LA’s ever-shifting wall-art world

April 17, 2014

Most of the art I get round to seeing is painted on walls. I love the people who beautify the city I live in with their work.

1000-wallart_dovecan

A new one. I gather it’s all about peace and love.

1000_wallart_love

“All you need is the right kind of love”. Don’t I know it. And if it’s out there, it’s out of reach right now. A married friend recently gave me a well-meaning lecture about how hard love was – as if I didn’t know. But I still think life is better with it than without it, and I still believe finding it is sadly, rare.

1000_wallart_loveme

Yeah. But do it the right way. I love how you don’t even see the car advert dominating the wall.

1000_wallart_cellphone

Check out that cell phone that uses the pipe of the building as an aerial. One of my favourites, which I pass almost daily.

1000_wallart_wilternbuildingbetter

The beautiful Wiltern. I wish I could live inside it. I must go see a band there sometime. Somehow managed to miss Amos Lee when he played.

1000_wallart_wiltern

On an electricity box opposite the big Wiltern… a little Wiltern. So cute. I hope nobody messes it up.

1000wallart_chicken

A lot of the wall art that survives unscathed over the years does so because it’s high up. But unfortunately nobody’s too high up to hide from capitalism.

1000_wallartfaces

Don’t remember where I took this. It’s so cool.

1000goodnbad1

Some places need art more than others. I nearly missed this one, just after a burned out building.

1000-goodnbad6

Someone has badly defaced it so it almost blends in with the lost, run down strip of Chrenshaw, with $20 tattoo parlors, pawn shops and 99c stores competing for sparse clients.

1000goodnbad4

Punch-in: It’s like whoever defaced this with crude, pointless black paint doesn’t realise how what they are doing just underlines what the words are telling them.

1000-goodnbad3

Punch-in: A woman passing saw me looking at it and stopped to talk. “I watched the artist painting this for half an hour,” she said. “The kids who drew all over this should be arrested. That’s what we need. Zero tolerance. I live around here but it’s so dangerous.” Then she crossed the road and I wondered if I’d ever see her again.

1000-goodnbad2

Punch-in: It’s called “The Gift”. Hey whatever you think of what the artist is saying, it’s still something better to think about than what car to buy, or which four letter words to tattoo on your knuckles.

 

1000_wallart_stencil

Stencil art is big in Cape Town too. Damn the moron with the purple crayon!

But hey, let’s end with my favorite, of all time, so far unblemished.

1000_wallart_byzantine

Because in this sometimes lonely city, the writing underneath the angel picture says: We are all angels with one wing. We can only fly holding each other. I also love the paintings on the wall of the Peter Pan Market and 99c Store opposite it.

Little Los Angeles: Look closer for sad stories and small miracles

April 13, 2014

Look at LA. Isn’t she beautiful? What always amazes me is how much is hidden behind, around, and underneath the buildings that I remember from watching LA Law re-runs as a lonely tween on Saturday nights in South Africa long ago.

sign_laview

Taken from the parking lot at Galleria Mall, Koreatown

sign_oculus

Oculus just released. It’s the story of two grown kids who destroy a killer mirror (yeah, for sure!) by the makers or Paranormal Activity and other horror gems.

Look closer: Someone has drawn red horns on the girl.

Look closer: Someone has drawn red horns on the girl, and made her eyes red. Probably a burned out Hollywood nanny on their day off.

sign_whitebuilding

A building near mine on a cloudy morning. There’s a story poking through from under the fresh coat of white paint…

sign_rabbittag

Two nights before, I went to buy oranges at the Guatemalan market near my apartment. As I left the lobby, I saw a guy tagging the wall, as his getaway car waited in the street. They stopped and admired it and took a photo before they left. The police didn’t come for 25 minutes when I called 911 the other night to report a guy in a white pimp suit shaking a girl in his car, parked in the middle of the road. Just in case you thought the police in SA were the only slack ones. By the time they showed, 10 minutes after I called again, the girl had run off and the guy had driven away.

sign_snaillarge

A sign board at a queue for a ride at Universal Studios’ theme park, reflecting happy holiday-makers. Notice anything?

sign_snailcloser

A little snail made it’s way under the glass somehow. I guess it must have arrived when it was smaller and grown up inside the glass.

Sometimes it’s fun to do it in reverse. See this billboard?

500_lafakeestate

LIVE THE CALIFORNIA DREAM… A swimming pool lined with palm trees in the center of your courtyard. They don’t mention you need to earn a fortune to have that in LA. Apartments like that cost $3-5k a month.

