Gurus, Rock Stars & the Men In Between invites you into my world from my years as a monk in India, to my life as a punk rock diva and beyond, peppered along the way by the men I've loved.

My blog features both excerpts from the book, and what I currently deem hot in realm of love, art and spirituality from the streets of New York City to beaches of Los Angeles, two cities I affectionately call home.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New York snark Vs L.A. nice

N.Y.C. Vs L.A.
snark Vs nice 

New Yorkers can be snarky when it comes to Los Angeles.  Sometimes it’s not even snark but rather a bona fide reaction to a successful smoke and mirrors campaign.  When it comes to the City of Angels, New Yorkers tend to lick the outside of the honey jar.  And frequently refuse even do that.  On occasion even the sweetest New Yorker can be heard uttering something along the lines of, “Yeah… it’s just that people from L.A. are sort of... shallow.”  It’s not true.  Or rather it can be, but it’s an illusion half the good people of L.A. are happy to perpetuate in a diabolical attempt to avoid a mass east coast exodus west.  It’s a similar scenario between Sydney and Melbourne (a microcosmic homage to bed pal America for anyone that cares).  Melbourne, our New York proxy has analogous opinions about Sydney-siders.  The good peeps of Sydney, like good Los Angelinas, hear the slander and just don’t give a crap. Maybe it’s that response alone that sends New Yorkers into a rage?  Remember, pot is legal in California.  No wonder, “it’s all good,” is part of Californian vernacular.

So the shallow part…  Absolutely.  There is an absolute repulsive, retch-inducing side to L.A.  It’s called Entourage and it’s got a few flavor variations.  Fake boobies.  Yeah.  Sunset Boulevard.  Yeah.  But doesn’t New York also have the Frying Pan and Wall Street?  (And all the clich├ęs that hitch along for those joy rides?)  Don’t get me started or I might have to mention a few other charmed spots in the Big Apple.

Los Angeles has something that New Yorkers enjoy, but perhaps too little: The humble house party.  No wonder New Yorkers think Los Angeles is full of douchebags.  Statistically, there are a large percentage of said douchebags out on the town on any given Saturday night.  (New Yorkers, does the term: Bridge and Tunnel ring a bell for anyone?)  Very few have been invited to the humble house party.  And if they are at a party, they’re at a douchebag’s house party like Heff’s.   If he were canine he’d be an Australian sheep dog, keeping the herd localized.  Thanks Heff.  In homes scattered all over Los Angeles, from historic Pasadena to nature’s Topanga Canyon; from Victorian mansions overlooking downtown in inner-city Angelina’s Heights Echo Park to Venice beach… and every where in between, good people are inviting their friends over to eat, drink, talk, dance, celebrate and get to know each other better.  It’s a rather nice human tradition.  The only problem is that you’ve got to be invited.  Los Angeles is a jewel opened through relationships.  If you’ve got fake titties, (and without malice,) you’re likely not invited to my party. I’m pretty sure you don’t even want to come. 

 L.A. has some of the best hiking a major city in the world can offer.  I’d be curious and open to suggestions where there is better – all things compared.   L.A. has great beaches.  They pale to Australia, but that’s a personal issue I have to deal with.  New York is a vortex that can forbid escape for months at a time.  Think of that feeling when you’re returning from a rare breakout to upstate New York.  You see Manhattan in the distance over the river, and it starts sucking you back in.  You can physically feel yourself being pulled (willingly mind you) into the vortex.  L.A.’s vortex is interrupted by gorgeous mountains and a Pacific ocean that consoles the frazzled with the promise that no matter how crazy the city can be, you can stand on her shore and let the negative-ion charged wind blow the crazy right out of you.  A true snarky New Yorker will hate me for even mentioning the term negative ions.

I recently went to a house party in New York; a fantastic ground floor garden apartment.  Of course it was in Brooklyn, because when one talks of anything fun in New York it’s probably happening in Brooklyn.  It was such a nice party with truly good people.  They were very New York, in every likable way.  But good people are good people.  Just like Americans as a whole need to travel more and enjoy meaningful experiences with other people in other countries, New Yorkers need to leave New York and just maybe pry the lid off the honey jar and get their fingers sticky.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Straightedge punk Vs Vaishnav monk - Gurus, Rock Stars & the Men In Between excerpt

They were the new soldiers of Straightedge, a movement of fresh-faced kids who reject drugs and impropriety. Their appearance and manner began as a mix of tough healthy jock and Leave it to Beaver goody-two-shoes nerd, but any chance of being called ‘pussies’ was made redundant by the mix of frantic, epilepsy-inducing music and angry, screaming vocals that could send even the Godfather of Punk, Johnny Rotten, sniveling into a corner begging for mercy.  Why so incensed to right the wrongs of the world, even he’s at a loss to explain.  For the most part they were just a bunch of rich white kids from the tri-state area.  But young raging hormones need only a hint of reason when seeking an alternative cause to champion, and Straightedge was born out of contrarianism to the current status quo.  In the 1960s and 70s, kids rejected parental dogma by embracing drugs and free love.  Decades later, Straightedge punks practice defiance by rejecting the very freedoms for which their Flower Power parents so valiantly fought.   

Straightedge is a floating ethos.  It doesn’t stop at drugs, but extends the ban to cigarettes, alcohol and in its extremes to meat-eating and casual sex.  Practiced with humility, I can see how the Straightedge movement is easily more constructive than most contemporary alternative youth cultures.  With their strict and puritanical rules, one can even draw similarities between an austere monk and a Straightedge punk.   If you group all these aspirants, monks and punks together into one, you can better divide them not by way of ideology, but rather by underlying intention.  One group is thoughtful, gaze introverted, with personal growth and service to humanity at its core.  The second hides behind dogma and uses the alliance to foster feelings of exclusivity, superiority and ego-based power.  No mortal is wholly innocent or diabolical.  Neither the faithful nor the revolutionary is exempt from the dualities of human nature.  All subcultures are microcosms of the macrocosm called humanity.  At the end of the day and on no matter whose team you play, many people are good, a few are bad, and a couple are just downright f-ugly.