North Hollywood Monkey Boy

This post was originally written on April 20 and 21, 2019

It’s an overcast morning in North Hollywood, which affords us an extra couple hours in which to sleep in, despite the active gardeners around the house in this neighborhood. Some work men also seem to be preparing the street for re-pavement, which sets off Greg’s worry that he will not be able to pull out of the drive way. It’s all going to work out despite my hosts’ preoccupation with the day’s to-do list, which admittedly is jam-packed with strenuous tasks, like a full day’s work in a temporary management position at Griffith Observatory, personal assistant work, and the chores of grounds maintenance that home owners have to look forward to.

They always tell me I don’t understand: I’m on vacation. It’s true, even though it feels like a normal weekend. When I visit Los Angeles—or, more specifically, NELA/NE San Fernando Valley—it is a vacation despite the chores of family. Visiting family imbues an extra layer to being in a place away from one’s permanent home. But even on the topic of permanent home, I am a little off-balance. Do I dare regard San Francisco as permanent home when I have spent little time there in the past few months?


24 hours later and it’s an overcast Easter morning in Highland Park. Christie and the gang—myself included—have seemed to weather a massive Deadhead festival in Echo Park, even though few of us are actual Deadhead fans. Christie and I only went because we were bemused by the VIP “Horne Section” tickets that afforded us a brief meeting with bassist Dan Horne and some other goodies. I told Christie it’s an anthropological experiment. And honestly, the LA Deadhead scene is cool in people and vibe—a straight-up throw back to the 70s—and a bit more racially diverse than the Bay Area scene—but I came to realize through the course of the evening that I am not a fan of the music of the Grateful Dead, I am not a fan of the jam style delivered by Circles Around the Sun, and the worst part of it all is seeing so many people rock out and not feeling it—while, on the other hand, at all the Cass McCombs concerts, I rocked out like that, and hardly anyone else rocked out.

We’re sitting in the back dining room discussing the pitfalls of cats eating house plants and tripping on them. Christie bought this house from the grandparents of a girl we went to High School with, and it’s an atmospheric morning with the back sliding door open, ushering in the cool, moist morning. Birds are chirping—this whole weekend everywhere in LA the birds are chirping gayly—and it’s so clearly SPRING.