Having only been here in LA for two and a half years, I don't have quite that wide a circle of friends (yet!) but never the less - that "people who don't know each other but are inclined to like each other" magic happend on a small scale last night. Various people from various origins showed up, brought friends, and everyone got along fairly well. The food was tolerable good (if I say so myself) and the company tolerably amiable. We read the Declaration of Independence, signed it - and watched fireworks from the rooftop. The night was overcast so unfortunately the Santa Monica knuckleheads cancelled their fireworks. But down in El Segundo the show went on. All but the highest of fireworks were under the cloud cover, which gave a particular significance to "the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air" - which was drunkenly sung with much gusto, apparently spontaneously, but some of the more patriotic reprobates who were lurking on the roof.
Which reminds of being in the supermarket earlier in the week - for whatever reason they played the national anthem over the loudspeakers. It reminded me of the "end of broadcast day" messages on PBS when I was a kid. Remember when broadcast days had ends? Anyway, I couldn't help but stand at attention and face the source of the music (the nearest loudspeaker) until the song was over. Other shoppers went about their shopping, but I suppose between the Boy Scouts and the Army, certain habits remain thoroughly drilled into my head.
Venice loves the 4th of July, that's for sure. There wasn't a cardinal direction of the compass that didn't have fireworks in the air - there was a carnival atmosphere to the whole day, and by night many buildings' rooftops were covered with people, in one case a full-on rave with DJ's spinning and everything. Even late at night when I was done, everyone had gone, and I was trying to get to sleep, there was the noise of lots of celebrations going on everywhere.