I'm almost on the night train outta here so thought I should try and make some decent pictures for once - ones that show this part of the world in all it's Brady Bunch glory. Southern California architecture is pretty amazing. It's kind of like living in what I imagine my Day-To-Night Barbie's home would have been located within. I only ever had her plastic bedroom (and when I lost one of her sparkly stiletto heels I gave up on that shit and went back to my Tonka trucks. Only to have my dad sell them in a garage sale without my permission later on. I'm still pissed off at the loss of my green back-loader truck. But I severely digress)….
The houses and town planning in American suburbia are kind of creepy - even in perfect and relentlessly good weather. They're just too perfect. Everything works, everything is clean and tidy, everyone has a two car garage, a double door entrance, a double door fridge and 2.5 kids. Everyone says hello to each other in the street (you should see me trying to crack my concrete face into a smile to complete strangers after living in London, it's like seeing a stroke victim trying to speak).
It's just not real here. Everyone is white, everyone has a tertiary education, everyone can afford to shop at Whole Foods. Everyone believes soap to be inferior to antibacterial hand cleanser (soap is antibacterial by definition people!). I keep expecting Mike Brady to come cruising round the corner. Marcia, marcia, marcia - where are the skeletons?
I'm in one small part of white suburban america - but having travelled the country quite a bit over the last 14 years and having lived here before, i feel safe and sad to say that a lot of America is much the same as it is here (just minus the education part and Whole Food affordability) - in terms of conservatism and sheltered existence. Most people who have the means to, haven't travelled. When they meet someone who has, they have a longing in their voice but a sentiment that implies it's not something they could ever do. If only there was a culture of travel here - a culture of inquisitiveness and fascination with the other. I think the world would be a different place if at least every second American had travelled. Oh and if they also gave up their irritating obsession with that pesky little Jesus character that wouldn't go astray either.
America has produced some massively important movements that have shifted cultural paradigms worldwide - for good and bad. We very easily focus on the bad, but let's not forget where feminism/women's rights, black people's rights, student movements originated from (and erm, Gunners!). But it always seems to stop short, or become overshadowed by a nationalistic pride in bullying. Cultural bullying, economic bullying, environmental bullying and so on.
America is quite an amazing place. The landscape, the people, the diversity. It's like an amazing painting or favourite picture where each time you look at it you see something different. Sometimes you like what you see, sometimes you don't. It's never definitively one or the other.
But one thing is for sure, there are not enough pubs here. Fucking bullshit!
Golden Globe parties at the Chateau Marmont? A position outside the Globes ceremony? If I had of tried hard enough and could climb really tall fences it might have happened (I was on the bus on Santa Monica and happened to go past the hotel where it was but had no clue it was on), so fuck that shit homie! Ima goin' to the Rainbow Bar and Grill to reinact scenes from November Rain and be served by total bitch waitresses who used to be top notch slags in the 80s, hanging off Motley Crue's collective cocks (cock-i?) but are now stuck behind the bar looking like saggy Elvira's with no other thrills than being rude to rawk n' roll tourists like myself. Hells yeah! I WISH I turn out to be like these bitches when I'm old. Getting paid to be a bitch? Now that's my kind of job.
Sample contextualising conversation:
Saggy bitch Elvira waitress: "whaddya want"
Me: "What beer do you have?"
Saggy bitch Elvira waitress: "Well what kinda beer you want?"
Me: " Well what kind of beer do you have? I don't know - that's WHY I'M ASKING"
The Lab has been on a rock and roll tour of LA hotspots from the 80's. Nay, the Lab is LIVING the RAWK dream. The Lab likes to mix it up a little so we also took a spin round various Hollywood bars, gallery openings (HOLY SHIT LA artists are full of it. But lucky for me I know my Deleuze so enjoyed firing little Deleuze bullets every time I was patronised. Take that Rhizhomatic grenade punk! I see your patronising art-speak and raise you TEN!). The Lab (plus crazy new friend) also made sure to give a ride to a 21 year old girl to pick up her husband from the Wilshire Blvd jail. We nice like that.
(prepartory devil horn throwing for the night ahead)
Saturday night involved cruising up Sunset, past all the papps outside the Chateau Marmont (Globes parties were all over town) and up to the Strip proper. The Whiskey, The Roxy, Rainbow, the Viper Room and to a less meaningful extent, the House of Blues and the Troubador. I'd already been to a show at the House of Blues about 10 years ago so couldn't be bothered to go back there again.
Sipping shit beer at the Rainbow Bar for a large $US6 each was a true highlight. Terrible service and a really unwelcoming vibe totally killed my ability to take any photos. Apart from these shit ones:
(Rainbow Bar and Grill)
(Rainbow Bar and Grill)
The Roxy is next door, and then down from there the Whiskey. Each place you need tickets to get in, so the Lab just observed from outside. It's mainly kids who look like Blink 182 - essentially play school rock and roll and the kids to match.
Not the most exciting rock and roll experience, but never the less, one that HAD to be done.
