When I was 19, I decided it would be a wise move to quit art school and travel to Ireland and the UK. I had the idea that I’d get there and find a job at a pub, where I might find the ghost of James Joyce lurking behind a barstool. So with an incredible naiveté, I flew to Shannon airport. (This was the day after the student stopped the tanks in Tiananmen Square — my journey was a bit more frivolous. Or not.)
After having gone through customs, I went to baggage claim, where I grabbed my luggage and turned around to get that job pouring Guinness for drunken men named Declan and Liam and Bono.
That’s when it hit me:
I’m alone in a foreign country and have absolutely no idea where I’m going to live or how I’m going to make a living. Plus, James Joyce is dead, everyone in the country named Declan and Liam is probably liquored-up and belligerent, and Bono won’t talk to me unless I’m covered with flies.
Which brings me to my current situation. Last week, I moved to Los Angeles. And if I don’t find employment or interest in my writing soon, I will, in fact, be covered with flies.
I loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly (Hills, that is) on the 11th. Three days later, I pulled up to my new home, which is situated directly under big, white letters that spell out “Hollywood.” (Technically, that’s where I live.)
It’s at this point that I must give you all a piece of advice: if ever you choose to drive across country — particularly alone — avoid the Texas panhandle. It is, without question, the creepiest place on earth. Like, ten times creepier than Disney World or a Carrot Top concert. Even the sunshine is creepy. (It marked the only time I was glad my friend Seif Hamid had chosen not to make the trip. Methinks we would not have been well received, or maybe even gotten out alive.)
So now , as I sit here, wondering how I'm going to make a living, I think to myself:
The neighborhood is terrific. It feels like a real, live neighborhood, with lawns, houses, and palm trees lining the street. And lots of dogs. Oh— and fake breasts. (SOOOO June Cleaver, that trollop.) Also, being that the sign is clearly visible, it’s big with tourists. (Typically, groups of Asians, who are living up to the stereotypes.)
I’m just two blocks from Hollywood Blvd, just down the street from the Capitol Records building, the Kodak Theater, and all of that well-known crap, which will prove to be ironic in a very good way, or a very bad way. Time will tell.
I’m also a few blocks away from the Henry Fonda Theater, where I just saw Neko Case, thanks to my friend Rachel — one of Neko’s back-up singers. She was kind enough to get me free tickets and after-party passes.
Great show. Even better when you consider one of the opening acts was a guy named Porter Wagner. He’s about 100 years old and his hands look exactly the same as those of every embalmed corpse. But his electric pink, glittered suit kicked ass and I’m pretty sure it was what was keeping him from flat-lining. His backing band wasn’t so terrible, either. It included (legendary country producer) Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam and Billy Bob Thorton. Not exactly a common scene.
Anyhow, those are a few things that I've been doing lately.
Gotta go. I’m on the hunt for the ghost of Charles Bukowski.