Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reflections on My Unexpected Life in Downtown Los Angeles

Roosevet Lofts Finally Fully Finished & Fully Open!

After being one of the earlier projects to go south, the new owners of the Roosevelt lofts at 7th & Flower have just spent $5 million dollars and have now opened the final 71 of 222 residences.  Rents are now a once unimaginable $2.60 to $3.50 a foot, higher than most office leases in older buildings.

And that's a hell of a lot higher than when I, after trying out two other spaces on the 3rd and 11th floors - paid when I occupied much of the 7th floor during the 1990's before any of the new loft buildings had opened.

When I first began my move down her in 1996/1997 (after an aborted attempt to make the move in 1993), I stayed in places on Spring and then on Main before moving to the 95% vacant Roosevelt. It was then the only place that could hold my library, film production space, offices and wrestling mat.

Other than a few copying companies in the building (which did briefs for law firms 24/7), there were just a few of us artist types and we all used Gold's across the street to shower and were nightly entertained by explosions at the end of  Wilshire where movie companies blew up stuff on a regular basis because no one else lived anywhere near there and since Wilshire dead ended one block away, there was no through traffic that needed to be diverted.

We also then shared the building with the LAPD SWAT team who were directly above me and it was not uncommon to see them rappelling past our windows during their exercises - or for us to be in an elevator and suddenly have six very large and very armed men join us for the rest of our ride.

And once one of them checked out my wrestling mat and determined he didn't have to worry about 'accidentally breaking me', I soon had plenty of workout partners.

I soon shot the first of the many movies I had planned to make Downtown, started the final edit of my novel and unexpectedly began my memoirs when one night, when my almost forgotten pasts suddenly came back to life.

But all too soon, after an injury ended my grappling, my dopamine crashed - hard - and suddenly, I found myself living on the streets and it was quite some time before I began to rebuild my life into what it has become today - life with no more films yet made, a novel still needs that final edit and my memoirs yet unfinished.

Now I have to confess there are times when I think back to those early and now so distant seeming days and wonder if I could change what had happened back then and if I could have instead stayed on the path I had then set for myself rather than the the unexpected  path I have followed.  And there are times when I wake up in the morning and wish that had been possible.

But then the phone starts to ring, the emails start to flow and I then realize that even if I had it to do all over again, I would still do the same thing.

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