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Ira Ryan is complaining about Los Angeles because that’s what he does and because we’re on a plane headed south to L.A. We land a little after six in the evening, Trystan Cobbett and his Black BMW wagon are parked just outside baggage claim. A half an hour later, we are all eating half a chicken from Versailles on Venice Boulevard. For $8.50 you get a full plate of beans, rice, fried ripe plantains and one half of a chicken – all of it dripping wet in citrus and garlic, and buried under a coiled slinky of sliced white onion. We finish quickly and stop at a Trader Joes in Culver City to stock up on sparkling water, tea and chocolate while on the way back to Trystan’s.
The ground floor of Tyrstan’s combination studio-apartment-compound is a functioning art gallery; inside the lights are on and five Latinas perched on ladders are hanging oversized oil paintings. Once upstairs we go about claiming beds and couches and negotiate shower times. Trystan returns to LAX to pick up our friend and photographer, I write for a bit and try to con Ira into sharing my vodka, he’s resistant but in the end compromises with a glass of wine. It’s not enough to sabotage him for tomorrow and now my own condition is in question - Ira is a rock. Trystan returns with Brian and we inexplicably stay up until 2:00am watching Spike Lee videos.
The next morning we load Trystan’s wagon under a classic Southern California sunrise before driving downtown to pick up Ryan Thompson from the Standard – a hotel that tries too hard to not appear as if it’s trying too hard. Ryan and bike hop in and on, respectively, and we head back west towards mid-Wilshire to get Cole Maness. On the way we stop at a national coffee franchise for the worst coffee and pastries outside of an airport any of us have ever had. The croissants are the size, texture and taste of a flotation device.