Updated: Mar 30
I’ve lived in Los Angeles for almost 20 years.
And it’s true what they say. Familiarity breeds contempt. At least it does when it comes to me and the City of Angels.
My husband Laurence is a native Angeleno, and he’d really hoped I would learn to love it.
Alas, I seem to grow more irritated with each passing year.
It’s not the serious problems and dangerous threats, like homelessness and wild fires, that set my teeth on edge (though they should be taken seriously).
The things that drive me nuts here are menial and shallow. (Like me, I guess.) The longer I live here, the less tolerant of these almost-everyday annoyances I become.
Here’s a by-no-means comprehensive list:
It often takes an hour to drive 12 miles
Most people here think it’s perfectly reasonable to spend an hour driving 12 miles
One car with a flat tire on the 405 can ruin the fun for thousands
Endless constant sun and a lack of real weather
Despite the endless constant sun and a lack of real weather, temperatures often span 20 degrees or more within one day
When it does rain, most people react as though it’s the end of the world
“What are you working on now?” is considered a greeting
Pneumatic breasts on women
Butt implants on men
65-year-olds working at McDonalds
55-year-olds wearing skinny jeans
30-year-olds running movie studios
16-year-olds driving Teslas
8-year-olds with gold AmEx cards
Traffic. Again. Because it never goes away
A small one-bedroom bungalow costs $2.5 million
Working actors are treated like gods and goddesses
Non-working actors are treated like hoodlums and whores
Road construction during rush hour
Two people are legally considered a carpool
Despite that, most people still won’t carpool
People who bring their (uninvited) dogs to parties
The brown/tan/orange-ish baby puke/Taco-Bell-esque hue of paint that seems to cover 80% of commercial buildings
Strict no-smoking ordinances in a city with endless exhaust fumes
Artisan everything. Artisan laundry detergent. Artisan personal lubricant
The “Fake Red-Carpet Crowd" who show up to anything with a step-and-repeat where they can take their own photo
At this point, I must sound like a grumpy old curmudgeon. A “queer-mudgeon.” Maybe I am.
In hopes of proving that I’m not, however, I sat down recently to make list of everything I love about Los Angeles.
It was a long 20 minutes of brainstorming.
But in the interest of full disclosure, and in a half-hearted attempt to offer some balance and lighten the fuck up, here’s a begrudging manifest of things I don’t absolutely hate about living here.
In no particularly order:
Paley Center for Media, née the Museum of Broadcasting, which hosts annual television festivals and retrospectives, where they screen episodes of favorites old and new on the big screen, and gather the casts and creators for often-hilariously candid Q&As. You can also find pretty much anything ever broadcast in their vast library, and watch it in their pods. It’s Nirvana for former TV addicts like me
Between all the “has-beens” who used to work in the industry, all the young “wannabes” who inspire to work in show biz, and all the people who actually do make their living laboring in movies, TV and music in this town, there really is artistic genius living on almost every city block
There’s a lot of old-Hollywood history casually laying around. I currently live less than a mile from Sony Studios (previously known as MGM), and walking distance from Culver Studios, a.k.a. David O. Selznick’s old studio, a.k.a. that big white mansion that served as Selznick’s “logo” that opens Gone with the Wind
I bitch about constant sun and the lack of weather. But I’d be lying if I said I missed those cold, dry, snowy, blistering Indiana winters. (God knows, we got plenty of weather this winter after two decades of drought)
Palm trees and the wild parrots that live in them
Palisades Park is gorgeous, with some of Santa Monica’s most elegant high-rise condos on one side, the gorgeous Pacific Ocean on the other, and the Santa Monica Pier off in the distance. It's a great place to "people watch"
Beverly Hills is another wonderful place to people watch – you'll see everyone from the ultra-rich to the struggling to survive, bizarre sci-fi-esque plastic surgery and some of the most tasteless-yet-casual displays of wealth imaginable
University of Southern California, where I made many student films, met some good friends and great connections, and did some of my best work on film (sad as that is to admit)
Authentic Jewish delis
Authentic Mexican food
Deserts, mountains, forests, the ocean, and even San Francisco are all less than a day’s drive away (if you can stand the traffic)
Okay, I did my best. Now I’m exhausted.
I’m lowering the black-out shades to block out that God-damned sun, turning on the white-noise machine to drown out the fucking leaf blowers and car alarms, and taking a much-needed nap.
Like a grumpy old queen does.
If you enjoyed this blog, and would like to read more pieces like it, check out my new book Expletives Not Deleted, coming May 30, 2023 in paperback, e-book & audio book!