Go Home, Jake

Yesterday it was Kurt Loder. This morning it was Britney Spears. Or maybe it was the traffic on Highland, already gathering to a dull roar before five o’clock. Either way, I’ve slept scarcely seven hours in two nights.

I’ve pulled the blinds of my seventh-story, east-facing hotel room wide open. The view stretches from the Hollywood sign to the north, past downtown to the south east, to the vast, already-smoggy tangle of Crenshaw and Inglewood to the south.

A great, billowing cloud bank sits stubbornly along the southern edge of the basin, framing the distant towers of downtown like a film set.

Which is the thing here, really. Even on the rare, rainy day like yesterday, the quality of light here is other-worldly. Despite the smog, the snarl of traffic (it took me an hour to drive twelve miles yesterday), and the sprawl, there is something magical about the sky. It feels like the edge of things.

One begins to understand what D. W. Griffith saw in the openess and opportunity when he shot In Old California” here in 1910, launching a decade of filmmaking the ends on the Oscar red carpet just below my window.

Still, I can’t help but notice the contrasts, the decay just beyond the lens.

The cameras will never pan there, but just across the street from the Kodak Theater on Hollywood and Highland, a ragged Burger King is the sole occupant of two square blocks of empty parking lot.

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