Dream + Act: Film, Videos, and Activism on Immigration

(To see a larger pic click here.)

In the on going discussions about the Federal Dream Act, Freewaves, Self Help Graphics & Art, La Causa and The East LA Society of Film and Arts (TELA SOFA) are convening artist, activist and film makers in a sort of free for all that discusses the issues around the Dream Act, immigration in the U.S., the connections between art and activism and the affects they all have in communities. These are all pretty broad topics as it is, but the panel discussion, which I’m on, the screening of short films and the discussion with the film makers will narrow down the conversations and encourage healthy dialogue that is lacking at times because of the strong passions Dream and immigration bring up. I won’t go into much detail about what is going to be discussed because even I don’t really know, but I know it’ll be good conversation none the less.

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This Christmas tree was found on my street, a couple of weeks back, on a driveway to a delivery entrance for a restaurant.
Obviously the neighbor who just got around to taking down and throwing out their Christmas tree, three months after Christmas, didn’t want anyone to know who where they lived.
They may be procrastinators but at least they have some shame about it.

Eat. Pray. Love?

Saturday April 16 was the free community viewing of the long anticipated first Mexican-American museum in Los Angeles called La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, which is located next to Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles church at Calle Olvera.

As a younger and inexperienced artist, one of my dream goals was to have my art displayed in a museum. I thought that would be the ultimate place where my ideas, voice and craftsmanship would be appreciated and cherished. I attended all the great museum exhibits–Van Gogh, Picasso, Tamayo, Siqueiros, Da Vinci, Kahlo, Warhol and so many more that I love— standing in front of their work (where they once stood), so hungry to see how they saw. Some of those artists were never even appreciated or successfully exhibited during their lifetimes.

Afterward, when a museum bought my work for a permanent display, instead of feeling accomplished—I felt like an oddity, a curio. I know it’s the nature of me, as an artist—I’m never satisfied, always looking for the next thing. As a producer/curator, a job that was imposed on me due to the lack of opportunities for my art genre,  I enter every exhibit with a critical eye.

In truth, museums began as cabinets of curiosities and collectibles that turned into rooms filled with stuff, which people were willing to pay admission to see. All these museums started as personal taste collections that were cherished by those who had the resources to give them importance.  I am not sure this system has even changed.

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icpiticayotl caja de audio toques transitio mx festival from arc-video on Vimeo.

The ancient Mexican tradition of electro (toque) therapy, once thought to have disappeared, is making a come back and is much needed in these dire times.
Toquero in Mex

A friend recently called me about info on Toqueros. I don’t even know if that is the correct term for men who would carry a small electric generator, and for a small fee, you can hold on to two metal bars connected to the generator and get an electric shock. My homie had looked around and didn’t find much. I told I would ask around. Then he sent me this site.
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How To Determine Windiness Levels

Here’s an urban survival tip for you to consider, which might come in handy at some crucial moment in your hectic life. If you want to determine how windy it is outside, say because you want to start a bbq or want to cut some tumbleweeds at the root to see them roll around all over the streets, measure the height of palm fronds on the sidewalk. Here we see a few inches of frond, which translates to a lil’ windy.

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Rambling On My Mind: Final Daze in Medellin: Like A Walk In The Park

Part I
Part II
Part III

2 homies still asleep in hostel. whole place is quiet. i leave and at 945 i’m on the metro, not packed. get to vegetus in downtown, across from this parking lot. small spot, kinda cramped. they tell me it’s all vegan. hells yeah! get lasagna and it’s alright. yes, lasagna at 1030! even got some ice cream made of avena. i take some pics of menu and a woman kindly asks me why and i tell her, just for memories. she goes over to the counter and brings me a menu and says, “you can keep this one.” here it is

i split and it’s noon and hit up a net place and write some shit. walk around and at a corner, in front of shopping center, is a long-haired metal head selling the latest in death and black metal. i walk over and we talk. i dabble in the metal arts, i say. i favor the traditional heavy style a la trouble. push play, sucka, and let the dark riffs remind you why ozzy and tony are seers. and no that is not ozzy. as if.
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The Little Burglars of Lincoln Heights, 1906

Not the little boys from Lincoln Heights but a reasonable representation

There have always been “juvenile delinquents” on the Eastside. As the years have gone by, perhaps the ethnicity of the children has changed but the acts are the same. Kids get bored, they experiment, they are curious, they want things and figure out various ways to acquire the articles they seek. A phenomenon common to all humans. Sadly for these little burglars, their names and addresses were printed in the Los Angeles Times for all to see. Worse, the newspaper mocked their common predicament by stating: “This is the saddest time of their lives.”

