heartbroke cities: Los Angeles


losangelesWhen people badmouth the aching sprawl of Los Angeles, I always find myself defending the city, even though it’s left me in tatters multiple times. It’s like when your woman leaves you and all your friends can do is call her a low-down cooze and you tell them to back off, because deep down you just want her to take you back.

Los Angeles, though, despite its reputation for being vapid and bland, has a resonate history, which is literally steeped with beautiful stories of disappointment, heartache and misdirected dreams. There’s a reason the hottest girl from your high school moved here. Same with your cool, slightly cocaine-addled cousin who was in that punk band. And let’s not forget your best friend, who dreamed of joining LA’s great literary tradition of failed alcoholic writers.

I love downtown LA, in it’s faded 20s era glory. And I love old Hollywood architecture. And I love the glow of tan, young bodies, lining the sidewalks of Santa Monica. But I also love the less iconic areas of LA. Skid Row, and Highland Park, and, by God, the San Fernando Valley! There’s a bar in Koreatown called the Smog Cutter, filled with destitute drunks, serviced by strangely talkative Filipino women (with terrible English). A daytime, lovesick bender at a place like the Smog Cutter really makes you feel like you’re doing something with your time.

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