i really, really live here

Last night, the guy roomate and I went up to the Sunset Strip to see the Birthday Massacre at the Roxy. They are my favorite new acquisition goth band, probably because they have this really 90s feel to them. Violet makes me think of being eighteen and reading a borrowed copy of the Sandman for, like, the fifth time, while waiting for a friend to show up with a video of The Crow. The songs have minor key harmonies, sticky beats, two guitarists, 90s sounding synths, and a girl lead singer.

We found out that the band didn’t go on until 10:45, and we had no interest in the opening act, so we went next door to the Rainbow Room. This is the old-school death-metal hangout bar. It’s actually a restaurant AND bar AND upstairs private room, but is associated with 80s metal bands. Guy Roomate, being ex-metalhead in the same way I am an ex-grungebunny, enjoys hanging out there. And, despite it being recommended in Alternative Los Angeles (the guidebook that got me here to start with), I hadn’t been there yet. So I suggested that we go there for a drink while killing time.

We pay cover, get our drink vouchers – and I recognize the doorman. “The Man of a Thousand Voices!” I exclaim. It was a talented voice actor I’d chatted with, for ten minutes, while waiting outside Gotham Hall in Santa Monica for friends. He’d been working the door there, and paid me the best compliment I’d had all week: “Girls who buy jeans want their ass to look as good as yours does in those.” I said my hellos, and then proceeded into the bar.

We were twenty minutes into the wait when a familiar looking guy in eyeliner sat down next to us. It was Paul Van, lead singer from local dark rock band Solarcade, who I refer to as “The Depeche Mode Guy.” He knows the band, from having opened for them in his native South Africa and in Europe on the Devotional tour. I met him at Miss Kitty’s a year ago, and occasionally hear from him on MySpace when there’s a Solarcade show. We discussed Martin Gore’s musical genius for a few minutes, and then it was time to go next door to the show.

I think what surprised me is that I ran into two different people I had met randomly at previous times, in places nowhere near the Rainbow Room. This happens to me now. I run into people I know. It isn’t a big deal, really – or it wouldn’t have been, in Vancouver. In Vancouver, I can’t get onto a bus without running into someone I went to UBC with. But this is L.A. It’s bigger, and I didn’t start out here as part of a pre-built university community. Seeing people I know – like running into a girl from Critical Mass at Bar Sinister, or finding an acquaintance invited to the same party I am – makes me feel like I really live here. Like I’m not so much a ghost drifting through city after city, but that I live in Los Angeles, and will continue to see people I know as I move in my paths around the city.

And yes, it certainly improves my evening slightly to run into two separate guys who have flirted with me at two separate times. Nothing like a quick ego reminder to make me smile.

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