When I got home I mixed a stiff one and stood by the open window in the living room and sipped it and listened to the groundswell of traffic on Laurel Canyon Boulevard and looked at the glare of the big angry city hanging over the shoulder of the hills through which the boulevard had been cut. Far off the banshee wail of police or fire sirens rose and fell, never for very long completely silent. Twenty four hours a day somebody is running, somebody else is trying to catch him. Out there in the night of a thousand crimes, people were dying, being maimed, cut by flying glass, crushed against steering wheels or under heavy tires. People were being beaten, robbed, strangled, raped, and murdered. People were hungry, sick; bored, desperate with loneliness or remorse or fear, angry, cruel, feverish, shaken by sobs. A city no worse than others, a city rich and vigorous and full of pride, a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness. It all depends on where you sit and what your own private score is. I didn't have one. I didn't care. I finished the drink and went to bed.
When I told my friends and family that I was leaving Stars to open a burrito shop in Denver, they thought I was crazy, but not long after the success of the first Chipotle, I knew I had to open just one more, so I opened a second one on Colorado Boulevard, which turned out to be even busier than the first.
When I got out of college in 1991, I had four jobs in four different parts of L.A. There was I Love Juicy, a smoothie bar in Venice, and the Videotheque on Sunset Boulevard, across from the old Tower Records. I was also an intern at the 'Los Angeles Reader' in the Miracle Mile and at 'High Performance' magazine downtown.
There was a time when I could walk down the street, Hollywood Boulevard or Beverly Drive, and somebody would come up to you and they would say, "Excuse me," and you'd barely hear them, and you'd turn around and you'd say, "Yeah, how you doing?" and they'd say, "I'm really sorry to bother you, but my aunt is a big fan of yours, and would you mind terribly if you'd just sign this paper," or whatever it is, and you're happy to do that, and the people are pretty nice about it.
Billy Bob Thornton
And really, the reason we think of death in celestial terms is that the visible firmament, especially at night (above our blacked-out Paris with the gaunt arches of its Boulevard Exelmans and the ceaseless Alpine gurgle of desolate latrines), is the most adequate and ever-present symbol of that vast silent explosion.
I slept in Uday Hussein's bed - that was just so strange. Went to Saddam's palace, was in a mortar attack - crazy stuff. And like three days later you're back in traffic on Sunset Boulevard. It's all kind of behind you, which is kind of perfect for a guy like me because I can take that and turn it into quite the tale.
Enormous oak trees towered over the boulevard, which boasted homes with fine woodwork, wraparound porches, and moss on the sidewalks. 'There's nothing like a house in New Orleans. Would you look at those balconies and columns?' He rolled his window down to take in the sounds of life in New Orleans.
I applied at Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard after my band broke up. I really wanted to work there because it involved the love of my life, music. It was also located on the world famous Sunset Strip, a place I dreamed of going to ever since I was a teenager in the 80's to become a rock star.
And if I were to open you up - would you see anything less remarkable? Less intricately dazzling, in its squelching, spongy way? Lungs and heart and spleen, and all the rest - ticking away, as it were? Yet you walk down the boulevard, and pass any number of such wonderful devices, all ticking away as they walk, and think it no great marvel.
K. W. Jeter
For many years now, my source for salvific chicken soup has been the Sanamluang Cafe on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Kingsley Drive: crystalline broth, flecks of fried garlic, and a moist, steamed bird nesting on thick rice noodles and bean sprouts has stanched many a misery.
I don't usually get star struck, but I met Sir Paul McCartney randomly on Sunset Boulevard a few years ago, and I lost it! I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think, and I didn't know how to speak. It was crazy. He was nice enough to talk to my family and me for 10 minutes, but I remember babbling away about nonsense.
If you've driven new cars all of your life, the term 'used vehicle' may conjure up images of a dusty old beater with missing hubcaps and no A/C, dragging a clattering muffler down the boulevard. Yes, such cars exist, but I am not advocating that you buy one. Besides the embarrassment, there are also safety concerns and additional maintenance costs associated with clunkers.
The sumptuous age of stars and images is reduced to a few artificial tornado effects, pathetic fake buildings, and childish tricks which the crowd pretends to be taken in by to avoid feeling too disappointed. Ghost towns, ghost people. The whole place has the same air of obsolescence about it as Sunset or Hollywood Boulevard.
