Archive for November, 2010

Just when you think you have it all figured out

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

For some years I had been wondering how the street numbering system worked here.  How is it that a friend of mine could have an address like 20270 North Whatever Street when I knew the street was small and there could not possibly be 20,000 houses on it?  Well, it was recently explained to me and the system is actually quite logical.   I live at 1314 N Formosa Ave.  I am therefore in the 1300 block of numbers, starting from the 100 block at (naturally) 1st Avenue.  One block north from me is the 1400 block, the 1200 block lies to the south.  This holds true for all the streets in the neighbourhood (possibly to the ocean) so you can ascertain relative proximity if you know what block someone lives on.  This would be vastly helpful to cab drivers should they actually exist in this city (which I am not convinced they do).

It gets a little complicated when you start to mess with the fact that there are several incorporated cities within the greater Los Angeles area.  Santa Monica is one, and West Hollywood is another.  WeHo is one of the oddest shaped collection of streets I have ever seen and I cannot determine the logic as to what streets are included in the boundaries and which are not.

I am on Formosa about 4 houses north of Fountain and I am in Los Angeles.  Formosa south of Fountain is in West Hollywood, but the streets north of Fountain to the west of Fairfax are also West Hollywood.  Whatever.

I only realized how complicated this could make things when I went off to find a store at 311 S Robertson Blvd.  I THOUGHT I knew exactly where this was having applied the logic above to my general locale.  Except that Beverly Hills lays claim to part of Robertson, as does West Hollywood.  So there are two North and South Robertsons, about 7 blocks away from one another, and to get to them you have to count down, then up, the down again as you traverse the south part of Robertson in Hollywood, then hit the north part of Robertson in Beverly Hills before reaching the south part of Robertson in Beverly Hills.  Got it?

Both A and B are 311 S Robertson Blvd.

I did manage to drive by a rather interesting homeless guy clad in a black body stocking.  He had an enormous blaster with him and was performing an elaborate interpretive dance on the steps of a hair salon.  Our eyes met on more than one of the many occasions that I was circling the block, cursing and looking for my destination.  I don’t know which of us thought the other one was odder.

Oh, and the store that I was looking for?  Closed on Mondays.


Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

The weather has finally broken here and I was awakened last night to the sound of rain.  It is a sound I love and it has made the air fresh and crisp.  Last week there was another heat wave and I made my way over to the LA County Museum of Art to find a few hours respite from this (taken at 11 AM):

The museum is very large and I wisely limited myself to only a couple of exhibits.  The grounds themselves are expansive and airy and frankly rather odd.  There are several large cubes scattered about, each bearing the name of a vastly wealthy patron (Hammer, Ahmanson, Bing & Resnick amongst them). There doesn’t appear to be any logic applied to the architecture or the positioning of the pavilions – I guess when you are being offered a $30 million endowment, you shut up and build the damn building.  And when I set about making my gajillions, I will commission the likes of Matisse to make a ceramic mural for me too, like this couple did:

Yet again, the contents of said buildings are not as impressive as the cubes that house them.  There’s a very famous Magritte

A half dozen black and white Picassos from an era of which I am not fond.  I do so love Rothko though.

I started to play my favorite game “What Would You Steal?”.  Would my mummy mind if I made off with a Moore?

How about a Kandinsky or Klee?

Sorry.  I am beginning to sound like a Dr Seuss character again.

I LOVED this fabric (and thought of nicking it for my sister)

Christmas shopping is fun when armed with your imagination and the concept of pillaging millions of dollars in art.

This one, entitled “Freeway and Aqueduct” (1957) by an artist I am unfamiliar with (Richard Diebenkorn, USA, 1922-1993), reminds me of my new surroundings. It would look quite nice on my wall, methinks.

My favorite discovery was the name of one the exhibitors.  I may insist you all start referring to me by my new handle.

Love to you all,


Woo Hoo

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

The title of this entry is perhaps a little misleading.  I have noticed that, unlike your typical Canadian, Americans tend to be a vocal lot.  I was at a spin class today and the woman on the bike next to me let out a sudden bark of enthusiasm that nearly knocked me off my cycle.  This is not the first time this has happened.  I have taken hundreds of spin classes in Toronto, and usually at the end of a good class there can be a cheer or two, and some enthused applause.  The other day there was another woman who was grooving along like an epileptic crunking at a rave.  For the uninitiated, spinning is a guided exercise class on stationary bikes.  Your feet are locked down, you are going precisely nowhere in a physical sense, and usually there is a selection of appalling music (Gaga anyone?) playing at deafening levels.  It is high energy, but vocalizations are by no means required.  To do it well you want to keep your body tight to the bike.  Dance moves are a misapplication of energy.  And funny looking.

