Thursday, December 4, 2008

Seen: LAPD and Teens

As I biked down 30th tonight, I came across six teenage boys being detained by four police officers between Broadway and Main. The officers had them against the chain-link fence, some of them cuffed. One of the officers noticed me lingering and observing and asked me if I needed something in a less-than friendly tone, and asked "do you know them?" I guess it is natural for LAPD to be on the defensive, especially when approached by a small young woman on bicycle at 8PM.

I told her that I didn't know the kids and I was just curious as to what was going on, why they were being detained, and she seemed reluctant to tell me. The other officers came up to us and one of them asked "What, are you a reporter?" To which I honestly replied "No, I've lived in this area for a while and I'm just wondering what was happening." Finally, an officer told me that they had been caught drinking on the school campus, two of them didn't have identification, and one might have a warrant out, and the rest were okay. And he told me with a smile.

I know that underage drinking is a serious offense, and that it is probably procedure, but I can't help feeling like it was a bit excessive to have them up against the fence like that. In a different neighborhood, underage drinkers may have just been escorted home instead of being treated as criminals already.

It's a much more complicated issue than that, with many other circumstances and facts to consider. This is a part of living in an urban area in this era, I suppose: procedure and code preclude common sense and independent judgment, and this can work both ways. Maybe even with my preference for city life, I still have some small-town sensibilities.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On The Move, Still Writing

As of November 30th, I was no longer a resident of 1821 South Main Street.

My lease ended and I will be taking a hiatus from Los Angeles for a much-needed break starting January 1, 2009. I will be unemployed for the sake of serious rest, writing, and travel. Those three things don't sound like they actually go together, but they do. I am not traveling to see any particular sights, only people, and though I will be going through a gauntlet of various airports, it will be a welcome change from the gauntlet that is LA rush hour by bicycle.

All this traveling doesn't mean that I am going to disappear from the LA blogosphere; in fact, I will be using this break to catch up on various posts that have been collecting dust in the "Drafts" section of my Blogger account. Though I usually try to stay away from the internet and technology when I travel, January will be an exception. I am traveling to spend time with friends and to spend time on writing both online and offline, and I'll be toting my laptop with me for this purpose.

I began this blog in January to document my experience living in this odd little zone in Los Angeles and to give exposure to a side of South and Downtown LA beyond the stereotypes of violence and urban decay. This is an area that is changing, both through gentrification and grass-roots community revitalization, and it needs to be acknowledged. There is still much more writing to be done, more research, more than I have been able to do while balancing a full-time job, a social life, and other community commitments.

I feel in love with Los Angeles from this tiny studio apartment; in the last year, I became car-free, joined an arts collective, connected with community, and grew as a person and as a wrier. By no means am I shutting down or archiving South of Downtown-- I am merely disclosing that I am now living elsewhere. I hope to write about SoDo as a true resident again once the wanderlust is satisfied.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekend Prop 8 Events -- South of the 10!

Can't make it to the march on Sacramento? Here are a couple of local options.


In the Aftermath of Proposition 8
Presented by the Los Angeles Sentinel
Are Gay Rights Civil Rights?
Are Blacks More Homophobic?
Are Blacks to Blame for the Passage of Prop. 8?

Saturday, November 22, 2008
8 A.M. To 11 A.M.
Los Angeles Trade Tech College
400 West Washington Blvd. @ Olive
More Info @ (323) 299-3800


Peaceful March in Leimert Park with the Jordan Rustin Coalition

Join Black LGBT of Los Angeles In A Peaceful MARCH to protest the Passage of
Proposition 8!!!

Sunday, November 23rd @ 11:30 AM
Meet at Leimert Park Fountain (Corner of Vernon and Crenshaw)
Route: North on Crenshaw Blvd to King Blvd and then back to Leimert Park.

All Gay, Lesbian, Queer, Same-Gender Loving, Bi-sexual, Transgender, their families, friends and supporters are invited to come out and participate.

Please feel free to bring your own signs and bring your own drinking water.

Please DO NOT wear Red of Blue

*There will not be a rally afterward

Further information:
Rev. Freda Lanoix

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dorian, the sweetest cat ever, needs a new home.

Do you have room in your heart and living space for this soft, cuddly, sweet, loving cat? Do you know anyone who does?

She's just under 3 years old and gave birth to one litter of kittens a few months before she was spayed. I adopted her from Bark Avenue in February.

She has been an amazing companion, but I am embarking on a few months of uncertain living arrangements and I will not be able to take her with me. If I am unable to find her a home, I'm afraid I will have to take her back to Bark Avenue, and I really hope to not have to do that. :n(

Please feel free to pass this on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where I've Been

GreenLAGirl interviewed me for her Car-free Mondays series, which features car-free women bloggers in Los Angeles.