I live in Los Angeles. It's a very liberal city, but it's so hypocritical in what it's liberal about. You can be driving down Hollywood Boulevard, see a guy in lipstick and high heels wearing a fur coat masturbating into a mailbox. People giving him a hard time as they drive by: Hey, is that real fur? Of course not! That's sick!
Have you ever watched the jet cars race on the boulevard?...I sometimes think drivers don't know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slowly...If you showed a driver a green blur, Oh yes! He'd say, that's grass! A pink blur! That's a rose garden! White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows.
The book was not new. Dates were stamped on the front endpaper, in and out dates. A rent book. A lending library of elaborate smut. I rewrapped the book and locked it up behind the seat. A racket like that, out in the open on the boulevard, seemed to mean plenty of protection. I sat there and poisoned myself with cigarette smoke and listened to the rain and thought about it.
I didn't have anything to do with selecting IFC. I don't have anything to do with distribution, or business, or marketing, but think it's a good choice by Graham, and perfect for London Boulevard. It gets the picture straight into a dialog with the public, and it doesn't set the sights too high. They're very hip at IFC, and they get the film. The cineplex hasn't done film any favors as an art form.
Imagine a life-form whose brainpower is to ours as ours is to a chimpanzee's. To such a species, our highest mental achievements would be trivial. Their toddlers, instead of learning their ABCs on Sesame Street, would learn multivariable calculus on Boolean Boulevard. Our most complex theorems, our deepest philosophies, the cherished works of our most creative artists, would be projects their schoolkids bring home for Mom and Dad to display on the refrigerator door.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I'M SO SO FRESH... YOUR PASSION BE MY... FOR YOUR THOUGHTS WONDER NIGHT WONDER WHY I'M SO FLY SO WHY YOU GOT A WONDER KNIFE WONDER DON'T TRY TO BE THE FRESHER IN THE FLIES NIGER GOING HARD NIGGER DYE HARD WENT TO A... REMEMBER NOW... TOLD ME OF A TERRORIST ATTACKING SHIT I REMEMBER NIGGER WHO HAS STARTED WHO ME? I'M THE FLYEST ON THE BOULEVARD EVERYWHERE YOU WANNA BE LIKE A VISA CARD EVERYWHERE YOU NIGGERS SEE ME WITH THE G GAME WITH THE L ON AN R... THROW YOUR HANDS UP LIKE A WEE GAME ... MAN YOU KNOW THE NAME AND I'M SO
Thee Tom Hardy
A valise without straps. A hole without a key. She had a German mouth, French ears, Russian ass. Cunt international. When the flag waved it was red all the way back to the throat. You entered on the Boulevard Jules-Ferry and came out at the Porte de la Villette. You dropped your sweetbreads into the tumbrils - red tumbrils with two wheels, naturally. At the confluence of the Ourcq and Marne, where the water sluices through the dikes and lies like glass under the bridges.
A LOT TO DO I CALL UP THE UNDERGROUND LET ME SPEAK TO THAT NIGGA LOU HE SAID, "TALIQ, WHATS UP MY MAN?" I GOT THIS NIGGA LOCKED DOWN WIT MY JOINT TO HIS GUN AND WORD UP HE GOT AN MAIL PRESS AIYYO MONEY WHAT'S THIS ADDRESS? 1245 BOULEVARD QUEENS, AND AND TELL MY MAN THEY TRY TO CARAVAN UNDERSTAND I'M ON A MISSION AND JUST BE NICE TO PACK SOME EXTRA AMMUNITION AND GET SOME PHILLIES FROM THE STORE AND PARK THE VAN ON THE CORNER AND YOU'RE COMIN THROUGH THE SIDE DOO
As the shabby section of the audience rose to its feet, waving its hats and food-wrappers, a rich, stale smell wafted through the auditorium. It had something of the fog on the boulevard outside, where the pavements were sticky with rain, but also something more intimate : it suggested old stew and course tobacco, the coat racks and bookshelves of a pawnshop, and damp straw mattresses impregnated with urine and patchouli. It was - as though the set designer had intended some ironical epilogue - the smell of the real Latin Quarter.
More than one branch of the avant-garde, claiming to break with the bourgeois vision and mode of production, remains tied to it in spite of its denials and ex-communications. We are far from having overcome bourgeois thought or practices, despite the socialist "intermission" between the Russian revolution and the collapse of the Berlin wall. The avant-garde has lost its radical nature. On the other hand, "bourgeois theatre" is sometimes subtle enough to flirt with the avant-garde or to make "intelligent boulevard theatre.
