“Are you homeless?” comes this voice from across the parking lot at the Silverlake 7/11 store. Here I am, minding my own business.
I guess I do look a bit like a homeless person. Or at least a heroin addict, tucking into Cherry Garcia ice cream and a packet of Hershey chocolate on a rubbish bin at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. The concerned lady, an African American chick with a take-out container in her hand came over to ask the question again. I was with my friend VS, the co-star of 1994’s It Lesbian Movie, Go Fish. She was smoking a real cigarette (as opposed to an “E” version which, in LA made her look like a homeless person too).
Here’s me and VS later at Griffith Park where James Dean filmed two sequences of Rebel Without a Cause.
Meanwhile, back at the 7/11, we told the chick we were not homeless. But then afterwards, I wondered what had been in her polystyrene food container for us. I also reflected that, actually, I am homeless at the moment. But in a good way. I have been staying with VS for the weekend in Echo Park. It is a bit like Midnight Cowboy, meaning that the ‘slum’ we are staying in is actually fine once you tidy it up with a bit of Ikea furniture and with the LA light you can live in a trash can and it would look great.
I met a few Midnight Cowboy characters too this weekend. Here is Anna Albelo:
I look a bit worse for the wear. Two days of Jolly Lolly, 2 nights of inflatable mattress and 2 drag shows. Anna is a live wire though. She is of Cuban/Miami extraction and lived in Paris for 15 years as the queen of the lesbian night. She has just made a movie called Who’s Afraid of Vagina Woolf? She is very charismatic and chatty and gets the whole sexual politics thing. We met, at a club called Precinct in Downtown LA (DTLA as they say here) on Saturday night. DTLA is cute and art deco, as if a stage carriage is going to come rushing through at any minute, as opposed to some mad hooligans from Compton. I think I’m starting to make inroads with the LA lesbian mafia. Anna introduced me to some of the makers of Transparent at Precinct. This is a great time to be writing about weird sex and sexuality. Everyone keeps telling me that “authenticity” is the new word here. I.e. in the old days you’d have to put some front on if you were a new writer in town. Talk some nonsense about how you’re a huge admirer of Nicole Kidman’s work and how you have very good friends at Vanity Fair. But now, as Anna says, people want to watch TV series about weird, underground, unusual things. “They want people who’ve lived interesting and different lives,” She said. She now has some fancy gig at HBO as well as making vulva movies.
Check out Amazon’s “Transparent” TV series success conceived by Jill Soloway, the new underground Ellen Degeneres. She is apparently is into the “authenticity thing” too and is looking for new, bohemian ideas. It gives me a bit of hope for shopping around Sex Drive. I always remember reading a line from Alan Ball in an interview when he said that when he originally wrote up the idea of Six Feet Under for HBO, they came back to him and said that they wanted him to “fuck it up” a bit more. Being told to “fuck up” some writing a bit more is music to the ear of any writer so I think I might stick around in this town a bit longer. Plus, at the end of a night out here, they don’t have chip shops, they have this:
Taco trucks. A wonder. $5 for an Everything Burrito. Like an exciting amusement arcade with fresh, cheap Mexican food, free extra cilantro and lime and onion in the barrels on the front. And a Mexican football game on the TV screen if you’re interested. They have a thing called the “4/20” menu referring to the code-name for cannabis culture in California. You’re supposed to spark up at 4.20 every afternoon, just as cocktail hour for alcohol lovers is 6.pm. Most people think 4/20 is the number in the Californian penal code relating to marijuana but actually, Section 420 of the California penal code refers to obstructing entry on public land (4/20 is, however the radio code for homicide at the Las Vegas Police Department and in CSI).
But I digress. Luckily, I was sober by now after a drag show at El Cid on Sunset (where D.W.Griffith filmed scenes from The Birth of a Nation). The show hadn’t worked out if it was amateur dramatics or avant garde. At least it was performed by a chick (a ‘cis’ chick as you have to say out here ie someone born with a “vagina,” as Anna would say). Anna has been slogging away for a long time at the coal face of female gentalia which is why I let her get way with calling a “vulva” a “vagina.” As we all know, Betty Dodson’s line is, “The vagina’s the goddam birth canal!” ie don’t forget we’d be nothing without a clit.