At the end of Fairfax, where the street intersect Hollywood, there is this sign high above the stop light that I always wonder about. It’s this yellow sign with big black letters that say, “STAY COOL.” I’ve seen them around town, as I am sure you have too, but I always thought it was code name for some ongoing television show as it looks like the yellow signs that direct film cast and crew to shoots and parking. I always passively mumbled, “I need to research that…” but I always forget to actually research it. I checked our PO Box yesterday and I found a little piece of mail that cleared everything up: it’s an art project by RJ Shaughnessy.
The project is a book of photographs appropriately entitled STAY COOL. The book is a little photographic journey through Los Angeles and is an expression of youth, love, and LA. As cheesy as it sounds, it definitely reminded me of when I first got to Los Angeles and was young(er) and thought I could do whatever I wanted in this city. Now, of course, I have a more realistic approach to how this town works but it did remind me of this late 2000s youthfulness, which is totally the point as a tiny foreword says, “This is the story of youth, where it comes from, why it’s here and how quickly it escapes us if we aren’t paying attention.” I hope this book’s reminding me of my youth doesn’t mean it’s escaped me. Oy.
The book also is so undeniably Summer and, therefore, undeniably Los Angeles. As the little package RJ sent encasing the book said, tomorrow–June 20th–is the first day of Summer. He also hoped that it “inspired us to celebrate,” which we certainly will because tomorrow is kind of like an official holiday since almost every day in Los Angeles is Summer. STAY COOL gets at this feeling of the sunny euphoria that comes with cloudless, bright days. His cast of very pretty teens are constantly kissing each other, standing on cars, playing in fountains, walking on Foutain, standing on street signs, skateboarding, and doing more ridiculous things: they’re essentially high off of Summer and Los Angeles.
The book is selling for $25 on Arcana and would make a nice little gift for the Angeleno lover. And, once you get your hands on one, that’s all you need since the book concludes with a little blurb on how the photos need to be shared and that you can do whatever you want with the book–”these photographs and all photographs should be shared.” Well said, man. Thus, all the book’s photos are on RJ’s website.