Resurfaced: Beverly Boulevard

This visit to L.A. has exceeded my expectations. I’ve spent time with family and friends as well as had time to work creatively and emotionally. So much has changed now that I no longer feel as emotionally connected to Los Angeles as before. The city has moved on and so must I.

My chronically aching joints have certainly enjoyed the unseasonably sunny, toasty weather. Especially during my long walks. In the last two days alone, I’ve traversed just shy of 40km of concrete and asphalt. Like so many other megacities I’ve had the privilege of walking in, L.A. turned out to be a lot more walkable than what all the traffic here will have you believe.

The urban treks have taken me to most of my old stomping grounds, places where I spent significant time as a child and young teenager. And while my initial mindset was arguably a bit too nostalgic, the journey also provided about a dozen new artifacts for the Resurfaced project. Some of which will definitely make it into the permanent collection. I’m still open to discovering new pieces, but if I don’t, these new additions from my old hometown will bookend the project nicely.

Looting & Protesting in L.A.

The current demonstrations, protests, looting and civil unrest spreading across the US are both tragic and symptomatic for an unwell society. George Floyd’s brutal murder is just another example of the rampant racism that still prevails in America.

It saddens me to see so many police and National Guards on the streets of Santa Monica and Los Angeles. There is absolutely no justifying the looting going on in L.A. or anyplace else. These people should no doubt be thrown in jail and left there for a decade. But the fact that the looters are so many and that they even exist is no less interesting from a sociological perspective.

I get the cynical side of taking advantage of an unruly, confusing time in history and that these lawless assholes, at least theoretically, think they have much better odds at getting away with stealing than if they tried shoplifting or burgling a store. But who are these people? What’s their story? Are they all criminally minded, past felons, and recently released convicts? Or, is it in actuality also more normal folks – hypnotized by the group or mob mentality that the protests inadvertently propagate? Can these people be otherwise civilized citizens that just feel hopeless and somehow entitled to do what they want, now when there’s very little to lose?

I hope I am wrong, but the current turmoil could worsen tenfold once we get into the election season. I can envision how regardless of whoever wins the presidential race, that there will be even more protests and civil unrest. And with the overhanging threat of a second wave of virus infections en mass, the fall could prove to be even more disastrous than the first outbreak – immunologically, and financially.

Shot the above photo from somewhere along Mullholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills.

Back in L.A. and Venice Beach

Just before my shower a few hours ago, I heard a woman moan in an unmistakable way. At first, I thought somebody was watching a movie with a saucy love scene. But moaning continued for more than just a few minutes and sounded so near, that I just assumed it was the real deal. Couldn’t determine from which neighbor the sound was coming from, though. Might have been from the yellow, two story house outside my bathroom window. Or, maybe from the unit next to me. The walls here are paper thin.

I arrived last night at Los Angeles International Airport after an incredulously smooth flight. Boeing’s new Dreamliner really does live up to the hype – and after flying with Norwegian to both the US and Asia, I have only good things to say about the airline’s service and reasonable fares. The Mediterranean Plate they offer onboard – which you conveniently order on the touch screen in front of you – isn’t half bad.

It feels amazing to be back in my hometown again. We left under such unfairly dramatic circumstances last year. So much was left undone. So, I’m really looking forward to ten days under the California sun. Ten days packed with model shoots, landscape photography and some documentary filming.

Via Airbnb, I’ve rented a clean, appropriately sized studio apartment sandwiched somewhere between Venice Canals – of Californication fame – and the famous or infamous Venice Beach Boardwalk – where almost anything goes. It’s an interesting location that pretty much sums up what I like best about L.A. – the city’s inspiring diversity. Part of my childhood was spent along the coast. And I just can’t get enough of it.

From my location, it shouldn’t take more than about five minutes to carry my surfboard into the waves of the Pacific Ocean. If I stop typing, I can hear them rolling onto the beach right now.

Tomorrow, there’s going to be moaning again. And probably some serious groaning, as I attempt to put on my thick, winter wetsuit with the black gloves, black boots and very peculiar looking hat. Despite the consistent sunshine and comfortable temperatures on land, the water here is bone chilling cold. And too avoid a suffer fest, you need pretty thick neoprene to keep you warm while you wait for the waves.

I’ve surfed in many places around the world; including Phuket, Maui, Bali and most recently, Sri Lanka. I’ve spent many, many hours by Tower 10 just north of Santa Monica Pier learning how to take advantage of the break’s lefties and righties. And even though I’ve taken some of my best surf shots just a few minutes from where I am writing this, I’ve actually never stood on a board in Venice Beach.

I’m told the waves here have been decent recently. Not too tall, not too aggressive. Perfect for this middle aged kid.

Photo credit: Fredrik Jönsson