All 50 States Day 5 takes us to:
A lot of people in the performing world do a stint in southern California at one point or another but I got mine out of the way early by going to U.S.C. to get my undergrad degree. They were kind enough to give this Midwestern kid some financial aid and I didn’t even have to pretend to be on the women’s rowing team! I got to study fiction writing with T.C. Boyle, started doing standup in campus shows and then open mics and clubs, and I met great friends while getting a solid education.
I had visited California a couple times before college; my mom had family there and my dad knew just about every Armenian in Pasadena, so I had seen cities from El Cajon to Modesto (Mom’s side) and Pasadena to Hollywood (Dad’s side). Those trips included the obligatory visits to Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm, And Ben Frank’s diner.
As a performer I’ve taken several trips back to L.A. and the area, performing at area clubs, including one of my favorite comedy clubs in the country: The Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach. I’ve performed in San Francisco, opened for Lily Tomlin at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga in Silicon Valley, and even did a show smack dab in the center of the San Joaquin Valley in Visalia, California.
It was hard to pare down my California photos to just a few, so here is a ridiculous assortment:
- Family trip, early 80s
- U.S.C. Graduation with Mom
- Downtown Orange, CA circa 1998 (in front of building that was the appliance store in That Thing You Do!
- World’s Biggest Thermometer in Baker, CA, late 90s
- Joshua tree, late 90s. Tried to find the spot on google maps but THE STREETS HAVE NO NAMES!
- Hiking in Los Padres National Forest, 2007
- Thumbs Up For Nature! Literally. That’s the file name of this picture. Because I’m a doofus.
- Pic of a pic of me in Downtown LA, 1998, my most recent trip to Cali.