Monday, August 8, 2011

MY HOMEMEGALOPOLIS: LOS ANGELES AND ME - Part 6 Of 6

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I WISH THEY ALL COULD BE CALIFORNIA DOGS

Below are photos of three Los Angeles dogs I have loved.

This first one is a little ragamuffin I saw wandering around on the Venice Beach Boardwalk one day, where I snapped his picture. When my brother Napoleon saw this photograph recently he said, "What, did he just stand there and pose for you?" I answered, "Yeah, pretty much."

The red bandana marks this little guy as more "dawg" than "dog". And as Nappy noted, this Venice Beach Dawg is the sort of dawg who kind of belongs to everyone in a way:



Here’s a photo of me petting Mickie through one of the windows of the Bay Street house. As brother Nappy once said: “Mickie is part Shepherd, part Keeshond, and part Pain-In-The-Ass”. Mickie was a blast – we loved him – but he was also certifiably crazy:



Ahhh, GEORGE! The greatest and smartest dog that ever lived! We found him wandering on our Orange County street and gave him a home. The photo below was taken in the alley behind our house in Garden Grove.

On the left is a neighborhood friend, Donny, I believe; on the far right is my little brother Napoleon (as my dear friend the Flying Aardvark once said: “He looked tough even back then!”); and in the center, with his arms around George, is my Pa.



THE LEAGUE OF SOUL CRUSADERS

As I've mentioned numerous times on my blog, "The League Of Soul Crusaders" is the name that my great group of friends and I called ourselves in the early 1980s. We were sort of a “drinking gang”, known for our wild, partying ways.

This photo below shows us riding in the 1964 Cadillac belonging to Torch (seen driving). This was taken on July 4th, 1983, in L.A.’s Brentwood area. I can’t say more about it now because… well… this story might possibly be worth big money someday.

Left to right is: me, Twinkie, Wally, Nappy, and Pooh . . .



Below is a photo of some of “The League Of Soul Crusaders” waiting in line for Bruce Springsteen concert tickets in downtown Santa Monica.

I can’t remember if this was for “The River” tour or the “Born In The U.S.A.” tour. At any rate, we waited in line overnight, and ordered a pizza.

“Where did you want this pizza delivered?”
“Give it to the guys on the sofa at the corner of 4th Street and Colorado.”
“What?!”
“You heard me. Now move it!”

Left to right: Brother Nappy’s shoes are visible at the far left, bottom. Then that’s Lin Coleman standing; me sitting on the arm of the sofa; Twinkie’s blonde girlfriend; Pooh in the glasses; and Cranium’s sister, Liz:



Below is a photo of me, sleep-deprived and hungover, still waiting for Springsteen tickets on the morning after the night before.

[If you were waiting in line with us… sorry about that. I know you didn’t get a minute’s sleep, but you were partying all night with 'The League Of Soul Crusaders', whether you liked it or not.]



Zucky’s was a 24-hour restaurant/delicatessen located at 5th Street and Wilshire in Santa Monica. ‘The League Of Soul Crusaders’ wound up many a wild night by going to Zucky’s for a bite to eat.

Although it never worked out that way . . .







One year, my artist friend, Eric, helped me to silkscreen by hand a Zucky’s T-Shirt design I had created for my ‘League Of Soul Crusaders’ buddies. I gave them the shirts as Christmas gifts.

They read: Home Of The League Of Soul Crusaders - ZUCKY’S - Open 24 Hours – Santa Monica, Calif.

What made the T-shirts so funny is the fact that... well... they didn't like us at Zucky's. They didn't like us at all!
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HODGEPODGE O' STUFFS

Below is the Turn-Of-The-Century street façade at 20th Century Fox studios in Century City. It was constructed for the movie musical “Hello Dolly!” If I had a dollar for every time I walked up that street... I worked on the television show M*A*S*H during the final 5 years of its run, and this was the route to Stage #9, where the show was filmed.

Perhaps someday I’ll write a blog bit about that portion of my old life.

In the background and to the right can be seen the Century City Towers, where my great friend the Flying Aardvark works today:



The cover for Pink Floyd’s album “Wish You Were Here” was shot at Warner Brothers Studio. This is also where James Dean’s movies were filmed, as well as John Wayne’s last Western, “The Shootist”. . .



Not long ago, my friend and former ‘League Of Soul Crusaders’ member Cranium sent me this video about shopping on “The Westside” of Los Angeles. Oh, life can be so hard! This is the only Rap song I’ve ever liked, and that’s because it’s the only Rap song that ever made me laugh. This is funny stuffs – check it out:
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UFc1pr2yUU

Below is a picture I took while with my acting buddy Marty (R.I.P.) during one of our many Photographic Expeditions in L.A. I can no longer remember just where I took this photo, perhaps in Century City or Culver City, but the dichotomy of the scene caught my eye:
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It’s long gone now, but the Pan Pacific Auditorium was a fascinating structure. I once saw an Ice Capades show their with my Aunts when I was a small boy . . .



Below is a picture I took of the Pan Pacific not long before the remaining façade was razed. I was attempting to get a unique shot of it, and thus positioned myself on the knoll before it, so only the four towers would show:



Located on Sunset Blvd. just before it empties onto the Pacific Coast Highway is the Lake Shrine Self-Realizationship Fellowship Temple. Sunday worship services are held in the windmill chapel . . .



The Watts Towers, a wonderful example of Folk Art, is located in – you guessed it!Watts.



In the Long Beach area is the Vincent Thomas Bridge. On one of our Photographic Expeditions, Marty and I went down to Long Beach and a couple of friends accompanied us.

In getting down there, we drove across the Vincent Thomas Bridge. Later, we signed up for a boat excursion that took us under the bridge. Later still, it occurred to someone (and I think it was me) that if we took the helicopter tour, we could fly over the bridge as well. So that’s what we did.

That was decades ago, but I still remember that as the day we went across, under, and over the Vincent Thomas Bridge all in a matter of a few hours. Coolsville!




Here is a picture of Santa Catalina Island. Nappy, Dean, and I once spent 3 days and 2 nights in its little town of Avalon. There was only three of us, but we partied like it was the entire 'League Of Soul Crusaders'. I’m pretty sure the authorities are still searching for us!

Unfortunately, it hadn’t occurred to any of us that we might need a place to sleep. So the first night we slept in a small park near the boat dock.

In the morning, the police said we can't sleep in the park - what a shame. So the next night we hiked to the top of the hill (at left in photo below) and slept on a concrete slab we found up there:




HELL. A.

Let’s not forget that I eventually moved out of Los Angeles for a reason. When I was growing up there, it really did seem like a paradise.

But with the influx of people over the years, the tone of the city changed. By the late 1980s it had become an overly crowded and angry place, and I finally said, “Uncle!” At that point, I had begun referring to the city as “HELL. A.” and in 1992 I left.

Below are a few examples of why I thought L.A. had become HELL. A.

For one thing, there's something called "Smog":
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And, of course, it was L.A. that gave us the “Valley Girl” :
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufYYOXiEtxM

Whereas congested traffic was once referred to as a “Rush Hour”, traffic was now congested most of the day and all week long. What do you call that? A “Rush Year”? :



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KeyQWszZfU

Shortly before I moved to Airheadzona, I had begun to feel more and more like William Foster, the character Michael Douglas played in the movie “Falling Down”.

Here is a scene from “Falling Down” that I almost stood up and cheered for in the movie theatre when I saw it for the first time [“I’ll give you something to fix.”] :
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8b3963VRW4

And then, of course, there was “The Rodney King” riots:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcPrt57EXRk



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc_SgpyJWRY&NR=1

Will anyone ever forget these words? They've become a part of the American lexicon:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sONfxPCTU0


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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT2rb7ac3_4
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Toward the end of my love affair with Los Angeles, no song summed up my viewpoint better than did "How Much Is It Worth To Live In L.A.?" by the great Waylon Jennings:




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhJYV1Fzq14

THIS IS THE END

"This is the end
My only friend
The end"
~ Jim Morrison,
(from the song "The End")


 

From the "Boys Will Be Boys" department . . .

Stephen T. McCarthy [after drinking too much Ouzo]:
"Andy, I've got it! Why don't you take a picture of me, and we'll rig it to look like you caught me in the act of peeing."

Kelly "Andy" Anderson [after drinking too much Ouzo]:
"Out-friggin'-standing! Go over there and make like you're doing it on that engine I've been rebuilding."

Eleven months before he killed himself, my friend Kelly "Andy" Anderson sent me a photo post card he had developed himself. On the front was that picture of me with my pants down, which you saw above. On the back, Kelly had copied an Untitled, two-stanza poem I had written years earlier:

The sun yawned and thought about calling it a day
Kelly and I sat at the entrance to his garage on gasoline cans
His old truck looked beautiful, parked with the last of the sun’s rays
Glinting brightly on the dings and dents
And the cavity where an engine belonged.

I loved Kelly and his truck and I loved myself
And the blood in my veins, the heart in my chest, pumping
The beer in our bottles dwindled, just liquid sand in an hourglass
A lovely moment
A short reprieve

And then my friend signed off with this:

I miss those moments, and I miss those friends.
Hope you’re OK.
Blue Skies
- Andy
Nov. 8, 1985





I do miss my friends... and sometimes I miss L.A., too.

I hope y'all enjoyed my tour, and to quote from one of Warren Zevon's zongs:

Well, they say this place is evil
But that ain't why I stay.
'Cause I found something that'll never be nothing
And I found it in L.A.

It was midnight in Topanga
When I heard the D.J. say,
"There's a full moon rising,
Join me in L.A."

Heck, I never even took you to Topanga Canyon on this tour, did I? Well, maybe next time. There's far more to see in L.A. than I could possibly cover even in 6 installments.

To go back to Part 1 and begin the tour all over again, click this link: The Waybac Machine

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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19 comments:

Lyle Flynn said...

Good stuff you old fart! A nice walk around LA and even nicer walk down memory lane.
JW,
Pooh

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Thanks, POOHREGARD!
There was one thing I had intended to mention about our overnight party while waiting in line for Springsteen tickets, but this monstrosity was so long already that I omitted it. However, there's no reason for me to refrain from mentioning it here in the comment section:

One of my most vivid memories from that night at the corner of 4th Street and Colorado, is that you had a small, round scab on your forehead at the time. Undoubtedly a reminder from some alcohol-related accident where you fell down went BOOM!

At some point during that night, I took a ballpoint pen and added to that small, round scab on your forehead a set of wings and some small legs, turning your scab into a fly. Ha!

Do you remember that? You spent the night with what looked to be a fly resting on your forehead!

I don't care what those people at Zucky's thought - we were FUNNY BLOKES! (Or maybe, even at 52, I simply STILL haven't matured yet. "I don't wanna grow up - I'm a Toys-R-Us kid!"
:o)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Jessica Bell said...

I'd LOVE to hear about the time you worked for MASH! Next blog project?

Arlee Bird said...

Interesting trip back through time and getting to know more about you. The irony about it all is after you left, Los Angeles started improving in many ways--not as much smog, some of the outlying area like Pico Rivera have classed up, and I moved here.
It still kind of sucks here and there are some places I'd rather be, but it's hard to beat the weather.


Lee
Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

AlliAllo ~
>>...I'd LOVE to hear about the time you worked for MASH! Next blog project?

Mmmm...aybe. A definite maybe.

Why? How come? What for?
Are you a fan of that show?

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BOIDMAN ~
>>...The irony about it all is after you left, Los Angeles started improving...

Hey, man, I resent that remark!

>>...it's hard to beat the weather.

"Everybody's very happy
'Cause the sun is shining all the time.
I love L.A.!"


You got that right, man! Other than probably San Diego, L.A. has the best weather in the U.S. of A. That you can't hardly beat.

(But what have you done about the traffic? And you know... you're all "just waiting for The Big One, one tremor at a time. There ain't nobody living there; it's all a state of mind!")

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

DiscConnected said...

We spent two nights in line for my "Darkness" tickets....but a couch?

Genius!

We were fortunate enough to be a half a block from a pizza shop....and they were cool enough to let us all use their head (well we DID buy all our meals from them).

That's an experience that the generations before us and after us will never know...and while it sounds insane...okay, maybe it IS insane...it was a heckuva lotta fun!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>...it was a heckuva lotta fun!

And a great way to get to know your neighbors and fellow Rock 'N' Roll fanatics.

Sleep is SO overrated!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Sheboyganboy VI said...

Ok, now this post was awesome! I could write a really long comment about all the shizzle in this one, but I'll try to "keep it real".

So, let's start with that "Whole Foods Parking Lot" rap. That made me laugh out loud several times. "This shit is real" he says. "These fools with clipboards are lookin at me like they know me." "Pickin up some cayenne pepper for his master cleanse." The guy is wearing a Clippers hat! This dude and his friends would be funny cats to know.

Springsteen. We've discussed this before via email, but there is an excellent chance that even though we didn't know each other until meeting online at the Amazon chat boards a few years ago, you and I were at the same Springsteen concert during that River Tour run. He did four shows, and I was at two of them. I can't remember how I got the tickets, but I didn't wait in a stinking line on a couch to get 'em, though. Most of my friends at the time were more nerdy than musical, so we'd only carry down the card table, folding chairs and battery powered black and white TVs for Star Wars or Indian Jones movie openings. The music tickets I'd have to get for myself, or maybe with one or two of my cooler buddies. My specific memory about those tickets is foggy, but I know many time in those days you could phone in for tickets, and they'd go quickly. Our office had four phone lines, so I would pre-dial the ticket number on all four lines and click thru them rapidly on speed dial 'til I got through, starting just before they officially went on sale. Got some good tickets that way sometimes.

I loved the movie "Falling Down." I've been told I am a nut, but frankly, I didn't think he got out of line until LATE in that movie. The image of the arrogant construction worker sitting around doing nothing while raking in $20/hour is one we all have seen with our own eyes.

The photo of you "peeing." As John Lovitz would say: "ACTING!"

And from the comments before me, Arlee mentions that LA improved after you left. I just wanted to proffer that I suspect Phoenix will also probably improve after you leave. Hmmm... do I see a pattern here?

Although I am biased from having grown up in San Diego, I like it better than LA. I will admit that SD does not have the same distinct character as LA, but it does have a character. It is not the worldwide mecca that LA is, drawing movie people, music people, ethnic communities, and just those pulled towards the fable of the "land of opportunity".

I very much enjoyed the tottering, drunken, meander down memory lane, McBuddy! These require less work from my feeble brain cells than your Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends stuff(s)! I'll admit that those are more "important", though.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

MR. SHEBOYGANBOY SIX ~
First, I’m glad to learn that your Internet service is working again so you can watch videos.

Thanks for the compliment and all the great comments, McBrother.

Yeah, that “Whole Foods Parking Lot” rap is great. It makes me laugh out loud too. As I said: Oh, life can be so hard.

That dude definitely captured the prissy, “holeistic” side of some Angelenos (the Mrs. Gooches or Trader Joe’s crowd), and put it in a “street level” mode of expression for effect. Funny stuffs!

You were more high-tech and scientific about getting concert tickets than we were. We would just go get in line, party all night long and make everyone else around us laugh or miserable.

>>…I loved the movie "Falling Down." I've been told I am a nut, but frankly, I didn't think he got out of line until LATE in that movie.

I can one-up ya: I’m not sure he EVER got out of line. He’s a cinematic hero. And do you make the connection with the way I sign my comments (D-Fens)?

>>…And from the comments before me, Arlee mentions that LA improved after you left. I just wanted to proffer that I suspect Phoenix will also probably improve after you leave. Hmmm... do I see a pattern here?

Laugh it up, Funny Boy!

>>…Although I am biased from having grown up in San Diego, I like it better than LA.

I like San Diego too, and would probably like living there, although I have only a superficial knowledge of the area. I’m sure I would have found it too sedate when I was in my 20s, and probably not with enough diversity to suit me. But now, I’m quite certain I would prefer to live there than in L.A.

I think everyone ought to feel partial toward their own hometown.

Thanks for coming along on the tour, Bro.
(Now you can go back and watch that Girls On The Beach video. Woo-Hoo! :o)

~ D-FensDogg
‘Loyal American Underground’

Sheboyganboy VI said...

HA!

That white rapper dude not only manages to make fun of yuppie Angelinos, but poke hard at the real cRappers, too.

AH HA!
I stupidly completely MISSED the D-FENS tag. DOH! Uhp! What a maroon.

As for Phoenix improving after you leave, I actually think it MAY, although your leaving will have nothing to do with it. I think the city may have reached a low point with daily kidnappings and property values at 30% of five years ago. Perhaps I am wrong and it will get worse. But, we'll just have to gauge it after you move to Reno!

San Diego is a very laid-back place compared to LA. It has a small town feel to it, even though it is ranked as the 8th largest city in the U.S. The freeways do not get nearly as congested as LA, either. Everything you'd expect to find in a large city is in SD, but with LA you just have it in spades, and with an unidentifiable unique flavor.

And yes, I DO now have my internet back! Although the first time I called them they said they were having problems, the next time I phoned the swine told me it was my fault. I was being subjected to the "Fair Access Policy" for using too much bandwidth! Me? Little old ME?

No, in fact what had done it was that my son have the gall to upload 100+ photos to his facebook page from his summer camp. That cut out speed down to less than dialup speed. So, they gave us a "one time break" and lifted the restriction. Next time? "There'll be no next time! This is the last time for me!"

Now I can go watch the vids in the earlier sections of Homegalopolis.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

McBOYGAN BROTHER ~
Ha!-Ha! No one other than you and I will understand that "there'll be no next time" quip. I likes it!

Wow! I had no idea that San D. was the 8th largest city in the country. That's quite surprising.

The few times I've been there, I was left with the impression that it is a clean and classy city. And that is how I've always thought of it - as "classy".

True, there are some "classy" establishments in most cities, but I always thought of San D. as classy OVERALL.

Ahh, it's good to be a Southern California native, ain't it?

"All the salty margaritas in Los Angeles"?
I'm gonna drink 'em up!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Cherdo said...

If you saw "The River" tour, I'm guessing it was one of his best - BRUUUUUCCCEEEE!!!

I keep forgetting to mention you were a babe, STMcC.

BAM. Knowing you, I'm sure you think I don't follow the links. Wrong-o.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

CHERDO, through my obsession with "The Boss", my Ma eventually came to like him, too. I even took her to a Springsteen concert once, near downtown L.A. There I was watching Bruce with my Ma (the REAL "boss") sitting right next to me.

>>... you were a babe, STMcC.

No, actually, I'd estimate I was about 23 when those photos were taken.
[:-)}

~ D-FensDogG
'Loyal American Underground'

Janie Junebug said...

You were pretty cute, once upon a time. I can't imagine why Zucky's didn't like you. I remember reading the story of the family who went to help Reginald Denny. They were all watching the TV together, and they recognized where Denny was. They said, We have to get over there to help that guy.

God bless 'em.

Moon Unit Zappa kind of sucked.

Love,
Janie Junebug

Janie Junebug said...

I forgot to say that I love the Whole Foods rap.

Love again,
Janie

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

JANIE ~
Hey, nice to see ya over here.

Ha! Well, if I was cute once upon a time (thanks!), that was sure some time ago... a way, way back.

Now I'm, like, one of those dudes who wear T-shirts that say "Old Guys Rule" because... I'm just another old guy.

The one thing that's changed for the better though is that I'm no longer painfully shy. Hard to believe that was once very true and for a long time.

Zucky's didn't like us because we'd always go there after a long, late night of drinking, and we are about the rowdiest (and we thought funniest) guys you'd ever see.

Zucky's was very popular even at, like, 3 AM, so there was always a wait for tables to open up. Most of the time, Zucky's would kick us out even BEFORE we had acquired a table. Those were some fun (and loud) times.

Yeah, I remember that story during the Rodney King Riots. I still have a newspaper clipping of another story about two brothers: one brother was out looting stores while his sibling was out helping people put out fires and get medical attention, etc. Two totally different types of characters raised under the same roof. Amazing.

Thanks for coming by here, Janie!

~ D-FensDogG

Tom Rombouts said...

Wow - there is so much I have to do today, yet I stumbled across this incredible look at L.A. (when I was google'ing for photos of Rhino Records) and just had to read the entire thing (and play some of the videos) from start to finish. I have to wonder what my life in L.A. (1980 to now) would look like if I did something like this...

But I know my life, would seem all right, if I could see it on the silver screen. :)

Tom

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

TOM (aka "James Dean" - Ha!)
I'm really pleased that you enjoyed this old, old blog bit of mine so much. I really dug putting it together. It was a fairly time-consuming blog project but it was fun for me, too, revisiting via the Internet all these places I knew so well.

Here are a couple more old L.A.-related blog bits that you might also like:

http://stephentmccarthysstuffs.blogspot.com/2011/11/motel-money-murder-madness.html

http://stephentmccarthysstuffs.blogspot.com/2011/09/rock-n-rolla-or-return-of-warren-zevons.html

~ D-FensDogG