Personal Glimpses of Los Angeles
The Los Angeles of the Senses
Visiting a big, sprawling city such as Los Angeles is not just seeing the iconic things that tour guides take you to see. It's about walking on the concrete sidewalks, driving down the busy streets and getting a feel for the vibe of the city.
Los Angeles is not only the big Hollywood sign and Beverly Hills and Grauman's Chinese Theater and Rodeo Drive and the awesome Universal Studios. But to get a real feel of L.A. one has to see Los Angeles not as a tourist but a person who recognizes its full monty--it's amazing images and people and architecture and food and its spectacular Southern California panache. Los Angeles is many more things than just the obvious or the things that you read about or hear from travel agencies.
When I see L.A, I see her heart. I hear her voice. I taste her salt water and feel her sandy texture and I smell her wide variety of smoky spicy foods and sweet candies.
So I took my camera and I clicked some random snapshots of a city that I find interesting, unique, beautiful, unpredictable and full of excitement.
It's a Movie Town
LA is not a tall building town or a hustle and bustle town like New York or Chicago.
It is spread out and it is vast--extending from beaches to inland and to rolling hills and mountains and valleys.
It is a town that moves at a leisurely pace. It has a cool rhythm and a gentle, but passionate vibe.
The first thing that I see when I enter L.A. is its billboards. I see the movies that are being touted and marketed. I see the movie stars in alluring poses and flashy, creative imagery of billboard designs.
I see current Hollywood movies and the old classics when I'm in L.A.. I can envision the old screen legends walking on Sunset or Hollywood or Wilshire like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall and a gushing James Stewart. I see You Can't Take It With You and I see the Philadelphia Story. I see A Streetcar Named Desire and I see Gone with the Wind. I see the John Wayne films and I see old silent films like The General and their movie stars like Greta Garbo and Buster Keaton.
Everywhere I go in L.A. I am inundated with movies that touch my every emotion as I look up to see the next billboard as I drive down Hollywood Boulevard.
In L.A., movies are in every cavern and underpass and parking lot. The billboards and the movie posters come at you like a pushy salesman. Wherever you go--the art museums, the bus stop, the abandoned lot, the mall and the hamburger joints--movies seem to call for you.
It's a town where movies are played and made and conceived and die and are reborn again.
Los Angeles is where the world waits for the next important motion picture like people waiting for the messiah. It's a place where the celluloid hero is more important than the Gods who created him.
And I keep hearing that ear worm...And the Oscar for the best picture goes to...
Hollywood, Los Angeles CA
What do You Like Most About Los Angeles?
Billboards on Vine Street
It's a Fashionista Town
It's a town where people want to be seen.
It's a Beach Boys' California Girls bikini town.
It's a town where exhibitionism in outrageous fashion is the norm.
It's a place where the fashionistas walk to get attention and to impress upon you that they have style and that they are on the cutting edge of fashion despite the fact that they might be wearing too much makeup or their short skirts and boots don't jive. People are willing to take fashion risks and explore boundaries here.
It's a place where there are top design and fashion schools. It's a place where fashion icons come to sell their new designs. It's a place where people come to learn how to become the next Valentino or Tom Ford. It has a fashion center and a fabric center second to none.
It's a town where white gloves and clothing with sparkles abound. It's a town where Pharrell walks and dances with his Vivienne Westwood hat. A town where Kim Kardashian sports her enormous butt. It's a town where the Southern Cal Trojans wear cardinal and gold and their arch rival, the UCLA Bruins, white, blue and gold.
It's a town where people dress up to walk on the red carpet and go to foo-foo restaurants and Beverly Hills parties that only rich celebrities attend. It's a town where the wealthy and the poor have their own fashion sense--and they're not afraid to show it.
But if you don't have a fashion sense and want some, try shopping at boutiques such as the Vibe, the Goods or the Backstory. You just might walk out of there like a SoCal fashionista.
It's a People Town
It's a town full of famous people and people who want to be famous and pseudo famous people and rich people who are not famous.
It is a people town where people dream and imagine what they could be. It's a town where people's dreams come true and somewhat true and never true.
It's a town where Walt Disney created his lovable Disney characters that touched people all over the world.
It's a town where Charlie Chaplin helped to make movies and where Dream Works makes animation and 20th Century Fox made The Planet of the Apes.
