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Los Angeles studios
Old 12th July 2005
  #1
Los Angeles studios

I've been thinking about maybe moving to LA. What is the current studio climate like down there? Are people making it work or is there a mass exodus out of the city? Are the big studios struggling or closing up shop? Is it home studio land or are people still using dedicated studios? Is it worth it to move there or would I be wasting my time (and money)?

Any opinions will be appreciated.

shawn
Old 12th July 2005
  #2
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mikey's Avatar
 

Do you like alot of traffic ???
Old 12th July 2005
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
keyboardman's Avatar
 

Howdy

To me, LA is:

+ a great resource for musicians, engineers, songwriters and other music professionals

- amongst the most expensive places to live in the US

+ a good place to book studio time in nice rooms with nice gear

- a sprawling urban area where you'll spend as much time travelling as working at a gig

+ great if you like a a compressed dynamic range of weather

- bad if you prefer more dynamic weather (seasons)

+ an opportunity for one to see and meet celebrities...

- ...and have them ask you to park their car
Old 13th July 2005
  #4
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Shawn:

Sixteen or so years in L.A. and one year in Austin. I do miss L.A. I think L.A. = lots of opportunity. It's expensive, and I think that means that it's not a good place to sit inside and watch cable all day (I've known many people who do!) So, there seem to be two sides to the coin. People in out-of-the-way places are often frustrated by the lack of opportunity, and people in places with lots of opportunity are often frustrated by the fact that they're not able to take advantage of the opportunities because they're doing everything they can to stay afloat.

So, are you thinking of opening a studio first thing? Is your studio now your full-time gig? Are you just recording bands, or do you do a diverse array of stuff?

I love Seattle and have wished for years that I had a good excuse to move there. The climate suits me!
Old 13th July 2005
  #5
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Oldone's Avatar
It's hot, right now. LA is crowded with smoggy air this time of year. A gazzilion studios are supported by incredibly talented musicians, some of who actually make a living at it. The rest are working day jobs to support their recording habit.

There are few recording companies signing acts because they can't afford to pay A&R people to stay on staff because the few acts they have are not producing high record sales because they are not that enduring or that creative. But they are connected.

Climate is wonderful, scenery breath taking. Lots of other jobs so come on down. heh
Old 13th July 2005
  #6
Lives for gear
 

I left last year, here are some facts:

You can go to a place like www.audiorents.com and rent anything from a Fairchild Comp to a GML EQ.

There are tons of talented musicians and tons of hot and crazy chicks there.

The weather is nice.

But.........

**** 1 bedroom apt where you can expect any crime under the sun will run no less than $1,200 - if you're lucky.

Be prepared to pay more for car insurance. In L.A. the collective household insurance was $310 here it is $90 a month.

There are SO many studios that are getting their asses handed to them. I know guys that have done MAJOR records that are sitting around with their systems not earning any money. Thats why studio time is $20+ an hour, there are too many people in one area.

With the exception between 10pm and 5am expect traffic. It takes 3 1/2 - 4 hrs to travel 60 miles during rush hour.

The laws do not get enforced. My friend had his studio lifted from him and the cops did nothing because there was nothing they can do. The only crime that is pursued is one involving a weapon. I know that because my friend is a cop there and I've seen it first hand.

Gas I believe is at $2.80 a gallon now.

Food is more expensive.

Its dirty. Even the nice parts.


-----------

Go to www.musicconnection.com and check out the market there. Maybe try it for yourself but I'm done with it.
Old 13th July 2005
  #7
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mikey's Avatar
 

Its dirty. Even the nice parts.
Well i dont think its dirty everywhere but its crowded everywhere now dfegad
Old 13th July 2005
  #8
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I just made the plunge to LA but prior to it I worked out deals to mix two major label records so I had the comfort of knowing I'd be able to at least get by for a month or two. It is possible to find a one bedroom for about 900 if you look hard... I also got really really lucky and found a huge space for my studio in Laurel Canyon and its working out perfectly. Its only been said once but need be repeat: the girls here are amazing.. and they are insecure because instead of being the hottest girl in their hometown, now they are just one of the thousands of beautiful people here. Oh and a good portion of them ain't all that bright either. So hot + insecure + dumb = good time. And as long as my girlfriend doesn't find gearslutz.com, I stand by that..

