For seasoned locals here in Big Sur, it’s always cute when city slickers roll up, spend a few hours here, and write travel stories to be consumed by over-worked Upper West Side lawyers and/or Marin County lawyers.
Cute, ain’t it?
The running joke is that some writer rolls up to, say, Fernwood to mingle with “real locals” like an intrepid anthropologist, says they’re from New York and are writing a story, and then, right on cue, Ralph over in the corner pops up and says, “How ironic – I’m the mayor of Big Sur, got any questions?”
The reporter is duped, and Ralph has a field day.
Reporter: “So how long have you been mayor of Big Sur?”
Ralph: “Gee, over 45 years…my grandparents settled here in 1910. My uncle Jim built the baths at Esalen, my sister Tina made up the Eggs Benedict recipe at Deetjens, and my adopted half-brother, Magnus Toren, runs the Henry Miller Library. Also, I repelled the 2008 fire solely through meditation. Want another Tequila Sunrise?”
Fortunately, Brendan Newman is a bit savvier. He wrote this article for CNN, and coincidentally, is my dogg (from Philly!)
Here’s what he had to say about this past Memorial Day weekend (BWE – Best Weekend Ever):
On a recent visit, there was a record fair, and the scene was a California truism: dappled sunshine illuminating twirling long-haired girls, denimed boys sipping beer and spinning records. The Grateful Dead, Merle Haggard, Jefferson Airplane. There’s a couple lying, smiling in the middle of an empty bed frame that has a sign attached to it that says “time travel.” That seems about right.
But the library isn’t a remnant of what Big Sur was; it’s the beating cultural heart of Big Sur right now. Popular bands like Arcade Fire perform here. And on any given weekend, you’ll find a performance or a fair of some sort. But its default role is to be an oasis: Free coffee and ping-pong for the curious. A lush lawn to nap on.
It’s always nice when big, urbane outlets give us simple country folk some props.
But I still can’t not notice the propensity to slip into those typical stereotypes about us Big Sur-ers. In a way, these “Lamestream Media”-types can’t help us treat us like weird circus freaks; they just can’t wrap their heads around our back-t0-nature, no-frills, non-capitalistic California lifestyle. It’s like we’re from Mars or something!
That said, I have to go now. Spielberg read the article and hired me as an adviser for his upcoming Miller biopic staring his old stand-by Shia Labouf before hitting up Malibu with Matthew McCounaghey. Big south swell coming in.
Then my Skype sesh with Natalie Portman. She found a nice lil’ spot in Topanga. Should be cool. (although the property taxes are brutal.)