El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby Quaco » 05 Sep 2017, 18:08

Great to see you guys (Dave, Tom, and Cath)!
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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby Quaco » 07 Sep 2017, 00:38

After the place with Tom and Cath, we headed for one more drink at Robin Hood Pub, also in North Hollywood. Of course, Mark being a Scottish person, it ended up being four pints each. A couple of patrons high-fived me for no reason because they were drunk, but then Mark revealed that a bit earlier, they had gotten into a bit of a political tussle with him, they being ultra-right-wingers, apparently. My takeaway was that, when happily drunk, all people are capable of liking all other people, people they might not have liked when they wren't so drunk. I certainly did not resemble one of their right-wing compatriots; they wouldn't have seen me as like-minded; as TG noted, I was probably resembled a member of Slade more than anything. Maybe they were mocking me.

The next day, as Dave notes, we met at an Ethiopian place. Thank you, Dave, for the first round of drinks. Very classy! After that, we went to Dan Tana's -- with a stop off at CVS beforehand -- for a few more drinks. Lady Q and I had the traditional brandies Alexander; Mark and Sofia had vodka tonics. It was pretty fun.

Hope Mark and Sofia made it home safely.

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I will post pictures from the various parts of this whole experience soon!
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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby Wally Bingbang » 07 Sep 2017, 14:11

I want to go to Dan Tana's!
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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby echolalia » 07 Sep 2017, 18:40

toomanyhatz wrote:Glad it worked out and really great to meet you both. And note to other potential travelers our way - anyone who's met up with us will tell you we're great hosts. Be encouraged! Come see us!

I can vouch for that. Don’t Shy Away from L.A. would be my message to roving BCBers. It was great to meet you all – Richard/zoomboogity, Tom/TG and Cath, Dave/hatz, Jim/quaco and Heidi. You made it feel special for us and we can’t thank you enough. Particularly the lord and lady quaco, who went well beyond the call of BCB duty in making sure we enjoyed ourselves and hung out with us every night while we were in Los Angeles and even lent me a shirt when I had a mishap with the takeaway part of our Ethiopian meal. I’ll post a write-up of our whole experience and a heap of photos in the next couple of days hopefully.

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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby Wally Bingbang » 07 Sep 2017, 18:52

Where did you stay, e? Hotel, AirBnB, etc.? Got any good recommendations?
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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby echolalia » 07 Sep 2017, 19:06

In Los Angeles we stayed in the Ocean Park Inn in Santa Monica in the first part of our trip and the Ramada Wilshire in the second part. Both perfectly decent - didn't see much of the Ramada because we were out all the time, the Ocean Park Inn had this little table outside where you could socialize with the other guests, which was fun.

Then various motels and hotels, some great, one particularly grungey, all interesting. If I had to recommend one place it would be the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel in Death Valley Junction (more about that later).

Dan Tana's was fab!

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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby echolalia » 07 Sep 2017, 19:19

Quaco wrote:Of course, Mark being a Scottish person, it ended up being four pints each. A couple of patrons high-fived me for no reason because they were drunk, but then Mark revealed that a bit earlier, they had gotten into a bit of a political tussle with him, they being ultra-right-wingers, apparently. My takeaway was that, when happily drunk, all people are capable of liking all other people, people they might not have liked when they wren't so drunk.

They were a couple of Burnley lads and they buttonholed me when I was on the way to the restroom. They were pretty hammered and it was all good fun but then they got on to the subject of football and when I asked one of them (a Glasgow Rangers fan) what he thought of their new manager he replied he didn't like him cause he was "a fookin Catholic". So fuckim. I liked the other one - the redhead whose eyes were too close together and walked on the balls of his feet - better.

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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby Quaco » 07 Sep 2017, 19:29

Harvey K-Tel wrote:I want to go to Dan Tana's!

I could see you thriving there for sure.
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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby LeBaron » 07 Sep 2017, 22:43

echolalia wrote:
Quaco wrote:Of course, Mark being a Scottish person, it ended up being four pints each. A couple of patrons high-fived me for no reason because they were drunk, but then Mark revealed that a bit earlier, they had gotten into a bit of a political tussle with him, they being ultra-right-wingers, apparently. My takeaway was that, when happily drunk, all people are capable of liking all other people, people they might not have liked when they wren't so drunk.

