Eastside 101: Off The Map!

When I took my first trip to Europe I did what everyone does and checked out some travel books for some information and ideas. They’re useful in giving you a general sense of a place. On a whim I thought “let’s see what they say about Los Angeles” and man was that a bucket of hot water: this travel book racket is run by fools with money. Or sometimes just fools. I quickly realized that those that portray our city, in all the various ways you can, tend to do so either for money or because they have the money to do so. Its pretty messed up. My consternation to the lousy representation of our city is one of the main reasons I started my shitty website CHANFLES! (and later an even shittier blog) a decade ago. Who am I to decide to document this supposed glamorous city? I am a nobody in a metropolis that believes celebrity is a life-force. But I’ve learned through the process of experience that those that feel entitled to represent our city, no matter how many months ago they arrived, have nothing better to offer. My take can’t be that bad, can it? And therein was my mistake, trying to present an alternative understanding of LA to the ether, before becoming a somebody. Cuz nobody cares unless they care about you. Nobody cares what the nobodies think.

And then it’s time for the Cosmic Flip concept that my long lost friend Heriberto was fond of discussing : maybe the lack of importance makes it super important. I won’t delve into this serious filosophizing, but it was something to that effect. In any case, I think I’ve done my small part in describing my city. But in the end, the bastards with the money still own the bullhorn: they get to blurt out their inanities all over the place. I’ve been keeping watch.

So finally, the point of this post. I’m going to show you a sampling of travel books/guide books to LA to see how they deal with our lil’ historic community known as the Eastside. How do you think we will fare?

BTW, there’s a bunch of pics ahead, so plan your reading accordingly.

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Judge Bolton Blocks SB1070

On Tuesday of this week, Judge Susan Bolton of the Federal District Court blocked the police in Arizona from becoming self-appointed immigration judge and jury.  The entire  SB1070 was not overthrown, but today Arizona residents will not be stopped for being Mexican.  Read all the details in yesterday’s New York Times.

Part II this morning (Friday) is that Sheriff Joe is defying the decision.  [Hope part III in this saga is that they arrest his ass.]  Read the story in Yahoo News.

“Dream Catcher” Mural at Wabash Rec Center

With close to two years of planning, procuring grants/funding and fighting through city legal red tape, East Los Angeles Community Corporation has taken the initial steps in making the Wabash Recreation Center a family park that is safe, clean and not full of gang bangers. Both a community clean up day and a mural painting session were held Saturday July 24, bringing out Boyle Heights residents, families and kids in full force. Through the various grants ELACC was able to attain, improvements to the sites facilities have begun, such as installing new basketball courts, bringing in new bleachers and general baseball field improvements,  along with a new mural designed by ELACC’s Wabash committee and designed by local east side artist Wenceslao Quiroz.

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Another Day in LA

Each day we witness matters that mesh in our subconsciousness, swim around, merge and become ideas.  Anyway, maybe that’s the way I think.  Yesterday was difficult.

When I went to collect the mail at work yesterday morning, I noticed that the small bakery & cafe across the street was empty.  I was not a frequent customer, but had a 13 year neighborhood relationship with the owner.  Although a 4 lane street separates us on the 6000 block of Pico, we know each other and wave hello through the traffic and noise.  We are a Jewish temple, a nightclub, a cafe, a new age store, a Yeshiva School, a home decor shop, an Indian grocery store, a Muslim cultural center, a beauty shop, a Gypsy psychic, a glass store, a hamburger stand and a cleaners.  A typical block of mom & pop businesses in LA, with our neighborhood gossip, occasional fights, shared joys, emergency network,  and 9-5 friendships.
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Westside 101: 2 Minutes on Fairfax and 3rd

With the motivating force that is the howling success of our previous 2 minute installations, we go beyond the Eastside to explore the vast worlds within LA that are as equally exciting and intriguing! Today we feature that neighborhood known as the Fairfax District, and we get right close to the heart stopping excitement that is the corner of Fairfax and 3rd! Click play to see what life is like on the action part of town!

Hmm, that seemed a bit boring. Just a bunch of speeding autos. Maybe even very boring. Did the Westside just kill the Random 2 Minutes on some stupid corner?

Stay Tuned!

Hunger Strike for the DREAM Act

“The height of manhood/womenhood, Cesar Chavez believes, is to give of one’s self.”

Watching nine of my peers start an indefinite hunger strike to get Senator Diane Feinstein to champion the DREAM Act as a stand alone bill brought me back down to earth. Knowing that they’re going to be depraving themselves of all food except water for the next few weeks is nothing short of amazing. The hunger strike is in solidarity with the 21 students that participated in civil disobedience in Washington D.C. yesterday, two of them here from L.A. All across the United States, undocumented youth and allies are working on making the DREAM Act happen this year because immigration reform is an idealistic, farfetched dream right now. The current IR bill would mandate more enforcement and laws than new path ways for people to adjust their legal status. Immigration Reform is dead and people need to realize that by passing the DREAM Act first, we are creating a path for just and fair Immigration Reform that will help people, not just imprison and deport them.

Come and show your support as they hold down the corner of Sepulveda Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. in Westwood. It’s funny, the things you see sitting and watching the world drive by. Angry honks of road rage. Angry yells of idiots who talk out of their ignorant asses. But also to personally speak with people out on the streets, explaining to them what they are doing, what the DREAM Act is and why they are doing. Wishing us luck on the campaign and saying they support the cause. If you would like to help the cause, give her a call or two and tell her you support the DREAM Act as a stand alone bill and that she should get cracking on it (310) 914 – 7300. Feinstein already supports the DREAM Act, but that’s not enough. She has the power to put it up in the Senate so it can be voted and passed. Sim ply saying you support something to get people off your back isn’t enough.

“Come on Brown, come on!… I’m trying to tell you … I’m telling you, that picketing thing is over … All you’re doing is getting your own people in trouble. Now look …he leans over toward me and lowers his voice, “the blacks picketed for years … for years. They marched and they did they very things you people are doing right now … but you know something, and this is the honest-to-god truth … they didn’t get a thing until they had Watts! That is a fact. And I’m telling you, until your people riot, they’re probably not going to get a thing either! That’s my opinion.” Revolt of the Cockroach People ~ Zeta pg. 74

Peel Here 2010 Fotos

With approximately a thousand people coming through to Self Help Graphics, Peel Here 2010 was a gargantuan success. Peeps from all over L.A. and a few surrounding cities and states came through to get their sticker on. Stickers were traded, posted and seen in this one of a kind show, made possible by Sticky Rick, Zan, family and friends. Since I was having too much fun that night, I completely forgot to take any pictures. Course, that hardly matters since El Rafa was shooting pics the entire night. He took more than 900 pictures and uploaded more than 300 bad ass pics. So, even if you couldn’t make it out to the event, here’s your chance to see what you missed. Peel Here 2011 … brace yourself, again.