Los Angeles is a place of luminous beauty juxtaposed with Hollywood’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” It’s a mixed bag where substance belies shallow, red carpet vapidity, and resplendent nature exists in stark relief against gritty, exhaust-crusted urban sprawl.
Imagine the marbled sidewalks of Rodeo Drive lined with the plastic cards used within its stores, its neat cobblestone walkways laid with silicon implants wending into the half-life Day-Glo green of ghosts of aspiring actresses past — a cinematic decay befitting Los Angeles. It’s insipid, and it’s viral, and it’s not going away, much like famed residents the Kardashians. The city is chock-full of everything divine, and everything of the Bacchanalian and vice-fueled flesh. It is, in essence, what you make of it.
L.A.’s musical history was built on garage rock and surf music from the ‘60s, bloated arena rock of the ‘70s and the Aqua Net and peroxide blond hair bands of the ‘80s. During the ‘80s heyday, labels such as Warner Bros. and Geffen pumped hair bands throughout “Rock ‘n’ Roll Sunset,” from the Rainbow to The Viper Room, where wealthy Turkish tourists with grey suede driving shoes, sailors with penny loafers and frat boys with a penchant for Girls, Girls, Girls gathered.
In any case, Los Angeles is a city predicated upon — and built up exclusively by and for creatives — and corollary gawking tourists. After the initial economic boom of California’s gold rush, Hollywood’s initial population upswing was indebted to the number of sunny days to film, and with the film industry came the aspiring actors, writers, musicians, comedians, and — let’s face it — porn stars.
Generally, prom queens from the Midwest arrive in the city generally (pitifully) wanting to make it, borne up by the levity of casting couch social mobility and upward social climbing, relying on the further buoyancy of their sizzling good looks. Cliché, yes, but they arrive with each bus and LAX inbound flight, indulging in the general painlessness of 72-degrees-and-sunshine-all-the-time. This general “Westward Ho!” behavior should probably be rewarded. It is, after all, evolution and ambition. Right, pioneers? Go West!
Los Angeles continues to evolve and expand with that Wild West mentality. The city’s recent population boom and influx to the Silicon Beach economy guarantees a continuation of growth, ensuring L.A. will sprawl up, down and sideways. Here’s our guide to everything from neighborhood exploration to restaurants, nights out, shopping, coffee shops and the stark contrasts within the City of (Hell’s) Angels.