Time and time again I have conversations with newbie LA transplants, or with people not from here and have no intention of moving here, who are all pretty confident in what Los Angeles and what a Los Angeles person is like:
LA is full of plastic, fake and superficial people. Airheads. People who only care about how they look, the car they drive and the people they know.
There is no nature. No culture. No worthwhile restaurants.
It’s a cold and sprawling place where the only good thing (this everyone agrees on) is the weather.
Well, I was born and raised here and I must say, none of this has been my experience… until I meet someone who’s never been to LA until now, fresh out of college, with stars in their eyes (to be the next Spielberg or DiCaprio or Streep). It’s like they become the very thing they say they despise. It’s weird.
Sure there are some fake or superficial people here and there, but fake people exist everywhere! Perhaps I live in a bubble, but none of my friends care that much about how they look. Sure I’ve got some friends who are more into fashion than others, they like their good shopping trip as much as the next gal, but it is not something that consumes or defines them. And a lot of my friends are writers, directors, producers, actors, musicians, aspiring or otherwise.
Once in a while I will meet someone who’s fresh off the plane, their first time ever in Los Angeles, and they are dressed in the designer jeans, faux aviators and fancy briefcase. But why? Who said you had to wear that? I mean, if it’s legitimately your style than ok totally cool. But if it’s not and you think that’s going to get you further or enable you to fit in, I think you’re wrong. I mean, maybe there is something to be said for “dressing the part”. But, call me naive, I like to think that you being you will get you where you need to go. Believe it or not, this town is full of REAL people. People who are passionate and artistic and going after their dreams. Who want to see others achieve their dreams too. I meet them everyday on film sets, in theaters, at screenings…
And this nonsense of LA being cold, unforgiving with no culture or nature or history- wrong, wrong, WRONG! First off, I live in Silverlake/Echo Park, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Down the street from me is one of the oldest restaurants, established in 1927 still with that old-school charm. Left and right of me are old public staircases that people used to use to get down to Sunset Blvd or up to where the train once ran through town. Including the old “Music Box” steps from Laurel and Hardy’s famous piano moving scene from their 1932 comedy of the same name. And just a couple miles from there is Chinatown, filled with authentic restaurants including my all time favorite dim sum place that I have been going to ever since I can remember.
And you want nature? Well try the many hidden coves along gorgeous Malibu Beach, or the miles upon miles of hiking trails through Topanga Canyon, Temescal Canyon, Malibu Canyon, Griffith Park, and on and on. The breathtaking Huntington Gardens with acres upon acres of gardens from all over the world.
Culture too? Well, yes, believe it or not we’ve got that too. How about the hundreds of art galleries and art walks: The Brewery Complex, Downtown Art Walk, Chung King Rd Galleries, Venice Art Walk, Culver City, Frog Town, Bergamont Station just to name a few. And museums: LACMA, The Getty, Getty Villa, MOCA, Norton Simon Museum just to start you off… Theater: Mark Taper, Ahmanson, Actors Gang, Kirk Douglas and the millions of black box theaters that I mention on this very blog!
In fact, one of the many things that I absolutely love about this town is that there is endless exploring to be done. There is always a new trail to climb, a new restaurant to try, a new play to see and new interesting people to meet, but then there are also the staple places that you keep going back to like my fave dim sum or stretch of sand. To me, that’s “LA”.