Steve
www.bangrecording.com
www.blacklinerock.com
Old 13th July 2005
  #9
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mikey's Avatar
 

yes but still never ride bareback tutt
Old 13th July 2005
  #10
Gear Addict
 
BrianK's Avatar
 

As with any town in the world - there are pluses and minuses. The greater the options (girls included) the more competition and effort involved. I love this city so much - though I've been all over the world. Some places are nicer, cleaner, safer, etc. But this town has as many good spots to make up for anything you can single out as an isue.

In my 15 years here - no serious crime - rent is really affordable (as is studio/commercial space just outside of LA). TONS to see and do. If you love music, there is lots being made/produced. Film music, commercial music, broadcast, touring, sessions, jingles, private productions.

I'd say it's fine IF you are good and have something to offer that is UNIQUE. Try to be different, and get along with people (number one rule in employment). ALL my good jobs come from "knowing people". That's not a scam or trick - you HAVE to be good, but you get the job by being around people who like you - then they think of you when they need that done...

You will need a car...
Old 13th July 2005
  #11
As I was born and raised in LA, I have a long time perspective on the place. I left LA for Carlsbad last year. My quality of life has gone up bigtime. It was once the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family. It was the land of "Father Knows Best" and "The Brady Bunch".

It's now the land of "Escape From LA".

The shinning city on a hill has been reduced to a Third World s**thole where non citizens run the show.

Pack a gun and carry it in your car. 40% of LA residents carry a gun. Freeway shootings are daily. The cops won't do anything but call the coroner for you after you're cold. Murderers skip across the border to never be returned, no justice. Your kids will be left behind in Spanish speaking LA schools. They will probably become gang victims or gang members. 55% of the city is spanish only, you better learn the lingo.

You will pay the highest insurance rates in the country to cover the mayhem. Gas prices are $2.65 regular, $3.00 premium. Roads are so bad you need an SUV just to cross town without damage to your car. Rents are sky high. The ocean is so polluted you can't swim in it. All this to live in the capitol of the Third World???

I've only decribed the good stuff, don't get me started on the really bad stuff.
Like the corrupt police and mayor's office and the socialist wackos that are the city council, the continuous "assesments" which are ways of illegally raising your property tax.

Many are folding the tent and getting out. These are the Frogs that feel the increasing heat and jump from the pot of slowly heating water. Everyone I know that can has gotten out. Those that stay are a result of a job they don't want to give up or the property they don't/can't sell. You can see people at the freeway off-ramps holding signs, "Will mix for food".

My $.02, your "life" mileage may vary.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 13th July 2005
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by keyboardman
+ great if you like a a compressed dynamic range of weather
A weather assessment, in common gearslut terms heh . I love it. I've always bliked LA, but never had to work when I was out there(only there for NAMM, gigs, vacation, etc.). New York is damn expensive already, so if I chose to move out there, I doubt the prices would kill me, but the driving everywhere could.
Old 13th July 2005
  #13
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mikey's Avatar
 

Ok Jim Williams has it right I've been here for 50 years
Old 13th July 2005
  #14
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Albert's Avatar
 

If you do decide to come out here, don't come with empty pockets. Make sure you have enough savings to get by for a while until you get some income going. That could be a while, depending on how much of a hustler you are and how lucky you are. Mostly the hustling part.

It's also best to come out here knowing people rather than arriving in town cold with no friends/associates. I made at least 4-5 visits to LA before I finally moved out. I had close friends, but even then the first year and a half was pretty rough.

However, if you seriously do plan on moving out here, then get started on it sooner rather than later. Since there is the time element of how long it takes to get going here, the sooner the better. By that I mean start making those trips out here to scope it out, if you haven't done that already. If you are already familiar with the area, then make the decision to take the plunge or not, and get on with it.
Old 13th July 2005
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Yeah, Bang is right, the chicks are hot, insecure and crazy. So you can have your pick of the litter but most (not all) are opportunity motivated and want something from you, it could be a place to 'crash' or it could be getting to know someone you know.

