Wednesday, May 14, 2008


There, I admit it...I like LA. A lot. Not as much as NYC and I don't love it like a certain city on the shore of Lake Michigan, but LA is damn cool. Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to the details!

[shitty iPhone pic of the Hollywood sign from the roof of Ralph's on La Brea]

At a quarter past 2AM on Friday morning I announced to the Doctor and his friends that I needed to leave the club and go home so I could finish packing. He kept me talking until 2:45AM until I announced that I really, really needed to get going.

Throwing a bunch of shit into my bag while calling various cab companies, I drained another cocktail just before my ride arrived around 3:30AM. Once in the serpentine line at O'Hare's Terminal 1 I realized that I was technically drunk and proceeded to chew even more gum. Shoes, coat and belt off I navigated the stupid TSA procedures and trudged to my gate.

Once there, I was immediately smitten by a smokin' hot Latino rockin' a murdered out 59Fifty White Sox lid. Does anyone else check out hot guys before getting on a plane with the hope that you'll be sitting in the same row? Well, it's a pastime of mine and once on the plane, the hottie was seated right behind me (so close yet so far!).

Even better, I got an entire row of seats to myself. How awesome is that? My drunk ass snoozed all the way to the left coast and awoke when we landed at LAX. Word!

After consuming a much needed cig I climbed aboard an empty shuttle van piloted by a foul mouthed Eastern European man who drove like a total asshole - my kind of driver - through the various side streets towards West Hollywood.

The destination was fellow blogger JR's pad where I shadily waited in front of for him to arrive. This is when I remembered that people passing you on the street in LA do not say hello or even notice you, which always take this Midwestern boy by surprise.

While reading the Chicago Tribune on my iPhone a slight figure emerged out of the corner of my right eye...JR! It's always odd meeting someone in person that you've talked to for a long time, and seen pictures of because the physical presence of someone never squares with the idea you have in mind, which, for me at least, immediately disappears.

My gracious host needed to return to work and left em to my own devices. I took a nap on his sofa while watching the 2nd half of The Last Mogul. How fitting...

Once I awoke I did what so few people in LA seem to do...I took a walk to see the place I rented in the Summer of 2003. Walking down Santa Monica Blvd. I felt like I was in some sort of weird dream. There's the place I used to get my old VW washed! There's the burger joint I ate at! There's the place where I bought beer! There's the place(s) I drank beer at!

I will always have a soft spot for the Formosa Cafe and upon seeing it and old Warner Bros. lot next store, my soul involuntarily swooned. I am a sucker for old Hollywood nostalgia.

Gardner St. was my old street and walking up it I remembered the random details of the old houses and apartment buildings, including my old place, just south of Sunset Blvd. I love this section of Sunset.

It's populated by tattoo parlors, liquor stores, guitar stores and car repair joints. Just seedy enough to remind me of certain parts of Chicago. Of course, the Hollywood Hills remind you that this is NOT Chicago, as does the odd smell that my olfactory sense recognized. Home...of sorts.

Eventually I made my way south to Melrose Ave. of which I am a huge fan. I didn't buy a thing but I looked around in all the random little stores, had a few beers in a bar and then I had my one and only celebrity siting during this trip...

SNOOP aka Felicia Pearson from The Wire! How awesome is that shit? She was driving down Melrose in a blue SUV rockin' chrome 22's blaring some rap. It might not have been here but it sure as shit looked like her. Regardless, it was cool.

When JR got off work he urgently needed to buy a new pair of sneaks so we returned to Melrose and perused the amazing selection of sneaks at Sportie LA. I summoned my reserve of restraint and miraculously managed not to splurge on yet more shoes that I don't need (that restraint was absent last night when I found myself in Foot Locker and bought a pair of Adidas Supermod's).

We found ourselves in a Mexican restaurant/Sports bar where everyone was wildly cheering on the Lakers, which was fun. Also fun was scoping out the assortment of HOT GUYS. In particular the four boys wearing checkered western shirts and drinking beer at the bar.

We surmised that they MUST be gay as straight dudes usually don't take pictures of one another while watching basketball games at bars, nor do they usually indulge in the flagrant display of physical contact that these guys did. Maybe is an LA thing. Whatever, shit was hot!

