“I realized I was surviving on isolation, wounded and harboring, and that that does not make for very good love. Sometime after the bridge, I began to realize that I already knew everything I needed to know.”
Author Wendy C. Ortiz gives a visceral exploration of love, loss and transformation in the hills and streets of L.A. in an excerpt of “Hollywood Notebook,” a memoir of her 20s and 30s coming-of-age in Los Angeles.
Excerpt: A Los Angeles Origin Story by a Man Who’s Been Pressed at Gunpoint to Guess by Andrew Dalton
“Hiram ‘Doc’ Hollywood had come to California from the Topeka World’s Fair of ’88 to build a dream factory that would bear his name. But dreams were a rough business. In his years of efforts he could never figure out the formula to get the dreams into the heads of the sleeping people (something his protege Leonardo ‘Leo’ DiCaprio would one day do), and when the dream market took a beating in the Panic of ’96, Doc Hollywood switched to movies.”
A fast-moving excerpt from Shanna Mahin’s acclaimed debut novel, tracing the ups and downs of Jess, third-generation Hollywood trouble.
“His spirit is buoyed when he sees the lavender oil in the bathroom mirror. It’s simmering in a glass dish that glows orange over a candle; the lighting is perfect. Behind it: his mother’s curly, red hair swept up, her ivory arms rim the leaden tub against checkered tile. The dish and her hair stand out like the colorized objects in an otherwise black-and-white photo.”
Troubadour Tom Freund on his inspiration for “Angel Eyes,” an emotive song about the duality in the L.A. scene, and an ode to the angels, true friends who are always there.
L.A.-based singer/songwriter Avery Roberts shares the deeper meaning of the lyrics to “Wifi & I,” his infectious love song parody about our constant search for connection in a world Velcroed to our devices.
AFLW co-founder David Lott reflects on the loss of a close friend by examining his dreamlike grief and tenuous memories of adventures in the high grounds of the Doheny Estates.
“My little terrier mutt is quintessentially L.A. This is not to say that she’s an item I throw in a $1,500 handbag when she matches my ensemble, but she was born here and by the end of her first year she had already left home and walked more L.A. streets than Charlie Sheen’s last ‘girlfriend.'”
The Car’s the Star by Nicola Wood
In Nicola Wood’s vivid oil paintings, L.A.’s ubiquitous cars are both real and magical.
Coast to Concrete by David Franco
Native Angeleno David Franco’s photographs capture the city’s changing landscape, soulful architecture, gritty beaches and darkness among sunny days.
Waiting for a Savior by Eric M Cwiertny
Photographer Eric M Cwiertny’s images of facades and marquees in DTLA draw the viewer into their ornamental detail, character-filled history, and a yearning for what was and what could be.
“You think horrible things on your commute through the insidious cesspool that is Los Angeles … Why would anyone want to live here? You are just a dirt speck here. You are no one here. You’re from here.”
“She had deftly used the rearview mirror since her early days of driving and rarely wasted time at home on makeup. Efficiency was of the utmost importance to her … a borderline obsession.”
“My dad wanted me to be more ‘American,’ so they only spoke to me in English. But I didn’t mind because I hated the sound of the Spanish that I’d hear at home. It was the weapon Dad used against Mom.”
In Rachel Sona Reed’s meditation on history and loss, a neighborhood’s wartime homes are stripped to their bones.
Every woman knows the memories and meaning that a dress can carry. Saryn Chorney’s poem gathers those ethereal, delicate threads.
Author Joel Harper pens a beautiful allegory about preparing those we love to deal with the adversities of life, and then letting go.
Songs that remind her of Los Angeles filter through a survivor’s reflection on her life and connection to the city.
“I exist in duplicate. I double your pleasure. I double your fun. I exist in triplicate. I’m three faces of Eve. I’m a bevy of beauties. I’m Girls, Girls, Girls! My name is legion, for I am many. Good blonde, bad blonde. Born blonde, bottle blonde. I’m a blonde bombshell.”
“From beneath the mattress of the top bunk we retrieve the gold tube of lipstick, found rolling like a lost toy on the rear floorboard of his car.”
“Yesterday my handsomest colleague drove me home from work. We had been held over at the office, and the late summer sun was setting orangely as we left. I waited with my back turned as he locked the front door, surprised that he had the key.”
Two poems on the possibilities of rebirth and motherhood.
“Nancy said the mortifying truth was what finally pierced her. That plus a poor-fitting pair of slacks I’d bought on Hollywood Boulevard from a touristy clothier who had shoe-polish ads in the window. I strode into his store against every pulsing neon omen, determined to believe he could make me look more substantial than L.A. Nancy asked if I wore the slacks to make girls swoon — like that, we were on my turf.”
“Dear Los Angeles: You are not perfect. But I love you. I’m, like, super-into-you.” A Valentine’s Day love letter to L.A. from our debut “love/hate” issue by comedian, author and Brooklyn transplant Sara Benincasa.