Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014



April 29, 2014

Oddly enough I wasn’t paying that much attention to the trial regarding the Rodney King beating in the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department.   I figured they would be condemned, but more likely forced to resign or be transferred to some other part of the world.   When they were found ‘not guilty, ’ it was like someone kicked me in the stomach.  I wasn’t angry, but just deeply confused and hurt by the verdict, and again, if I was upset, I couldn’t even imagine how others will take the news.

I didn’t exactly feel the pain, but I could smell the smoke from our apartment in Hollywood.   It was kind of like having a zit that needed to be popped.  There is something so disgusting regarding the zit, that of course, one would want to squeeze the pus out of the pore.  The violence in the air was a perfect combination, or a cocktail of despair and the lust to let loose.   What surprised me the most, was that valley girls were coming in and looting stores on Melrose.  It seemed the passion was electronic goods, like TV sets.  The irony of all that is that there is nothing on TV.   Even my co-worker was giddy with excitement.  She hit the streets to observe, like it was a festival - and I guess in the religious sense, it was a festival.

My number one concern was the random acts of violence, especially against those who were Asian, due that I’m married to a Japanese woman.  I didn’t want her to drive around the city.  The air was thick with the random acts of cruelty, that seemed to be part of the festival feeling as well.   A friend of my wife, just came to Los Angeles from Japan on that specific night, and he didn’t speak a word of English.  He found himself in downtown Los Angeles, and he clearly noticed that no one was on the street.  He didn’t know why?  A Black American woman with a car full of kids saw him wandering around the streets, and told him to get right into the car, because it is too dangerous to walk around at this peculiar time.  He didn’t understand what was happening, but he got in the car, and him and her family had dinner together.

On the other hand, the liquor shop down the corner from me was being broken into. The occasional gunshot could be heard from that location.   It was sort of like zombies attacking living flesh, they didn’t stop arriving, and it was all sorts of people looting these places.   When I went on the balcony to get some fresh air, I heard my neighbor across from me yell “Hey man don’t point that gun at me, cool it!” I sort of did a backwards moonwalk back into my living room and got down on the carpet floor.

I crawled towards the TV set to watch a VHS tape of Maya Deren and Alexander Hamid’s “Meshes in the Afternoon.” It is one of those timeless works that I can watch anytime and anywhere.  For me, this was the true image of Hollywood, not what I was going through when I walked out onto my balcony.   To sleep that night  I put on Duke Ellington’s “Chloe (Song of the Swamp), which I think is my favorite song, and also worked as an inspiration for Boris Vian’s L’écume des jours (“Foam of the Daze”).  I can’t stop the world, or what’s going on outside, but inside my head I always turned back to art, and that is what saves me at the end of the night.


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