Los Angeles is well-known for its tolerance of eccentricity. Dress however you want. Act however you want. Screech, burble, drool however you want. S’cool.
That tolerance is a double-edged sword, though, if you are actually trying to stand out.
Dog Star Man, for instance. You can see him performing in this goofy way almost every day right there in public on Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana, but does he ever gain the stardom he’s seeking? No. Not so much as a lifted eyebrow though he’s daubed both of his with mustard and ketchup. Your heart should break for him. But it doesn’t.
Why so flinty? Because it’s nothing new. Nathanael West wrote all about the peculiar sorrows of L.A. 70 years ago in Day of the Locust. You can read that bitter, depressing novella about human vanity if you want to become bitter and depressed about human vanity.
Or you can visit Dog Star Man on Ventura and ignore him like everyone else.
Miss Lonelyhearts & the Day of the Locust
by Nathanael West
(New Directions Publishing Corporation, Paperback, 191pp.)