1000_larealestate

And look where it is! Above a fleabag apartment building with cardboard-thin walls, on a triple lane road full of pot holes and cracks, near the freeway underpass where people who don’t even have a home eek out a living from under tarpaulins by the bridge. They recently re-painted this block, but it’s another great LA cover-up operation.

What I love about film-making is how it’s taught me to really, truly look at things. Once you begin to do that, there are stories everywhere you go.

 

He loved Thailand. Can I trust him?

March 30, 2014

Some of my best friends have been to Thailand. No, really – they have. And at least one of them is male and said he didn’t avail himself of the “services” that are apparently frequently on offer to foreign men. He spent his time drinking and getting some tattoos and he loved it.

Many of my female friends have been there too. They rave about the food, the adventures they safely had while traveling alone, the gorgeous beaches and the welcoming and business-suavy people. They return fresh, new, open and happy.

I’ve worked with a cinematographer from Thailand. He’s just like all cinematographers I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with… slightly nuts, heart on the sleeve and mostly brilliant.

So yes. There’s a lot more to Thailand than dodgy massage. This toilet, for instance.

Exactly why would you want a wifi-enabled toilet?

Exactly why would you want a wifi-enabled toilet? Posted on facebook by a friend, from her holiday in Thailand.

But Thailand does have a reputation for being a great place to go if you want to have sex with beautiful women at low cost. I have heard the stories. I have read the stories. I know it’s a pretty big business out there. So when I see a guy say on an online dating site or any other public place that the best place he’s ever visited is Thailand, I wonder… what did he do there? And does he do it here, too?

I briefly made the mistake of taking a trial membership on a dating site, you see. And as you know if you’ve ever used one, people lie on those things, about who they are, what they look like, and what they want. It’s almost as bad as Facebook. But I gave it a shot, because I figured I needed to meet some boys my own age. And normal people do use these sites,  nowadays – it’s not skungy like it used to be. Is it?

Or… is it? Because it seems that the guys who’re still available by the time they hit 35 have at least one of the following flaws:

- Heavy drinker who would like you to come to their place for dinner on Date One.
- Very Short with large beard and belly, possible religious extremist, and political conservative.
- Can’t spell and doesn’t have a job. Would like to move to LA, but needs to stay with me in the beginning
- Dirty fingernails and dirty cowboy hat (I went on one date). He actually came to dinner with dirty fingernails.
- Took profile picture in public toilet mirror. Actually, that may explain why this toilet in Thailand is wifi enabled. It’s so that the guys who might be interested in making love to me can update their dating profile photos between massages while on holiday.

And then there’s the one who went to Thailand. He’s probably my soul-mate, but I’m too scared to find out.

I guess I’ll just be forced to sleep with younger men. The problem with them is that they learn to have sex by watching porn, so they really have no idea how to actually do it with a real woman. One minute you’re kissing them. The next thing you know you’re in some gonzo fantasy and his eyes are all glazed over and dead like a zombie’s.

Los Angeles: A tale of 255 cities, and counting

March 5, 2014

I spend hours in my car some days, stopping to use a bathroom, pick up another coffee, shovel a sandwich into my mouth… and what’s struck me the most is how disjointed and changeable LA is.

A few roads from extreme wealth – extreme poverty – back to extreme wealth… Limousines fight for lanes in the traffic with guys pushing shopping carts. A begger in Beverly Hills has a sign: Beverly Hells. He says he’s hungry. I didn’t know Thunderbird was a meal, but I guess it’ll do for him just for today. I wonder if he’s a screenwriter?

Wall to wall white people in one place. Then suddenly you’re grabbing lunch in what Fox News would call “Not even America”. There’s Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Little Ethiopia… etc etc.

LA feels like a place that’s grown and been destroyed and grown again without much planning.

This, of course, is part of my city’s beauty.

Don't mess around in this neighborhood... I drove past twice, to see what happened. Nothing did. Then again, I'm white.

Don’t mess around in this neighborhood… I drove past twice, to see what happened. Nothing did. Then again, I’m white.

march4_tattoohell

About 50 meters from the no cruising sign. This place. I love the police lights on the roof. And I shudder to think what kind of tattoo you get for $20.

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It rained this week. We were mostly glad, because there’s a drought. But the traffic in LA was worse than ever.

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Believe it or not, this is the sign for a grocery store. Where I will never shop.

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Olympic Blvd looking oh so California, as traffic ruins another sunset for millions of Angelinos.

sign_dodgersbar

I will never understand this… how Americans don’t like to have people cheering for the other team in the same bar / stadium / town. It’s so childish.

sign_jesussaves

Jesus Save…. and then it cuts off. Huh. Does he? I see this every day. I just love where it is, right in front of this city full of sin.

