Highland Park Holiday Parade 2008: Some Pictures

Q-vo Paisanos! Que transas? You thought I had forgotten about the Highland Park parade coverage, eh? Nah, I’ve just been a little busy with some stupid thing or two. I did actually make it out the the HLP parade on the Northeast side of town, I even stayed for the whole thing! And I took a few pictures! Well, actually, I took too many pictures and I’ve posted a gang of them, so you’re just gonna have to suffer through it tambien. It is the season of sacrifice, after all. So click ahead when you have the time, when your boss leaves the building, or when you’re just so bored with that spreadsheet that you no longer even care if you get caught! Al Desfile!

(Edit: as you can tell, I wrote this part some time ago! But if you are a bored office worker stuck behind a computer on New Year’s Eve I have a special message for you: Quit! La Crisis be damned!)

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Shootin’ the shit

I went to cut m hair last week at Jessies Barber Shop on Brooklyn and Mott, even though I hate having to look “nice” and “clean” according to society, and I was reminded of what it’s like to be a guy. You see, I grew up with three younger sisters, at school I’m surrounded by women colleagues (both good and bad depending on what day of the month it is) and I’ve come to realize that most of the people I call friends are, well woman. Of course I have guy friends but I hang out with woman more than men and again, it’s a good/bad things. However, being around woman all the time means that there’s certain language I can’t use and behavior that’s not appropriate in the presence of a woman. Vulgar humor doesn’t work on them and therefore I’m left alone to my own devices. But there are still some places left in this world where a guy can be a guy and not only be encouraged by vulgar humor/language, but be commended for it. During my hair cut, I overheard a conversation that started simply enough about a parking situation with one of the barbers in-laws. As soon as she left he started talking all kinds of trash, in a joking fashion of course, at least I hope it was. He called her a crazy old lady, she’s outta her f’ing mind etc. Then some of the other guys waiting joined in the conversation and joked that maybe the argument was caused because it was that time of the month. Then they completely trailed off and started talking about getting ass and basically being guys. This was all in spanish so you can only imagine the vulgarity of the language used to say everything I described. While I may not agree with their male-chauvinistic views, it felt good shooting the shit with the guys again.

The Blob That Ate Lincoln Heights!

Oh no, Downtown is on a hungry rampage and moving east! It first started with The Brewery and then The San Antonio Winery and now has consumed every hipsters’ favorite place to shop, The Saint Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Lincoln Heights!

An article in today’s Los Angeles Times features the downtown loft of a “recycled living” bohemian realtor and his fashion designer girlfriend. This couple is really cool cause they are into old stuff that was previously used! Wow! Read what I mean:

In the spirit of adaptive reuse, nearly all the furnishings inside the loft hail from flea markets or thrift shops or are alley finds.

Uh, huh. And where might one of these chic thrift stores be?

Heller stops by downtown’s St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop at least twice a week.

Downtown? How did that happen? According to the Saint Vincent de Paul website, the store is located:

Just north of downtown Los Angeles … in Lincoln Heights, is one of the largest, well-stocked thrift stores in all of Southern California The St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store which according to Los Angeles Magazine is the “Best Thrift Store in Los Angeles.”

So it’s happened again…Downtown, in it’s appetite to swallow anything that might be “cool” has now gobbled up an even bigger chunk of Lincoln Heights. What will follow?

Mi espanish, it’s not so good’o anymore

Alright I need a spell check here. I was walking to the post office last week to mail out some christmas cards and I took a snap shot of this tag. Now, when I first saw it I immediately questioned the idiot cholos spelling. I’m pretty sure lefty and Chile (?) weren’t much help in helping him spell. So what which one is it ? Huero or Guero ? But there’s an bigger underlying dilemma brought up in my conundrum to figure out the correct spelling, I’m forgetting my spanish !!!!!!!! English is my second language, but it turned into my primary language once I mastered it. I learned to read and write in spanish first, but when I “moved” to the states I was immersed with the english language thanks to television and friends at school. That and lack of practice make the problem worse. Being bilingual is an asset and even though I may forget words at times, I’m still proficient in spanish. I guess you can say I’m outta practice since I stopped living with my parents more than a year ago. Of course I poke fun of friends who are Mexican but can’t speak a lick of spanish because their parents for whatever reason didn’t teach it to them. The obvious solution is to practice it more, but english is what everyone speaks unless you’re a parental figure. It’s embarrassing to forget how to spell and pronounce certain words or not be able to translate them. Last time that happened to me was when I was trying to say vegeterania (vegetarian). 🙁

