LA Spring 2003


I. I know I’m home when:

  • Construction workers have frosted hair
  • Billboards are in Spanglish
  • Fourteen year old skaters have 8x as many tattoos as I do
  • Fashion is a year ahead, and everyone wears it, not 10%. Hip-hop is fin. Punk is deck. And the Dickey-based janitor look, possibly the last working-class look to be co-opted.
  • I see things like this:



and this:



I also saw “Instant Smog” and “State Approved Smog”



II. Around Town


Stopped by Olvera St. to buy presents, avoid buying gorditas, and see favorite mural, which I call “The Mad Engineer”:



Went to MOCA to see the Lucian Freud exhibit.  The flags called him “Britain’s greatest realist.”  His portraits are stylized and like grandpa Sigmund, he has a knack for personality:



Jadis’s sells scientific movie props.  They are, alas, open by appointment only.




May wasn’t beachgoing weather.  I had some of LA’s most popular beaches to myself.


Newport Beach:



Laguna Beach:


Temporary housing at Laguna Beach:



III. Motorcycle Pilgrimage

On the East Coast it’s the Harley factory. On the Left Coast, it’s West Coast Choppers, where Jesse James works. 



The work area:



The lobby:




If you’re a biker, you’ve seen this mural.  They have the original.



IV. Food Pilgrimage

First thing off the plane, I head for Wolfgang Puck’s Chinoise on Main. Puck invents whole new flavors—spicing so complex I can’t identify any ingredients. The dishes are 5-part essays in similarities and contrasts; don’t see how they prepare them in time for lunch. Which is the only meal I can afford there.


Chinoise is a casual show-biz hangout.  Saw Richard Gere having lunch; a friend had Keanu Reeves ask to borrow a chair.


Dessert: lemon sorbet in a different-lemon-tasking egg white shell topped with a third-lemon-flavor crème brule, surrounded with raspberries and blackberries in a tart huckleberry sauce with just a trace of cinnamon.