Sunday, April 23, 2006

First LA Brush With Fame

Note that this posting was started Sunday evening, and just made it's way to post Thurs. Morning.

So I've been in LA exactly 6 hours and I've already been in a film, witnessed the stalkeratzi in action, and been moved to tears (ok, welled up a bit) twice. And all this on 2.5 hours sleep, and without the benefit of any caffine today.

The flight was lovely, it's been so long since I've flown out of Vancouver in the daylight, I'd forgotten how breathtaking it is. Absolutely clear, fabulous view of Mt. Saint Helen's. Stunning.

I got in to LAX early, took a ride-share van to Santa Monica, and registered at the hostel, fighting the strong urge to drop right on to my bottom bunk and pass out. Instead I got my tourist on and headed to the pier. Oh lord, the bastion of tacky tourism that is. I also found it very distressing that the kid's meal at Taco Bell is 2 soft tacos, nachos with cheesy-byproduct dip, and a coke. I know that because I ate it. And barely got through it, which would probably expain all the fat kids on the pier.

I was accosted by a large flock of blue shirted tweens who asked me to be in the documentary project about the environment. Despite the fact that they were some sort of Zionist youth group and sort of freaky, I said yes. Because you never know, it could get passed to Robert Altman inspiring him to track me down and cast me in his next opus. But I digress. So read 1 line for the kiddies, something about how many kazillion pounds of junk mail Americans receive every year that ends up in the landfill. Shocking.

I wandered down to the beach to cross over to The Nomadic Museum, and compelled to check out the adjacent Arlington West - a monument to service men and women that have lost their lives in Iraq. There are over 1000 white crosses planted in rows in the sand, each one representing a fallen soldier. And in front there is a sign declaring that if a cross was erected for every Iraqi life lost the beach would be covered in crosses, and it is a big ass beach. It sounds cheesy, and I was typically skeptical, but moving along the info boards and reading the indivisual stories and hearing the man behind me crying brought me to tears. People can leave messages on the crosses of sepcific servicepeople, and the messages from families and friend are laminated and marked with a star. I was particuarly taken by the cross of PFC Lori Ann Piestewa, heavily adorned with messages, most with silver stars. Messages I can't imagine leaving for a sister or friend.

I moved over to the Nomadic Museum, which is as impressive for the building it is housed in as for the photography of Gregory Colbert housed inside. The building is constructed of hundreds of shipping containers, huge cardboard tubes and suspension wires. The interior is earily tranquil for something so industrial, the photos (mostly sepia prints of animals interacting with man) are suspended on either side of a rough plank path, both sides of which are flanked by smooth river stones. Unfortunately I couldn't take any photos inside, but I'll try to scan and post a piece from the brochure. Second welling of tears occured here.

I came back to the hostel and met my room-mate Helen - it is an 8 bed room, but just us so far - she went off to explore and I am going for an early sleep.

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