It's a town where Magic lives and seeks to make South Central a better place with more jobs.
It's a Jim Brown town who talks to the gangs in L.A. and Compton and a John Wooden town where he helped to make Pauley Pavilion into a college basketball dynasty.
It's a kaleidoscope of people under palm trees, a blazing sun and a canopy of smog and carbon emissions.
It's people laughing in the comedy clubs and people listening to rock 'n roll in the Whiskey A-Go-Go or folk music at the Hotel Cafe.
It's memories of the Doors playing Light My Fire and the Electric Prunes psychedelically singing I Had Too much To Dream Last Night.
It's a town where the famous people could be seen on the front row at the Staples Center in white, purple and gold.
It's a town where Kareem sank a sky hook shot and Shaq broke a backboard.
it's a baseball town where Koufax pitched a perfect game and Gibson hit a game winning home run in the world series.
It's a Michael Jackson moonwalk town and a place where people come to with lots of hope from little towns in Iowa and Nebraska.
It's a town where Batman teams with Robin and Spider-Man has an affair with Wonder Woman. And for a nominal fee you could meet them all and take pictures of them along Hollywood Boulevard.
A Spider-Man Sighting on Sunset Boulevard
It's a Foodie Town
It's a foodie town with loads of options. Lots of chefs and restauranteurs from all over the world come to L.A. to make your mouth water and your tummy full.
It's a place where you can buy a famous Pink's Hotdog for under five bucks and get the Guadalajara Dog.
It's a sushi place with loads of fresh sushimi and sushi rolls. It's a place where you can get seared yellowtail or have some tasty fresh water eel with a side of garlic edamame.
It's a foo-foo place where you can eat at Spago Beverly Hills or enjoy the eating ambiance in a flying saucer at the Encounter Restaurant or do the Brittish thing with some Yorkshire pudding and creamed corn at Lawry's.
Or if you just want to grab something on the go, try a food cart. A food cart you say? Food carts or food trucks line the sidewalks in front of museums and sports arenas, Try a Japanese burrito at Jogaskai Sushi Burrito or crepes from Crepe Around or seafood from the Lobsta Truck or BBQ from the Kogi or something simple but tasty from the Grilled Cheese Truck.
In L.A. you want to try something different and new. Whether its signature foods like tacos, French dip, Thai, Korean, Chinese or sushi--Los Angeles is a town where you can experiment and try food you're not accustomed to in Iowa.
It's a Hot Dog Place
It's an Artsy Place
It's a place where you can go up the hill by an electric train car to see an amazing museum with a great view of Los Angeles at the Getty Museum.
L.A. is a place where you can see sculptures by Rodin, modern art, masters of impressionism and get lost in a series of street lamps at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
It's a place where there is art on the walls or hanging off something--a gigantic black chihuahua, a teddy bear dangling from a telephone line, a picture of Dick Tracy pointing a gun and a colorful portrait of Michael Jackson in Thriller mode. And you don't even have to get a ticket; you just have to keep your eyes open.
It's a place where art is in the water.
It's a Venice Beach town where sand sculptures take unusual forms and dimensions.
Look around and see people carrying their easels or artists painting in the parks or photographers with big zoom lenses or tattoo artists carving out flesh masterpieces.
If you're not sure what being artsy is--check out a band at the Wiltern on Wilshire Boulevard. It has a definite artsy L.A. feel and you might just pick up some pointers.
Art with a Message
L.A. is a Place Where You Keep Coming Back
Whenever I go to Los Angeles, I become a sponge.
I want to take it all in, as much as I can but I know that I can never take in all of it. There's just too much to appreciate in the City of Angels.
That's why I keep coming back. That's why I take the drive down Route 101 from my home in Santa Barbara and weather the regular traffic jams and insane drivers. It's all worth it.
One day I see a basketball game at Staples, another time I people watch at The Grove. Another day it might be the Getty or the Griffith Conservatory. Perhaps at night I might go to the Comedy Store and later some sushi at Kabuki.
I've been to New York City on numerous occasions. I also enjoy its diversity and its wealth of culture. But I always come home with a headache and exhausted wondering why I went to NYC in the first place and telling myself that I won't go back there for awhile.
With Los Angeles it's different. I can take in her wealth of diversity and culture without the headache. I usually come home refreshed and planning another visit. Real soon.