Joe Alterio's blog on illustration, comix, design, animation, and other bouts of total awesomeness.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Los Angeles' cool thin tendrils slip their sticky coils around me for a few nights this weekend, and all I can think of is the electricity in them that used to be thrilling, but now is static discharge to my frontal cortex. We all assume mantles at a certain point, if only because it's easier: sometimes, your three sentence rundown of how you are in your brain keeps you from going over the edge with self-doubt or, even worse, a booze-fueled existential slip up. Part of my Cliff's Notes involved being the Consummate Los Angeles Defender. My stock lines are familiar to anyone who has gone abroad and felt the need to defend their home country as a place of decent human beings. "It's misunderstood, there's wonderful parts about it, it's so damn trendy to hate it". But for some reason on this particular visit, Madam Angeles kiss feels cold and clammy.
Out in Sherman Oaks, and something strikes me that I could never put my finger on before, maybe because I was too close, too complicit. There's no people here. The abstract of complaining about cars is something that naturally leads people to think of traffic, smog, and delays. But my epiphany is of a more natural sort: looking around, the human form is nary in sight. Tucked safely away in their flying vehicles, funneled onto the city streets where everyone is behind tinted glass, sunglasses, air conditioners. The sight of a human being is rare from the window of a car here. And that, combined with the bright newness of the malls and and streets signs make it look like a place where something just happened for which you were a little late, and now everyone's gone.
But I'm here with Kevin, which is gratifying. We talk projects of all sorts, and as usual when I'm with him, I get excited all over again for my various ridiculous hair brained creative schemes. We flit from location to location like purposeless bees, carried by Santa Anna winds from a production studio to the Tee Yee Lounge for Knob Creek rocks to Canters for Lox and capers. We talk about robots and monsters and comics and films and merchandising and how can rest on our laurels and still make rent. It is a infinitely futuristic web 2.0 existence we lead, joining the other sort-of employed college educated professionals who haunt coffeeshops and exist on their Macbooks and are allowed to be nowhere at 2 PM. Our perfect lucky states are enviable.
Los Angeles breaths. We breath with it and hope it all lasts for a little while longer. The tendrils keep their buzz.