God is All Around

Took a little walk from the office to 21st and maple yesterday to take photos of rats and roaches – my favourite part of the job!  The good news is that I get to take photos of other things, I love this neighbourhood.  If you need a bit of religion this is the place to come, just walking down to the local liquor store can be a religious experience.

Juan Diego and la Virgen

Ghetto boyz tags as well, those are some active kids! Brave as well, I’ve seen them out on the street spray paint cans in hand in full daylight.

La virgen otra vez

Christ makes an appearance from time to time as well

And my favourite

The owners of El Principio, “The Begining,” are definitely among the faithful.  it’s not just stores though, regular folks do things like this…

If anyone needs an apron, I can get you one, just let me know.  We have hardware supplies too, with folks selling fresh cilantro, nopales etc every couple of blocks as well, yum.

It’s an amazing place LA.

How you know you are loved…

how do you know you are loved?

Folks we’ve helped drop by the office bringing fruit, and it can only be because they love us!  To date we have received 3 watermelons, 4 mangos, 2 plums and 5 apples, which totals quite a large fruit basket.  And a fresh juicy sweet watermelon on a hot day…my my, it is an almost sinful pleasure to eat.

Saw Manu Chao last night, hell of amazing concert!  Half punk and half reggae blues and since I danced all night I vote it altogether fantastic.  I also saw Lisa Bonet, of Cosby show fame, and sadly Mike, the one person I’ve had to fire in my life and I still feel terribly, even after all the shit he said in the exit interview and seeing his empty filing cabinets.  So obviously I hid.  It wasn’t hard to do, the Shrine was sold out.

And lastly, passed this on the way home the other day and had to stop…

Lasers?  Wow, I looked, but saw not a one…I’m thinking of bringing a marker with me on Friday when I shall pass that way again and writing something in because this sign has a lot of potential…what shall it be?

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Hey hey!  So I got a new bike! Beautiful, clean lines, single gear because I bought it from a mad bicycle purist, at least he believed in brakes because not all of them do.  I can lift it over my head with one hand.  It’s a beaten up turquoise kind of colour, it flies down the street almost by itself and rides like freedom.  It’s thin tires are just a bit skittish over the bumps and cracks and potholes of LA’s mockery of pavement.

But oh the pain it has brought to my tender ass…

Jesus is coming to Echo Park!

Terrible day today but enough of that.  I walked most of the way home today, hell of hot but I like walking and seeing the city in ways i’ve never seen it before, and it’s also good for thinking and getting tired so you sleep better because i’ve been doing lots of the first and not so much of the second…thought about what to do with myself and where to go and what I want to be and the best color to paint my toenails and why things are the way they are and how many squirrels it takes to screw in a lightbulb and similar sorts of things.  I’ll say now I had no time to eat a damn thing today so I was a bit lightheaded, though a lovely old woman who brings me her mail so i can translate it for her also kindly brought me a mango, I’m eating it later for dessert.  She thinks I don’t eat enough, though I don’t know what could give her that idea…

On my journey I saw an old guy in a wheelchair shaded by three very large chinese flowered paper parasols in brilliant shades of yellow, blue and purple.  I saw another old homeless man who using a sharpie had written on the back of his jean jacket in very large numbers 007.  I walked up the hill on 6th to find dowtown spread out before me, and palm trees sillhouetted against the blue mirrored glass of skyscrapers.  I saw heat rising from the pavement in waves.   I saw a man with a sign that said Arab arab = 9/11 and that made me incredibly sad.  I saw a tiny little travelling carnival called the Silver Streak with a carousel and a pirate funhouse and a giant bumpy slide…

The good news is that Jesus Christ is coming to Echo Park in a little less than a year.  Hooray!  About damn time too, he has left us on our own for far too long and christians have become just about unbearable.  I hope mohammed and yahweh join him, and whoever the mormons and jehovah’s witnesses believe in comes along as well, and buddha could add a sense of humour to the party.  I found these notices wheatpasted along sunset…took a picture but am missing upload capabilities so here are some excerpts, they’re brilliant!

“This is all the words for the return of seond time to the world to fix the word.  Everyone of Los Angeles is giving God the greenlight to let Jesus Christ to Echo Park lake on 7-7-2007 at 8:00 pm, with a rainbow & 1,000 doves representing angels of god and angels of los angeles to be at echo park.

word-lotus-us-for jesus-ol>Olga prophet and St for christ.  he’s going to stop everyone from 40 and up so we can live to see 3007…”

and so on and so on, he’ll also be giving away green cards and clothes, and “heeling” people, not sure what that is, sounds a bit violent actually, but you have to be in echo park on 07-07-07 (ahh, numerology, my favorite exact science) to get them.  Think I might go, though absolutely sure that I won’t be living here anymore.  Think you can make something happen if you post enough hand written notices along sunset blvd?

