Doing La Crisis 1990s style.

5.99 WOW!!!

5.99 WOW!!!

I was unlucky enough to be a child of the 90s. The 90s sucked. I always wished I could have been a child of the 80s, but no I was stuck in the decade that started sarcasm, plaid shirts as fashion statements or rather just not washing in general as a fashion statement. It was filled with lots of music that I hated, but had to listen to because there was nothing else available. Lots of whiny songs about killing yourselves and the gov’t and how it sucked and blowing up shit, but it wasn’t fun like punk in the 1970s it was all 1990s and crap. Oh yeah and techno started then too, freakin’ great disco without the cocaine or fun lyrics.


The 1990s had a tendency to suck the fun out of anything that was supposed to be fun.  You couldn’t even get a cup of coffee or rent a movie without being judged by some asshole with Buddy Holly glasses.


In the 1990s in Hollywood we didn’t have Fred 62 (but oddly we did have hipsters, who would have thought they would have lasted so long.) We didn’t have rat dogs in downtown LA (we still had rats.) We had House of Pies which sucked (everything in the 1990s sucked, seriously I lived it as a teenager, I was so pissed I wasn’t in the 80s, I spent every waking moment wishing I had been born in 1968) but it wasn’t about the food. We also had Toi or as we would call it the Rock N Roll Thai restaurant which was of course next to the Rock N Roll Ralphs (we called it that, because back then Sunset was about bands and prostitution.) When we ventured out to downtown to go to the Smell a club that didn’t card, because it was an all ages music venue it really smelled. Now there is a bar for people and their dogs next door. There is also some club (that people wait in a long line for) whose doormen wear cheap Fedoras.


We Hollywood kids had three choices for typical Midwestern sit down eats once we ventured outside of our world of King Jr High and Marshall HS past Sunset and Vermont: the Pantry, Canters (ok Canters wasn’t Midwestern, but they had french fries) or Denny’s of course Denny’s was banned for being racist, but at 1am you forget all about racism. And Denny’s was everywhere. Some people had curfews.


We used to go to the one by the 101 Freeway. I always got french fries since I was vegetarian, nothing more fun than a self-righteous 16 year old whose been drinking orange Gatorade and Vodka, my under-aged drink of choice. I thought Vodka had the least obvious smell for when I got home at 2am from “studying” at my girlfriend’s house.


“We fell a sleep mom, Algebra is hard!!!”


In the 1990s we bitched a lot about how we would be the first generation that would do worse than our parents. We were really into being depressed and identity politics, this was of course before the dot coms .


The dot coms changed everything. Silver Lake became Silverlake and Echo Park migrated east of the LA River and became the Eastside, but some things remain the same. Denny’s is still crazy cheap.


With a La Crisis going on that is 10 times worse than it was in the early 1990s, I strongly suggest you trying Denny’s. Of course you want to support your friend who just opened up a restaurant, but is that friend going to let you sleep in her kitchen after you’ve blown all of your money eating at her restaurant? Besides she’s a capitalist, she’ll understand.


The above meal cost us 5.99 and it can easily be split between three people. I know Denny’s is evil, but living in the US is evil and a 5.99 breakfast this huge, you can forget that it’s corporate at least while you are eating.


It’s called the Grand Slam. I hope Denny’s sends me a check for this.

Browne Molyneux

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About Browne Molyneux

My name is Browne Molyneux. I'm a lady. I'm a radical feminist. I'm black. I'm an Angeleno. I'm an artist. I'm carFREE. I'm a freelance writer. I'm a blogger. I'm a philosopher. I'm a humanist. I'm a journalist. I formerly wrote a column on transportation, Tracks for LA City Beat. The above are all of the things I have to work on being, got questions email me. My topics of interests include but are not limited to politics, transportation, dark green issues, economics, race relations, feminism, culture, working class urban life, media, art, Los Angeles and literature.

28 thoughts on “Doing La Crisis 1990s style.

  1. I don’t mean to rub it in but being a teenager in the 80s and hanging out in Hollywood *was* very fun! 😉 Although, I used to wish I had been around in the early 80s (I was a late 80s teen) when clubs like the Vex and Cathay de Grande were around. I imagined things were better then…
    I used to hang out at the other Denny’s at Gower Gulch. Boy, do I have some stories about that place! (reserved for another time)

  2. I know the 80s was fun I could tell because my friends older sisters did all of this cool stuff and by the time it was our turn to do it, it was all over. There was nothing left even our clothes sucked. What would retro 90s be, looking like you live in your car?

