Work in the park has begun. Visitors once could set up their chairs
along the fence on the beach or on a dirt strip between the fence and
the parking lot. Recently installed plastic mesh blocks access to all
but the monument area and the lower section on the sand.
I've changed my mind. While watching the newly inflamed debate in Los Angeles right now over the actual, for-real, 100% factual boundary of what is Eastside and Westside, in a city that has always had trouble defining its boundaries to begin with, I think fluidity on those definitions from here on out is the way to go.
Let's relax a little, first off. At Jesus Sanchez's new blog, an anonymous commenter called him an "idiot" for the unpardonable crime of using the term "Eastsider"
in his masthead. Total dick move, come on. This kind of discourse is
convincing me that Eastside essentialists need to chill out. Here's why.
Because as L.A. grows and transforms, and it's always growing, always transforming, change is the only constant. That may bother some who maintain super-strict readings of its intra-regional borders, but well, what are you going to do? I say listen to Mike Kelley:
My personal belief is that the
term East Side is just the vernacular of the particular group using the
term. Its appropriate if the person receiving the communication
understands what is being referenced since there is no official city
designated East or West Side.
Just school your friends: The true Eastside will always be east of the river, but the city is big enough to have different perspectives on where East and West begin and end today, in 2008, and moving forward.
The Mexico City-based artist, represented by Kurimanzutto, is at the Pompidou in Paris on Thursday night to present his video "La Discipula del Velocimetro," or 'Disciple of the Speedometer.' The new work focuses on a wealthy Mexican woman named Emma who hunts for thrills driving race cars.
If you ask me, TV on the Radio is a band that was somehow spawned by future all-plane intergalactic journeys. There is a kind of classical drama to their music. New York magazine notes in discussion of its third album: "They genuinely aspire to greatness. None of their peers can match
their proficiency at bending and blending musical styles, fusing rock
and jazz and soul and doo-wop and I could list ten more." * Link.
* Above: 'We want better treatment from the authorities,' by AP via OB Rag.
The Baja California state penitentiary in Tijuana is a square block of concrete that looms over the dusty flats of La Mesa. Among locals it is known as "La Peni." We used to go there when we were little to visit cousins and uncles who were locked up. Back then family-time at La Peni was basically a carnival. Because inmates are given next to nothing by the authorities, many made a living inside by setting up food stands and games and rides for little kids. La Peni has always been every man, and every family, for themselves.
My mother, who has been inside La Peni as recently as a couple months ago, writes to me:
It is literally Hell. Women detained for three months for stealing diapers from a store. Water from the tap, if at all. Rotten food. Twenty people in a cell for six, the rest on the floor. How were they not going to finally pile up? Anyone who protests such injustice, they rip their head open with blows.
As the Union-Tribune notes, conditions at La Peni are truly horrendous, the most glaring disgrace being the facility's overcrowding. The paper says the first riot may have been sparked by the death of an inmate at the hands of guards. Women rioted on Wednesday. University of San Diego's David A. Shirk lays guilt for the tragedy squarely on the government: "It's the ugly stepchild of President Calderon's criminal
justice reforms. There's been little attention in Mexico to penal
The U-T also published the names of Peni inmates transferred out after the disturbances and the names of those injured. "Who's going to answer for those 19 dead?" Mom writes. "The hundreds of injured they say are inside? No food or water for five days? The infrastructure destroyed. No guards. What impotence, not able to do a thing."
* Friday update by the L.A. Times here. * Chilling details and interviews at FSRN.
First part of a documentary by Aurelie Semichon and Pierre Favre on the cabaret chanteuse/performance artist Astrid Hadad, a loyal devotee and true innovator of the song of Mexico, of postmodern Mexico, of the allegory of the Mexican woman. See also parts two, three, four, five, and six.
Conocí a Quetzal en noviembre 2007 cuando llegué a la ciudad y al instante nos hicimos cuates. Era facil juntarnos en domingos en el mercado para comer quesadillas y chismear -- éramos vecinos. Platicábamos sobre moda, música, ciudades, sexo, amores, cosas rudas, siempre de buen humor, siempre en apoyo mútuo.
Se me hace surreal y totalmente injusto que ya no esté con nosotros. No lo entiendo. Mis pensamientos estarán con su familia a diario.
Aquí comparto algunas fotos documentando un poco de nuestras adventuras en lo underground -- y above-ground -- de la Ciudad de México. Quetzal y la cámara eran amantes total. Dedico estas imágenes primeramente a su familia y también a sus amigos y al público.
Watch video of the press conference at El Universal. Silvia Vargas, 18, was kidnapped from her 2001 Ford Escape on her way to school on the morning of September 10, 2007. Her parents re-parked the car this week on the spot where it was found a year ago in the hopes that new witnesses will come forward.
In popular lore high school reunions are worth nothing more than a groan and a laugh. Over Labor Day, while in self-imposed exile here in Mexico, I regret missing my 10-year high school reunion with the San Diego SCPA Class of 1998. From the photos and emails, it sounds like it was basically a chill weekend-long kick-back. Now that's style.
High school is the culture that begins to form you, for better or worse. For me, it was about the border, it was about hip-hop and R&B, it was ultimately about cultivating an openness to all styles and approaches. Looking back, SCPA's ghetto-glam artsy-fartsy pre-Obama post-racial Class of '98 was an exceptionally tight and diverse city-kids crew. And it sounds like everyone is pursuing their dreams with true gusto -- even the dude who ended up doing porn. No one's mad at cha!
Last week Mexican President Felipe Calderon delivered his second annual "Government Report" to the Congress, and to the customary analysis and critique in the papers and punditry. But for the general citizenry's convenience, Los Pinos also has a YouTube channel, where the president's direct-address sub-reports are now viewable -- and open for comments.
Above is Calderon's report on the security situation in Mexico. The president, a PAN man, focuses on enforcement successes and offers cursory regrets for the thousands of lives lost in the country's internal narco war since he took office. Watch when he mentions Zenghli Ye Gon and makes a point to refer to him as a "citizen of Chinese origin."
"All of us are immigrants," Mexico City photographer Federico Gama surmises in this Reed Johnson piece about "Laberinto de Miradas," or "Labyrinth of Glances," a photo and video exhibit that recently passed through Mexico, D.F. "All of us are in a search for something. We would like to be on another side."
"Laberinto de Miradas" just closed at the Centro Cultural España in the Centro Historico of Mexico City, but much of the exhibit exists permanently online at its web site. Check it out. The images are set to travel next to Guatemala, followed by Miami, El Salvador, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica. Come to think of it, it'd be cool if the show eventually made it to Los Angeles, America's brown capital.
Italo is cousins to the HI-NRG culture that is still celebrated, religiously, at the legendary Patrick Miller nightclub in Roma and at one-night masivos in convention halls in rougher areas of the capital.