I read this story in the NYT a few days ago, but it’s stayed in the back of my mind, accompanied by a weird distaste. The writer ID’s a “trend” among the children of Hollywood elites: playing music, having shows in each other’s luxe backyards, slumming at thrift stores for hipster threads.
Indie music has a long and storied history in Southern California…continuing today at popular all-age sites like the Smell in downtown Los Angeles and Pehrspace near Echo Park.
But to veterans of this scene and the latest crop of show-going kids, elements of the city’s music landscape have lately been skewing even younger and emanating from tonier enclaves, like Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood and Hancock Park.
Where is this animosity in me coming from? Am I just jealous of how these trust-fund kids can pursue their PBR wishes and record-crate dreams? Or am I annoyed because this doesn’t…seem…newsworthy?
When I was working in print, they’d say “Three makes a trend.” Writer Jennifer Bleyer definitely name-checks more than three Industry spawn: Tallulah Willis (of Bruce); “Keely Dowd, the daughter of Jeff Dowd, a producer on whom the Coen brothers based the main character of ‘The Big Lebowski,’”; apparently the girls from The Like all sprang from the loins of Industry (music and movie) players; and, oh yes, “Michael Shuman, the bassist for Queens of the Stone Age who went to Campbell Hall, is the son of Ira Shuman, a producer of ‘Night at the Museum’ and the new ‘Pink Panther’ films.”
Bleyer tells a tale of a successful screenwriter who’s arranged for his son to continue his drum lessons during their summers in Italy. Which is great. Right? Good for him.
So why am I so annoyed? Am I just jealous? Should this article ever have been written? Haven’t the rich been indulging their kids’ dilettantisms for millenia? This isn’t a “trend.” This is business as usual.
I’m calling on the NYT to actually cover newsworthy scenes producing quality art–be it music or any other creative efflorescence–in LA. Stop going for the low-hanging fruit that only underscores your lack of familiarity with the cultural terrain. If this story even deserves to exist, it should have been about the music–not the pedigrees.