They were a couple of Burnley lads and they buttonholed me when I was on the way to the restroom. They were pretty hammered and it was all good fun but then they got on to the subject of football and when I asked one of them (a Glasgow Rangers fan) what he thought of their new manager he replied he didn't like him cause he was "a fookin Catholic". So fuckim. I liked the other one - the redhead whose eyes were too close together and walked on the balls of his feet - better.


So what my wife says about Burnley supporters is true!
Quaco wrote:Are you fucking high?

take5_d_shorterer wrote:If John Bonham simply didn't listen to enough Tommy Johnson or Blind Willie Mctell, that's his doing.

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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby echolalia » 10 Sep 2017, 03:00

My write-up about our trip follows. If it’s tl, then dr.

My weird fascination with Los Angeles started in 2003 when I was rummaging around on the Internet for stuff about Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, which I was re-reading in the original as I was learning Italian at the time. I found some website about an exhibition or seminar about cities and civilization or suchlike, and Calvino was cited alongside a writer called Mike Davis. So after that I gobbled up Davis’ City of Quartz and Ecology of Fear, which discuss the city and phenomenon of Los Angeles as this great big cultural Gestalt – books, music, films, architecture, history, politics, water supply, zoning regulations etc. Davis introduced me to lots of new writers and I spent the next couple of years reading nothing but fiction set in L.A., and three of the books Davis mentions – Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion, Ask the Dust by John Fante (which TG also knows and loves as we were talking about it) and Los Angeles Without a Map by Richard Rayner – are now among my very favourite novels. Since earlier this year I’ve been returning to my L.A. obsession with writers like Eve Babitz and Gavin Lambert and Reyner Banham. I read Banham’s Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies and then Scenes in America Deserta, which made me want to visit the Mojave Desert. Banham was an English architectural critic who lived in, and loved, Los Angeles. He didn’t know how to drive when he first arrived and he says this great thing which is something like “some people learn Italian so they can read Dante in the original; I learned to drive so I could read Los Angeles in the original.” So that’s pretty much where things were coming from in regard to this particular trip: an old obsession combined with a new one.

The first thing we did once we came out of the car-hire facility was get lost in deepest Inglewood. But we found our bearings and spent two nights in Santa Monica, which apparently has a large British population as it’s a little cooler than the rest of the city. We didn’t go on the pier but saw it from a distance, with all its pulsing gaudy colours smeared together in the mist – it was very good. We met their supreme californian highnesses lord jim and lady heidi quaco of laurel canyon for some good Mexican food – I had chilli, con carne, sin frijoles – and then we went up to Laurel Canyon and saw houses of famous people and had a good chat with J&H's neighbour Skip. The next day we headed down to San Pedro and met Richard and visited Sunken City and then had a pad thai high tea. Then on to Palm Springs.

We couldn’t get on with the coffee and had all kinds of messy incidents with drinks dispensers. Gushing, spurting, splashing, spilling incidents. In the end we settled on iced coffee – you have to put the ice in first. Some places did espresso but served it in massive paper cups, which didn’t feel right. In Dan Tana’s they had a proper espresso machine, and Sofia saw that it was good, and she ordered an espresso, and I saw that it was good. The bartender in Dan Tana’s was one of the people I’ll remember from this trip. He was a very warm and witty guy and he had this way of making you feel welcome. He liked his job, basically.

Palm Springs was a strange, opulent place and – along with the rest of the Coachella Valley – the hottest part of our journey. There was this fierce buzz of heat all day and all night. Fortunately our hotel pool was open all hours and it was a little cooler in the water. On our second night there it was too early to go to bed and too hot out on the balcony and we’d had enough swimming, so we went across the road and sat on a rock in deep shadow and peeped on the nocturnal fauna walking by. It was mainly people out walking their pets. We saw a guy with a pig on a leash – the guy took a leak in the bushes and the pig took a shit on the lawn, then the pig wanted to snaffle around on the lawn a bit but the guy wanted to leave and he dragged the pig homeward although it was reluctant and digging in its hooves all the way. At least I think it was a pig! – I was very, very high at the time.

We went to the Salton Sea – another place I’ve always wanted to visit. It was desolate and far-flung as fuck. We visited two settlements there – you couldn’t call them towns – Salton Beach and Desert Shores (great name). Spanish was the lingua franca in Desert Shores but we didn’t speak to anyone at all in Salton Beach. In fact we didn’t see anyone at all. It looked like it had been hit by a neutron bomb: all abandoned shacks and curious WC-looking tiled buildings, covered in graffiti with a top coat of soot/smoke. This place freaked me out and I had a sudden vision of walkers oozing and seething out of the abandoned tile-shacks and gnashing avidly at our European flesh – I checked the lock button on the car door at that point, I confess. I much preferred Desert Shores, and had one of the nicest things I ate in the whole of California there – a lightly toasted coconut cake.

