Moby is leaking L.A.'s secrets on his new architecture blog
The techno-musician Moby, an official Los Angeles resident since December 2010, is giving away our best secrets via his new architecture blog. We Angelenos are going to have to teach him why this is strictly against code. More on that in a moment, but first some background.
Once the consummate New Yorker who owned a vegetarian tea house on the Lower East Side, Moby purchased the Wolf's Lair, a broken-down castle in the Hollywood Hills for just shy of $4 million in 2010. Apparently, his newfound sobriety and sudden realization that New York is crazy-expensive prompted the move.
Welcome, Moby. We're glad to have you, but you've got to learn to keep your mouth shut about the hidden glories of Los Angeles.
The mononymous musician, who released his latest album "Destroyed" last year, has clearly been hiking in his neighborhood since he arrived, which is de rigueur for life in Los Angeles. (And yes, many of us call it a hike, even if it's a 45-minute walk -- there are hills!) An avid photographer who released an accompanying book of snapshots with his CD last year, mostly of poshly depressing international hotels, he's been shooting houses that run from the spectacular to the eerily banal and posting descriptions of them on his blog.
He's got a sharp eye, especially for what makes Los Angeles special. In an entry dated Feb. 7, in which he focuses on a "moorish early 20th century quasi-castle," Moby writes the following about the "anti-city city," in annoying lowercase letters that we've faithfully preserved:
"the center of l.a is usually pretty gross (or have you driven by pink dot on sunset at 2pm in the afternoon recently?) and the outskirts are usually pretty beautiful. underneath the grim surface of hollywood is some of the most interesting and odd and baffling urban architecture on the planet... if you’re inclined to dismiss l.a. as a place of unrelenting vapidity and generic 1980s architecture then you're doing yourself and l.a. a huge disservice and you’re just not looking hard enough."
That's quite enough, Moby!
Los Angeles has been working tirelessly to keep alive the myth that it's a vapid place with no culture, that our legs are atrophying from lack of perambulation, that we only live for silicone and smoothies. And here comes Moby from the East Coast, blowing our cover with his earnest fawning about the city's (relative) cheapness, its weird jumble of midcentury, country, Spanish and craftsman houses, its coyotes who "sound like lunatic banshees at 3 a.m."
Great, Moby. We're truly glad you're discovering and appreciating the wonders of Los Angeles. One of the best things about moving here is that you learn for yourself that the city is a fascinating and complicated collage, built out of hundreds of other cities or at least their most hopeful ideas (execution is, well, hit or miss). Nowhere is that collage more enticing than in its seemingly haphazard, endlessly varied architecture. But please, keep telling your New York friends that it's a vacuous hellhole with no charms. That's how we keep it (relatively) cheap around here.
-- Margaret Wappler
Photo: Moby, crouching on some architecture in 2008, location unknown. Credit: Deirdre O'Callaghan