by Frederick Egan Castleberry
Los Angeles is a strange place. It has one season—sunny with a high of 75. I like my seasons, plural. Angelenos, well, they love their convertibles and graphic tees. To each his own I suppose. Last week I flew west for a little play and a ton of work. If I’m going to be locked in a steel tube for six hours, I’ll go willing with Virgin every time. Far and away my favorite airline. They just get it.
Upon arrival, I am greeted by L.A.’s very own welcoming committee—the 405. “Stay a while. In fact, just put it in park.” I eventually pull in to my buddy Jory’s place after a start-n-stop reenactment of my driver’s ed test. I love his space. It’s sparse yet feels distinctly lived in. He has this amazing vinyl collection. There might be 80...90...100 records? Enough to make an audiophile produce a single tear. We could go through it for an entire day and never get tired of listening. Jory’s one of the good ones. The good ones let you crash their couch and charge your phone at a moment’s notice.
Before things get crazy, I style and shoot a fashion editorial test with a fresh-faced actor. It’s refreshing. California’s light paints people and places differently, as if The Golden State is the Sun’s favorite child.
The rest of the week is an intense blur. Through a series of remarkable events, I read poetry of my own authoring to a girl in front of 53 people (among a slew of other things I never imagined myself doing). I feel alive. Really alive. Picture Knox wooing Chris in front of the whole class in Dead Poets Society and you pretty much have it. It is terrifying and freeing, all at once.
It’s Wednesday and I’m being photographed outside Joan’s on Third for the Japanese menswear magazine Free & Easy (let it be known for the record that I am still nerding out over this). After the broken English exchange, I stumble into Juice Served Here craving a wifi connection. Little do I know I’m on the cusp of experiencing the best juice known to man.
It’s raw, organic, and cold pressed. I’m not in L.A. long, yet in this moment “cold pressed” seems to be the only fathomable fashion in which it is socially acceptable to drink juice. After a handful of tastings, I tip the staff off to my penchant for spicy foods and they produce Hot Lei from behind the counter. It has me at “cayenne.” Coconut water, pineapple, lemon, and honey laced with cayenne pepper—the elixir is genius.
As Sunday night disappears into Monday morning, my dear friend Frankie introduces me to Randy’s Donuts. Apparently it’s famous. I don’t know if the donuts are actually better than anyone else’s but their sign certainly is. That has to count for something. The deal is three donuts: split one immediately then save the rest for breakfast. We down the apple fritter and I crawl off the couch to the leftovers the next morning. Somehow they’re even better the next day. Life should be like that.