Archive for the ‘pop culture’ Category

Who’s the best? Art Contest in a Koreatown Mall

June 1, 2014

“A Brighter Future” – that’s the topic assigned by Korean bank BBCN, who sponsor the national baseball team and also this student art contest. The winners and honorees were displayed in my local mall, the Galleria. I wandered in there late at night while killing 15 minutes before an appointment for a foot massage.

It happened to be a time when I was thinking a lot about winners and losers, and not feeling like much of a winner. What’s great about what I saw is that I realized that the judges are crazy. The winners deserve their prizes, but that doesn’t mean the “losers” don’t deserve to win as much or more.

This got me to thinking that you can’t make good art if you do it for the sake of approval, and not for the sake of passion. I recently saw a film that cost about $2 million to make. The filmmakers stated up front that they wanted to make a commercial film. Everything about it screamed manipulation, right down to the fact that the music was like an action movie trailer soundtrack looped for about 90 minutes. Watching it, I felt dirty and annoyed. What a waste of money and all the participants’ talent. No, you don’t make art “for yourself”. It needs to be seen. But you also don’t cynically make it to score points, or it will suck.

With that, you be the judges.

I had the gallery mostly to myself.

I had the gallery mostly to myself.

I like this one. It's very teenaged - like the kid had to conform to the "Bright Future" thing but was in hormonal mood on the day.

I like this one. It’s very teenaged – like the kid had to conform to the “Bright Future” thing but was in hormonal mood on the day.

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A prize winner. I like it, but it is feels mostly decorative and doesn’t move me much. I predict this artist could probably make a living, though, unlike most, as nobody wants to hang trauma on their walls.

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This is really cool. I love the speeding devil-bull. By Heather Choi. Title is in Korean.

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Again, lovely for a lounge. Not sure why it’s a winner but I like it. Ashly Haine, “Italy Trip”

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I think this is brilliant. I love the sense of perspective, the choice of angle, the sky POV and the family of birds hanging out right there with her. This should have won a prize. Can’t read the artist’s name but the title is “Helping Hands”

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I picked out this one because it reminds me of the kinds of things my brother used to draw as a kid. He was really talented but went into Medicine, leaving me to flounder around in the art world. Andrew Kim’s “Energetic Crane”.

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Hilarious – a protest against the horrors of homework. I remember feeling like that, like I’d die if I had to do my maths problems. I’d avoid it until 10pm every time. Of course, not quite suitable for BBCN bank’s yay the future theme. by Theresa Oh. Can’t read the title. “… Camp”

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This being a school art contest, I saw a lot of eyes, hair, and clocks. Being a kid is difficult as you get older. You are not free, but you have all this pressure on you. People who feel their school years were the best of their lives puzzle me. I always liked learning but institutions blow. Can’t read the title or artist name… sorry.

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This is awesome. So many stories in this, like a memory of riding the bus, or of one day around town. Again unfortunately the title and artist name are blurred!

A playground picture. I like it a lot.

A playground picture. I like it a lot.

Sweet. A self portrait.

Sweet. A self portrait.

A prize winner. I am surprised this one. It is interesting, but not really on-message. It reminds me of Kentridge or Jane Alexander. Can't read the text.

A prize winner. I am surprised this one. It is interesting, but not really on-message. It reminds me of Kentridge or Jane Alexander. Can’t read the text.

I think the overhead is fun. A portrait of a life that seems crammed with possibilities.

I think the overhead is fun. A portrait of a life that seems crammed with possibilities.

The title of this is something like "families reunited" and I suspect it is to do with North/South Korea. I loved it and I think it should have won something.

The title of this is something like “families reunited” and I suspect it is to do with North/South Korea. I loved it and I think it should have won something.

Hilarious. That french bread looks like a you know what.

Hilarious. That french bread looks like a you know what. And the dude on the stomach seems really surprised by how big it is. I don’t think this was the artist’s intention. But that’s another thing about art – you can’t control what you make, entirely.

Joyce Yo, "Drowning without Soul". Weird. I don't know if I get it. Is it about prostitution?

