I did not want to write about this at all. I had next week’s post (wait for it) in progress. And then Glenn Frey died. It was just impossible to ignore his passing and write an anodyne post in a time when two other performers I cared about passed away as well.
It seems my California entertainment community is just plain getting old. Not that 67, 69 and 70 are old. Not any more. Seventy is the new fifty, as far as I am concerned. So, what happened? Now, you and I are both thinking that we cannot extrapolate to anything greater than three freak co-incidents. We shouldn’t run away with this and see anything larger at work here. Yet … it did start the wheels of my imagination spinning.
Is it the storied 60s, 70s, 80s debauchery catching up with these guys? Does their exceptional genius and high-powered career simply burn them out? I am beginning to feel like California is becoming a place talent comes to, well, marinate in excess and the temptation of easy living, and then simply drain their energies away. Alice Bailey, the infamous Theosophist warned of the perils of what she called glamour — the material world. I have said it before, Los Angeles is seductive. You arrive and you never leave. There is something so prophetic about that song. Just the first few bars of it and I am right there, back in the witchy womanish dark syrup that is Hollywood.
You simply cannot escape it. Even my husband’s business largely depends on the entertainment industry. The buildings he saves and restores are often funded by the studios or the stars, for one or another purpose.
Most of these guys are not from here. They come, like so many fresh-faced talented ingenues, from every place else. But when they get here, they are drawn like flies to the honey pot. It’s just yea-close, that success, that heady promise of being forever young and lovely, and loved.
Would I deny Glenn Frey the phenomenal impact he had? Those lines he wrote: “… it’s a girl my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me”. Haven’t every one of us memorized every single syllable and doesn’t the imagery in those songs become etched into our subconscious? Is there anything more vivid than arch lines those rockers pulled right out of the Akashic ethers and set to music at a pace that got us up off our feet to simply throw our hands up in the air and shout for a soaring joy? With that music we were airborne. Pure LA sound.
And while I am at it, may I just say, what strikes me as well, as I consider this somber and more occult side of California, and Los Angeles in particular, is the fact that we are about to celebrate the Oscars and once again, underwrite — however unwittingly — the industry’s overt hostility to people of color. It is remarkable in its asynchrony with the times in which we are living and the movement toward more diversity, representation and celebration of this salmagundi that is the urban megalopolis. The other brooding secret of Hollywood is #OscarsSoWhite. Just as police forces should reflect the community they serve, so should our film enterprise.
No, we don’t have the opioid addiction of heroin to deal with here. We have something far more potent. We have the den of pleasure, and ease, and beauty and sex that flows out of Hollywood like a fragrant lava that just envelopes everyone and thing in its path. You just don’t come here to work or live and expect that it will not consume you.
So if you have any serious living to do, better get on with it before you come. Come here when you are ready to go no where else.
Goodbye Glenn-Frey. And take it easy.
Images: Chez BeBe assets: Pasadena – taken with my cell phone on January 1