(chicks on Sunset outside the Whiskey)
(cool kids from the Viper Room)
(band on Sunset between the Roxy and the Whiskey)
But in more exciting news, I did meet someone who is a friend of a friend who is Axl Rose's cable TV installer. If that doesn't make me totally rock and roll royalty I don't know what does. I mean HELLO! I know the guy who knows the guy who programs Axl's TV!!! DAY_UM! Apparently Axl used to call this guy all the time at weird hours of the night, totally wasted and be all like "shit! I threw something at the damn TV! Can you come fix it??!! Like, now!!"
The ending of the November Rain video all makes sense now - when Axl sits up in bed all upset/distraught. He's like, totally about to call his cable guy because he fucked up the TV again and can't handle the stress of it all. Poor guy.
(bars in Hollywood - 3 of Clubs, the main bar in Swingers)
(Frankie and Johnnie)
(hangover breakfast on Sunset in Silverlake. My head hurts.)
Urgent! I'm about to drive up to LA and I've decided to do a spur of the moment photographic project. The theme? Why, 80's power rock LA! What else? I've started up a google map with various locations that I'm going to spin past. With enough Whiskey I should be able to get in real close with my lens. Failing that, I shall just have to adjust my sideways pony tail and bat my bedazzle encrusted eyelashes.
But I need your rock n roll help. Please add to the map with any places you think worthy of including in my mission. I'll be shooting on Saturday night, and will be on foot so keep that in mind. I'm not climbing the Hollywood sign so don't ask.
Anyone know Axl? Know someone who knows someone? Hooks me up with the tips!
If you want add to my google map send me an email and I'll send you back an invitation to "collaborate" on the map. Please feel free to pass this on to your power rocking friends.
While I still have a lot of blog catching up to do, I was thinking that a big part of blogging is the immediacy of it all. Which is great in some ways as you can read and see stuff right as it happens, but bad in the sense that this immediacy doesn't exactly leave room for reflective writing and thinking. You just get the reaction to an event. And a total lack of proof reading and spell checking.
Anyway, only running on one coffee at the moment so best leave the blog philosophising to another day. Have just been running around the beach outside the lab and took these pictures early this morning. While not quite 'right now' they are as close to 'right now' as this blog will ever get.
Long time no lab talk! How are youse all? The lab has been on tour and the weirdo-only-in-america stories are racking up fast (as are the stupid questions, sample: On the bus in LA "what language do they speak in Australia?" and wait for it, totally gets better - "and what about in England, is it still English?". I explained that Avatar was actually a documentary film based on Australia and the language can be learnt at university if she was really interested. There was no registering of humour at this point.
I really need to write a lot more on each event but just to keep you posted on what's been going on, dear singular reader, here's an abridged visual array of the lab adventures.
an earthquake, a bad hair cut, visiting San Francisco, almost dying at the Annual Geophyisics Union conference in San Francisco at the sight of typographic rape (scientists designing posters = design cardiac arrest for me). Staying in Oakland and getting drunk with an Alaskan weapons finger printer who works at a top secret US government facility (hello weapons manufacturing) and who also pissed on the edge of a crater in Area 51 in the desert (she's my hero now), new years eve in the desert (Homme-land, also known as the Mojave desert) partying the new year in with the Sheriff of the town no less!, and strange Texans who fix windmills in the desert, karaoke in the desert singing Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi, fun times at the US/Mexico border, hiking in the desert, woodpecker sightings, no rattlesnake sightings, getting tattoos on Sunset Blvd, yelling a weird LA arty types, crashing parties in LA, snubbed about 100 times because I'm not on face book, celeb spotting, tacos, and relentless 28 degree days. I've even got a tan! Without even trying! I don't even want one!
Anyway…..I'll get to work on writing up some of the more entertaining stories.
(one of these people fingerprints weapons at Livermore, the US Government facility that sounds really scary. Said person also peed on the edge of a crater out in Area 51 in the Nevada desert. Good to know that top secret workers still get on the booze and piss on the edge of craters like we all do every friday night.)
(Jacumba Hot Springs Motel, right on the border of Mexico - literally! Mojave desert [Homme-town])
(anyone for a game of basketball right next to the fence to Mexico? Note the fence running up the mountain to the right)
(the fence between Mexico and US. A charming story of drug runners, drug mules, people getting killed, families split up, a paranoid US government, and totally hot patrol guards.)
(hey I've got a good idea! Let's hike up a mountain in the desert that still has unexploded military devices planted all around! Yay! Fun!)
(where the fuck are these rattlesnakes!!?? I REALLY want to see one. I'm sick of all these Looney Tunes animals, skunks, racoons, woodpeckers etc I want to see animals that can kill properly, not just spray you with a stinky smell!)
(happy new year from the bar out in the desert......)
(3D cinema dome on Sunset Strip, Hollywood LA)
(fresh tattoo done on Sunset Blvd. Tattoo + adrelaine of getting it done + beer + awesome 60s Californian wallpaper = big fucking night out!)