If you take even a casual interest in some of the literature about Los Angeles (you know, like in books) you’ll eventually run across references to the Eastside that are properly located and don’t play around with those coy and “fluid” demarcations that have been the rage amongst the newbie set; its East of the river, y punto. I come across these references every once in awhile and I get a tiny jolt of satisfaction seeing them in print, an insignificant validation of what most of us already know. That glee quickly turns into a sigh when I think about it for a second; this shouldn’t even be an issue. Que se le va hacer?
Well, this is what I plan to do: instead of getting angry about yet another careless use of the term by people that don’t matter, I’m hoping to occasionally post some quotes, references, or pictures that give the communities East of the River the respect they deserve. Easy enough, que no?
This first installment is just a quote from the book pictured above, East Side Stories by Joseph Rodriguez, from way back in 1998.
“The Evergreen gang featured in this book calls the Boyle Heights District home, within the city limit, unlike Marianna, a few miles east, but both are part of greater East L.A., also known as the Eastside, one of the country’s biggest and most mythologized barrios.”
It’s a worthwhile book to check out as it captures some compelling pictures of the cholo as human subject, an aspect of the gang life many would rather ignore. Though the typical approach is to demonize these kids that do bad things, it’s not so easy to write them off when you recognize them as humans, flaws and all.
Yeah, I know, it’s kinda too obvious a place to start, but this idea only dawned on me while reading the intro (by Ruben Martinez) to this collection of pictures. I should have been taking notes a few weeks ago while I was watching “Meet Me At Brooklyn and Soto”, a video about the history of the Jewish community in Boyle Heights. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to check it out again. Stay tuned for more Eastside quotes!