The Rumpus Book Club, Where I Live #10: Frances M. Lopez


I leaped out of bed and ran to the front door. With a rush of urgency, I pulled the door open and saw nothing. Not a single thing. I could still hear them though; the shrill cries of small children screaming at the very top of their little lungs. I had to help them! A school bell rang and I remembered where I was. Right next to an elementary school. It took me a while to realize that I had moved out of my desert city in Arizona back home to the very city I grew up in. I always told people in college that I grew up in Los Angeles, which is technically true, but if you’re into specifics, then I am a Hollywood girl. Part of me always felt weird about telling people that I grew up in Hollywood. It had a lot to do with how people perceive that notion and how I thought they would in turn perceive me. No, I don’t live on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and no, I don’t see famous actors every day. I’m not the daughter of a big shot agent and no, I would not like a copy of your headshots.

To be fair, I grew up in Los Feliz (east Hollywood) a cozy, quiet neighborhood within a stone’s throw of the hipster enclaves of Silver Lake and Echo Park. It had all the amenities of those areas, but with quieter houses, higher real estate, and a prettier view of the Griffith Park Observatory. Looking back on things, when I was younger, Echo Park was nothing like it is now. It seemed more like a neighborhood that provided the most harmonious of unions to the likes of first and second generation Americans of Filipino and Latin American persuasions. The residue of said neighborhood still lingers around today, but with the addition of hip bars and nightclubs, American Apparells, and a place Angelinos like to pretend resembles New York-style pizza.

These days, I reside just west of my childhood home in a special neighborhood in Hollywood called Franklin Village. Some say that Franklin Village is as close as you’re going to get to a tiny slice of New York, but I don’t see it. Sure, we have a great block or two of delicious eats, two gourmet-centric grocery stores, a pet store, a dry cleaner, the oh-so-important late night coffee house and the critically acclaimed Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, but to me, this place is distinctly Hollywood. For one thing, we don’t get the kind of foot traffic that a block in NYC could boast. This is especially surprising since not even two blocks south of Franklin you’re thrown
into the chaos of the downtown Hollywood strip. Secondly, all of this rests in the shadows of the enormous vintage apartment complex which now houses the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center. How more L.A can you get than that?

Frances Lopez is a student and freelance journalist living in Los Angeles. When she's not hustling words for peanuts for Examiner or Village Voice Media, she plays shows around town under the moniker Stellaluna. Mostly, she blogs about food and eats too much while watching re-runs of food and travel shows on Netflix. More from this author →