While I currently find myself living in rust-belt hell, I felt compelled to respond to yet another artist making a conscious choice to leave Los Angeles. So many of us creative types end up there, in the City of Earthquakes. Frankly, I miss the weather and miss constantly running into other, like-minded creatives. But what I don’t miss is watching all the creative people I knew suffer, struggle, and eventually, destroy themselves and everything that made them great artists in the process.
Listen, people move to Los Angeles all the time. People from all over the world come to the City of La La. They think they’re going to be discovered by some all-powerful agent, manager or blah, blah, blah. (Hint: if you are a young woman and most men find you attractive, just about every guy you meet in LA will have that great power to “discover” you and make you “big” in Hollyweird.) Yep, real big.
There’s just a… uh… little something you’ll need to give him in return. (Remember, he is a producer, has lots of connections and you do owe him something, right?) Oh yeah. You’d better owe him something. Pay him back. Now. Or else.
Anyone up for being a prostitute in Hollyweird? Is that why you took all those acting classes? Was that what made you love theatre so much? Why you strum that guitar? Why you wrote that heartfelt song that still brings tears to your eyes when you play it?
But we can forget who we are and whom we truly were meant to be. Rather than being “discovered” in Hollyweird, most of us end up losing ourselves. What we discover is rather sinister–the dark side of human nature. Some people see our desperation, how much we long to “make it,” and they will use that longing they see radiating from us like a damaged aura, a mispainted, dark rainbow hovering over us. (It never rains in California, unless you’re a starving artist who moves there to work within the entertainment industry.) And they will seize the opportunity, like vultures do. That’s how they do!
(Okay, enough of this poor attempt at holiday weekend writing. I think you get the idea of what I’m trying to say.)
If you’ve ever lived in Los Angeles and dabbled in the entertainment industry, you already know that by “vulture” I really mean “sociopath.” But that term is used so loosely these days by people who don’t truly understand its meaning that I think vulture will better understood by most here. Yes, I do try to cater to the masses!
Everyone in Los Angeles wants something from you. What is that something? A connection. Not a spiritual or even a social connection, mind you. A capitalist connection. A connection that will lead them toward being wanted by the wealthiest and most famous among us. A connection with you that will help them to succeed financially and politically. They want fame so that others will grovel over them, will bow to them, will kiss their heinies. Yes, that’s what I wrote: heinies!
(By the way, www.Merriam-Webster.com defines “heinie” as “buttocks,” in case you didn’t already know that. And the first known use of the word was back in 1921. These are our nether regions, our be-hinds, the back parts. Do you really want someone with a clean mouth to kiss you there? If you’re in Los Angeles, most likely the answer to that would be “yes!”)
So when you live in Los Angeles, you can’t trust anyone there. Everyone is just using and being used by everyone else. Want authentic relationships? Go elsewhere.
And heaven forbid you are a woman who turns 30! And if you aren’t slutty, don’t like to let men grope you and drivel all over you like a fresh piece of meat? Well… what are you doing in Los Angeles?
The objectification and subjection of women in Los Angeles is shocking. Oh… I’m using terminology that some won’t/can’t read again. Okay, let me put it like this:
Women are treated like sh*t in Los Angeles. You can’t turn 30 if you’re a woman. You just can’t. In fact, all the “men’s rights” nut jobs lurking on the Internet should pack their bags and fly to LA. Once there, they can call themselves “producers” and inform every female they meet of their elevated status. The fact that all they produce is bullsh*t won’t matter. Feminists won’t stop them from making it with women! No matter how ugly, socially incompetent and downright psychotic they may be, if they call themselves “producers,” some women might actually take an interest in them. (All their anger at feminists–for giving women choices–will dissipate. Women don’t have a lot of choices in the male-run entertainment industry. They’re used to spending time with defective men out of desperation.) In LA, treating women like pieces of meat is the thang. Men’s rights! Ha ha ha!
Unfortunately, the American Dream mythology is still alive and well. Some people are addicted to it. It’s a highly-addictive drug. Worse than any illegal substance. And they’ll never let it go, even on their death bed while they’re dying unloved, unwanted and penniless. Some people aren’t even in America, yet they believe it. They watch America on TV, and they know full well that it’s the greatest country in the world, the land of opportunity where anyone can strike it rich by giving enough blow jobs… I mean… Oops, I didn’t write that. That was a… that was an error. What I meant was… by working hard. Yes, working hard pays off here in the USA. Being hard… I mean, working hard, and doing all the right things. Like giving blow jobs to rich people…
Oh no! OMG, no!!! You did not read that here! Please, tell me you did not read that here!
Look, you don’t need to kiss a$$ here in the USA in order to succeed. The American Dream is alive and well (in fantasy fiction and on TV. I’ve also heard it sung about in the schools. They really want kids to believe they can pursue their dreams. It’s okay to dream when you’re a child. Will make you a better worker later on.)
Anyhow, what was I writing about just now? Oh yes. I was writing about Los Angeles, and what a wonderful place it is (not) for creative people to live.
Actually, I found a lot of opportunities for me as a creative person in Los Angeles. I just couldn’t keep myself under the age of 30 forever, and I didn’t want to sleep with everyone I met. I guess I’m a bit of a prude. Also I’m not a sociopath, so I have difficulty using and being used by everyone I meet. I naively thought I could just be good at what I do and be recognized for it. If I’d been born a sociopathic white man, that could have been true, especially if I were under 30 and had rich relatives available to send me money when my artistic ventures didn’t yield me enough for rent that month.
So… yes, there are people who succeed in Los Angeles. And then there are those of us who realize that being the best artist we can be is more in line with being ourselves and building on our own personal strengths. Being discovered for who we really are is better than being uncovered while pretending to be something we’re not. Trying to be “a star” is like begging for a stamp of approval to be slapped across our faces so that corporate America and The Power says we’re okay. We’re good little capitalists… Not like the rock stars from the 60s who protested the war but more like today’s stars who just look pretty on TV and urge their fans to buy the products advertised throughout.
Ugh! Why did I write so much? I guess I’ve just lived through too much. Been through too much to be shallow. Part of me envies the Hollyweird sociopaths. They take what they want. No matter what they have to do to get it, they’ll do it. Sleep with whomever. Step on the toes of whomever. Do… whatever.
But that isn’t me. Neither is the rust belt. Most of us artist types are bohemian. We wander until we find our home. And when home becomes too dysfunctional, we wander again. I miss the days when I could dream. Those Hollywood days. But those days are gone. Not just for me. America has lost its dream. I’m just one of many starving artists still mourning the loss but learning to accept what this country has become. Like Hollywood, we want to believe it’s possible. Then reality asserts itself.
The land of opportunity has been taken over by opportunists. Where should we move to now?