Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NYC, Chicago, LA...Chicago loses.

Well, I'm a real Californian now, I suppose.  Got my picture taken for the state I.D. card yesterday.  Just waiting for the actual card now in the mail.  The process was shockingly simple.   Walked in, took a number, filled out a form, waited a few minutes, heard my number, showed them a birth certificate, posed for a picture and that was it.  In and out in 25 minutes.  Unbelievable.  In Chicago this would have taken me the entire day.  Like almost everything in Chicago, the DMV is filled with corruption and endless protocol.

I've lived in the three major theatre cities in this country:  New York from 1985 until 2000, Chicago from 2000 until 2009 and now Los Angeles.  New York remains not only my favorite of the big three, but also my favorite city in the world.  Nothing quite compares to the vitality of New York.  I used to tell people I had a love/hate relationship with New York.  There were some days when I awoke that I would rather be anywhere else in the world.  Other days I would rather be no place else in the world.  It's that kind of city.  The feeling of walking out of a Broadway theatre at 11:00 at night, midtown swarmed with traffic, people shoulder to shoulder on the sidewalks, energy everywhere.  Well, there's nothing quite like it.  I always felt a part of something in New York.  When I lived there I used to see those maps at kiosks around Times Square, the ones that show New York as this giant city and then attached a small map of the rest of the country.  Those maps were not an exaggeration.  That's really how one feels sometimes in that city.  The prevailing feeling that if it's not happening in New York, well, it's not happening at all.

As for Los Angeles, I'm starting to feel how pocketed this place is.  This place seems to be a massive connection of small towns.  Glendale and then Burbank and then Studio City and the North Hollywood and then West Hollywood and on and on.  The people here talk of going "over the hill," which means to head over to Los Angeles proper.  It literally means to go over a hill.  Angie and I live in a perfect replication of suburbia.  And yet we're minutes away from all the hot spots in the industry: NBC, Disney, Universal, as well as dozens of theaters.  It's a little surreal sometimes.  And of course, it's a car culture.  The connections are all via the 5, the 134, the 101, the 405, the 170, the 118, the whatever.  From my backyard I can see snow covered mountains if I stand next to out palm tree.  Disconcerting.

And Chicago.  Chicago is the most horrible place I've ever lived.  The entire city is incredibly corrupt.  The Chicago Police Department are armed thugs.  It is a racist and violent city.  A city with a chip on it's shoulder.  Ever trying to compete with New York.  Oddly, and I think this is mostly a defense mechanism, Chicagoans are fiercely loyal to their ugly city.  I think a lot of this braggadocio comes from the fact that they know they're stuck in a terrible place to live so they live in denial.  They constantly rave about the good things in that city (and trust me, there aren't very many).  From Mayor Daley to the lowly DMV clerk, everyone in that city is corrupt and angry.  And unlike the picture they like to paint to the other major cities in the nation, they're a rude lot.  Can't really blame them, I guess.  It's freezing in that city nine months out of the year.  In January and February it's actually physically dangerous to be outside for long periods of time because it's so cold.  Who in their right mind would want to live through that year after year?  Suffice to say, it is my least favorite place to live in the United States.  Unless I'm forced at gunpoint, I will never set foot in it again.

As for other places I've lived:  Sanibel, Florida - two thumbs up.  Angie and I want to retire there someday.  It's Eden.  Rochester, New York - The physically ugliest city in which I've ever spent time (although Rockford, IL, comes in a close second).  Rochester, also, has dreadful weather.  Roanoke and Richmond, VA, are great towns.  But no one cares.  Roanoke is a very pretty place...but it's people are, well...not exactly Mensa members, if you know what I mean.

None of this has anything to do with anything today.  Just random thoughts after my visit to the DMV.

And on an entirely unrelated subject, I'm putting down the cigarettes today.  The silent killer and all.  I may be tad difficult to live with for awhile.

See you tomorrow.