boom-box:


Okay, now you the reader will probably lose all respect for me, but hear me out: If you saw how awesome the lamp in the window was, you’d stop, too! I pointed it out to the boyfriend.

“Look! Ah! It’s so good!” It was a shepherd boy, sloppily and carefreeily* drinking from a huge jug, his vest and shirt permanently swept up by a summer breeze; his eyelids painted a delicate, pastel blue, his dainty feet almost dancing over a plot of grassy soil. The lamp stood at about 4 feet and looked to weigh about 1½ sea lion**. The boyfriend rolled his eyes.

“There is no way. You can’t seriously think that goes with the living room,” he said.

“No, of course not,” I answered, “But… for the Study…” (The Study is the room where I work. It’s where I keep my desk – the desk that now would have two lamps on it.)

This led to the boyfriend and I having a not-quite-argument about the necessity of having four lamps for the Study. (Did I mention the fourth lamp? It’s on my bookshelf, with the flicker-flame bulb.) For some reason it annoys the boyfriend that I could have so many lamps in one room without a single one equipped with a normal, white bulb. (Did I mention there’s also a string of blue Christmas lights I keep under the couch to provide an otherworldly glow? And two light-up beer signs on the wall?)


It's what appears over my head when I get a brilliant idea.

I will admit that my acquisition of so many light sources did seem to mock our mission of finding a suitable candidate for his reading nook, but we don’t choose who (or what) we fall in love with, and I had feelings for the electric, pastoral dude. So I bought him. That, and, an antique mirror, a Depression-glass candy dish, and a hardcover edition of Poe’s works translated into French by Charles Baudelaire.

“You don’t read or speak French,” commented my boyfriend.

Mon nom est Pierre. Je suis un médecin,” I retorted.

So, we have yet to illuminate his reading nook. But it’s Sunday again, today. I’m in the mood for rockin’ music and I'm feeling optimistic, so I’m insisting we go out shopping yet again. Besides, I have to buy some more extension cords for the Study.



*Not actually a word.
**Not actually an accepted form of measurement.

(Which sees our author recovering.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 21, 2010 12:55pm | Post a Comment

Whew! Am I glad to see you! Because it means that it’s a new week, and let me tell you – I used last week until it was nothing but a grey and tattered rag. So I can’t wear last week anymore, but I can use it to clean my car.

But I don’t have a car.

Life is complicated.

Since I arrived in Hollywood five years ago, a young and vibrant crackerjack of a kid with high hopes and boundless dreams, I have used my wit and spunk to cultivate a lifestyle wherein which I spend most of my time hidden away in my spooky study, hunched over my laptop and writing scripts about young and vibrant crackerjack kids which I ceased to resemble about five years ago. It’s a circle of muthuhfuggin’ life.

As a result, I haven’t ever actually developed a circle of friends. I’ve just kind of Yoko Ono’d my way into my boyfriend’s social circle, hoping no one would notice. People from my hometown find this hard to believe.

“Job, how is it that a young and vibrant crackerjack like you hasn’t been surrounded by fawning admirers?” they collectively ask.

“Well gang,” I answer as I mix up a batch of my famous celebrities, “I’ve just been so focused on my writing career. I’ve already met the person I want to be in a relationship with for the rest of my life, so unlike my single friends I’m not driven out to socialize in order to find a mate; plus there’s something about fun and laughter and good times that gives me a tummy ache.”

But it’s 2010, the year I make contact. I’m done with being a reclusive writer. A writer, yes – I’m that by nature more than choice – but reclusive, no. While I love Virginia Woolf’s books more than I love most people, I don’t want to end up like her. I will rise from her watery grave! (metaphorically speaking) I will walk the Earth and meet it’s people! I will… well, I guess I’ll be a Virginia Woolf zombie? (metaphorically speaking)

A zombie needs a room of her own and brains if she is to write.

Ugh… I hate it when I lose control of these blogs. I’d take medication for my ADD but I always get distracted.

Anyway, last week I uncharacteristically went out for St. Patrick’s Day. Like, to a bar. Where people were.

