A friend of mine just signed a lease on a new concert venue and gallery in Silverlake. For those of you not living in Los Angeles, this city's neighborhoods are divided into little puzzle pieced neighborhoods, each with its own identity and culture. Silverlake and Echo Park are like the Brooklyns of the South Bay. All the men are finely dressed in plaid shirts, skinny jeans, the obligatory beard and should probably carry neon signs over their heads that read "Creative Outsider." They're writers, musicians, editors. The women are vintage queens that look a lot like Jenny Lewis and Zooey Deschanel. Bangs, plastic Ray Ban sunglasses, slightly androgynous, loads of American Apparel. They probably have a tattoo on their hip that reads "I Heart Beards."
My buddy asked me, since I'm unemployed, if I wanted to help him coordinate events, set up facebook pages, tweet and get people to come to his new space. I let out a resounding "Yes!" It sounded like a great way to spend a bit of time while I'm still young and spritely.
Who am I kidding? I may be 26, but I'm an old woman. I make potato leek soup on Sundays, my hips hurt from falling asleep on my side for the past 20 years, and all I want to do on the weekends is curl up with my yarn and crochet needles and make scarves. I wanted to spend my unemployment studying for the GRE and volunteering in soup kitchens.
It turns out... I actually love what I'm doing for this gallery. I've been working on it for a few weeks now and all of my time has been consumed with it. I've been going to gallery openings, meeting artists, listening to new local bands, asking them to play a show for us. I can barely breathe, but it's exciting as hell. The only thing is...
I really don't look the part. I don't even know how to start looking the part. Leather jacket? I've got a well rounded figure, so skinny jeans just make me look like... well... the equivalent of a fat man in a little suit. So does that mean I invest in a good amount of Cosby sweaters and Chuck Taylors?
On the other hand, my buddy the gallery owner has perfected the look. Streaked blonde bangs, tall and lanky frame, well fitted faded T Shirts and the piece de resistance: tattoos covering his entire left arm in different shades of blue and black. Also, he's the bassist in a rock band.
But hold on just a second. I have never ever in my life been consumed with fitting into any kind of role. And if I submit to this mold of fashion that is so indicative of a 'hood, am I not sacrificing my physical identity in order to conform to a trend in popular culture? Isn't that what makes Los Angeles sometimes unbearable to me? That pressure to be one way or another, to look a certain way in order to identify with a group? Isn't that ability to put oneself apart from the crowd and proclaim an identity what separates humans from other animals? Am I trying to justify the Lady GaGas of the world?
Nah. I'm too old for Lady GaGa. And I'm too old and unemployed to care too much about fashion. My solution? My grandmother got me a sewing machine for Christmas. I intend to use it. I really doubt I'll be making a pair of skinny jeans with it, or an Ice Queen Head Dress. Probably a few shift dresses of some sort. I'll still be in jeans and flats from Target. I dunno, I hope that doesn't hurt my chances of having Saint Motel or Nico Vega play a show for me one day. I guess one never knows in this town. But being myself has gotten me pretty far already. I don't see why it would be an hindrance on my newest adventure.
Wish me luck!