Years ago I preferred videos that told a narrative (“Papa Don’t Preach”) or were visually cool (Squeeze’s “Hourglass”) to the glorified fashion shoots. The best one, a-ha’s “Take On Me,” combined those two aesthetics, and to this day, I will fling myself against the walls of a narrow hallway, imitating the animated love interest’s thrashing attempt to become real. (But only if I’m sure I’m completely alone.)
The videos that have stuck with me most, though, are the ones that soothed a pain I didn’t even know I had.
I grew up in Los Angeles. I work in Hollywood. Those two places are not the same. The first is where people live and work; the other is a construct. The media image of L.A. is so dominant, you can probably run the montage in your head: palm trees, sunglasses, bikinis, women with facelifts and shopping bags. This image drew the millions of transplants who spend so much time complaining about Los Angeles when they get here. [...]