My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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welcome to LA

When i heard about the ForBiddeN Playboy launch party, i decided that would be a perfect opportunity to see LA at some of its weirdest. I conned Xeni into coming with me to see the MySpace porn queen diva at her best. In responsem, she conned me into going to the Suicide Girls 5th year anniversary party (y’know – the one that Paris Hilton was at and got arrested for a DUI afterwards… and no, i didn’t manage to notice Paris). Xeni has a *fantastic* writeup of our adventures so i won’t bother repeating them here. (Also, definitely see her ForBiddeN-centric write-up at Wired).

Instead, i want to offer a few extra thoughts. First, and obviously (from my POV), Hollywood LA is *WEIRD*. I knew i didn’t have the clothes to prance around at this events so i chose the safe route: wear all black. I couldn’t help but giggle when i heard girls commenting on other girls’ purses and clothes pointing out brand names. One girl’s fake breasts stood straight out Tank Girl style and i couldn’t help but stare as she shuffled on mega-high heels and her boobs didn’t bounce a bit. And wow was everyone on the look at me plan. I’ve never seen so many people stand around and dance in a way that was meant to be photographed. Luckily, Xeni and i were on a “mission” which at least made me stick around observing for a while without feeling totally awkward.

Second, i’m completely fascinated by how ForBiddeN managed to use MySpace to propel herself into the land-o-fame. While her approach was very DIY, she was lapping up and asserting the traditional construction of fame (complete with meatheads who bullied me away from her because i was not VIP). There were fans lurking around everywhere, hoping to be noticed. The crowd outside begging to get in was impressive given the situation. So what’s next for Miss Playboy? Acting lessons. Glad to know that the desire to reach traditional celebrity-hood is alive and well.

Finally, i’m still fascinated by all of the different publics within MySpace. People definitely get their panties in a wad over porn queens’ presence in MySpace but the thing is that it’s just one small aspect of the site. Yet, it’s the extremely self-promotional aspect, the side that wants the glitz and glam that the camera has to offer, the people that desperately want your attention. And the funny thing is that they get it. Personally, i think that i’m done with the diva side – i’m much more comfortable with the awkward teens who are just hanging out. Hell, i’m even more comfortable with the missionaries who have been trying to tell me about Jesus. Of course, that’s not a media spectacle.

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7 comments to welcome to LA

  • danah, come back before they ruin you! 😉

  • Gah, MySpace link needs a “WARNING: may make your browser play crappy music” notice attached.

  • Paris Hilton – she’s been artPunked by Banksy :

    http://diablogue.typepad.com/diablogue/2006/09/punking_paris.html

    He has the right idea!

  • LOL, well its nice to hear that other people in LA think this place is “weird” i’d actually say “stupid” I dont go anywhere anymore because the self peomoting lame ass be like everyone else crowd is everywhere. Meathead jocks fighting outside every club, doorguys who think “their” the reason the club is popular, its a horrable place for “real” people. the usage of myspace to show your tits and ass in the hope that playboy will see you is the “american dream” these days and smart people who actually work for a living are spit at and kicked to the side. So you rock on Hollywood, and all the “wanna bes” attached to it, there is a “rest of the world” out there and you’d be surprised how much of it dosen’t care about your fake boobs and dreams of doing nothing with your life but acting cool. I love the real world, the one where 24 year old fake boob having girls with no personality or brains, end up 30 and crying because a new 24 year old has everyones attention and their saggy boobs and ass are not getting their rent payed anymore. Learn to do something besides take your clothes off. your lack of real world skills will spend that money on shoes and designer jeans so fast 30 years old will be a broke time of sadness. Theres nothing sexier than a woman with ambition and drive, but theres a lot to be said for one who has a brain and can carry a conversation about something other than herself. I’ve met a lot of these “famous” myspace Hollywood girls, and let me tell you, I can’t wait to see them at 35 years old. Wait, I have, everytime I’ve been to the Rainbow. Let the hate mail flow. Peace to all the smart women out there who can actually tell you the capital of California, its not LA.

  • alex deve

    I see you’re having a good time in LA – enjoy!

  • Welcome to Hollywierd.

    I lived in Hollywood for about 2 years and really enjoyed my time there. That was until one day I came home to find a homeless man on my lawn, wearing a bra and fondling his man chest. At that point I had decided I’d probably had enough of the traffic, low paying web jobs, and homeless lawn gnomes. I retreated back behind the orange curtain (orange county) and have enjoyed a better (but less exciting life).

    So on a related note, the rumor is Forbidden has 4 people working almost full time to maintain her Myspace profile these days.

    BTW are going to “The Future of Web Apps” conference this week in San Fran?

  • Hey d sorry we missed each other Labor day. It was my first time in LA and honestly you can keep it. It is odd and strange and although I loved visiting with some friends and my sister-inlaw – forget it. Although we did see Gene Simons from Kiss when we went hiking in the hills.