Not a Sausage

I was flipping thru the latest issue of the LA Weekly, when I came upon this sad article in which some newbie Canadian gives us his North of that other Border take on LA. Do these people that keep moving to Los Angeles not have any knowledgeable friends here to give them an introduction to the city? Cuz the poor sap wrote his lil’ article with some abysmal word choices.

“South-of-the-border folks, Guatemalan or Mexican perhaps, see the sidewalk vending as a livelihood, cooking sausages and onions on a cold Echo Park night…The sausages steamed; the Echo Park clubgoers, unstoppable with their appetite for music (and sausages), were beautiful.”

Uh, sir, those be hot dogs. Bacon wrapped to be precise.

You can consider me a friend now, guiding you along as you make your way in and out of LA. And another thing…

This congregation under the concrete bridge did not exist two years ago, but somebody had rolled the dice on the Eastside. Let’s use “Eastside” as a figure of speech for the bad neighborhood with affordable rents. The rise of the Eastside is driven by economy. The more established expensive neighborhoods don’t attract newcomers without cash, therefore these newcomers must go to the affordable Eastside. And that’s how it starts — the rise of a new scene.

Rise of a new scene? Uh, sir, that is called gentrification.  Your “rise” is another’s demise, your affordable is somebody else’s priced out. And no, he’s not talking about the Eastside and our many bridges, he’s talking about Echo Park and Silverlake but since he comes from the reference point of “more established expensive neighborhoods” he has a limited view of the city. Like all the other newbies that think they’ve seen the urban wilds just cuz they finally see Brown people walking about.

And finally…

The Eastside is made of hopes and dreams, and I like it. The Silver Lake Eastside has a motorcycle customization shop that just popped up, with two guys in it that are great; they’re part of an aesthetic awareness that is catching on — some kind of synchronicity at play — where people are more aware of lines, lines of design.(…)The Eastsiders are enjoying the luxury of postmodern times. They want to make improvements and not just have straight-out-of-the-box stock looks.

Egads! Is there really a market for this drivel?

Well, I wish I could be of more service new amigo but I’m off to find my own synchronicity at play. Whatever that is.

35 thoughts on “Not a Sausage

  1. Good post Chavo! To think that I might have overlooked this “postmodern” genius from Canada (Daniel Lanois), and his own succinct, insightful, observations on the gritty, edgy, dangerous, turf of Silver lake and Echo Park, or what he refers to as the “Eastside”. (Although he needs a local geography lesson).
    His breathless autobiography of his days as a “Red Devil” biker, and record producer, in his old Silver Lake like neighborhood in Toronto Canada had me utterly impressed and hooked on his current commentary about his exciting new lifestyle, in his own self described “Eastside”, more commonly known as Silver Lake. Wow! Cutting edge shit Dude! Almost working class man!

    And speaking of the working class and Lanois’ obvious, giddy, nervous enthusiasm for caricature and the dark side, what the hell does “South of the Border Folks” mean?
    Hey man you’re in Los Angeles! Probably the majority of it’s citizens are of Latino descent who were born right here in LA so what up with
    “South-of-the-border folks”?
    “ Guatemalan or Mexican perhaps, see the sidewalk vending as a livelihood, cooking sausages and onions on a cold Echo Park night. There is something Republican about them.”
    Say whaaat? Republican? Does this statement by Lanois mean that his “South of the Border Folks” form posse’s and chase down Latino looking people in Arizona? Does it mean they have romantic dates in graveyards along with satanic rituals? Does it mean they hire hookers to change their diapers and powder their ass’s like that Republican from Looziana Sen. Vetter? Does it mean they have something in common with Calif Governor hopeful Multi millionaire Meg Whitman?
    I dunno, I don’t get it.

    And then Lanois again goes to his “postmodern” term, just what the hell does “postmodern” even mean, is it meant to sound cool and dystopian for the likes of Lanois and his edgy Silver lake eastside kids?

    And by the way Chavo, Lanois’ bullshit is not only an article in the LA Weekly but an excerpt from his forthcoming book “Soul Mining: A Musical Life”.