Giovanni had awakened an itch, had released a gnaw in me. I realized it one afternoon, when I was taking him to work via the Boulevard Montparnasse. We had bought a kilo of cherries and we were eating them as we walked along. We were both insufferably childish and high-spirited that afternoon and the spectacle we presented, two grown men jostling each other on the wide sidewalk and aiming the cherry pits, as though they were spitballs, into each other's faces, must have been outrageous. And I realized that such childishness was fantastic at my age and the happiness out of which it sprang yet more so; for that moment I really loved Giovanni, who had never seemed more beautiful than he was that afternoon.
I stopped in front of a florist's window. Behind me, the screeching and throbbing boulevard vanished. Gone, too, were the voices of newspaper vendors selling their daily poisoned flowers. Facing me, behind the glass curtain, a fairyland. Shining, plump carnations, with the pink voluptuousness of women about to reach maturity, poised for the first step of a sprightly dance; shamelessly lascivious gladioli; virginal branches of white lilac; roses lost in pure meditation, undecided between the metaphysical white and the unreal yellow of a sky after the rain.
We [black people] don't respect our elders. Besides artists, we don't respect Frederick Douglass. We don't respect Martin Luther King. You look at every Martin Luther King Boulevard out here, and it's a crack block. That's not because of white people. That's because of black leadership. We just have that problem, and it's something that I am going to spend the rest of my life trying to conquer.
He has spent weeks on the pristine, frosty shore of Lake Baikal in Siberia. He has drunk himself stupid in the fairy-tale blood brothels of old Dubrovnik, lounged in red-smoke dens in Laos, enjoyed the New York blackout of 1977, and more recently, feasted on Vegas showgirls in the Dean Martin suite at the Bellagio. He has watched Hindu abstainers wash away their sins in the Ganges, danced a midnight tango on a boulevard in Buenos Aires, and bitten into a faux geisha under the shade of a shogun pavilion in Kyoto.
Dear Ford, I think my Ford Explorer door is broken. It just won't close. I think this is because I don't have the rest of the Explorer, I only have the door. It's a passenger-side door, and I bought it from a passenger. Also, it doesn't seem to be able to lock. I think the latch isn't catching, or something. I think it's missing some crucial parts, and I'd like to order them from you. I need: one frame, four wheels, a body, another door, an engine, a steering wheel, and some of those air fresheners that you stick in the vents. And I'm feeling frisky with my money, so let me go ahead and order some brakes while I'm at it. You can send the bill to the Pizza Hut on San Jose Boulevard. They'll just deliver it to me, along with the pizza I just ordered. Thank you, Jarod Kintz
I'MMA CATCH YOU WIT YO PANTS DOWN SINCE YOU WAS TALKIN THAT SHIT YOU WAS HARD ON THE BOULEVARD NOW I'MMA BUCK THIS CLIP ON YOUR SELF I MAKE YOU SHIT WHEN ANTAGONIZED IF YOU DON'T REALIZE YOU MUST BE THE TYPE THAT LIKE SURPRISE I'LL RISE OUT THE HOOD ON CHROME SKATES PULL A TOP NOTCH BITCH AND FUCK HER ASS HARD ON THE FIRST DAY THROWIN IT AT ME WIT NO DEBATE BUT I AIN'T THE ONE TO BE TRUSTIN EM AIN'T FINNA GET ME FOR RAPE PUNK BITCH TRIED TO HAND ME A CASE UNTIL I DROPPED HER ON HER FACE BITCH!! TAKE THAT SHIT AND SKATE I RIDE WIT THESE REALAS THESE NIGGAS AIN'T NEVA FAKE DOPE DEALAS AND KILLAS WHATEVA PRODUCT COULD LACE ONE TIME I ALWAYS SHAKE SEE I'M HELLA FAST ON THAT ASS GET AWAY CLEAN MOST OF THE TIME COUNT ON THE CASH HATA NIGGAS I BAKE EM PLAYA NIGGA I MAKE EM MAJOR FIGGAS MY MIND IS UP ON GOLD DIGGAS I'LL SHAKE EM I'M THAT REAL NIGGA THAT REAL FIGGA THAT REAL NIGGA FROM THE FAKE CAUSE REAL NIGGA LOOK AT A FAKE NIGGA AND THEY ALWAYS TEND TO SHAKE CROSSED ME AT ONE TIME AND I TOLD YOU I'LL BE BUCKIN AT YOUR WAKE CAUSE WHEN I TELL YO ASS ONE TIME IT'S ALL IT TAKES HOW MANY RHYMES I'MMA HAVE TELL A CAT BITCH I AIN'T FAKE BETTA LISTEN TO THE MONEY HUNGRY ALBUM SHIT IT'S MONEY TO MAKE AND WHEN IT'S MONEY TO BE MAKIN' THAT MEAN IT'S MONEY TO BE TAKIN' SO WATCH YO BACK CAUSE I'MMA BE IN ALL BLACK THEIVIN LIKE GARY PAYTON
