Dear Mr. Kind (On Living in Los Angeles, August 2020)

Welcome to the world premiere of a one-of-a-kind anonymous advice column presented to you by

Each month’s letter will be selected and responded to by The K’s resident therapist, Mr. Kind. Trust us when we say that he is a brilliant and tender soul with a knack for telling it how it is. And above all else, he loves a good comic strip.

Dear Mr. Kind, (August 2020)

Graphic by Tristan Cahn

Dear Mr. Kind,

I hope you are well. But, I mean, it’s okay if you’re not. I hope that at least, like I do under parental surveillance daily at 5pm, you’re drowning any holes in your soul with White Claws, or moscow mules, or pink wine, or whatever trendy spritzed spirit you industry hipsters order at rooftop bars. Like most of your contributors at Kollection, I am that midsection between Gen Z and Millennial… but I’m the MidWestern kind. I type from my quarantine at my large family home that I think costs around the same price as your studio apartments in Silverlake. I imagine you all living in Silverlake, am I right? I just can’t help but wonder: What it is it about LA? What is LA about? Is it more, La La Land or Once Upon A Time In Hollywood? I mean, I’m a longtime reader, and the FOMO I feel from Kollection is real.

Like the Kardashian’s, I keep up. I just can’t help but wonder if everything, or anything, about LA is real. I mean with the lip injections and the thrift stores upselling a pair of mom jeans, I guess “real” simply can’t really apply to LA. Then again, I’m not sure if the invention of sliced bread and an obsession with corn captures the reality of my home state. But alas, I am allured. I want to know about LA, I want to listen to music about LA, and honestly, I still want to live in LA. I guess I just have a few questions first. 

Matthew Inman

So, you guys seem to spend your days drinking $7 coffees while interviewing my favorite artists until it’s time to switch to the hard stuff when you see them perform in a warehouse. What’s keeping you awake into the night? Or do you all consume likes and empty compliments like vampires drinking virgin blood? When you get into the night, are the parties really as exciting as they seem? Do you guys only go out when it’s astrologically acceptable, or like is the whole “Moon rising in Taurus” shit just your way of preaching spirituality in a more digestible sense than the Jesus stuff that my town “rinses” every Sunday? I guess I also just really can’t get over your infatuation with caffeine and kale…

I know, these are a lot of questions, and they barely scratch the surface of my late night thoughts as I scroll through your Instagram and attempt to live vicariously through you. I just need to know what’s in store for me if I go to live out my dream in the over-populated and over-polluted heaven that we know as the City of Angels. I mean, I’ve spent enough time indoors protecting myself from Coronavirus that I can only imagine the beauty that is stepping onto the Santa Monica beaches filled with scantily clad Chads and Vanessas, coughing Gucci toddlers, and otherwise decently nice anti-vaxxer advocates. I can feel the wind blowing through my hair now as I sit and reckon that I’ll have to dye it bleach blonde for assimilation reasons. I just need to know the truth behind the LA cliches.

Can you help me out here?

With love,

Iowa (Lot To You)

Dearest Iowa (Lot To You),

Oh hunny, we are doing A O K, there have been ups and there have been downs but for the most part, it has been a bit blah with the lack of live music and events. That being said, we are very glad you found our contact and wrote to us! This is our first time publishing a response to the life direction and advice requested of us that typically bleeps quietly into our DMs before exploding into an emoji intoxicated conversation littered with “I LOVE YOU”s. As we know it, you may be our only avid community member in Iowa so this whole experience is quite riveting. Do you have many friends? Do they like us too? Does your dad like us 😉 ?

Ok back to the ups and downs and LA and our shared love of happy hour that says shush to the 5 O’clock somewhere sentiment and respects the boundaries between day and night. A great mind once said, “Wine is the key to all the doors that remain locked but should most definitely be opened.” 

We are sorry to hear that you too are a Genzennial like most of us. It’s a weird fucking age to be isn’t it? “Do big things, follow your dreams, take the world by storm!” we were told. Hell, our passports don’t even get us out of this crumbling nation anymore but that’s not why we are here is it? Your passport is still sure as hell to get ya to the sunny state of California or you can just click your heels 3 times and say “I’ll sell my soul for a tan, I’ll sell my soul for fans, I’ll sell my soul for an older man.” 

Tim Gaedke

While some of us have lived in Silverlake and the surrounding anti-influencer meet up that is Echo Park/Los Feliz, we are all quite spread out and the bulk of us, like you, aren’t even from here. We’ve got people from San Francisco, Phoenix, Newport, Phili, Milan, and even Florida on our team. LA just happens to be the ideal stomping ground for a lifestyle brand that loves to immerse itself in every subculture of music and entertainment that will have us. While we are oh so guilty of romanticizing thrifting but let it be known that there are no injections of ANY kind being pumped into our staff. The only needles we fuck with are those on our record players. Zing.

Well, Iowa, both Damien Chazelle and Tarantino hinted at some realities of the city but neither painted an accurate portrait. How could you? Remember, LA is a city made up of 88 cities. Before giving you our full hot take, let’s rally off some answers to your questions: the coffee is overpriced but cheaper than a WeWork membership so pour another Flat White for me Ingrid and I’ll be good for hours; the whole warehouse thing is definitely a thing and honestly each creature of the night has their own recipe for staying awake and ours is the fact that we actually like the music; LA is not social media while social media flourishes in LA; the best parties are perhaps some of the best parties you could imagine but there are loads of off nights; shitty promoters, astrology, and crystals are mainly for laughs and an extra push in the right direction, and Kale is so 2015.

Now forget everything you know about LA, because here is the truth. Imagine a food court with 88 different restaurants, each unique and with a huge menu of options. In this universe, Yelp still sucks but at times may guide you in the right direction. Your first time at the food court, you may strike gold based on a recommendation or you may end up with a slab of meat that looks and tastes like plastic. If you strike gold, you may go back and order the same thing or ask the same friend for another recommendation- a positive feedback loop. If you get a shitty meal, you should know not to order that meal again, but some people fear change and ask themselves, “what if other things are even worse?”- a negative feedback loop. The adventurous eater will make note of the good meals and bad meals and enjoy themselves in the process. The picky eater will find something they like and then eat it over and over again. The tasteless eater will eat and even promote a shitty meal over and over again, giving it the allure of a good meal to those who don’t understand that person is tasteless.

Ultimately, it is up to you to try new things, really ask yourself what you’re looking for in a meal, and never eat something you don’t like just to fit in. This is the recipe for success in this food court and in many ways, this is the recipe for success in LA. If you find that which works for you, the city will work in your favor. If you’re unoriginal and simply coming to the city to chase a dream that is not your own or a passion that you’re not passionate about, this city will eat you alive.

Sending you love,

Mr. Kind

Each month we will open up our inbox at [email protected] so you can ask Mr. Kind any question that comes to mind. Use the subject line, “Dear Mr. Kind” to have your question considered for next month! Godspeed darlings.