Each week, Lizzy Goodman guides you through the dirty streets of rock and roll.
Recently I found myself in one of those New York vs. Los Angeles conversations with an old friend who is an L.A. diehard. He was going on about farmer’s markets and dinner parties and the healthy Mexican food and how when you finally relent and move there, your stress evaporates into the humidity free air and you’re left all glowing and chilled out and happily coupled up because unlike in New York, where we are all neurotic and self-destructive and commitment phobic and arrested, in Los Angeles, everyone is emotionally evolved and creatively satisfied. “Maybe,” I said. “But it’s not New York.”
“This is a Manhattan club across the street from my acupuncturist’s office, but the punches are real.”
This infuriated him, and I have to admit that it sounded like a pretty flimsy excuse in the moment, as images of me driving up the Pacific Coast Highway in the muscle car I really secretly want, exciting-but-stable boyfriend at my side, played in my mind. What I meant was, yes, I know, living here is not a sane choice but if you live in New York City, sanity is not your goal. You’re after that intangible something-else-could-be-around-the-corner magnetism, and that you can only find here.
This is how one night last week began: Alone, in my rattiest old t-shirt, scrolling through On Demand, looking forward to a night off from chasing Bob Dylan upstate or cramming myself into tiny spaces filled with hungry people at one Fashion Week party or another. But then my phone buzzed and an hour later I was wandering around a 7-11 on lower Broadway while my friends got cash to pay the door at the underground boxing match we were about to attend. The so-called Friday Night Throwdown is colloquially known as ‘model boxing’ because of the event’s appeal in the fashion world.
It’s one of those legendary parties in Manhattan that walks the fine line between established and edgy. I mean, this isn’t a bunch of legit street brawlers beating the crap out of each other in an outer borough basement. This is a Manhattan club across the street from my acupuncturist’s office, but the punches are real. As a DJ spun vintage hip hop in one corner, a series of pretty boys took the ring and squared off, while statuesque women in daisy dukes and crochet tops sauntered around sipping Pabst and looking for someone to pay attention to them.
We left after a few rounds, high on violence and onto the next thing, but on the way out I texted a photo to my L.A. buddy. I knew he was enjoying a tranquil meal outside with friends and a few bottles of wine. I was crammed body-to-sweaty-body in a shitty club drinking cheap beer watching pretty boys punch each other in the face. He wrote back: “OK. I’m moving back.”