water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink

darlings

it’s not everyone that thinks of Mr. Samuel Coleridge when they first come upon the Department of Water and Power in downtown Los Angeles – but we did – last night –

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnow “downtown” is a strange place.

it’s almost as if a piece of Battery Park City, in Manhattan, took a mini-break in the depths of a NY winter and came West and decided to stay.

however, unlike Manhattan – it’s deserted.

people (with money)  d  r  i  v  e  in and park under their office building and stay there for lunch (delivery) and do not venture outside.

those (take a moment to feel grateful) without Means (or several driving-under-the-influence-issues-thus-no-licence) take the bus or drift with their worldly belongings in the scorching heat and pass out in the Park (and we don’t mean in the Leaving Sandhurst way).

but really, there’s no one about.

at least not that we’ve ever seen – apart from when there’s a downtown art walk or something and then the Curious and those-in-tie-dye-materials converge there just briefly.

but it’s really beautiful.

and we felt profoundly moved by the Department of Water and Power (well, you can’t go wrong with a brutalist 1960s building and a cantilevered staircase surrounded by a man-made lake can you?)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAespecially when the sun is about-to-set and the hillsides of *saidvaguely* over There look quite a lot like Tuscany.

non?

so why were we There?

good question.

well – who-we-are-in-RL was meant to be going to a Screening at something called Outfest (this is an LGBTQ Moment – the Q being Questioning – although we much preferred the days of Ms. B. Ruby Rich in her designation of the Cinema of the Out There People – heady days – when Q meant Queer *gasps*).

unfortunately something came up so we had to Leave and head back into the middle of Town again (too long a story – and for another blog – not ours at any Rate).

but we felt a strange reverberation (and it wasn’t a. an earthquake or b. at all pleasant).

you see – before we became teamgloria (*lookstocamera*) who-we-are-in-RL  often Wrote about such Film Festivals in London in (really? 1992?!) and thereabouts for Time Out, London (the Out here, rather confusingly, means Time Off – afternoons, evenings, weekends, that sort of thing – do keep up darlings, we know we’re finding it hard to ;-)

so it was a shock to her (poor love) when she parked the car (we’re not allowed to drive, we have to study the Map which makes no sense when we have a disembodied and Very Bossy lady GPS therein) and she was faced with a scene from circa 1992.

everyone looked EXACTLY as they used to in the early 90s – the ladies, their Companions (of inter-sex or same-sex-different-haircuts) and Others (in the sense of being different-from-the-norm although this is Los Angeles so one has to work very hard to be Other because almost Everyone is Other here apart from the people who drive to the skyscrapers and don’t leave until 7PM to go back to the Valley – but who knows what they wear on a saturday night in sherman oaks – we cannot judge).

but they were all in their early 20s.

and who-we-are-in-RL is Not (anymore).

in fact she was the only person with a black hand Fan (hard to find – the Japanese shop Daiso in Koreatown has them – you can’t miss them – everything else is Pink there) and a Louise Brooks bob.

she had to sit down.

the where-did-the-years-go? feeling overcame her.

as did the where-are-the-others-who-carry-black-hand-fans*? sensation

*the Castro – and they’re drag queens – but we didn’t want to add to her sadness.

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as she slipped out of the screening to take-care-of-an-issue (which we can’t go into Here) we overheard an adorable little androgyne with some suspiciously new facial hair (how clever!) saying s/he** was on the “wait list” for the screening because it was over-subscribed (there were certainly Lots of People there last night).

so we turned around and smiled (prettily) and said:

you can have our Ticket.

seriously? you don’t want to see the screening?

we’ve already seen this one – about twenty years ago – and something-just-came-up that we must attend to.

and with that, we left.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAperhaps we’ll take up skateboarding.

they appear to be friendly and definitely Other.

or Not.

CODA:

**(you didn’t know we were familiar with the work of Violette Leduc who pioneered the use of the split gender transgression s/he or J/E were you? we have Hidden Depths, darlings)

The richness of her narratives comes less from the circumstances depicted than from the burning intensity of her memory; at each moment she is completely there through all the thickness of of the years.

Simone de Beauvoir on Violette Leduc

Trying to squish all our different experiences into one Life (or even one career) is proving tiring.

just for today we’re going to take a break and drink tea with friends and not think about the future at all.

how about you?

fancy taking a day off from worrying as well?

you look like you might need to, love.

tell us how it goes when you do.

we’re here to listen.

and we thank you for Listening to us.

*smileswinninglythroughtheinterweb*

words by simone de beauvoir (we took the pictures)

darlings

we just received the latest Requests from the Los Angeles County Library – one is an old favo(u)rite – Simone De Beauvoir’s America Day By Day, her diary of four months spent in America (as you Might have guessed from the Title although it was just the USA bit – not South America, Latin America or the bit of North America that is inhabited by those nice Canadians – however, we digress) in 1947.

the pictures are ours.

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it is the story of what happened to me, neither more nor less. This is what I saw and how I saw it. I have not tried to say more. [xviii]

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Hollywood Boulevard follows the contour of a hill; sitting at the bar, we look through a large bay window and see at our feet the spread of houses where the first lights are coming on. Little by little Los Angeles is transformed into a large, glittering lake. [p.111]

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Hollywood, as everyone knows, is where the studios are. The stars live in Beverly Hills. To see their houses, you have to enter an artificial park humming with neither the muffled life of the countryside nor the feverish life of the city; the luxurious villas are surrounded by a false solitude. [p.110]

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At midnight we are alone on top of a hill. We sit on the ground and smoke in silence. Los Angeles is beneath us, a huge, silent fairyland. The lights glitter as far as the eye can see. [p.122]

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We go shopping for dinner. This is the first time I’ve entered one of these big stores. It looks like an agricultural fair: oversized, smooth and polished, the fruits and vegetables all have the slightly false luster of perfect greenhouse products, unmarked by the vagaries of rain and sun. N. grabs a little metal cart from a corner and pushes it in front of her; we walk down the aisles and gather up whatever we like. There is such a profusion of meat, fish, and especially canned goods that the choice is very difficult; our needs and even our desires are not up to such magnificent abundance. [p.124]

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The house, hidden among orange groves, is surrounded by an overgrown garden full of trees and flowers – no hedges or walls; no bolt on the gate, although no one would be there. [p/124]

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Over there in the night, a vast continent is sparkling. I’m going to have to become reacquainted with France and climb back into my own skin. [p.390]

well.

there you go.

a whistle-stop tour through Simone’s (may we be so familiar?) recollections of America.

yes.

we left out a lot.

she gets stoned in Harlem (the idea!) and doesn’t care much for Chicago, has very Odd Ideas about the American Woman, gets snotty because a French waiter in Manhattan refuses to answer her when she orders in English (what did she expect? n’est ce pas cherie?) and quite frankly was a bit dismissive of California as a whole.

but you wouldn’t know that from the passages we chose.

and the pictures we decided to take to accompany her words.

because that’s how we roll.

edit out the bits we don’t like and illustrate the moments we really do.

such a truly delicious way to live.

sure, it might be a Tiny bit naive.

but we’ve lived long enough to know it’s quite the nicest way to spend one’s time day by day, in America, or anywhere else really.

don’t you think?

btw, as the young people say, did you notice the cat on the wall?

here he is again.

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amazing what one might miss if one doesn’t take the time to stroll down a side street with a light chiffon (blue, naturally) scarf around the neck and a camera in hand.