Joyce Yo, “Drowning without Soul”. Weird. I don’t know if I get it. Is it about prostitution?

So cool. A girly giant lizard.

So cool. A girly giant lizard.

While I was looking at this, a random guy came up to me and asked "Is that your daughter's picture?" I was really insulted at the time, because it looks like a portrait of an addict mother. Why do strangers think it's okay to ask you personal questions like that? Then again, what kind of weirdo wanders around an empty mall on a Saturday night.

While I was looking at this, a random guy came up to me and asked “Is that your daughter’s picture?” I was really insulted at the time, because it looks like a portrait of an addict mother. Why do strangers think it’s okay to ask you personal questions like that? Then again, what kind of weirdo wanders around an empty mall on a Saturday night.

The eye thing again. There were a lot of them.

The eye thing again. There were a lot of them. This seems like a portrait of a talker. Or is it a lonely person watching a group of friends and wishing they could be there, with them?

This picture is so vary LA - "Urbanization of Sophistication" by Erica Lee. I love it.

This picture is so vary LA – “Urbanization of Sophistication” by Erica Lee. I love it.

Jennifer Bae "Movie Theater" captures a moment from Frozen, which the Sound Designer on my thesis film, Christine Hals, worked on. I love this because it captures the magic of movies as a child, the way they fill your head and your heart.

Jennifer Bae “Movie Theater” captures a moment from Frozen, which the Music Composer on my thesis film, Christine Hals, worked on. I love this because it captures the magic of movies as a child, the way they fill your head and your heart.

Cell phone age art. All those smileys seem to be chattering, overwhelmingly and annoyingly happy. Not sure if that's what Kyle Son meant by "Smart Phone with Emoties".

Cell phone age art. All those smileys seem to be chattering, overwhelmingly and annoyingly happy. Not sure if that’s what Kyle Son meant by “Smart Phone with Emoties”.

There's a singer like this on a hundred stages like this in LA right now. The color and style reminds me of Kandinsky. Allen Manjae Chun "If I were a singer".

There’s a singer like this on a hundred stages like this in LA right now. The color and style reminds me of Kandinsky. Allen Manjae Chun “If I were a singer”.

Another awesome teenage self portrait by Scarlett Chang. I love the energy of this picture and I would probably have given it a prize.

Another awesome teenage self portrait by Scarlett Chang. I love the energy of this picture and I would probably have given it a prize.

Earnest, interesting. Not really sure about it. Well executed though, and the bank note probably helped make it a winner.

Earnest, interesting. Not really sure about it. Well executed though, and the bank note probably helped make it a winner.

"Face Painting at a Korea Party" - the colors in this remind me so much of the pictures sold at traffic lights in SA. By Jaimie Yoon.

“Face Painting at a Korea Party” – the colors in this remind me so much of the pictures sold at traffic lights in SA. By Jaimie Yoon.

This by Paul Seo won a judges award.

This by Paul Seo won a judges award.

So you see what I mean. They’re all lovely – I photographed all the winners and then all the ones I thought were interesting. I enjoyed this little exhibition easily as much as any I’ve seen in a famous museum. I wonder where these kids – some of whom are six years old now – will be in 20 years. Who knows, they might be famous film-makers, artists, animators or photographers. I hope they are happy, whatever the future holds.

 

 

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Elbow live at The Wiltern in my Los Angeles

May 29, 2014

Living in LA can be lonely when you’re single, don’t really drink and don’t have that community you spent your 20s and 30s building. But sometimes it’s all wow and no downside. Like tonight. I’m getting to see Elbow ( one of my favorite bands ever) play live five minutes drive and 30 minutes parking from my apartment. Since it’s music to slit your wrists to it almost feels appropriate to be standing in line alone.

Who named this street "Ethanol". Secret genius, as this corner is a favorite with Hollywood's homeless drunk population, and it's rich drunk population.

Who named this street “Methanol”. Secret genius, as this corner is a favorite with Hollywood’s homeless drunk/druggie population, and it’s rich drunk/druggie population.

