The house was built in the 1920’s, a classic Los Angeles mansion during its time. The kind of place a wealthy movie producer or oilman would have raised his family. But times changed and with them the neighborhood around the house transformed. Downtown quickly became a less than desirable address as the money migrated towards the sea. But there I stood last Saturday night, inside a magnificent old home off Crenshaw.
Forty plus people had gathered for the house warming party. The hosts were five girls who recently graduated from the University of Arizona, and naturally floated towards the glamour of Los Angeles. The guests hailed from New York, Texas or Florida, but all of us had a few striking similarities: Everyone had graduated from college and was somehow drawn to Los Angeles. All of us were stuck between the ceaseless social excitement of our college days and the grim realities of the “real world” that lay at the end of this summer…or the next. This is what the early twenties look like on the West side of Los Angeles, in Manhattan and South Florida. This is my generation.
Looking at the legions of batty-eyed blondes and polo wearing, post fraternal bros, I was reminded of another generation, the one that was around when this house was first constructed: The Lost Generation of the 1920’s. It was Saturday night and I could have just as easily been standing in Jay Gatsby’s back yard in West Egg. Licentious laughter, cursory connections and the taste of alcohol filled the room. The material mindset so ingrained that the Blackberry or iPhone, Mercedes or Lexus, Balenciaga or Chloe was only noticed in absentia. Like this we play, the Gatsbys and Carraways, Lady Ashleys and Daisys of my generation.