Dr. Who Boogie

Los Angeles, Part One

There is a theory in the Great Miasma of THINGS that anything that can happen, or was ever even thought about in passing, exists in some form. It may not exist in the reality in which we think we all currently reside, but exist it does.

I write this statement as if I am a scientist on the verge of proving this theory, but I am not; however, I am an individual who has experienced this phenomenon many times over throughout my life.

On the night of my 49th birthday, those odd occurrences that remind you that there is Something the Fuck Going On culminated in a concert that had been proclaimed for decades would never happen.

At the beginning of the year, it was announced on the official Electric Light Orchestra mailing list that Jeff Lynne would play three consecutive shows at the Hollywood Bowl on Septembers 9, 10, and 11, and to be on the lookout for the announcement for when the tickets went on sale, ‘cos they’d probably go quickly.

I wrote every friend I had to let them know, to see if anyone would be interested in seeing this concert enough to buy tickets, with me making arrangements for everything else, from travel to lodging to food.  One of my oldest friends and most fun faux musical nemesis, Andy, opted in.  Not long after, the tickets went on sale, and I went to work making arrangements, which included couch surfing with Brian, the man who plays the spoon-wielding demon, the Ginosaji, himself.

I got into town first, in amongst about 30 surly homeless people who were arguing with the police.  You gotta love Greyhound!  Making my way to the airport, I waited to Andy, fetched him, fetched the car, then off we went to Brian’s, who was just getting home himself.  He had weekend for luxury in the desert.  After a while of visiting, Brian gave us fierce hus and went off on his own adventure, leaving us to it.

After a late dinner at the House of Pies right down the street, Andy and I crashed for the night with tentative plans to explore some better known areas of the city – at least better known to us Gen X’ers – and soak up some architecture. 
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We kept a lot open, as Andy was still jet-lagged – yes it is thing! – and my ability to move around like a teenager was received by someone else when such superpowers were being handed out once upon a time.

Up early the next day, we went for pancakes (Andy) and eggs and tomato juice (me), then set to figuring out where we wanted to go and how we were going to get there.  GPS is a thing of wonder.
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Andy at Melrose Place (I think?!)

First was the Ennis House, which is closed to the public, but that doesn’t stop people from lurking up and down the winding road upon which it rests.  Although a famed Frank Lloyd Wright creation, it is also known for being the location for many movies, not the least of which is the original Vincent Price film, House on Haunted Hill.  Even though it only has two bedrooms and three bathrooms, the structure is huge.  It has some amazing windows, from what we could see from the road, and I simply fell in love with the gate.  There was a massive, heavy chain blocking the gate from the road, but that didn’t stop me from shimming underneath to get a blurry picture of LA through the intricate design.  There was a camera trained on that particular area, so I’m probably a wanted woman by now.  I don’t care.  Come get me.
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Afterward, we headed to the Griffith Observatory, but could find no place to park, so enjoyed the drive and scenery up, took a couple of pics , then back down, going next to another Frank Lloyd Wright home, the Hollyhock House. 
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There were no pictures allowed there, so I have no visual offerings to provide here.  Suffice it to say, the domicile is astounding, and I can see why the wealthy were so keen to have FLW design their homes back in the day.  I don’t think they’d be as prudent in this day and age, because of climate change, because the homes were certainly not designed for air conditioning; rather for maximum air flow throughout.  But, when the temps are higher and the air flow isn’t what it used to be, I’m think some rich people would be a bit surly with Mr. Wright.  I guess that’s one of the reasons why Hollyhock and, eventually, Ennis, are public landmarks rather than residences now.  Besides, who wants to ruin great architecture by doing anything other than restoring it?  Adding A/C seems almost sacrilegious. 
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Afterward, it was Pop Culture time, where Andy was hellbent on finding and eyeballing the Brady Bunch house.  Hey, don’t judge.  We were raised on this stuff!  A lot of it has changed, but you can still tell it’s the house.  We never saw anyone there, so I just assume the family were vacationing in Hawaii, battling cursed Tiki carvings.  Funny, I thought that was Paul Clemens job, or maybe he’s the one who carves them.  It’s not for me to say.  ::looks about shiftily::

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After all the driving about, we both needed a breather.  Andy was still seriously jet-lagged, and me being a hermit, I needed a mo or few away from the hustle and bustle.  We found a grocery and purchased a few things for ourselves and for Brian for later, and returned to the pad for a breather and regroup for a little while.  Time just flew.  Later, Andy was keen on some Italian food, so we walked down to a place called Palermo where Andy got a lasagna that could have fed a family of forty North Koreans, and I got a delightful lentil soup.