    “Soul Mining”? GTFOH! Here’s more of “Soul Mining”,

    “The Eastsiders are enjoying the luxury of postmodern times. They want to make improvements and not just have straight-out-of-the-box stock looks. The same way that [Brian] Eno will devote a year of his life to the building of his own sounds on a synthesizer. He also doesn’t like things straight out of the box. He likes his own creations to be his sonics, and we love him for that. That’s why he’s Eno. There wouldn’t be an Eno if he had surrendered to the commonplace. He is a customizer of sound, a transformer of rooms, a chaser of ideas, a fighter for beauty — he is a futurist. He is a living example of his own philosophy, a modifier like I try to be.”

    Good God Almighty! Another example of the decline of Western Civilization and the arrival of the Barbarians At The Gate, sanganabitchi! Deport this undesirable back to “North of the Border” ASAP!

  2. Thanks for sharing “LA Eastside” what a condescending write up this LA Weekly writer wrote up…
    ‘suppose it has to do w/the Eastside divisions so they made us sound like crap- Puro Eastside y what ese-

  3. Being food obsessed, the Canadian’s take on bacon wrapped hot dogs inspires me.

    Breakfast Sausage + Wrapped in Canadian Bacon = Canuck Danger Dog?

  4. Having lived in Toronto for a short time in the late 1990s, I can say that the neighborhood that Lanois nostalgically pines for was done in by people just like him. Gotta love folks who live in a city and start acting like anthropologists — “boy, those natives sure are unlike me!!” And, like a previous poster, I must say that his title says a lot. “Soul Mining”??? Why not just say “Extracting Others’ Cultural Forms for My Profit”?

  5. OMG!! Is this f’kr for reals?!! This makes a case for why the Canadian border should have a wall erected on it— just to keep Daniel Lanois out of here! I am always amazed at how little culture, these so called culture writers have. How does that saying go? “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth (in this case, computer) and remove all doubt.”

  6. As an Angeleno punked into squandering some years “living” in Toronto, I advise against going too hard on Lanois’ ill-informed and condescending exoticization of those “Others” who are, in fact, us. He can not help it, it is the way of his people. A people who never tire of trumpeting their “multiculturalism” while being largely incapable of distinguishing Mexican cuisine from Salvadoreña, and thinking the perfect Hallowe’en costume for any gringo is either Pancho Villa or a bandana-clad homie. If anything, we should consider Lanois’ article an invaluable illustration of why efforts to tightly seal our border are an absolute necessity – we just happen to be directing them towards the wrong border at present. All in favor of mining Lake Ontario, say “si”…

  7. Thanks for the comments and the info about Toronto, I always wondered about the places people leave. It’s odd to that in his piece he gets all teary eyed for some long gone places and then explains that its no longer affordable. Uh, welcome to our world fool! I guess he figures “people MUST at least have as much money as me…”

  8. i see what daniel is getting at, but it’s an insult to anthropologists to call that anthropology–just float around making condescending observations and have no interaction with people. that’s more like conrad’s clerk in Heart of Darkness. plain ugly. lanois chose the wrong neighborhood to talk about, “locals.”

  9. Why is it that it’s always folks like Lanois who get to define our city with their two-bit observations? What about people who have actually lived here for more than a couple of years or even people that grew up here? When is it our turn? Oh yeah, we don’t get one cause we don’t like, know the right people.
    This move-to-LA-and-live-in-a-bubble attitude is what initially started the whole Eastside debacle. It’s cause folks didn’t know better and just started copying their newbie clueless and geographically challenged friends. Who cares where the Eastside really is? Who cares if this food is Guatemalan, Mexican or Salvadoran? It’s all the same in their eyes.

  10. Read it. Lame. I think he was the guy who produced U2 records after Brian Eno did it.

    Echo Park has been getting trendy with middle class whites for a decade, not two years.

    “postmodern” means different things to different people, but he is still too caught up in being modern. Gentrification is modernity.

  11. This guy produced some records for U2 and made them sound like pussies. Somehow, this connects to Bono shilling products for that (RED) project.

    Selling a hot dog in the shadows and being Meg Whitman have about as much to do with each other, politically, as playing basketball in 2rd grade and owning a basketball team.

    That postmodern shit is through. We’re post-postmodern. It’s not about the texts but the machines that deliver the texts. You suck if you don’t have an iPhone.

