She thinks she's the passionate one...
I'm watching Lords of Dogtown. I love this movie. It reminds me of some of my favorite times in LA. I lived in Venice, the neighborhood that was called Dogtown. However, the Venice I lived in was much cleaner than Dogtown in the movie, but far more interesting than the Venice of today.
Why is that cities have to clean themselves up and lose all their character? San Jose did it, moved out all the bad elements – which were pretty gross, I must say – and the result? A dull, middle-of-the-road uninteresting city that could be Anywhereville, USA.
Was NY more fun when Times Square was seedy? Or was it just dirtier?
I think San Francisco is too far gone to clean itself up. The tenderloin is still, well, gross. The strip cubs are horrible, and sleazy, by and large. You still get stopped on Market Street and offered drugs by random folks. The city tries to clean itself sometimes, in a fairly desultory way. But fundamentally, like an aging porn star/dancer, there comes a point where you have to be that which you are, sag and all. Thank god for SF and sag.
Phoenix is busily cleaning itself up too. I think it’s probably for the best, but me? I still morn the dark side.
This movie makes me sad. It makes me miss LA, a lot. It makes me remember a time when I had fewer responsibilities and fewer demands, and more freedom. Although, as the poet said, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.
So perhaps I am more free now than I was then, given that I have lost most of that which actually matters.
Additionally, I was never really as free, or as seemingly easy, as the kids in Dogtown. I was always the one who showed up on time – well, actually 5 minutes early – and had my homework done in the right color of ink. Dull, dull, dull.
But not in my head. I was something else in my head.
When I first moved to the Bay Area, I lived in the city itself. I lived in a newly moniker-ed neighborhood called Hayes Valley. I used to walk around the city alone at night, wandering through the Tenderloin, through SOMA, and through the Mission. I liked being alone, and feeling alone, and yet being surprised by all the night crawlers. I never had any trouble, although partly that must be because God looks out for fools and drunks.
There is so much to say about what you learn alone, at night, watching the city. You can hear things you never hear. If you pay attention, you can meet, and make friends with, homeless people and folks that are so different from you that you’d never see them in the “real world”. You can discover, actually, what remains of the day. It’s odd.
I once gave some money to a pair of homeless kids – a boy and a girl – to get them off the streets for a night. The girl thought I was trying to swap sex for her room. She seriously thought that I wanted her to do something in exchange for the $. Dude, I just wanted them to sleep off the street. They were so young, and so cute, and they were sitting on the street. Market Street, to be exact, around 9th or so, but I can’t remember precisely. They were cuddled together, on the corner, in the lee of a building, hugging. But really, they were very young. It was stupid, really, I know I couldn’t fix their situation. But for a night I wanted them to be safe, and warm.
I think little girls should always be safe and warm.
Ok, that’s enough for this chat. I'm going to go walk around, smell the desert, and wonder if the dark side is anywhere nearby.