My final live music set of the year, barring any odd New Year’s Eve plans, was seeing Stevie Wonder at the Forum on December 20. Not a bad way to go out. Coincidently: That was also the 100th performance I saw from a musician in 2014, counting festival sets and opening acts.
Runners-Up: Bert Patenaude and the 1930 US World Cup team, 1999 U-17 and 2000 Olympics teams that were harbingers of the new US youth movement, drawing Italy and England in World Cup 2006 and World Cup 2010, respectively, the 1-0 loss to Germany in World Cup 2002 and the 1-0 loss to Brazil in 1994.
Ten years ago today, I sat in traffic
on Interstate 10 outside of West Covina at three in the afternoon.
This, in itself, is not a momentous occasion as much as one that
happens only on days that end in “y.” It was, though, my first
traffic jam as an L.A. resident; on August 15, 2003, my Saturn SL2
(rest in peace to both that car and that entire company) arrived in
Los Angeles, loaded with half of my worldly belongings.
This, I'm sure, is where I'm supposed
to give a rundown of all the ways I've changed over that decade,
reflections of one sort or another, etc., but that's all folly,
really. Part of choosing one path is understanding that you'll never
know what would have happened differently if you had chosen a
different one. Who the hell knows what would have happened if I had
decided on New York for acting, or went off to some far-flung small
town to start as a radio DJ, or stayed put and tried to move up to
the Washington Post.
So, instead of self-congratulations or
navel-gazing (both of which I do extremely well and often, mind you),
I want to say thank you:
To the Hollywood Bowl, the Greek
Theatre, the Santa Monica Pier concert series and all of the other
opportunities to listen to music while sitting (or dancing) under the
To Los Feliz Village, Main Street in
Santa Monica, Larchmont Village, downtown Culver City and the other
stretches of the L.A. area that give the lie to the idea that the
city isn't walkable.
To the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
and, maybe as importantly, its programming from outside organizations
like Film Independent.
To the subtle atmospheric differences
of the beach communities, from the post-collegiate atmosphere of
Redondo Beach to the luxury-on-the-sand of Malibu.
To downtown Los Angeles, and the
opportunity to watch the core of a major American metropolis reinvent
To Griffith, Grand and Rancho Parks,
and all the other parks that taken an urban setting and make it
greener (and more liveable).
And, of course, to the Stub Hub (nee
Home Depot) Center in Carson, for all of the live soccer.
For the first year or so I lived in Los
Angeles, I often found myself thinking about moving back to safety
(both physically, after I got mugged, and emotionally). I know that
it's unlikely that I'll be writing a “happy 20 year anniversary”
post as well; many of my friends who have moved away or are moving
away in 2013 do so in order to start a family, and hopefully that
will be in the cards for me at some point. But I can say that I would
not have traded this last decade for anything.
(Biggest thanks, of course, go to all
of the people whom either I knew beforehand or met here, but that
would take us down a maudlin path, and I haven't had nearly enough to