29th of February, 2012
Despite the late-ish night out, I’m up super early thanks to the neighbour who seems to be tap dancing outside my window at 7.30am. Joy o joy! I get on good old FB and a friend Alexx, whom I met through the great international network of couch surfing has emailed and is keen to meet. Alexx hosted me four years ago in his central Hollywood apartment – a beautiful 1920’s building with rattling elevators, that was once a hotel to the stars; like Marilyn Munroe and Humphrey Bogart. It was this experience with Alexx that introduced me to a side of LA that I’d never seen before. I’d been to LA years earlier, but it was more of a touristy adventure. The LA he showed me was alive, breathing creativity, off the beaten trail and very exciting. We’ve been friends ever since. As a side note – If you don’t know about couch surfing, check it out! It’s a phenomenal way of experiencing a place and meeting locals. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.
Alexx collects me from West Hollywood where I’m currently staying with friends and we head to his new Los Feliz pad (east side LA). Alexx works in the film/tv biz as a set painter and his home is an example of his artistic flair and vigour. He also runs a collective called Central Elements where all kinds of creators, movers and shakers are promoted. The trademark logo/photo of him and his brother as kids at Halloween in Kiss makeup I love, and can be found on stickers all over LA. He is one super interesting guy and knows LA like the back of his hand. We head to a spot called Alcove; a gorgeous cafe with outdoor seating, shady trees and a bustling brunch crowd. The only seats available are inside where we pull up a stool at a marble bar and catch up on life, love and creation. A heavenly feast of smoked salmon, potato rosti, creme fraiche and poached egg has my mouth watering with every bite. It’s a beautiful start to my first Sunday living in LA.
We head back to his gaff. There’s a beat he’s been working on and we talk about making a track together, with me potentially doing the hook. The tune plays and chilled rapped lyrics (that Alexx has recorded) bounce rhythmically. Inspiration tickles my ears and my mind; a creative whirlwind brews. A social interval when a couple of Alexx’s friends drop over to borrow a camera; acquaints me with some of his inner circle. He’s a painter, and she’s an extremely talented jewellery maker whose stunning, suspended architectural pieces with detachable air plant fittings I find breathtaking, spectacular and unique. The afternoon hums along with luscious creative brainstorming and sharing. Alexx talks about his cousin; a singer, songwriter, musician and producer who has worked with people like Janet Jackson, Bette Midler and numerous others. There’s a possibility that his cousin might help with production of music Alexx wants to make and create. We drink vodka and cranberry – Alexx’s signature drink and end the day discussing human vulnerability and power.
I am wrung out by the time I get home, after the early start and maybe some jet lag, but I push through it and take a big walk around Weho (West Hollywood). I head up Santa Monica Blvd, west, past shops into a distinctly gay area, with slick groomed men holding hands, heaving bars chock a block at 4pm, writhing buff and sexy dancers on bar tops wearing nothing but underpants. I make my way back through suburban streets under twinkling dusk stars, soaring palm trees, past a lemon and then a lime tree, from which I pluck some fruit. As I am thinking about a lime and spring onion dressing and how I should have picked up some spring onions on my earlier supermarket venture – badabing! I look down to the nature strip, and there before my eyes are not only leeks, but spring onions. A quick moments realisation at what lies in front of me and I am uprooting dirt and all! Nothing like a little urban foraging on a Sunday I say. The universe answered my very need! Amazing. Spring onions in the bag.
Frankie (my current host and dear friend) is having some friends round tonight to watch the pilot episode of ‘Touch’ that stars Kiefer Sutherland and her friend Sam. Sam joins us. Her performance is beautiful and the show truly mesmerizing. It feels a very artsy, actors night in, as they chat the biz – directors, acting classes, teachers, casting. A lot of it seems utter mumbo jumbo to a newcomer like me. Emma; Frankie’s flatmate, tells stories of her job as a PA for Brittany Murphy’s mother. Stories of the dog being walked in Ugg boots and socks are hilarious and other stories are simply heart breaking. It all feels very dramatic and very Hollywood. Tragedy and comedy combined.