melrose avenue

The neighborhood where my alma mater, Fairfax High School, stands, was once known as the Borcht Belt, and was colorful in a European sort of way. Now it is a mecca for the creative young people who come to work in the film, recording and other media industries in LA. The scene on Melrose Avenue "began" with the establishment of Aardvark’s Odd Ark used clothing store in the seventies. Now is is shoulder to shoulder coolness, dozens of small and interesting businesses, for example Shrine, which sells what the staff calls "club and rock and roll clothes", and which look to me like costumes from a gothic horror flick. 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.

flight to los angeles

April 2nd, 2000

I did not sleep the night before I left Maui. I kept organizing and packing all night. The whole week I had hardly slept, working against the deadlines of the moveout and the plane ride. Early in the morning, my friends Laurel, Gil, and Kitty gathered around me with help, flower leis, visions of success. The whole tour is a group effort, created through the cooperation of dozens of old and new friends. I am buoyed by their generosity, hospitality and love.

Joe Gallivan, himself preparing to leave in two days for London to record two more CDs–he recorded two others there in March–walks me to the gate. We feel jet streams rustling our wings. Joe makes recordings with a minimum of rehearsal, no retakes, no overdubs. His improvisations soar effortlessly. He works with other musicians who compose and perform simultaneously. Mastering this art form takes more training than brain surgery. I will see him again in June, when he plays (drums, percussion and synthesizer) at the Knitting Factory (avant-garde music) Festival with his group of four horns, bass, and a Hawaiian chanter. You can check out his works at He is the only musician based in Hawaii whose works are reviewed (all favorably, I might add) in the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, the authoritative work on the subject.

Joe’s trio at Pacific O’s in Lahaina, Maui, includes Shiro Mori on guitar and Gene Argel on keyboards

My mother and stepfather meet me at the gate in Los Angeles. They radiate kindness. We gather up my flock of luggage and extract ourselves from the artificial reality of LAX. After I get to their comfortable home, I sleep for two days.