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Los Angeles – Week 1

DAY 1 : Le départ

C’est la première fois depuis des lustres
Que je pars à contre cœur
Sans savoir exactement ce qui me frustre.
J’apprends par cœur,
En attendant, à l’aéroport,
Mes vers favoris d’Edmond Rostand,
Afin de ressusciter en moi quelque transport.
Qu’espéré-je au fond en restant ?

Je sais pourtant qu’une fois là-bas,
Sous et sur les astres de Los Angeles,
« L’œuf en gelée », comme dirait mon papa,
Que la nostalgie revue à la baisse,
Castrera ces songes que je traînais en laisse.
Le soleil étranger fera le beau,
Et la liesse m’éblouira de nouveau

Dans un éclat tonitruant !
Entre deux articles prisonnière,
Je tenterai l’école buissonnière ;
Ce qui se dit, en anglais, jouer au truand.
Important mémo :
Jouer sur et avec les mots.
Seront donc polyglottes
Les lignes qui déjà dans la tête me trottent,
Parce que je suis ainsi faite,
Que toute grammaire, à mes yeux, est une fête.

8h J’arrive à l’aéroport, avec une avance plus légendaire que nécessaire, grâce à un ami – fidèle au poste ! – qui a eu la gentillesse de m’y conduire. À bon entendeur, merci !

11h Me voilà enfin à bord d’un avion Tahiti Nui, compagnie inouïe qui pavoise aux couleurs de l’ennui. Plus que douze heures, jusqu’à minuit. Le blues dans les oreilles.
À l’entrée de l’appareil, une vahiné distribue des fleurs immaculées.
Les sièges sont tout de turquoise habillés.

À l’apéritif, le slogan « Love at first bite », sur un paquet de crackers et de pretzels, me fait loucher. L’amour qui donne des ailes ! L’amour au premier regard (at first sight), à la première bouchée (at first bite). Jeu de mots à croquer, car plus facile à avaler que la réciproque, parfois choquante : d’un premier amour (at first love), on ne fait qu’une bouchée (bite). Au sens d’amuse-bouche ou d’éclair passion. Croque-Monsieur pour Croque-Madame, sans état d’âme.

Au menu, du poulet pour soulager mon estomac à cran *
Tandis que le film Fences anime mon écran
* (Oubli de petit-déjeuner)
** (Rime en « nez »…
Re-bonjour Cyrano)
Dodo. Ou plutôt, boulot.
Puis Alpha.
Fabuleux, au sens propre du mot
Pour ceux qui des animaux
Sont, comme moi, gagas.

Une heure à la douane
Une heure dehors à attendre le FlyAway bus
Une heure à l’intérieur, où passait en boucle FRIENDS de Marshmello et Anne-Marie.

And now, switching slowly back to English.
Check-in at the Dream Hotel Hollywood, where currently watching the Oscars.

To be continued…

 

DAY 2 : Hollywood

- Hello, Miss. How are you today ?
- Good, thanks. You ?

When we were living in Boston, my mom first answered this question: “Oh hello! Have we met yesterday?”; which often left sellers or waiters speechless.
Some may call the American way of communicating artificial, even superficial, I could not care less.
Wait until they get to the Midwest, to experience a whole new level of stranger-to-stranger kindness.
Oh! And they call me “Miss” here. Not “Mrs”, like people are starting to in Paris.
Kidding. I just wanted to start today’s prologue with a dialogue, to illustrate the notion of service which prevails in States.

7-10 am: I made the most of my morning, trying to catch up with Paris, before walking out exploring the neighborhood.

Whatever the spot, I feel like it smells of pot, really. Apparently, the district is undergoing a “regentrification”, meaning it is not what it used to be, but is noW being revitalized.

I had to go to the Museum of Selfies, the construction site of which I had visited last year. It was to be a pop-up museum in Glendale, and it turns out the owners found a permanent location on Hollywood Blvd. There are worst places to be!

Did you know the city that smiles the most is São Paulo, where I am by the way headed to, after Los Angeles? Such a small world! It also holds the record of people striking the most extreme poses.

Hard to resist the smiley-imprinted ball pit set opposite the pair of the 3D Angel Wings designed by Colette Miller, before which my guide talked me into having her photograph me.
The same “accident” (the initial idea was to visit the Museum of Selfies without taking any selfie) happened by the Oscars installation, which was not part of the Glendale display.

After delivering an embarrassing acceptance speech, I rushed back to the hotel to start working on my inexistent (for now!) tan. Found the perfect table, where I could type without worrying about the sun blinding me, and look up at times to suck up as many rays as possible.
The waitress appears to be French. She has been living for 10 years in LA and loving it so far. How, but how? She married her best friend. As simple as that! If the wedding proposal I received in Chicago this years stands… why not? Just kidding! Although am I?
And guess what? She lives in Hermosa Beach! So I will be meeting her again.

Lunch by the rooftop pool, waiting for the manager of the hotel to tell me more about the place.
How coincidental!!! The paintings in the lobby are by Mr. Brainwash whom I am to interview on Thursday! It love it, when fate seems to be knocking at your door.

Some ground rules may be hammered down, before I go any further.
- No reporting my nightly activities
- No writing when I do not feel like it
- And no mentioning whom I am doing what with.

That being said. On to the next hotel!

 

DAY 3 : Told y’a it was cold.

Damn it! It’s chilly, so I turned ill. My body has the knack of shutting down in the nicest hotels. Clever, when you think about it. « Oh! Here is a comfy bed. Let’s indulge in it ». Hurray! I sincerely hope a couple of sun rays will be enough to pick me up, because I won’t accept a physical melt down. I gotta go to town today.

