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Los Angeles - Californication

January 20, 2018

 

 

My journey to L.A started from flight DL88 and it might be a coincidence but I preferred to think it as “It is meant to be.” Long story short, I got stood up by a friend from my hometown, Shanghai who supposed to pick me up at the airport. (Well. Ex-friend) Fortunately, A happened to pick his friend T who took the same flight with me, which was perfect timing! Both of us got picked up. We had a nice dinner at a Korean barbecue restaurant in Santa Monica. Then A drove me to the Pacific Art Center located in Beverly Hill to catch a cocktail party invited by D. D was one of the reasons I made this trip — He invited me to the LA Art Show as the gallery exhibitor.

 

7th Street, cross road Sprint street, DTLA

 

I first visited L.A about 2 or 3 years ago. Back to that time, I stayed at those nice areas, Beverly Hill, Santa Barbara…only spent a half day in downtown, visited the Walt Disney Concert Hall and MOCA. Holding the mind trick of “All that you see is what it is.” L.A left me a perfect image of friendly smiles, Cali sunshine, luxurious neighborhood and lovely beaches…people there seem like always looking glamorous. 

While that perfect image broke into pieces during my stay in DTLA. Old and shabby streets full of homeless wandering around begging for money. 90% of them are black, ( you might call me racism as I use the word “black”, but to me it’s objective way to describe them as I don’t know if they are African American or illegal immigrants from another part of the world.) the rest are mixed of Muslims, Latinos, Europeans. I was heading home one night passing by the Spring Street while checking Google map on the phone. Suddenly, “Boom!” someone just boomed me next to my ear, attempted to frighten me. It was an assault. I was shocked and looked aside, that was a  young black guy with a fluffy hair. I saw the holistic look on his face. I turned back my head, walking away as fast as I can as if nothing happened.  What really went through my mind was:

Damn, you piece of junk. How could you assault people on the street like that? To express your anger about your pathetic life? to blame the society that you could not fit in? Try to gain power by bullying people who are smaller than you physically? It would have consequence. If I had a gun, I wouldn’t walk away, I would point the gun at his head, taught him how to behave. In the reality, I was an unarmed Chinese visitor, so I made my rational choice — sucked it up and walked away. 

In this case, it was not a big deal, I was just frightened by them, safe and sound in the end, not robbed, beaten up or raped. However, those crimes are very likely being committed by those homeless wandering around the neighborhood while I am typing on the keyboard, as their basic needs for food, for shelter, for security could not be met. Here comes the question: It’s whose responsibilities to take care of those homeless people as they become major peril of the society? At what cost? 

 

Californication

 

“Addiction is a disorder of the brain's reward system which arises through transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms and occurs over time from chronically high levels of exposure to an addictive stimulus (e.g., smoking, alcohol, cocaine, sex, porn, gambling, etc.).”

—wikipedia

 

Addiction is a part of <Californication>

 

<Californication> is an American television series (2007-2014). 

 

The show follows New Yorker Hank Moody, a troubled novelist who moves to California and suffers from writer's block. His drinking, womanizing, and drug abuse complicate his relationships with his longtime lover Karen and their daughter Becca. Hank struggles to find purpose in his life as he passes up multiple opportunities, eventually making the right decision for happiness. Recurring themes are sex, drugs, and rock and roll, all of which are featured regularly, as well as the seedier side of Los Angeles.

 

<Californication> is a song by Red Hot Chili Peppers

 

Psychic spies from China

Try to steal your mind's elation

And little girls from Sweden

Dreams of silver screen quotation

And if you want these kind of dreams

It's Californication

 

It's the edge of the world

And all of western civilization

The sun may rise in the East

At least it settles in the final location

It's understood that Hollywood

Sells Californication

 

I just realized that most of us have been addicted to something for a while. It doesn’t need to be drugs or alcohol. For instance, in this hyper-connected world of internet, some are easily get addicted to online porn or social medias like instagram or Facebook. Some are aware of their addictions, some are not. For those who are aware and have a will to quit, there is always a way to get out. Just by taking a deep breath every time you are about to fall into that vicious loop, hold on for a moment, let your rational brain come over your emotional one. Then, congratulations! You are free. If not, you will always be the slave of your addictive. It was magic to me that I cured someone’s addiction, even just for once during this trip in L.A. It happened after a “californication” moment at the upstairs rooftop bar downtown—people there dancing with laid-back hippies music like nobody was watching, sizzling fire in the stove and bubbling water in the pool, hot breath and cold air. 

“Just breathe, inhale and exhale.“

One of Dali’s masterpiece popped into my vision: <The Persistence of Memory>

 

The LA ART SHOW

 

The LA ART SHOW is the main purpose of my trip. I considered it the first step of my professional artist career, even though I didn’t have my original artworks exhibiting this time. All what I brought to the booth were limited prints of my artworks. It was the last day of the show, I was standing at D’s booth, anticipating visitors passing by would walk in and take a look of my prints displayed on the table, where D’s mum, C sitting behind busy retouching her lip or checking Facebook from time to time, which remind me of the fictional character - Patsy Stone in the <Absolutely Fabulous>.  And he was just there, standing still looking around. His blonde hair, and the blue shirt with black suit he was wearing made him the odd one out in the crowd. Our eyes met, we greeted each other with a smile. In a short while, he showed up at the booth. We had a short conversation and I wrote down my name and my website for him on a business card of the gallery. At the end of the show, I saw him again carrying a big piece of painting leaving with the crowd…

 

We met agin in person the last night before I back home. We had farewell drinks at Perch with my friends, D ( a very civilized Austrian ) and S (a super charming Canadian girl ) till the bar closed. It was a lovely night. 

“Cady, be back.”I thought he just put a magic spell on me. The last impression of him was he sitting in the driving seat of his white Porsche car across the road,  waving goodbye to me.

 

Wish I could stay longer, I didn’t go shooting or skydiving yet, I didn’t visit the Griffith Observatory, the Getty Villa, the Hollywood sign…while it is what it is. Save them for my next trip to L.A.

 

In addition to appreciating those amazing artworks showcasing at the LA ART SHOW, I saw the dark side of the city of Angels which gave me the full picture of the reality, experienced early but dynamic night life of Downtown, reconnected with old friends, met new friends, I am truly grateful for the experience I had and people I met along the journey.

 

“Our lives are not our own. 

We are bound to others, past and present, 

and by each crime and every kindness, 

we birth our future.” 

 

― David Mitchell, <Cloud Atlas>

 

 

 

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© 2019  by Cady Sun​

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