They All Ran Off With Pocket Knives and This Is the Saddest Time of Their Lives.
Los Angeles Times, May 24, 1906

Three small boys, none of them over thirteen years of age were charged with burglarizing the Griffin-avenue schoolhouse. The three lads have made a full confession. They are Miles and Earl Vaughan, aged 13 and 10 years who live with their parents at No. 248 at South Gates street. Their father is a switchman with Southern Pacific.
The third and smallest member of the trio is Eddie Crist, aged 9. He lives with his parents at No.516 South Gates Street. His father is a carpenter. The boys were arrested and taken to the East Side Police Station and later removed to the Detention Home.
According to the story the three lads tell, they were playing in the yard of the schoolhouse Tuesday morning It was a holiday, owing to the Fiesta parade, and no one was in the building. They pushed on the door of the building and the lock gave way.
Once inside they made a thorough search through the rooms and say they took a number of pocket knives and fountain pens. Little Eddie Crist says he only took one pocket knife. The other boys admit taking several and some fountain pens. Their only excuse is that they wanted the articles. The lads will have to face a charge of burglary in the Juvenile Court.

Article courtesy of the Los Angeles Times, all grammar and punctuation are from the original story.

Nominated: Worst Water Feature in LA County

It’s hard to get a good picture from a moving vehicle and this is the best I could do. What you kinda see in that picture above is a ridiculous aesthetic touch for that new mall in Monterey Park on Atlantic by the 10, better known as the newest location of Happy Family Vegetarian Restaurant, after being forced to relocate from this very spot to allow for the development of this very mall! Wherever they go they still make great food. Too bad the new place is a drab and lifeless stucco enclosure, no doubt some vision of the future of yet another lousy developer.

Which brings us back to that aesthetic touch, a water feature in the underground parking lot, which you only notice on the way out. There is something dehumanizing about this fountain. A miserable attempt at having you leave the miserable development in a better mood because you saw some water floating by. It ends up only highlighting the lifelessness of the whole structure, reminding you of how unnatural this all is, a fucking mini-river on your way out of an ugly underground parking structure. Lipstick on a corpse.

If you plan to visit this waterwork, take the exit to Hellman which is where you will find this refreshing addition to our social car lives. Don’t you dare park to get a closer view, the river of cars need to keep flowing!

Yes, I hereby nominate this as the Worst Water Feature in LA County. There just can’t be anything else as absurd, can there?

The Geniuses of East LA

Last month Popular Mechanics announced that Motive Industries in Canada is in the process of developing an earth-friendly-eco car made out of hemp. Gives the concept of hot-boxing a new definition, right?

As I laughed non-stop about the marijuana-mobile in Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke— never did I think, “Hey, that’s a great idea!” I kinda remember this vehicle made out of weed as funny and absurd. Who knew that 33 years later this stoner-logic would be the answer to our gas and ecological woes? Now it’s genius!

This hemp car, The Kestrel is scheduled to be available in 2012 or 2013. More than likely it will not be too popular on the eastside though, because of its size, being electrical and its general meekness. Had the developers stuck to the original van as Cheech and Chong had envisioned it—we might have been more into it. Especially, if the van had that burning exhaust pipe, with it’s 100-foot mota-smoke screen.

The techs working on this hemp car have no idea how the car body will wear down, they believe it will have a quiet interior and will not smell. Still, I envision a side industry of car sprays and air fresheners with names like Kalifornia Kush, Turkish Gold or Blueberry Purps—sort of a rip on the popular New Car scent. I also wondered if the Kestrel would drive the scent dogs crazy when crossing the international border, especially on a really hot day. Since the body is organic, it is supposed to bounce back and be easy to repair. Just a few Zig-Zags would work maybe.

Hemp has the lowest amount of THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its magical properties. You’d probably have to torch the whole car to get any effect—but hemp does have great nutritional value. I think that’s a big plus, because during some natural disaster—you’d have something life saving to gnaw on.

Now my thoughts are onto other genius inventions from the eastside. Maybe in 2025 all vehicles will come standard with hydraulics—something we may need for a future flood or for jumping-in during an earthquake.