Crickets at the Symphony, This Week in LA, Volume XI

Crickets at the Symphony, This Week in LA, Volume XI


Oscar Wilde once said “In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever.”

My play on his statement would be something like this. In Los Angeles, entertainment trends come and go, but people who own real estate make money forever and ever. It may not have felt so in the last several years in the market downturn, but anyone who’s read Kevin Starr’s Material Dreams knows that the biggest hustle has been the city’s sale of the easy life to Americans all parts east of here. They came, bought homes and propelled the rise of Los Angeles from America’s 36th largest city in 1900 to the second largest today, to say nothing of the population of the metro area. Tellingly, the moniker of that most famous metonym, Hollywood, actually started as an advertisement for a real estate development called Hollywoodland.

So, as an homage to that history I decided the first blog post under the new Hustlers in Paradise header should begin there. On Tuesday night I attended the Best Los Angeles Real Estate Club meeting which occurred at ArtShare in the Arts District. After opening with an update on area trends (Sales are Up! Prices are Up! Foreclosures are Down!) and then an extended commercial discussion about the tax services offered by the event’s sponsor, David Tilney presented on the topic of finding the right tenants for single family homes.

Tilney looked like a relative at Thanksgiving, wearing a slightly goofy tie with Dockers pants, but the effect was endearing. He spoke credibly on a number of issues from his thirty years of experience renting and managing single family homes in the Colorado Springs area. He has several ideas that challenge paradigms in the residential real estate market. Chiefly, he selects tenants like someone hiring an employee (rather than on a first-come first served basis) and provides a discretionary incentive payment at the end of the lease. Carrots he said, work better than sticks. Notably his application includes an area inquiring on whether a prospective tenant has maintenance and mechanical skills.

I was quite impressed by his enthusiasm and how he bucked several conventional ways of doing business. I would urge any landlord renting out single family homes to review his application here. However, please send it to your counsel prior to implementing it completely in California.

On Wednesday, the city of Los Angeles celebrated its 232nd birthday and I braved the traffic and went all the way to Marina del Rey for the Venice Chamber of Commerce Happy Hour. I collected cards and mingled per usual. I met Courtney, an acupuncturist who I would link to here but she had given away all of her cards. She had just opened her office in Venice and asked me the classic small business question of whether she should organize her business as a corporation or limited liability company?

In the Godfather, on his daughter’s wedding day he must do all favors requested and perhaps in that spirit all Los Angeles lawyers should answer legal questions on the city’s birthday. So, I decided I would try to answer her question at that moment because I suspected an acupuncturist needed to organize as a professional corporation. What followed only proves that the practice of law should not occur on a smart phone screen while standing at a bar. Foolishly, I tried scouring scores of legal code right there but it required more careful review and cross-references. Ultimately I believe that an acupuncturist cannot organize a limited liability company and must instead incorporate as a professional corporation. For the full answer see my legal blog post on the subject here.

Several weeks ago I made the promise on this blog to continue reaching out to more people not like me. So on Thursday evening instead of attending the mixer of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce at L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills, I had purchased tickets for the mixer of the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce to occur at the Conga Room at L.A. Live. I walked across the plaza of L.A. Live slightly apprehensive that I would be the only white person in the room. I soon found these feelings were unfounded because . . . I was to be the only person in the room.

Turns out the organization had listed the wrong date in Eventbrite, where I had purchased my ticket without visiting the organization’s website. The mixer is actually set to occur next Thursday evening, which I cannot attend so I will have to check in on that hustle some other time. There may soon be a blog post on the subject of How Long Does it take to Receive a Refund from Eventbrite When the Event doesn’t Actually Exist . . . stay tuned!

In closing I’d like to end with a brief story from Hollywood Bowl a week ago. Soon after arriving I noticed one guest more than the others in the box seats across the aisle. Even by the demographic norms of attendees at the symphony, she stood out as, um, more mature than the others in the gray-haired set. There’s old and then there’s – I wonder how many times she had the opportunity to vote for FDR old?

She had colored her hair, which was thinning with age. For the night she had curls, the perfect round sort like Nellie Oleson in Little House on the Prairie, but these curls encircled her head like a crown. I couldn’t look longer without staring, but I had seen enough to imagine that this was her night out for the whole month. It would be hard to describe her without using the word adorable, though doing so troubles me because it removes dignity from her age.

The concert, Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto conducted by the expressive David Afkham began and a quiet descended over the Hollywood Bowl. Only a hum of chirping of crickets pierced the music and stillness until about thirty minutes in when I heard a high-pitched tone. It seemingly came from the area over my right shoulder, but also was inconsistent at first and of the sort where I wondered if only I could hear it. Perhaps even, it was inside my head.

But no. Soon others in the area started shifting uncomfortably, wondering about the squealing tone. So then I looked over my right shoulder and there she was, her head, curls and all, weaving emotionally with the music, her whole self enmeshed with the melodious sounds of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra. She sat there completely oblivious to her surroundings, which included the squealing and squeaking tone of her faltering hearing aid.

I have never once in my life wanted to be a nonagenarian at the symphony . . . but I have now added that to my bucket list. Something about her joy kept everyone in that area from informing her of the malfunction. To wit, we see Internet memes telling us to dance like no one’s watching and so on, but how often do we do it?

Los Angeles, California

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