Videos and Pigs

wanted to write this yesterday, damn california power outages messing with myspace! I was going to talk about my weekend and how incredibly and horribly hot it was, and why, apart from some pleasant drunkeness with friends and air-conditioned bookstore diving, I spent most of the time on the couch watching videos.  My ego desired some explanation of that…

But it’s old news now so I just wanted to note that I saw the new Pirates of the Carribean (lovely air-conditioned theatre, forgot to mention it), a bootleg copy of the 40 year old virgin (hell of funny after all!  Just wanted to mention the point, first made by Bev, that the show in Tijuana is NOT a horse show but a donkey show.  Still disgusting and so so wrong), a scathing documentary about Enron, the second season of the Office, and finally, the meat of today’s entry, East Side Story, a charming documentary on socialist musicals behind the iron curtain.  Now I shall whet your appetites by telling you that there were MULTIPLE scenes of beautiful women in tight fitting gray overalls and kerchiefs, that harvesting wheat looks like so much fun I’ve a mind to do it over my upcoming holiday and I’ve already bought the dress I’m going to wear, and that songs about the fatherland and the joy of work really CAN be fun!  While I was afraid that the quality wouldn’t compare to Astaire and Rodger’s flics, the number that really turned me around was one on the joys of feeding pigs, apparently you let them out of their pens while sweetly singing come here come with me little pigs, and then you all dance down joyfully together to the trough.

There’s an interesting parallel in American bluegrass, I’m so glad the cold war is over so I can say this! There is a great song, the version I know is by Ralph Stanley whose chorus goes “I’ve got a pig home in a pen, corn to feed him on, now all I need is a pretty little girl, to feed him when I’m gone.”  All I have to say is that capitalism and the resulting urbanisation of our society seems to have robbed us of so many rural porcine delights, and the tender declarations of love so inspired!  And I now scorn my childhood fear that my Devonshire and genuine pirate-speaking grandfather’s pig would have eaten me if it ever had the chance…My opinion, however, that chickens are evil incarnate has not changed, and I thank god everyday that they are not bigger than we are.

Beach!

Every now and then I remember that I live in a city beside the ocean…I love the ocean, but to reach a piece of it that is wild and beautiful and untouched by people requires a very long drive from the heart of Chinatown.  I especially love an empty beach at night when you are surrounded by waves and darkness and the world stretches out in front of you forever.

Janice and I went to the beach yesterday, and though both of us prefer beaches with no one on them, we somehow ended up in Santa Monica on a hot Sunday afternoon.  First stop was the surf liquour for snacks!

Some juice, salt and vinegar chips, cheese puffs, and chocolate chip cookies later, we headed west to where the land ends and the sea begins…and met not only the ocean, but an astonishing overwhelming number of sunburned people.  It was a bit frightening in fact

There’s the pier off in the distance…And the people go on for miles packed thick under multicolored umbrellas…I suppose it is a uniquely LA scene, but I do think once was enough for me!  Still, nothing like swimming in the ocean, and I finished most of the crossword, hung out with Janice and friends, and did some quality people watching.  First, everyone next to us was Russian, that was somewhat astonishing.  I almost got the courage up to ask them what a five letter word for soviet cooperative might be, but in the end my courage failed me.  Second, were these two lovely ladies…

Yes, indeed it’s true they are wearing matching bikinis, straw cowboy hats (cleverly trimmed with leopard skin print to perfectly accesorize), haircuts AND haircolor, and though I did not photograph them from the front (not wanting to be rude you understand), I do believe they had very large and matching silicone breasts.  I might miss ridiculous shit like this when I leave.

witchcraft and jarocho

My Friday was a bit magical!  First I found a football (soccer) friend who actually likes football and not just football players and we’re off to see Barcelona play las Chivas on August 6th.  Hooray!  And Manu Chao is coming in concert and I’m going to that too!  Second, late afternoon whiled away chatting with one of the tenants I work with and Gloria and the subject was brujeria (witchcraft).  One day back home in her pueblo, years ago, her aunt’s stomach swelled and swelled as though she were pregnant but she was not, her stomach swelled and her legs bent and she began to appear as a giant toad, dark magic and the curandero told them the ceremony they needed to carry out to rid her of the evil, and said that when the animal within emerged from her mouth as the cure was working it would run immediately to the home of those who had set this upon her, and if the family followed it they would know who had cursed her, but they allowed its dark shape to flee without discovering where it went, prefferring to leave vengeance to God…her grandmother died of brujeria, having a small spot over her lip and modern medicine could do nothing to cure it as it spread and spread across her face consuming flesh, eating up her left eye and when she did go to the curandero it was already too late and nothing could be done.  She had been told as a child she would die after going through seven metates, and as the seventh dwindled her spirit and body also…

Gloria believes in God not in witches, but told of the department in Honduras called Olancho where vengeance is a way of life and entire families have been killed, one by one by one in a cycle of killing for a killing for a killing, and so when anyone does anything terrible it is asked of them tu vienes de Olancho o que?  And fathers will not allow their daughters to marry men who come from Olancho…

