Today, tired of working in Studio City with all of the pretentious industry folk, I decided to head into Hollywood for a more down to earth experience. When I was in High School my good friend JH took me to a place called the Bourgeois Pig. JH was not my parents’ favorite friend of mine. He was two years older than me (this is a lot in high school remember) he drove (and I did not yet –only 15), and god knows what other imaginings my parents had about him (cigarettes, drugs – both of which were true though mild), in sum he was not nice Jewish Boy material and posed a threat to the brainwashing (I mean parenting) of the their teenage daughter – who of course was heading to college, would stay straight as an arrow, and would marry a nice Jewish Boy. Ok. So back to the Bourgeois Pig – a dark coffee house in Hollywood, with garage sale style furniture and deep velvet couches – definitely “goth,” definitely invoking the scene of a smoke-filled Parisian café where brooding Bohemians debate existentialism and the "poetry" of The Cure.
Well today I decided to revisit the Bourgeois Pig – 10 yrs later – I was happy to know that it was still there, and still looking the same. Now of course you have the addition of laptop owners scrutinizing over their unfinished screenplays (apparently a tribe inescapable in the Greater Los Angeles Area). As I pull up a seat at a comfortable dining room-style table, I pull up my work. A disco ball is presenting a light show on the table and wall next to me, it is not “quiet” here, but it has good energy – real good, it makes me feel like a teenager again – just a more responsible one – with a career, a job, and goals. About 5 minutes after I sit, the music turns from Duran Duran to Garbage. Now, this is an uncanny moment for me, because I’m sitting there remembering JH, I’m reliving the freedom I felt those nights in HS when parents and other authorities did not know where I was exactly (we did not all have cell-phones in those days—poor teenagers nowadays have this leash with them). So, I am really happy here – and I know every song as they play the entire album. I am remembering the first moment that JH played “Vow” for me outside the “Eagle” (another old coffee shop haunt) in his beige Ford Bronco. This car was all but falling apart except for its stereo which was kept in perfect condition – I watched the orange glow of the equalizer as it bounced up and down with the electric guitar opening of the song. I was immediately hooked. This music was angry and liberating. I loved it.
**Just an update on JH – we have been in touch lately. After selling his half of a microchip company that he became partner of by working his way up right after high school (he went to junior college for a bit but never finished), he decided to finally finish his college degree. He enrolled at UC Irvine in Criminology. He is financially set from the sale of the company – and is now slowly moving into law. He is one of my favorite people in the world, one of the most influential on my life and I’m thankful for my friendship with him in high school and after. Sometimes teenagers have a better sense of character than their parents who are so full of “Dateline NBC” fear that they cannot think rationally.
Okay so now Britney Spears’ “Oops I Did it again” just came on and snapped me back to the present. Enough reminiscing ... my 29 year old obligations are calling me to reality.