Shacked up at the Wilshire Hotel soon to be The Line, Korea Town, Los Angeles. Here’s a Yelp review I read that was written six months before my squat.
” Stayed on the 11th floor, got back to my room at 3am and the bed was covered in bed bugs. I killed a few, while waiting for the manager to come up to the room. He said, “Maybe they’re mosquito’s.” I said “REALLY? Pulled back the covers” there were 3 large ones on the sheets.” Absolute dump. Surprised I didn’t see any rats; then again, rats couldn’t stand to stay there either. Rumor has it that the Wilshire will undergo renovations soon. Allow me to make a renovation suggestion: STEP 1: Implode hotel. STEP 2: Build a Chick-Fil-A on the corner of Wilshire and Normandie. I think I would have rather slept at a Chick-Fil-A.”
I was put up for free during a renovation to save some dough while shooting a book …L.A. SON. The entire 388 room hotel was demolished save for 10 rooms on the 3rd floor. These were reserved for contractors and workmen who were starting the renovation. I happened to be the only one there that week. Some say “spooky”, I say “kooky”. As I exited the elevator I was confronted by a floor to ceiling wall of dirty plastic, the type serial killers use to cordon off a room before eviscerating you. (If I were gutted right then, “Dexter” would’ve found a Korean-Dutch-Kentuckian bounty of Bibimbap, Hite beer, Makers Mark, kimchee, and some salty european licorice.) There was a slit in the middle I was birthed through that left ‘demo dust’ on my shoulders every time I passed into the dark, dank hallway. A lightbulb hung from the ceiling via an orange extension cord. It grazed my head every time I walked by, slightly singeing my hair. Had I stumbled across an unused set for a Bauhaus video? No such luck. That orange cord was a bit of sunshine in an otherwise drab monochromatic color schemed ruin.
I enjoyed my hotel, it was an adventure in patience, an exercise in Monkdom. I envisioned Leonard Cohen digging this scene, embracing it with ‘burnt wine”, and buddhism. Pretending I was a younger, taller, way less talented version of he, I took an ice plunge in rust colored water ( because the hot water handle and shower head seemed to be vacationing in another town,) and then relaxed to the static on channel 3, while stealing an occasional glimpse of very ordinary bricks through my only window. The Mexican dude across the way had been yelling at his lady for fifteen minutes, all I could make out was “Puta” (whore) and “Sabrosa” (delicious).
I decided to take a walk into the blue sunshine and find something “sabrosa”, I headed West on Wilshire. I left my 2 ton overpriced Nikon back at the room and pulled out my overhyped new iPhone, which left me underwhelmed. I filmed a homeless person sleeping on a bench, dreaming of memory foam and drumsticks. As a pigeon did a stupid dance, a flash of flannel screeched by in “ollie” form. I recognized his face and thought to follow. He led me to a nondescript corporate building , it was alive with skaters, not a cop in sight, nor a bedbug bite.
Recently in Leavenworth Washington shooting the FIRST ASCENT team for Eddie Bauer. I had a beautiful day that looked something like this.
P.S…Thank you Chris Coulter for drinking my Makers Mark, Lynsey Dyer for her mad sleeping bag skills, Lel Tone for her honest soul, Tom Wayes for kicking a bears ass with only a Tomahawk, Kyle Miller for being ‘right on’, Wyatt Caldwell for looking like he shreds even while drinking coffee, Zach Crist for his pristine back flip into the icy green, Reggie Crist for the badass ‘murder van’, Eric Leidecker for being…well…’LEIDECKER’. Last but not least, Caley George for rallying the troops and mixing volleyball to the tunes of Iron Maiden…seamlessly, or was it Slayer?
Acabo de volver de La Habana elogios de la revista Comida y Vino…or 15 things I dig about Cuba.
1) Havana Club 15 year old dark rum is God in a bottle and most likely made with commie Unicorn tears.
2) One Montecristo No.4 is $5 and at arms length at all times…not $16.78 and flown in from Toronto.
3) The coffee rocks and is made by old men in suits not chubby dudes in skinny jeans.
4) Not an Ugg was in sight.
5) Cristal beer with crunchy tostones and a sloppy bowl of lime and garlic mojo.
6) Not smoking indoors is illegal.
7) The birds sound different.
8) The ocean sounds different.
9) My name sounds different.
10) The Sartorialist will never be seen cycling down the Malecon ‘hunting’ for a sockless young man in brogues sporting a polka dot lime green hanky tucked into his blazer pocket.
11) Eating Ropa Vieja in someones living room that overlooks Parque Central while listening to Manuel Galban’s Los Twangueros.
12) The Mojito is a local and won’t stop following me.
13) The cars.
14) Cupcakes are not cool and never will be.
15) Even the ugly girls are pretty.
I met Roy while on assignment for Food & Wine magazine back in August. We ate our way from Waikiki to the North shore and back. The Pulitzer prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold was riding shotgun. The conversations were eclectic, ranging from post punk guitarist extraordinaire Keith Levene to the stamina one needed for a 5 hr tasting menu. Who creates the best bacon in the world to Calvin Codozar Broadus jr.’s trial in the 90’s. How to boil the perfect egg to why Koreans open liquor stores in the most crime ridden volatile areas of LA? Roy’s last words before I left Oahu were ‘lets hang some time’. A man of his word….we have hung. This was my experience.
Although I never witnessed ‘the book’ being launched I did see a few female flagellants launching leather whips across the asses of smiling foodies. The vodka-avocado-cayenne pepper-mint infused-quail egg beverage tasted like soup in cocktail form. I hadn’t eaten, so soup interbred with 80 proof alcohol was hitting the spot. Still hungry I sucked the brains from langoustine heads straight from the hands of Chef Paul Bartolotta. His right hand is missing a pinky and I’m positive I didn’t swallow it. I left his makeshift crustacean bar and spotted Mary-Louise Parker alone, gobbling bruschetta like she hadn’t eaten in a week . Perhaps staying in character she huffed a fatty before arriving? Wish I had. I said hello to Daniel Boulud…and something along the lines of ‘Hey man I photographed you for GQ at your Vegas brasserie a couple years back’. He stared quizzically for a second, almost ready to reply, but turned to a leather whip with bright red lipstick instead…can’t say I blame him. Eric Ripert’s smile flashed by in a sea of nameless faces as I headed for the elevators. Snubbed by top chefs all night I said goodbye to Roy and his giant arms (great for whipping lemon meringue and pretty good for whipping ass!) and stepped out into the misty midnight zigzagging home from 42nd and fifth to my tenement in Little Italy.