Botanitas is 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!
More on the Residential Food Scrap Pilot Program
You heard it here first, the City of Los Angeles is starting a pilot food scrap collecting program for residents of Lincoln Heights, Harbor Gateway and South Los Angeles. You would think explaining the program would be a fairly straight forward kind of thing, but not so. Even something as innocuous as a composting program can be difficult to comprehend when it comes from the mouth of bumbling bureaucrats.
Jan Perry’s frustrating attempt to explain the table-scrap collection program on KPCC’s airtalk (podcast now available). Incredulous comments here.
No, I’m not referring to the Felix Arellano clan causing trouble down south. It seems folks are going retro with their sweetners. Cane sugar soft drinks are more and more becoming the teeth rotting beverage of choice. Artificially created high fructose corn syrup is finally being recognized as the evil substance it is.
The growing popularity of bottled water and other drinks is one reason for the decline of sweet carbonated drinks. But shoppers say drinks made with sugar cane just taste better.
“It has a crisper flavor, not as cloying. I think it is a better-flavored drink,” said Charlie Howell, who periodically finds cane-sugar-sweetened Coca-Cola imported from Mexico at the Costco in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.
LA Times article here.
I’ve noticed more restaurants and stores stocking the old school Coke bottles. Just the other day, I was eating in La Llamarada, and a couple of customers specifically requested “Mexican Coke” but were disappointed when the restaurant didn’t stock it.
Gentrifiers come out of the closet
While at La Llamarada, I also overheard this disturbing bit of conversation from the next table over between a yuppie and a scruffy bearded guy in flannel:
“Dude,” says the yuppie to the hipster “this neighborhood [Lincoln Heights] has a ton of foreclosed, bank owned properties. You know, it can kinda be the new place for 30 something hipsters.”
My instinct was to go for the steak knife on the next table but my eating companion held me back. I settled for a long glare towards their table. Yuppies, before you decide this neighborhood is your next Silver Lake, check out these pics: Vidalia’s “Lincoln Heights-Home Sweet Home.”
Gentrification is not just a local phenomenon, all over the US and Western Europe the wealthy are moving back into the urban areas they abandoned so long ago. This movement is displacing the less financially endowed residents who in turn are forced to move to the outskirts of major cities. For a look at the situation in Chicago, read this fine article from The Economist: Trading Places: The Demographic Inversion of the American City.
Meanwhile, rural areas are still experiencing a fair amount of development as planned communities gobble up land that was once used for farming. While the upwardly mobile love the charming views of wide open spaces, apparently farm critters are too much for the delicate sensibilities of the suburban set. One farmer fights back with visual blight!
Casa del Mexicano
In case you missed it, LA Times looks at the recent renovations happening at the once glorious Casa del Mexicano on the fabulously named street, Calle Pedro Infante. According to some sources, the building was once used (or perhaps built) as a Jewish Synagogue.
If you have the opportunity, please see the delightful documentary, Meet Me at Brooklyn and Soto for the background on the Jewish community of Boyle Heights. Believe it or not, there was a time when Jewish anarchists and Orthodox Jews fiercely debated politics on the streets of the Eastside, in vegetarian restaurants and other Brooklyn Ave cafes, such as Canter’s (before it moved to Fairfax Ave).
Teocintli presents East of the River: A Boyle Heights History Project, August 15th 7pm-11pm. See flyer above.
At the Ave 50 Gallery: The Black/Brown Dialogues, featuring Inspiration House Poetry Choir, honors healthy and ethical cultural dialogue between the African and Latino communities. Saturday, August 23, 2008 starting at 7:00 pm.
Continuing at the UCLA Fowler Museum: La tinta grita/The Ink Shouts: The Art of Social Resistance in Oaxaca, Mexico through December 7, 2008.
Bits n Pieces
Fellow LA Eastsider, Pachuco 3000 has helped put together an awesome page at KCET on the history of SoCal DJs and backyard parties. Put aside some time to sit back and listen to the mixtapes for a nostalgic audio tour of Eastside party favorites. Backyard Parties: A brief history of DJ culture in Southern California: 1970’s to the present.
Oh, dang! 99 Cent Only store is raising their prices! We really are in a recession.