Brotha Lynch Hung
A weathered black and silver Dodge pickup towing a small motorboat pulled up behind us, and Alex circled back to greet the driver. I couldn't see who sat behind the crusted and dirty windshield, but Alex stood at the driver's window and pointed down the block where the boulevard disappeared into floodwater. The truck pulled ahead, maneuvered a deft U-turn, and backed toward the water. Alex motioned for me to follow. By the time I lurched my way to the truck, he and the pickup driver were sliding the boat down the trailer ramp. Sweat trickled down my neck, and if I hadn't been afraid of being poisoned by toxic sludge, I'd have made like a pig and wallowed in the mud to cool off. I kicked at a fire hydrant, trying to jolt some of the heaviest sludge off my boots, and heard a soft laugh behind me. With a final kick that sent a spray of brown gunk flying, I turned to see what was so funny. I needed a laugh. A man leaned against the side of the pickup with his arms crossed. He was a few inches shorter than Alex, maybe just shy of six feet, with sun-streaked blond hair that reached his collar and a sleeveless blue T-shirt and khaki shorts. His tanned legs between the bottom of the shorts and the top of sturdy black shrimp boots were scored with scars, bad ones, as if whatever made them meant to do serious damage. He'd been grinning when I turned around, flashing a heart-stopping set of dimples, but when he saw my eyes linger on his legs, the grin eased into something more wary.
To sit indoors was silly. I postponed the search for Savchenko and Ludmila till the next day and went wandering about Paris. The men wore bowlers, the women huge hats with feathers. On the cafe terraces lovers kissed unconcernedly - I stopped looking away. Students walked along the boulevard St. Michel. They walked in the middle of the street, holding up traffic, but no one dispersed them. At first I thought it was a demonstration - but no, they were simply enjoying themselves. Roasted chestnuts were being sold. Rain began to fall. The grass in the Luxembourg gardens was a tender green. In December! I was very hot in my lined coat. (I had left my boots and fur cap at the hotel.) There were bright posters everywhere. All the time I felt as though I were at the theatre. I have lived in Paris off and on for many years. Various events, snatches of conversation have become confused in my memory. But I remember well my first day there: the city electrified my. The most astonishing thing is that is has remained unchanged; Moscow is unrecognizable, but Paris is still as it was. When I come to Paris now, I feel inexpressibly sad - the city is the same, it is I who have changed. It is painful for me to walk along the familiar streets - they are the streets of my youth. Of course, the fiacres, the omnibuses, the steam-car disappeared long ago; you rarely see a cafe with red velvet or leather settees; only a few pissoirs are left - the rest have gone into hiding underground. But these, after all, are minor details. People still live out in the streets, lovers kiss wherever they please, no one takes any notice of anyone. The old houses haven't changed - what's another half a century to them; at their age it makes no difference. Say what you will, the world has changed, and so the Parisians, too, must be thinking of many things of which they had no inkling in the old days: the atom bomb, mass-production methods, Communism. But with their new thoughts they still remain Parisians, and I am sure that if an eighteen-year-old Soviet lad comes to Paris today he will raise his hands in astonishment, as I did in 1908: "A theatre!
