Observing Los Angeles

Viggo Mortensen's relationship with L.A.

From today's T magazine in the New York Times:

In the decade since his leading role in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy turned him into a household name, [Mortensen] has studiously resisted acquiring any of the standard accouterments of Hollywood success. With some of his “Rings” earnings, he founded Perceval Press, a small L.A.-based publishing house specializing in art books and poetry. Other than that, he has continued to lead much the same modest, under-the-radar existence that he did before. He paints, he writes poetry, he plays piano, he takes arty photographs. He hangs out with his 23-year-old son, Henry (by his former wife, Christine “Exene” Cervenka, lead singer of the L.A. punk band X). He campaigns for various human rights and political causes. (During the 2008 election, he endorsed Dennis Kucinich.) He travels a lot: for most of the last year, he has been living in Madrid, where he is rumored to be involved with the Spanish actress Ariadna Gil. When he’s in Los Angeles, he crashes in the Perceval office and socializes with what his friend, the political activist and urban historian Mike Davis, calls “Southern California’s grass-roots cultural scene.” (“Most of Hollywood ignores or disdains . . . the Venice poets and Leimart Park painters,” Davis says, “but Viggo is a passionate homeboy. Multiply him by one hundred, and Hollywood might be worth sparing when the Red Cavalry next rides down Sunset Boulevard.”)

None of this is quite, perhaps, what little boys and girls dream of when they dream of becoming a star, but it’s Mortensen’s idea of fun.

Also: Today's main NYT Magazine has a story on the swimmer Diana Nyad.

If you read one NYT story: The life and death of hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard.

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