In the words of my best friend Chelsea upon hearing my account of this experience, “I don’t even know what to say.” And really, I don’t. Snoopy got us into this, pointed the way to a hole in the wall up a very steep staircase in an alley off the main drag in Myeongdong. The cafe is small and has been modeled to resemble the interior of a provincial farm house.
We, eyes adjusting to the artificial light, stumble through a wooden fence and approach the bar to order drinks. At once, we are enveloped by a veritable bevy of dogs. They leap and paw and jump, as excited to see us as we are to see them. I am immediately peed upon. Moments later the barista produces a chart with pictures of each resident dog. ”These two,” she explains, pointing to the headshots of two identical pugs, ”pee.”
The waitress continues to demonstrate that others jump and bite and bark. Some don’t even like people and just want to be left alone. There is also a small pig, dressed in a traditional Chinese New Year gown, that dislikes hugs. We are informed that there is a 10 minute wait for a table so Lisa and I take a lap to find the pig. Turns out he’s not that hard to spot as he’s the only animal wearing clothes and we both take a knee to pet him. Moments later, Lisa is also peed upon.
Attendants materialize to clean up the mess and to pat dry lisa’s sodden boot. They spray the area down with a disinfectant that fills the cafe with a sterile odor, one which lingers and never quite becomes familiar enough to forget. I throw an encouraging look Lisa’s way: we belong now? Lisa’s nonplussed, “Atleast they’re leather.” And I know what she means is at least they’re waterproof.
It’s our turn now and we’re led to a corner table, a tiny cubby already occupied by a small black dachshund and a sleepy maltese who doesn’t even notice that we’ve sat down. Two additional dogs immediately jump up and sit in our laps. We settle in, pleased with the present company. Latte in hand I watch the couple at a neighboring table poke a disinterested English Corgi with a straw. On my other side, three girls in high-school uniforms squeal as a large waffle-colored greyhound lumbers up onto their table and sprawls out, knocking a cluster of bejeweled cell phones to the floor. One of the attendants immediately appears at their table to scold them for raising their voices.
On the other end of the cafe one of the dogs is becoming increasingly vocal, offended by the advances of an affectionate Yorkshire terrier. Now other dogs join in and howl and yip. They begin to chase one another, whipping even the docile dogs at our laps into a frenzy. They trace circuits around the cafe, running furiously between table legs, upsetting drinks and jumping from lap to lap. The school girls to my left start to scream. They stand on their chairs terrified, trying to avoid being trampled. Clients at other tables behave similarly. Lisa and I watch as the attendants nonchalantly go about their business, welcoming in new clients and cleaning the floor accordingly.
Their lack of concern surprises me. As the fervor subsides, I begin to wonder what desire this place fulfills for those clients still perched precariously on chairs and stools above the throng. What about the proximity to this perceived danger is so attractive.
I don’t get it and neither does Lisa. We rise to leave as the maltese and dachshund return to claim their places. A new group of customers is led to the corner and we squeeze out the narrow front door, letting the hinged wooden fence slam shut behind us.
I don’t think I could have picked a more opposite place of Marquette if I had tried. Everything from the direction I turn my key to lock my door, to how people drive on the freeway, to the fact that I even have to lock my door is different. Not to mention that freeways in LA are emphasized by adding a “The” in front of the number when in Marquette the freeways aren’t even important enough to know the names of.
While the differences are challenging and I literally have no idea what could happen every time I leave my apartment, it’s exciting to try and figure out what normal is here. For example, girls (and one guy) with long, kool-aid red hair: normal. Traffic at 2pm on a Saturday: normal. Convenient parking: definitely not normal. A 40 year old guy following me into Best Buy asking me if I needed help carrying my one target bag: I’m thinking not normal, but like I said, still trying to figure that out. Finding $10 on the streets: hopefully normal… It’s happened to me twice here and it’s something I could get used to.
I know how small Marquette is but I didn’t realize it until seeing how big L.A. is. Marquette’s in Michigan’s upper peninsula, home of millions of trees and Northern Michigan University, where I just finished my sophomore year. There are about 5 things to do in Marquette, depending on the weather, which is cold and or snowy for over half the year. They are study, hike, hockey (play or watch since that is the only decent sports team Northern has to offer) snowboard and drink. Combinations generally encouraged.
I like going into work at Possible not knowing exactly what I’ll be doing everyday. That’s one thing I hated about my classes at Northern. The same daily routines… I get bored easily and have too much ADD to be sitting there doing the same thing every week. I’m also finding that I like learning from artists in action rather then artists in teacher form. I feel like I’m learning rather then being taught which for some reason makes a difference to me.
One thing that will be hard getting used to but will help me out in the long run is working on a team. I can think of one in-class art project where we had to work in pairs and everything else I did on my own. Lucky for me, I get to work with very talented artists in an environment where I can contribute my creativity, while learning as much as I can from them. Sounds like a good combination to me.
I might have been overly ambitious Saturday evening.
Following a wonderfully boozy Easter brunch, I headed over to the National History Museum of Los Angeles County for Cinepspia’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams: Herzog Premiere and Museum-Wide Party.” Having not really investigated the details of the event before arriving, for the first hour I toured the taxidermy of “the African hall of mammals” while sipping a vodka soda my friend bought with “tickets.” The film was rsvp, so it wasn’t until it had ended were we able to explore the stage and screening room set up in the “whale room.” Somehow I ended up with a green stripe on my face made from a clay face mask that a scantily-clad and stoned volunteer worker painted on my nose as proof of my entrance to a ramshackle cave room that had been made with sheer black nets. If you can’t imagine it from that run-on sentence, don’t worry, I didn’t get it while I was there.
