Essays


signbest.jpg

A few months ago I’m heading North on Lincoln Blvd. when, on an impulse, I jump out of my car to pixellate The Red Garter’ sex-appealing logos.

garterextremecu.jpg

escrow.jpg

As soon as I see the closed door and the yellow notice my natural born protector-of-the-small hops back into my car, grabs my cell phone and contact the real estate broker. “Hello, I’m calling about The Red Garter in Venice. I was wondering if you could put me in touch with the seller because I write for an LA blog and would love to preserve a little bit of LA history by photographing the interior of this vintage “cocktail lounge” (before it gets recycled into another retail store.)” I keep the last portion to myself as I hear a voice in my head arguing that what I call “a vintage cocktail lounge” most people would call “a dive,” including the real estate agent at the other end of the line judging by the awkward silence. “The property’s been sold.” “So maybe I could talk to the new owner?” Upon my insistence, the broker reluctantly gives me her e-mail address, gets mean on me when I ask her to repeat it and hangs up before I have a chance to deliver a spirited: “Thank you for your commitment to…” She didn’t commit to anything but I nonetheless rush home to pen a passionate appeal to the new owner while I fail to swat the annoying buzz in my head that keeps repeating “Frankie, it’s a dive!”

This incident takes an unpredictable turn when I learn that at about the same time, a young woman by the name of Lauren Everett answers her own maternal call for the preservation of the human over the commercial when she sees an ad on Craigs List for the sale of an apartment complex where LA’s own dirty old poet, Charles Bukowski, once lived. Everett and other preservationists contact the Cultural Heritage Commission and manage to halt the sale of the East Hollywood property long enough to attempt to build a case for the designation as Historic Landmark of the DeLongpre Avenue bungalow where USPS worker Henry Charles Bukowski became, at 49, a full-time writer. Just as I assume my e-mail to the Red Garter’s new owner was dragged across the real pain in the esstate’s broker desktop and dumped in her Trash Bin, I don’t believe for one moment the author of “All the Assholes in the World and Mine” will get the seal of approval from the City and when I see a picture of the building in question I even wonder: “Why? It’s a…”

delongprereuters.jpg

Continue

Advertisements

boyleheightsstickers.jpg

Since I joined the Taco team of Los Angeles reporters, I’ve gotten used to people staring at me in the streets of Los Angeles. “Why are you taking a picture of a pole? Everybody’s looking at us.” That’s my very embarrassed niece complaining on a night out in Boyle Heights. “I’m not taking the picture of a pole, I’m taking the picture of a rabbit. I think he’s a friend of ours.”

A bus driver stopped for me once then told me he wasn’t supposed to because this was a speed line. Why did he stop for me then? Because I was taking a picture of a newspaper vending machine. “No I wasn’t. I was taking the picture of a man with a party hat and one with a gun.”

beko.jpg

Neither my niece nor the bus driver were impressed. I wasn’t surprised when I noticed tourists staring at me while I took picture after picture at a scenic vista point off of Highway 395. I knew what they were thinking. “Why are you taking a picture of this…

andre.jpg

instead of THIS…

monocraters.jpg

The Mono Craters in middleground. Do you see the resemblance?

I recently spent one week in the Owens Valley, home to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. I was driving North on Highway 14, nearing Highway 395, when the world became free of malls, brands, billboards, concrete. Unprepared for the sudden and radical change of scenery, I lost my mind over its maddening beauty.

Continue