DidIFallInTheHole.com

I answer your question--IF your question was "Did I Fall in the hole from the TV show La Brea?"

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Helloooo, Sternal Journalists!

If you’re in LA next weekend, you can catch me at Flapper’s Saturday 11/27 at 9:30PM. It’s a fun club in the middle of Burbank town center, which means you can have a nice meal at any of your favorite restaurants—as long as your favorite restaurants are lower-mid-level chains or upper-mid-level chains. But come on? Wood Ranch Grill? Shakey’s? A place called “Thighstop” that’s pretty clearly ripping off Wing Stop?

Plus, here’s what happened at my show last week:

A post shared by Julian M. Stern (@julianmstern)

So come on out, maybe just don’t sit in the front row.

Moving on!

Sternal Journalists, I’m still working on my essay about the Age of Revision, which is to say, I haven’t really started it yet. I’m sorry I promised you’d have it this week, I know none of you care, but if really do—go back and make sure you’ve finished the optional texts to go along with the discussion.

But that means that, with great pleasure, I can unveil the beginnings of a Sternal Journal project I’m very excited about:

DidIFallInTheHole.com

So there’s this show called La Brea on NBC. It’s a big, expensive NBC drama with pretty bad writing and acting, but it’s a fun idea1:

A sinkhole nearly a full square mile opens up in the middle of Los Angeles and a bunch of people unfortunately fall through. Fortunately, however, a number of them make a safe landing in (unfortunately) the “Los Angeles” of tens of thousands of years ago. There’s some top secret government project; a rugged, sexy dad who’s probably seven years older than the actors who play his kids is having premonitions; some pteradactyl-y birds fly out of the hole; bada bing, bada boom; must see TV.

But here’s the thing: if you live in LA, you know that La Brea is a major North-West road through the middle of the city, as well as the tar pit nature park and museum.

So not only is there this big hole in the middle of Los Angeles. There’s this big hole in a specific place in the middle of Los Angeles. And here’s the thing, Sternal Journalists:

I LIVE IN THE MIDDLE OF LOS ANGELES! Like a mile and a half from the La Brea tarpits!

So when I realized what the show was about, I had to do some good old Sternal Journal sleuthing and watch the pilot (which had me wishing I would fall into a hole).

QUESTION 1: Did Julian fall in the hole?

EXHIBIT A: Screenshot from La Brea.

This is a screenshot I took from the pilot riiiight after everyone tragically falls in the hole. It’s a pretty true map of this area of Los Angeles, except of course for the hole. In the bottom right, you can just make out the Petersen Auto Museum, the sight of the assassination of Notorious B.I.G (the museum did not fall into the hole, but the sight of his murder 50 yards away very well could have). On the left, you can make out the Park La Brea apartments, probably the largest residential casualty of the big-hole-o’-time-travel-and-birds.

ANSWER: I did not fall in the hole. Thankfully, from this picture alone, I can tell that my apartment is about a mile and a half north of the hole. I easily could have been passing through here on a run or drive, but I’m going to chalk it up as a win.

QUESTION 2: So who did fall in the hole?!

This is tougher to say from the show, but using some very advanced iPhone skills called “Screengrab” and “Markup,” I was able to roughly overlay the outline of the hole over a Google Map. As I said, being just under a mile in diameter, the hole is a blip on the map of LA, but just be looking at this map, you can see how close the La Brea-universe LA came to losing such institutions as KazuNori: The Original Handroll Bar and the hallowed Los Angeles Variety Cannabis.

But we unfortunately lost to the hole almost the entirety of LACMA, an LA Fitness I really hated going to, and the poor, poor Academy Museum of Motion Pictures which has been being built for like four years and literally I’m pretty sure opened the same day as that damn hole.

And most importantly, if you live on Orange Grove, Ogden, Gennessee, Spaulding, or Stanley between 8th and Wilshire, YOU HAVE A 50/50 SHOT OF BEING IN THE HOLE! The whole South side of those Park La Brea apartments as well.

CONCLUSION: While not many people would have been lost to the hole, the workplaces and homes that shlooped down backwards in time indicate that at least hundreds would have been lost. And if my calculations are correct, at least one Sternal Journalist lives in the Hole-Zone.

Whether or not this will necessarily get off the ground, I’m working on a searchable database in which you can type in your address and get one of many messages telling you things like "Woohoo! You did not fall in the hole!" or "I am so sorry to tell you that you have fallen in the hole."

I was initially worried I would have to finish that quickly because I really just did not think the show would make it more than seven episodes, but hey it just got renewed for Season 2 yaaaaaaaaaaay.

In all seriousness, for all of its faults, I appreciate that they picked a precise place for the hole. If anyone thinks they know or can get to the VFX person on La Brea responsible for the exact size and shape of the hole, that would be a cool Sternal Journal, wouldn't it?!

Anyway, hopefully we’ll be back next week to talk about THE AGE OF REVISION, but you know I don’t keep my promises.

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Tick, Tick… BOOM! I loved this movie about—and adapted from a play by—Jonathan Larson, the writer of Rent. I feel like I’m going to watch it at least five more times.

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Alright, I’m tired as hell and that’s it for this week! To never falling in the hole!
Love!
Julian


P.S. I spend anywhere between two and twelve hours a week on the Sternal Journal. If you enjoy receiving it (and are RICH) consider becoming a paying subscriber. For just a few bucks a month, you can provide me with a bit more time to come up with fun topics, poems, and interviews; and you with probably fewer typos.

1

As Hollywood anarchist as I can be, I generally believe that every individual who works on big floppy flops is trying their best and has some amount of talent. They’re working under financial and temporal restraints and probably not bad writers and actors point blank-period, but they just didn’t have the time, money, or vibe to nail it this time. Which is why it’s worth noting when talented people do bad work—because otherwise, all we have to go on to determine quality is the fate of a show. And La Brea just got picked up for Season 2, even though it kinda sucks. So we can’t let that keep happening!