I'd like to refine what I said about the nice areas. Nice has changed to Calabasas and Thousand Oaks. Sherman Oaks and Encino used to be nice but anything on Ventura or North of Ventura Blvd is pretty filithy. That area is a pig pen and and that whole area used to be nice, now its just trashed. I remember the Pavillions on Kester used to be nice along with the area around the Amazon and all that. I really think people get desensitized to the mess.

Dont misinterpret what I'm going to say as racist, I'm stating it as fact and if you are easily offended, you'll fit in with most of the 'politically correct' in the L.A. area. There are a TON of illegals in L.A. and its only getting worse. The reason is that they are mostly all out of San Diego due to a high border patrol presence and have moved to L.A. wher they have a sanctuary city.

Jim Williams is right, be prepared to have you ass handed to you with taxes.

On the plus side, if you've got a ton of cash there is a ton to do and there are lots of cool people there once you weed out the opportunists.

One wd of advice, go there with a nice reserve in the bank and get a real job and let your studio grow.
Old 13th July 2005
  #16
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soultrane's Avatar
ok, i just moved from la to phx, az. it was important for me to be in la because of all the contacts i made.

what's great about la is the number of incredible musicians who will work for cheap while they're waiting for a tour. as an example, i used to hire one of the top drummers in the world, (actually was named top r&b drummer by modern drummer mag) for about $150 a gig (plus a rehearsal.) he was happy to have the gig, because he had a house in encino to pay for; la is a horrible place for a gigging musician unless you are going on auditions for tours and are a real gunslinger on your axe (ps. don't forget the high cheekbones and tattoos, without which, you will not get the gig...)

also from the production end, u can rent a u87 for 20 bucks, and they will deliver it about 2 hours after you've ordered it. if you're going to open a studio, go check out a place like track record, and realize that a place like that, w. basketball court, lounge, gold records on the wall, etc. goes for $800 a day.

downsides? well, here in phx, i'm paying the same amount for a 3 bedroom house w. a large backyard in a decent neighborhood that i payed for a studio apt. south of santa monica blvd and gower where the hottest chicks walking past were, on 2nd look, men.

l.a. is every bit as rough as nyc; bang says the girls look ez, and they are, but they are NOT that stupid for long, believe me. (as shakespeare said, there never was a beautiful woman without the gift to know it.) nyc chicks are actually much, much nicer, imo, and that's saying something about l.a; girls in la are, right down the line, extremely advancement oriented... when i first moved to la, i had a gorgeous singer say to me, "i'm f*ck!ng my way to the top, and you're the first rung on the ladder..."

bottom line; as a single guy, u will have a CRAP quality of life in l.a. unless you are NETTING $5k a month. that means putting $2500 in the bank every 2 weeks. and that's not an extravagent life, believe me. the clubs are great, but it's $12 to park, $10 for the cover, and $8 for the amstel light. its very possible to buy a couple of babies some drinks and you will go home NOT drunk, NOT laid, with NO digits and $125 lighter in the wallet. good times, eh?

now, if u can net $6k or more a month, well then, LA's the spot.
Old 13th July 2005
  #17
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Albert's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CorkyTart
So you can have your pick of the litter but most (not all) are opportunity motivated and want something from you, it could be a place to 'crash' or it could be getting to know someone you know.
This is absolutely, shockingly, coldly true. Underestimate this advice at your own peril and broken heart.

soultrane laid it out well too, real words there.

All this said, given time and putting together a circle of people you like and enjoy working with, you can find LA very rewarding. The sheer amount of talent here is amazing. Musician's, engineers, singers, writers, and on and on, you get spoiled very quickly when it comes to expecting a standard of performance from those you work with. Quality work and fast, you come to expect it.
Old 13th July 2005
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Urban life is urban life. You'll find people who don't speak English in lots of major cities, new york included. Its just that in LA instead of a million different nationalities, it focuses on one. Big deal. There are some really nice places, you can find two bedrooms in West Hollywood (and no its not all gay) for about 1500. As for the chicks, if they want to bang (love that word) for a few weeks and then move on to the next rung of the ladder, let em, it just leaves a vacancy for the newer chicks. Its LA, you need to get laid and get your carreer going, if you want a wife, move to Kansas. There's also a nightlife on every night of the week.. So after 9 hour mix sessions, its good to go have a beer and sing some Karaoke at Barneys and stare at some fake tits.