I called Paul when we got back to make arrangements to meet the next day.  We decided on House of Pies at 3 PM, as he had a film showing to attend in the area a little while after that, and we needed to be at the concert venue about an hour prior to the concert beginning.  All seemed in order.

We then crashed.  Hard.

Come 10 September.  Another early day, but we both seemed more energized than the day before.  Extended travel, no matter what form, can suck the life out of you like Cadmus Pariah snacking on the first two rows of an audience at a Magnificat concert.

On Paul’s suggestion, we ate at Mel’s Drive-In, which is a 50’s style diner in the style of Pulp Fiction, which was something Andy was jonesing to experience.  I opted for a Popeye’s Breakfast, a super vitamin/protein shake made of spinach, kale, beets, and parsley.
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Just a guess, but I’m thinking Andy was wondering what the draw vegetarianism has for me, so he ordered – and I may be wrong about the name – eggs verde.  It was primarily green in colour, with tomatoes, corn, soft-boiled eggs, and toast.  Even though he wasn’t impressed with the taste (non-vegetarians seems to need to get accustomed to the rich flavour and aroma meat can add to any dish), he later admitted to feeling really energized.  When food is no longer a major priority, taste isn’t that much of a thing, but fuel is.  I think it kept him going a lot long than the day before, and he admitted to not feeling as weighed down or as sluggish.  One note before I move on to our next adventure, Andy went down for coffee before we began our day, and spied a t-shirt in a window of cats in UFOs attacking dogs, which he had to have.  This comes into play later. 
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After breakfast, we drove downtown to stare menacingly at the Cecil Hotel, which is now called Stay on Main, but everyone still calls it the Cecil because of its notorious reputation.  Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger both stayed there whilst on their festive killing sprees.  Being one of those big honkin’ donkey Sith girl cowards, I was satisfied taking pictures from the car, but was fortunate enough to get pictures of the famed water tanks, one of which contained the two-week old body of Elisa Lam, whose decomposition made the hotel’s water black for a short time.  If you haven’t heard the strange story of Elisa Lam, you really should do yourself a favour (or disservice) by watching what happened with this unfortunate Canadian tourist, who thought it was a good idea to party in a bad part of town whilst staying at a hotel that offers amenities like hostel shared bathrooms and showers, and a death or two.
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Andy fell in love with the area.  He like grimy, gritty, sordid parts of cities.  But he’s male, and probably not as worried about ending up like the Black Dahlia.  Elizabeth Short had been to the Cecil when it was in better shape.  She was last seen at the Biltmore before reappearing later on, bisected, wearing a Glasgow smile, and bisected. 

Despite our long and deep friendship, Andy and I had radically different interests in the story of Los Angeles.  Our themes, other than meeting friends and basking in the glory that is Jeff Lynne, were architecture and gruesome happenings.  Opposites attract indeed. 

To be continued.
  • Current Location: the house
  • Current Mood: tired tired
  • Current Music: Electric Light Orchestra - Eldorado
Frank Lloyd Wright and old-style diners. I approve like you. Was it the Mel's in West Hollywood or the Mel's in Sherman Oaks? I checked Mel's website to see. (And now I wish I'd gone to one of the San Francisco Mel's the last time I was there.)

Trivia: I know a Portland writer who in the early 90s lived in L.A., and she worked at the diner Tarantino often ate at (the same diner he used in Pulp Fiction). She can't be sure, but she'd say "There's always time for pie!" so she thinks Tarantino remembered and used that line. :-)

Again, I'm so glad this trip worked out for you.
I love you and I'm so glad you got to do this amazing thing. <3