The long line moved fast, and then we were in. The place has a bar in every available space and service by a waitress with an illuminated tray in the theater itself.

I've always wondered what it was like inside the Wiltern. Now I know - it's amazing.

I’ve always wondered what it was like inside the Wiltern. Now I know – it’s amazing.

The bathroom. Nothing changes wherever you go. "So and so is a slut whore bitch" "So and so is an asshole" "Here, look, a cat."

The bathroom. Nothing changes wherever you go. “So and so is a slut whore bitch” “So and so is an asshole” “Here, look, a cat.”

The nosebleed seat I got was almost a pleasure, simply because the building was so beautiful. Anyhow, you don't go to SEE Elbow, so much as to listen to them.

The nosebleed seat I got was almost a pleasure, simply because the building was so beautiful. Anyhow, you don’t go to SEE Elbow, so much as to listen to them.

And I listened. And I cried. “Mirrorball” always gets me. First the tingles, then the fucking tears.

 

 

And after the show, I went to buy ice cream, then took a side street back to my car.  And after wishing I wasn’t quite so far away from my favorite band for most of the show, guess who I run into, out for a smoke behind Dennys? Elbow. They looked smaller off stage, even though I was closer now. They listened politely and exhaustedly as I gushed my thanks, feeling my faith in miracles restored.

 

 

Photos from a heatwave in LA

May 4, 2014

It’s been an amazing week. There have been some moments of relative hell. I froze up while trying to pitch a screenplay. My toilet broke and I’m still flushing with a bucket.

But those are not what I will remember.

This is where I live now.

Every time I see the city, I have to remind myself this is now home.

I live here. Every time I see the city, I have to remind myself this is now home.

Saturday night at Paul's in Orange. I've seen people get slapped by girls there. And when I say "girls" I mean it loosely.

Saturday night at Paul’s in Orange. I’ve seen people get slapped by girls there. And when I say “girls” I mean it loosely.

Noticed this protest flag above a bar, commenting on Turkey's laws against twitter.

Noticed this protest flag above a bar, commenting on Turkey’s laws against twitter on my way to a party on Sunset on Saturday.

There’s a heatwave happening. No sign of rain. No wind, really, unless you count the millions of fans, and in richer neighborhoods than mine, air-con units.

I set my alarm for 4am to make set by 6am. Went to bed at 12.30. Fell asleep at 2.15. Woke up at 2.30 to a massive car accident outside my window. So much for sleeping in Koreatown on a thursday night.

I set my alarm for 4am to make set by 6am. Went to bed at 12.30. Fell asleep at 2.15. Woke up at 2.30 to a massive car accident outside my window. So much for sleeping in Koreatown on a Thursday night.

The next day, I went to work. Not a bad office, right? Even without sleep in the hot sun running up and down stairs, I loved it.

The next day, I went to work. Not a bad office, right? Even without sleep in the hot sun running up and down stairs, I loved it.

It's a city where every electric box can be a sign.

It’s a city where every electric box can be a sign.

Where a Frieda Kahlo exhibition is not just in the museum. Although it's there, too.

Where a Frieda Kahlo exhibition is not just in the museum. Although it’s there, too.

Where I have no idea what this is about, although I see it everywhere.

Where I have no idea what this is about, although I see it everywhere.

Where there's a new weird billboard every day.

Where there’s a new weird billboard every day. This one from http://www.inthemeantimemen.org/ puzzled me enough that I looked it up. Inthemeantime is an organization that provides non-homophobic counseling, awareness, and testing.

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Another day, another perfect 8pm sunset as my turnoff approaches.

I have no idea why this is there, on an empty building.

I have no idea why this is there, on an empty building. “how do you feel here right now?” I felt stuck in traffic, which I feel a lot…

Took a walk to my local market - in a Korean mall. They don't sell cheese but everything else, they got.

Took a walk to my local market – in a Korean mall. They don’t sell cheese but everything else, they got. I noticed this mural, titled “Butcher”, on Olympic. I have no idea what it’s about.

At the mall, I found this Random Heart - something I began noticing after fellow blogger and friend Dorothyblack.net began documenting them. I always thought they had to be accidental - this one, like mine, probably is. It's a grease spot.