Steve
www.bangrecording.com
www.blacklinerock.com
Old 13th July 2005
  #19
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soultrane's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bang
Its LA, you need to get laid and get your carreer going, if you want a wife, move to Kansas. There's also a nightlife on every night of the week.. So after 9 hour mix sessions, its good to go have a beer and sing some Karaoke at Barneys and stare at some fake tits.

Steve
www.bangrecording.com
www.blacklinerock.com
bang u are cold man, straight ice!!!

but like i say, 2 beds for $1.5k, plus your car, plus GAS, plus food, plus etc. means you have to net $5k a month. do-able, but requires alot of hustle.

that's the funny thing about l.a.; in nyc, the second your foot hits the pavement in manhattan, u realize, "uh oh, better get my hustle on, right now."

l.a. seduces u a little bit. it says to you, yeah man, 80 degrees, top down, ladies everywhere, take it easy; and before you know it, you're broke and on your way out to upland or west covina (or gasp, phx, where it's 115 today...)

don't get fooled! u need a game plan when u make the move...
Old 13th July 2005
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
Amplove's Avatar
 

Entertainment capitol of the world. Tons and tons of opportunity, which is the reason people move out here.

Can be wonderful and very rewarding.

Can you muscle it?

Not for the weak and not for the wallflower.

If you've been thinking of doing it, you must know what it's all about.

Come on down.

j.
Old 14th July 2005
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Soultrane and Bang have yet to say one word I disagree with. One thing that I haven't seen mentioned or overlooked is that people are pussies there and have a hard time saying something to your face. Let me give you an example. In NYC if someone doesn't like a mix, they will tell you, in L.A. they will tell you its great and then tell their friends how it sucked when they leave. I've seen and head that quite a few times. Its real lame.

Now from a production standpoint, you can get great musicians for cheap, however, if you are the musician, you are praying for the work. %90 of the musicians I worked with pleaded poverty and asked for deals. What I would hear from the rappers was, "Yo, man, give me a deal and I'll tell all my people to call you." Id say that was great and when they started calling we would wk something out. Most of them did not reffer people, when they did, I hooked em up.

There has also been a GIANT rash of assholery that has come into L.A. The Strip used to be about getting drunk and banging chicks and about 7ish years ago the "Hip Hop Community" started coming around and ****ing **** up. A friend of mine got attacked and we went to file a police report and to make a long story short, the cop said that there was nothing he could do unless a 3rd party officer saw the 'incident' and warned my friend not to press charges because HE the one who got attacked could get sued. The cop asked me what yr I graduated High School and I said 1989 the quote he gave me was, "So were about the same age, it's not like the way it used to be up there (Sunset Strip) during the rock and roll days, we've got about 50 shootings a year up there and it used to be a handfull." You guys can do the math on that one.

On a fun note, some chick that I was banging turned out to be an Ex Heidi Fleiss call girl. I learned that by seeing her picture and profile in the LA Weekly. I was feaked at the time but as time went on, I realized that I didnt have to write a 20k check like Charlie Sheen.

L.A. is what it is.
Old 14th July 2005
  #22
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You have to watch out for crime everywhere in LA, even in the nice sections of Hollywood, I've had friends who have been robbed..

On a positive, its much more unlikely you'd get in a bar fight in LA then anyplace I've been to... too many wannbee actors are worried about their faces. In Boston, one out of every five times I went out, I'd come back with some kind of scuff from the night's brawl. I might even miss that.. Maybe not though. Not to beat a dead horse, but I just came back from buying some food at Ralphs which is the food joint here, and its quite amazing how many beautiful girls I saw there alone.. and its a damn food store. And another thing about women in LA is that they can look 25 well into their 30s. Not bad.

