Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"For Rent" Signs On the Rise

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've probably noticed the large number of "For Rent" signs that have gone up in Los Angeles during the past few weeks. I'm reminded of the mass exodus that occurred after September 11, 2001, when the economy tanked and people started re-evaluating their career paths and lives in general.

It's not surprising that renters are moving to cheaper apartments or leaving Los Angeles altogether -- a suffering economy always hits areas with higher costs of living harder. After all, it's one thing to live the life of a "starving artist" when the economy is good, but when none of your friends can find work and you can't even afford the occasional dinner out, the Hollywood dream begins to look a little dingy.

And let's face it, Los Angeles can represent American excess at its worst. From this week's hot, new starlet dining at The Ivy to Playboy bunnies shopping at The Beverly Center, we're often surrounded by what seems like undeserved financial success coupled with a complete lack of restraint. Which only makes being unemployed or underemployed all the more disheartening.

But don't move back in with the parents just yet. Remember, Hollywood created the rags to riches story -- and it wasn't just a screenplay. In Los Angeles, today's filmmaker struggling to make rent is tomorrow's Hollywood Hills blockbuster producer. And the great thing about living here? Those transformations happen every day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Los Angeles: Land of the Future Part I

If Jules Verne or H.G Wells where alive today, not only would they be really old I'd say they'd be living in Los Angeles and working as screenwriters. Or at least they'd be trying to work as screenwriters. These men were not only masterful fiction writers ahead of their time, and the fathers of sci-fi writing, they were much more than that. They were futurists.

Their 19th century visions of flying machines, space travel and nuclear power set the stage for the digital age we live in today, thanks to those soon-to-be artists, engineers and scientists who were sent to bed with visions of their future worlds in their heads. Like Gene Rodenberry of Star Trek fame or for my generation George Lucas (70's Lucas mind you) it takes a creative mind without limitations to envision not only a world filled with advanced gizmos but a world filled with advanced people as well.

In the future ( yes I know Star Wars takes place " a long long time ago") people will be smarter, healthier and their dreams will improve upon the dreams of the past. It's easy for you and I to envision superhuman cloning or a telephone in pill form because both of those ideas are built upon something we already know about. But what comes next after every technological toy is too small to see and is cheaper than gum?

What comes next may not be as cinematic as a jet-pack or a laser blaster but what I can guarantee you is that somewhere, right now, some creative nut/genius is breathing life into our future via that wonderful time machine that we call fiction. The past is prologue as they say. Here's to the future.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

More Prop 8 Protests Planned for Today

Outraged by the passage of California's Proposition 8 -- which eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry -- gays, lesbians and their supporters have taken to the streets in protest over the last few days. They've already rallied in West Hollywood, outside the Federal Building in Westwood and in front of the Mormon Temple in West Los Angeles. (Mormons contributed about 45% of the funds used to promote Prop 8, so they are an understandable target).

Today, "No On 8" protests will be happening in Silverlake near the intersection of Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards. Since it's the weekend, I imagine there will be a lot more people attending than the previous weekday rallies, which still were able to draw hundreds if not a few thousand protesters. Thus, if you're heading to Silverlake today, you might want to reconsider since traffic will be a nightmare. Unless, of course, you want to join them in protesting this un-American elimination of basic civil rights and creation of an unequal sub-class of people in our great state of California!

Santa Ana Winds Bring Heat, Allergies

For those of you wondering where this recent heat spell came from, look to the east. The famous Santa Ana winds have arrived in town, blowing in from the desert to wreak havoc with our cool fall temps and our noses. If you suffer from outdoor allergies, you may have noticed that you've felt a little stuffed-up as of late, probably from all of the gunk that the Santa Ana's are carrying in from areas outside the city.

Thankfully, they usually only last for a couple of weeks. Here's hoping that crisp Autumn weather returns before the end of November -- my long sleeve shirts and sweaters are getting pretty lonely in my closet!