I’ve never really considered myself a “west-coast” guy, in the admittedly stereotypical way that such a thing can even exist.
When I thought of Los Angeles in the past, I would think of the following: Hollywood and Hollywood movies, nice weather, traffic, smog, the beach, urban sprawl, a relaxed outlook, health food fads, no smoking… that’s pretty much where the train of thought ends.
None of those things really appeal to me now, nice weather excluded, but the way I learn and consume information and the way I pass through phases of my life is by picking up a little tidbit of information that piques my interest and latching on to it. I then follow that up to the furthest possible conclusion down a wormhole of media until that phase has been exhausted.
Using Los Angeles as an example:
- I read a Grantland article about the release of the trailer for the new PT Anderson movie, Inherent Vice1, based on the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. In the article, one writer responds to the trailer with a quote from, and a YouTube link to, a scene from The Long Goodbye.
- Natrually, I then watch The Long Goodbye— several times, in fact.
- I then read the Raymond Chandler novel, The Long Goodbye.
- I then read the Thomas Pynchon novel, Inherent Vice.
- During this time, I watch the documentary, Los Angeles Plays Itself, about the film industry’s portrayal of Los Angeles in movies.
- I re-watch LA Confidential, keeping a closer eye on the city.
- Likewise, Chinatown.
- I spend downtime becoming more familiar with the geography of the city on Google maps.
- I look up YouTube clips of James Ellroy dissecting the Black Dahlia murder.
All of this, and this Los Angeles phase isn’t even over yet. The release of Grand Theft Auto V for next-gen consoles has only stoked the flame, believe me. All of this is a long way of saying, or, explaining, that I’ve found a soft-spot for Los Angeles.
It might not have the personality of a New York or San Francisco or New Orleans, but it still has a seedy side and as long as something has a seedy side, there should be something there for me to find interesting.
Maaaaaan does this look good.↩