I could hear everything, together with the hum of my hotel neon. I never felt sadder in my life. LA is the loneliest and most brutal of American cities; New York gets godawful cold in the winter but there’s a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in some streets. LA is a jungle.
Listen, those of us who live in Los Angeles or somewhere close by (because the city sprawls and sprawls and if you don’t live there now, it just might subsume you in a few years) understand what you think about LA. We get that you joke about how it’s ugly and flat and fake. But we didn’t come here for scenery or topography or even reality. We came to dream. We came to be weird.
Most of all, we came because — to quote a movie about dreamers — this is where it’s “alllllllllll happpening!”
That’s not to say that what’s happening will always be in the shiny buildings or historic theaters. What’s happening won’t always be served up on Hollywood and Vine. Sometimes the real action is hidden away — tucked down in the basements of dive bars or jammed into the back rooms of art galleries. That’s what Kensington Presents is all about. Making freshness in LA’s forgotten spaces.
Some of those spaces are made available through the kindness of the California State Parks Department — who were all too eager to find ways to activate underutilized city property.
“We’re big believers in the value of getting together,” says Mathieu Young, co-founder of Kensington Presents. “If we do have a philosophy, it’s about getting out of our houses, out of our heads, getting into unique spaces, exploring our city, and being in community with each other.”
This is how LA is served best — on the fringes, under the viaducts, and alongside the train tracks. This is where the dreamers come alive.