As night fell we returned to base camp to get ready for a night of hopefully gay debauchery in the WeHo bars. Joining us was Closeted, a blogger whom I was not too familiar with, but who I instantly clicked with. He seemed to enjoy my sarcastic comments I kept making about how long JR took to get ready (I told you your hair looked good JR!).

So there I found myself with 2 cute guys walking done Santa Monica Blvd. on a Friday Night with the lights in the houses in the Hills all lit up. I thought to myself that this is exactly where I wanted to be...

Motherlode was our first bar. Before we walked in JR told me "you'll like this place, the drinks are strong and cheap". While I don't consider 3 drinks that cost $27 as cheap, they certainly were strong.

Instantly I went into Hot Guy Eye Fuck Mode, on this one hot skater-ish dude wearing an annoying Yankees hat (seriously, WTF is with everyone wearing Yankees hats? This is LA...get a fucking Dodgers cap!).

Soon any thoughts I had about approaching this hottie were erased by the presence of 2 middle-ages guys that were NOT hot. Not even a little. And they both had their fat palms all over my boy. UGH. Every time I looked in their direction I threw up in my mouth (figuratively).

Out on the smoking area some guy asked me to pretend I was his old friend so that he could get away from some creepy guy. Then some other guy, perhaps fresh from the bathroom where he probably blew a bunch of lines grabbed me and said "did you see those pictures of Angelina Jolie in the Enquirer?" and then followed that conversation starter with "what's your sign?". Are you fucking kidding me?

We walked over to the Abbey, which is huge, gorgeous and filled with straight women. Seriously, I don't mind the presence of straight women in gay bars at all, but there were so many that it simply confused me. Is this an LA thing?

Whatever, we got drinks from the bar and I was astonished that a mixed drink costs $12. Fuck me! Being the classy gay man that I am I ordered a Budweiser and a shot of Jim Beam. The price? $16! Double Fuck! Cash issues aside I had a blast hanging out with the boys, although I must say that I found it challenging talking to these LA gays, and my LA cherry remained intact.

Saturday Night was JR Night all the way. It was my friend's birthday party and I got to meet his brother, sister, his best friend from high school and his girlfriend, all from Texas. There seems to be a common thread of friendliness shared between Texans and Midwesterners and I immediately felt comfortable in their presence.

Oh, and I smoked some insanely awesome medicinal herb courtesy of one of the guests. Damn that shit is good! It was also cool to be asked to play some of the Chicago hip-hop on my iPod, especially after I noticed several heads rockin' to the Kidz in the Hall and the Cool Kids. It was an awesome party and I must say I am grateful that I was in attendance.

Around 1PM on Sunday I awoke from the floor and was aghast upon realizing that my flight home left at 4PM. This meant that while a bunch of people were headed to Santa Monica beach, JR had to drive me to LAX. I really wish I could have stayed for longer, as there was much I still wanted to do/see/experience. But I guess I can always go back...

There was another motive I had to check out LA again, other than hanging out with awesome people in interesting places.

Occasionally I will get the desire to move out to LA and work in the Biz. That was always what I had expected to do after graduating, and yet I stayed put in Chicago. This trip really made me think hard about relocating, and there will always be a part of me that wants to return for good.

But a funny thing happened after I rode the L from O'Hare and got off at the Jefferson Park station. My friend who was supposed to pick me up wasn't there, and rather than stand out in the cold with my dick in the wind, I saw the following image emanating from across the street, and walked towards it...

This place was one of those little hole in the wall joints with a classic "Old Style" beer sign above it. It was dark, mirrored and dominated by a huge television.

The bartender, a skinny woman named Agnes who moved to Chicago from Poland 3 years ago cheerfully served me several $2 beers and I talked to an older drunk guy about sports while getting eye fucked by a girl who took her Mom to this bar for Mother's Day.

I was home in the city that I love, and shall remain for the indefinite future.


dan said...

justin! i don't know if I'm jealous of you for meeting jr or jr for meeting you, but I'm glad you guys had some FUN. sounds awesome. great post. later.

Anonymous Blogger said...

I love LA too! only cause i was raised around it

Chicago's Bi Guy said...

I'm glad you had a good time.. We're happy to have you back in the city you love.