New Bike Lanes on 1st Street

Since early Saturday morning, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation has been putting in new bike lanes in Boyle Heights. The lanes are 1.6 miles long and start at Boyle Ave and finish off at Lorena. Not a bad start, but Boyle Heights still needs more lanes. The 7th street bike project will add more bike lanes in the future, but what Boyle Heights needs is lanes on Chavez. That would be the ultimate commitment in making BH bike friendly. Joe Linton has a write up and a map of the route here tambien. With more and more bike riders taking to the streets, I’m glad the city is, slowly but surely, meeting the demand for safer roads. Even with the new lane, riders still gotta be cautious because there are some crazy drivers in BH, believe you me. Hopefully folks will now ride down 1st street vs Chavez.

June 3, 1943

Sixty eight years ago today, the Sailor Riots began. Another race based riot started by whites fueled by the LA Times, the police and ignorance. The US had locked up the Japanese in concentration camps, but not people of German lineage, so they needed someone else to hate on and as usual Mexicans were targeted. None of the sailors or members of the white mobs that joined were arrested. Mexicans and blacks were beaten, striped in the streets, arrested and women were raped.

(at 2:30 a scene about the riots begins)

This is a very clear example of how the white population would often attack communities of color based on misinformation from media, fear, lies and racism. All race riots up until the 1965 Watts riots were led by white people and targeted barrios, ghettos and other areas where people of color lived. In some cases entire towns were burned to the ground.
For more information go here.

Dancing Bicycle Rider of Boyle Heights Video

Last time I blogged about the Dancing Bicycle Rider of Boyle Heights, I was only able to snap some crappy photos, well now I have crappy video. I was riding with my friend to the Red Bull Soap Box Race, when I heard his yells off in the distance. I was across the street on First and Mission and was able to catch his acrobatics from across the way.

I was then able to catch up with him after meeting up with my friend on the corner of First and Alameda as he was waiting for a signal change. You can see him being unsafe by riding on the cross-walk, doing spins and almost running into people crossing the street. I almost hit him as well. He called me a “pendeja” for being on my phone. I still don’t really know who the man is or why he does what he does. But it’s still cool to watch as he does it. Kinda like performance art.

Spokes & Words: Lazy Sunday Ride

Since most people have better things to do on Memorial day, like sleeping in and spending quality time with family, we are switching up the ride to Sunday evening. We’ll still be meeting at mariachi Plaza at 7 p.m. and riding at 7:30ish to a secrete location that will not only make the ride fun, but a mystery.

I (Random) will have both bike and personal first aid on hand in case anything happens. Aside from that, please be sure your bike is in proper working condition, your front and back lights are working and maybe a sweater for when it get’s cold later on. And don’t forget to keep up with Spokes & Words through Facebook.

Halcónes de Noche

I was at Georges Burgers Tuesday night grabbing dinner, which was a $1.50 hamburger, and as I was waiting for my burger I took a pic that reminded me of the Edward Hooper paiting, “Night Hawks.” Georges is a lot like the painting in that it’s frozen in time. I mean, most of the guys working there have been there for years. In fact, I asked one of the cooks and he said that the person with the least amount of time working there was 15 years. But that’s how it’s always been, the same guys cooking up fries and burgers for as long as I can remember. In fact, some of them have been there working longer than I have been alive. Despite the Mc Donald’s up the block, king taco, KFC/Taco Bell, Jack in the Box and a bunch of other restaurants around them, they’ve stayed in business all these years.  At this point, I’m looking forward to the day when I can take my kids there for a burger.

The Xentrification Situation in Boyle Heights

I like Cinthia Gonzalez because in her recent “Gentrification in Boyle Heights” post over at the rough rider blog, she broke down how she see’s the changes going on in Boyle Heights. Esos pinches hipsters !! So, La Curbed picked up on it and some pendejos started talking shit. FTP. So, then Southern California Public Radio picked up on it as well asking readers to chime in on whether BH is getting gentrified. And now everyone, including myself because when I hear BH mentioned my ears ring is talking about it. I think the L.A. Times just sent someone over to write a story too.  So, what do people think ? Is BH officially gentrified or as I have come to say Xentrified ?

Funny thing is that I have been working on a post to talk about xentrification but Cinthia beat me to the punch. Great job !! She has an awesome journalism teacher over at Roosevelt that encourages and pushes the students to write reactionary stories like this. As for what I think about the xentrification situation, well the place is pretty much going to those who have an active voice at community planning meetings, elders. I go to all these meetings about what streets are gonna get lights, speed bumps and stuff and all I see is elders. They want safe, nice looking streets for everyone.

At the same time, not to put anyone on blast, but any xentrification that is going comes directly from “people” like me. Yes that’s right, it’s an inside job. I tell hipsters about how awesome BH through this very blog and what do they do ? Blog about it as well and tell soo many people that we can’t have street vendors around anymore. But who are “people” like me you ask ? Well pretty much anyone that goes to art shows, goes to primera taza, drinks at eastside luv, goes on bike rides from mariachi plaza. You know, Xikano Hipsters.

