BACK FROM LA LA LAND: Hello, readers. I arrived back in Atlanta late last night from my visit to Los Angeles. Everyone has been emailing for an account of the trip, so I'm posting it here.

Well, first off traffic is nightmarish. Atlanta doesn't even have traffic compared to this. I takes 25 minutes to get to a supermarket that's a couple of miles up the road kinda traffic. I have never sat in so much traffic in my life. On Saturday afternoon when my best friend Tina picked me up at the airport, the 405 was just backed up by the volume of traffic. We sat for an hour trying to get to her place.

I haven't really processed what the city is like. It's fucking huge beyond imagination...just sprawling out everywhere. You have this mix of old and new architecture that slams right up against each other. Tina's house has been remodeled but its still old as hell. They dont insulate windows out there so basically you just have these panes of glass that move back and forth to open the window. The weather was nice most days, except Wednesday when it rained and you would have thought a hurricane was coming. It's kinda like Atlanta when there is even a hint of snow.

The people were really nice, which I didn't expect. There are some gorgeous places outside LA like Redondo Beach and down in Orange County. The city is just a big sprawl. Hollywood Blvd is like Bourbon Street turned up about 5,000 degrees, minus the booze. It's one long tourist trap.

Tina basically drove me by all the major sites. It was so weird because you've seen all these icons so many times on tv that seeing them for real is no big whoop. Oh, look, the Hollywood sign. Oh, look, the Chinese Theatre. Oh, look, the Staples Center. It's just no big deal. Laurel Canyon is interesting (and Tina loves to take all those curves sharp and fast), but I couldn't help thinking that one day the big earthquake is gonna hit and everything up in the Hollywood hills is going to be either down in the valley or rushing down into Hollywood proper.

West Hollywood (WeHo) is cool. It's sooooooooo gay. We went to a fun club there called Rage which had plenty of eye candy. Ate at a couple of great little restaurants including Hamburger Mary, the French Quarter and my favorite was this placed call Mani's over on Fairfax that Cecilia Woloch took me to twice. Did a little shopping, nothing extravagant. Went to the Beverly Center...woo-hooo. Saw that movie The Dreamers, which was just so-so but oh, my, there was hot sex going on. Bernardo does like his kinky sex. Michael Pitt is a great actor and he's not ashamed to show off what he's got. Definitely a future star, sorta in the River Phoenix mold (but hopefully without the fatal drug habit). These two old women were sitting behind us in the theater going, "oh my god...this is porn...this is nothing but porn." Obviously these ladies have not seen real porn.

The readings from Better To Travel were a smash. We had about 30 or 40 people each night. I sold books. It was just fun. Ben and Steve down at the Ugly Mug in Orange were a delight. They have nicknamed me the "Pam Grier of poetry," mainly because of this new poem I have called "Why I Want To Be Pam Grier." It's being published later this spring in Blaze. Larry Colker at the Redondo Poets was so kind and enthusiastic about me being there. The readings were just lovely and I thank everyone involved, including Cecilia who helped make all this possible.

While I didn't hate LA, I could just tell it's not my kind of place. It doesn't give me the vibe that places like London, Paris and New Orleans give me. Of course I was only there for five days and it was pretty hectic. I would like to go back again (when the next book comes out, perhaps) and stay a bit longer and see some things that are a little off the map.

That's all for now. I may have more recollections later, but for now, I have tons of laundry to do. Cheers. Oh, one other thing, while I was in WeHo, I stopped by A Different Light bookstore and found the new issue of the Gay & Lesbian Review. I have a review of Marshall Moore's novel The Concrete Sky in the new issue and there is a mentionof Better To Travel as well. It was very cool to find that while I was out in LA. I'm coast to coast now, babies. :)


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