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Los Angeles

I am a native New Yorker, I was born and raised in NYC, but I have lived in Los Angeles for over 30 years. I love Los Angeles. Many people have mixed feelings about the city: some don't like it at all, others love it conditionally (much like most of the relationships in this city), and all love it when there are those perfect LA days that are like nowhere else. A slight breeze, absolute perfect temperature, crystal clear sky after a rain. This is when LA conjures up that magical elixir, that drug where everything seems possible.

 

Los Angeles is usually regaled for the resources–– the access. The mountains are close at hand. The ocean is close at hand. The desert is close at hand.

 

Physical Beauty is all around, both geographically and in human kind. (A friend of mine once remarked that they feel Comely but Stupid in NYC and Brilliant but Homely in LA.) Los Angeles is now boasting some of the finest restaurants and world-class chefs. All these amenities are fantastic and enhance the living experience, but for me it's what you cannot see that enthralls me.

 

It is a city of contradictions. A transitional city where people come to talk and talk about moving somewhere else but somehow never do. It's a strange place to call home. I don’t think anyone consciously says, “You know I would really like to move to LA to raise a family.”

 

It’s the most authentic city in the world and the most inauthentic city in the world, reflected by many things but certainly the language. The word “wannabe” was coined here; that is not a word that’s used in Kansas. It’s a word that distinguishes the real from the faux, the “haves” from the “have-not’s”. And the city knows who is something and who isn’t. It demands authenticity, and at the same time cultivates in authenticity. The word “Like” was coined here and has become an essential marker for all things LA. Of course, that word was coined here because the entire city is a “Set” it’s not real. It’s “like” something. We have turned simile into an art form. The word “Like” also reflects the commitment of the city. If I say it’s “like” something, I don’t actually have to “Stand” for anything.

 

It has become completely acceptable when dating in LA to promote one thing and be something else. The contradictions are unique. You can tell someone on the first date that you are madly in love and then never call again. We have bitter and possibility cohabitating beautifully here in LA.

It's a city of entrepreneurs. You can make anything happen here, you don't have to have any degrees/credentials. You don’t have to have a history or you can have a criminal history. You can start as one thing but predictably you will end up as something else. You are rewarded for very bad behavior and then you are indicted for the same behavior. Your life-long friends depend on what fad you are following. When we take to drinking more, we have a whole new set of life-long friends.

 

As a little boy, I loved going to the Circus. Going to Madison Square Garden to see Ringling Brothers Circus was one of the highlights of the year. To live in Los Angeles you must love the Circus, you must love The Three Ring Circus and you must have a good case of ADHD so you have the ability to watch all three rings at the same time. Different City’s require different skill sets. It takes some time to figure out LA’s. It’s not as easy as taking off your shoes upon entering a traditional Japanese home.

 

 

 


Digging Deep

It takes something to fight for something, and many times those acts are not public. They are mostly private battles that you have to win every day. We battle with the best part of ourselves, and certainly the lesser part. We are faced with choices all day long, choices like: to have character, to have integrity, to eat well, to exercise, to develop, etc. Knowing what to get behind and knowing what to leave behind. Letting go and letting be or pushing through. In a crowd surrounded by family and friends lost in social media mayhem, we are still alone. We have to get up again and again.

 

I often wonder as I am in the shower for the millionth time, doing the same routine over again–– washing my face, washing my body, washing my hair–– when will I just give up and just not shower anymore? Life is not easy of course, and I have great compassion for what it takes and what makes it difficult for people. From the beginning, we face those challenges, the challenges kids have in school––bullying, peer pressure, focus, fitting-in, feeling safe.

 

Maintaining your spirit, your passion, your heart is daunting when faced with those pressures. That is not say there are not great times or profound moments, but in between those moments there is the struggle. The struggle to keep your vision when all around you is distracting and misdirecting, is a daily discipline.