    We couldn’t even go to the right Denny’s!!! It was all wrong, very, very wrong!!! I discovered the good Denny’s later, why where we hanging out at the burn out Denny’s I don’t know. We were 90s and we sucked.

  3. “We couldn’t even go to the right Denny’s!!! It was all wrong, very, very wrong!!!”

    Hahaha! Thanks for the laugh, I needed it! 🙂

  4. All through the 1990’s I kept thinking about what my parents and family kept saying when Ronald Reagan was president, “He’s spending our kids’ money before they’ve earned it on bombs and guns.”

    I alway wondered, “When, exactly, would I get my goddamn bombs and guns?”

    So yeah, the 1990’s sucked.

  5. Oh another thing we also got to experience the joy of AIDS, not through actually getting AIDS, but potentially getting it through all kinds of acts we hadn’t even tried yet. I think people who came of age in the 90s are probably some of the best practitioners of safe sex. Yeah in the 90s it was all about dying through sex a whole lot of famous people were dying (and had died in the late 80s) because of AIDs Keith Haring, Tina Chow, Halton, Isaac Asimov, Arthur Ashe, Eazy E and many others.

    Magic Johnson announced he had HIV, yeah put a whole new spin on teen sex.

  6. Aah Marshall HS! about the best thing about having grown up in Silver Lake i9s the fact that you got to go to Marshall.
    I remember those days when I decided to walk to school and took the long way up Talmadge then right on Franklin just so I could look down from Shakespeare Bridge.
    Good times.

  7. The Gower Gulch Denny’s was my fave in the 90s because of the weird cliques of
    Hollywood fringe dwellers (writers, etc) who’d hang out there for hours talking their industry B.S. One of my favorite cheap places to eat was this tiny dive on the Boulevard near the Pantages called “Dos Burritos” (Browne-Ever go there? It was great)
    My best scene memories are going to (and playing gigs with my band) at:
    -Hell’s Gate (conveniently close to the PLA-BOY Liquors! on Yucca, Yucca Ave. was a crime scene in itself, till the city put cameras on it!)
    -The White Horse, and this club/bar on Santa Monica & El Centro (I can’t remember the name!)
    I also have fond memories of attending SO many awesome shows at the Palladium.
    -The Ramones
    -The Clash did like a 5 day stint there with other bands like the English Beat.
    -Jane’s Addiction
    -I even saw U2 at the Palladium with Romeo Void opening.

  8. I empathize with your 90’s:wackness Browne; I also had the privelege of being a neglected project kid in the 80s whose cholo cousins took him everywhere so got a bit of it. To me it seems like everything turned much shittier and fortress-like after the 92′ riots.

    I grew up in the post Dre-Dre Chronic era, just after Operation X hats, when fades became baldies and every house party became a shootout. I drive thru east Oakland sometimes and look at all the people hanging out in the street and remmeber when LA used to be like that, when hanging on a corner wasnt a sure invitation of police brutality or a drive by. I remember the street scene and Micheal Jackson, Raider games at the Coliseum, looking at homeless at the OG Johnnie’s Shrimp boat, breakdancers on B’way and hollywood bl, cholos with slicked back hair, black people in LA, olympic sam, being able to ride a bike thru DTLA at night when I was 9, midnight project street parties, Aliso Brims and East Coast crips and of course fernando mania.

    I was always artsy for my family, but grew up in the “aye dawg” lense of society, so I knew little of punk until I moved out in Highschool and had a roomate from the southbay who partied with the circle jerks. I remember when raves where thrown by mexican party crews in abandoned buildings (we used to call them industrial parties, i was in junior high), when young urban minorities sometimes could have a good time without it leading to trouble.

    After the riots everything became about security and ensuring minority kids did not congregate. I went down to SCLA with my newly driving cousin (7th or 8th grade for me) and could just feel that things were about to get shittier for my demographic and community, i knew Rebuild LA was a joke when they announced it on TV.

  9. That’s interesting Art about the pelones and high top fades, but I also grew up in the 1990’s but in a predominately Middle Class Black neighborhood, and some latinos here & there. A neighborhood where the kids rocked the high top fades, sporty running tennis shoes, battling/cyphering on the bus routes–“Ah he got Flow!”

