4 Lessons ‘Swingers’ can teach you about Los Angeles

4 Lessons ‘Swingers’ can teach you about Los Angeles

By Alex Garofalo

The 1996 movie (with Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn) about a couple of struggling actors in Los Angeles is not a half bad orientation video for a LA semester…

The Driving

Everybody knows about the traffic…and it’s real, but a less mentioned symptom of the lack of public transportation in Los Angeles is when you go somewhere in a group, you end up caravaning everywhere, just like in the movie. Everybody has a car and everybody has to drive everywhere. Friday and Saturday nights end up being spent tailing each other down Highland, trying to find a place to park in Hollywood (which is worse than the traffic! I have the parking tickets to prove it) and then following each other back at the end of the night.

“For some reason, cool bars in L.A. have to be very hard to find and have no signs out front. It’s kinda like a speakeasy kind of thing. It’s kinda cool.  It’s like you’re in on some kind of secret.”

I don’t know the reason either, but Jon Favreau is right. The coolest bars I’ve been to act like they don’t want to be found. There’s barely a sign to say that they’re there. Speakeasies are also very popular. LA is not like New York, it’s hard to just walk around and find something. You sort of have to know where you’re going, but it’s worth it! Don’t miss the Surly Goat, the Den or the Piano Bar.

“Vegas, baby!”

Yeah, Vegas is only about a three and a half hour drive. I’d tell you more about it, but what happens in Vegas…

“It’s sunny every day here. It’s like manifest destiny. Don’t tell me we didn’t make it. We made it!”

Ron Livingston (Yeah, he’s in the movie too, you should see it) says this in an inspirational, stop feeling sorry for yourself speech to Favreau. It’s spot on. It’s hard to hang your head when the weather is perfect…everyday. Seriously, it’s rained twice here and it wasn’t enough to even count on the east coast! But it’s more than that. There’s also opportunity in LA everyday and on every corner. Nearly everyone you meet is an actor or producer, an agent or an assistant. The town lives on the entertainment industry and living and working here, even as interns, you have the sense that you’re part of it all. The comfort level with both the city and industry I have as a result of being out here is invaluable and I’m grateful for the LA semester for providing that experience. On behalf of all the LA semester students let me be the first to tell you – we made it!