Is Greater Than published a piece I wrote about racism in the LGBT community following the results of the vote on Prop 8.

Also, I have begun the process of moving out of my South Main Street apartment-- more on this later.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

and now they will have to face us.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I biked home this morning, but I held them back. I said to myself the things that I said to people last night in phone conversations and via text message: Whatever happens, we will be strong, we will keep fighting, change is happening and it will keep happening. We won't stop. Whatever happens, we will not stop. I held those words fiercely and shared them freely last night.

At this particular moment, however, I am thinking to myself We lost-- how could we lose? How can this be real? And I think of the Mayor of San Diego who gave a speech about how he had planned on veto-ing the city council's resolution against Prop 8, and how when the resolution lay before him, when he had to face the statement he would make if he vetoed it and stood in support of Prop 8, he could not. He could not bring himself to say to a whole group of people in the community that they were less, that they were undeserving. His voice was nakedly emotional as he said to his constituency that he knew not all would agree with him, but that he had to follow his heart.

And I wonder, what was in the hearts of the 52.1% of California who voted in favor of a proposition that contains the words "Eliminates the right"? How can they use a document that is supposed to grant and protect rights in such a twisted, unfair, malicious manner?

And I wonder, how they will face us? How they will face all of us who are hurt beyond measure, those of us whom they have decided are less than they, those of us from whom they have taken away so much.

And I wonder, how dare they. How dare they do this to their friends, relatives, children. How dare they do this to their community. How dare they insert their hate into the law.

And, helplessly, I wonder what else I could have done. What else I should have done. The sense of failure is deep and piercing.

When I sat down in front of my computer, I braced myself for the reactions I knew I would find. I prepared myself to give more words of strength and comfort.

But I broke, tears and sobs welling up from the intense disappointment and pain that so many of us share. I know: We will be strong, we will keep fighting, change is happening and it will keep happening. We won't stop. Whatever happens, we will not stop.

It is an historic day: a man of color stands as our president-elect.
It is an historic day: all of us who stand for equality have been called to action.

Yes, I feel weak and wounded in this particular moment.

No, I do not feel defeated. We are not defeated.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


OBAMA for President.

NO on CA Props 4, 6, 8, 9.

The LA Times published a guide with ideas for places to watch election coverage. I am not sure where I am going yet, but I don't plan on being alone with the results come in.

In less than twelve hours, things will be different. For better or worse. And then we will figure out where to go from there.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ride Against Hate: A Moving Rally Against CA Props 4, 6 & 8

Updated Ride Info:

Meet at 10:30AM, Flag Poles in front of Admin Building, UCI
End: ~1:30PM, Irvine Spectrum
Distance: ~7 miles.

This is a much much much easier route than I had originally planned, so I hope more of you will try to come!

Don't forget to bring water and lights if you plan on biking back to UCI in the evening.

I encourage the bikeless folks to meet up with us at Irvine Spectrum at 1:30PM for post-ride chanting, flyering, and awareness-raising.

Metrolink Info for LA folks:

Getting here:
Take 8:45AM train to Oceanside, get off at Tustin Station (9:41AM).

Leaving the station, turn left on Edinger. Turn right at Harvard, and a right on Bridge. Continue down Bridge, turn left at the Student Center (Pereira) and you will see the Flagpoles on your right in about 80 yards.

Returning to LA:
Irvine Metrolink Station is only 2 miles from Spectrum.

We'll ride together to the station to catch the 6:22PM train to Union Station, arriving in LA at 7:36PM. Woo!

Note from Narinda:

The original (and freakishly ambitious) plan was to start at UCI and hit various shopping centers up into Orange County, ending in Westminster. Due to a shortage of co-captains and foreboding weather conditions, we decided to make a change.

The route has been cut to 7 miles, and the route is going to concentrate on Church Row (a.k.a. Alton), and we will end at Irvine Spectrum where folks will be free to fraternize/flyer/chat/eat/consume.

For those of you who were interested in coming down from LA, Irvine Spectrum is only 2 miles from the Metrolink station and there is a train to Union Station at 6:20PM. I will be taking this train home after the ride, so we can ride there together! Yay!

See you all tomorrow!!!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Main Street Gets Tree'd

Early on a Saturday morning about two weeks ago, I caught a glimpse of folks planting trees along the eastern side of Main Street. There were even more workers out on Monday morning, in hard hats, doing some serious digging and planting.

Hooray, green!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ride Against Hate

Thank you, Metro, for the inspiration for this (quick and dirty) graphic:

Ride Against Hate
A moving rally through the street of Orange County to get people to vote NO on Prop 4, 6, and 8.

November 2, 2008

Starting point: TBD location, Irvine, CA
Time: 10:30AM

End point: TBD location, Westminster, CA
Time: ~ 4:00PM

Bring your bike. Your passion. Your voice.