    To this day, some of my best memories and consciousness raising experiences came from that era vis-a-vis hip hop (“backpackers) and its influence on style & way of looking at things.

    “My Chicano Movement” came through “X” hats, African Medallions, A Tribe Called Quest, Souls of Mischief, De La Soul, Queen Latifah, Spike Lee, Arrested Development, the 92 Riots, Nelson Mandela coming to LA in the summer 1990 fresh out jail. Shoot, I learned about college mostly from A Different World, and the older siblings who were back home over the summer from Spellman, Morehouse et al.

    I went to a little bar recently that spins hip hop & it didn’t surprise me that the stuff they were mostly spinning was everything from 91-94. I think part of the reason Kanye West is very popular is because he’s tapping into the very things that made the early 90’s hip hop sound/style so bad-ass (we’re same age). Of course it ain’t the same the 2nd time.

    As an Urban Planner, whenever I think of the environment, the music from this era plays like a soundtrack to how I read the built out world. Public transit, bridges,etc.

    But then there’s another side…the Quebradita & 97.9 FM KLAX FM taking LA by storm in the 91 into the summer 92. A new generation found it chic to rock cowboy boots, they formed clubs or crews tailored to this new sound.Enter: Saul Viera, Las Voces del Rancho. I think Lupillo Rivera being from Long Beach always credits some of the hip hop of the time as influencing his approach.

    I guess it depends on what you’re into to, but the 90’s definitely was not dead..just became more colorful..atleast for me.

  10. Al I did go to Dos Burritos, but I haven’t been there in years…up the street from there I went on my first date. We went to see some movie and then to Numero Unos the one on Hollywood Blvd., that’s when I realized my whole wanting to be a nun thing was not going to work out.

    Metro I want to be all positive about the 90s. I want to be into “positive” hip hop and conscious lyrics, but truly I thought it sucked, now don’t think I didn’t try to like it I really wanted to, but I just couldn’t get into it. That was the whole problem with the 90s it was all of this stuff that was supposed to be good for you, but it sucked!!!

    I understand the appeal, but for me in general I hate all 90s music grunge, hiphop, techno, I really can’t think of one thing I liked or would just listen to in a “wow that was a good song.” I have nothing, there is nothing in my little memory bank of good memories of musical times and clothes, I want to burn all of my pictures from the 90s, the clothes were so bad.

    I liked the idea of Public Enemy, but the songs, truly my honest opinion of the songs on artistic merit not political, pretty freakin boring.

    You know what rap artists I like, NWA, that after the dust has cleared that’s who had the most fun music and that is the band that had some truly political music, odd I know, but the 80s had truth the 90s was all about an agenda and image.

    I think I’m too close to the 80s, maybe if I were older, but I was young enough to remember that the the 80s were great and that I was born too late to do anything cool. All I could do was remember how my friends older sisters used to really look fabulous all of the time and why did we always have to turn everything into a big fight all of the time. I was so sick of fighting all of the time.


  11. “But then there’s another side…the Quebradita & 97.9 FM KLAX FM taking LA by storm in the 91 into the summer 92. A new generation found it chic to rock cowboy boots, they formed clubs or crews tailored to this new sound”

    THIS was a big deal. Up until then it was totally uncool to be into your “parent’s music” whether that was rancheras, nortenas or cumbias and then all of sudden there was quebradita and all kinds of kids in East Los started wearing cowboy hats and boots. Soon after, everyone started playing cumbia at parties in between all the “regular” music. I remember my punk friends from Mexico being disgusted by this turn of events and saying “cumbia is shit!” 🙂
    I also have fond memories of the Chicano music and art renaissance that was centered in Highland Park at places like the (de)center and the Public Resource Center (Radio Clandestin@ anyone?) I remember talking to a friend during this time saying “Shit, we’re making Los Angeles too interesting and attractive. Soon people are gonna start moving here and fuck everything up.” And soon enough it became impossible to rent a 3 bedroom house for $700 a month in Northeast LA. I’d always tell all my lame friends that moved to the Bay Area what chumps they were for paying so much for rent but look at me now, I’m the chump! 🙂

  12. Hell yeah chimatli.
    You gotta trip out how the quebradita genre and (everything that came out) of that played out across the physical LA landscape. Parking lots became dancefloors. Old factories turned swap meets became mini-concert venues from Sun Valley/North Hollywood to the Alameda Corridor on the weekends. Underutilized spaces used to accommodate cars became the host for a vibrant quebradita events. I remember we drove to the Lynwood Swapmeet way the hell from the San Fernando Valley to go check out a band. This extended to the parks around the city…McArthur et al.

