Everyone went to an outrageous party this week. ID’s were lost, friendships made and ruined, Carly Rae Jepsen appeared and sang the only song that Carly Rae Jepsen can sing, and I was affectionately described as the twist of lime that truly made the party.
I am learning that Los Angeles is many things and chief among them is a place of extreme characters. People who have learned to face what they are and accept it with infectious enthusiasm.
I recently had a debate about the next phase of hipster existence. The main problem, I argued, was that too often, irony in the form of apathy made sincerity about anything totally impossible thereby preventing the formation of a true community.
My debater argued, convincingly, that in fact, in its next phase, hipsterdom will be all about sincerity. Sincerity borne out of a true love of something so ridiculous it begins ironically. A 30 year old man with a mustache wears a Care Bears T-shirt. Whether or not the wearing of this shirt began as an ironic statement he grows so fond, so passionate about this shirt, that he takes out a small loan and opens a boutique dedicated to Care Bear paraphernalia. My debater argued, using a somewhat less ridiculous example that escapes memory, that this phenomenon has in fact created communities where there had been none before, gathering supporters, individuals who never before dared to announce their true love of Care Bears, out of the woodwork and giving them a voice.
Look at Silverlake. Look at Echo Park. Parts of the city, from what I can gather, regarded mostly as cultural non-space until a few short years ago when they were overtaken by hipness.
Until this conversation, I had judged this to be marginally effective at best. If a community is built around its coolness factor and if all of its inhabitants consider themselves too cool to admit its coolness, (a hipster never says they’re a hipster) then it’s sort of a nonstarter.
But, magically, it seems that while more and more enclaves may begin this way, they end with the propagation of sincere people sincerely doing things that fulfill them.
And this gives me hope.
What does this have to do with theatre?
If there’s no passion, there’s no art. While art borne out of other things, like greed and pandering, often makes money in today’s markets, anything of actual consequence is created when someone loves something enough to share it.
This weekend, I saw many people dressed as many things, singing and drinking and telling stories about their sordid pasts, and I was struck more than once by the idea that they were being honest. Honest about themselves, about what they wanted to do, what they wanted to create. And they were willing to listen to and cavort with other people who shared their excitement.
That was something I did not expect to find in this most strange of cities, with its head forever firmly in the clouds.
But somewhere between the 3rd and 4th choruses of Call Me Maybe, there it was, and to those brave Angelinos who shared it with me, I have nothing but gratitude.
About the Author: Jen Davis is a stranger in a strange land. Following a life of wandering and re-location(where am i? WHO AM I?) she made a decisive (drunken) decision to forsake all things holy and move to Southern California. She recently received her BA in Theatre while narrowly avoiding a minor in philosophy. Jen has staged plays, mimes, sword fights, and cakewalks throughout the Pacific Northwest, most recently as Associate Artistic Director of Toy Boat Theatre Company. She seeks to revitalize and re-establish the theatre as a necessary part of American life through producing, writing, and generally crying out to anyone who will listen. Her marketable skills include learning to juggle, baking, and persistence.