Why Melrose Boulevard is annoying, My Saturday at Melrose

ll 055 I love the beaches

My first decade in Los Angeles, I loved going to Melrose, Venice Beach and Third Street Promenade. The Promenade was the first to fall off the map. When I first arrived, I liked walking around, going to stores that sold ridiculous things and then going to Midnight Special Bookstore. There were funky shops and cool shops. But that bookstore anchored the street, I would go there and find everything. My first reading of my first book, Blue Air was there in 1994, and over 100 people showed up. When Midnight Special closed at 1318 Third Street Promenade, I felt that my life in Santa Monica was over. And it was. I never went to Santa Monica for fun and shopping again. I go there for meetings and to visit friends, but not to hang out.

Then there’s Melrose where I am sitting right now. A woman behind me is talking with her friend about getting money from her uncle in Austria and there’s a guy whole looks like an aging rock star sitting outside smoking. The whole Starbucks is full of people who are way too thin and way too good looking and sleek and over Botoxed, and it’s ridiculous. The women have breasts that literally bounce like beach balls. The men look too Gucci for words. Even the guy with the big dog looks cool with his torn jeans and weathered shirt deliberately looking both rugged and outdoorsy. In Colorado, men look dorky sporty. Here they look immeasurably cool in a way that’s spooky.

But the shopping here has become mostly too upscale for me. I’m not in the market to buy new clothes right now, but I went into a few shops on my search to buy a birthday present for a friend of mine who I’m meeting at BOA Steakhouse on Sunset. I don’t eat steak, and I[doubt she does either. She looks like she lives on air and leaves. But the BOA place is supposed to be very sleek, which is a little scary because I am not sleek and my friend who I’m meeting there is the epitome of sleek and so beautiful it’s almost scary. We are all supposed to look like she does in LA, but some of us fall short. When I’m around the beautiful people, I hold my breath and say to myself, “Breathe.” But the thing that’s annoying about Melrose Avenue is that there are so many of them. And not enough funk left. Too much shiny happy.

Venice Beach is still funky. It does not disappoint. Of course, there’s the constant selling of medical marijuana cards, pipes and weed, but the performers are great, the sunshine is real, and the whole place still smells of human stain. There is such a thing as too clean, too perfect. Too nice. Too pretty. Los Angeles is cleaned up and expensive. It’s strange remembering the late Eighties and early Nineties. I think LA was more fun before it got so perfect.

Published in: on April 14, 2013 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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