melrose avenue

The Los Angeles basin, seen from the Hollywood Hills.

The West Hollywood neighborhood where my alma mater, Fairfax High School, stands, was once known as the Borcht Belt, and was colorful in a shtetl sort of way.

Now it is part of the Design District, peopled by creatives working in the film, recording, home decor, restaurant and fashion industries. The boho scene on Melrose Avenue “began” with the establishment of Aardvark’s Odd Ark, a used clothing store in the 1970s. Now Melrose is shoulder to shoulder coolness, with dozens of small, unique businesses, for example, Shrine, which sells what the staff calls “club and rock and roll clothing”, but which is, more specifically, goth couture.

I awoke from my two-day stupor long enough to drive over to West Hollywood to have a sauna and massage at Brooks Baths, which have been part of LA since the ‘fifties. The three young women I met in the sauna all had movie jobs–writer, costumer, actress. Massage erased the week of packing, cleaning, and airport shlepping. Bliss.