The great architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne made a rather odd point in the LA Times this weekend, comparing Los Angeles to Ancient Rome. Not because it’s once-great empire now crumbling, or because our city fathers are fiddling (i.e., throwing around a football)… but because of a big rock and a giant space shuttle:
One city — ours — is unfinished, amnesiac and forward-looking; the other city — theirs — is so obsessed with past glory, its streets piled so high with landmarks and layers of history, that its 21st century personality can be tough to make out.
So when I began noticing similarities between an ancient Roman ritual and two huge public events in Los Angeles in 2012, I was tempted to dismiss them out of hand. Yet the more I dug into the comparison, the more it seemed to make sense: In parading both Michael Heizer’s huge artwork “Levitated Mass” — better known as the Rock — and the space shuttle Endeavour along our boulevards within a single calendar year, Los Angeles is in some striking ways reenacting one of the oldest public celebrations in Western urban history, the Roman triumph.
For years, Magic Gas has stood as an iconic, semi-ironic landmark of Echo Park, a place to fill up your tank, grab a cup of luke warm LA Mill coffee, and buy a lighter. But, as the Eastsider reported on Saturday, Magic Gas mysteriously disappeared last Thursday night:
[P]olice arrived at the station at the corner of Echo Park and Morton avenues as a small bulldozer was being used to rip out the pumps, according to residents. The police left and soon the pumps were gone. By Friday morning all that was left were holes in the ground where the pumps stood and a ribbon of yellow “CAUTION CUIDADO” tape. Inside, Echo Fuels, which had been long known as Magic Gas until it changed hands only about six months ago, looked like it had been ransacked.
It’s always an honor and a thrill when the New York media elite deigns to acknowledge the existence of our tiny burg out here on the west coast, especially when it’s the NY Post, a paper that knows from funny headlines. And so the latest made us chuckle: “Los Angeles Is The Future“, it read. The future of what, exactly? And of when? The 1970s?
As much as we love the attention, we’re forced to do a little fact checking:
• “[Y]ou will soon be able to travel by rail between Downtown and the Santa Monica.” That all depends on how liberal your definition of ‘soon’ is. Phase II of the Expo Line will open in 2016 if everything goes exactly according to plan, which is highly unlikely. So yeah, this could be some time.
• “[T]he glittering LA Live complex”. Sorry, that place is a hellhole.
• “[D]aily celebrity sightings” in Downtown. Not unless you count Eddie Furlong trying to score crack.
In January, LA City Council passed a law requiring porn actors to wear condoms while “performing.” They called it a public health issue, and patted themselves on the back for stopping the spread of HIV, and so on. A November ballot measure in LA County seeks to do the same thing.
But porn sets already have a series of tests and safeguards to make sure all the performers are clean before they start filming. As porn star Stoya explains on her tumblr:
The production manager printed out a copy of each performer’s page in the APHSS database. I signed my own copy and James’s, indicating that my results were mine and accurate and that I had seen James’s and was comfortable working with him and his clean test which had been taken less than 14 days prior. He did the same. Then the production manager performed an inspection. He looked in our mouths, at both sides of our hands, and at our genitals to make sure there were no visible sores or open wounds. There was another paper to sign stating that we have no sores or open wounds on or in our mouths, hands, and genitals and had been inspected. We also looked at each others genitals, mostly for fun but if either of us had seen (or smelled) something odd we would have called off the scene ourselves.
Shockwaves rang out across the city this morning as Forbes announced the results of its annual “America’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhood” poll and Los Angeles awoke to discover that the greatest Hipster Mecca on Earth is on our own doorstep. The community of Silver Lake has made its suffering city a national disgrace.
There will be plenty of time for fingerpointing when civic leaders try to unravel the complacency which led to this moment. For over a decade now, LA has tolerated the hipster enclave, thinking it had been contained and controlled. For years, the damage done by the ironically moustached hordes was limited by a top secret undercover city program which constantly seeded and egged on the debate about “Where does the Eastside start?” Every morning an undercover government operative appeared at La Mill and asked aloud, “Isn’t La Cienega pretty much Eastside?” As a result, no hipster has ventured west of Vermont Avenue since the last sighting of an animal hat in the Kibbitz Room in late ’97.
Not satisfied with conquering the high seas, Coachella now plans to slowly blot out your calendar by expanding to five concerts a year, according the Desert Sun, via the Hollywood Reporter, via Curbed. According to the Sun, “three [concerts] would be over consecutive weekends in the spring and two over consecutive weekends in the fall.”
According to my back of the napkin calculations, that’s five concerts covering 10 days a year! While non-coachella days will still outnumber Coachella days by a healthy ratio, if this rate of growth continues, Coachella will be held on every weekend by the year 2063, where space hipsters will clog our skies with fixed-gear space pods jetting in from the moon colony of New Williamsburg for the big LCD Soundsystem reunion.
What a glorious time to be alive that will be.