Los Angeles has created a problem for me. In my life I have traveled to LA over a dozen times, and every time I wind up there I’m reminded that the city feels more like home to me than Vancouver, Canada where I was born, grew up, and now live.
In 2018, the three separate trips I took to LA ended adding up to me spending over 10% of the year in this sprawling, urban city. A paradise that sits in a coastal basin with canyon-laden mountains surrounding three of its four sides.
I love writing about LA, because I’ve done it so many times before on past projects that I can just plagiarize my own work when it comes to setting the stage. I can talk about the fact that the Greater Los Angeles area’s population of nearly 19 million people makes it the second densest city in the United States, or that the sun shines 360 days out of the year.
In search of the reason Los Angeles feels more like home to me than anywhere else to me, I stumbled across this thought: Style.
It came to me while I was driving around Venice Beach in the poorest imaginable example of a rental BMW convertible.
It was early morning in one of the most vibrant Los Angeles communities. The sun was just rising, illuminating the streets and leaving to your imagination what happened the night before. Perhaps this thought was inspired by hearing the sound of my friend Johnny’s rental Ducati Panigale with its glorious Italian v-twin exhaust note bouncing off the brick clad walls of Venice’s historic buildings.
How do we define style?
When we consider just how subjective the concept of style really is, how is it that so many of us share similar or dissimilar ideas of what styles are definitive and exciting? Even more so, the acceptance of what is less desirable and what we are willing to leave behind?
If we ask Google, it spits out: A manner of doing something. Alrighty then…, but what if we jump deeper into the void? A distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed. Better.
Back to what I was rambling about… Despite a consistent desire for uniqueness, many aspects of style are found to be in the good books of similar enthusiasts. And this, to me, is a great thing. To define objectivity is to say that something is not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts. But style exists on a playing field of its own, and feelings and opinions are the beating heart of what creates a style that is striking, unique and invigorating.
A bike such as the Panigale certainly emanates a sort of style that is hard to resist. The iconic Ducati red pops in the sunlight and its sharp lines accentuate an aggressive nature. Together, they form a unique styling and the aesthetic appeal of the machine; but the mesmerizing, masterfully crafted engine is where the real excitement begins.
Although it is the smaller brother of the 1,199, the 899cc motor still has plenty of grunt behind it, bolstering 148hp in its all-Italian glory. And hearing the v-twin scream as it climbs to 12,000rpm can only be described as euphoric. What is not to love about an Italian sportsbike? (Don’t say reliability).
But is this what style means?
Almost like an answer to my question, as I pulled my dismal rental into the Deus Ex Machina parking lot in Venice Beach, I was immediately greeted by a 911 GT3 4.0 in a stunning shade of yellow. One style that has surpassed the test of time is that of the Porsche 911.
The 911 has remained true to its iconic shape since its inception in 1963, and for that I am not surprised. The cult following, wide spread demographic of ownership, and excitement-creating nature of these snappy little Porsches has inspired generations of owners and enthusiasts.
For myself, there is very little I find more inspiring and captivating than a 911 of any generation. After driving one a few years ago, it is one of my biggest goals to own one. The Porsche 911 often provides me with motivation and builds on a dream that excites and challenges me, plus it engages a passion that I love to learn about and share with others. At the very core of this, I think this all belongs belongs to the style.
Without style all cars would be just like my rental, dilapidated and running on fumes. With that in mind, I thanked god for style, uniqueness and excitement and for Ferdinand Alexander Porsche having such an excellent idea back in 1963.
I knew that my day had gotten off to a good start already, and I was yet to have my morning coffee. Speaking of coffee…
What if you wanted to start a coffee shop, but everything you did was ruled by style? If you’re an automotive or a motorcycle enthusiast, the answer to that question might look a bit like this. The building that was once a gas station, then a flower shop, is now the home of Deus Ex Machina in Southern California, and it’s the place to be whether you like carefully designed apparel, strong coffee or just being around classic motorcycles.
The emanating style that comes from so many of these Golden State businesses is certainly a major factor in my love for Southern California. The passion that owners have for what they do seems so much more intense here, and Deus Ex Machina is a perfect example of what happens when you blend something you are passionate about with the idea of starting a seemingly unrelated business. Not only do I find the dedication to style exciting, but I find its draw to be inspiring as well.
So if you’re ever around Venice Beach, take a moment to enjoy the sounds of a Ducati, the lines of a Porsche, or the strong coffee at Deus Ex Machina.
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