At the mall, I found this Random Heart – something I began noticing after fellow blogger and friend Dorothyblack.net began documenting them. I always thought they had to be accidental – this one, like mine, probably is. It’s a grease spot.

Home made stop sign. I love that someone made it. You can't buy them, probably for legal reasons.

Home made stop sign. I love that someone made it. You can’t buy them, probably for legal reasons.

So tempting... Would I have a legal leg to stand on if I parked there?

So tempting…

I found this David Bowie cat outside two broken down, deserted houses on a side street. There were about 10 other white cats and a white kitten camped out there. Neighbors leave their frying pans just inside the gate out to be cleaned.

I found this David Bowie cat outside two broken down, deserted houses on a side street. There were about 10 other white cats and a white kitten camped out there. Neighbors leave their frying pans just inside the gate out to be cleaned.

And then I got home and wrote for a while. Hit the end of act two of the rom-com I’m working on. Life is good, but South Africa and the elections feel strangely far away. They warned me about this – about America – that I’d begin to feel I belonged. And I do.

 

 

LA coffeeshop encapsulates what’s to hate about hipsters

April 24, 2014

LA Hipsters can be revolting, partly because so many of them actually are cool. You know, they work in the entertainment or design business. They can afford a $1500 studio in Downtown. They have something I want. But please, gods let me never become like them. I’ll get religion just to avoid that fate. You know what I mean. The people who think it’s cool to read Vice, but would never do anything in it.

What brought this on, Jean? Oh, just an innocent cup of coffee. I have been reading a book for potential adaptation all day. I needed a break and I needed to get out of my apartment – out of Koreatown for a bit too. So I drove to Grafitti on La Brea, which advertises “sublime coffee”. I expected it to be be as pretentious as an Eraserhead haircut, but I also expected to enjoy it as a change from the tatty but loveable life I live day to day.

I mean, look at this place. It's like a laboratory in an airport bathroom, and everybody's wearing black. Even that one customer there.

I mean, look at this place. It’s like a laboratory in an airport bathroom, and everybody’s wearing black. Even that one customer there.

This should have been a clue to me that I should just leave, but instead I got into the line-of-one on the pretentious carpet and before I entered, read the rules. Yes, the rules. Which are posted all over the place, including as you walk in.

Now at THIS point, I really should have known to leave. The Barrista shot me a bored look. I felt out of place, like he could tell my clothes came from a thrift store - and not a trendy one.

Now at THIS point, I really should have known to leave.  There’s also a sign telling parents that their kids may not raise their voices or play in the coffeeshop. It felt unnecessarily aggressive. This isn’t the kind of place you bring kids, but if you do, it’s clearly a quiet environment. So why make a thing of it?

The Barista shot me a bored look. I felt out of place, like he could tell my clothes came from a thrift store – and not a trendy one.

But I’m stubborn, as we all know. So, feeling a little nervous,  I ordered a pour over. And a glass of tap water. Now, the first thing I noticed is that despite the eco-conscious, profiteering use of peace signs and organic wadawada-wa they use disposible paper and plastic cups. God forbid their hands should get wet or something… Where do these idiots think paper and plastic come from. Trees? Well, yes, but it’s more complicated than that.

I got my glass of water. When it was empty, I tried to refill it from the handily positioned tap on the counter but I couldn’t figure out how to open the tap, so I gave up. I got my coffee and sat down. The music was soothing and I settled into a trendy but uncomfortable chair to enjoy it and keep reading when… along came the Barista. I smiled at him. He didn’t smile back.
“I just came to inform you,” he said, with a glance up above the counter, “That sometimes they watch on the camera up there. And they saw you trying to take a glass of water. It’s against health regulations.”
I thought he was kidding. Surely he was kidding. No. He was not kidding.
“Oh… what?” He kinda hovered, so I felt obliged to say. “Well, I failed to figure out how your tap works.”
“Well I just wanted to inform you.”
It was humiliating. I sat there for a while as he walked away, feeling like a kid caught stealing, even though taking a glass of water shouldn’t be a crime when you’re buying a $4.35 cup of coffee.

