Felicity in the Jungle
By Russ Espinoza
Publisher: Los Angeles Avant-Garde Publishing
Published: May 2016
Genre: Literary Fiction
Formats Available For Review: pdf
“We were two sages on a Hollywood rooftop watching the sunrise and trying to figure out the way of the world. Engulfed in the stench created by the stirring of an early morning garbage truck… The early morning garbage trucks and street cleaners of Hollywood could clean the snail slime that we left, and remove the garbage we had wrought. They could clean it each and every day but they would never be entirely rid of it. We will be back to leave another trail tonight, or tomorrow, and these trails of slime and filth, blood and tears, could be cleaned but they will never be completely gone. With each night, regardless of the next morning cleaning, we will leave a part of ourselves on those streets that can never be erased. There will always be a bit of us left that the cleaning crews can never wash away. Our stains will always be embedded, and these stains will be the stories of our lives and times from our days in Hollywood when we were young.”
Set over the course of four years in the late 1980s, Felicity in the Jungle is a story of songwriting guitarist Rush De La Rosa and his arrival and experiences with the Hollywood music industry and the Sunset Strip rock scene. Initially an isolated and starving artist, Rush stumbles upon a cast of characters, musicians mostly, as disparate as the cities that make up L.A. itself, and who save Rush from his humdrum existence. Rush and his fellow musicians, who he affectionately refers to as the Kings of Cement Beach, dream of stardom while sunning themselves on their apartment building rooftop waxing poetically about music. His closest friendship is with Dalton Cruz, the proletariat Angelino, the only King born and raised in Hollywood, and the only one not looking for stardom. Together, Rush, Dalton and the Kings exist among the rock stars and rich and famous, unnoticed but spectacular, and embark on adventure after misadventure.
But like most stories, Felicity in the Jungle is a love story. Rush falls in love with the people, the place, the times, the music, and the girl. Somewhere along the line the fast party life of the 80s may catch up to him, but in the meantime there is nothing to do but throw caution to the wind for the sake of experience. Though Rush’s dreams of fame and fortune may never ultimately materialize, what he does find is miraculous nonetheless. Like Lazarus coming back from the dead – Rush finds life.
Los Angeles Avant-Garde Publishing
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