Sweet Home California


I love Los Angeles, and especially on days when you can see all of the city from the top of a canyon. Today was one of those days, so grabbed the pooch and we headed to Runyon Canyon.

I sent a friend of mine some of the photos I took on my hike. She’s something like 100th generation Californian, thus my thinking she would appreciate the photos. She responded with a wonderful and entertaining, personal account of her California. I thought it was worth posting with the photos. Anyway, here’s my friend’s inspired response:

Ah, Los Angeles, my city. My home. I am the quintessential Los Angeles girl you know, perhaps only lacking in breast size to be completely quintessential. I would need large C’s at least. There’s always plastic surgery. I love my city and it loves me. I was born in Mercy Hospital in downtown. My earliest memories include the Chinese Theatre, seeing the gold man with the horn (on top of the Mormon temple) from the 405 out of the car window. My brother and I always called him the “Horny Man.” My parents always cracked up, but we didn’t get it. I remember when the First Interstate Bank building was the tallest in downtown. I remember feeling earthquakes as a kid and thinking they were fun.

My grandparent’s grew up in highland park and my grandpa used to race his chop top down Figeuroa in the late 30’s. My great grandpa was a carpenter and built sets for movie studios in the 20’s and 30’s. He also built a bunch of houses around the city - in Hollywood, Santa Monica and Alhambra. My grandma went to USC and used to summer in Long Beach with her friends, which was quite the student party place in her time.

Both of my parents grew up in pasadena and my mom used to watch movies for 25 cents every saturday at the Rialto Theatre. My step-father grew up in Palos Verdes and I went to the same high school he did. I even had 3 of the same teachers he did. My grandfather was stationed at Fort MacArthur, in San Pedro for 6 months when he was drafted for WWII.

One of the first times I got high was at age 12. I drove to West Hollywood with my friend’s older cousin, tried to get some transvestites to buy us alcohol, and they invited us to a party up the street instead. I smoked and passed out with a bunch of queens in a fab apartment with all of them exclaiming on and stroking my platinum blonde hair. I cut my hand on broken cymbals once, and trailed my blood down 5 blocks of Highland. I’ve thrown up on Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood Blvd., Pico, Main St., and La Cienega. Maybe that’s not something to be proud of but i think you get my point. No matter where i live, Los Angeles will always be my home. It is familiar, comforting and it is mine.

View the rest of the Runyon Canyon photos >>

Brad Barrish @bradbarrish