Los Angeles is not a place
It’s a feeling. A memory. A phase. A thought. A dream. A desire. A living history. A destination. A destiny.
It’s the sensation of driving down the 101 in no traffic and thinking about the intersections and the off ramps and the blood rushing in and out and the interconnected separation that makes it so perfectly juxtaposed.
It’s the ocean breeze that you can feel even under layers of smog on the rooftop of a downtown highrise.
It’s that smell of burning wood when you’re chilling in a hoodie after a day of baking on the beach.
It’s the sound and sight of car chases and sirens. The stairs and hills and lights that illuminate your favorite neighborhoods. The movie stars that are dead and the living screenwriters that are sleepwalking.
It’s the casual bliss of being -- comfortable, aspirational, convenient, but unattainable to everyone else.
It’s the art deco and the western and the overcrowded church with no air conditioning. It’s the glitz and the violence and the mosh pits on the boardwalk.
It’s the mountains and the canyons and the clubs and the beach and the asphalt and the sun and the tacos and the palm trees and the supermarkets and the drivethrus and the old movie theatres.
It’s the ability to drive anywhere and do anything and be anyone at anytime so long as there isn’t traffic.
It’s the expectation and the setting and the pleasure of knowing what you will find. It’s the surprise of the new and the constant reminder of the familiar.
It’s the landing strip and the luggage and that weightlessness that just never goes away.
It’s the way you think it was and will always be even when it’s moving a million miles a minute.
But it’s not a place.
Last night when Nick Waterhouse gave a shout out to that intersection on Echo Park and Sunset Boulevard it reminded of this. That place that isn’t a place. That memory that lives forever and keeps growing every time I return to it. To that thing that won’t stop pulling me back to something I can’t even really define.
"I'm the Mayer Hawthorne-type singer that's perfect for adding sensual tension to any given David Lynch soundtrack," Nick Waterhouse
I met Nick in San Francisco. I don't remember how much we used to talk about LA, but I'm sure we did. I'm sure we talked about how strange it is or was or will always be. He lives there now and I live in DC. It's pretty amazing to see how far he's gotten and incredibly inspirational. A true testament to sticking with it and doing what you absolutely love. I really do miss those walks through the mission, up Potrero hill, with a coffee from that weird coffee shop near that Bart station in hand...those walks to jobs that didn't really care so much when we showed up. Both of us terribly thoughtful about everything. One of the few people who understands why the world is so confusing and with whom I could talk for hours about the intricacies of things people don't normally take the time to ponder.
Anyhow, Nick and his band played an amazing show last night and he just came out with a new record, Holly, which you should definitely buy. If you have any interest in well-thought out melodies, precise rhythms that flow or historically rooted music that sounds familiar and innovative at the same time, then you will love it. Oh, and if you have any interest, desire, or memories of a non-place called Los Angeles, it's kind of essential.