<%@ Language=VBScript %> <%response.buffer = TRUE%> Dark Ponderings on a Life in Los Angeles
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Dark Ponderings on a Life in Los Angeles

The city we love to hate, Los Angeles, will not cease with its draw. Thousands of people flock there to pursue dreams, to live among the beautiful. Our author is one of them.

by Kerry Dunn


Even as a 17 year old politically correct punk rocker, I still snuck peeks at my mother’s People magazine, watched Entertainment Tonight occasionally, and caught a few Hollywood blockbusters at the local Cineplex. But I would still claim to reject it to my friends and family, you know, never letting it be known that say being Drew Barrymore and living some glamorous Hollywood lifestyle wouldn’t be a godsend. No really I do try to stick to a humble lifestyle, but greed and fame-seeking lurks even in the oh so frugally minded.

So here I am now, 28, living in this fast-moving hell-town, just a girl trying to make her aspirations a reality. Some would say this town is easy to figure out, but it’s quite the opposite. A mystery of contradictions, disregards daily, rock-star style hedonism, and romantic loneliness. Of course picking the creative world as my conquest, not an easy scene to swallow no matter where you live, makes this journey into adaptation a little harder.

It’s a metropolis that puts up walls, gives the word "insider" new meaning, and makes owning a car and earning 40K appear embarrassing.

The city makes everyday people feel small and disposable. There are millions living here barely getting by -- illegals, working class, wandering gen-X types, and aspiring actors, dancers, models, and waitresses. These are the types that spread into every neighborhood, not millionaires, movie-execs, and movie stars.

So glamorized is our ideal of the city that it is silly to think this urban sprawl could embody a population of virtuosos. The seedy, the had, the downtrodden, the pathetically obvious wannabes ... that’s Los Angeles. That’s the essence that makes the lucky and beautiful reign over the freakish. You know that man or woman, the one who reeks of insecure falsities and would sell-out to anyone who promised them a sugarcoated nothing. One wrong move here, and you get this sick sense that some force is around the corner waiting for your ration.

Just the other day, I was out with some friends, we decided we weren’t going to enter a bar in West Hollywood because my car was too old and ratty. Worth a good laugh sure, but in reality it’s pretty sad that image had us all so insecure that we cowered away. Yet image is LA's major attraction. It gives Angelenos a yearning for beauty and a cunning sense of supremacy. Desiring and attaining physical beauty is such a double-edge sword in our American culture, but Los Angeles is one of the few cities brave enough to face and embrace this shallowness.

In fact, it does so almost to absurdity. But beauty is everywhere here, in abundance, natural, and synthetic. I appreciate it more and more each day. I feel the need to look better here, to dress better, hell, to be thinner. Is that so bad? In the back of the eye, we all see and perceive beauty and wit into our own ideal.

LA’s energy never stops, but at the same time, if you’re a "feeler" like myself, the energy can feel sickly defeating on the wrong day, almost desperate. But it is part of the charm here if you embrace it. When I first moved here, I had a few experiences of that emotional caliber. Driving aimlessly through the endless suburbs looking for housing, slums to mansions, knowing I would end up closer to the slums end of the story, walking into stores I couldn’t afford and being snubbed by the employees, winding up in the ghetto watch the aggressive glances from afar making me nervous -- as much as it scared and annoyed me, these extremes that Los Angeles lives in, are what make it so edgy and attractive.

The romance the city holds is grit with its noirish glamour, sex, and violence. Grit in the sense that people fight for what they have. There are endless opportunities here no matter your background or race. It’s open territory for the brave and thick-skinned.

There are a million stories here, ones that are triumphant and the ones that you'd rather not hear. But all of it gives you a reason to stay. It’s a city that doesn’t limit, but does corrupt. In a mecca of freeways and desperados, if you look a little deeper, the city will challenge you every minute.

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