On my own this weekend and found myself listening to top twenty hip hop on the way to Silver Lake to step up my Friday night with the singer of my former band (yeah, that’s me pouring scotch on the 110 in the video). When I arrived, I was shocked to find street parking in the hills so close to his house, but immediately threw the time away as I could not get a hold of him and ended up pre-partying in his steep driveway alone for a few seconds taking the time to sing this song in my head and process a few more orders of Lane Fucking Kiffin shirts.
When we got inside, we listened to some music and taunted the skyline a bit, recounting the USC days and the recently departed band days and the kinds of days we had coming up. Whiskey made everything nostalgic and lucid and pretty soon I was pretty much in this zone.
We made our way to Tony’s downtown and it was empty. The Hawaiian destroyed everyone in ping pong, maintaining his claim of being unbeatable in pseudo-sports. For a decade now he’s been right. I was not going to prevail, but I did buy him and old-fashioned and I told the barkeep to make me something cool because he looked bored and clearly thought I was a lost frat boy. As he didn’t know who he was dealing with, he attempted to front me, but you cannot front the frontmaster, especially when you are wearing a child-sized vest and acting superior. He got his revenge when he gave me a whiskey-based drink that I was positive the 3rd ingredient in it was lemon-scented Pine Sol. I will drink scotch from the mouth a live bear. Hopefully that gives you perspective on how sure I am he was attempting to poison me.
Outside in the shadows of the Nabisco plant, I took to arguing with an Oregon fan who attempted to tell me USC had not had a good recruiting class in five years. He had on black rimmed glasses and a red-checked shirt. Basically, he’d robbed the clothes of an American Apparel mannequin. That said, I kind of liked the guy and his two friend were hilarious. I have spent a lifetime of people wanting to hate me and realizing it is not worth their time. This guy gave up. I gave them all extra awkward high fives on the way out to ensure I had given them a palpable taste of social awkwardness. When I roll out with the Hawaiian, often the world feels like a petting zoo of human in which you are allowed to ride the animals, throw things at them and sometimes, incite stampedes.
When we left, there were about fifty lost bikers roaming the parking lot looking for a warehouse party some block or two away to celebrate some bike-riding film festival. Instead of figuring out a way home, the clear answer was to find this warehouse and convince them we too, in fact, were bike-riding filmmakers. Spend enough time in this city and you realize you can go on vacation without ever leaving. There’s always a scene from a David Lynch movie occuring in some abandoned warehouse. We were going to find ours.
It was not difficult to find as there was a steady stream of blinking bike lights and reflectors heading down the empty streets of the industrial outskirts of downtown. When we reached the door, I half expected some elaborate rigmarole required to get in; perhaps an explanation of why we had neither a bike nor a film to our name. When we found the door, we were simply invited in. I guess when you are going somewhere random, people expect that you are supposed to be there. Isn’t that a lot to wrap your head around?
Inside there were hundreds of bikes lining the wall and a DJ playing music I had never heard before. I hate feeling so small in the universe, but I usually enjoy it later when I tell all of you about it. I burp and it still tastes like Pine Sol. That damn hipster in the vest was winning the battle with my insides. That kind of passive-aggressive behavior he is exhibiting will eventually lead to a divorce. Can’t keep it all bottled up. Eventually it explodes outward as a huge mistake. I’ve know girls like that. Best to let it rip when you feel it. Take that to the bank Lost Angeles.
The oddest feature of this space was the indoor vert ramp on which dudes in skinny jeans were bombing all kinds of tricks. I stood on the overhang of the ramp and had the awful sensation of thinking an errant bike would hit me in the face at some point. It really makes you wonder what goes on in all the buildings you pass.
Outside there was a strange, dying garden where smokers smoked and people swilled Tecate and PBR (so hipster!). I think the fact that I had showered hurt my chances for acceptance, even if I was wearing a cardigan, which should have given me a pass. There was a ladder to the roof and we decided just to climb it. The Hawaiian made it up and onto a second roof when some guy not used to power-tripping gave ma a power-trip. I was a perfect angle to dump a beer on him from a great height, except that an escape on foot would be hard as I was on a roof, they had the ladder and even if I somehow got out, I was in the middle of nowhere and the only person besides the Hawaiian without a bike. Despite the urging of the crowd to “jump” and despite my urges to do what everyone wants to do when they are the guy on the roof at a party (scream “I’m a golden god” if you missed Almost Famous and later, Entourage bastardizing that scene). Instead, I just climbed down and hoped my jeans weren’t sagging and revealing a little to much Zack to the hipster swarm beneath.
The Hawaiian was able to escape as I talked to the power-tripper for ten minutes about the ethics of climbing onto roofs at strange parties and later, filmmaking, deciding to spare him the fact that I went to USC film school, which would have made him hate me more. I retreated to the bar where I bought a Tecate (I know, I know) from a girl with piercings who said something so predictably creepy, I think it was something like “I don’t even have a television, we don’t get cable in the City of Industry and besides, I prefer to paint”. Really, pierced bartender? I said something back like “painting is too postmodern for my taste, I like taking photos of grounded airplanes at aviation museums like McDreamy did in Can’t Buy Me Love. You know, in Tucson”. I am not sure if she hated me or fell in love, but I was soon hiding in a flower bush texting the Hawaiian that it was time to leave and eat something.
We ended at a taco truck local to him where there were Vizio’s hanging on the side playing telenovelas. I marvelled at how many children were up and hanging in this car wash parking lot at 2am. Regardless, it was a scene and way more normal than where I’d just been. My burrito was nuclear hot. The night was insane. Los Angeles kept it weird. I keep remembering details, but I’ll save them for another time.