Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘California

Santa Monica

leave a comment »

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

Written by Elizabeth

March 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

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

with one comment


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 Elizabeth

March 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm

everything happens/watercolor sun: a March mix

leave a comment »

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

Songs:

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 Elizabeth

March 11, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Los Angeles

leave a comment »

girl in LA bar

Written by Elizabeth

March 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Posted in My Life, Travel

Tagged with , ,

Curio: 3/5/11

leave a comment »

Later at the Chelsea Piers, alternating between kissing and shouting at each other, the afternoon sun doing the same with the water before us, no one seemed to mind at all that we were occupying a bench spilling tequila all over, and why would they? The city does what it’s supposed to sometimes.

//

I have to believe in love, or something akin to it, for the same reasons Schliemann had to believe in Troy. The stories are there. The architecture is conceivable. And the doubters are less interesting thatn the partisans.

Those are two selections from a weird, lovely little book—the kind of lightweight, whispy little thing you can take with you in your purse or pocket and not feel like an ass reading at the bar while you wait for your friend, or while you wait for no one—called Please Take Me Off The Guest List. It’s a collection of essays by writer/Fresh Kills’ singer/Beauty Bar bartender Zachary Lipez and photographs by Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, designed by Stacy Wakefield and published by Akashic books.

For a different view of Brooklyn, check out City Limits’ “Brooklyn Issue,” which features a 5-part piece looking at “the borough behind the brand.” Or check out Phoebe Maltz’s post, “Of Brooklyn’s old, new and international,” which is the kind of Phoebe post that makes me think yes, yes, yes, this is why I always keep Phoebe in my important g-reader folder. Phoebe laments “the ever-growing canon of travel advice not exactly aimed at hipsters, but that conflates ‘where the hipsters are’ with ‘where one finds local color.'”

The old-as-time popularity of telling people how to find ‘off the beaten path’ restaurants, of how to (as is written, preposterously, on the side of tourist vans near Battery Park City) “Come a tourist, leave a local,” has morphed into a kind of parallel tourist industry, in which there’s an assumption that everyone’s looking for pretty much the same thing around the world, namely the equivalent of Williamsburg or Wicker Park of whichever locale they may find themselves in. This is the real-life travel equivalent to the street-style blogs depicting identically-quirkily dressed 20-and-30-somethings, whose locales one can only discern from their ethnicity. (Naturally platinum blond and in the ’70s-inspired uniform-of-the-moment? Helsinki. Dark hair and a rockin’ post-army bod in the same outfit? Tel Aviv.)

It’s precisely this approach that sends tourists in Paris – Paris! – to the Canal St. Martin area, which is good and well but… the 6th and 7th Arrondissements! The Seine! One doesn’t go to Paris for hipsters who happen to speak French and own a bit more striped stuff. One goes for the beautiful everything, for the 60-ish women who look like a young Catherine Deneuve, for the bichons frises with their own chairs in a café.

Freddie is also being unabashedly Freddie right now on his blog, railing against the “distorting influences” of DC cocktail parties on media and politics. It’s all a bit hysterical, and intense (“every new breed is a purer expression of corruption than the one that came before.,” but sends you wandering strange thought-holes nonetheless, and makes you question your own assumptions about things a bit, or look at your own culpability, or something. It will make you think about something, and that is why one reads Freddie. I think I will have more to say about it in a bit, but—California! How does anyone stay inside here?

Written by Elizabeth

March 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Curio: 2/11/11

with 2 comments

Everything this man posts, I want to be my life. Why am I not around this firepit? Why don’t I know this guy with the goggles? I own a buckskin hat, but why have I never placed a large feather in the side of it? Why don’t I own a VW Van? Or have a wolf tattoo? Why, my god, have I never visited the South?
[As a soundtrack while checking out Refueled’s blog, you may want to listen to the Woodsist ‘Welcome Home/Diggin’ the Universe’ LP, which I’m just first hearing this week. There are Cure and Grateful Dead covers! It’s amazing in that Chocolate Bobka ‘Sunday Morning Brunch’-y way. I’m also very much enjoying Woodsist’s newest, the White Fence ‘Is Growing Faith’ LP.]
There are, of course, times when this nearly becomes one’s life. These photos. I had a lot of moments like these this past August and September, ambling about California shooting a western and road-tripping with friends in and out of the goddamn cobras. I am telling you all of this about California mostly so I can link to a project just finished by my friend Jackie, documenting another goddamn cobras roadtrip, the summer before last (I was, somewhat regretfully, not on this trip, as I was between D.C. and Brooklyn that August with a month-long layover in Ohio),  when a group of these Brooklyn kids drove out to Boulder, Colorado, and back.

I’m in Chicago right now, where I spent last Friday night hanging out in a genuine igloo, so I’m a little bit daydreamy about the West again right now. Luckily I should be visiting California again soon …  And then, maybe, to find a home. Or a good VW van, at least …

Written by Elizabeth

February 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Coast to Coast

with 3 comments

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 Elizabeth

September 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm

The midwest farmers’ daughters

with 3 comments

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 …

Why I haven’t been blogging

leave a comment »

This:

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 Elizabeth

September 22, 2010 at 11:07 am

We’re Going to Hell in a Handbasket!

with 3 comments

… Or at least that’s how social conservatives must feel today. South Dakota’s abortion ban failed, Colorado’s Embryo-American amendment failed, Michigan’s stem-cell research measure passed and Washington state’s assisted suicide measure passed. Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana and Michigan legalized it for medical purposes. Arkansas and Maryland both approved lotto measures.

It’s not just an Obama win, or a Democratic Congress win, but a major culture war win for progressives, too.

And, yes, Florida and Arizona banned gay marriage. California’s ban appears to be winning. And Arkansas’ ban on unmarried couples (read: gays) adopting or being foster parents passed (as Radley Balko lamented via twitter, “9,000 kids in foster care in Arkansas. Last night, 57 percent said they’re better off there than adopted by a gay couple”).


These last few things are disappointing. But they don’t fill me with the kind of despair all the gay marriage bans passing in 2004 did. Easy for me to say, I know; I’m not a gay person desperately wanting to get married, or adopt a child. It might seem cruel of me to even suggest, oh, it’s not so bad you have to wait. But I am absolutely convinced it is just a matter of waiting at this point. Can anyone really doubt that the Florida and Arizona and California anti-gay measures are part of a waning trend?

America just elected its first black president, in an election season that saw women getting closer than ever to the presidency and vice-presidency. A few people have already lamented the nation’s self-congratulatory tone about this, but fuck that. Now is the time for the nation to be self-congratulatory. Even many ardent Republican partisans have admitted to being disappointed and angry and yet also proud right now, and I think that’s great. We are a nation that likes to get on the right side of history. We are a nation that desperately wants to prove that we do, really, at base, believe in equality—and we’re only getting more open to expanding the definition of equality with each generation (I can’t find a link now, but in Cali., the 18-29 voters were against the ban by at least 10 percentage points). We will get on the right side of this, too.

[Update: just read that Prop. 8 did, in fact, pass. The picture with this story makes me … well, not doubt what I said above, but … tampers my optimism a little. ‘Yay! We’re SO PROFOUNDLY EXCITED to deny people equal treatment under the law!’ ….]


Written by Elizabeth

November 5, 2008 at 12:30 pm