  13. Metro,
    The quebradita video is f*!cken awesome! How I wished I could dance like that!
    This discussion made me think of those Fox 11 exposes. It was the only time you’d see urban Chicanos/Latinos on TV in the 90s. I remember a segment on the Quebradita clubs and some sort of “danger”. Those expose segments are probably a good archive of Eastside sub-cultural movements.
    “Backyard parties? Innocent fun or den of vices? Undercover cameras expose the truth. Tonight at 10!”

  14. Yeah I remember those Fox 11 shows (92 – 95 circa) with that over dramatic male narrator. Seemed like they really followed that now defunct “StreetBeat” mag crowd.

    That quebradita vid is at the Sun Valley Penrose Swap meet. But I remember everybody had a quebradita, or live music event during this time, markets, strip-malls, swap meets, etc etc. Kids proclaiming Mexican states that maybe visited once.

  15. You know another thought I had about the 90s, I think in the end it ended up being very selfish. We had a Democratic president for most of it, but I think owing to that many people ended up even more poor (the poor not the middle class) than they ever had before. I think this separation between the haves and have nots started under Clinton.

    Yes Bush made it worse, but this sort of selfish, fake progressiveness that seemed way more about playing the part, wearing the right costume and saying the right thing started out with the Clinton 90s.

    The left lost it’s game face in the 90s.

    I remember after all of this bs talk about race and gender and the first Bush being evil, I remember all of that and you know at first I believed these people. I thought they were really about something, but then I realized right before college graduation that all these same people that were talking about being progressive weren’t progressive at all. No they didn’t take corporate jobs wearing suits and they had tattoos instead, but they did take jobs making alot of money and that money they spent mainly on themselves. And this didn’t bother them at the very least.

    If you look at many of the dotcoms and in many of the computer oriented jobs of the late 90s and early aughts all of the people looked the same, I was one of the few women of color in that whole thing and I complained about this and I left that field owing to what I felt was this corporate type job dressed up in a tattooed progressive sheep.

    Almost every person who had a big mouth in the 1990s sold out, every single one of them and it took all of about a second. Everyone sells out but most people it takes about 20 years or so, maybe the internet just sped everything up.

    Like to me I don’t know who the Democrats are. The people who were very into Clinton and even Obama I don’t think I could spend more than two minutes with the average person who is really into either of those two people without wanting to blow my head off.

    The 90s also was the beginning of Kyriarchy, that oppressive person who maybe wasn’t a guy or white or straight, but yet in still they were still a complete asshole.

  16. I had a moderately good time going to most backyard punk shows (aka ‘gig’s) in East & NorthEast L.A. Of course the cholos always would show up and fuck things up.

    Later on, I remember the Smell when it did smell and it used to throw actual punk shows (I even threw some of my own in a punk collective there). Now it’s kind of weird when I go there. Feels so legit now, but in a weird way. All the bars/restos popping up also lend to that oddness. I kind of liked it when downtown was still scary and I didn’t see people walking their dogs at 3am.

    The one thing I liked about the 90s was that it was that most things were in their pre-gentrifuck state.

  17. Shoot lady, you sound right about my age. I dunno why I’d been thinking you were about 5-8 years older than I. Probably because I still think of myself as being 16 years old or something lame like that.

  18. “I dunno why I’d been thinking you were about 5-8 years older than I,” Lucinda.

    Well I am aren’t you 22…lol…so I’m actually 26 in the right lighting and 21 when it’s completely dark.

    I try in general to be vague about my age, because I plan on lying about it. To me it’s about planning for your future; future lies, future opportunities, future failures.


  19. So much old times mentioned here, SO MUCH!

    First of all, muchas gracias MVaquero for those videos, that vato was badazzz! Your comment about music being the soundtrack to how I intepret/catalog the built is spot on and quite profound. I am also a planner (nerd) and associate much of my history as a hip hopper/ writer/ troublemaker/ urban hermit to the development of my love of the human respone and interaction with our built environment. My initial forays into planning sprang from hearing about and navigating LA’s illicit networks (which are directly related to policy, devlopment and social reaction), my drunk vete family’s stories, rap music and urban spelunking, and my myriad collection of experiences in urban LA growing up in Eastlos and the SGV.