After the Coachella Valley we headed for Joshua Tree. There was a charred effigy of Bono swinging from a traffic light wire, his waistcoat pocked with bullet holes. At the tourist office I asked about the Gram Parsons shrine and the man told me there was nothing really there at present. But he was visibly pleased that we’d asked, and helpful to a fault. “Let me fold that map for you.” There was a group of severely spaced-out grubby youths there and I heard a girl say “Love you, dirtbag” to one of the guys as she was leaving.

Then we picked up on part of Reyner Banham’s desert itinerary and went through Twentynine Palms and Amboy and Kelso to Baker. Roy’s Café in Amboy was great, with its famous sign and a long formica counter which probably hasn’t changed since the 1950s. The guy who worked there was a really interesting character, with weathered old-rocker features and the eyes of a cat. I had a messy incident with a tub of creamer there but he was very cool about it. Another person I’ll remember is a girl who worked in a shop somewhere in Death Valley – a native American of complexion – a stunningly, arrestingly beautiful person. I could have sat in a chair and beheld her all day long.

At Baker we joined Highway 127 on our way to the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel, which in David Lynchland are the Lost Highway and the Lost Highway Hotel respectively. The weather in Baker was suitably deranged – thick fog and high wind with tumbleweed blowing around, and then we got dust storms as we headed north, with the occasional waterspout and lightning popping up ahead. Amargosa OH&H was very good. The amenities are basic but the charm and atmosphere of the place easily compensate for that. The girl who showed us the opera house had a bad cold so we let her cut short her spiel about dates and dignitaries and borax and asked about the ghosts instead (the hotel is said to be haunted). I don’t know if she was talking off-script from this point but she seemed to warm to the subject. Strange stuff happens, apparently – doors opening and closing of their own accord, guest reports of uninvited third parties sitting at the foot of the bed, etc. Speaking for ourselves we didn’t witness any paranormal activity and I slept like a baby, and woke up the next morning feeling rested like I hadn’t done for months.

Many of the high points of our trip were simple moments, like when we were driving around in Los Angeles and You’re So Vain came on the radio. A song I’ve loved since I was six, and it still completely does me in when I hear it. They probably play it every day on the radio there, I suppose. Don’t Fear the Reaper came on as we were driving into Death Valley!

The desert was amazing but you have to see it for yourself. Strangely for such a vast, open expanse it delivers a very private pleasure that’s difficult to describe. We discovered that the higher you get the cooler it gets, so it was never too hot. And we caught a couple of rain showers too – the rain was ice cold like I’ve never felt before, and sharp as needles.

We went to Las Vegas, which I don’t quite know what to say about. Maybe “The Mojave Desert is full of missile testing sites, but sadly Las Vegas is not one of them.” I’m no fan of gambling and wasn’t in the mood for all the flashing lights. Curiously, Sofia almost broke even on the slot machines while I sat at the bar chugging ridiculously weak vodka tonics out of sheer boredom, so I was the larger expense item in that particular episode. For a classically American city, Las Vegas was guilty on two counts of un-American behaviour. The first rule it breaks is that everything is on a larger scale in the US – except on the Strip, with its little Eiffel and miniature Doge’s palace and so on. The second was that in a country with so much space it’s unusual to see urban clutter, except on the Strip, with all the monuments jostling for eye-share. The only other place I saw a similar breakdown of spaciosity was on the seashore on the Sunday before the Labor Day holiday, with thousands of cars parked any which way on the verges overlooking the beach and everywhere in the vicinity.

We had a lost weekend after Vegas. We drove down to the coast to see a little of the Pacific Coast Highway, but after the desert it was all very pale and underwhelming, plus the motels were full everywhere and to make things worse it was difficult to get wi-fi and book a place. Things were getting shitty until the people in a restaurant in Los Alamos went out of their way to help us and we found somewhere. The kindness of strangers! And those two nights we experienced deep America as the only tourists in out of the way places. I love motels – I like the democratic way they have running balconies, not poxy boxed off pigeon-holes like in Europe.

