I wrote this dispatch from the steps of Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA, but it was if I was already back in France, ready to start again after a month long extended whirlwind stay in LA. We landed from the cold of Europe to the warmth of California, and then left the cold and rainy May weather of LA to return to the temperate Springtime of Bretagne. It's a mixed up illogical world.
So the most self evident observation following our LA trip is that things are rarely what they were, kind of a riff on one of my favorite sayings which goes: "you can never become what you were", and thank god for that, because if it were not true, then forward motion would no longer be something to look forward to.
The experiences of my past routines did not measure up to thememories I had of them ... the sensations surrounding those events were structured around nostalgia and in fact, after a few weeks of trying to rekindle them, merely a fantasy.
Friends and acquaintances and the warmth and memories which bind us certainly remained intact and in some cases grew stronger, while others diminished in tone ... everyone moves on, right?. Let's see what the future holds for all those relationships as each and every one continues to live the consequences of their lives to the best of their ability.
It was shocking to witness how in 9 short months, so many of our old stand-by landmarks had simply vanished ... 3 restaurants of long standing habit gone, one reassuring building now a gaping hole in the ground ... places which were bare foundations now fully realized buildings ... does nothing stay the same, must this progress continue unheeded?
Traffic which from the vantage point of our somewhat regulated life and home base of Silver Lake had seemed somewhat tolerable now had morphed into traffic mayhem, gridlock galore ... there was no escaping the air-conditioned confines of our cars, as we ran around meeting friends, scheduling appointments in transit, crossing the city for another do or die event, all with a great deal of urgency and the watching of clocks. Flexibility and change, two of the hallmarks of American Culture, which for me make this country so vital and exciting, had now become the root of my sense of loss along with my disappointement at the lack of continuity.
Words which came up repeatedly as descriptive of my LA experience: churning, grinding, onslaught, bombardment, unrelenting ... all words related to noise on the street (syrens, trucks), thumping music, the soundtrack and constant accompaniment to any store and restaurant ... the visual attack coming from all sides, billboards urging all to buy, to think about this and that, to vote for, to respond to, to daydream about what one should be missing out on, to wish for and to measure up to ... with a 9 month separation from LA, returning as we did into full immersion mode, with the bubble which we had created for ourselves no longer available (we were now tourists in our hometown after all), and living it all from the context of our present Breton reality, one diametrically at odds with the LA experience, I must say that although rewarding in many ways, the whole thing was also quite disconcerting. Stay tuned and all my best to all ... Pierre Picot
Pics above from the fabulous Matt Wedel and Chaz Garabedian openings at LA Louver our first night!