Tag Archives: los angeles

30 Years of L.A. Story

Steve Martin’s L.A. Story is one of my favorite movies. I thought it first debuted 30 years ago this summer, but it turns out, it was first released on February 8, 1991, so it now just over 30 years old.

I saw the movie for the first time with my brother and distinctly recall the advertising for the movie as “the first great comedy of the 1990s.” I loved it. Aside from its Shakespearean overtones, it caricatured Los Angeles in a way seemed to perfectly capture all that the city was about in the early 90s. At the time I first saw the movie, I’d been living in L.A. for about 8 years, with another 11 years to go and the film was something I could recognize about the place where I lived.

L.A. Story became the first video I repeatedly rented in college. My roommates and I would watch the movie over and over again until we had every line of the film memorized (I can still remember most of the lines today). Enya’s music from the film is part of the Littlest Miss and my nap playlist. I am after reminded of the street art that appears in the film when I see photos of Santa Monica street art posted on Twitter by my by my great-great-great grandboss.

Even though L.A. didn’t seem so to me at the time, L.A. Story captured an idealized version of L.A. for me, one that I look back on fondly–something I never imagined I’d do while living there. I watched the movie for the first time in a while last summer and it was just as good as I remembered it being. It is one of those movies that does’t lose its luster as it ages.

When I first saw the film, I was nearly 19 years old. Thirty years later, as I sat down to write this post, a strange thing occurred to me. I had to look it up to confirm it, but confirm it I did. I am today, nearly 4 years older than Steve Martin was when the film came out. Even so, my hair isn’t quite as white as his was (except maybe on the sides).

Today when I think about L.A. Story, I sometimes wonder whatever happened to Harris K. Telemacher and Sara McDowel. Did they really live happily ever after? And what about SanDeE* (“Big-S, small-A, small-n, big-D, small-E, big-E… and there’s a star at the end”) and Roland? Whenever a story makes me wonder about where the characters might be thirty years later, it is a good story.

The Golden Age

The Golden Age of life is alwaysfive to ten years behind you. At least, that’s how it seems to me, and I’ll explain what I mean.

I don’t remember exactly when it started, but when I was in high school, I can remember thinking fondly of my long lost youth, and casting my mind’s eye back to those halcyon days of junior high school (ninth grade, in particular).

Of course, when I was in college, those bright days of junior high school had shifted to the brighter days of high school. In fact, during college, I can recall thinking that the two week period in 11th grade when the L.A. school teachers were on strike was a true “golden age”. (Honestly, it’s true to this day that I look fondly upon those two weeks now some 17 years in the past.) Many of the friends I made back then are still my best friends to this day.

After college, I can recall looking back fondly on my college years, in particular my first year at UCR, living on The Hall, where I made more life-long friends.

And now? The camera lens has slipped forward a few frames and The Golden age now rests firmly upon a period of time between 1997-1999 when I lived in Studio City, on Tujunga just north of Ventura Blvd. Life seemed carefree. Everything was going well. There were little or no worries. It was a time that I was truly happy living in L.A.

So why is the Golden Age always behind you? Clearly its because you mentally evaluate the times of your life, and the only way you can do that in any objective sense, is when enough time has passed to compare it to other times. Still, that doesn’t explain why the past is always golden, and not the future. Why does it seem that we don’t look to the future as eagerly as we look at the past? The future provides endless possibility while the past is already written. And yet we latch onto that past as though it were some kind of security blanket.

I don’t know the answer to this, but I will be exploring it this weekend; it is the main theme in the next short story that I will be writing, a story about a boy who discovers the future, who is fascinated by it, and who works very, very hard to invent a machine that will take him there. It’s a very unusual time-travel story, not what you might expect. But it’s really caught fire with me and I might be able to finish the whole thing this weekend.

That’s what’s great about science fiction. While it has been said that the Golden Age of science fiction is 13, I don’t buy it for a second. The Golden Age of science fiction lasts a life time if you let it.

Aviation Expo

Thinking about L.A. got me thinking about Aviation Expo at Van Nuys airport. It was one of the things that I loved going to during the summers. I’d heard that it was canceled a few years back, but never found out why. This evening, curiosity got the best of me. I searched online and about all I could find was reference to an article the Los Angeles Daily News. So I searched there, and discovered I’d have to pay in order to view the article.

I forked over the $1.95 and within seconds had the article. So why was Aviation Expo canceled after 41 years?

The 41-year-old Van Nuys air show, the San Fernando Valley’s biggest event – drawing crowds of up to 300,000 people – is being grounded to make way for firefighting helicopters, airport officials announced Thursday.

Construction this month of a 13-acre Los Angeles Fire Department air operations facility at Van Nuys Airport will scale back the popular air show that featured large-scale military aircraft demonstrations, Van Nuys Airport spokeswoman Stacey Geere said.

The decision to shut down the show was made quietly by airport officials last fall. The Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council was told last month and the decision only became public Thursday when the Daily News inquired about plans for the event.

So now I know, I guess. Still, what a disappointment!

City of Angels

I caught part of “City of Angels” on one of the HBO channels tonight and it reminded me of living in L.A. I went to my diary and searched around for when I saw that movie, but I don’t think I noted it. It came out in April 1998 but there was no notation in my diary of seeing that movie in the month of April. Maybe it wasn’t noteworthy enough. It was an “okay” movie. But seeing it tonight, and especially hearing Sarah McLachlan’s song, “Angel” brought back some strong memories of living in L.A., on Tujunga Ave just north of Ventura Blvd.

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that I spent 19 years in that city, wishing I was back east. And now that I’m back, I sometimes miss that place.


Okay, so I went and bought a Sarah McLachlan album from the Apple Music Store. They didn’t have Fumbling Towards Ecstacy for some reason, which is the one I recall listening to most back then. But they did have Surfacing which contains the song “Angel”. I’ll listen to it tonight when I go to sleep.