LEGAL ALIEN: FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
With the Summer in full swing here in LA, days reaching 96F, you’d be forgiven for thinking I might be taking full advantage of it by spending at least 4 days a week on Santa Monica beach lolling on the sand & taking frequent dips in the cool blue ocean…..maybe dreaming of a close encounter with a spunky Life-Saver or enjoying a fabulous cocktail at Shutters on the Beach.
I love that whole scenario, every bit of it, but none of its true. I’m not lamenting because as well as auditioning non-stop, learning scripts, monologues & studying with Howard Fine, attending screenings & play readings, I’ve been working in a play, The Trial of Dali, playing ‘Gala Dali‘ with a bunch of actors from the US & England…truly an international cast.
It was part of the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival which had a massive amount of theatre going on all through June at a myriad of small Indy theatre spaces that populate Hollywood/West Hollywood/North Hollywood & environs.
Please please please don’t say to me there is no theatre going on in Los Angeles! Maybe that was true 10/12/15 years ago but certainly not now. Of course, LA remains a committed film & TV city for sure, where 1000’s of deals are made everyday/night.
$$$ & Box Office bragging rights are the prizes driving the obsession & the mania for Corporate & street cred in a city that loves its cinema & is historically deeply rooted in the myth & magic of movie-making.
As I’m getting to & from various casting offices, rehearsals venues, theatre & cinema gatherings for a variety of reasons I am also getting to know LA ‘on the ground’ so to speak – I don’t have a car as yet so I’m becoming a public transport die-hard & I’ve found myself in some far-flung corners of the LA map. Thank God for Google Maps because I think I’d still be trying to get back from some places I’ve gone to for a casting!
But the upside to that is I’ve developed a keener sense of what makes LA the mad crazy sprawling dirty beautiful star-spangled metropolis that it is. Palm-tree skylines fringe the streets, visually binding the various local communities into one defining vista.
From Beverly Hills to Compton Heights you are never too far away from the ever-present impossibly tall thin palm trees cutting a well-defined silhouette against an impossibly blue sky. Like the Hollywood sign, this image has become synonymous with LA.
Another image not beautiful but striking in a profoundly emotive way is the homeless people I see day after day as I walk around my local environment to Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, the dry cleaners, Sunset/Hollywood/Santa Monica/Melrose Ave’s & Blvd’s. When I first came to LA in 1996 I noticed the homeless men here & there, sleeping under cardboard or under blankets which they’d either been given by Good Will or found on the street. I don’t remember seeing any women or really young men either.
Now, today, there are 4 young men sleeping ‘rough’ just up from where I live very close to Sunset Blvd. just behind the bus stop. And this scenario is repeated all along the major thoroughfares. As I walk to the local Library I see a number of homeless women sitting against the shop fronts with their shopping carts packed full of their belongings, everything they own I imagine. There is one man who sleeps on the nature strip with his shoes taken off and put neatly beside him. His belonging are stacked up against the shop wall for when he wakes up & moves on.
I am confronted by this & it is a very salient reminder of 3 very important personal guidelines I try to practice every day:
1. There by the grace of God/Universe go I.
2. Don’t be judgmental.
3. Be grateful:Practice gratitude
I saw some graffiti the other day written on the side of a Traffic light electrical box down at Sunset & La Brea….“the homeless are human too”.
Yes, yes they are. And that keeps me very grounded in a city where it is very possible to lose yourself, get so pulled out of yourself, so far into the vortex of other peoples opinion of how ‘to be‘ you lose touch with being who you are… instead of becoming more of who you already are.
And on that note do keep reading & pass it on to like-minded peeps, colleagues & friends……..
Spread the VIVA VOCE from LA.