Thursday, September 2, 2010

County fairs and facial herpes ...


For the second time this summer, I've left Los Angeles smearing face oil all over the window of an airplane and wondering when in the hell I can get back to that city. I think it's a little naive to describe a place where I've only spent a grand total of like 23 days of my life. But the phrase I probably used the most while Chuck and I wandered around East Hollywood is this:

This city looks like the county fair was held here last night. And I like that.

On Saturday night we went to Echo Park for a Lit Crawl. We got there just as the competitive reading ended, and went to the first bar that was on the list for a post-reading "victory lap." We went to a place El Prado, while I considered all of the writers who could potentially walk in the door: Was that Neal Pollack in a hoodie, signing a copy of his book? Doesn't Meghan Daum live in this neighborhood? I'd be here if I were her.

Eventually we jumped ahead to a place called Little Joy, where the bathroom stalls were their own version of a lit crawl and the PBR flowed like my period. We were there long enough for everyone to sort of take on cartoonish facial expressions, and then morph into El DeBarge look alikes. Then we jetted back to Cath's neighborhood and hit the White Horse Tavern -- where people half our age were uvula-deep in free hot dogs. Then off to Relax, site of the most-stunning night ever the last time we were in LA. It was like no time had passed: The Thai to English translation of American pop songs is still suspect on their karaoke machine; I was coerced into singing a song I didn't know well enough to sing. This time at least it was Weezer, though, and not "Endless Love."

We completed the trifecta with late-night kabobs with peanut sauce, and curry at Torung.

***

On Sunday we went to Mr. Pizza in Korea Town and ate something so interesting that if I rattled off the toppings of our 'za, you would think it was the shopping list of a junkie, god bless it. Suffice to say, the crust was stuffed with like a yam puree. Did I mention the tortilla chips sprinkled on top? This review in LA Weekly sums it up pretty well.  My favorite part from Jonathan Gold's review:

On the other rests a payload of bacon, roasted potatoes, squiggles of sour cream, industrial Cheddar, more beef and corn, and what seems like a handful of crushed tortilla chips — like a pizza that dreamed of becoming a plate of nachos but ended up flunking Spanish.
After lunch we jetted along the coast to Malibu. I did enough danger ranger in the water to get my shorts wet and make my skin taste like Pringles. So fun. 

Chuck and I took our last meal of the trip at In-N-Out Burger, which is everything I love in fast food. We had to flail elbows and fake facial herpes to get a table, but eventually we scored. 

Sunday night we tried to catch an 11 p.m. show at Upright Citizens Brigade, but the line was long and pubescent, and we didn't make the cut.

***


Our three flights home were uneventful, save for the part where we had to run a 5K from one end of the Minneapolis airport to the other to catch a flight that started boarding 5 minutes before we got off the plane.

***

I had one celebrity sighting in LA and it was a pretty cool one and I'm not even going to pretend that I'm above talking about it. We were wandering around Silver Lake looking for a comic book store, and wandered past this cafe. I was positive that I saw Craig from American Electric, High Voltage's sort of rival tattoo shop on LA Ink.

I figured it was probably a hallucination, since that day we had walked past High Voltage, and that I probably just had ink on the brain. I doubled back anyway for a quick gawk, and was then even more sure that it was him.

A few days later we went back to Silver Lake for brunch. I glanced up and saw a sign for American Electric like super close to where I thought I saw Craig. I didn't realize it was in Silver Lake when I first thought I saw him. So ... that's it. P-list celeb sightings for everyone!

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