I remember distinctly the very first time that, standing in front of that architectural Transformer behemoth that is the Beverly Center, I took in the unsightliness of La Cienega Boulevard and heard myself sigh: I love this city…
Los Angeles, the city that courted me and won my heart, is more than an endless mix-match of unsettling buildings; it is a free spirit in which I can recognize myself. I know it is a dangerous lover. It sometimes smothers you with loneliness and later on, it embraces you with promises of eternal love –one day it makes you feel like you are at the top of the world to abandon you, shrouded in the mists of its dawns, the very next morning. It is just another unappealing suitor, until you discover his lush wilderness –mountain lions, coyotes, endless beaches, breathtaking sunsets, its winter snowy mountains and spectacular curvy canyons. Once you surrender, you understand immediately that if you ever leave, your life will never be the same… There is something in the air, besides the smog in downtown L.A., which is inexplicable, unique and wonderful and that holds it all together.
I, who had sworn that nobody would ever take me out of Madrid, fell completely mesmerized for the chaotic creativity that oozes around its streets; the great talented minds that drive around its poorly-maintained roads; its musicians, its writers… Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the upcoming actors and the decrepitude of those who were once great, everything enraptured me. I became immediately a member of this anthill infected by the boundless creativity of its eternal azure skies. LA is no city of angels; it is greenhouse of dreamers, a sensation, a lifestyle. It is that ephemeral and infinite ever existing chance of doing what you wished for in life –without anyone asking you to justify your reasons or nobody who truly cares why; it is waking up with a dream and making it come true. It is that platonic love that might never become real, although there is always that remote possibility that it might be ready to surprise you around the corner, with the biggest gift you could have never imagined. It is the inquietude of knowing you live in the epicenter of its deep geologic faults –aware that while you sleep, its guts are rocking inside in constant movement and that, through its waves, the entire world is poisoned by its aborted ideas or inspired by the inexplicable works of art that pop up when you least expect it. It is the nostalgia you feel upon returning to Europe and realizing you don’t belong there anymore. The joy that floods your soul when you fly back and look down beneath your airplane window: the flatland at the foothills on the edge of the Pacific ocean, sprinkled by a sea of lights. You are immensely fortunate and greatly unlucky to have landed in the metropolis that stole your heart – because it morphed from being just a destination to being your destiny. Los Angeles is not a city, it is a concept. It is the present tense of the future.
It would be inaccurate to say that I live in LA; it would be more sincere to say that LA lives in me.
Text/Photos: Nunu para NUNUPICTURES
Translated by Wendell Figueroa
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