Prop 4: "Prop 4 threatens teen safety by mandating parental notification prior to a minor terminating a pregnancy."

Prop 6: Diverts funding from education to law enforcement, would allow courts to try 14-year-olds as adults.

Prop 8: Bans same-sex marriage. If passed, it would be the first law in California history to eliminate rights.

I'm still putting together the details. Let me know if you want to help map out the route. These props affect all of us. It doesn't matter which one you stand for most.

Let's stand-- and ride-- together.

Bring signs, stickers, flags, water bottles.

We'll stop and rest when folks need to, check out some places of interest along the way (suggestions are welcome), talk to people who want to know more about the props and what we're doing, and get acquainted with the places that we whiz by when we take the 405/73/5 freeways.

Wear your favorite shade of green or blue.

It's going to be awesome.


November 4th:
Bike to your polling place and VOTE!

I hope that those who are abroad were able to get a hold of absentee ballots!


So far 40 people have RSVP'd over Facebook saying that they will attend. I am not sure how many are actually coming and how many mean that they will be there in spirit. I did a test-ride today from Irvine to Santa Ana and will be doing another test ride the day before to finalize the route. The ride will be approximately 30 miles long, with rest stops along the way.

More details forthcoming. Please feel free to spread the word and/or email me with questions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Milestone Monday

Two glorious things happened on Monday, October 20th:

1. My very dirty, very neglected, very abandoned-looking vehicle was picked up by Car Angel. The title has been turned over. The little card needs to be mailed to the DMV. I'm free. For real.

2. Five months after first claiming the frame and starting the project at Bicycle Kitchen, my 10-speed Cerulean Centurion is finished. I went to every Bitchen (ladies + transgender only night) for the last 6 weeks, including one that was canceled, and was finally able to ride home last night. After the last 8 months riding miles and miles with my rusty 3-speed Schwinn cruiser, riding a road bike is just amazing. When I went for the "safety run" on it, it felt wonderful and I had to tear myself off of it.

Pictures forthcoming. After I do about a thousand cartwheels.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Girls of Fuse say No on Prop 8

I am guilty of saying some unkind things about the West Hollywood set-- particularly that the club/bar scene is composed of people who care more about what kind of hair product will keep the faux-hawk up when the bartenders at Truck Stop pour some (water) on the (audience) at the end of the night than about social justice, community, or politics.

I received an email that challenges that:
All right, the girls of Fuse know how jazzed up everyone is about making sure Prop 8 doesn't pass...can we stop the hate already! So if you haven't made a plan to come out TONIGHT OCTOBER 16TH BTWN 8-10PM to support our "Vote no on Prop 8"event... It's time to rearrange your evening and join us for a pre-dinner, pre-movie, pre-date, pre-whatever...cocktails compliments of Smirnoff 8-9pm.

And if you really want to really help rock the vote... sit down with that free cocktail and write a postcard to a voter in a swing state telling them why it's so important they put down the remote and get out and vote for Obama! We'll have postcards and pens, all you need to do is write and we'll do the rest. Meet us in the atrium!

Sorry for getting political, we know Fuse-events is mostly known for their parties...but hey, it's no fun to party when your rights have been taken away. So here's your chance to really get involved. We had a great turnout on Saturday for our Country Swingers letter writing campaign on Saturday but we want to get even more of you involved. Bring your friends, bring your co-workers, your family...whoever you like, we're all in this together and we need all the help we can get.

Smirnoff hosted bar btwn 8-9pm and if you write 25 or more postcards the girls of fuse will by you a drink as well. We're always so proud of the people who come out to support our events and how you all rally when it's needed so thank you in advance.

See you tonight!

The girls of fuse,

Here Lounge
696 Robertson blvd.
I have to admit that I was surprised to see this email-- and I shouldn't have been, considering the implications of Prop 8. I forget that when it comes right down to it, we're all a part of a community, all affected, and we all go about doing what we can in the way we can, whether we frequent Here Lounge or The Eagle (yes, I'm guilty of that East v. West Side stuff, too), whether we hold signs on street corners or write post cards at an open bar. The point is to do something.

I had a conversation recently with a friend about the difference between being an activist/organizer in Los Angeles versus being one in the Bay Area. The main difference we noticed was that here in the southland, we seem have less of a work-play balance. In my friend's words: "Up there, we'll take a break, have some drinks and tomorrow we'll do what we need to do. Down here it feels like we never stop going." I can see what he's saying. Sometimes it feels like it's not so much "work hard, play hard" as it is "work hard OR play hard" around here. This is not to say there are no organizers and organizations in LA who do a good job balancing both, this is just what it feels like sometimes. Maybe it's something about getting caught up in maintaining an image that does it. That happens easily in Hollywoodland.

