Saturday, August 16, 2008

Simin in Los Angeles (December, 1952)

Stanford Village (Simin's letters 1952-3)
Eisenhower's role in 1953 (Simin's letters: Stanford Village 1951-52)
Simin and Jalal

I december 1952, Simin pays a visit to LA with the hope to meet a producer who might show an interest in some of her or her husband's work; but with the objective of learning about theater and cinema in America. Here are some of her impressions of Los Angeles and Hollywood.

page 206-207:
"yesterday, we left Stanford at 7:30, heading to Paolo Altos, and then off to LA on the highway ... We had fun, because the road was very smooth and the landscapes magnificent. The ocean on the right, pacific; and the woods on the left, palm, redwood, pine, oak and trees I don't even know their names. It had just rained. Air was clear and a mild sunshine. Weather like heaven and scenery enchanting. Some of the hills were covered with trees, others with just grass. The sea changed color; and the empty beach houses, laying around like a doll house. Completely uninhabited. Even a bird didn't fly. These were the vacation homes of the Hollywood stars. Trust me, this part of California is like a fairy town ... the entire 400 miles of road between Stanford and LA crossed through beautiful towns. We passed through San Jose, Santa Maria, Salinas (which you have read in Steinbeck), Santa Fresco and Santa Barbara. All were beautiful and magnificent. All had schools, churrches, excellent hospitals and big stores. Also, the university of California has a branch in Santa Barbara. How lucky are these people and what a country they have.

Don't worry dear. America's not absorbed me. But I can't deny how beautiful and rich it is, of both industry and nature.... How I envy them. Our country so run down, we are ruined to make these prosperous ... but I have to say that all of America looks almost alike because the big companies have a franchise every where.
This city is a cinema city. Hollywood and film studios are here. We passed through a famous garden where the Fox stdio is. They had made a fake sky. or a little indian city, with a model of Taj Mahal. like a doll house. As for Xmas decorations, they had reconstructed Jesus' birth and had put it in the Sunset street.
p 209
Here (in LA) I feel more lonely. Thank god I didn't transferm myself to here [from stanford]. Of course this is a very large city. But for what? The people where I am [Stanford Village] are more educated and smarter, i.e. more intellectual. These past few days, we have just been at home listening to nonsense. Of course on Tuesday, we went to the Metro Golden-Myre, with previous appointment.Of course, it was uniquely vast and I learned a lot about cinemtography techniques....
p 215
In LA, you can find all sorts of beauties, western and oriental, but all superficial... Prettiness, but not beauty, are cheap and accessible to all. The star's houses are like theater sets. The streets are decorated to make you think you are in a fairy city. But all of this artificial reconstructions are sickening.
my general impression of LA: a city like Hollywood. Fake, fooling, superficial and sprawling. They couldn't manage the garbage. At the corner of every street there was a big incinerator where people burned their trash at night. Therefore ,LA was a city of smog and sexual promiscuity. This is the Babylon of the 20th century. And this too, will be ruined like the Babylon of the ancient times.

1 comment:

DivaJood said...

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