During notable cusps in Los Angeles, concerning my places of business or home, temporary and permanent, a certain actor, the very same man, keeps reappearing. Before Downtown Los Angeles morphed into DTLA, about that time Nolita earned its name: east of SoHo, south of NoHo, west of the Lower East Side, north of Little Italy and Chinatown — twenty-five years ago this west coast enclave could solely take ownership for LA’s seedy Skid Row.
Ninety-eight percent of Grand Central Market’s former Mexican vendors vanished; they were replaced by a rather diverse sprinkling: Eggslut, Wexler’s, Clark Street Bread et cetera. The adjacent Grand Central Square Apartment complex has residential units on its upper floors. Well before DTLA’s transition, I was offered an exquisite two bedroom penthouse in that iconic building by a long-standing patron who facilitated LA’s downtown revitalization plan. As we walked through the apartment, she mentioned Nicolas Cage just moved out. I was more impressed by this corner unit’s gargoyle exterior ornamentation framing what was in those days an unobstructed vista. Years later, when the Beverly Laurel Motor Lodge was my base in LA, I would often see Nicolas Cage leaving his offices a block away on North Laurel.
Jeanette and LouLou returned a rosier shade from our rooftop pool here days ago, promptly informing me, none other than Nicolas Cage occupies this new building along with us. I wouldn’t say he’s a favorite actor of mine, yet particular roles he selected were characters in twisted tales bordering reality and illusion; storylines which intrigued me more than his onscreen persona. For some strange reason a script epitomizing Nicolas Cage’s oddest of films seem as though this actor’s surrealer moments have come to life and I’ve inadvertently stepped into another realm.
As a nephew of Francis Coppola, Cage probably does speak some Italian; maybe I’ll use one of two stereotypical Sicilian hand gestures that directly relate to “ma chi fa?” upon an upcoming elevator ride together.