There Goes The Neighborhood!

When TWS staff photographer Seu Trinh sold his house in Pasadena and decided to take on the easier-going, less stressful life of a renter, Hollywood only made sense. From the infamous schoolyards and spots like Hollywood High to the debauchery-filled nightlife of Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, everything is only a stone’s throw away. What more could a skateboarder ask for?

What Seu didn’t realize was that he was moving into a building smack dab in the middle of Joey Pepper and Felix, and within a mile radius of Matt Ball, Danny Gonzales, Lee Smith, and Daniel Shimizu. And besides his roommate Cooper, Seu had hardly met, much less ever shot a photo of, any of these guys.


Move-in date: January 15, 2000

Roommates: Valeri “V” Fox, my lady; Manolo, my pup-Good boy ‘Lolo!

Rent: 1,500 dollars.

Favorite guest: Gio Reda every other month … you’re welcome, Starbucks; Forrest Kirby while we made F.O.R.E. And Friends; Pam Anderson-that’s a long story!

Complaints: I’m not good with math, but between the Backstreet Boys downstairs and 90-year-old Mrs. Swartz upstairs, we definitely get more complaints than compliments!

Best times: As soon as the bottles pop and the dining-room furniture clears out, the Sooouuullll Trrraaaiiin circle begins.

Worst times: When the cops kicked in my door-that’s also a long story. They were so slow we were out cold before they showed up.

Cooper Wilt

Move-in date: October 27, 2002

Roommates: Seu Trinh and Tony Rodriguez.

Share of the rent: 250 dollars.

Favorite guest: Chris “Seabass” Haslam

Complaints: We’ve had five or six warnings. We would’ve gotten kicked out after three, but the managers keep quitting, so we keep starting over.

Best times: Sometime last year we discovered a game called “video baseball.” Every time we got home from partying at two or three in the morning, someone would begin pitching skate videos while another one of us would smash them into the wall with a baseball bat. We had to retire the game when we received multiple complaints and when we ran out of videos.

Worst times: I returned home from a long trip to find all of my belongings littering the living room. Turns out my friend Tony had taken a liking to my room, so now I pay less rent and have taken over a corner of the living room.

Matt Ball

Move-in date: January 2004

Roommates: Braydon Szafranski, Sammy Baba, and Jeremy Moore.

Share of the rent: 250 dollars.

Favorite guest: John “Little Flip” because he’ll clean the entire apartment when he stays over.

Complaints: Four.

Best times: One night all the Vegas crew was over, and we all went to Hollywood Boulevard and met these random gangsters, so we hung out with ’em walking around Hollywood.

Worst times: All my roommates left me for a month alone, and I was so bored and depressed that all I did was drink and watch movies the entire month-and nobody left their money for rent.

Joey Pepper

Move-in date: August 2000

Roommates: Ben Colen, Matt Willigan, the demon-monster sink, and the family of five opossums on the patio.

Share of the rent: 600 dollars.

Favorite guests: Rob Welsh, Ian Reid, Kevin Taylor, and Clyde Singleton.

Complaints: Zero, but we have plenty of complaints against the building.

Best times: Barbecuing, adult cheerleading (the apartment is the L.A. hub for Boston-sports-loving skateboarders).

Worst times: Fighting with Clyde Singleton.

Daniel Shimizu

Move-in date: January 07, 2004

Roommates: Jason Hernandez, Laura Simpson, Adolf the cat, and Pokey the cactus.

Share of the rent: 625 dollars.

Favorite guests: Gareth Stehr, Alex Olsen, Thomas Bonilla, and the Rosemead homeys.

Complaints: At least one a week. Our landlords and neighbors hate us.

Best and worst times: Certain skateboard personalities fighting at my housewarming party. Holes being punched in my walls. Drunk people pissing in closets. Smashing Bob’s eye-sorry, Bob. The weekend of Beagle and Peaches.

Daanny Gonzales

Move-in date: September 19, 2002

Roommates: Kim Halzle (girlfriend) and Ginger (spawn of Satan).

Share of the rent: 525 dollars.

Favorite guest: The pizza deliveryman.

Complaints: Zero.

Best times: None, final answer!

Worst times: Every time I go pay rent. Every time I hear my neighbors having really loud, loud sex. Oh yeah, seeing another neighbor completely naked. She’s really f-kin’ old and haggard, and her tits hang down to her belly button-it sucks.

Lee Smith

Move-in date: May 2002

Roommates: Big industry insider Sam Smyth and his girlfriend Diana-they’re super cool.

Share of the rent: 600 dollars.

Favorite guests: Gerrard Secretario frequents on the weekends, Brian Anderson, Spencer Fujimoto, Nick Lockman, Brandon Biebel, a lot of old friends from SF, Alex Corporan, and the black dude from Real World Las Vegas was over once-pretty random.

Complaints: Not too many complaints, but there’re a bunch of (literally) gay dancers who live across the walkway. I always hear them practicing their routines to Madonna and Justin Timberlake. I try to be a good neighbor and say hello, but they just turn their heads. A few times we’ve had little parties and some cigarette butts got thrown near their doorstep. In the morning, all the butts were in a neat little pile on our doorstep. It could have been worse. We have it pretty good.

Best times: Last Christmas, all three of our families came over along with some friends for Christmas Eve and Day-a lot of good food, good drinks, and good people young and old. That’s what life’s about-laughing with the ones you love.

Worst times: The fact that when I walk out of my front door I enter a world of superficial, pretentious, materialistic bullshit. I wish my house were 8,000 miles away.