Before coming to Boston last September, I was not much of a sports fan, in the sense that I did not follow sports constantly or attended games. I’d check in on the Dodgers’ and Lakers’ standings once a month, but unlike my friends, I didn’t have favorite players or went to games often. I’ve gone to three MLB games in my life (two Dodgers games, 1998/9 and 2007; one Angels game, 2005, which had the bitter farewell in the form of a “protest” by SOSers) and they’ve been all free. Soy codo, ¿y qué?
I can’t work myself up to be gung-ho over a sports team’s performance, trades and drama. The only sport that approximate that level of support is fútbol, and even then it has to be FMF (¡CHIVAS!). I’m just not a sports kind of fellow. Since I’ve been here in Boston, however, I’ve slowly been moving more and more towards becoming a fan. Maybe it’s how devoted New Englanders are to the Red Sox, Pats, Celtics and Bruins that changed my perspective towards fanaticism. I started following the Dodgers last September as they were close to getting the wild card spot, but then they lost ten games and were eliminated. Depressing, I know, but so it goes.
Being in Boston, however, always brought up the question of basketball: “Are you a Lakers fan?” (Most people figured I was from L.A. because I wore my Dodgers cap almost religiously, sometimes alternating with a Red Sox cap). The rivalry has been dormant for a while (maybe a decade or two), but it continues in the minds of Celtics and Lakers fans. It was on my mind in November, when I checked the Lakers’ schedule and saw they had a game the day after Thanksgiving at Boston. I wasn’t going home for that weekend, but a bit of home was coming my way! Continue reading
A few months ago, I read a post by El Chavo on the folks who leave the Eastside for suburbs to the east in an effort to “move on up.” In the replies to the post, some people pointed out that their families have been living in places like the Inland Empire for a couple of generations or that when their parents decided to buy a home, the only thing they could afford was out in the Inland Empire.
The post and ensuing discussion made me curious and I went to my parents with more questions. Why did you buy a home in Hacienda Heights? Why not stay in East LA? Why move to an area where you didn’t know anybody? Are we Chuppies?
Well, my mom explained, she and my dad started looking at homes in the area during one of their shopping trips to the Puente Hills Mall. She compared it to my sister going out to Victoria Gardens in Ontario (I think). I think she mentioned something about schools too, but that wasn’t what stuck.
In 1978, there was no Applebees or Chili’s or Starbucks to draw her and my father out to the area. Besides, they don’t care much for chain restaurants or over-priced coffee. But my mom has always loved to shop.
The funny thing is, growing up, my mom shopped most often at the swap meet. I visited the Vineland Swap Meet in La Puente much more often than the Puente Hills Mall though the latter was closer. We’d get everything at the swap meet from fruits and vegetables to fabric to make dresses and curtains and bedspreads.
There were no Kenneth Cole shoes at the swap meet. We didn’t mind.
Last night I went to a show @ the now pretty well known venue, The Smell by bicycle. It’s a 5.5mi ride one-way for me, not too far and mostly flat terrain. I was going mainly to see a favorite band of mine, Abe Vigoda.
Now to the point. Riding into downtown, alone, is always an interesting experience. In a large group, or even with a few friends it seems like an open playground compared to the daytime version. The city looks so much more peaceful and almost ghost-town like at dark. I got to the show around 9pm and left around 1:30am. The ride home was the interesting part.
I go down Main St. most of the way. As I was pushing my pedals I couldn’t help but think, in my wearied state, whether the people I saw out on the streets were real or ghosts. The folks hanging outside of Dino’s Burgers, the woman I swear I saw at the little Catholic Gift Shop on Main St., and the man I think I saw walking around the darkened Parque de México.
This idea became even more pervasive as I passed by Lincoln Park. I thought about the history of the place and all the many people that have been there for various reasons. At 1:30 in the morning you have late-nite fishers. I’m not sure why someone would want to be fishing at that hour, but they were there. They weren’t ghostly at all but some shadows amongst the trees seemed otherwise. Looking across the train tracks on the South side of Valley Blvd heading East I am sure I also so see meandering shadows.
History is something that can easily be built over and forgotten, and some people even welcome it as is the case with the Chuppies that El Chavo! pointed out. But it’s something I find so much interest in. A house that I am soon moving in to in Lincoln Heights used to be a market many years ago, originally built in 1915, and still has remnants of a butcher shop & old refrigerator. There is no way I would replace it for a track home in Ranco Cucamonga. No way.
All these thoughts as I make my way home to El Sereno.
