Friday, December 13, 2019

I live in LA and I barely know it

I don’t know who exactly generates the content for 5 Everyday
(I wonder when the GRI is going to collect this archive),

how long they’ve lived in LA
(surely longer than 10 years)

or how they decide what to post
(atlas abscura meets a hipster alt magazine meets quippy art review)

but whatever energy level YACHT is on and whoever puts 5 Everyday together,
it makes me feel like I’ll never be able to call myself an Angeleno,
perhaps because I can't imagine knowing about, and going to, all that L.A. has to offer.

and I’ve been going to therapy to process feelings like this,
which means that I definitely live in LA because I can relate to feeling burned out*
(and I don’t even really do anything.)
All I want to do is to talk about feeling incapable...

to be able to shut off my phone more often than not,
read more often than not,
work on art more often than not,
not be unconsciously overworking,
a default of living a precarious life.

I don't mean to associate 5 everyday with negative feelings, I really just intended to post 5 interesting things I saved from the 5 Everyday app that oooze 'LA living' that I truly enjoy for their brevity and the slice of life it captures, that everyone and anyone could have gone to:

What stories do I have? I'm not sure I have any because it feels like I'm surrounded by a semi-gossipy version of reality that is quite extreme, and some of the stories of injustice downright make me angry, and they really don't say as much about the person telling the story as much as it does a kind of unique situations one may find oneself in specifically in this city:

being invited to an infamous lesbian sex parties hosted by Mary Jean “Lily” Tomlin1,

helping strangers in court by being the witness of a hit and run (for the third time)

being invited to curate a captivating political art show (that gets rave reviews) and suddenly mid-way through the exhibition, the gallery gets cold feet and decides to replace the artists you chose with other artists you didn’t choose

getting swindled out of any payment after Google awards your group half a million dollars in startup game money because your partners don’t want to recognize your labor in creating all of the art for the proposal unless you can claim that you worked on the ‘actual’ game

the time that you worked for Doug Christmas and he demanded that you clock out when you work for him on the weekends and that you document everything you eat because he’s maniacally trying to make sure you stay thin

So obviously it's not the best thing to have had a "definite L.A. experience" (nor would I have access to any of the ones above), and I can say that it’s taken a while to feel like I'm here without needing to have something terrible happen to me...

but I’m just beginning to imagine that it's OK that if in this coming year of 2020 I never get around to 
publishing something in LA Review of Books/CARLA/Extra, putting on an event at Elephant/Human Resources/Navel.LA, making side money locally as a Consultant/Psychomagic Guide/Artist Assistant, producing an edition at Gemini, Learning for the second time how to surf/skateboard/swim in the ocean, learn how anyone makes $10,000 from a single client, fighting for homeless/immigrant/prison populations beyond just signing a petition or voting, starting my own cult, having 1,000 Instagram followers, teaching at any capacity at a college in Los Angeles... 
I'm finally beginning to beat down the FOMO... and get out, open myself up, just a teensy bit more.

I like how Adrienne Marie Brown put it6... that we must live for better metrics, and that shift from 'what we can accomplish as individuals' towards measuring in terms of the depth of our relationship with others, I’m all in. Also, I think I’m doing pretty good. One day I’m staying late at a party to help the host type up their CV (that they’re avoiding) and finding out the next day that they got a job, I’m planning a trip to Mexico City on my own, I’m commiserating with friends about our long term relationships ending, sharing in the pain and immediately taking action after a shocking sexual assault.
I’m spending more time hanging out with friends than not. 
Finding the right words more times than not. 
Being “political” more often than not, 
Genuinely apologizing and taking more responsibility more times than not.
Also, i’ll actually be unveiling an artwork, my take on L.A. FOMO, currently called “They Didn’t Go” (hopefully in January), kindof a follow up to “Chain of Artists”, and then I think I’ll be able say:

Hello, my name is Cedric Tai and I live and work in LA.



*Kindof a Woke Toxic Repressed I Don’t Want To Talk About It kind of thing, passed down from familial generation to familial generation, and the feelings of inadequacy and not being loved rears its ugly head because you were so excited to talk with people at a conference/invitational dinner/fundraiser  celebrating with them about your intention and ability to call people out and then never talking to them ever again because of the real pain where it seems like nothing will change, so why try to even expand one’s circle of friends if it’s not really going to turn into anything?

**At least I'm going to Mexico City soon, anxiety be damned!

1 according to a nice guy I work with, he was the only male guest at this party.

2 Tom, another guy I work with.
3 Thinh Nguyen! (I gotta dig around and see if I can find the story about it online...)

4 C'mon Archie, do the right thing.

5 The stories about Doug Christmas only get crazier, and these aren't even related to any current lawsuits.
6 Ok so the exact quote from Emergent Strategies is:

"   We would see that there's no such thing as a blank canvas, an empty land or a new idea-- but everywhere there is complex, ancient, fertile ground full of potential.
    We would organize with the perspective that there is wisdom and experience and amazing story in the communities we love, and instead of starting up new ideas/organizations all the time, we would want to listen, support, collaborate, merge, and grow through fusion, not competition.
    We would understand that the strength of our movement is in the strength of our relationships, which could only be measured by their depth. Scaling up would mean going deeper, being more vulnerable, and more empathetic."

