a very L.A. day

I went for microdermabrasion in Beverly Hills today.

This is, short of Botox, one of the most L.A. things I could have done. Microderabrasion is where diamond chips are used to exfoliate off a layer of skin. And the woman who did it was one of the best aestheticians I’ve had work from in this city. She delivered a ten minute lecture to me on not using soap on my skin, but not for the purpose of selling me anything. Just because, well, you’re really not supposed to use soap on skin. It leaves a residue that clogs up the cells.

She also told me that I would get some of the best results from the least expensive scrubs and masks I could make. She recommended a scrub of egg white and cornmeal, and a mask of the egg yolk, honey and orange oil. She also works with my girl roomate, so she suggested we make them and do skin care together.

So after having a layer of skin taken off (something I was told, I won’t need done again for a long time because I have good skin), I left Beverly Hills and drove across L.A. on Santa Monica to the 101. This took me through West Hollywood and down past the turnoff to Silverlake, through parts of town I haven’t been to lately. I’m a bit ashamed of myself actually – I’ve been hiding out in West L.A. too much lately. I should be out, y’know, doing stuff.

But my destination today was Olvera Street, the old Mexican marketplace in downtown Los Angeles, home of the Oldest Building in la ciudad. It’s an adobe that dates to 1818. It, and a block of other buildings, are home to a Spanish/Mexican cultural history, rather than the American and British history I’m used to seeing up North. Right now, the main attraction is a history of Los Angeles and its water supply, which is in the old basement of the adobe. And in that basement there was a brick pipe, cut away – the zanja, the water conduit that was part of the Spanish system. (I’m reading a biography of Mulholland and the rise of L.A. right now – water is a huge part of the politics and development of this city – and this exhibit dovetailed nicely with what I’m gleaning from the book)

After I wandered Olvera Street, studying history and chatting with docents & shopkeepers, I wandered over to Chinatown to get lunch. Chinatown L.A. is the same as Chinatown in Vancouver, so it was a bit like being back home. I picked up some cheap steamed buns and a mystery tofu dish before heading home again.

What I’m realizing lately – and this is a whole separate post – is that there is a whole other narrative to the history of this city. I have been fascinated with the history of the American city for the past year since getting here: the old communities along the river that were abandoned in postwar white flight. Now, I’m starting to see the Spanish narrative, and, running intertwined with that, the Mexica narrative. Is there even a continiuty between the Spanish city and the Mexican/Central American Spanish-speaking city now? I’d like to find that out.

For now though, I’m off to Bar Sinister, because Shiny Toy Guns are playing, and I have a too-short dress I haven’t worn out yet. History will have to wait until tomorrow – I’m going to blast the new VNV Nation in the half hour to Hollywood, and go dance to Assemblage 23.

There is so much to be studied for history here.

One response to “a very L.A. day

  1. Have you seen the movie “Chinatown”? It goes into early L.A. dealings.

    Also, religion and the church have always been there helping newly arrived Hispanics down to the present day.

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