Thursday, February 11, 2016

Schulenberg's Page: Los Angeles, Part XLVI

Schulenberg's Page: Paris, Part XLVI
Text and illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg


October, 1964: I'm going to skip ahead to when, having left Paris, I came back to Los Angeles which had become, in the interim, somewhat unfamiliar to me.

I visited with friends that I hadn't seen since before I moved to New York and I soon met with my UCLA friend, Carole Gister, who'd also lived in New York but had moved back to Los Angeles. The fact that, for a time, she'd become a New Yorker made my transition feel less abrupt.
We went to a coffee shop in Hollywood. And while Hollywood had nothing in common with Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the coffee shop was nothing like the Cafe Flore, the people-watching was not bad.
Something that I'd have taken for granted years before seemed very exotic and strange to me after being "a Parisian" for several years.

The "Continental Hamburger of the Week" promotional badges were hilarious to me, and everyone who worked there wore one.
It was different from the formality of the French waiters.
Although the elegant Brasserie Lipp (above) couldn't be compared to the seedy Carolina Pines Coffee Shop, even the cafe waiters in Paris dressed rather formally. And no promotional badges!
It was a strange feeling to be in my hometown, the place my whole family had lived for almost a century, and to be looking at it as an unfamiliar place. I was having a re-entry problem!
It was interesting: I could look at people in a way that was somewhat objective, but I could also see qualities that were unique to the place, Hollywood. Los Angeles in general.
A woman in a bright sequined skirt in the afternoon worn with a hooded kind of sports parka. I had to catch this quickly!
I came back the next day to see what it was like earlier in the day.
And I had a feeling that male "escorts" frequented the place, too. As Paul Bartel had once said of another place, there appeared to be "old dogs looking for new tricks!"
On the Sunset Strip, Cyrano, a smart European-style coffee house had opened and was being described as the new place to see and be seen — so I went to see.
I went with a UCLA fraternity brother and we watched. This wasn't the elegant European-style coffee house crowd we were expecting; it was as if the Carolina Pines people had put on even glitzier clothes that cost a little more and come on over.
And then there was Rueben's, which like Reuben's in the old Savoy Plaza Hotel in New York, was open 24 hours. I wonder now if the difference in spelling was to avoid copyright disputes.
This woman was wearing a very short skirt but mini-skirts were still a few years away. She didn't appear to be someone who was Fashion Forward, so it just looked provocative!
Everything and everyone so far seemed to have a brash and vaguely seedy quality. Had I been spoiled by France — or was I just a snob?
Perhaps.
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