Wednesday, March 02, 2005

This Must Be the Place

There's no place like home:

FR: Paramount Pictures, TV
RE: Wildlife

This one hour pilot for the UPN network is a comedy-drama about a group of twentysomethings in the hip Hollywood community of Silver Lake, some of whom play in a band.

Scene: as Kevin Bacon is being interviewed, a surreal moment occurs in which Kevin is mouthing the words to the song as it is playing on the jukebox.

Yea, I live in Silver Lake. So does Karen O of the the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Greg Dulli of the Twilight Singers/Afghan Whigs, and - currently - Inxs. There are tons more artists, actors, musicians, designers and such who live in this neck of the woods and I just can't think of who they are right now. But you know what? LA is a big place, and those types live all over town.

Silver Lake does attract the hipster element though. A few months back, local (read:Silver Lake) band Rilo Kiley did an instore performance which had the biggest draw Amoeba Hollywood has ever seen. When talking with some former co-workers about it, I said, "Man! I don't understand why this was so packed! I mean, they're just a local band." And my friend said, "Hey, I thought it was great. I cruised over to Silver Lake and robbed a few houses because everyone was here." Another friend of mine hates the cool crowd so much that he asks me to refer to my neighborhood as "Los Feliz adjacent," referring to the almost as hip, but a bit more upscale area just slightly west. I listen to while at work, a station based out of Cincinnati, and every time they play Earlimart or Autolux, they precede it by saying, "From the trendy Silver Lake part of Los Angeles..."

I love Silver Lake. I love the mix of boutiques, crazy thrift stores, cafes, bars, taco stands, church socials, and used car lots. I love my view of the Hollywood Hills and everything down below them. I love that the two gay men who bought the place a few doors up have done some crazy landscaping, and that the Mexican family of a twenty across the street blasts ranchero music at dinner time just about every day. I love the murals. I like the farmer's market. I love the church bells that ring on Sundays. I like to walk around the hills and look at the houses that were either built in the 1910s or the 1970s. I even love the "Silver Lake," which is actually a reservoir which is fenced in and no one can even get to... but you can look at it.

There's a lot of history here too - the Hollywood kind. Hollywood isn't right along the coast like most people may think, it's actually about 20 miles east. Back in the day, early film tycoons built their fancy homes east of Hollywood in Silver Lake, Echo Park, and Pasadena. They filmed stuff out here too: Laurel and Hardy did their infamous "Music Box" talkie here, lugging a piano up & down & up & down some equally infamous stairs,
and the house where Barbara Stanwyck's femme fatale in Double Indemnity lives with her soon-to-be late husband is just up the hill from the reservoir. Raymond Chandler even wrote about it and it later showed up in Bogie's The Big Sleep, under the pseudonym "Gray Lake." Rudy Valentino supposedly had a little cabin in the hills for his "boys only" events, as did other celebrities when entertaining same sex situations, earning us the nickname of "the Swish Alps."

Anyway, I like the neighborhood despite it's stigma of total hipness. I am not a total hipster, just a little. I like alternative music, I have earrings made out of guitar picks and a belt stolen from a Cadillac, and I know lots of people in bands... but that alone does not a hipster make. About a year ago, my roommate was living a few blocks away and got trapped on her street because Aaron Spelling was in town filming a show about hipsters, and now it's finally hitting the little screen. I'm very curious to see how my hood will be represented (or, rather, misrepresented). It reminds me of the time I went to visit my relatives in Colombia and they were disappointed that I didn't talk like Pauly Shore.

So Silver Lake is coming to a television set near you. And evidently, Kevin Bacon will be there too.