Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Review of the Abbey and Pavillions (Los Angeles))


The greatest supermarket ever built in Los Angeles


written by Alisa Spitzberg
Pavilions Pavilions. Must write a review of the new Pavilions in the heart of West Hollywood -in the epicenter of Los Angeles.

In the good old days me and some friend, or me and the sister, had the money to pay the price of a six pack for one beer, and so we went to the very few places where we could sip it and smoke at the same time. This place was and still is called the Abbey, but it is not about Nuns.  Stray lesbians do go on special nights, and so a nun or two must have been there, I wouldn’t be surprised if some gay guy named Westminster was once a habituĂ© - but otherwise the name doesn’t serve as a guide.
 Lots of men in cargo shorts (now Madras) and tank tops traipsing or standing or scoping for … something.
The Abbey is a mostly gay male cruising spot where I saw the gay guys from Americas Next Top Model, and I once got to see Liz Taylor. Liz looked like a Brooklyn Matron- like some great aunt- I was dragged to see too long ago to have anything but the concept of this type… resonate.
Liz Taylor was surrounded by such a circle of slavish… flamers or nellies, or whatever it is we are or aren’t allowed to call a certain species of homosexual. Let’s just say that they had these expressions and they handled her like she was Joan of Arc come back to life and deserving of such TLC. But, I wasn’t there for any of that- I was there because it is outdoors and I can’t drink and not smoke.
Second hand smoke became a major concern in the last decade, and smokers have had to seek out certain establishments- if wanting any kind of drink and smoke experience.
Yes, our bartenders, waiters, and barbacks may live longer now, but do they really want to?
 I’m being silly. Smoking is terrible, and causes cancers of all kind.
Back, to my unanticipated supermarket review. In those good old days (2 years or so ago) on a few occasions, there would be a cigarette emergency, and we’d go to Pavilions, when we ran out at the Abbey.
Things were shinier and brighter for me back then but not for the Pavilions. It was a regular sized and mean spirited supermarket affiliated with the Vons family of supermarkets or somesuch very extended family situation. Pavilions was supposed to be a superior offspring i.e. more organic available, Ciabatta baked daily, wider variety of lettuces.
This Pavilions was the prodigal son of such a Vons expansion.
I don’t know why, but it was something you’d never fail to find unpleasant.  The lighting was dim, the cashiers were always in a state, and you always figured the big boss must be some kind of monster as you’ve concluded after a lifetime of shopping for things- the manager or boss sets the mood of the employees.
Now, I can’t and don’t really want to go to this Abbey. I had my fill of L.A, in all ways, and so the fact I haven’t been there since the travesty is no tragedy.
 But, you see I mention it at all because the Pavilions is across the street from the Abbey, and now I regularly go there because they match medication prices with Costco. You heard right. They match prices with Costco. I don’t know why this is, and the price difference is enormous, and so I have to either go to Costco which is some painful distance deep into Los Feliz, and on the border of Glendale, or less than 2 miles to the Pavilions- on the world famous Robertson Blvd, in the world famous West Hollywood - in the world famous California.
Those who have lived in this inane place for longer than 3 or 4 years will know what I’m saying when I say that -  The Pavilions I mentioned is not the same . In fact, it has been torn down, and rebuilt from scratch. For a very long time it was just a torn down thing, and many wondered what would take its place.  To my surprise, at least, it was reborn as a … nother… Pavilions
Today it is the most joyful of supermarkets in all of L.A, and possibly the land.
Its huge now- fourple the size it was.  It has a Panda Express, a Starbucks, a hot meat “carving station" wherein a minimum wage worker wears a chefs uniform, hat and all, and and carves the meat when it is called for.
There is no doubt that the management has  changed drastically.
What a palace this Pavilions  has become. I haven't even gotten to the customer service. OUTRAGEOUSLY PLEASANT. “How are you? Can I help? Are you finding everything all right, Miss?”   Smiles in all the aisles.  
Today, rather than a small cut of a product they give at Costco, as a sample, at the Pavilions, they were giving out whole pieces of Sushi! Whole pieces of Sushi!
 The exact moment I ate my free Sushi, the woman on the loudspeaker announcement thing was saying,
“Come get your gelato samples-18 types. Come sample our gelato at our gelato station.”
 My mother always taught me to “not look like a pig” and so I stopped with the sushi.
It feels downright silly to pick up your anti bad bad mood meds- in such a place. Oh, there is Ellen Degeneres’s ex, online to get medication. Hmm. Should you eavesdrop? No, privacy became so sacred, and your curiosity doesn’t outweigh that.  It’s not like it’s Ellen herself. Her privacy would mean diddly, as you ran home to tell mother and sister, and anyone else you know. You wouldn’t call the Enquirer. Ok?
 And, Tiffany the pharmacist is just like those actors playing pharmacists on TV.  I even told her so, and she chirped out for me to have.” a fine day.” The growling Russian pharmacist at CVS seems like a memory I could have avoided.
 As mentioned there is an in house Starbucks,and though I have resented the 3 dollar coffee phenomena,I am grateful for the fine aroma it lends as I pass the gelato “station” once more.