    But, really, if you’re really on top of the trend, you know you suck if you DO have an iPhone. Like the late-60s-early-70s, “bad” is good, “cool” is hot, and black is beautiful.

    You’re worthless if you don’t participate in textual wealth. Silence is poverty, and poverty is silence. The textual poverty/silence a sign of authenticity, giving it value, sometimes – but the rich formerly-poor people are dependent on the existence of the real poor people, like the way the sellable bad-ass-ness of hip hop depends so much on real suffering.

    Eat silent text like a bacon weenie/salchica con tocino/bacon wrapped hot dog/cancerous dick/harvested porc/murdered piglet with nitrites.

    Why does Daniel Lanois get paid, while El Chavo does not? It’s not about correct or incorrect, but about wrong and right, monetized text and silenced text.

    what does this vato even know about lugging your groceries/laundry up your street because every other culero has moved on your block and there’s no parking??

  13. Chimatli wrote: “Why is it that it’s always folks like Lanois who get to define our city with their two-bit observations? What about people who have actually lived here for more than a couple of years or even people that grew up here?”

    I have mentioned here before, and will continue to, that the new comer/discoverer/colonizer is the dominant narrative form of Westerners.

    We write as natives or at worst inside-outsiders which can’t relate to outsiders/new comers/colonizers as more than for directions or suggested guide book. They don’t get our lingo, our taste or point of view. They want to read guide books from others like them who don’t want to see what is, but instead want to see what they think it is.

    There was a term for this and it fell out fashion as many terms do: internal colonialism.

  14. What would be truly radical and fresh is to show the voices of immigrants who aren’t white and ride around on custom motorcycles or family trust funds. Let us read how they view this city.

  15. Hey guys–

    I’m the music editor at the LA Weekly and it was my call to publish this excerpt. Daniel Lanois’ book is actually pretty great and inspiring–if you read it you’ll realize that not only did he not grow up with any kind of privilege, but he was a member of a seriously discriminated-against community in Canada (a Francophone in an Anglophone region).

    Everything he has, he made it himself through real talent, perseverance, and a commitment to music that is both innovative and soulful. He’s also a great cultural observer and has managed to live and learn from some pretty interesting people and places. It’s a good thing that he’s living in LA and taking an interest in many different aspects of our varied music scene (even if he gets some words wrong and has strong first impressions–at least he’s not fronting a familiarity he doesn’t have).

    I encourage you to check out the book–you might be surprised. I also encourage you to submit writing samples to if you think you have a good, unreported angle about local music. We’re open to all voices.


    ps: one disturbing undercurrent on many of these comments is a weird sense of “LA nativism” that scorns any attempt to have a meaningful cultural dialogue with visitors and immigrants to this cosmopolitan city (Lanois would be the first to admit he’s somewhere between the two). What’s up with that?

  16. “… disturbing undercurrent on many of these comments is a weird sense of “LA nativism” that scorns any attempt to have a meaningful cultural dialogue with visitors and immigrants to this cosmopolitan city”….”What’s up with that?”

    what’s up with that is; many visitors and immigrants also scorn any attempts to have a meaningful dialogue with us natives. And many seem to prefer to rediscover and reinterpret from a visitors perspective instead of learning and absorbing the existing history and culture before they present their opinions in marketable form. (i.e the movie “CRASH”, by another re-inventor, also Canadian, Paul Haggis). Our “LA Nativism” arises in defense of our city’s historic/cultural integrity and not in defense of any personal impressions. Therein lies the difference in viewpoints.

