Weekend blog discoveries

Fish in Taipei
Los Angeles photographer Charlie Grosso has been working on an exhibit she calls Wok the Dog, an examination of "the commerce of meat," shot at markets around the world where animals are caged, slaughtered and sold. It has gotten some good attention. What caught my eye on her blog, though, was a post about the dread and denial that strikes when we learn we're being forced to move.

We have lived in an amazing 5 bedroom house for the last 4.5 years and paying about the price of a 2-3 bedroom rental. Our landlords are coming back from Mexico and we must relocate.

We have had this news for about a week now and its still not any easier. I am simply stuck between a panic and very upset. I know that we had move eventually, we don't own this home, but I think I always thought that we would move when we are ready, on our terms...

"Home" has always been a very difficult concept for me. I feel at "Home" when I am in Taipei with my mom, but that has less to do with the physical house and more so with her....What is "Home?" Where you hang your hat? Where the heart is? I know its a mythical place, a metaphor that we try to impose upon a physical structure. If I could figure out what makes a place "Home", then I would have an easier time with either having too many of such or even finding that ONE.

New Yorker-turned-Angeleno Max Stevens writes at All the things... about his book project tying together his passions of rock, Southern California social history and what the calls The Great Collapse of the 1960s — "the destruction of the hopes, dreams, idealism and optimism of the era, and their replacement with disillusionment and nihilistic self-indulgence. Welcome to the 70s!"

My book-in-progress, provisionally titled Canyon Fodder, is set in Los Angeles and tells a series of intersecting stories about three musicians who live through the Great Collapse. I took my initial inspiration from three sources. The first was Alan Rudolph’s Welcome to L.A., a film that in Pauline Kael’s words “looks drugged.” She intended the remark as criticism, but for me Welcome to L.A. has the same dreamy, fragmented feel as some of Robert Altman’s best movies...The film drips with decadence and should be viewed, in my opinion, as one of the definitive representations of West Coast-style 70s malaise.

The second source of inspiration for my book was Easy Rider, arguably the ultimate Great Collapse movie, and the third was Jackson Browne’s song, "The Pretender." [It] is Jackson Browne’s most explicit statement on the death of the hippie dream....The song deploys remarkably evocative poetic symbols to express the disillusionment of Baby Boomers who watched the communal ideals of the 60s morph into empty materialism and dull suburban routine.

Max loves his adopted home: "A real connection with The Byrds only comes after driving in the L.A. canyons, through the passes, and down the long, electric boulevards, at dusk, with the sky lit up in incandescent colors, and the tall palm trees swaying in the breeze. L.A. has heightened my appreciation for The Byrds ten fold, and The Byrds have heightened my appreciation for L.A., knowing that this is where those celestial voices came from."

Photo: Fish in Taipei, 2005, Charlie Grosso

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