And then we headed back to Los Angeles, where I wish we’d spent a couple more days. This time we stayed for two nights on Wilshire Boulevard, one block down from the Wiltern, which is a very good-looking building. It was a massive room and I never quite found my way around it as we were out all the time. It’s remarkably easy driving around L.A. as long as there aren’t traffic jams. Also you can do u-turns if things go wrong. It’s like a giant freeform snakes and ladders board with no top and no bottom, and the streets are the grid and the freeways are the snakes and ladders which get you quicker to where you have to go. It’s an intimidating place too. I really liked what I saw of Little Ethiopia. I’ve wanted to try Ethiopian food for years and while I found it unusual I also know it’s something I’ll grow to appreciate. Everything was hurried on the last day and we drove Mulholland Dr and Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards. I called hatz and we were trying to negotiate a place to meet and he asked if we could get to Amoeba Music exactly when we were outside it! We bought a couple of Amoeba t-shirts for the kids, so don’t you complain about corporate tat you little devils there’s only one place this t-shirt could come from! We had a beer with hatz in the bar of Cinerama Dome. There was a really nice smell in there, like popcorn overlaid with pesto and a hint of vanilla.

And that was it. I want to go back already. I loved it. Recommend it too :-) Photos tomorrow!

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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby zoomboogity » 10 Sep 2017, 03:39

Sounds like a great time. Glad we could do our bit!
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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby kalowski II: The Revenge » 10 Sep 2017, 11:58

Well jell. More books for the Amazon wish list too! Didn't Mike Davis post here very briefly? Carducci references him extensively in "Rock and the Pop Narcotic".
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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby Matt Wilson » 10 Sep 2017, 15:57

Interesting write up by echolalia, I've read the Fante book too. I recommend checking out Bukowski and Chandler as well.
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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby LeBaron » 10 Sep 2017, 18:23

neville harp wrote:Well jell. More books for the Amazon wish list too! Didn't Mike Davis post here very briefly? Carducci references him extensively in "Rock and the Pop Narcotic".


I seriously doubt it. Perhaps you're thinking of mspecktor, who goes back to the mojo days and is a writer. His book, "American Dream Machine," is an excellent LA novel.
Quaco wrote:Are you fucking high?

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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby kalowski II: The Revenge » 10 Sep 2017, 18:43

Yeah, mspecktor did the intro to the ace Eve Babitz Slow Days book too.

The poster I'm thinking of is quartzcity, looks like I put 2 and 2 together and made 5.

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It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

Kal ‘Roger Cock’ Hodgson wrote:I have just discovered that the fake Markus account was not John...I would like to apologise for suggesting it was him.


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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby LeBaron » 10 Sep 2017, 19:07

neville harp wrote:Yeah, mspecktor did the intro to the ace Eve Babitz Slow Days book too


He's the one who hipped me to her.

The Mike Davis books are really interesting. Recommended if you're into that sort of thing and haven't read them ...
Quaco wrote:Are you fucking high?

take5_d_shorterer wrote:If John Bonham simply didn't listen to enough Tommy Johnson or Blind Willie Mctell, that's his doing.

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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby Quaco » 10 Sep 2017, 19:19

neville harp wrote:Yeah, mspecktor did the intro to the ace Eve Babitz Slow Days book too.

The poster I'm thinking of is quartzcity, looks like I put 2 and 2 together and made 5.

http://www.bcb-board.co.uk/phpBB2/membe ... ile&u=4109

quartzcity is an old friend of mine and take5d's who was on here for a while and is a musician. I think he just really liked that book.
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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby kalowski II: The Revenge » 10 Sep 2017, 19:59

Ah, cool.
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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby echolalia » 10 Sep 2017, 22:49

Still Baron wrote:
neville harp wrote:Yeah, mspecktor did the intro to the ace Eve Babitz Slow Days book too


He's the one who hipped me to her.

The Mike Davis books are really interesting. Recommended if you're into that sort of thing and haven't read them ...

It is a good intro, yes. I will read American Dream Machine. As for Mike Davis, he’s been very quiet these last few years. The last thing I saw by him was the preface to Jean Stein’s West of Eden, which came out late in 2016. I hope he's OK.

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Re: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Postby Wally Bingbang » 11 Sep 2017, 16:03

Great write up, e. It sounds as though you were able to capture at least a piece of your romantic notion of the place, which isn't an easy thing to do these days. Sounds like a great trip.
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