Perhaps this is the difference between Canadians and Americans.  In a state of extreme emotional enthusiasm, I will neither woo nor hoo.  I would make a terrible game show contestant.  This phenomenon is not dedicated strictly to areas of physical activity.  I have been to see a great deal of comedy here and have noticed a large number of people laughing rather inappropriately loudly.  This seems to increase in frequency with the likelihood that the people in question have not, in fact, understood the joke.

I wonder if this is yet another metamorphosis I will have to undergo in order to truly fit in here.  I hope not.  If you see me carrying on inappropriately when I am back in town feel free to give me a cuff.  If you catch me nervously cackling at something polysyllabic, cuff me twice.  Then tell me what it means.

Manhattan Beach

Friday, November 5th, 2010
I went out to Marina Del Rey the other day to test drive a car I had seen on Auto Trader.  A little Pontiac Soltice, silver with ridiculously low mileage (under 2000).  The price was right, the car was cute and I have been debating whether I should buy a car or keep renting.  The rental rates seem to be climbing but insurance it covered so there are pros and cons to each scenario.  I was not particularly familiar with the Solstice, but it does have “girl car” written all over it.
I drove out to the lot and took it for a spin and oh my goodness what a useless excuse for an automobile.  It is lovely to look at, but really low riding, not a lot of power (those who know me know I have a tendency to drive rather quickly) and there was exactly zero trunk space.  With the roof UP I could not fit my computer bag/satchel in, leave alone the idea of a bag of groceries.  With the roof down and tucked away an orange in the storage space would have wound up as juice.  It was like driving a purse.  So no car for me that day.
I had a meeting later on with Fran The Man in Manhattan Beach and he recommended that rather than drive straight back to the highway I take a little detour to the shore.  I keep forgetting that if you keep heading west, you inevitably bang into this:
Manhattan Beach is lovely and unlike its more northern counterparts like Venice and Santa Monica there is no highway close by so from the steep little streets that peg off the main drag you are seconds from the sand.  There is a very nice small town vibe to it and I have been told the surfing is excellent.
I rolled up my trousers and wandered into the frigid ocean, marveling at the 90+ degree heat in NOVEMBER no less.
I noticed the birdies had the same idea.


Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

First there was Dia de los Muertos.  A lovely, spiritual, familial celebration.  Then the heathens got a hold of it.

I wandered over on the 31st to take in some of the West Hollywood Hallowe’en Carnavale.  The theme was “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” which was interesting as I saw exactly one person dressed as a character from the show and it was a Little Nell, not even Frank N Furter.  Curious.  Granted, I was there early.  I was a little tired, I am not wild about crowds and I knew it would be absolute mayhem once things got going.  And I was right.  I arrived at about 7:30 (kick off was scheduled for 7:00)  There were thousands of people pouring down Santa Monica Blvd at La Cienega.  I walked for about 10 minutes in, while it took about 15 minutes to get out.  I felt like a spawning salmon struggling to get up stream (which would have made an excellent costume, now that I think about it).

There were quite a few Chilean miners, but I liked this the best (note the caption “What happens in the mine, stays in the mine”).

There were a large number of towering drag queens, and a series of very gay angels

There were some of your traditional scary outfits

There were some interesting creative turns too.  This girl is a “One Night Stand” or, a “One Nightstand” – all of the accoutrement on the desk (cigarettes, condoms etc)

Fem Hi products

This takes some guts

Lots of amusement.

I ran in to this little ninja on my way out.  He was being carted around on his dad’s shoulders, being gently buffeted by the taller bewigged trannies, waving to everyone like the Queen of England.  He truly seemed to believe this was all being put on for his benefit.

Once again, spirits and energy were at a high.  There were DJ booths set up every few blocks, there was music and dancing everywhere and everyone seemed happy to be a part of it all.  I read today that a number of people roughly equivalent to the population of Sudbury, Ontario were crammed into a few city block, and there were no incidence of violence or bad behavior reported.

Well, I am sure there was SOME bad behavior, but nothing that necessitated police intervention.  Although I did see one guy tricked put like the cop from the Village People, so perhaps some exceptions were made behind closed doors.