I don’t let myself focus on the contempt I often feel for humanity. Gelato is nice. Gelato is Italian and it's a subtle treat worthy of being 3 dollars a cone.  I won’t reflect on my disdain for the crazes of costly coffee, frozen yogurt with TOPPINGS, skinny jeans and … it goes on and on.
I’ve recently noticed how coffee stores here in L.A are calling themselves shit like, “literati,” and I spotted one the other day called” intelligencia .”
How sad or stupid it is to pretend that somehow the literary salons of Europe are being revived in the form of these 3 dollar plus asshole joints where the  lonely, or those with annoying roommates, or worse, or whatever- sit on laptops, sipping away to justify their outrageous profit margin beverages.
Mostly I’ve seen them scowling in such places. At first, gaggles of pals would go, and pretend they were the gang from the TV show, "Friends", but now I sense that dream has died, and so they sit solo, by their laptops, and stare into some static or improper message board response - deep within the prism of unrelenting technological advances.
As stated, I don’t seek fancy coffee places out, but I’ve dropped in with those convinced that three bucks is an acceptable price to pay. At those times, I did not see either convivial or brooding intellectuals -gesticulating wildly about big or even small ideas etc.  These people may still exist, and may be drinking coffee. They very well may be addressing philosophical quandaries. I’d guess they’d need a smoke when effusing about Kierkegaard, and hope that the thought of sipping a soy latte while doing so would strike them as beyond bourgeois /Hegelian.
I guess the Starbucks station within the Pavilions made me think of that. But, this post is about the Pavilions in West Hollywood. This is a review of an oasis - that will never reveal itself as just a puddle of piss.  
After the pharmacy… pleasures, I decided to pick up a frozen pizza.
I passed and paid the cashier, who said, “Thank you, Ms. Spitzberg.”
It’s no Cheers, OS; I’m not their Shelley Long, or even their Norm. They don't know of my annoying know it allness, and so I'm not even their Cliff Clavin.
They only know my name cause, see -I signed up for a rewards card, and this makes the name pop up on the shiny new screen -in front of the smiling cashier. It also gets me discounts, but that is fodder for my poetry.
They’ve read the Dale Carnegie inspired  manager’s manuals, that say - us humans like the sounds of our own name- such skepticism is overcome by the  lingering taste of the teriyaki sauce -that came with the free sushi sample.
Outside, you get into your 2001 Subaru, and start it up.  Phil Collin’s, “Hold on” comes on, and images of Katie Ford, Judge Gerald Rosenberg, Martin Boags,  John Gregozek, and  Jennifer Abrams Waxler flood your head, and you hear yourself say, “ pieces of shit.”  Blood rushes through you, in ways that make you feel that you’ll never feel good for long.
You consider going back for a gelato sample. But those smiling workers are one training session away from the Pavilions of yesteryear, and underneath those plastered on smiles  -they will think – that- you are a pig.

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