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April 7, 2006

Springtime in Los Angeles

Highbrow restin' spot
So if you ever come to Los Angeles and you want to feel really smart and kind of worldly ("Mark Taper Forum sounds vaguely Emmy-like...") and also if you get lost and need directions, or even if you just live in this city and want to get your crazy on in the self-help aisle but you're too cheap to buy an actual self-help book since you secretly suspect it will help NOTHING, anyway! If this is the case, I suggest you go to the downtown Los Angeles Public Library on 5th and Flower. It's very pretty except for the homeless people sleeping in the chairs.

(click each image for a bigger picture)

The ouside hidden entrance; the beautiful atrium.

Top of the atrium, the view looking down the many levels of learnin'.

I got my crazy on in the audio self-help section, and left the library with a piece of what is surely TOTAL FICTION called "You Can Be Happy No Matter What." I checked it out purely because I felt a challenge coming on. "Oh yeah, year Mr. Fancypants New Age Writer? You think people can be happy no matter what? I'll show you! You don't know from Raging Premenstrual Hormones! There are times I'd KILL to be happy! KILL!"

Yes. I checked out an audio self-help book so that I could argue with it. I do have my own set of challenges.

Sure thing, bucko.

Nobody Walks In L.A.
Summer vacation season is almost upon us, and if ya'll come to Los Angeles and you want to see a whole bunch of stuff, please try to rent a hybrid car or maybe a hovercraft, or show up with a sugar daddy of hitherto unknown monetary proportions. (Also, why is it that only skinny chicks are trophy wives? Aren't there rich old dudes out there just dying to have a nice chubby girl on the arm? Where is the chubby trophy love?) (Oh calm down, ya'll, I would never marry for money. Probably.) Anyway, I tell you this because I care. At some point in the past few weeks, or maybe in the past few days as I am not that observant, really, the price of gas has gone from "Oh, that sucks.." to "Holy crap, can you at least buy me dinner before you try to bleep me?"

Gas has actually gone UP since I took this picture a day or so ago. Thank Goodness I take mass transportation or me and the cats would be living in the storage shed.

Also, each time I get in the Jeep, I see my monkey. My monkey. Heh.

Shop 'til you drop, or until you need Purell so badly you can no longer shop and must immediately de-germ.

If you come to Los Angeles and you want to go shopping and you are maybe poor or a cheapskate like some people we know, that means me, then you should totally go to Santee Alley and peruse the not-even-somewhat-authentic goods for sale in the warren of open-air shops and stalls between Olympic and 9th on Santee.

Piracy and knockofferdom go on wildly all over the Alley. The Downtown News ran a story last week about the Alley in which it reported that the Motion Picture Association of America had recently spent close to $200,000 installing closed-circuit cameras in the Alley to deter movie pirating. And, uh, it totally worked:

click for big images.

I admit, I used to buy handbag fakes in the Alley, last year everyone was carrying around a Louis Vuitton log bag, and they were all fakes, so it was just for fun. Then I read one of those anti-piracy articles, a sad article with sad photos which informed me that with my knockoff purchase I had personally enslaved a tiny, adorable child worker in my pursuit of vanity and frivolity and my fake handbag was a symbol of greater greed and hypocrisy and I was probably spreading smallpox and also hatred, etc.

So I was well and very shamed, having enslaved a child worker and also spread hypocrisy and maybe smallpox, and I no longer carry my faux LV or buy knockoffs. But I do like to peruse the Alley from time to time for cheap, funky jewelry and sunglasses. I didn't buy anything on this trip because of The Budget, but I fully enjoyed the sunshine and the feeling that I had stepped into some foreign open-air market, it never feels like Los Angeles at all.

Click for big images: folks walk the alley; Ya'll see what I see? Funny how the mannequins in Santee Alley are more bootyriffic than the skinny waifs they show at the mall.

So, I walked into this one store and they had all these belt buckles. Everything from Sonora Love to mother-of-pearl cow skulls. I got excited to see the Los Angeles pride in the area code belt buckles but sadly, no buckles representin' the VERY COOL 818 area code. I was sad. How could they dis the 818? Don't they know the largest portion of their tax revenue is generated from the San Fernando Valley? Do they not read Jack Kyser's economic summaries published in the Valley Industry and Commerce Association literature? No?

But then I walked a little further and LOOKY WHAT I FOUND! The 818 lives, loud and proud. Long live the Encino-adjacent area.

Click for big images. Buckles; no love for the 818; Finally! Well represented. I guess.

Food of the Gods, or at least the Kings
Finally, if you come to Los Angeles and you get hungry, you should go to King Taco because the tamales are fat and hot, as all tamales should be, and the carne asada is really good, and frankly if the sugar daddies of this world can't appreciate fat and hot even in a trophy tamale, then they don't know what they're missing:


The King of tacos.

Posted by laurie at April 7, 2006 12:37 PM