Live in the Moment.

Through the virtual sheet of postage stamps on my smartphone, I learned of an event, with music and men’s fashion, held last night at Rogue Collective at 305 S. Hewitt St. in the Arts District.

Due to the constraints of my domestic relationship, I drove down alone around 5pm, the most beautiful part of the day in late winter.

I sped down the 2, crawled on Glendale, accelerated on Sunset, turned onto Alameda and found a parking spot on E. 2nd St., now built fine with dark brick  loftettes where children under 30 live in $3,000 rooms and rent zip cars.

It was a cold night, a gorgeous night, and I had dressed up in wool plaid pants, a black turtleneck, a new wool zip cardigan sweater, and a gray wool beanie from 1995, along with suede lace up boots. I mention all this because I thought about how I would look at an event where every gesture and style would end up on the virtual sheet of postage stamps.

As I walked alone down S. Garey St. and E. 3rd St., past people eating ice cream in the cold, past the bright artworks and candlelit tables where people dined, it was like 30 years ago in New York City’s Soho.

Inside the Rogue Collective, site of the Gooch Collective, I saw the people from the virtual postage stamps.

I knew many. Nobody knew me.

@ethanmwong in beret

Credit: @ethanmwong

@ethanmwong was there, a stylish photographer who favors retro clothing from the early 1940s and reminded me of those Margaret Bourke White images of evacuated Japanese-Americans from the West Coast who wore high-waisted khakis, fedoras, cinched leather bomber jackets and double breasted suits on their way to prison camps.

I told him about “Out of the Past” (1947) and how his jacket reminded me of one worn by the sheriff.  He didn’t know the movie, but he looked as if he came from that time.

Rogelio 2 15 18 4

The host: limber, loose, effusive @goochybaby a tall, thin, bearded and handsome man who looks good in flood length trousers and anything else. He recently moved from San Francisco to Studio City.

The star performer was @goochybaby brother @joshuaraygooch another natty dresser, seemingly talented, who plays guitar and has great riffs and swinging, blunt cut hair. I wondered if the Gooch Brothers were related to writer Brad Gooch.

There was the guy who makes the fancy shoes  @2120handcrafted. He lives in Lincoln Heights and some of his shoes are upholstered with cow-hair. He recently wrote about his ventures on Facebook:

“The last few months have been amazing for 2120. Garret and I [me]. [We] have been selling at both the Rose Bowl Flea Market and Melrose Trading Post where we have connected with some amazing new customers. It’s simply just us enjoying our Sunday speaking to people about our shoes. Thank you all so much for the support and as always, feel free to join us today at Melrose.”


Tall, blond, long-haired photographer @bradleyjcalder was there in bell-bottoms and I asked him to try on a strangely gorgeous salmon colored jacket from @clutchgolf. I wondered if he was related to artist Alexander Calder.

In the virtual postage stamp rollout of friends, people who knew one another, people whom I just met, everyone was a friend, all had been inducted into a club where creatives supported creatives and all ventures were destined for success.

There was a link online, a chain of love, holding everyone together, every hashtag and heart was a gesture of affection and support.

To paraphrase Pharoah: “So it was posted. So it will be done.”

The cow-hair shoe man told me that the long-haired photographer, “an expert studio shooter” would be creating visuals for a new 2120 catalog. @goochybaby told me @ethanmwong was amazing and @ethanmwong told me we had to grab coffee.

I don’t think anybody that attended the event last night bought anything, such as the $200 shirts, $250 trousers or $80 candles or the exquisite, unconstructed salmon colored sportcoat. Or perhaps they did. I’m making assumptions…

One of the characteristics of young artsy life is that everything is a promotion, but nobody gets paid, so nobody can afford anything, but the virtual postage stamp rollout convinces the world you are dazzlingly successful.

In the end, I left, shaking hands, not hugging, retaining the vestiges of my generation where you only hugged people you knew and loved, mostly in private.

I walked back, alone, and passed an outdoor, black and white sign at Inko Nito restaurant which read:

Live in the moment. Savor the moment.

Holiday Inn Express, North Hollywood.

Sunrise Ford

Holiday Inn

One of the strangest juxtapositions of new development and old crap can be seen in the San Fernando Valley east of Lankershim on Burbank.

A new six-story Holiday Inn Express is going up on the south side of Burbank Blvd. within view of the “arts district” yet firmly within the auto zone of muffler, tire, transmission, oil change, lawnmower and auto sales dealers.

Imagine you are a naïve guest, perhaps from Iowa, who is coming to Los Angeles for the first time and you see this modernistic, multi-colored Mondrianlike building on Trip Advisor. You might be excused for believing that you had lucked into a real fine deal, a lovely, clean hotel with good rates right in the heart of North Hollywood.

Upon checking in, you drive up Lankershim, past Sunrise Ford with its bright red painted “Diesel Truck Repair Center”.



You go up to your room and look out and see V.A.S Auto Repair and John’s Lawn Mower with its garages full of grease monkeys changing oil, servicing radiators, and loading up pick up trucks with power equipment and lawn mowers.


If you are getting hungry, after walking through all the paint and gasoline fumes, and breathing in the smell of diesel, you can pick up something to drink at N. Hollywood Liquor where they accept EBT and can also cash your check for a fee.

$1 Taco

Smoke Shop

For a stroll you might stop by for a bite to eat at Tacos Manzano where Taco’s Tuesday is only $1. Or go directly next door to the Smoke Shop or Harry’s Auto Repair where the smog experts work behind cinderblock murals of Marlboro cigarettes and hookah. Pick up some pot at any of the medicinal pharmacies along the way. Marijuana is to modern Los Angeles what rice is to China.

Los Burritos

Quick Lane

If you don’t want burritos on the cheap you can have a more expensive burrito at Los Burritos or go across the street and get an American style burrito burger at Denny’s. If you crave nightlife you can go to El Zorro nightclub right next door to the Quick Lane Tire and Auto Center.

In another 50 years, a new generation of XXL’s  will waddle past here, orange drinks in hand, and wonder if that bad old motel with prostitutes and vagrants will ever be torn down.