Steve
www.bangrecording.com
www.blacklinerock.com
Old 14th July 2005
  #23
Gear Addict
 
EngineEars's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CorkyTart
Soultrane and Bang have yet to say one word I disagree with. One thing that I haven't seen mentioned or overlooked is that people are pussies there and have a hard time saying something to your face. Let me give you an example. In NYC if someone doesn't like a mix, they will tell you, in L.A. they will tell you its great and then tell their friends how it sucked when they leave. I've seen and head that quite a few times. Its real lame.
When people are being "Hollywood" is definitely is hard to no where the hell they are coming from. Your mixes/productions aren't judged on what they are, they are judged on what you drive, your girl's bra size and who's in your club? I'd suggest watching the show on "Entourage" on HBO and see if you would fit well in circles of those type before moving here for the entertainment industry.
Old 14th July 2005
  #24
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syra's Avatar
Quote:
So after 9 hour mix sessions, its good to go have a beer and sing some Karaoke at Barneys and stare at some fake tits.
That pretty much sums up my life around here (...getting a bit too old for Barneys though...well...can't beat drinking for free) heh heh
Old 14th July 2005
  #25
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Albert's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bang
You have to watch out for crime everywhere in LA, even in the nice sections of Hollywood, I've had friends who have been robbed..
"Nice section" of Hollywood? Where the heck is that?

I know what you mean though. I used to live in Hollywood and early in the morning I would hear the automatic gunfire going off down the street. And the ubiquitous helicopters of course.

One night, I was walking along the Hollywood Blvd. (in a supposedly good section), and a couple guys came up behind me and told me they had a gun and to give them my wallet. I didn't, and somehow managed to live to tell about it. Although I was told by a number of friends that next time to cool it and give up the wallet, that I got lucky.

I used to shop at the "rock and roll Ralph's" on Sunset, as I lived near there. Usually late at night was when I would get there, and that was always a very interesting experience. I don't know what it is like now, since the remodel.
Old 14th July 2005
  #26
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams
As I was born and raised in LA, I have a long time perspective on the place. I left LA for Carlsbad last year. My quality of life has gone up bigtime. It was once the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family. It was the land of "Father Knows Best" and "The Brady Bunch".

It's now the land of "Escape From LA".

The shinning city on a hill has been reduced to a Third World s**thole where non citizens run the show.

Pack a gun and carry it in your car. 40% of LA residents carry a gun. Freeway shootings are daily. The cops won't do anything but call the coroner for you after you're cold. Murderers skip across the border to never be returned, no justice. Your kids will be left behind in Spanish speaking LA schools. They will probably become gang victims or gang members. 55% of the city is spanish only, you better learn the lingo.

You will pay the highest insurance rates in the country to cover the mayhem. Gas prices are $2.65 regular, $3.00 premium. Roads are so bad you need an SUV just to cross town without damage to your car. Rents are sky high. The ocean is so polluted you can't swim in it. All this to live in the capitol of the Third World???

I've only decribed the good stuff, don't get me started on the really bad stuff.
Like the corrupt police and mayor's office and the socialist wackos that are the city council, the continuous "assesments" which are ways of illegally raising your property tax.

Many are folding the tent and getting out. These are the Frogs that feel the increasing heat and jump from the pot of slowly heating water. Everyone I know that can has gotten out. Those that stay are a result of a job they don't want to give up or the property they don't/can't sell. You can see people at the freeway off-ramps holding signs, "Will mix for food".

My $.02, your "life" mileage may vary.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Yikes!

40% of people "Carry a gun"? Or just own one? Are you just making that up or is this a real statistic? Maybe in south central I could even imagine coming close to that percentage.

BTW, I'm a "Non-Citizen", not sure if I'm "Running the Show" as you say, but I am sure that as a legal resident alien, I pay my state and federal taxes, had to sign up for the draft when I turned 18 and have never been arrested...or even fired from a job. Not to mention that since I'm not a Citizen, I can't vote for ****....so that part of "Running the show" is at least taken away from me.

I hope I have a good page in your book to lay in Jim.

Look, L.A. is a friggin HUGE city. With Huge cities there are huge #'s of people. ****, there's a good 15 Million + in the larger metro L.A. area. Lately we have been having a rash of car shootings almost every day for a few weeks, but it was unusual, hence the immense news coverage. When you factor that a car shooting will be the top news story if it happens in an area that is populated by 15 Million people, you have to look at the statistics per person. BTW, in 2004 we had 36 fwy shootings…hardly a one-a-day-for-a-year statistic. For this year, up to May 1st, there were 11 fwy shootings with 2 fatalities (nothing like the internet for quick research!). Not to mention that random fwy shootings like this tend to be committed by maybe the same 1 or 2 people or group (with the exception of the road rage shootings).
Jim, lay off the 24hr news coverage.