I know, right?

And here’s the kicker: I had a great time! It turns out that fun and laughter and good times are as enjoyable as they say. Who knew? I still got a tummy ache, but that didn’t come until the next day, after consuming more beer than I had blood in my body.


Did you know if you drink too much beer you get drunk? No one tells me these things! And it gets worse: the next day you feel awful. Like… like… (I’m searching for words to describe how it feels.) Like you've been hung… over some… thing. I don’t know. Hung over something. Hung? Forget about it. It feels gross – let’s leave it at that.

I suppose I should have anticipated this would happen considering that the MC of my evening was my new friend, Señor Danger. The name’s a tip off, I suppose.

Señor Danger picked me up in his truck, which is roughly the size of the state from which he came, and we spent the next two hours looking for parking (I didn’t realize we were looking for parking until about an hour in; I just thought we were taking a really complicated route to his house).

We relaxed in his apartment, drinking some preparatory bruskis, and waited for a taxi. It was my first time at his place, so I quickly snooped his book and music collection, which is always the best way to discover who someone is. Titles like How to Win Friends and Influence People into the Back of Your Windowless Van and The Holy Bible, King’s African Riles Version, would perhaps prompt lesser people to question Señor Danger’s character, but I perceived a diamond in the rough.

No, really. There was this rough patch in his linoleum, and stuck inside it was this perfect, glittering diamond. I showed it to Señor Danger and he said I could keep it! I was so excited. He muttered something more about some curse or something: “…life around me… crumbling into ruin… monkey’s face… etc…” I was too hypnotized by the beauty of the gem to pay attention.

His music library consisted of a lot of country and Latin jazz, and that’s something to be proud of.




The taxi came, and after a classic verbal exchange with a heavily accented driver wherein which each party repeated directions – with neither driver nor passenger fully understanding the other – until everyone gave up and assumed it would all work out (which it usually does), we cruised into Boys Town. All the while the taxi radio blared…


...Which is a song that always makes me kind of sad, because they played it at my Grandma's funeral. But I digress...

We met up with a couple of Señor Danger’s pals, St. Andrew and The Nurse.

“Who names their kids these things?” I wondered to myself, until, and to my relief, I remembered that these were just pseudonyms I was making up for my blog.

After a meal of ground beef patties served on rolls of baked bread, garnished with vegetables, melted cheese and various sauces, plus a few more preparatory brews (see a pattern forming here?) we set out in search of a party.

We ended up at some cantina where beers were $1.00 each, which sounds like a great idea until about $20.00 later. Señor Danger and I were accused of being brothers on a few separate occasions (us white people all look alike), and we alternately answered that we were brothers, or that we were lovers, or on at least one awkward occasion, combined these two answers into one.

Time passed. The bars in West Hollywood seem to match the volume dials on their sound systems with their clocks, so with each passing hour the music grows louder, until about one o’clock ante meridiem, when you can feel the music more than you can hear it. Señor Danger noticed a slight trickle of blood dripping from my ear, so we decided to call it a night.

We walked back to his home in Beverly Hills, all the while discussing what was most broken about us, both emotionally and spiritually – a topic that, as a man of Swedish decent, feels as natural to me as discussing weather.


After safely seeing him home, I set out for my own abode on the Miracle Mile. It was a pretty straight-forward route; from Beverly Hills you head east on Wilshire. Even so, and even with the aid of Google maps, I managed to set forth for what would have eventually been Santa Monica, had my compassionate boyfriend not intervened with a late night car rescue. Did you know that when you’re drunk it makes you more likely to make poor decisions? No one tells me these things!

The next morning I had to go to work at Amoeba Music Hollywood. Here’s where working in a record store has a real advantage: if you show up looking hung-over, you pretty much look like everyone else. I spent the day begging my co-workers to select headache-friendly music choices, such as these:






...All of which is stuff you can find in the back room at Amoeba Music.

My search for new friends and experiences outside my home continues. If you’re interested in being rad with me, do drop me a line. (metaphorically speaking)