Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Left My Heart

I started this post over a week ago with grand yet unrealistic goals of penning a farewell tribute (think Ken Burns on paper) to my home of the last 6 years, Los Angeles. With a teething child in one hand and packing tape in the other I slowly came to the realization that my Pulitzer Award winning ode to the city of the angels would not be possible at this juncture. Baby brain tends to stifle even the most hardened type-A personalities. 

Gibbons-del Rio House
So my little "goodbye" is going to be short & sweet. Six years ago I was in a moving van heading down I-5 toward Los Angeles.  And I was crying in my coffee. Us native northern Californians have a thing against southern California, a loathing if you will that is on par intensity-wise with the feelings of those who use the term 'War of Northern Aggression'. We have our own Mason-Dixon line that is somewhere near Santa Barbara. Those that venture south of it would only deign to do so if it were a trip to Disneyland -and even then it would be iffy. However, my husband got a great job "down there" so down there we were going; moving to the Pit of Despair. I knew I wouldn't like it there. In fact, I was looking forward to disliking it.  But a funny thing happened on the way to Humilityville...I fell in love...and as Kelly LeBrock used to didn't happen overnight but it did happen.

Case Study #22 House/ Stahl House
L.A. is not by any means, a pretty place.  Let's be honest, it's really this side of tacky. And at times the energy that some people put into being "noticed" can be oppressively exhausting even to a bystander (though it does provide for some of the best people watching. Go to Joan's on Third). But the area has a bit of interesting and beauty to be found nearly everywhere.  Remember those dot posters they sold in the mall circa 1995? You know...the ones where if you squint really hard they reveal some spectacular 3D image of dolphins mating? Well that's L.A. in a nutshell.  The trick though isn't squinting but knowing where to look.

Architects, designers, artists, teachers, Hollywood players and haters helped me to peal back the layers of smog and strip malls revealing a Los Angeles that has permanently dismantled my pretentious bias. Oh, never you fear, there's still people & places of ugly a plenty...but by experiencing the good one can push the bad aside, if only for a little while, unless you're on the 405 at 5pm.

This week we moved back to the lovely Bay Area -with the implicitly gorgeous San Francisco at the center of it all. And while I thought I wanted this for so long, I can't help but feel that my heart is still back in L.A.

John Humble, photographer
The Getty
Schindler House, West Hollywood
Joan's On Third
Griffith Observatory
Hungry Cat, Hollywood
Hollyhock House
Bottega Louie, Downtown
Richard Neutra House, Silver Lake
Little bit of street art (Mr. Brainwash)

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