Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Tale of Three Cities

As I was leaving midtown Manhattan after seeing a sweet little musical review called GREED, directed by pal, Chris Scott, at New World Stages, I was reminded of when I was a student in Paris, having to always leave the center of town to get back to my place on the edge of town. Though, here in New York, it’s a little faster. (And go see GREED. Entertaining and talented stuff.)

In Paris, I lived at 61 Blvd Soult. It was on the ring road in the 12th. You can see it here. There is nothing special about this building on the edge of town. It could be a Miami Hotel.

But there was always something exciting about leaving it in the morning and it was always exciting coming home. Leaving, because, well, look at it. Who would want to stay there? But coming home at night was interesting. You’d leave all that Paris that you see in movies, on posters. And then you travel for 30 minutes and you are on the edge of nowhere. Nowhere feels good. You can really get to know yourself in nowhere. (Christopher Isherwood says Americans are more advanced and more spiritual than Europeans because we have to come to terms with ourselves living in unadorned boxes, whereas Europeans get distracted by all the material beauty around them.)

I was only in Paris for a semester because I was a science major and I did not have the time to hang around, smoking Gitanes, for a full year. But the spring semester I was there was one of those, “Yeah, I found out some things,” times of my life. It brought me off the straight and narrow. Plus, I was a little crazy at 20 and I used the time to pull myself together.

When I was coming home tonight, it had a similar feeling. Early spring. Going home to another edge of another city. And it felt good. I was tired. I just had to get there. And when I did, it was quiet and exciting. To be somewhere that is on the edge, where you can be involved with just being yourself and know that just five stops away is the center of a city. It’s a good deal.

But, in LA, you can be right in the center of town and be nowhere. And that, is why LA is so brilliant.

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