And the evening, despedida for Kique and Paige and the night was warm and the orange trees blooming and the beer cold and the carne asada hot and delicious, and Ceci and her friends played jarocho for us, pics coming soon…jarocho comes from the east coast of Veracruz, played on the jarana, a mezcla of indigenous and African beats, a music of resistance, drums were outlawed by the spaniards who knew their power of rebellion so the music is entirely played on the voice and the jarana, but a wooden platform is set up and the percussion comes from the feet of the dancers…it is the same beat hammered out as that of Afro-cuban music and much speeded up the samba from Brazil.  I learned to zapotear a bit, then sat on the front porch of Kique’s house with friends, my Bohemia in my hand talking shit of course, my nonexistant Surena tattoo, and my DJ name la green eyes, or la juedilla de la guerrilla…am a little fragile this morning but life is so good!

spanglish & roses

Hot again…I like heat though, I am a creature of the desert and if I could I would spend life like a lizard soaking up the sun on a stone, though sometimes I’d rather be surrounded by green things and mist and sleep on a bed of flower petals…I am a sadly divided soul turning between a hope for revolution and an enjoyment of tea with lots of milk and sugar in fine china.  Y de vez en cuando pienso en Espanol pero en veces in English and en veces los dos at the same time, and I love pocho sayings as much as my friend Ceci whose best story is her friend quien estaba hablando y se enojo y dijo que tu eres…tu eres un disgusting!  Only in pocho can an adjective become a noun.  Or when my pinches llantas are flatadas.  Or when I help get people raites.  Or talk about gangas with worried mothers.  Or the tenants who pay sus rentas con cash.  I love the border!  It has multiplied the vocabulary available to express myself by leaps and bounds, como un superman, or super mujer voy brincando de palabra a palabra. And how else could you have the magic that is the Texas Tornadoes?

And now the roses part…Ludin sent out this survey and idly interesada, I filled it out and found I was enchantment…always nice to know, que no?  Que lindo!  I mean, I’d hope falling in love with anyone was deep and meaningful, but at least it’s so when you fall for me!  What a relief!

You are a Lavender Rose

You represent love at first sight and enchantment.

Your vibe: intense and intriguing

Falling in love with you is: deep and meaningful

Echo Park Sunday

Warm Sunday evening, lovely in fact!  When I close my eyes (during gaps in the noise from the traffic) I can imagine I am actually on an island somewhere, corona and lime in hand (that part’s true), breeze blowing through my hair (no mind it’s the oscillating fan), and the sound of waves washing up on the shore (I’ve stuck my feet in a bowl of water for verisimilitude).  I’ve been thinking of redoing the bedroom floor in sand, will save on cleaning I’m thinking.  Boleros playing, and I’m in Mexico more or less, hoping someone will walk up to me and try to sell me a grilled fish wrapped in tinfoil, I could do with one of those!  Would go quite well with my beer.

But no, I’m still in LA.  Still, it’s a nice place sometimes.  Walked down to the lotus festival this afternoon…some fine wheatpasting on the way, don’t know what it means but that only adds an air of delicious mystery to it all…Besides, mass distraction cannot be good, I’m quite against it!

And the lotuses on the lake!  Lovely, and got a photo I’m rather proud of…

And then off to Patra’s for pastrami sandwiches, almost as good as freshly caught and grilled fish on a Mexican beach!  The best part is the classy atmosphere, I mean, just look at the tablecloth!

Really, words do not exist to describe it.  Do they?  No, don’t think they do. Who would believe without the picture!  I asked where they had found such an amazingly beautiful pattern, thought it would look quite nice in my own kitchen, but sadly the workers didn’t know, though they did promise to ask the owner for me.

And Italy wins the cup!  Only four more years until the next one!

death

——–

Impossibly heart-breakingly achingly sad…sadness sits as pain in my stomach and behind my eyes.  I hate viewings and funerals and guns.  I hate for the people I love to suffer like this, what do you say to someone who has lost their son?  Think i might cry after all, embarassing thing to happen at work.

In the desert when I was little I used to watch the sunset every night, watched the light dancing through creasote and across rock, the orange sun sink down red behind the mountains, the sky would turn blue and pink like the inside of a shell, the stars would come out one by one to burn so close to my face I could almost reach up and take them with my fingers.  You are always something bigger and greater and wiser than yourself when standing before them…head thrown back, proud, alive.

You can’t see them in LA, they’re something I imagined.  Like I imagined peace and quiet and content.  Is there a world without helicopters and sirens and violence and poverty and addiction and pain?  Sometimes it seems that everyone is broken, carrying shards of themselves about in their hands, razor edges that cut others, constant collisions of broken glass.  Joel Zuniga shot in the head on a Sunday morning Compton Street.

Tomorrow I might return from the darkside.

Just communities, just cities, Just connections between country and city. Also, the weird and wonderful.