musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Lost and Found: A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening

Lost and Found (VIII of XII)

A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

the view from The Grove's parking garage

the view from The Grove's parking garage

Part VIII: A missed deadline, a fall from grace and a brush with celebrity at The Grove

After the musical highs of the Echo Park Rising Festival and my cross-town Eastside L.A. Round-up live and in person, it was inevitable that the reality of my current situation would rear its methed-out head. There was the bleary haze of extreme fatigue, mixed with circular stories of hustlers and crackheads and being locked out, strung out and disoriented. This was not my personal experience. I was feeling freer to be my crazy self than ever before, but it seemed like my duty somehow and the least I could do to talk my addled friend through his misery and try to come up with some course of action. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: it was a fool’s errand.

Read More

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Lost and Found (III of XII)

A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

Echo Park Lake, Los Angeles

Echo Park Lake, Los Angeles

Part III: Echo Park

While on this trip, I started thinking about predilection and perception; on the power of preconceived thoughts in creating your own reality. I thought about the internal rhythms of people and of places, of being “in sync” as opposed to “out of sync,” and wondered if a particular person might be better suited to one part of the world rather than another. I thought of being closed and of being open, and maybe being a little too open. I contemplated the line that separates hyper-perception and madness — and wondered if maybe they were the same thing, and there wasn’t a line at all.

All of this was churning in my head as I sat in standstill traffic on the 405 in a rented Hyundai, on my way to Echo Park.

My plan was, for two weeks, to live a slice of Los Angeles city life, as a resident and not as a tourist, and see if it suited me. There are a lot of misconceptions about L.A. Contrary to the opinions of many Bostonians, it’s not just about the superficial glitz of Hollywood. Nor is it NCIS or a West Coast version of The Wire. In the Echo Park neighborhood where I was staying, there are working class families with kids playing in the street, and musicians lugging around equipment and playing shows in all sorts of small clubs, bars, coffee houses, performance art spaces, record stores and occasionally people’s homes. Despite being a stone’s throw from downtown L.A., it has a very livable, cozy and artsy neighborhood feel, much like New York’s Lower East Side or the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Nearby Silver Lake and Los Feliz are a tad more upscale and comparable to Greenwich Village; that is, if you can imagine those areas with almost constant sunshine and substantial stretches of woods and greenery.

Read More

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Lost and Found (II of XII)

A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

Part II: The Arrival

I had not slept well, nor for very long, the night before. A heady mix of anticipation and trepidation, I suppose. There was a list of about a dozen people I meant to connect or reconnect with in the two weeks I would be there — and a good deal of anxiety over one in particular. He was a friend, not terribly close; more of an acquaintence really, who I planned to stay with in what he referred to as a “one room house” in Echo Park. The east side of Los Angeles. Mecca. My imagined shangri-la where that low-level constant of dread would magically disappear and where impossibly good bands worked, played and called home.

I had visited twice before, with a mutual friend, and we stayed at his old place in Silver Lake. But this time was different. I was traveling alone save for my personal demons, who nearly strangled me to death back in Boston. I hoped to set them free in that expansive Western sky. The acquaintance-friend had just been in Boston for the summer, and while there, I could see the edges of his sanity already frayed. I reasoned that I would offer a small amount of emotional support in return for a centrally-located and free place to stay. Nothing is ever truly free, but you learn in time that everything is worth experiencing. Certain events, however painful, are like those people movers at airports that race uneasily along but let you cover a lot of ground in a short span of time.

The first of several miscalculations on this trip, I struggled to complete a work assignment between mistimed connecting flights and poor internet service. Robbed of my work-obsessed escapism and given no other options, I was left with no choice but to surrender to the emotions and experience.

Flying now over the alien landscape of Colorado and Utah, I fantasize about an unfamiliar planet where one can rediscover oneself amidst startling new surroundings. That wide open space, the endless possibility, and I could see it so clearly. In the nearly cloudless sky, the mind becomes free of distracting thoughts.

Landed in L.A. and feeling like a stranger in a familiar land, it takes a little while to remember and I mistakenly ask a homeless man for directions. He asks for spare change, but doesn’t provide any direction (“If I give you some money, will you tell me where I am?”). Later on, I sleepwalk through a warm summer’s evening humming with people, swaying palms and city lights. I no longer feel lost.




share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Lost and Found (I of XII)

A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

Elysian Park, Echo Park in Los Angeles

Elysian Park, Echo Park in Los Angeles

Part I: An Introduction

Every city has a soul. It might be the accumulation of individual experiences filtered through architecture and landscape. There are the natural forms that are the foundations handed down from ancient times, with the hopes, dreams and fears of those people as faint imprints on every surface and in the ether. There is every generation that followed, each one leaving its mark, taking from and then giving back ashes and essence.

The concept of people traveling West to seek their fortune and destiny dates back to early pioneer days. Besides the trappings and currency of what they seek, nothing much has changed. Whether it’s the promise of gold, the lure of celebrity or just a place to make a fresh start, that shared yearning, and at the end of so many dreams disillusionment and realization, continues to bind them. The human experience of searching for something more.

My trip to Los Angeles was not so much a vacation as it was a reconnaissance mission. A vision quest, if you will. I wanted to meet some of the people I had been writing to and writing about from across this great expanse, but even more than that, I wanted a sense of the place — and a sense of myself. The walls had been pushing in, deep within a cavern from where there seemed to be no escape and no clear sense of direction. I needed to understand why. The feeling was that of being pulled from a stagnant swamp and dropped into something vital and brimming with possibilities, madly churning and metamorphosing, with occasional flashes of great beauty.


Still to come: sacred spaces at 30,000 feet; magic, madness and great places to walk and eat in Silver Lake and Echo Park; the musical mecca of the east side of Los Angeles, centering around the Echo Park Rising Festival; Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach; Solstice Canyon in Malibu; catching up with old friends and famous family; and did I mention music?

Bands to come: Black Hi-Lighter, Young Hunting, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Olin & the Moon, Haunted Summer, Moses Campbell, Kan Wakan, The Happy Hollows (electric and acoustic), The Henry Clay People, Spencer Livingston, Holes & Hearts, The Wild Reeds, Fort King, Helene Renaut, Sun Rai, Warships, George Glass, 123Death, Midnight Cities, Pretty Flowers, Delta Spirit, The Airborne Toxic Event, Infantree, The Diamond Light and whomever that was who played at Tribal Cafe on 8/15…

30 minutes before landing in Los Angeles

30 minutes before landing in Los Angeles

Echo Park Lake

Echo Park Lake

Andy and Joey Siara of The Henry Clay People, at their final show

Andy and Joey Siara of The Henry Clay People, at their final show


The Happy Hollows on a backyard deck for Echo Park Rising

The Happy Hollows on a backyard deck for Echo Park Rising

Malcolm Sosa's new band 123Death at Los Globos

Malcolm Sosa's new band 123Death at Los Globos

Fort King at Echo Country Outpost

Fort King at Echo Country Outpost


The Airborne Toxic Event with the Pacific Symphony in Costa Mesa

The Airborne Toxic Event with the Pacific Symphony in Costa Mesa

Solstice Canyon, Malibu

Solstice Canyon, Malibu

Elysian Park, Echo Park, Los Angeles

Elysian Park, Echo Park, Los Angeles


share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén