Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Chicago. March. 80 Degrees.

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Written by ENB

March 19, 2012 at 8:54 am

Posted in Photos, Travel

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Curio: Photo Edition // USA, Pt. 2 // California, Chicago, Cincinnati, Covington, Columbus

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Today, Conor posted one of my photos on the Atlantic for his ‘What America Looks’ like series, which reminded me that I never got around to posting my second round of travel photos. Ahem. Well, here we are. And it’s even, unintentionally, alliterative. California. Chicago. Cincinnati. Covington, KY. And Columbus, OH. Drive-thru liquor & cigarettes, Covington, KY CVS, Venice Beach Isabel, Slake Magazine, Venice Beach You Are Loved by Creepy Children party, Echo Park Andersonville, Chicago // Indoor tent Hazardous Chemicals Chicago, Opening Day Liquor cabinet, Short North, Columbus, Ohio Bikes, Venice Beach, California Santa Monica, New Age Bible & Philosophy Center Bar Ladies Sharonville, Cincinnati, Ohio Wrigleyville

Written by ENB

April 13, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Santa Monica

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Santa Monica
My friend Kylee took this photo when I was staying with her in Santa Monica last week.

Written by ENB

March 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Curio: Photo Edition // USA, Pt. 1 // LA, CA & TX

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CurioPalm Trees, Santa Monica

'Read Up' Graffiti, New Orleans, Fauxbourg Marigny

Red VW Bug, New Orleans

Cocktail menu, Neighborhood Services Tavern, Dallas

New Orleans street

Dinner House M, Echo Park, Los Angeles

House in New OrleansHotel room, Parc St. Charles, New Orleans

Somewhere in Texas

Venice Beach Rocketbuster Boosts, El Paso, TexasVenice Beach

* Pardon the weird faux-thumbprints on these, please. I’m a geek and I love making photos look like polaroids, but the app I use insists on including these.

Written by ENB

March 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm

everything happens/watercolor sun: a March mix

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I think there was a time when everything sounded a little bit hard but whimsical, a little bit epic, and then everything sounded like the mountains, like bonfires around a farm.

Now everything sounds like a California or Hawaiian beach party thrown by Aleister Crowley, Belinda Carlyle & a mingled pack of 80s yachters & 2011 hipsters, all ghosts and surfers and gurus and weird sound effects and dangerous women. At least to me.

I thought all that Indie Appalachia music was inspired by Recession Times; I don’t know where this comes from. But I’ve been bumming about Venice Beach & Santa Monica the past week, so it suits me fine. Viva IndieSurfWaveFolkstericanaNoisePop! Or something like that.

Listen/download  >> everything happens/watercolor sun: a March Mix


1. Bimini Bay – Tennis // 2. Alemany Gap – John Vanderslice // 3. Robopup – BEEP // 4. Yipmerdai – Der Dong Dang // 5. The Singer (Johnny Cash/Nick Cave cover) – Dirty Beaches // 6. Wild 1 – The Babies // 7. End of the World – Anika // 8. Let England Shake – P.J. Harvey // 9. Hot Sprawl – Man/Miracle // 10. Come Down Easy – Spacemen 3 // 11. Sunset Liner – Ducktails // 12. Forced Aloha – Fergus & Geronimo // 13. find love (clem snide cover) – the sarcastic dharma society // 14. Almost Always – Tomboyfriend // 15. Children of the Light – White Flight // 16. Hit the Road Jack – Cat // 17. I’m free – The Petticoats // 18. You are a Runner – Wolf Parade // 19. The Arc – Wooden Wand // 20. Everything Is Burning – Ivan & Alyosha // 21. When Pushed From a High Branch – Snowblink // 22. Breakin’ the Law – The Babies

Written by ENB

March 11, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Los Angeles

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girl in LA bar

Written by ENB

March 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Posted in My Life, Travel

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Coast to Coast

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It’s impossible for me to think about California, at this point in my life, without thinking about Joan Didion. I came to Didion recently-ish—I think it must have been just a little over a year ago, I was on the verge of moving to New York and Conor told me to read Didion’s famous moving to and moving away from New York essay, “Goodbye to All That,” to which I responded:

I adored it. But I wonder—did you feel that way, when you moved to New York? I don’t. I worry I am too old, or too stubborn …

Which just shows you what a pretentious, dramatic twit I can be sometimes, because of course I got swept up in loving it here (and also just, Gawd, you know?). It’s been about one year and one month since I moved here, and I may or may not be as bad as when my then-boyfriend first moved here, moved into the McKibben lofts, and called me at my apartment in DC at 2 in the morning to tell me that the loft building across the street had started blaring and singing “Holland, 1945” by Neutral Milk Hotel, and then the residents of his building started doing it back at them, and then they were all having a Holland 1945 sing-a-long and wasn’t that just magical and New York the best? Shoot me if I ever become one of those people, I told my DC friends.

And now I live in a house with 13 other members of my creative collective, Goddamn Cobras, and make raw pies and have housemates who play in a band called Zebros in our basement.

So, there’s that.

What all of this has to do with California is that, on the official one-year anniversary of my move to New York, I was not in New York but in Ojai, California, shooting a movie and/or camping out in dried out riverbeds and forests and lagoons and farms and mountaintops and beaches. That land is incredible, let me tell you; as a lifelong midwesterner with a splash of east coast, I had no idea how beautiful California could actually be.

