First of all, we made it all the way across the country! Secondly, we made it to a place that I never thought I’d have a reason to go see. Well, everything changes and if you’re not a traveler by nature, as I am not, you have to make up practical reasons to get the hell out of town once in a while.
Driving into Los Angeles was a little bit symbolic for me. More so than the other places, because up until this point, I was really focused on the logistics of getting places on time, having a place to stay and playing the shows. But by now we were finally at our half way point and I finally took a minute to actually think about where I was and why.
While driving into the city, the song “It Never Rains in Southern California” was playing on the radio as it started to downpour. It was a funny and surreal welcome. I was thinking about how when I was planning this trip I couldn’t have imagined when Southern California would look like, and if I could, I still wouldn’t have been able to imagine this moment, singing this song with my two friends on a stormy night with what turns out to have been Los Angeles shining in the distance.
Being so far away from home felt like an accomplishment in and of itself but it didn’t feel like pride or even satisfaction. Those feelings are hard for me to connect to, and besides I was still too nervous to feel proud and I knew I wouldn’t come out of it till I was officially home. Instead, I just felt damn good. If this trip was a painting and my life were the splats of color, then this was me visiting all of the negative space that I’d never really given any thought to. I felt good because I had found a spot that was separate from all of that pre-saturated-colored area that I had accumulated throughout my life back home. I made it to the South West coast and for some reason that was the magic spell that needed lifting.
Compared to a typical show on the East coast, our Wednesday night show in LA was practically on par with Cirque Du Soleil. There was such a theatrical, larger-than-life presence to everything I witnessed. I’m guessing that the sentiments in “You Gotta Have a Gimmic” from ‘Gypsy’ apply especially well to artists in a gigantic city like LA. To elaborate, we played at a bar. But no, not just any bar. A pirate themed bar, made to look impressively like a ship. The first act was a mermaid who sang and played the electric auto harp.
(She was great.) She sang dark confessional ballads about murder and magic and had to be carried on an off stage in a chair because her fins were too tight. The second band had a trumpet player wearing a gorilla suit…only, she stripped down into a flapper dress and sang too. I spent a few minutes dwelling on the fact that our act doesn’t include a gimmic and I contemplated if we did have a gimmic, what would it be? I can whistle in harmony with myself. I own a gargoyle costume. For shame, none of these would cut it in LA. Anyways, before I could think of one, we were headed North and I let it go.
At 7:30 on the morning that we left, we were awoken to a film crew knocking on our friend and hostess’ door. Apparently our hostess had a sketch to film in the room we were staying in. They kicked us out and asked us if we wanted to hold the boom mic. We graciously said no and left the film crew and the mermaid and the trumpet playing gorilla behind.