Let me tell you about my week

February 21, 2014

I am too lazy to type anymore, and I already wrote a column today, so I am simply going to post a bunch of pictures with snarky captions.  Here’s what I did this week.

I went the doctor and because it was a cheap $25 clinic doctor it took four hours.

What's the big deal. We have free sign language in South Africa too. Anyone can do it, right?

What’s the big deal. We have free sign language in South Africa too. Anyone can do it, right?

washyourhands

I live in a pretty multicultural community.

sign_lowestrates

How come everybody in LA has the lowest rates? Cause everybody in LA lies.

sign_osc

I made a school project and dropped it at the Orange Senior Center for my extras along with copies of the photos.

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You don’t want to know what happened as a result of this photo. Too much drama, man, too much drama…

sign_hustlerhahah

Her: Hahahahahah
Him: [boobies] I’m a winner.
Her: Hahahahahha!
I bet the clients at Hustler Casino look nothing like him.

 

sign_lovemyself2

I went for a romantic stroll on the beach alone on Valentine’s day. This is my favourite beach writing. But I didn’t write it, and I wouldn’t.

sign_santamonicabeach

I’m grateful that I saw this. I wanted to share it with another human being but a blog and whatsapp to a sleeping SA will have to do.

sign_millivanilli

Because my internet still wasn’t working, I went to Amoeba Music at 10pm, and bought Season Three of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

sign_gunspacking

Don’t want to get into an accident with this dude. Something tells me he’s packing.

sign_seriousdrought

Serious Drought Help Save Water. I drive past this sign about 8 times, every day. Rents may be lower in LA but after you factor in gas, I reckon it’s as expensive as New York…

I feared that this would become my future. After all, this guy apparently went to USC film school and look where he wound up.

I feared that this would become my future. After all, this guy apparently went to USC film school and look where he wound up.

2014-02-15 13.30.13

But it’s not all bad. While I was doing my laundry I found the best sandwich shop, ice cream parlor and smoothie place ever on Pico. I hope NPR never finds it or it’ll get full and probably expensive.

And then there’s stuff like writing, sleeping… and eating that I skipped. But I did it.

And that was my week in pictures. How was yours?

Parking in LA is the tampon of living in LA

February 10, 2014

It’s bloody hell. Actually that was a gratuitous pun. It’s a pain in the ass… no I don’t do that with tampons. Okay, done with the puns, then. Parking…

You can live in a suburb, like mine, where you rarely need to walk to do your daily stuff. I have coffee shops, supermarkets… and amazing 24 hour spas, cheap massage places, great takeout, all within 10 minutes’ walk of my apartment.

2014-02-09 15.36.36

Boba. Coffee Boba. Apparently this will kill me. But have you tasted it? It is heaven.

But even if I didn’t want to leave my neighborhood, I’d still have to move my car at least once a week, on Wednesdays, for 3 hours – and that’s if I were not parked in the anti-gridlock zone (move your care between 7 and 9am) or on the street cleaning street (move your car between 2-5am), or the no parking on Thursdays zone…

You can live without a car in LA – there is plenty of public transport everywhere except Santa Monica. But why would you want to? If you wanted to live in a village, you wouldn’t be in LA to start with. Only the rich people in LA want to live in a village (they live in Santa Monica) because hey, rich folks can leave the village in a limo whenever they like. The point and joy of Los Angeles is how much it has to offer. The small problem with it is that it’s so sprawling and crazy that you absolutely need a car to actually LIVE there… and that’s why parking is like tampons here. Why tampons?

Cause, sure, you could make do with rags, or pads, for a few days, or just squat over the toilet. But who wants to do that? Nobody, that’s who.

So of course, everybody overcharges like crazy for parking in LA. A spot with an automated gate will push your rent up by $300 in Hollywood. Something off street will be around $75. And there’s a queue for that. It’s about two years long in Koreatown. I often park about 10 minutes walk from where I live. I have a sure bet spot that opens up often outside what I suspect is a crack house.

Head to a popular beach for a dip? Parking is $15 flat at Huntington. How about Hollywood Boulevard? Well, it’s $5. I’ve been here so long I was excited by that price, tonight. That sounded cheap.

I parked in a 2-hour government run parking spot. $4 for that two hours. Then I ran back and fed the meter for another 20 minutes – 50C. Then I left the event I’d been invited to by Eventbrite, by someone I still have not identified. But thanks – a really cool gig called Hollywood Shorts. More on that sometime soon.