Also, here's a bonus favorite post I saved from 5 Everyday. I'm not sure they'll ever have an archive, which is fine, but I don't know how anyone would find any of these things later...

Maps are power. Who draws them determines the nature of our world: our borders, the representation of our electorate, what is visible, what is navigable, and what remains unseen. As the technocrats tighten their vice-grip on the ever-more-granular mapping of our world, we appreciate moments of dynamic cartographic resistance; this summer, for example, the Black Socialists of America launched their Dual Power map, an index of every worker cooperative, small business development center, and community land trust in the US, and tonight the curators of LA’s best queer underground parties, Spotlight, launch Queer Maps, a new online resource to help track down our city’s queer spaces; the living database includes photos, advertisements, videos, and descriptions of lost nightclubs, cabarets, political sites, and meetup areas, as well as resources to visualize LA’s present-day queer landscape. At downtown warehouse NAVEL, with installations by Adrian Gilliland, Marval A Rex, Mr. Drummer 79, and Seth Bogart, performances by Freckle and Miss Barbie Q, and a DJ set by Kim Anh. 

Frolic Room

It’s a modest L-shaped shoebox off of Hollywood and Vine, lined at every available edge with red vinyl stools. There are no booths here; this is a place designed for utility drinking. The Frolic Room is the last bar in the thick of it on Hollywood Blvd, and its classic neon sticks out like a sore thumb here—surviving on 80+ years of dive bar charms and coin-slot, semi-functional alcoholism. Opposite the bar there’s a wall-length mural by Al Hirschfeld; behind the bar are expert craftsmen in vests and open collars. Bukowski drank here (where didn’t he?), and so did the Black Dahlia, on the last night of her life. It’s where a day-drinking Gena Rowlands picks up a fella in A Woman Under the Influence. It’s the last little bit of real noir on the Boulevard within a mile radius, and more important, it’s still an easy place to toss back a few in peace. 

Ed Ruscha Mural 
Kent Twitchell, the hyper-realistic muralist behind the 110 Musican Mural, made noise back in ’87 with “Ed Ruscha Monument,” a 6-story depiction of the painter standing straight up, facing the viewer. It took Twitchell 11 years to complete, painting in his spare time. Fast forward to 2006: the mural is illegally white-washed, Twitchell sues, and, after a two year legal battle, he’s awarded $1.1 million as compensation for the destruction of his artwork. Twitchell recently completed a second mural of Ruscha in the Arts District, on the side of the American Hotel on Hewitt, a fitting retribution (and return to form) for the muralist, whose new take on Ruscha has the artist older and wiser, like us all.
Flip the House Party
The Midterms are terrifyingly upon us, presenting either salvation from the slow-motion trainwreck or yet another creepy win for the voter-purging, gerrymandering deathcult that is the GOP. Are you registered to vote? Did you get your damn ballot? Even in Los Angeles, we have work to do, and as for beyond, the best thing to do is, well, dance: tonight Lincoln Heights disco The Airliner hosts a “Flip the House” party, with a solid bill of DJs (former Hole drummer Patty Schemel, Rudy Bleu Garcia, Irene Urias, and Nora Rachel) and guest performances (Pony Sweat Aerobics!) setting the tone for a ” GOP-free future where women have complete autonomy over their bodies, queers are free to be fabulous, and we work our way to basic human rights for everyone.” All proceeds raised from the cover charge, raffles, and silent auctions going down tonight will go toward Dem candidates in seven swing districts in California currently held by Republicans.

Erewhon Tonic Bar
Health food brinksmanship is the name of the game here. We are Angelenos; we are innovators. When smoothies went mainstream, we switched to juice. Then cold-pressed juice. Then soft serve made out of cold-pressed juice. When the world adopted Kombucha, we switched to Jun Tea. Let them eat cake. We have chia pods! When we want to know which wackadoodle health beverage to stake our reputations on next, we go to the Tonic & Juice Bar at Erewhon. Only a fully-licensed naturopath could completely decode the menu here, which is maddening, hilarious, and delightful: shots of fulvic acid, savory teas made of steeped rare mushrooms and pickled Japanese plums, a smoothie with chloropyll, quinton, and “three minerals of your choice,” and hot coffee blended with grass-fed ghee. A Wellness Bar Alchemist, of course, will be happy to address any confusion.

Aroma Driving Range
The country club this is not. But who needs manicured grounds and sand-traps when you have three stories of driving range weirdness built on top of a parking garage in Koreatown? At Aroma Driving Range (yes, wow, the name) you get over a hundred golf balls for twelve bucks, and they load themselves from an automatic tee at your feet, so all you have to do is focus on the ocean of green netting and whack ’em aloft. Particularly affective and futuristic-feeling in the twilight hours. If you’re a cheapskate, we recommend almost as heartily driving to the top of the neighboring parking garage and lying on the roof of your car, underneath the driving range’s expansive green safety netting. Watching golf balls sail into the night overhead has its charms. And afterwards, why not? Hit the Korean spa in the same building.