Moby’s Essay on New York, Los Angeles and the Freedom to Fail

February 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

The year before last, I wrote a couple of pieces about New York and Los Angeles and their shifting fortunes as artistic capitals:

https://underthehollywoodsign.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/apples-and-oranges-the-pointlessness-of-comparing-los-angeles-to-new-york-and-the-comparison-that-fits/

https://underthehollywoodsign.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/no-more-la-la-land-part-i-changing-references-to-los-angeles-in-the-new-york-times/

Today I read an essay by Moby that beautifully describes the mutability and wildness of Los Angeles as well as its artistic ferment. About his reasons for moving here from New York, he writes:

There’s a sense that New Yorkers never fail, but if they do, they’re exorcised from memory, kind of like Trotsky in early pictures of the Soviet Communist Politburo. In New York you can be easily overwhelmed by how much success everyone else seems to be having, whereas in L.A., everybody publicly fails at some point—even the most successful people. A writer’s screenplay may be turned into a major movie, but there’s a good chance her next five screenplays won’t even get picked up. An actor may star in acclaimed films for two years, then go a decade without work. A musician who has sold well might put out a complete failure of a record—then bounce back with the next one. Experimentation and a grudging familiarity with occasional failure are part of L.A.’s ethos.

Maybe I’m romanticizing failure, but when it’s shared, it can be emancipating and even create solidarity.

The full essay can be seen here:

http://creativetimereports.org/2014/02/03/moby-los-angeles-first-city-of-the-apocalypse/

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