Tuesday, June 21, 2005

“I’m not a whore!”

The Movie: Showgirls, 1995 (Joe Eszterhas, screenwriter; Paul Verhoeven, dir.)
Who says it: Elizabeth Berkley as aspiring showgirl Nomi Malone
The context: Nomi says this throughout the movie, as she works her way up from stripper to showgirl to – er – well-compensated companion to wealthy men. But she’s not a whore.
How to use it: When you know you’re making unacceptable compromises to your own self-esteem.

This line and this movie aren't really appropriate for this PG-13 blog... but the line is so appropriate for Los Angeles, and my friend Joseph loves it so much, that I have to use it.

The business of Los Angeles is turning art and inspiration into things that can be sold. The process isn't pretty or kind, although the alternative -- letting artists and performers starve, or depend on wealthy patrons -- isn't any better. And good work still gets done here, by people who refuse to pander or compromise on the important things.

People say that Los Angeles itself is ugly, but sometimes it takes your breath away. Last night I drove up the 405 from Venice to Westwood. A little before 9:00 p.m., it was still magic hour; the last of the sunset hung red in the western sky, and for once traffic was moving freely. All the lights had come on, and I had The Blue Nile on the car stereo (she saw the world and she wanted it all...).

I remembered why I came out here in the first place, why I stayed for five years. It's a beautiful dream, for about 15 minutes a day.

If you're near a computer today between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the one and only Tod Goldberg will be playing his unique mix on Pinky's Paperhaus. He promises that the playlist will include both Neil Diamond and Dr. Dre, and just for me, he'll play Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart." ("What are you, 16?" he asked. "Sometimes," I said.)

1 comment:

R. U. Serious said...

I can't tell you the number of times I've said that line.

Damned If I Know