No complaining. Coughing has been rough but no meds. I am used to toughing it up.

People who are close to me know I am always reluctant to order a taxi. Even if the word itself should appeal to me, as it derives from Ancient Greek (ταχύς, which means quick), I always find myself avoiding this convenient option.
When I was little, a taxi driver played a dreadful joke on me. He waited until my parents stepped out of the car to lock the doors and shout: “That’s it kid, I’m kidnapping you. Ha ha”.
Ha ha indeed. Very funny. So funny that, after spending most my young years walking to school, I became the queen of public transportation; which never fails to give my American friends a good laugh. Back in Paris, some even call me “Mamie bus”, which echoes my other nickname “Mamie gâteaux”, for I enjoy baking. Cookies mostly.
I’m a rookie Uber-user. And yet I have just met a tremendously cultivated driver, who gave me pointers about where to go, and not to go. He saw me, safe and sound, to the Getty, and not the ghetto, which is what Downtown is sometimes referred to as.

The Getty Center opened to the public on December 16, 1997. It is known for its architecture, gardens, and views overlooking Los Angeles. And what a distracting view, I may add! Sitting atop a hill, the museum is accessible by a three-car, cable-pulled tram.

I flew all the way to the States, only to gaze at European paintings, it seems! My first stop was the second floor of the West Wing which houses mind-blowing canvases by all my favorites, Van Gogh, Manet, Renoir (#PassionRenoir), Sisley, among which one of Monet’s largest still lives.

Drawings on the first floor! Lucky me. I remember spending my high school years (and beyond) at the Drawings & Prints Department in the Louvre. I would stay hours there, until a guard finally brought himself to kick me out. I do not remember seeing intensifying lenses for the visitors to borrow though. Which is the case at the Getty. What a godsend! Being able to zoom in and out, only to observe from a little closer all those hatched and crosshatched lines, shades, and strokes instrumental in conveying indescribable emotions. A speaker in a video on display demonstrates that sketching is more lively than painting because made of visible pentimenti. I totally agree. The best part of this show remains, to me, the way it presents itself:

“This exhibition tells the story of what we know, what we do not know, what we would like to know, and what we may never know about these intriguing works of art and their world”.

It won’t get better than that, I thought to myself before understanding how wrong I was. The South Wing contains a breath-taking collection of Greek and Roman sculptures. After European masterpieces, Renaissance drawings, it was time for mythology! Hello Apollo, Athena, Diane, Dionysos! So we meet again! Apparently you have all come from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Special shoutout to the over-life-size Roman statue of the god Hermes, aka Mercury, which has undergone extensive conservation work at the Getty Villa.

That’s it for today. Fun fact: the Uber driver on my way back to the hotel, kept raving about yoga, which I have just fallen into and which I will be practicing intensely the last week of my stay.

 

DAY 4 : Under a six-feet-under weather

So today has been mostly about getting better, for I still am under the weather.  The weather itself being the lowest of the low by the way. Where has the sun gone, son of a gun?

A lot of writing, for work, though… Tomorrow should be more interesting!

 

DAY 5 : Still sick

Damn!

This cold just won’t go!
I was told to rest.
I am doing my best.
Will stay home to write,
Hoping it will make things right,
By tomorrow,
So I can visit Universal F*** Studios! :)

 

DAY : Universal Studios

So, round of applause:
I did make it to Universal Studios!
Woke up, rose
And, despite my stuffy nose,
Got a lot of stuff done there.
But where,

Where to begin?
Not even certain
Details I want to get in,
Until I visit the competition.

Next week,
Since I am not weak
Anymore
I should get a tour
Of Warner Bros Studios.
If so, watch out for
A battle and more.

This is how I choose to close
Today’s report
Before leaving to a port
By the sea.
But see,
The weather is getting worse
To the point I want to curse.
Not here though.

At least not yet.
It’s not “so so”
It is pouring in f*** buckets!
And I find it difficult.
To let it go;
I am a member
Of the sun cult
Remember…

 

DAYS 6 & 7 : Santa Monica, mama

The forecast did not bode well for the future.
It was to rain, for sure.
When suddenly, Sunday, at noon,
Stay tuned…
The sky cleared up!
Yup!

Okay, I gotta stop using rhymes.
It is a crime
Against my narrative.
Though just trying to stay creative, here.

So, in a nutshell, what do Californians do when the weather is not set fair?
Get a manicure.
I was lucky enough to receive an invitation from the City of Santa Monica to one of Montana Avenue’s most popular salons. I am not that girly usually. I spent as little time as possible in the bathroom, try to avoid makeup as much as I can, while I still can, I happen to dress like a tom boy (my American mom, who agrees with my actual and beloved mom on this, would say “like a teenager”), when I am not conducting an interview or attending some art show. And yet, I accepted. Gladly, may I add.
The funniest part of this experience, is that the woman who took care of me, is the mother of one of the members of Poreotis, the hip-hop troop who won the second season of America’s Best Dance Crew.

No, I did not know them before then, but it is the second time this program has been mentioned during my stay. My lovely hosts from Hyperion Heights, the hype neighborhood to hang out in nowadays, had already introduced me to Les Twins, who made an appearance on the show, although their greatest performance may be the one given on World of Dance, which they won in 2017. Oh! I forgot to mention: they are French. Hence the allusion.

Some shopping, some writing, some meeting up with friends. Nothing much to discuss here.

Tomorrow is not only another day, but also and mostly, another week, not to say another year, for me… Thursday March, 7th, here I come!