Tag Archives: los angeles

Rivets and Reservations

28 Oct

magic castle

Magic is meant to inspire awe. It should suspend your disbelief and make you question all that is true in the world. At the Magic Castle in Hollywood they achieve these results in stupefying fashion. I’m rendered speechless not by any sleight of hand, but rather a wardrobe slight from one of the most inept managers upholding the silliest dress code ever created.

One must be invited by a member of the castle to enjoy the entertainment. This part of the journey is almost charming if you consider e-mailing random magicians and pretending to have seen their act in order to get an invite a good use of your time. I finally secure an invite through a friend of a friend and set up the date.

magicianThe evening is a surprise for my lady who mentioned in passing months earlier she wanted to go really badly. (Shout out to myself for remembering that) We arrive early at the valet. I take one step out of the car and the valet asks if I have read the dress code. I am confused because I’m dressed like a motherfucking GQ model, I reply yes; in fact I read it twice. He cringes and says I cannot come in dressed like that. Dressed like what? The poster boy for welldressedman.com? No, he informs me they will not be able to accept my pants. I am unaware my pants sent in an application, but just to clarify why will my pants not be accepted here? Here is a brief excerpt of how the next 5 minutes went.

On the left.

On the left.

“Well sir, they are denim-like.”

“What? But they aren’t denim.”

“Yes, but they are denim-like. They have rivets”

“What did you just say to me?”

He gets the manager who comes out and also informs me my pants will not be accepted.

“I am sorry to inform you we cannot accept your pants. They are denim-like.”

“But they aren’t denim! They are cotton twill. It’s a completely different weave! I don’t understand what the problem is?”

“Well they have rivets.”

“If one more person says fucking rivets…”

I look over at my date, she can see things are getting out of hand, and to be honest if she was not with me I would have told the guy to fuck off and left. There is nowhere in the dress code that states pants can’t have rivets. Have a look for yourself. There is, however, a few things that they do accept that I think will give you a good idea of what kind of institution this place is.



  • Think business attire.
  • Men must be in coat and tie (standard or bow tie)
  • Exceptions to the “tie rule” are: turtlenecks (that can be folded over), bolo ties, ascots, jeweled collars, ruffled collars and banded collars.
  • Military Dress (no fatigues), ethnic and/or religious attire will also be allowed.
  • No zippered jackets, outdoor jackets, polo shirts, t-shirts, denim (or colored denim), shorts, sandals, flip flops, sneakers or sneaker-like shoes are allowed.
  • Leather jackets (with buttons) and leather pants are allowed.
  • No casual attire will be allowed.

turtleneckTwo very important things to note on this list: Turtlenecks (that can be folded over) and leather jackets (with buttons) and leather pants ARE allowed, but god forbid your H&M twill pants have a couple rivets on them so help you Jesus and the divine power! I repeat. TURTLENECKS….THEN IN PARENTHESIS (THAT CAN BE FOLDED OVER!) End of discussion.

After calming down a tad, I ask what the solution is. He first displays a bit of competence and says he will go check if there are some pants I can borrow. Fine. This kind gesture is quickly destroyed when he comes back out and tells me in a sarcastic tone that they need to be taken to the cleaners because, “You don’t even want to know what happened to them.” Did someone shit in them? It’s shit isn’t it? No? Can I put them on past my knees? Then let me in to this goddamn castle!

soiled pantsHis second managerial gem is to suggest I go back home and change pants. It’s 6 pm in LA on a weekday. Kindly go fuck yourself. The final solution is to go to H&M down the road and buy new pants. I swallowed my pride like a porn star and set off to buy a new pair, while my date waits inside.

I lumber down the hill in my suit, neck sweat on full blast when I get a call from my girl. They don’t have my reservation for dinner. After some guidance on my part and some master sleuthing on his behalf, he determines the reservation is under my name. Yes, of course it is….I don’t even know what to say to that. That’s not the first name you check? I ask if I may return to my quest to buy new pants. He assures me we are on for the 8 PM dinner and show. Wonderful.

fatpantsI will give everybody one guess what happens when I get to the H&M. They only have denim pants in the entire store, riveted up the wazoo. I almost collapse in frustration, but keep it together long enough to ask the salesmen if I can buy his slacks. He contemplates calling the police, but ultimately mentions that they may have one pair by the mannequin. I slowly walk over to the pale hipster and find a pair of black dress pants discarded by the window. I pray to Hedi Slimane I can at least pull them up around my formidable thighs. 34/32’s. They won’t zip up, but they will do just fine for a night of magic.

I return to the Magic Castle with my mismatched dress slacks, a sweaty mess with my evil no good cotton twill denim-like riveted pants in hand. I lock them in my car and finally enter the hallowed mansion. After one beer my anger subsides and I enjoy the night of talented magicians. Despite the hoop jumping, I will be back, and when I do I will be in a bedazzled tuxedo with rivets, and a turtleneck that doesn’t fold over.

Bay vs. LA

3 Jul

A good friend recently called me and asked if I wanted to attend a local trivia night in the Bay Area. While flattered by the gesture, I informed the friend that I live in L.A. and unless he wanted to fly me up for the night like some high-end trivia escort, I would have to decline the invite.

“Really? How long have you been down there?”
“Over two years now. You should probably know this information about me”
“Shit man. What are you still doing down there? That place sucks.”

Most Northern Californians would agree with my friend, and most Southern Californians would be oblivious to the fact that their neighbors despise them so much, but at the same time carry an air of superiority that hints that they care more than they let on.

