Tweeter: jonizzle


Saturday, November 11, 2006 by Jon

I wonder what it must be like to grow up in Los Angeles, California. With my Midwestern eyes, I feel like it would be somewhat surreal. Film, television, and music are arguably the most accessible global entities, being consumed across the United States and the world twenty four hours a day, 365 days a year. The vast majority of it starts and finishes here in Los Angeles. I could argue that this is the center of the world for many people who idolize movie stars and Gwen Stefani. So in your daily life, you're bound to cross paths with famous people who, in my Midwestern mind far removed from growing up in the sunny shores and bright lights of Socal, seem to be larger than life. It's like those sidewalk interviews you see on Jay Leno, where people know who Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are, but couldn't recognize Allen Greenspan or Tony Blair, aka people who probably have had a MUCH greater impact nationally and internationally on people’s lives than Bennifer would have ever had.

As I sit down and watch TV, it's completely different to watch "The OC back" in Champaign, Illinois, than to watch it here. I now recognize where they're filming. I used to wonder why all the characters on the show wore sweaters and jackets with them living in the famed sunny Cali climate, but then I realized that yea, its cold at night. You start to notice little things like that. It makes it a little more real and less real at the same time. Instead of The OC being in "California", it’s just at a place I was walking around yesterday. "Arrested Development" takes place in Orange County too, and in one episode their oddball lawyer goes to the City of Industry to pick up a hooker (for comedies sake). And um...the City of Industry is oh, just north of me. I could ride my bike there and listen to “Konstantine” only once. Anyways, one of my first thoughts was, "I wonder if they just chose to say that the male prostitute was in the City of Industry because the rest of the nation wouldn't know better and it sounds like a city where there would be male prostitues." Because really, the 340 million other non-LA citizens of the United States would have no idea right? (Although there really could be a place like that in the CoI, I wouldn’t know.) And actually, my first thought after seeing "City of Industry" on the bottom of the screen was figuring what freeways he took to drive there from Newport (the 57 North to 60 West probably).

I was filming last weekend near the Santa Monica Pier, which is close to 8th & Ocean. I didn't even realize it till a few days after I was there. When you see it, it is not "8th & Ocean", it’s apartment building. I was reminded of this as I was looking at apartments online. In a few years I could be living at say, 4th & Ocean. I bet Jeff would be too happy to hear that and ask me to go find the twin models for him. This also brought the song “Ocean Avenue” into mind by Yellowcard. This Californication (another song) is everywhere. I am proud to say that I haven't listed to Phantom Planet while driving to work on the 101 yet. Cuz you know, "driving down the one-oh-one" is not as glamorous as it seems in between the hours of 600-930am and 330-630pm. Traffic is never fun.

There is just so much of the entertainment industry here. I have yet to be really star struck, and I hope I don't because in reality they're just people, and you should figure that out quick when you're here because you shop at the same places and drink the same coffee they do. But the fact is people do get star struck and a little delusional (ex: all of the bad singers who go on American Idol and think they’re legitimately good).

In the wikipedia article for Hollywood, it says this:
"Every year, hundreds of runaway adolescents leave their homes across North America and flock to Hollywood hoping to become movie stars, as portrayed by the lyrics of the 1960s Burt Bacharach song "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" whose lyrics include the words: "All the stars / That never were / Are parking cars / And pumping gas." Such individuals soon discover that they have extremely slim chances of competing against professionally trained actors. Many of them end up sinking into homelessness, which is a problem in Hollywood for adults as well as youth."

It is however, fun to tell to people who aren't here, because usually we all get a kick out of it. But why is it so hard to make it out here? Is it really THAT hard to get into the entertainment industry? Perhaps it's because my chosen path so far has been production...but schmoozing with famous people doesn't seem too far off down the road. It would just be part of my job. I give credit to my fortune of having a normal childhood and an education, family and friends who are supportive, and who don’t get swept up in all this shiny Hollywood shtick.

Ryan noted months ago that he liked the song "Boston" because unlike many songs you hear (and film you see) that "make love to California," "Boston" was the antithesis to that. But then again, the song is still largely about California. And when I listen to it I feel like, sure, some snow would be nice, but really...75 degrees in November with no humidity and watching the Sun set off the Pacific Ocean is pretty hard to beat. My point though is that you gain all these real ties to the mass media. Their world is your world.
(I bet “Entourage” can really screw with peoples heads. It is a fictional story set in a factual industry with factual people making cameos as themselves who work to create a fictional world for us in the real world to consume.)

You sit in the same traffic and breathe in the same air, watch the same sunset and walk on the same sand. You shop at the same places and eat at the same restaurants. "Hello Jim Edmonds, Bobby Lee, and Jamie Kennedy, welcome to Yardhouse!" Grace would have to say...minus their names, while I sit in the corner and eat my buffalo wings. Reality and surreality collide. (Wow, that’s not a real word, but it should be.)

So this is my best guess as to why we keep making love to California. For those of us outside of LA, were drawn to it by all this glitz and glamour and the hopes of becoming rich and famous. And for those that are here, the reality that you formed in your own mind about life is now blurred by film, television, and music once you arrive. Your world is seen and heard around the world through media. Your world is the center. And so you feel a little more important. A little more like a big shot. We give celebrities way too much time and credit than we should. My guess is that if we can claim a connection to someone famous, it makes us all feel a little more famous too. Fame is power and acceptance, and maybe that’s a deep human desire acting out in all of us.

So, LA isn't all that its cracked up to be. But sometimes, it is. Some people really just come out here for the weather or job opportunities. It's certainly good enough for both. Just don’t get too caught up in all the Californication.

(Yes, it is ironic that I tell people not to get too caught up in loving California while quoting from a song about California.)

Oh and for Howard and Karen (and the StL kids for fun), Jim Edmonds should be BHC #3. It's a freaking cinder block on his shoulders.

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