Anyway, consider this an apology for all the WeHo negativity. Cheers to the Girls of Fuse for using their partying power for a purpose. As they said, hey, it's no fun to party when your rights have been taken away. We can always use some more of that around here. Thanks, ladies.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dine 'til Nine at City Thai

Thai food within easy biking distance of my apartment?! Thank you, City Thai.

It's hard to miss the bright orange awning that appeared a few months ago on Hill Street between 7th and 8th. City Thai caught my eye for various reasons: it sits far south of most other Thai places that serve the downtown area, it dares to be large and bright in an area that has little development, and it's open until 9PM daily. There is practically no restaurant so far south of downtown that stays open that late so I feel even more motivated to support this place.

Fruit for sale is on display in the front window and there are plenty of large, clear photos of the menu items on the walls inside. My friend is a vegetarian and they had no problem substituting tofu for meat in both the green curry and the pad-see-ew. The capsaicin levels in the food were greatly tuned down and the flavors were a bit muted compared to what I am used to, but I'll definitely give this place another try. (I must give the disclaimer that I like my spicy food to be so spicy it hurts-- along the lines of too-much-of-Philippe's-spicy-mustard kind of pain.) According to the sticker in their window, LA Downtown News declared City Thai the Editor's pick for Best Thai Food in 2008. I look forward to heading over there again (sometime after 7pm and before 9pm) to try the "City Thai fried rice" mentioned in LA Downtown News' initial review of the place.

City Thai
726 S. Hill St.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

To Do in Downtown: TNC & Art Walk

A couple of events that are a must-go this week in Downtown:

The Tuesday Night Cafe season runs from February to October-- it starts indoors at Lost Souls Cafe when there is still a chill in the air, then moves to Aratani Courtyard, in front of the East West Players, for the remainder of the season.

The final show of the season is this Tuesday, October 7th at 7:15PM!

From TNC's Myspace Page:
The (sniff, sniff) Last Show of 2008

So it's October and with rolling tears we are sad that our next show on Oct. 7th is gonna be our last show of 2008.'s with a cheshire cat smile we are amped to say that it's gonna be the most kick-ass show of the season....damn....check out this line-up!!!

Paolo Espiritu
Jinah Kim
Oymun's 11
The Open Mic
18 Mighty Mountain Warriors
David Tran & Edren Sumagaysay
Sue Jin & Andrew Chiang
Jekai Soulspeak, the Fighting Cocks & Bambu

We'll be back at the courtyard next March to give J-Town a little more TNC. Just so your soul doesn't get rusty this winter, we got a few things lined up that you won't wanna sleep on. Stay tuned for a few parties and of course Midtones! Keep checking back here for more info! See yall soon.

Anyone interested in signing up for The Open Mic should get there by 6:45PM as there are only three slots open during each show.

This is a 10-year-old community event and this show is going to be insanely packed. Expect to stand unless you get there early!


Downtown Art Walk is on Thursday, October 9th! Come and walk around Gallery Row to see downtown come alive with pedestrians abound after 7PM (beyond Pete's Cafe and Banquette). I've been to only one Art Walk so far, but I am planning on checking this one out.

I stopped by Lost Souls Cafe this weekend and saw the artists of LA Fixed installing "The Metropolis," a series of works focused on bikes, their riders, and the places they ride (mostly in Los Angeles). The opening of the show was Saturday night. It's a pretty cool exhibit and worth a stop along the walk. Cruise down Harlem Place Alley off of 4th (between Main & Spring) to take a look.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Goodbye, "Floating Woman," Hello "Head Light."

I am accumulating a very long backlog of working drafts.

Instead of working on these posts that sorely need to be written, I created a new banner with a photo I took over the weekend. It is about time for a change, isn't it?


Monday, September 22, 2008

Nightshot: Melrose & Heliotrope

After spending a couple of hours working on my bicycle project over at Bicycle Kitchen, I walked over to the east-bound Metro 10 stop on Melrose and Heliotrope. While waiting, I spotted this:The street cleaners haven't gotten to it, and the curb painters just went over it--the palm tree that grew from concrete.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wong Flies Tonight

Kristina Wong's show opens tonight!!

Her current show, Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, discusses the alarming rate of mental illness among Asian American women and will be showing from September 19-October 5 at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in association with TeAda Productions . Read more about her show and purchase tickets here.

Do as Wong does and take the bus to her show! From Downtown, the Santa Monica 10 and the Metro 4 both go to within a mile of the theater. The 4 runs all night!

Miles Memorial Playhouse
1130 Lincoln Blvd.
Santa Monica

Yes, I'm recycling information from my last post about this in August, so what?! I do it for the love, y'all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Escape to the South: Riding Tufesa

I disappeared to Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico for a few days at the beginning of September.

These were taken in San Carlos, a development north of Guaymas that has been the baby of Rafael Caballero for a long time now. He's grooming this place to become a tourist destination and there is a part of me that hopes he doesn't succeed.