    On the subject of the 90s I have to fall back on duality as a defense, I can empathise with Browne loathing but also share your sentiment of how great the 90s were. I was a stoner/ underground rap graff writer for much of my youth, and MV’s list of musica was like my MP3 player lineup. I grew up on the conscious rap of the late 80s/early 90s (weird the connection between that and the early rave scene), and revere many songs for the sentimentality they have to me or my love of good rap (sorry browne, dont agree about that genre sucking, but I am also a fan of ugliness so who knows). I find it weird how young rich hipster kids all jock my rap taste nowadays, my younger semi-hipster cousin jokes about how all my old rap music is played at parties she goes to (pharcyde, tribe, freestyle fellowship, NWA, KRS, Wu). I remember being 15 and homeless and first robbing people after UNITY shows in downtown, and then raves along the alameda corridor. funny how duality plays out in many aspects of my life.

    Like chimatli, I remember that chalino/lupillo jump when paisa culture went from clowned to cool. Growing up in the projects, I’d see how nasty chicano kids clowned more paisano kids (I never joined, although i was firmly chicano I knew my dad was from guadalajara), and it was so great to see the tables turned. To me it is great to see this backlash against the “eew, that’s chunte” self hating/ manifest destiny remnant crap that plagues american chicanos and dilutes genuine ethnic pride. I think we picked that up from being demeaned so much here, but that dont mean it has to keep going. remember when chalino had his funeral and they began shaking his car in south gate and it peeled out in the crowd?

    I also remember those Chris Blatchford specials. They seemed to always begin in a maywood ditch party and nitrous balloons. Although I enjoyed them because they covered a culture I was part of and familiar with, I always got this weird “white dude making money exploiting and playing up scary urban teen minorities’ off the guy, it seems confirmed with his eme/ border/ illegals exposes. Some of my homeboys were covered when he did the first tagging/tagbanger specials. The whole 213 (Mosco killing Ever from 310) thing happened behind my abuela’s house, and I knew most of the 213 guys from Belmont HS or writing in the ELA/Montebello area during the early 90s (remember lunatix on beverly), so it hit home big time. I still wonder if the house party scene is still as big now as it was then, or if it all gigs now or what music they play at teen house parties. Do girls still sing “and you even lick my balls” in unison at DPs in Bell Gardens? Do they play the same house songs? Was the scene I engaged in as a teen the ancestor of the disoc and high energy chicano party era of my parents (teena marie, etc.)? Arent rockabillies the spawn of rebels from my highschool days?

    I loved all that mess. I went to ghetto ass house parties, raves, underground hip hop shows, college parties at UCLA, and even eventually punk gigs. I also got shot and spent 2.5 years in youth correctional facilities. The 90s were a mixed bag for me.

  20. “Arent rockabillies the spawn of rebels from my highschool days?”

    See this is the strange thing, Rockabilly never died in the Chicano community. From the time of zoot suits to now there’s been a continuous line of young dudes who use tres flores for pompadour styling.
    In the 80s there were real rockabillies and then later in the late 80s/early 90s it got morphed into the “rebel” thing. I even had a Chicano friend in the late 80s who had started combining the “rebel” look with the Morrissey worshiper look. Later some started calling themselves psychobilly (they usually wore creepers) and some were into goth and the 50s and The Smiths. And then it got morphed with that neo-swing scene. Later on people started calling themselves “greasers” and now I guess it’s back to rockabilly. I’m sure I missed a scene here or there.

  21. I wanted this to be a hate the 90s festival, damn…I guess lots of things where going on I just weren’t part of them. Why didn’t you guys call me when you were doing fun stuff in the 90s 🙂

    Anyways I do like the aughts, I don’t know why, but this period is lots of fun for me, even though the economy is crappy now. I was nostalgic for the 80s and I hated the 90s, but I’m very into present day LA. I know from my posts it doesn’t seem like it, but I am. I think 2000-2010 is going to go down as one of the greatest periods (as far as being interesting and innovative) for Los Angeles. I think if we ever do become a city of international importance (which I think we are) that this is the period that is going to be looked at as the turning point. Maybe this is good, maybe it’s bad, but I see a lot of opportunity in LA right now.

    Lots of the old guard had to leave, lots of the old media had to go teach in the ivy towers of academia and I think that’s a positive. There were way too many progressive people who had turned into the establishment so now I think new blood will flow through the media and the art worlds.


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