Li of Under the Alexandria (a blog that’s less than a month old but already has tons of interesting posts) pointed out this piece in the LA Times by Hector Becerra, which deals with some changes happening in Baldwin Park. Basically, some of the next generation of Latinos want to get rid of the mom and pop stores that still cater to the needs of Immigrants (and those not so removed from that background) to replace them with the usual bunch of meaningless corporate stores like Applebee’s and Starbucks. Check out Li’s post where she argues it doesn’t have to be one or the other. I mostly find it pathetic that when Latinos want to Americanize they tend to pick the worst aspects of American Culture to emulate, as if they could suddenly join the club by consuming the same crap items of their perceived social betters. And worse, they get to the game late: while Americans are now more interested in leaving a “smaller carbon footprint” (uggh) they’re still trying to buy a Hummer. While Americans are exploring the benefits of “Edible Estates” (uggh, retch) they try to erase all evidence of that small milpa of corn their parents once grow in the front yard, now turned into a worthless patch of wasteful lawn. If anything, Latinos should be sharing the skills of getting by with less, being resourceful and getting creative with what you do have, rather than taking on the baggage of the culture of consumption.
My favorite quote? “If I want a pair of Kenneth Coles, I have to go to Arcadia.” Haha, the dude has to pay premium for some fancy huaraches, just cuz he needs a label. Some call them Chuppies (Chicano Yuppies) or Chispics (Chicano-Hispanics) but I just call them Chumps. And to many of the Americans you want to impress, yer still just a Mexican in fancy shoes.
Your neighbors say you lack taste; of palette, dress, musical interests, and even down to the trifling choices you make in daily life, they are relentlessly bland. And your girlfriend complains that your life has no poesia, no arte and all your Tias and Tios seem to agree. You could carve out a new path, break out of that well worn but predictable trajectory to the grave, but that kinda takes some work. What is one to do? Finally, for just $1.59 (+crv) you can easily tap into the wonderful world of both Taste and Poetry, that piquant refreshment to an otherwise dull routine. Whether the effects will last beyond the 33 oz. bottle has yet to be determined. But it’s a start in enhancing your aburrido lifestyle.
11700 183rd St
Artesia, CA 90701
I’d like to thank LAEastside.com for allowing me to be their first “guest” poster, since as a Veggie-American I didn’t want to write this under my own name; my lapse in personal ethics weighs on me enough without the added glares and grumbles from my compatriots. But let me introduce you to the Big Blue Truck that tends to be the cause of this occasional failure in judgment; say hello to El Mar Azul!
Memories of Lost L.A. Eateries, Part 2
Still more nostalgia for those long gone L.A. favorites……………..
It may come as a surprise to some but the first zoo and one of the first movie studios in Los Angeles were located in Lincoln Heights, near Lincoln Park (previously known as Eastlake Park).
The entrance of the zoo was quite grand, giant stone arches decorated with animal motifs and full size sculptures of elephants, lions and other zoo creatures.
Unfortunately when the zoo closed down in 1930’s, the giant stone animals that flanked the entrance went missing and forgotten.
This excellent video by Dig Where You Stand documents the rediscovery of this small bit of Los Angeles history. It even includes an interview with everyone’s favorite Los Angeles historian, Mike Davis. He talks a bit about the animal statues in his book, City of Quartz.
For more information and photos, check out this wonderful site dedicated to the history of Lincoln Heights:
Botanitas will be an ongoing feature bringing you stories and news from various sources, upcoming events and other bits of ephemera that might be of interest to LA Eastside readers. Suggestions welcome!
Click ahead for more:
I have written a couple of pieces on my blog about my involvement and history with DJ culture in Southern California. My academic focus has been on Chicano DJ culture focused on the Eastside of Los Angeles. Chicano scholars have not included DJ culture as part of our experience and DJ Culture/Rave Culture scholars have not included Chicano DJs in their investigations. This makes Chicano DJ culture a truly Chicano experience: ignored by both (our own scholars and outsider scholars), stuck in the middle between two worlds, not factored in.
This project I am working on with G727 is taking form everyday. We have been holding meetings and gathering friends and participants to make this happen. In researching our experience I have learned that we need to include as many voices as possible. We are not Chicago who has Frankie Knuckles, nor are we New York with a Larry Levan. Detroit’s history looks at the Bellevue Three. Here in L.A. we need to look at the hundreds of thousands. There are many factors that lead to the LA experience being different to the East coast.
We have better weather so we have outdoor parties 10 out of 12 months, in East Los a lot of us had large backyards to host massive parties, we are a car culture so we all could have mobile systems that we could easily transport and we could get to more parties in one night. The list goes on.
Anyhow, please support our first fundraiser at Eastside Luv next Thurs.
This is what I’ve been sending out to all my ‘social networks’:
Based on my Master’s thesis “An Oral History of DJ Culture from East Los Angeles,” I am working with G727 on building a living collaborative archive. All DJs, promoters and dancers who were a part of or were inspired by Chicano DJ culture based on the Eastside are welcome to bring their flyers, memories and music to this project. We are having a few fundraisers for out supplies, please come out and support or send us a check.