I think the 14-hour bus ride made getting there all the sweeter. Of course, you could fly into Guaymas in a few hours, but you'd have to plan ahead unless you can afford to pay for an $800 flight.

When I tell people that I took a 14-hour bus ride there and another 15-hour bus ride back, they are incredulous. It doesn't seem worth it for just five days, especially when the cost is about the same as a well-planned plane ticket to somewhere in the United States. "Well-planned" is the operative word here-- this trip was most definitely not, which means we were scrambling to find transportation at 10PM the night before we left.

Since I tried Megabus earlier this year (before they high-tailed it out of LA), I became a fan of traveling by bus: all I have to do is buy a ticket online, bring my ID, get on the bus, and go. No anxiety about having to check my luggage because I want to bring along a favorite bottle of cologne, no wondering whether anything I'm carrying could be misconstrued as a weapon, no need to deal with dreaded airport traffic (if for some reason I decide not to take the FlyAway from Union Station). Maybe it's because I haven't taken Greyhound, but I haven't had any of the nightmarish experiences that people envision when they think of bus travel. (Except for being stranded in the middle of nowhere by the bus, but that was my own foolish fault, and the bus miraculously turned around and came back for me.)

There are many, many charter bus services that are extremely comfortable and not very well-publicized. Tufesa, which is the service I took to Guaymas, is one of them. If not for the magic of Google Search, I never would have found them, and my traveling companion and I may never have gotten to Mexico. I landed upon Tufesa's website through a search for "Guaymas bus," and though the first page I got was in Spanish, some further perusal revealed that they provide bus service from Downtown Los Angeles all the way to Guadalajara with a stop in Guaymas. I felt like I had hit the jackpot.

My friend and I got to their Downtown LA office about an hour before the bus was scheduled to leave, bought our tickets, and thus our adventure began. Truth be told, the office doesn't look like much, just a ticket window, some slightly worse-for-wear chairs, and a bathroom, but the bus itself was considerably more comfortable than a seat on Southwest.

Their stations in Mexico were larger and nicer than this one: well-lit, air-conditioned, and very clean, most of them with a "Cafeteria Tufesa" with snacks and beverages. The bus itself had comfortable seats which reclined surprisingly far. Complaints: they played movies during all the daylight hours of the ride and the bus was freezing cold at night. It was also hit or miss on whether there was TP in the on-board restroom (luckily, I was prepared-- TP was in great demand in some of their stations, too). All in all, I would definitely ride Tufesa again. There was a huge mix-up on our journey back in which we thought we were being dropped off in Santa Ana and ended up in East LA, where we thought we were stranded. After some brief consultation with their managers, the driver took us back to the Downtown office and then put us on a shuttle to Orange County that dropped us off at the perfect location. Excellent customer service.

There are a few other bus lines that go down through Mexico, I just happened upon Tufesa and went with it. The shuttle we rode actually takes people all the way from Downtown LA to Tijuana for about $30-- amazing. They're very nice and pick up from locations along the 5 freeway from 8am-5pm every day, from what I was told. Unfortunately I do not remember the name, but I'm sure the magic of Google would turn up something. It would probably be even easier to use these services if you know Spanish, but my friend and I did just fine.

As they say, you can have two of these at a time: Cheap, Good, Fast. Obviously, I opt for Cheap & (hope for) Good whenever possible.

611 Maple Ave.

Ticket to Guaymas: $99
Ticket to LA from Hermosillo: $103
Total: $202

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Being Strong with Wong

It has been just over a month since I stopped using my car. These last few weeks have proven more difficult as I've been going out at night and going to Orange County to see friends and I've begun to feel like a burden to the people who have generously driven us all around.

To my dismay, I found myself considering purchasing leisure driving insurance and keeping the car.

I was growing weak.

I was mentally calculating what my budget would be like if I purchased insurance and registration.

I was resigning myself to going back to driving.

I was already going insane at the thought of sitting through traffic and looking for parking.

Then, I went to Kristina Wong's website. Wong is "a nationally presented solo performer, writer, actor, educator, culture jammer, and filmmaker" based in Los Angeles. She's funny, she's nice, and at the last Tuesday Night Cafe, I learned that she had recently become car-free (when her vegetable-diesel-fueled Mercedes had caught on fire).

The latest entries on her blog chronicle her newfound car-less-ness in Los Angeles. Reading them helped me push back my weakness and I find myself with renewed resolve to become completely car-free. Thank you, Kristina Wong, you've made me strong.

Her current show, Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, discusses the alarming rate of mental illness among Asian American women and will be showing from September 19-October 5 at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in association with TeAda Productions . Read more about her show and purchase tickets here.

Do as Wong does and take the bus to her show! From Downtown, the Santa Monica 10 and the Metro 4 both go to within a mile of the theater. The 4 runs all night!

