Sunday, July 01, 2007

LAs I will miss

It's still hot, and I know it will be like this all summer long. Going outside becomes an ordeal, just like winter in a snow climate--you've got to slather on sunblock an all exposed surfaces. You've got to put your contacts in so you can wear sunglasses. You've got to make sure you're taking your own car, which has air conditioning, and not the friend's car that has vinyl seats and no AC. Movie theaters are good. The beach is good. Apartments are bad.

But I'm not going to complain about the heat anymore. Today is July 1, so I have exactly one more month in Los Angeles. After reading the horror stories about UHaul, I have reserved a Penske truck for August 1 to schlep my stuff to an as-of-yet-undetermined location on the other side of the country. And I'm going to miss this godforsaken city! So, I want to blog about things I will miss about LA. Consider this a first installment.

Largo is a small club in my neighborhood. It's mostly sit-down tables, with a small bar area, and a small stage with an excellent sound system. The owner is this annoying Irish guy who just had a baby. The bartender is a lovely woman who is a photographer in her real life. Generations of musicologists have trekked to Largo to hear music. I have spent hours and hours sitting at the bar with friends, sipping my Harp and enjoying the strict no-cellphone-policy quiet. The deal with Largo is that you can reserve a table for dinner, but it sells out way in advance usually. But if you get there early, you can wait in line outside, and the first dozen people or so get seats at the bar. So if it is a popular performer, like Jon Brion's regular Friday night residency, you get there at like 7 pm, and hunker down on the sidewalk for several hours, then spend another hour or so drinking at the bar while people eat there dinner. Finally, Jon or whoever will come on at like 10 pm, and play until midnight.

The hours of waiting get old after awhile, and the quality of the music can be uneven. It's actually been almost a year and a half since I've last been. But last Thursday I went with friends to see the alternative bluegrass group Nickelcreek. They are a pair of siblings, the Watkins family, about my age I guess, who are always playing at Largo. I gather they are actually kind of big now, but I always think of them as the slightly dorky but adorable kids who get dragged up on stage by Jon Brion all the time.

But anyways, this show was just lovely, and reminds me how much I love Largo sometimes. Beautiful tunes, impeccably played. People wandered on stage constantly to play a song or two. One of those people was Fiona Apple, who seems to live permanently at Largo--Mary has run into her in the women's restroom more than once. She looked, as she always does, both beautiful and traumatized, and sang through a handful of lovely bluegrass and original tunes with the group. Then it was the opening act's birthday, so cupcakes were passed around and everyone sang.


Rebecca said...

Having been born and raised in LA, I have this sort of love-hate relationship with it. I've never been to Largo--perhaps if I had, I would have more weight on the LOVE side of aforementioned relationship. :-)

I'm actually still in LA, leaving on Tuesday. If your cross-country sojourn lands you in Boston, let me know! Always ready to help a fellow musicologist.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Oh, I love and miss Largo. Good memories from my time in SoCal.

UHaul is a nightmare -- good choice to go with someone else.

sushipjs said...

I have only been Largo once, and that was back in the good old days of my undergrad career to see Jonatha Brooke. Great sound!

Gosh, I forgot how soon you are leaving us! What, we'll have maybe 3.5 weeks of overlap before you skip town? We absolutely need to get together after I get back. So sad, but you definitely deserve to move on.

ENM said...

phil, ok, here we go, my first comment:
1. the seats in my car are leather. please.
2. the AC is tempermental, not non existant!