  17. -A post post modern response with sprinkles of irony from my awesome view of our culture
    Nativism? When we are generalized as \’south of the border types;\’ our history and names ignored or changed because outsiders choose to change them to make themselves feel better (or because \’everyone else\’ says so); when we are the majority of Los Angeles (and the majority in every major US city) yet we are 1.5% of characters in film and TV; and have been marginalized and ignored for racial and class differences- yeah we might have some reasons to be nativists, to be a little pissed off, to be a little sensitive.
    You don’t like it?
    So what?
    Y Que?
    Maybe you need to observe a little more before spewing half informed ideas.
    When Lanois, or any white writer, makes racists generalizations, it is minimized to badly chosen words or praised as a great cultural observer.
    There are double standards.
    When we make generalizations that every one else says over a long period of time in various contexts, like the media is run by a lot of Jewish folks, we are anti semetic, fired and blacklisted (see Rick Sanchez and a long list of folks who have said the same thing over many years).
    If we were to generalize all whites as druggie hipsters, we would be maligned and labeled as out of touch. Even though for years the majority of drug abusers are white Americans.
    When we call gentrification for what it is, we are called retro, nativist and protectionist.
    Since Bernal Diaz del Castillo it has been the same old story. Know your history folks.
    (BTW I have lots of Jewish and white friends and I am writing from a post-post colonial and po-post modern p.o.v.)

  18. “if you read it you’ll realize that not only did he not grow up with any kind of privilege, but he was a member of a seriously discriminated-against community in Canada (a Francophone in an Anglophone region).”

    Hey Turner, if Lanois was from a minority (anywhere!) culture that had been discriminated and maligned, marginalized and stereotyped, and finally romanticized as “South of the Border” types, he would not only be way more sensitive to other victims of discrimination and stereotyping but would recognize immediately the harm and error of his ways as a would be agent or co conspirator in the laughable attempt by LA’s self appointed cognoscente to appropriate the ages old name given to the mainly minority areas east of the LA River, the “LA Eastside”.
    I know that most people, and I can go anywhere in the world and figure out almost immediately who the exploited class of the society is and where they reside, even in Canada.
    Evidently Lanois (and you Turner), have another agenda in mind instead of respecting the cultures and historical neighborhoods of Los Angeles. It could be blatant ignorance but most probably it has some economic or self-image equation involved.

  19. This article was in LA Weekly, right? They’re stirring the pot. They want to get the the East Side debate going. More complaints, more buzz, more readers, more website hits, etc. That’s my theory. Either that or this is one stupid canuck. But I doubt it. Only an American could write an article that ignorant while actually believing what they’re typing. I think it’s one big chunk of bait.

  20. RobThomas–

    I can assure you we’re not stirring the pot, for the very simple reason that there is no debate over “East Side.” There are some people who use the term in its historical sense to refer to areas east of the LA river and there are some other people who use it to refer to all areas east of Hollywood (to differentiate them from West Hollywood, Venice, SaMo, etc.).

    I seriously doubt either side will start using the term in a different way they are using it right now. Language is fluid and no amount of “official pressure” will make people change the way they talk about things (do you think anyone who lives in Hanoi really calls it Ho Chi Minh City?).

    I can understand people being angry about a number of things, though. It’s just that language-policing and bashing outsiders, in my experience, don’t really accomplish much.

    You guys have the Weekly’s music section submission email address up there: write a good article about LA (East, West, Center, whatever) music, and we’ll consider it for publication. And you’ll get paid.

    It doesn’t get any clearer than that, right? Or you can keep believing there is a conspiracy of outsiders trying to silence your voice and change the way you talk about places. Your choice.

  21. I love it when people come on here and tell us to shut up about the Eastside “debate”, with those always so convincing arguments about fluidity. Basically, “didn’t you get the memo that we don’t give a shit about your history?”

    Hey, but if you see things my way I’ll throw you some coins. Nice!

  22. Turner, you are making your self and the LA Weekly look ignorant. Do Los Angeles and the LA Weekly a favor and quit.

  23. I enjoy a lot of the writing on LA Eastside and I think the people who put it together do a great job covering areas that are often neglected.

    I also understand a lot of the pain and frustration that come through the comments, even if the specifics (“agendas,” “co-conspirators,” blanket statements about non-LA natives and “whites”) seem off the mark to me.

    I thought I was engaging in a respectful way, though, and that I was pointing out that doors that you might think are closed to you (especially the many good writers on this site) are actually very open.

    I was prompted to comment by this observation: “Why is it that it’s always folks like Lanois who get to define our city with their two-bit observations? What about people who have actually lived here for more than a couple of years or even people that grew up here? When is it our turn? Oh yeah, we don’t get one cause we don’t like, know the right people.”

    I have a lot of sympathy for that statement, and I wanted to reach out and say, “well, maybe I can help” (I wasn’t “throwing some coins” by the way).

