Posts Tagged ‘hollywood’

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.

Nude ladies, “Friends”, pool, karaoke and hamburgers at Barney’s Beanery, West Hollywood

March 24, 2011

Do I have to blog about it every time I go to Los Angeles? Well, probably, until it stops seeming like a place of magic and dreams; everything I expected of it and more.

Traffic. Rain. 35 Miles in three hours. Thank God for CD changers and conversation.

Been going to LA a lot at the moment because the Writer’s Guild is holding a weekly interview / screening / discussion series with famous TV writers – last week was an amazing session with Steve Levitan of Modern Family. Today I got roped in to checking out Friends‘ Marta Kauffman and David Crane. And I didn’t expect it to be half as amazing as it was. I loved it so much that I now… briefly wanted to watch the whole 10 episodes of the series for (believe this or not) the first time. I doubt I’ll actually go through with it though, don’t worry.

The original pitch and treatment. Check it out - it seems Friends was originally titled "Bleeker Street" (like in the sad Simon & Garfunkel song) and later the slightly cheerier "Insomnia Cafe".

Anyhow, we wound up at Barney’s Beanery afterwards. It is awesome – and proof that America will turn anything – ANYTHING, NO MATTER HOW ALTERNATIVE – into a commercial undertaking. The place is basically a collection of all the USA’s rock ‘n roll glorification, thrown together in a faux dive bar atmosphere, with a technology coulis.

Great burgers, better mash, and a beer list that made me very happy. A 10pm happy hour too. And all the healthy options and mild food choices that keep All-Americans and Hollywood types content.

Of course, you want it to seem “real”, right?

This picture of a sexy lady pasted on the booth wall, the slightly worn leather seats, and the Wednesday night karaoke all contribute to the pleasant illusion that you might be somewhere in the real world.

Losing LA Virginity – California here I come

August 23, 2010
a view of LA

Feel it. It is real.

I wasn’t expecting to be excited. But when I saw the first turnoff I was beside myself – giggling and panting and pulling out my cell phone to take a quick photo while drivers swerved around me, honking their horns to protest me pausing before shuffling up in the 80 mile queue behind the next frustrated car, to continue traveling at 5.7mph on a freeway built for speeding.

Welcome to LA. Los Angeles… a city that actually has its name in lights at every turn. And traffic like you’ve never seen even in Joburg. It’s fun the first time because there’s plenty to check out as you inch along. Grafitti. Buildings built before 1999. Buildings that will have fallen down long before 2011. Massive billboards. Decorations on the concrete (very 70s). Promise and panic and studio city – the Capitol Records tower… each time my GPS lady gave me a new instruction – “Stay on this road in 2 miles, Los Angeles Interstate 101 North” I could barely contain myself. Los Angeles! Interstate! Nor… oh, nevermind. Interstate! LA!

The sign on the hill is not as I expected, either - the hill is bigger than I thought, and the sign smaller in relation.

“I’m here! I’m here!” I wanted to shout, but nobody was there to tell me to shut up and drive properly. So I just turned the music louder. Oddly, my South African jazz favourite Moses Molelekwa shuffled onto the ipod as the soundtrack to my arrival in the wild west’s city of dreams.

On the way back, after a few days in Santa Barbara with a friend, and another five hour drive in traffic, it was getting dark, and I was finished-tired, when I saw the a sign approaching: “Sunset Boulevard” it said – a little arrow off the 101 South. I was nearly home – but… I hestitated for only a second.

Because the sun was almost setting, and it’s SUNSET BOULEVARD, not “museum of boring mummies and other old shit (screaming kids half price!)”, for fuck’s sake.

sunset boulevard at sunset

Lou Reed, Dirty Blvd was actually about New York, not LA.

Lou Reed’s “Dirty Boulevard” played in my head as I drove down Sunset Boulevard, but the song didn’t fit. Why weren’t there prostitutes and druggies, just like in Pretty Woman? Well maybe there were, but since every second person is skinny and tattoed here, it’s really easy for druggies (and Lou Reed) to blend in, and women generally dress in tight stuff whether they’re 18, 80, or 800 pounds, so I couldn’t tell yet.

Maybe the prostitute was the one wearing the pin striped dress suit (just to draw attention to herself, you know). Or maybe she was a lawyer.

Sunset is probably a bad part of LA. But it looks like a good part of Obs or Melville! People walked or cycled around just fine, and tacos takeout places lined the streets advertising with words like “EAT LOCAL”. It was beautiful and strange, familiar from a million moves and unreal in reality, to be cruising down, watching the pale full moon flicking past the rows of impossibly tall palm trees, with the horizon turning smog-orange at the end of the a road – a road that never seemed to end.

I never made it all the way down to the fading orange smudge – not this time. My way was blocked by a Road Closed Sign, due to a film shoot on the lower part of the boulevard (Capetonians, you know this feeling!), and I had to take a detour through an old suburb – a really beautiful old suburb where the owners were still forced to park on the street, as if in memory of the days of public transport, and the days when Sunset Boulevard was a very smart place to be. Very few houses have burglar bars, so how bad can it be, really?

sunset boulevard closed for filming

Closed for filming. I guess I'll come back later and see it for myself.

I could live there, I thought, as I accelerated back onto the highway in the dark. It’s definitely more my scene than anywhere else I’ve been so far in the USA.

Hey! I wonder if one day, I’ll live “just off Sunset”, drive my slightly dented salvage dark green Cadillac around LA and California, and write movies all day and all night long.

Well nothing is impossible right now. This story is only just beginning.