I hear it fluttering above: chucka, chucka, chucka. Officially, the California State Bird is the gentle Valley Quail. The exception is in Los Angeles where that honor goes to the helicopter: following bad men, televising traffic tie ups and car chases. We are in Downtown LA, it is 2AM and my wife and I are rudely awakened: chucka, chucka, chucka, woop, woop.
Next morning I check the police blotter: A bar fight. But not in one of the sleazy Open-At-6AM dives that I associated with this once LA Noir neighborhood, but a at club inhabited by high-strung twenty-somethings.
Welcome to a Downtown Los Angeles of mixed messages: a storied, sometimes tawdry history now burnished with gleaming glass and steel, including a Ritz Carlton monolith looming, chopper level, above me. I am at ground-level, poolside at the not-so-ritzy Figueroa Hotel peering up at the top one-percent, watching searchlights scanning the skies, LA-style, for nothing in particular.