Left Coast: Hollywood Farmers Market

3:10 PM

It's been a month since I've been back from my west coast trek and it's taken me this long to organize my photos and process the trip as a whole. We accomplished and saw so much in that two and a half week span. There was a lot to think about. There also was look through and edit and I'm only a quarter of the way through the work. I needed to leave Boston to realign my chakras and figure out what my priorities were again. I needed to immerse myself in LA and relax with my best friend. I needed to let go and when I did, strangely and magically it made me feel more in control. Finding words to capture a strongly visual and visceral experience for me is incredibly difficult, so I'm finding, and I'm trying to get comfortable with the prospect of writing it out again. I used to keep a journal and did so for years and years but I'm just now starting to shake off the rust and get back on that bike.

Sunday 17 05 15
The idea for the day was to go to Hollywood Boulevard for lunch, decompress, and hang out by A's roofdeck pool. We had walked past these apartments the day before and I admired the sleek and polished design. In real life I played it cool but in my head I was impressed by how swanky this all sounded. This was such a step away from my idea of normal, and I felt no friction at the prospect of dedicating an entire day of my vacation for that. I had been in Hollywood twice before and long enough by this point to have a vague sense of familiarity with the area. I started to understand where we could find the best parking and how to get there. We found the same open parking spot on a residential side street (the spot under the tree and in front of the kooky house with the stenciled graffiti PBR logo on the uneven sidewalk) and walked to our destination like natives. The apartment's windowed wall overlooked the walk of stars and it made me slightly depressed. I couldn't explain why. I met their cross-eyed cat and watched as he took a shit while staring seriously and deadpan out the same window onto the boulevard below. I had a good laugh at that one. We talked about lunch and goat cheese and jars of pickles at the farmers market and the food lust I had at that moment was dangerous, which made exploring the treasures I found all the sweeter.

We walked a couple blocks and it was obvious where we were once we arrived. The smells of foods and meat-smokers and spices wafted through thick air and in the heat, everything felt much closer and heavier. Tent space was tight and limited and people were floating everywhere. Plates of curry and chicken flimsily grasped in hands, friends and families moving slowly in packs, flowers and potted greens strewn in partitioned areas, dogs and children on leashes. I was startled and thrilled by the mass of people and kindled energy covering every square of the block. It was all so enchanting. Admittedly, I have a hard time staying present when I find myself in a such an active environment, and whether it stems from always people watching or training as a street photographer, my overwhelming instinct is to step back, wait, and photograph. But even then, sometimes I slip. For whatever reason I didn't bring my 35mm with me, so I pushed my overworked iPhone to try to capture and get a sense of what I was seeing. I was surrounded by exquisite people, places, sounds, and smells and I was on alert. I was watching and listening to the most diverse and comfortable crowd interact and share and embrace the culture around them. I was entranced by everyone. I fell away from our group and stared for too long. I ordered a grilled breakfast burrito like a naughty girl and ate it very slowly despite being a bit dazed and probably hangry. I lingered. J had to remind me that we had planned to go back and chill and I complied. What a beautiful sight.

To see what's up at the Hollywood Farmers Market, which is open year round and just generally a kick ass thing to visit, check out http://hollywoodfarmersmarket.org/ for a roster of the wonderful vendors.

And then, of course, we happen to stumble upon Mad Men Farewell red carpet event while walking back. We didn't have the opportunity to stay (we were hurried along by security) but I did get to see how on fleek Kiernan Shipka's eyebrows were when I peeked behind the gate. It was a pretty perfect way to end such a stimulating experience. Lesson learned: always expect the unexpected when you're traipsing around Hollywood. And always bring your camera.

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