Can you read the sign? It says five dollars, right?

Can you read the sign? It says five dollars, right? Wrong. If you get to the gate, it says $5 per 30 minutes in very, very small print. Flat rate is $20 til midnight.

The superbowel… my journey in Koreatown.

February 3, 2014

I felt a rare passion for the game. Rare because I never cared about it before, not because I have a clue what’s going on, or because I care who wins. It just represents something about the USA that I seem to be excluded from and want to be in on.

I have changed, I realise. The last time I was in South Africa, as much as I love my homeland, I felt like I didn’t belong among my pregnant, married, and increasingly suburban friends. I have missed having what they have – I’ll never share it with them… I have missed that bar stool forever. And coming back, I felt… like I didn’t belong. Among my 22-28 year old American friends. Cause I’ll never be that young and sure of myself again.

So I bounced around my apartment reading books with jetlag for a day, then got sick, then went to Sundance, came back still sick, and made plans with a friend to watch the game.

Now. I have this thing that I can’t give up. I should but I don’t. I think it’s a major qualification for MAKING MOVIES, which is my new job, so probably a good thing, apart from the fact that it hurts so bad.

So I googled for a while and found a bar 2.5 miles away and walked there, alone. I thought maybe there, I’ll connect with someone who like me wants their life to explode, who wants to connect, who is a grown up but also can’t stop growing. I set out walking.

The sky boiled with rain above me. As I passed men walking I realised how much the world has changed for me since I was like… 25. I used to know that when men looked at me it was lust. Now, they still do. But is it lust or curiosity? “Why are they so big?” “Why is she still alone?”

Proof that people are assholes. And that dogs are gross, basically.

Proof that people are assholes. And that dogs are gross, basically.

Somebody died at this bus stop on Normandie.

Somebody died at this bus stop on Normandie.

I feel sorry for myself sometimes but wtf. I have slept in worse places, in hotels that offered worse, but never owned a mattress this bad.

I feel sorry for myself sometimes but wtf. I have slept in worse places, in hotels that offered worse, but never owned a mattress this bad.

A hostel / gallery thing of some sort. I wanted to check it out but I think it was closed for superbowl.

A hostel / gallery thing of some sort. I wanted to check it out but I think it was closed for superbowl.

I arrived. It was a bar full of people who were nice to me but hey... they had their friends already. And my team was losing so hopelessly that i left before half time and after a half pint.

I arrived. It was a bar full of people who were nice to me but hey… they had their friends already. And my team was losing so hopelessly that i left before half time and after a half pint. Broncos! Sigh.

Chickens! For some reason there's a display case full of them. My mom eats, keeps and is obsessed with chickens - she even collects chicken shaped things that have some function apart from being... chicken. Is she secretly Korean? Or just a bit creepy maybe. She might be. We are related.

Chickens! For some reason there’s a display case full of them. My mom eats, keeps and is obsessed with chickens – she even collects chicken shaped things that have some function apart from being… chicken. Is she secretly Korean? Or just a bit creepy maybe. She might be. We are related.

Walking home on Western. It's the shortest route. The sunset was a sad one and I felt like the only living girl in LA.

Walking home on Western. It’s the shortest route. The sunset was a sad one and I felt like the only living girl in LA.

The Wiltern. If I have a film company in the US one day, I want offices here.

The Wiltern. If I have a film company in the US one day, I want offices here.

Once were video stores.

Once were video stores. Am glad that was never my dream.

This is like a blast from the past. But in the USA, you can still advertise drugs. A superbowl ad pushes military service and Budweiser. Fucking sinister, in my opinion.

This is like a blast from the past. But in the USA, you can still advertise drugs. A superbowl ad pushes military service and Budweiser. Fucking sinister, in my opinion.

I spotted about 8 coffee places I never noticed before. All within .5 miles walking of me. Google maps sucks compared to actually being there.

I spotted about 8 coffee places I never noticed before. All within .5 miles walking of me. Google maps sucks compared to actually being there. This good, for me.

Some history at a traffic light.

Some history at a traffic light.

sign_ktownhistory2

See the guy on the left in the photo? He followed me all the way home. I felt he was non-threatening, cause he kept his distance. I realise now he probably did it cause he thought I was taking pictures of him. But I didn’t even notice him at the time. He’s one of the many homeless people living along Olympic Boulevard, named to celebrate the 1988 games.

sign_ktown4

I figured out just yesterday how to sneak on to our building rooftop. Every time I feel sad, it helps to go there. So that's what I did at the end of tonight, and here is what I saw.

