Life is obvious when Fate is at work.
When Thom and I moved to LA in 2004, I began the dreaded search of finding a place to live. The landscape of urban sprawl was new to me, but I was aware finding a great place to live would require a “needle-in-the-haystack” mentality. I conducted copious and thorough research of available listings, and developed a running list of potential locations. My list was highlighted, organized and numbered by neighborhood and price. There were more than 75 locations to see all over Los Angeles.
At 3 pm on a Friday afternoon, I knocked out the first listing at the top of the pile. It was just around the corner from Thom’s office – a two minute drive.
And as the old saying goes, “the rest is history”. Fate stepped in, and I went back to Thoms’ office with a lease in hand and said to him, “I know you’re not going to believe this, but I think I just found our new place to live.”
The birth of “The Forbidden City” and our lives within it was about to unfold.
On a small lot nestled in a quiet neighborhood in Santa Monica, we settled in to the first of 3 tiny, jewel-box bungalows. We became instant friends with our landlord and property owner David Zelman, who lived in the second house. The third bungalow had not yet been occupied. Within the first week we shared our common dream to make art. Stunned with the knowledge our dreams were aligned, the 3 of us envisioned creating an art community that shared, inspired, encouraged and produced.
It was destiny.
During the 15 years span of “The Forbidden City”, living here was a dream come true. And also a nightmare. It was everything. A revolving door of creativity, there were famous writers, directors, film producers, sculptors, musicians, journalists, photographers, architects, artists and Oscar winners who lived here. There were white-collar criminals, alcoholics, and drug addicts. There were seated dinners for 30, intimate dinners for 2, and everything in between. There was up-lighting, down-lighting, art direction and staging. There were costumes, and cooking, gardening, and fertilizing. There was laughing, drinking, smoking and cleaning. There were possums, and squirrels, 3 dogs and a Hawk. There were gunshots, hand-cuffs, car crashes and the police.
Then there was cancer. A young man fought valiantly, survived and moved on. Another man, a brilliant, stalwart artist and big wave surfer, ultimately died after an arduous, heroic battle with brain cancer. Rest in Peace sweet Friend ~ you are in our hearts and minds always.
And then, there was mental illness. An account that lasted 3-months, it was a pervasive situation that infiltrated and metastasized into our lives like a death plague no one could shake. It was terrifying and our lives are forever indelibly scarred.
But through the high drama, the inspired creativity, the physical labor, the communal living, the emotional abuse, the teamwork environment, the illnesses, the recoveries, the relapses, the heartbreaks, the loves, the losses, and all the gains, our lives were full. There are no regrets. Everything and everyone who was a part of The FBC helped to create and define it. If you were here, it is because of You the FBC thrived. This includes the meanies, the baddies, and even the ingrates.
We hold onto the beautiful memories of those who came through these gates and supported our life’s experience in a positive way. The rest is a lesson in letting go. We enter 2019 with a clear heart and mind. If you wronged us, lesson learned and we forgive you. If you’re angry with us, you win. We let it go. If we aren’t speaking, it’s ok. We still wish you the very best. If you feel we wronged you, we apologize, it wasn’t intentional. We are so grateful for every experience we’ve received, and we look forward to making this year one of positivity, creativity and love.
It was the Best of Times. It was the Worst of Times. But mostly, The Best. And when one Era ends, a new one Begins.