Miles Memorial Playhouse
1130 Lincoln Blvd.
Santa Monica

Friday, August 8, 2008

Quickie: Playa Vista has a new website

My building's management company has launched a new website, but for some reason hasn't re-routed or taken down its old one. The new website is a huge improvement (save for the annoying sound byte that plays when you navigate the site).

I also learned was that Playa Vista started accepting rent via PayPal in March. If I had actually received the announcement about this, I would not be out of checks now.

Friday, August 1, 2008

August Goings-On, Part One

Sunday, 3rd, 9AM-12:00PM: Clean Up Griffith Park

A new friend decided to organize a random clean-up fest of Griffith Park. I think it's a great idea to take the initiative. In her words: "It's up to us to do something about the crises we're experiencing now instead of just complaining about it in pseudo-intellectual conversations while holding a cigarette at your favorite coffee joint. Don't be an asshole." I'll be there (probably not by 9AM, but I will make an effort), trash bags and dirty clothes in hand.

Sunday, 3rd, 2:00PM: Park Jam in Long Beach

After getting grimey cleaning up Griffith Park, head over to Park Jam in Long Beach. Cesar Chavez Park is easily accessible from the Metro Blue Line-- just a short walk east from Pacific Station. My first Park Jam was last month, and I had a blast even though I only stayed for a couple of hours. There was food, a lot of water guns (no one warned me about that, but I should have known), a fashion show, volleyball, and a giant crowd of beautiful people sharing beautiful energy.

Tuesday, 5th, 7:15PM: Tuesday Night Cafe

I've gone to almost all of the Tuesday Night Cafes in this, its 10th, season. This next show is a collaboration with API Equality-LA:
API Equality-LA is a coalition of organizations and individuals working in the local Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community to build support for the right of same-sex couples to marry. From its founding in 2005, API Equality-LA has uniquely bridged the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community with the civil rights and other social justice communities, united by a common understanding of the parallels between past anti-miscegenation and current marriage equality struggles.
I'll be performing at the opening of the show, which is incredibly exciting considering I have been following SKIM's music since I first saw her at a Queer People of Color Youth Conference at UC San Diego. I'm humbled to even be on the same flyer.

If you can't make it out to Aratani Courtyard (in front of the East West Players Theater), you can also watch it live via streaming video at the website.

Thursday, 14th, 12PM-9PM: Downtown Art Walk

Art in the galleries, music in the streets, people wandering around Downtown from all over LA, taking it in. I've talked about this event before. Just go. You don't have to stay long if you don't want to, but you'll probably want to. It actually gets more lively after 9PM.

Sunday, 17th, 2PM: ONE Culture Series Presents "We Were There: Asian LGBT Activism in the 1970s, 80s, & 90s" with Andre Ting

Andre Ting is extremely active in the API LGBT community. We met when I was chair of the Asian Pacific Student Association at UC Irvine, when he appeared on a panel we held with API-PFLAG. Since moving to LA, I've run into him at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center and Fusion: the Los Angeles LGBT People of Color Film Festival, and it seemed natural to invite him to be a speaker for the ONE Culture Series, a monthly event held at ONE.

On August 17th, he will be giving a presentation about Asian/Pacific-Islander activism in the LGBT movement in Los Angeles.

Sunday, 17th, 2PM-8PM: Serafemme Queer Women of Color Music Festival in West Hollywood

My first Serafemme was in 2006. I don't think it was an entire weekend as it's become this year (in part thanks to sponsorship by the City of West Hollywood), but I remember the festival in the afternoon. It was lovely being in a sea of beautiful queer women of color, listening to music on a sunny day in West Hollywood. I think I've only seen that intersection of San Vicente and Santa Monica Boulevard in daylight twice, at most. The Festival takes place in the big park near the library, across the street from RAGE and the Pacific Design Center.

It's going to be a busy month!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I only made it to the very beginning of Zero-Point Space's last show on July 19, and I somehow managed to forget my camera at home. These images were taken with my phone.


Sound control:

First act:

She's playing that guitar with a bow.

City for sale

"Opposite of War" art pieces

I would have purchased this piece if I'd had the cash. Alas.
The event started a bit late and I had to leave early, but I'm glad that I got to see Zero-Point Space one more time before Christine and Stayne leave. July 31st marks the end of their occupation of 1049 32nd Street.

If there any comparable or even vaguely art/music spaces in SoDo, please let me know. (To me, South Downtown is the area east of the 110, south of Olympic, and north of King-- I've not yet decided upon eastern border.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From the El Rey to SoDo

Out of necessity, I've finally begun to take my hefty, darling rust-bucket of a bicycle on both Metro Rail and on a Metro bus. I don't think I secured my bicycle properly to the Metro 20's rack last night, but I'll consider it a success since it survived the trip from Wilshire & Western to the El Rey Theater.

