Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's Tough Living In L.A.

So says The Urban Man Marc Porter Zasada.
In his book Staying Human in L.A. -- a collection of his best short stories aired on KCRW -- Zasada paints a kaleidoscopic, humorous yet somewhat painful picture of what it takes to live and survive in Los Angeles: its beauty, its madness; the glitz and fakery; the start-over myth and mania; the struggle to make it, to look the part; the frustration of never quite making it big or high enough.

There is something bitter in Zasada's vignettes of the rat race so many Angelenos feel pressured to join because that's what you're supposed to do in L.A. -- unless you're obviously odd. As Lily Tomlin put it, "The problem with the rat race is that even if you win you're still a rat." But if you are odd enough to break free from the race, just sit back and enjoy the show, and the city. Therein lies the beauty of Zasada's collected stories: the sweet and sour irony of it all.
illustration via