For a while, I tried to stay, but I couldn’t. I left my coffee (which was good, but I couldn’t bear to drink) on the counter for the dude to clean up.

It looks like these guys just realized they broke a rule. Maybe that's not a real Mac?

It looks like these guys just realized they broke a rule. Maybe that’s not a real Mac?

 

So twee it makes me want to vomit.... but wait! Look! There's a sign there that says "Water Closet" in the far right corner. Maybe that's where I was meant to get my second plastic cup of the precious liquid? Or maybe the barista could pee in the cup - I'm sure his urine is pure as sunlight.

So twee it makes me want to vomit…. but wait! Look! There’s a sign there that says “Water Closet” in the far right corner. Maybe that’s where I was meant to get my second plastic cup of the precious liquid? Or maybe the barista could pee in the cup – I’m sure his urine is pure as the sunlight of angels.

Turns out my infringement recorded on their CCTV had nothing to do with hygiene, and everything to do with profit. They charge – get it, CHARGE – $1 per cup of water after the first one.

What should be written on all parts of the sidewalk outside Graffiti.

What should be written on all parts of the sidewalk outside Graffiti.

Anyhow, I felt like shit driving home. So much for my big treat of the day. But I felt a little better when I went to yelp looking for pictures and found that many – no, most – of the reviewers who had some hilarious and completely right on things to say about this pretentious bleached asshole of an establishment.

Here’s a short selection:

“The space is not welcoming at all, in fact there is signs everywhere with there different rules. I don’t have children and I was offended by there sign about keeping children’s noise level low and it won’t be tolerated..I don’t know if they know but children aren’t that easy to teach to keep there voices down..they are kids for gd sake!” Dadli Y.

“…my friend and I decided it definitely smells like a pool (you know that weird humid-chlorine kind of air thing?)” – Kira S.

“I appreciate the space. I think its beautiful. What I did not love are all the signs with rules everywhere. “kids cant talk loud” “kids cant run around” “Every person inside must make a purchase.”  “One wifi password per person. No outside food or drinks.” It made me feel like such a bad bad kid. After blowing 10 bucks on a juice I decided I probably will …. never go back.” – Molly s.

“Overalls they come off as cheap and unhappy, however it’s apparently for a good reason- to keep away moochers. Though they don’t even give free water continuously, the first cup is free, then $1 per cup.” – Josh H.

“Stay away from this place. Aside from the overpriced coffee, and list of rules (literally, there is a list of rules to follow when you are inside), the customer service is atrocious. The baristas were condescending and cold. They were blatantly making fun of a customer right in front of me. I had to sit outside so I wouldn’t have to overhear anymore jackass conversations.

Also, what’s with their list of rules? I felt like a child in a catholic school where every move I made was being watched. “Every person inside must make a purchase. One wifi password per person. No outside food or drinks.” DId the owners forget this is JUST a coffee shop.” – Marina M.

“EEK! I’m surprised they don’t have a dress code!” – Ami S.

“We were in line ordering our 2 coffees, and a hot chocolate for our daughter (which would have cost us about $20), when our 8-year old daughter went to sit in a chair about 10 feet from us. Out of nowhere, the barista starts waving at us to get our attention… in front of our faces… and says, “We aren’t kid-friendly, so can you keep her close to you?”. Was she going to damage the gigantic stainless steel table in front of her?
At first, I thought there’s no way this woman just said this to me, but when I said, “excuse me”, she repeated herself. With no shame, said again, “Yeah we aren’t kid-friendly”. Kid-friendly?! The kid who gets excited to go to Graffiti to get a hot chocolate, who was sitting quietly in an empty chair. Our daughter couldn’t understand what she did wrong that we weren’t welcome anymore.
Needless to say, we walked out. As soon as we got in the car, our daughter then tells us that the owner yelled at her to get off of the chair she was sitting in. Where do you get off?! You overgrown steroid geriatric a$$hole dressed like you’re 15!”  – Noah W.

The people have spoken.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.