A couple of friends had come up to LA to see Jay Brannan perform at the El Rey and another friend came up via Amtrak to meet them after the show. I couldn't pass up the chance to hang out with my Orange County pals, especially since one of them took a train to get to LA instead of driving. We met at the Wilshire and Western, the last stop for the Metro Purple Line (which I feel doesn't get mentioned nearly as often as it should considering it goes to K-town where there are still many things to do after 7PM). While walking down Wilshire and waiting for the Metro 20, my friend and I marveled at the fact that we were wandering around Los Angeles via public transit, something that had never even crossed our minds as a possibility less than a year ago.

We waited at the (recently opened?) Doughboys Lite next to the theater and caught portions of songs faintly through the doors. We were tempted to ask the security guards to let us in just for the last portion of the concert, but opted instead to sit and write until our other friends came out. (Yes, I know, we are very exciting people.)

When the concert ended, I spent a few minutes catching up with my friends and then we parted ways, them in a car headed back to Irvine, and me on my bicycle to the bus stop. I waited for the Metro 20 for about ten or fifteen minutes, only to see it whiz right by all of us at the stop, already crammed with people, its bike rack completely occupied. I considered waiting for the next bus for about five minutes before deciding to just ride my bike rather than wait for the next one.

During the thirty or so minutes that it took to get home, no buses passed me. I expected at least a Rapid to go by, or possibly even another 20, but neither did. The ride down Wilshire was cool and peaceful and mostly downhill, for which I was thankful. I had to climb a few hills down Hoover, but it wasn't too bad. I didn't realize that my hip flexors were aching until I got to Pico, at which point I saw the sweet vision of the 10 freeway in the distance. I've come to love the 10 freeway coming into sight and letting me know that I am almost home.

Upon getting home, I looked up the distance from my apartment to the El Rey and realized that "far" wasn't as far as I thought: 6.5 miles is hardly spectacularly long on a bicycle. I'm sure the ride would have been even easier if I a road bike. Every time I ride a little bit farther, or take a new, unfamiliar bus route, my confidence in my ability to get around LA without a car increases.

I doubt I would have ventured out were it not for the fact that I own an EZ Pass, which eliminated any concerns about fumbling with cash or change for fare. Now that I'm over my bike-on-transit phobia, I imagine that I'll be using the pass even more often. As long as the buses have space for me.

Metro 20 (opens a PDF timetable) travels between 7th & Main in Downtown and Pico & Main in Santa Monica via Wilshire.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Zero-Point Space's Last Show This Saturday

Zero-Point Space, which has been hosting art and events in SoDo since January, will be having its final show tomorrow evening. (I'll be performing spoken word at the event.) After eight months at their 32nd Street location, Christie Scott and Stane Hubert will be closing Zero-Point Space's brick-and-mortar venue and have plans to continue cultivating "love & ruckus" as a nonprofit.

(Note: the space is in the upstairs portion of a barn-like building on 32nd and Central.)

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Saturday, July 19
6PM - Midnight

Zero-Point Space
1049 E. 32nd St.

Hello EZ Pass, Goodbye Loretta?

Loretta, my car, is sitting in a parking lot, collecting more dust than ever. I've made up my mind to get rid of her. I bought an EZ Pass for July and though I know that I technically may not ride a full 70 dollars' worth each month, the convenience of not having to worry about whether I have enough change or small bills for fare makes up for it, along with not having to worry about how much it costs to travel in Long Beach or Santa Monica (or any other part of LA County). With an EZ Pass, my bicycle, and my legs, I can get around fairly well.

Even knowing that, it's difficult to think about parting with the car now that the time has come, after weeks of declaring with fervor that I wanted to do it. When I told a friend about this, he suggested that I purchase leisure insurance so that I would still be able to use the car when I might really need it, and the idea was more enticing than it should have been. It's hard to abandon the convenience of having a vehicle, though oftentimes it doesn't feel convenient at all. A paradox.

I won't sugarcoat anything: it can be incredibly frustrating using public transit to get around, and yes, Metro and Metrolink can be unreliable (especially on weekends and holidays), but my feeling about it is that they won't get any better or more accommodating if ridership doesn't increase. I know that I'd much rather deal with Metro's Trip Planner than with traffic or parking, and I generally only have to figure out how to get to a place once; after I familiarize myself with the route, things get easier. The two things that makes me want to keep the car is the matter of transporting various heavy things around, and going places at night after public transit shuts down. Getting leisure insurance seems better than subscribing to ZipCar, which has questionable service in Downtown anyway.