Growing restless, we ended up at the “gem room” where the collective dublub were performing some sets, and I thoroughly enjoying trancing and staring at the angles and sparkle of the various “rocks.” I want my own Dark Crystal.
Back to the whale room, Herzog was speaking about art, his dislike of Picasso, and his growing dissatisfaction with the art community. After 10 minutes, we headed out past the ice cream and tempura food trucks located at the entrance and were on to the next event. Little did I know we were missing the bands set to perform incl. Nite Jewel, Islands, White Magic, and Matt Baldwin. Oh well. The next event of the evening blew everything away.
Explosions in the Sky’s “Take Care: 6 Visual Interpretations” at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is now probably my favorite memory of LA. Six artists produced installations located all around the grounds that were backed by different tracks from the band’s forthcoming album “Take Care, Take Care.” Not only is the cemetery beautiful at night, but the epic music of Explosions creates an ethereal quality to walking around among the mausoleums and gravestones, palm trees and fountains.
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Late Monday evening, I continued my weekend music binge when I ended up at The Dragon Fly in Hollywood for a friend’s friend’s art exhibit. Located among a strip of Honda dealers on Santa Monica Blvd., I only knew I was at the right place when the bouncer called out, “I think you’re looking for me.”
The vibe was funky and the crowd an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, and weekday drinkers. There were multiple bands that played to a rotating front-room crowd of about 15 people, but I wandered around with my friend through the adjoining room filled with a small arts collective, some members actively painting as the the night went on.
As a recent graduate, I haven’t participated in too many of the slew of Emerson Alumni events that take place in the school’s adopted sister city of Los Angeles. But I found myself excited to attend this year’s film festival they hold every spring showcasing their student’s best shorts. Not only does Maria Menounos (an alum herself) show up to hand out one of those huge cardboard checks and show off her own success, but there are some really great films that this year were presented on the big screen in Hollywood’s Egyptian theatre.
It was a great night.
Somehow I showed up late and was still able to grab the only parking slot available right in front of the theatre. I figured it was all downhill from there. Not so. Without too many administrative speeches, the show began with a strong digital documentary from Kevin Mastman titled The Cadet Experience. It definitely set the tone for an HD-heavy screening experience, used beautifully in Alexander Yan’s melancholic Of the Fog and to a campy effect in Jessica Shoen’s Glee-like Prom Date.
But my favorite of the night was Sean Hanley’s Hindsight, shot on 16mm, and the winner of the Jury’s Choice First Prize at the Black Maria Film Festival. This is a film lover’s film. Beautifully shot, tightly edited, and with the perfect combination of image and gold wow kaufen sound, this film is not just a college student’s final project. Watching a film like this stand out so expertly from the crowd of digital movies validates why some of us still spend the time and the money on the real thing.
After the screening ended, a mass of hungry, possibly broke, quite possibly unemployed Emersonians headed out to the catered snack feast in the outside courtyard. “Is the alcohol free?” was asked by many and answered by another many with a gleeful “Yes!!” I’m always awkward in these situations, and might have made one too many off-handed comments about everyone enjoying their beef-on-a-stick, but networking was a success this night. Could also have been the effects of the Stella Artois, or the sugar high from the mini cupcakes, but whatever it was that helped me get through the “I know you! You working? Where you living? Are we friends on Facebook?”: Thank You.
We’re known as the Emerson Mafia, if only among ourselves. Be jealous if you want to. Or check out what’s happening in Emerson’s Los Angeles
Trailer”s for all the night”s films here
I say THANK GOD for name tags…..
….also pizza, boxed red wine mixed with cola, and a studio filled to the brim with other artists. Collaboration Project hosted their second in a series of monthly Collab events at their location at The Brewery Complex in downtown LA. It succeeded as an opportunity for artists to come together and find jobs, potential collaborators, and even gallery space. Bouncing around between the small groups that had formed, I found myself in conversations with everyone from a figure model to a set designer, a musician with a passion for synthesizers, to a soda promotor/filmmaker. Highlight of the night was a premier of a trailer for an upcoming documentary film on masturbation titled: Sticky. That night’s crowd was really into it.
That pizza was pretty good.
I”d drive a swanky car if I could.
Specifically the 1969 Fiat 124 Sport Spider I researched and obsessed over after Saturday night”s screening of Que la Bête Meure (1969) at the LACMA in West Hollywood. French New Wave Director Claude Chabrol”s thriller set on the French coast of Brittany was a feast for the car-lover as well as the usual moderately pretentious European film-goer. (Aye…no huffs. I”m including myself in that one.) It pays to know that the Mustang is an American car, because it”s not coincidence that the 1966 black Mustang is driven by the villain. The car becomes a symbol of reckless violence and arrogance, while the protagonist”s Fiat is a symbol of restrained intensity and dutiful elegance. It is most definitely white. White knight, white car.
How did I find out the make of these beauties? IMCDb.org is the Internet Movie Cars Database. Take heed: it”s baller.
It’s interesting walking alone down Hollywood Blvd. on a Sunday night.
Parking much farther down the neon-lit street from my destination than I thought, I was forced to walk 5 blocks past the multiple smoke shops, sex toy boutiques, and the quaint “Oz of Hollywood Tattoo” on the way to the Egyptian theatre. The frequent wet spots on the uneven pavement sidewalk hinted at packed bars with long lines to the bathroom and a largely male crowd. I walked quickly and resisted responding to the comments about blondes and my killer high-tops.
I’m just a nerd who wanted to watch some old movies.