I'm staying at the Wilshire Grand this year, which is only a few long blocks--all the blocks are long in L.A.; you might describe this as a long-blocked city--from the Los Angeles Convention Center. It's pretty great here. My room is quiet, and small, and fairly clean, and only smells slightly of the hundreds, if not thousands, of bodies who slept here prior to my arrival on Sunday afternoon.
Yesterday when I was out convention-ing, someone came in and made up my room. In addition to performing the expected duties of collecting towels and sorting the bed, the house keeper also saw fit to affix some sort of transparent advertisement thing to my bathroom mirror.
Now I've seen some pretty insidious ways of trying to get messages under my radar at E3 before--room keys being branded, "protests" being orchestrated in front of the Convention Center, etc. But looking at my face in the mirror and seeing it literally surrounded by a message--ironically it was from Microsoft, and yes, it was regarding the Kinect--caused me to physically recoil from the mirror, cringe, and reel about dramatically like Fred Sanford having a fake heart attack.
I laughed a little--jesus, this was really something, putting shit in my room to get me to pay attention to it. Then I got angry. I thought, Goddamn it all, Microsoft. This is my goddamn room--my miniature fortress of solitude, my sole sanctuary away from the hammer and tongs of the show floor. Would you kindly stay the hell out of it?
I also discovered yesterday that the Wilshire Grand's days are numbered. The place is scheduled to be demolished soon, erased from the earth right down to the foundations, and that a new, more modern version of the Wilshire Grand will rise in its place. For some reason this makes me genuinely sad. I feel like I'm staying in the old ghost of a hotel. I'm looking out the window on the 14th floor even as I type this, peering down at the traffic on 7th Street and all the convention goers scurrying down the sidewalk, and I'm experiencing a twinge of vertigo, thinking about the fact that pretty soon everything around me--the walls, the floor, the ceiling; the weird toilet with the game show-buzzer flush button on the wall--will be gone.
I think of all the E3 attendees who have stayed at the Wilshire Grand through the years, all the men--it's still unfortunately predominantly men here--who found some way to get to L.A., who found a hotel room (no small feat each year; my advice: book in January), and who found a bona fide reason to be here, and to be a part of this glorious medium.
I think of all the stories filed since E3's inception in 1995, back when newspapers and magazines were still viable places of employment, and all the blog posts and Tweets and Facebook updates and hands-ons impressions, etc. that are currently being tap, tap, tapped out in the rooms around me as I type this.
I think of all the showers and shits that people have taken here, all the hangovers that people have had to white knuckle their way through, and all the sad, lonely jolts of jism--hundreds of gallons of the stuff, no doubt--that have been spilled in these rooms after horny gamers have had to wait in lines all day while being surrounded by the cute girls in hot pants who have been hired by game publishers from L.A.'s seemingly never ending supply of attractive women who are very gifted at being attractive.
A bit of advice to the management of the Wilshire: Be sure to salt the earth after the old hotel is destroyed, or else the new Wilshire will likely be haunted by legions of typing, masturbating, hungover ghosts.
I'm off to the show floor. More soon.