August 23, 2006

Leaving and Living L.A.

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Congratulations. You have successfully made it back to our beloved ’Nell, where learning is (for the most part) paramount, where a night’s success is measured in the number of milliliter-sized plastic-cup-shots taken at Johnny O’s and where studying hungover in a Red Bull/ Aderall induced haze is as routine as breathing. Yet as enchanting as it has been to get reacquainted with some of Cornell’s finer traditions, I cannot help but feel a longing for the long, drawn out days of June and July, when all that mattered was rolling out of bed just in time to catch World Cup highlights.

At this point, you are probably thinking to yourself, “uh oh, here goes another this-is-what-I-did-this-summer-aren’t-I-cool column” or, “watch this guy try and sneak in another coveted laundry list of things-that-I-must-do-before-the-end of-my-freshman-or-sophomore-or-junior-or-senior-year.” Thankfully, dear reader, I will do neither. Instead, what I give you is a glimpse into the height of hedonism in a place far, far away from Our Hill: Westside Los Angeles.

Despite the inconvenience that bars and clubs close at 2 (lame!), L.A. nightlife is pretty unbeatable. Controlled by a pack of 21 year-old promoters making more money than your cousin at Goldman Sachs, clubs are packed with new money moguls and wannabes who don’t know the capital of Iraq but can swear to you that they “got ’er done” with Hilary Duff last Thursday night after the fashion show at the Cabana Club.

Image is Everything
To the average pop culture indulger, the phrase, “that girl’s so L.A.” instantaneously conjures up images of Marissa Cooper and Kristen Cavalleri in oversized sunglasses sipping cosmos by a pool in Bel Air. Such a visual is only the beginning. The quintessential West L.A. woman is the paper-thin bombshell getting out of her Benz, unaware that yes, normal human interaction is still sort-of trendy, no matter how much the aggressive marketing by the good folks over at Blackberry and Motorola try and convince her otherwise. Nevertheless, said female has almost managed to perfect the art of legitimate, worldly conversation, for upon hearing that her friend almost made the cut for a new NBC pilot, she instinctively knows to vacuously respond that she feels that, like, everyone in the world is, like, getting a pilot these, you know, days.

Yes, the Mel Gibson fiasco is old news (he recently agreed to speak at Yom Kippur services, but that’s a whole new can of worms). But as for L.A. ridiculousness, it doesn’t get worse than the throng of foreign tourists congregated around the very spot where Mel got busted in an attempt to capture the magic of that moment in a photo (think Disneyland but much creepier). Yes, people of all creeds, backgrounds and religions joyfully gathered on the hallowed ground of Malibu, eagerly trying to capture the ghost of a drunken Mel Gibson along the Pacific Coast Highway. The thought of getting a holiday card with an asterisk next to the portrait stating, “Mel Gibson was actually cuffed here! Love, the Petersons” is enough to make even those devoid of genuine human emotions cringe with disgust.

Former gay porn star cum MTV veejay cum hip/hop “star” Simon Rex, who now goes by the stage name Dirt Nasty, sums up L.A. pretty damn well in his offensively hilarious ballad “Droppin’ Names:” “L.A. is like Groundhog’s Day. Same old shit, never fucking rains.” Couldn’t have said it better myself, Mr. Nasty. As obscenely decadent and repetitive as L.A. can be, there is something to be said for taking a break from the daily grind of the ’Nell and being just a little self-indulgent. The annual round of complaining that naturally comes with the start of class is about to begin, but let us all remember to keep some of the decadent spirit that lingers over our great city to the west. Splurge on drinks in C-Town a few times (they cost nothing anyways) and get out and check out some of the nicer (albeit pricier) restaurants that exist beyond the Collegetown bubble. And you thought this wasn’t going to be an advice column.