Vor sechshundert Jahren besaeŸ die Pariser Medizinische Fakulte¤t die kleinste Bibliothek der Welt. Sie bestand aus einem Titel. Und diese Schrift war das Werk eines Arabers. Es war so kostbar, daeŸ noch Seine Allerchristliche Majeste¤t Ke¶nig Ludwig XI. zwe¶lf Mark in Silber und hundert Taler in Gold hinterlegen mueŸte, als er sich diesen Satz auslieh, damit seine Leibe¤rzte jederzeit eine Kopie als Nachschlagwerk bei me¶glichen Attacken auf die Allerhe¶chste Gesundheit zu Rate zu ziehen verme¶chten. Dieses Werk, das den ganzen Bestand der Bibliothek ausmachte, umfaeŸte aber auch die Fe¼lle des gesamten medizinischen Wissens seit den fre¼hesten Griechen - bis zum Jahre 925 n. Chr. Und da die folgenden vierhundert Jahre hierzulande so gut wie nichts dazu beigetragen hatten, wog dieser eine me¤chtige, strotzdende Gigant aus der Feder des Arabers tausendfach die bescheidenen, de¼nnbre¼stigen Schriften se¤mtlicher kle¶sterlichen Biblitotheken auf. Wie sehr die Pariser ihren Schatz zu we¼rdigen wueŸten, beweieŸt das Denkmal, das sie dem Andenken seines Autors im Auditorium maximum ihrer Medizinschule gewidmet haben. Heute haben die Studenten der e‰cole de Medecine te¤glich sein Bild und das eines anderen Arabers vor Augen, wenn sie sich in dem groeŸen He¶rsaal am Boulevard St. Germain des Pres versammeln. Rhases nannte ihn das Abendland. Die Araber nannten ihn ar-Rasi. Sein eigentlicher Name war Abu Bekr Muhammed ben Sakerija.
As I became older, I was given many masks to wear. I could be a laborer laying railroad tracks across the continent, with long hair in a queue to be pulled by pranksters; a gardener trimming the shrubs while secretly planting a bomb; a saboteur before the day of infamy at Pearl Harbor, signaling the Imperial Fleet; a kamikaze pilot donning his headband somberly, screaming 'Banzai' on my way to my death; a peasant with a broad-brimmed straw hat in a rice paddy on the other side of the world, stooped over to toil in the water; an obedient servant in the parlor, a houseboy too dignified for my own good; a washerman in the basement laundry, removing stains using an ancient secret; a tyrant intent on imposing my despotism on the democratic world, opposed by the free and the brave; a party cadre alongside many others, all of us clad in coordinated Mao jackets; a sniper camouflaged in the trees of the jungle, training my gunsights on G.I. Joe; a child running with a body burning from napalm, captured in an unforgettable photo; an enemy shot in the head or slaughtered by the villageful; one of the grooms in a mass wedding of couples, having met my mate the day before through our cult leader; an orphan in the last airlift out of a collapsed capital, ready to be adopted into the good life; a black belt martial artist breaking cinderblocks with his head, in an advertisement for Ginsu brand knives with the slogan 'but wait-there's more' as the commercial segued to show another free gift; a chef serving up dog stew, a trick on the unsuspecting diner; a bad driver swerving into the next lane, exactly as could be expected; a horny exchange student here for a year, eager to date the blonde cheerleader; a tourist visiting, clicking away with his camera, posing my family in front of the monuments and statues; a ping pong champion, wearing white tube socks pulled up too high and batting the ball with a wicked spin; a violin prodigy impressing the audience at Carnegie Hall, before taking a polite bow; a teen computer scientist, ready to make millions on an initial public offering before the company stock crashes; a gangster in sunglasses and a tight suit, embroiled in a turf war with the Sicilian mob; an urban greengrocer selling lunch by the pound, rudely returning change over the counter to the black patrons; a businessman with a briefcase of cash bribing a congressman, a corrupting influence on the electoral process; a salaryman on my way to work, crammed into the commuter train and loyal to the company; a shady doctor, trained in a foreign tradition with anatomical diagrams of the human body mapping the flow of life energy through a multitude of colored points; a calculus graduate student with thick glasses and a bad haircut, serving as a teaching assistant with an incomprehensible accent, scribbling on the chalkboard; an automobile enthusiast who customizes an imported car with a supercharged engine and Japanese decals in the rear window, cruising the boulevard looking for a drag race; a illegal alien crowded into the cargo hold of a smuggler's ship, defying death only to crowd into a New York City tenement and work as a slave in a sweatshop. My mother and my girl cousins were Madame Butterfly from the mail order bride catalog, dying in their service to the masculinity of the West, and the dragon lady in a kimono, taking vengeance for her sisters. They became the television newscaster, look-alikes with their flawlessly permed hair. Through these indelible images, I grew up. But when I looked in the mirror, I could not believe my own reflection because it was not like what I saw around me. Over the years, the world opened up. It has become a dizzying kaleidoscope of cultural fragments, arranged and rearranged without plan or order.
Frank H. Wu