Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
A Los Angeles blog
from Echo Park

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Plant psycho

It's hot as blazes here in Echo Park today. I took my daughter to Echo Park Lake (a crazy, unreasonable acquiescence to her request), and as soon we got to the playground area told her we had to leave it: in five minutes, of course. There was only one patch of shade, lightly veiling one bench, and that bench was occupied by Val Kilmer's "office" (as the young man identified himself on the phone) and another Columbus Day subaltern, a young woman. They filled the bench with notebooks and phones. I waited for them to notice they were hogging the shade, but they didn't seem to. So, "Can you move over?" I said. Val's office complied. My daughter scorched her feet on the sand, as the young woman warned her she would, then came back for her shoes. Behind us on the little peninsula there was a lot of equipment and a lot of people staying very still, some of them standing, most sitting. It was like the south (east), where people don't move quickly on hot days. In L.A. people seem to move quickly, even in the heat. Not today. There was no buzz of activity, no walkie-talkie crackle, almost no sound in the background. A couple of vendors stood by, with pork rinds and snow cones, doing no business. The only work seemed to be happening right here at the play area as Val's assistant made plans for the actor after he wrapped up the hot day in Echo Park. Too hot to be curious about Val's evening. After a try at the hot slide, my daughter wanted me to push her on the swing, which made it time to go. On our way to the car, which was parked at an unusual distance from the play area, we saw the eight doves and a bunch of ducks. A mama mallard came to show us her two tiny ducklings. And a family of Canada geese came over for a look, too. Five goslings the size of grown ducks (the original ugly ducklings, gray and downy-scrappy looking), accompanied by two adults. Something set them off and the ducklings started running around on top of the water. A man sat very still next to a fishing pole.

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