On Tuesday , April 7, on this year of our lord 2015, it rained in Los Angeles.
The rain was a welcome respite from the annoyingly consistent sunshine here in LA. We were finally given a day fit for watching a good movie inside. For us that film was Rebel Without a Cause (1954) featuring the sublimely cool James Dean. But before I go off on a whirlwind of admiration for one of the first teen films–a film that would establish the form for decades to come–I must first bring up a blaring issue with the screening. The audience (my peers) would not stop talking throughout the film. I understand that a lot of the lines and scenarios in the film are now considered cliche and are hard not to laugh at–I am thinking about little Plato’s introduction, when he has been hauled into the precinct for shooting puppies with a handgun. Laugh all you want (I did too). But when an audience tries to talk over a film that is not permissible. I could not help but draw a parallel between my peers watching the film and James Dean sitting in the planetarium “mooing” for laughs over the presentation. It makes me think that maybe the film is still pertinent and not as dead as we all might think. We are all very insignificant. And hearing people try to talk over a film communicating that very emotion is painfully ironic. Anyway, back to the positives, of which there are many.
After the screening we were supposed to take a soothing van ride to the Griffith Observatory to reenact the knife fight scene from Rebel Without a Cause. This was the only point in the day that the rain proved a detriment as we had to stay inside. However, we were still able to practice our knife skills in the apartment, it just lacked a little production value. Instead we spent time with some work written by CC alum Tim Sexton. I cannot reveal any of the intricacies of the work, but we were very much looking forward to meeting with him and pitching some of our own ideas over a glass of beer (or wine, Tim liked wine). The rain stopped and we met Tim. I like to think that our thoughts influenced his. Maybe they didn’t, but there is no doubt our time was well spent. Hearing an artist wrestle with his craft is one of the humbling and leveling experiences. It changed my mood for the rest of the night. I felt light.
Before we left dinner there was a moment of extreme peace. We were in Topanga Canyon, a special place founded by hippies in the 70s, and largely untouched by the turmoil of the city. I was standing next to our trusty van, my eyelids heavy with wine, just trying to calm down after such a hurried introduction to LA. There were tree frogs, mist (not smog), and a coolness that can never be felt in the city. It was a dose of exactly what we all needed. I mean, you probably sensed some of the tension in my opening paragraph and Topanga Canyon took that all away. It was a reset, a very necessary cleanse before embarking on the busiest week we will have while here in LA. I would like to go back there some time and go for a drive, maybe stay for awhile.