My friend was bummed that he wouldn’t have enough for a six-man team (and someone to crush current events) and then asked me, “So what’s better? The Bay or LA?” As always these debates are a matter of personal preference and clearly the fact I was born and raised in the Bay Area may cause some bias, but I do love L.A. I really do. I also wrote for my school newspaper for a few months so this will be a totally and completely objective look at both regions in hopes of settling the great yell-off.

Weather: LA

LA– Some say LA is devoid of weather. Those people are idiots or ungrateful and sentimental Easterners who miss the “change of the seasons.” Big ‘effin deal. The leaves change color for a couple days, snow is fun and nostalgic for maybe a day if you don’t have to work or be somewhere and rain puts you in a reflective mood until you want to kill yourself. Guess what everyone says after a week of freezing cold, wet and uncomfortable conditions? “I want sun!” LA has 9,000 days of sun a year. I describe it like being in a well-maintained lizard terrarium where everyone moves slow and licks the glass. (Not the best analogy but that’s how I’ve described it to like 5 people) You don’t have to wear a jacket at night and oh boy those Santa Ana winds…don’t quite know what they are, but people talk about them like lost lovers.

Bay– The Bay’s air is crisper and the light less intense. There are so many microclimates that it is hard to make an accurate comparison, but foggy summers in SF seem to be a downer for most who live there. We are all familiar with Mark Twain’s famous quote, “Fuck this fog, I’m kicking it in the East Bay today.”

Nature/Outdoors: Bay

LA– Los Angeles loses this one, but not by much. Everyone thinks LA is some sprawling shithole, isolated from anything beautiful. While there is a serious lack of green within the city, LA is super close to wonderful hiking in Malibu and San Bernardino, cliff jumping in Azusa, skiing in Big Bear and of course water sports all along its inviting beaches. Hey! There are beaches in the Bay too! Yea and they suck. Ocean Beach is freezing, Stinson is only good in summer and far away, and Robert Crown Memorial is just…well…heroine needly.

Bay– Pretty tough to beat the Bay in terms of natural beauty. First of all there is a big and beautiful bay that wraps around the major cities. There is a huge forest of redwoods where John Muir used to go and do things and a park the size of the city itself plopped in the middle with buffalo roaming around. When I was considering moving to LA, I visited my aunt and she was adamant about showing me the Silverlake reservoir and described it as “beautiful.” To be clear, reservoir is not an acronym for something awesome, it’s literally a water containment facility with a barbed wire fence around it next to a patch of grass, but people had come to cherish this small bit of green and blue within the city. Not a good sign.

Traffic/Public Transportation: Bay

LA– No secret here. All you have to do is watch this video to understand how LA traffic drives people insane. I’ve tried herbal teas, reggae mixes and deep breathing techniques. Nothing works. The metro isn’t bad, but it doesn’t service enough areas and if you polled Angelinos, I’m sure most wouldn’t even know LA has a subway system.

Bay– Yes, traffic here can suck too, but I’ve never had to put on Bob Marley to physically stop myself from murdering someone. Muni and Bart are gross, but fairly accessible and if you haven’t pissed in a Gatorade bottle on your way back from New Years, you’re not living.

People/Sense of Community: Bay

LA– This one was hard to call and I’ll explain why. LA has a terrible reputation for being full of pretentious, fake and fame hungry airheads. These people do exist, but they are not the majority and you don’t have to interact with them if you don’t want to. You’re a big boy now. LA is huge! There are so many unique neighborhoods that give you a different flavor of LA life. It’s a melting pot of transients, natives, immigrants, celebrities, and those trying to become celebrities. Here is the double-edged sword. LA is an entertainment hub and industry. People move here from all over the world to make a career out of their artistic passion and craft. I’ve never been surrounded by this many talented and driven people in my life, and that is a credit to the magnetism of LA. This also means everyone moves here for a purpose, not merely for a change of scenery. Careers come first, which means relationships and friends come second. I’ve never been exposed to so much fakery and flakery in my life. Distance between neighborhoods, traffic, auditions, gigs, shoots, shows, headshots and diets are all reasons given for not hanging out, and that’s bullshit. Some call it independence; I’d call it loneliness.

Bay- I think the Bay wins this because of what the area does to people. LA has made me slightly impatient and mistrusting of people’s intentions. The bay tends to attract and nurture a sense of tolerance and curiosity. People are encouraged to be themselves and that creates a very unique region full of interesting and mostly intelligent people. I’m not saying people in LA are stupid, but the general discourse revolves around entertainment, which is to be expected, but exhausting nonetheless. Something brought to my attention, however, is the fierce regionalism that exists within the Bay. There is a certain aura of self-righteousness that exudes from bay folks, which can be perceived by outsiders as pretentious or just downright ridiculous. We’re still pretty sweet though. (Most biased section. I swear)

Food: This decision was excruciating, but I think LA takes it. I’m not a foodie so I don’t know where to get bomb Azerbaijani food, but I can speak on the main cuisines. Affordability and food trucks tip the scales.

Burritos: Bay
Mexican/Latin: LA
Burgers: LA
Pizza: Bay
Korean/Japanese: LA
Chinese: Bay
Indian: I don’t know, it all runs thru me.
Thai: LA
Food Trucks: LA

Oh, but what about Alice Waters and the California Cuisine/Organic farms/Gourmet Ghetto revolution in the Bay? It’s all great, but like I said before I don’t have the duckets to go to Chez Panisse or some Michelin 4 star joint and eat dungeoness crab with gold on top.

So if you are counting at home I guess the Bay takes it, but there is a reason I haven’t moved back yet. LA is a really cool place with a lot to offer and I wish people gave it more of a chance. Why here’s an idea! Now that my friends know that I’ve been living in LA for the last two years, they can come visit and see for themselves how sweet it is, and then talk shit about it when they get back to the Bay.