June 27, 2012

Here We Go, Yo! Here We Go, Yo!

Back in 2003, I started this blog with the help of a good friend (Dean Terry, artist and professor in UT Dallas) shortly after our departure from Los Angeles to Dallas. As we left LA, I wrote something that helped drain and distill the huge reservoir of sentiment that oozed from leaving the city that we once had settled in after college and planted roots. I titled it DIE BITCH, using a colloquialism common to the internet gaming rooms that were thriving at the time, specifically the Chinatown internet cafe called CYBERLAN.

My favorite screen name was someone who called himself ?DIE BITCH?. Brilliant. When you died in the game, your opponent?s name would appear in the center of the screen. This kid?s name would grace your demise with the those incisive words, all mocking attitude and disdain. A challenge to do better.

DIE BITCH was the sound of LA and myself saying GAME OVER to each other. It was a bittersweet love letter, but finally it was a love letter.
I?m leaving town. I?m not going because of the cycle of gentrification: artist as pioneer, the early adopter, a force for urban change and evolution. Although I like the moniker of one who was part of vital beginnings, I didn?t plan it that way. I just wanted cheaper rent. I?m leaving town for important, personal reasons... not because of the strange hard edge that belies the dreamscape of Los Angeles. I heard once that a traffic accident in San Diego versus one in Los Angeles differs in that the former was one where the participants would tend to work it out privately and the ones here would engage their lawyers. That?s a good rough sketch of LA. ChinaTown was a place where the people (artists and the Asian locals) would work things out privately, with various levels of heat and light. There was plenty of drama. Property owners getting defensive, reporters looking for clich?s, young kids fucking like minks, babies were born. One young artist even totally flipped out (rubber room style), the police had to shoot him seven times with bean bags whilst he stripped naked. He shit in his hands and smeared his body brown. Another died from an overdose. And now, the lawyers are moving in. They are the ones who seek the artist lifestyle. Who can blame them? I certainly like it sure enough. The only trouble is they are a million miles away from art.

I?m leaving not because Los Angeles is a hard assed town and an Elysium tambien. I?m not leaving because the social circles are only as big as the number of people one can bar-b-que for in the back yard. I?m not leaving because the movies ?ChinaTown? and ?The Day of the Locust? are spot-on accurate. I?m not leaving because John Fante nailed the city when he wrote: ?you pretty town I loved you so much, you sad flower in the sand, you pretty town ...?. I?m not leaving because this metroplex is simultaneously parochial and international... and yet finally, parochial. This is LA with all its? mocking attitude and disdain, a challenge to do better.


Well, here we are again.

Something's happening.

We are leaving Los Angeles.

In 2003, Stephanie asked me: "What do you think about living in Dallas?" Our decision to leave LA for Dallas was motivated by my wife's career options (she's a design director in the fashion industry), it was important to her to suss it out in Texas at the time. What else could a loving husband say but yes? For an artist, it was a biggish career risk, LA compared to Dallas in terms of an art world is as an elephant to a mouse, truth be told. The museums are fabulous, but there isn't much of the middle and lower tier art galleries and the loamy level of a struggling artist community is extremely thin. As things turned out, it was not in the cards that her career options were destined to root in Dallas. And I must be careful to note that even though we deeply respect the city of Dallas and the community of friends we had formed there, we were relieved to realize that we had to move on and out to another arena in our lives that we had begun to build in Spain, the dream of living both in Europe and the USA.

Recently, Stephanie asked me: "What do you think about living in New York?"

Aside from leaving all my friends here in LA, I can't think of a downside to that. And to my beloved friends here in LA: the world is small, and getting smaller. We might move but we will never leave you. So it's happening. The decision had been simmering for a time and now it has crystalized. We are definitely moving to New York and we look forward to settling in before the summer's end. The move will be gargantuan and the process has already begun.

Posted by Dennis at June 27, 2012 12:53 PM

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