    Anyhow, it’s been interesting.

  24. Oh, never mind. There’s no way LA Weekly could have printed this article to stir the pot. After all, one of their editors just said so…

  25. Hey guys:

    For the record, LA Weekly, I think, has a clear stance on the fake Eastside:

    Let me just speak up for Gustavo, a native Spanish speaker, by saying that I know for a fact his only aim is to include a diversity of voices in his music section.

    I agree with some of you in your criticism of the writer. But please don’t let that color your intake of the Weekly or of Gustavo, both of whom have a genuine appreciation for L.A. — east and west.

    -Dennis Romero
    (Staff Writer)

  26. LA Weekly takes a clear stance on what is or isn’t the East Side, by giving you a “blog” entry on the topic? Not even a feature story? A couple of paragraphs, at that. That may be a clear stance by YOU, but not the Weekly.

  27. Turner, I stand by my statement about there being an agenda by people such as yourself and Lanois to appropriate the actual historical name of a huge part of the city of LA, that is the proud LA Eastside. Funny but I can’t recall anytime in the past (and I’m 65 years old), until very recently anyone using the name “Eastside” to describe areas other than SaMo (what?), and West LA. The ridiculous attempt to usurp the accurate historical name “Eastside” by a certain group of people who desire a sense of tittilation and self aggrandizement as “cutting edge”, is in fact a conspiracy.
    So Turner or Lanois or whomever, if you insist on rolling in shit and calling it clover, using the name “Eastside” for areas that are actually “Westside” or Silverlake or Los Feliz, then be my guest, but don’t be surprised or upset when you get called out as fake hipsters and wannabee’s for the gaffe.
    And by the way Turner, your analogy of Vietnamese people using Ho Chi Minh City instead of Hanoi is kind of telling on your part.
    Isn’t the present Ho Chi Minh City the former Saigon? Hanoi, Vietnam which is way up north is still called Hanoi, just as the authentic LA Eastside is still referred to as “The LA Eastside” by everyone except edgy hipsters and real estate agents.

    PS; Romero,your column in the LA Weekly about the attempt to create a fake “Eastside” is right on.

  28. I don’t think anyone was trying to stir the pot, other than me that is, but Gustavo did send us an email basically telling us to get over it regarding the usage of Eastside. It’s not going to happen. But whatever.

    As people that read the LA Weekly, seeing the kind of drivel that Lanois wrote make it into the weekly is a bit too much. Maybe he is someone people consider important (I don’t) but I think a bit more respect is in order, for Eastsiders and “south of the border” folks.

  29. donquixote–

    You’re absolutely correct about Saigon being Ho Chi Minh City. My mistake.

  30. I don’t doubt Dennis Romero’s sincerity, although he has to be crazy if he thinks LA Weekly giving him two paragraphs to debunk the hipster definition of “East Side” constitutes any sort of stance by the paper. We’ve seen this paper take a stand on something. They’ll dedicate an entire edition to it.

    I do, however, doubt Gustavo Turner’s sincerity. I’m sensing the same tone from him that I recall in all of the snobbish, “get over it” comments through the years on blog articles related to this topic.

  31. Gustavo,

    You should understand that this blog was started as a way for us to vent our frustration over the appropriation of the Eastside moniker by folks west of the river. We are very militant about this issue so you’re just going to have to expect the kind of strong response you find in the comments here.

    As to LA Weekly being open to different writers, well this is good to know. There have been so many changes at the paper that it’s been hard to follow what’s going on. I do know at one time you all had an excellent Eastside-oriented LA native writer, Ben Quinones but I think he was laid off? In any case, I do think a lot of what gets popularized and gets media attention in this city is based on who you know and what circles you move in. Unfortunately because our city is so segregated both culturally and class-wise, there’s not a lot of diversity in the media social circles. And it’s because of this segregation that many who originally took up the Eastside moniker for Echo Park and Silver Lake had no idea there was already an Eastside in existence with it’s own rich culture, proud neighborhoods and historic identity. These same people, who only move in their small sheltered circles, probably still have no idea there is another Eastside, east of the river.

    Anyways, this debate has been interesting.

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