About chimatli

In the fourth-grade, I won second place in the Humphreys Elementary School poetry contest. It's been all downhill from there.

Five Points Reading Series

Hey, finally something I want to attend at the Workspace gallery in Lincoln Heights. Actually, I never know what goes on in that space, perhaps a calendar in their window would be helpful or some kind of outreach to the neighborhood. In any case, I missed Daniel Hernandez reading from his new book Down & Delirious in Mexico City a few weeks ago and happy to have the chance to hear him read right in my own neighborhood! See ya there!
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In Quotes: The Labyrinth of Solitude

My great-grandmother Matilde V. Tellez at an unknown Los Angeles park, circa 1940s.

Octavio Paz lived in Los Angeles during the late 1940s. Below is an excerpt from his book The Labyrinth of Solitude.

When I arrived in the United States I lived for awhile in Los Angeles, a city inhabited by over a million persons of Mexican origin. At first sight, the visitor is surprised not only by the purity of the sky and the ugliness of the dispersed and ostentatious buildings, but also by the city’s vaguely Mexican atmosphere, which cannot be captured in words or concepts. This Mexicanism – delight in decorations, carelessness and pomp, negligence, passion and reserve – floats in the air. I say “floats” because it never mixes or unites with the other world, the North American world based on precision and efficiency. It floats, without offering any opposition; it hovers, blown here and there by wind, sometimes breaking up like a cloud, sometimes standing erect like a rising skyrocket. It creeps, it wrinkles, it expands and contracts; it sleeps or dreams; it is ragged but beautiful. It floats, never quite existing, never quite vanishing.

Farewell Lincoln Park Carousel

LA Eastside received some sad news yesterday, the Lincoln Park Carousel, which has provided thousand of kids with old-timey fun will be closing. In fact, the wooden horses might’ve already taken their last roundabout trip today.

Despite two attempts for the owners to continue on, the poor economic situation is forcing them to close. It’s a distressing situation for carousel worker Ana Salas who dedicated much time and effort to promote the carousel. “It was more than just a two minute ride” she told LA Eastside “It was a little escape and a sense of happiness for the riders. Seeing everyone’s smiles made me happy.”

Much respect to all of the Lincoln Park advocates who spent so much time and energy to keep the carousel moving for the past three years.

Lincoln Park Carousel Facebook page.

Original Los Angeles Times story about happier carousel days here.

El Chavo’s 2008 post about the first time the Lincoln Park Carousel was due to close here.

Banksy on the Eastside

Caution – Banksy

The world’s most notorious street artist and visual prankster, Banksy, who is in town for the Oscars (his film Exit Through the Gift Shop is nominated for Best Documentary) made it east of the river to leave the residents of Boyle Heights a small visual gift for us to enjoy. It seems he is much more clued in to local politics than I thought and he is aware no doubt, that this piece might bring some attention to the plight of undocumented immigrants. Perhaps all those Oscar folks and celebrity gossipers will be forced to talk about something slightly political for once.

There’s no need to keep the location secret as the word is spreading rapidly. Plus the piece is totally visible from the street. It’s in the alley on the southwest corner of 1st and Soto. When I was there this afternoon, there was no one around and no one taking photos. There is however a film crew shooting a new movie about J Edgar Hoover right around the corner.

Bienvenido to the Eastside, Banksy!

Hollywood: Banksy redefines the Oscar Campaign, Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2011.

*Rumor has it that there are more of these stencils around Boyle Heights like for instance, on Pleasant and Cesar Chavez near the bridge.

H/T to the Boyle Heights Facebook page.

UPDATE 2/25/11: Such ridiculousness, it makes me LOL, I tell ya. The Banksy piece got tagged by someone who rolled up in car, sprayed over it and took off. Then, the owners of the building came by and cut it out the wall! Ah, the art world!
H/T to Melrose + Farifax, check the site for photos.

Video (including the piece on the bridge near Pleasant) by Jessica2Cents of Mis Neighbors here.

According to one of our Facebook readers, the second Caution piece on Pleasant has been tagged by a “$” sign but it’s still there.

Cumbia Tribal and Botas Exoticas

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been interested in global street dance styles: dance moves and trends started by small groups of folks in their respective geographic areas. Over at my chimatli blog I’ve posted lots of DIY Youtube videos of various urban styles like Kurdish Halay/Govend hip-hop, Duranguense, Tecktonik, Kuduro and Jerkin, to name of few. In this tradition, I was pleased to come across these videos of a new music style and scene coming out of Texas called Tribal which mixes Banda/Cumbia with Techno. While the music is pretty straightforward, it basically sounds like a good mixture of the two music genres, it’s the fashion that goes with this scene that’s pretty remarkable – namely, the boots. These aren’t any old kind of botas, these are the kinda boots that would make an Aladin genie or a fanciful fairy proud. The tip of the boots are long, pointy and exaggerated, so much so that I wonder how they are able to walk in them as the point stretches out sometimes two feet in front of their shoe. “How do they climb stairs?” a friend wondered. Frequently the boots are decorated in a mega-Ed Hardy style, bedazzled and often shocking pink or leopard print.

photo courtesy of Chuntaritos
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Botanitas: February 15, 2011

Trailer for the upcoming documentary, East LA Interchange

Did you enjoy your Valentine’s Day (“Valentimes” for you Eastsiders) and it’s artifice of love represented by cheap, corn-syrup chocolates, industrially grown, pesticide-laden flowers and eco-destroying mylar balloons? Many think the key to love is a mystery but the real mystery in my opinion is, how do they get those teddy bears in balloons?

Read below for info on awesome book readings, the cranky city attorney, lost casas, dedications (not the Art Laboe kind) and the requisite Eastside fundraiser.
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Rebel Rousers

click on photos to scroll through pics

Last weekend, I headed over to Self Help Graphics to check out the SkaWars show put on by Evoecore. I didn’t intend to take photos but I was so impressed by the old school classic punk styles and good energy of the attendees at this all ages show (all ages equals high school) that I whipped out my camera phone and did my best with the low lighting and difficult camera taking circumstances. So yes, the photos are fuzzy, out of focus and full of red eyes but who else took photos and posted them on their blog for you to see? No one, so there ya go! Um, also I want to apologize if your photo is here and you have the wrong name and/or city attached to your photo. As the night wore on, some of the liquids I’d been drinking kicked in and I lost track of who was who. Please correct me and I’ll fix the names and cities.

Thanks to all of you for the good times, conversation and for your awesome style choices!

Oh and big thumbs down to the LA County Sheriff’s Department who not only shutdown the show early but used rubber bullets to disperse these young folks (legally children, some of them) from the area. Oh what? You didn’t know they did this? That’s because it happened in East Los Angeles and I guess it’s okay to randomly use rubber bullets on kids this side of town.

Thanks to Ana for your help!

Botanitas: January 29, 2011

An Eastside Treebear in it’s native habitat

Welcome to the first Botanitas of 2011! It’s true, I haven’t much kept up with this poor excuse for a social events calendar. All you hungry-for-fun LA Eastside readers have had to figure out what’s going on on your own. But with all the Eastside-centric Facebook groups that exist now, I’m sure you’ve all had other sources to inform you of the happenings around town. But yeah, I hoped you missed Botanitas, just a little…
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