But what a weird little place, that state. How can a land so built on frontierism, on lone rangers and outcasts and outlaws (you see, I not so long ago finished both Didion’s first novel, Run River, and her book about California, Where I Was From, and also spent last fall and winter watching John Wayne and Sergio Leone movies, so I have these grand sort of notions about California’s founding) be so … progressive, in all the most negative senses of the word? And why doesn’t someone advertise a medical marijuana shop without using the old tropes of psychedelia? Why do the lemons in California get so big? And how the hell did Los Angeles even happen? Why are there so many car dealerships on the strip between L.A. and Santa Barbara? And how does anyone ever get anything done what with the beaches and the sunsets and the palm trees and all of that? Why did I want so badly to feel some sort of connection to a silly place that was once a different place (in my case, the first studio warehouse and lot, for Keystone Studios, opened by Mac Sennett, in what’s now Echo Park, but what does it matter—I wanted to see a Celebrity House, you know; I went looking for Mabel Normand’s Alvarado Street bungalow, I had to visit Haight-Ashbury)? And why do people in San Francisco pretend like they don’t have the worst weather? Why does California, the Idea of California, draw people, like the Idea of New York City, even still, even now—a highway not just a highway but a California Highway; a sunset a California Sunset … A weird little place, that state.

I hope to visit again sometime.


* I am now reading Tom Robbins’ Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, the first Robbins book I’ve even attempted—I tend to lump him in that group of Overhyped Gen X Male Authors I Have No Interest In, like David Foster Wallace and Dave Edgars and I think Thomas Pynchon, though he is probably much older, isn’t he?—because when I was driving down the Pacific Coast Highway on my own, no radio signal, no music of any kind, no visibility much beyond my headlights, all fog and endless bridges—to be saved only by the prospect of Guadalupe, because Jables said I would Love It, only to find the most dismal, empty town, Mexican track housing, and suddenly 56 degrees when I fill up my gas a few towns later—or even during the filming of our goddamn western, when Fanny’s house was all slightly-off-key vintage upright pianos, Bearclaw banging on the keys theatrically (in his full Sheriff costume), and fresh mulberries sunshine outside bathtubs wine and toasts—which of course all made me sad because somehow nostalgia and enjoyment always hit me in reverse, well—I don’t know where it came from, didn’t know the phrase referenced a book, a song, anything at all, all the same it became a bit of a mantra, just a little bit, which is silly–it’s silly, right, okay? I know—but nonetheless it became a bit of a mantra, “even cowgirls get the blues,” that somehow cheered me up (I had been wearing these amazing cowgirl boots as a part of my film costume and now refused to take the boots, or my turquoise jewelry, or my ragged jean shorts, off, you see), so when I saw this old Tom Robbins’ paperback copy in a used bookstore in San Francisco with Rachel for four dollars and 50 cents, I had to pick it up. Even cowgirls get the blues. Only by now, I have owned the book for over two weeks, and I’ve only read ten pages.

It’s hard to like a woman with giant thumbs, and it’s hard to feel like a cowgirl in Brooklyn …

Written by ENB

September 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Why I haven’t been blogging

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Also this, this, this, this, this and this:


Photos courtesy of James Duque (sunset, 4, 5), Conor Friedersdorf (2), Charley Parden (3), and my now-dead first-gen iPhone.

Written by ENB

September 22, 2010 at 11:07 am

Martha’s Vineyard …

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… is a strange but beautiful place.

I’m here with an Islander, which means secret beaches and the best stuffed quahogs.  Plus a whole lot of pretending I’m never going back to the city, of course.

Written by ENB

June 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Posted in My Life, Photos, Travel

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L.E.S. Quotes

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And then you got the kids that, it’s like they’re in Rent but they have credit cards. So they don’t have to say, “Ooh, light my candle.” They’ll go to Restoration Hardware and buy a fucking lamp.”—Novelist Richard Price in NYMag on the inhabitants of the Lower East Side

Written by ENB

October 2, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Posted in My Life, Travel

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So I spent last weekend around Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. It was lovely, quiet, much-needed away-from-the-city time, spent exploring the mountains, staring at the river, eating pulled barbeque at a place called “Hi Neighbor,” and going to antique malls (yes, it is possible that I am 67). I’ve been putting off posting about it, however, because I’ve been looking for this map I’d picked up. It was a map of the area and cities surrounding Interstate 81 from West Virginia to Roanoke, Va. Sadly, I have been unable to find said map, so you’re just gonna have to take my word about it.

This map didn’t go in much for noting attractions or hotels or anything of that sort. It was a pretty run-of-the-mill map, you know? In the key, there were about 6 symbols denoting things of interest along the Interstate – rest stops, national parks, state parks, caverns. What makes this map remarkable, however, was the last key item – a small Mexican flag symbol, denoting “Mexican restaurant this exit.”

Apparently, Mexican restaurants are so novel and exciting in Virginia that they must be highlighted on tourist maps as attractions on par with national parks.

Here are two other noteworthy things about this part of Virginia:

1) It is brimming with mega-churches.
2) It is even more full of very old-school roadside motels. Like, one or two per small town. They all seemed to be open and functioning still, so it would seem they all attract enough guests to stay in business. But who? Who do they attact? It is very mysterious.

I wish I had photographic evidence of this, but I do not. You are probably beginning to doubt that I was even in Virginia this weekend. To prove it, here is a picture of some trees:
Shenandoah Valley, river, trees, mountains

* I am allowed to make fun of Virginia because I am from Ohio. I believe it is an International Law that you can make fun of places of equal or lesser hillbilly value than your own birth place with impunity, and Virginia more or less = Ohio. I get a free pass at West Virginia, too, because most of my relatives are from Kentucky.

Written by ENB

February 21, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Posted in My Life, Travel