I've lived here most of my life (probably a good 30+ years in L.A.) and have certainly seen changes...good and bad. Heck, if I was as disappointed as Jim, I would leave too. For that, I commend Jim, no one should live anywhere the don't want to.

I've also seen a major decline in the Hollywood area....that part of L.A. has been declining for years....with the exception of the better off folks in the expensive hills. Traffic in Hollywood has really gotten tremendous too. Too much development in the Megaplexes/malls/shops/disneyland crap...and not enough streets to handle the traffic. Good for business, bad for residents.

One thing is for sure: There are still nice places in L.A. to live, but they are getting harder to find and more expensive to live in. I think I live in one of those fortunate areas that is metro, but clean, relatively safe (for a city) and has the community spirit going on. I walk to my stores and find life pleasant and bohemian like, if you will.

Jim seems to be exaggerating a bit, or is at least truly enraged by the changes going on. I went to public school here but wasn't left behind, I've lived in Latin American countries, but don't speak spanish.

As for those that can't sell their properties: It's not for lack of profit potential. Unless your home is truly in the Ghetto, you're sitting on a goldmine...$300k+ at the minimum, $500k + as the average. Those prices aren’t at that level 'cos people are leaving in a mass exodus. In fact, I actually would wish a million or so would move out and bring property prices back down to realistic levels. Yes Jim, I'm looking to buy in a year or 2 when prices should come down a bit, I'm staying for good.

Actually Jim, If you know anyone with a medium size project studio/live-in potential that wants to "get out", I have $$$ to help them in their Escape from L.A.!

(That's a serious request BTW).

And yes, Like Jim says, your mileage will vary....just showing that I get different mileage than Jim.

All is good.



Fleaman
Old 14th July 2005
  #27
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superburtm's Avatar
 

traffic blows ass in LA!
Old 14th July 2005
  #28
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The last 3 months I lived in L.A. I saw 3 fights. The one guy that attacked my friend at the Cat Club that I mentioned. One at The Sagebrush Cantina and one guy tried starting a fight with me at the Rainbow (Metal night out) Ok, well thats two but still...
Old 14th July 2005
  #29
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

Funny thing about fights; I've only been in a couple in Elementary school and the 1 semester I went to Jr. High (wasn't in this country at that time). Not 1 in High school (Urban L.A. City school). I'm a small guy, so it's not like I didn't get picked on and/or am not an easy target then or now.

I have a friend that I've known since he was 10 years old when we met in Ventura Marina North of L.A. county (known to be safe up there). He's a big guy, 6ft+, grew up in the 'burbs of high end woodland hills, parents had a yacht in Ventura Marina and lived in the desirable areas of Santa Barbara and Hawaii. He's been mugged 3 times, twice in Hawaii and once in Santa Barbara. Yet, he was once scared to visit me in my urban L.A. home, thought he would instantly get robbed as T.V. news was all the knowledge of L.A that he know of.

I've never been mugged and it's not for the reason of hiding inside. I went everywhere, foot, bike, whatever. Little guy like me, never been bothered.

Maybe I'm lucky.

Maybe living in an Urban area (not the ghetto) ain't as dangerous as T.V. makes it out to be.

Not that it's Martha's Vineyard, but if Martha's Vineyard had 15 Million residents....

BTW, now that my friend has actually spent some time in L.A., he's not afraid of it anymore. It's not Santa Barbara after all



Fleaman
Old 14th July 2005
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 

BTW, I try to stay out of Hollywood and West Hollywood at all costs. I can't even stand the high end bling of the places like Skybar and Mondrian (don't know how that's spelled). I had to got there last Sat. for a friends B-day...all those high rollers and wanna-be high rollers make me sick.

I've really turned into an eastside snob these days and have yet to feel any loss from the westside, in any way.

I agree with you on the Sunset strip thing Corky.

Fleaman
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