No Rush Hour Turns on Soto/1st street

Part of me feels bad that I didn’t do this post the first day I noticed these new traffic signs last year. A bigger part of me could care less about people getting tickets for not paying attention to road signs. Now, another part of me started feeling like ok, maybe I should say something about the new “no left/right turn” during rush hour signs. And now another part of me is hungry, there’s just no winning. Continue reading

Eastside icon: Lysa Flores

Lysa Flores has been a staple and a major voice in the Eastside music scene since the early 90’s. Her popularity as a musician and voice for Chicana artists hit a zenith after her scene stealing turn as the sister in the controversial film (for its time) “Star Maps.” She was also the music supervisor for the film which helped set the groundwork for the emerging Latin Rock explosion of the 90’s.

Her exposure to the global music scene was in part due to her touring with El Vez, the Mexican Elvis, as an El Vette. Spending months overseas, and opening for David Bowie at one point, taught Flores much about the music business.

Throughout the years, upon returning from, and in between touring the world, she started her own label “Bring Your Love,” played at various causa events for La Raza and even painted collector editions paintings at Self Help Graphics. The respect she earned as a talented singer, song writer and guitarist opened doors for her to work with X front man John Doe and drummer DJ Bonebrake, as well as Flaco Jimenez, Jonathan Richman, Bill Frisell, and David Hidalgo to list just a few.

In other words this woman works non stop!
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L.A. to O.C. Dream Ride

Join us in a 50 mile bike ride to continue raising awareness for Federal Dream Act, California Dream Act (institutional financial aid) and getting drivers licences for all California residents, as well as bringing attention to the rights of all bicyclist in the city of L.A and Orange County. Spokes & Words, The Orange County Dream Team and Dream Team Los Angeles are working together with City of Lights and the Bici Digna program in organizing and funding this event to bring together all these great orgs that fight for social justice for for all.

When: Sunday Feb. 20 (presidents day weekend)

Where: Starting at Corazon del Pueblo 2003 E. 1st. street Boyle Heights 90033 and ending at Centro Cultural de Mexico 310 W. 5th street Santa Ana 92701

Registration: Registration form and $15 fee (link at bottom of page) will be due on Jan. 28. This will include lunch, dinner, bike maintenance during event and over night stay in Orange County. Form can be downloaded via link:

Route: Approx 50 miles via streets of L.A., San Gabriel River Bike Path and streets of Santa Ana.

Housing: Sleeping over at Centro Cultural de Mexico. Individuals are responsible for bringing their own sleeping bag, pillows, blankets, toiletries, change of clothes etc. and transportation back to L.A. A truck will carry participant’s belongings, sleeping bags etc. to Santa Ana and back to CDP after ride is over.

Food: Lunch, dinner and snacks will be provided for all participants accounted for, for the event.

Bike Safety Work Shops: All participants of event will be required to attend at least one workshop on safety, rules of the road and ridding in a group. No exceptions.

First workshop will be at CDP on Jan 23rd from 1 to 4 p.m. Second will be at Centro Cultural in Santa Ana on Jan 30th from 1 to 4 p.m. and the final workshop will be at CDP on Feb. 5th from 1 to 4 p.m. Riders needing help with their bikes will be encouraged to bring them to the workshop for maintenance and bike tune up. Workshops will be coordinated by City of Lights.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for anyone that wants to donate food, supplies or sponsor riders for the event as well.

Anyone with questions about the event can contact for more information or concerns

Event Sponsors:
Spokes & Words
City of Lights
Orange County Dream Team
Dream Team Los Angeles
Corazon del Pueblo
El Centro Cultural de Mexico

Link to pay pal account here:

John Carlos De Luna Solo Show

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know John and his partner Kristy Lovich these last few years. Conversations over drinks, tamales, smoking outside in the cold or just holding it down on the street corner. Conversations about Xicano Hipsters, art and our favorite paletas and anything else that will come up. The conversations I enjoyed the most and took to heart are those of Johns experiences growing up in the Estrada courts, growing as an artist on and off the streets, being tossed aside by folks who said he was never brown enough to hang out with them and his experiences doing work as a graff writer back in the day. What makes John stand out a little more than everyone else who grew up in Boyle Heights and East L.A. to me is that he’s able to articulate himself with his art and poetry. Continue reading


Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. One day only, ONE DAY ONLY !!!!! 7 miles of L.A. streets will be closed off so people can frolic, worry free about getting hit by a stupid driver who’s not paying attention to the road. But what exactly is CICLAVIA, from their site,

“A Ciclovía is not just for recreation. It is social integration.

Ciclovías started in Bogotá, Colombia, over thirty years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. Now they happen throughout Latin America and the United States, connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. The health benefits are immense. Ciclovías bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space.

In Los Angeles we need CicLAvia more than ever. Our streets are congested with traffic, our air is polluted with toxic fumes, our children suffer from obesity and other health conditions caused by the scarcity of public space and safe, healthy transportation options. CicLAvia creates a temporary park for free, simply by removing cars from city streets. It creates a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun.”

It’s pretty self explanatory, so grab your bike and cruise around. I’ll be at Hollenbeck Park from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. helping out before I head out and ride. The event goes on from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. See ya there. P.S. I’ll be wearing a cape 😀

Libros Schmibros

When I first met David Kipen, I had no idea who he was, except that he was “that Jewish guy that moved across the street” from Corazon del Pueblo a while back. Before I knew it, people that had talked and met him told me about his idea for opening a book store in the empty space on the corner of Cummings. I loved the idea of a non-corporate book store in Boyle Heights and when I finally met David around the way, he told me his plans, which is to create his newly rented space into a book-sharing store, so to speak.

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