I figured out just yesterday how to sneak on to our building rooftop. Every time I feel sad, it helps to go there. So that’s what I did tonight, and here is what I saw.

Total walking today: about 5.2miles. Whenever I can, I walk. I see the world differently that way.

When all else fails, work. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

Sundance night one – and check out the fluke celeb snap in my failed selfie!

January 20, 2014

A beautiful but long long drive landed me at the fest 35 minutes before “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” began.

So beautiful.

So beautiful.

A very sexy black and white film by loveable Iranian hipster girl Ana Lily Amirpour, who name checks Die Antwoord while wading through the usual lame audience questions.

I would be so proud of that as my first movie. And sundance. Jeez. So many film lovers in one town. All lit up and overpriced but worth it.

An SA filmmaker friend is here and though both exhausted we popped in on the kcrw Music Cafe. While trying to sneak a selfie of Francois and I accidentally captured Vince from Entourage. He’s right there behind me.

selfiefluke

See in the back? That’s Vince! Adrian Grenier I mean. I’m not the type to take celeb pictures and so on, but am pleased I didn’t delete this.

The road to Vegas is Paved with good intentions

January 19, 2014

I’m sitting at the bar in my off-strip hotel – a Best Western dressed as the ‘Mardi Gras’ but hey, it was cheap. I didn’t know you could smoke indoors in Vegas. It’s a bizarre sight to my googling post-regulation eyes.

I can’t gamble because I don’t know how to. So I threw money away on the LCD slots. A few dollars.

On the way here I saw …
…A huge donkey pump drilling oil in a graveyard
…Towns with welcome signs bigger than they were
… How I’ve changed since the last long drive alone

And such unimaginable beauty in the dessert dollying by, which was unexpected because Vegas.com derided the drive as boring, scenically.

vegas_abandoned

Abandoned. There’s a lot of these – you could see them as evidence of failure, or proof of someone’s dreams lived out. A story in every one.

vegas_sign1

I’m on my way, apparently.

vegas_christianjewish

Leading up to this: a series of quoted 10 Commandments on signs.

vegas_aware2

Guff. Aware. What does it mean?

vegas_jeanselfie

I am happy when I am traveling.

vegas_thruwindshield

This is not ugly.

vegas_sunsetapproach

There’s a weird glow in the sky opposite the sunset that’s just as beautiful.
vegas_arrival
Vegas. Aaah. LIGHTS. It’s hard to describe until you’ve driven in off the darkening desert into it.
vegas_slotmachine

Now this is sorta ugly… I fed all my $1 bills into it and won nothing. It happened so fast, I was amazed… haven’t gambled since I was 12, when I had to drag my parents away from the slots in a Sun City in Lesotho. They let kids wander around in the casino back then.

vegas_slotlady

What I don’t want to become. This tiny little lady was drunk and crazy and feeding the machine, feeding the machine… she is about 60 and I swear everybody in here is chain smoking. I didn’t know you could still smoke indoors in the USA, but in Vegas, everything goes it seems. People bring their tiny dogs in too.

I feel so strongly for this Land after three years here. I realize I’ve become sorta American. And yet not quite. And when I’m home not quite there either. Perhaps I’m destined to really belong nowhere.

Having planned to simply stop and sleep in the cheapest place possible, I wound up having a couple of beers, throwing about $5 into the slots and ordering some food from the restaurant (which, like the hotel, is pretending to be something it’s not – the menu is clearly Chili’s). Anyhow, it’s bedtime soon. I can’t wait.

Stranger than fiction

January 13, 2014

Back in Los Angeles, land of traffic, billboards and unbelievable graffiti. Here, the irony of a TV program that’s all about the tough law people enforcing the law, painted with illegal writing.

20140112-181152.jpg

Don’t know what CAUSE LOER means. I googled it – if you can tell me, post a comment with the info.

I’m so impressed by whoever got up there, and wrote that without getting caught, however little sense it makes to me. I’m all fan girl. This is a definite case of graffiti making a billboard better. Some other examples in this ADWEEK blog which   led me to 40 BILLBOARDS IMPROVED BY GRAFFITI on buzzfeed…

I pulled a few of my favorites and posted them below. Enjoy!

original source: Buzzfeed

original source: Buzzfeed

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 7.39.44 PM

via buzzfeed

via buzzfeed

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 7.39.14 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 7.28.41 PM

original source: Buzzfeed

via buzzfeed

via buzzfeed

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 7.45.18 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-12 at 7.46.12 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 7.46.03 PM


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