Tamale Casserole

Some of the greatest ideas in life are the simplest ones, take for example the Tamale Casserole. Being the son of a Tamalera, I know tamales and when I laid my eyes on that concoction in the aluminum pan, I questioned it and it’s taste. Low and behold I was surprised by it great taste and ingenuity. Curious about the casserole, I asked the chef about it and she told me that it was a recipe her grandmother created back in the day. Chimatli dates it back to the ’50s, but this is the first time I laid eyes on something so clever and tasty. 

This particular casserole was of rajas and it had monterey jack and goat cheese making for a unique combination to say the least. The japalenos gave it a nice kick too and some extra flavor. Again letting my curiosity got the best of me and I asked how she prepared the casserole. In a nutshell, you take masa and put it on the bottom of the pan, add your toppings of choice and lay another layer of masa on top of that. Pop it in the oven for about 90 minutes and bingo bango, a tamale casserole. Over the holidays I’ve been exposed to a variety of tamale variations including vegetarian tamales. For years I thought that rajas, chicken red/green sauce, pork red/green sauce and pineapple and strawberry were the only ones available. My pallet is forever changed and I’m grateful to have been exposed to such culinary delights.

The 2nd Annual Gran Posada del Pueblo

In the spirit of the season, Boyle Heights residents came together to celebrate Las Posadas with family, friends and of course great food. The East LA Community Corporation and Company of Angels Theater Company helped sponsor the posadas that included a turkey giveaway earlier a couple of days before the posadas. This years celebration, the Company of Angels Theater Company help put on a play, Los Peregrinos del Este, written by Xavi Moreno, Directed by Armando Molina and a dramaturgy by Ricardo Brancho featuring members of ELACC “neighbors building neighborhoods action committees. The play and posada were intertwined as it began at First and Boyle at the mariachi plaza and continued down Boyle to the ELACC head quarters with a few stops along the way.  

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The Problem with Hacienda Heights

I’ve talked alot of shit about some of our suburbs to the east in my past, and though I wish I could stop my bashing to save friendships and to not create any more hostilities with some friends and family members that live in these and nearby ‘burbs, it’s impossible for my sense of decency to keep quiet. The suburbs create odd behavior patterns, maybe perfectly reasonable within the context of their own reality but utterly absurd when exposed to the light of reason. Take for example this xmas tree spotted on a cul-de-suck in Hacienda Heights earlier today: even before 5:30pm somebody has managed to get rid of the holiday tree, leaving it out for the trash truck, even though this was still Christmas Day! Is the trash pick-up coming early in the morning? Are they scared of the fire dangers of a pine tree in the home? I have no idea, but whatever the “logic” that led to such an early curbside disposal, it just points to some warped thinking happening inside these homes. Fucking wasteful thinking. I almost considered bringing it home for that sweet piney smell, but neh pollos, I can barely tolerate the trappings of Christmas, so why push it with the decorations?

If people can build opinions about Lincoln Heights from some cholo getting shot and killed, isn’t it appropriate that I be able to form an opinion from some random sighting on my way out of a fun X-mas party in HH? I think the notion of justice demands I create a similar prejudice, just to be fair.

A Donkey Christmas

Recipe for an excellent Christmas video:

1. Start with the best Christmas song ever, El Burrito de Belen – a festive cumbia tune sung by a chorus of kids backed by nalga-shaking rhythmic accompaniment.

2. Give a group of Peruvians in the Andes access to a video camera and editing software.

3. Dress one of the Peruvians in a donkey suit and futbol gear.

4. Add one fed-up burrito.

5. Voila! You got the above video, bizarre and silly, my kinda Christmas entertainment.

It’s so donkey! 😉