It's hard to part with the car-dependent mindset, but I guess I just have to bite the bullet and really say goodbye to Loretta. My parents think that I'll never see them if I don't have a car, or that it's a sign of being poor. I'll just have to convince them otherwise.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Harlem Place Alley in May

Presenting Andre, the self-proclaimed friendliest denizen of Skid Row, outside of Lost Souls Cafe:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Four Little Green Habits

When I was a young tyke at Washington Elementary School, I acquired a copy of 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. The tips and ideas about conservation and recycling excited me-- they were so creative. I learned about conserving water when bathing, I experimented with making my own recycled paper from old newspapers, I became interested in gardening, I made my own play-dough, and many other experiments. There were varying degrees of success, but I always had fun.

Admittedly, that spirit of conservation was mostly play and I don't think it actually gelled with me in terms of everyday life back then. As I reflect on my habits throughout adolescence and adulthood, I realize that I was probably very neglectful of the amount of waste I generated, the amount of fuel I used, and the amount of processed food I ate. Luckily, I also happened to grow up with parents who are incredible gardeners, who taught me the art of re-purposing things, and who taught me to enjoy building things with my hands.

While we don't exactly agree on my desire to get rid of my car (which is a large discussion that deserves its very own post), I know that the way that I try to do my small part now is directly supported by the knowledge they gave me.

I thought I'd share a few of the habits I've cultivated to be a bit more environmentally friendly and to be less wasteful in general. I believe that we should make small changes if we can, because even if our efforts seem small, they add to our general consciousness about sustainability and normalize conservation instead of making it seem like something that only hippies and hipsters do (This piece by Michael Pollan is about food, but it's a great article and relates to this.).

Four Little Green Habits

1. Bring your own beverage receptacle. I began this habit when I started going to Antigua Cultural Coffeehouse on a regular basis. Many cafes serve their beverages in paper or styrofoam cups whether or not you leave or go, so I've taken to carrying around either a mug or this Pom Tea glass (left) with me when I plan to spend time at a cafe. I think I enjoy this sturdy, re-usable glass with the tight-fitting, snap-on lid more than I enjoyed the Pom Tea that came in it. Now that it's warmer, I often get a "Balance" (also known as an Arnold Palmer, also known as "half lemonade, half iced tea") at Lost Souls Cafe instead of my usual Soul Drip. Another plus of this is that if I don't finish it by the time I have to leave, I can pop the lid on, put it in my backpack, and ride my bicycle off into the sunset.

Why am I re-using a glass instead of getting a nifty Nalgene-esque bottle? Because I think that it's important to remember that when we buy newly manufactured things, especially plastic things, in an effort to conserve, we may actually be defeating the purpose. Though it might be slightly heavier and has a bit less active-lifestyle cred, glass doesn't retain odors, is completely recyclable, and is easily cleaned. I don't plan on rock climbing with it, so it works for me.

2. Forgo the bag (and use the one you have). My first job was in retail and we were taught to bag everything. Even if there was just one small item, we had a small plastic bag that was made specifically for occasions when customers would make a small purchase. I didn't think about it at the time, but it was very rare to hear a customer say "No thanks, I already have a bag." I carry a backpack or messenger bag with me most of the time, and I've taken to telling cashiers at checkout that I don't need a bag. I keep a canvas bag inside my backpack so that I can easily pack groceries in and protect them from getting mixed up with the various objects I have floating around inside my bag. Carrying around a backpack isn't feasible or desirable for everyone, but it's possible to consolidate items into a single bag or to tell the checkout person that a bag is not necessary for just a quart of milk.

3. Keep reusable cutlery at work. When I worked at places with a regular dining area and a kitchen, there was always communal metal cutlery. The building I currently work in has a small staff and we do not have the luxury of a kitchen, so I started out using the plastic cutlery that was always available. After a few weeks of this (I know it shouldn't have taken me that long), I realized how much plastic I was wasting and so brought a knife (for cutting fruit), fork, and spoon from home. I actually didn't stop there-- I also brought a plate and a bowl for microwaving my food because of my paranoia about plastic leeching toxins into food upon being heated.

Enci at IlluminateLA had a great idea about carrying camping utensils around in order to avoid using disposable cutlery on the go. I think I may begin to carry around a set of silverware from Goodwill as she suggested in the comments. Dessert-size silverware is smaller and would be easier to carry around than full-size cutlery, and though it lacks the nifty-ness of the camping utensil set, it doesn't involve the manufacturing of more plastic things.

4. Avoid buying things in plastic packaging. I try to buy things in glass or aluminum whenever possible. There is a scary trend in the produce section of shrink-wrapped-everything. The days of sorting through, touching, and smelling produce before purchasing are slowly creeping out of fashion. When I was in Japan, I was astonished to see that things like bananas and broccoli were vacuum-packed, a trend which seems to have spread. I am inclined to believe that this is for ease of sale, not so much to retain freshness, as plastic generally isn't very friendly to produce. I guess we are supposed to judge our fruits and vegetables solely on looks.

Even with the skyrocketing price of oil, more and more plastic packaging seems to be appearing, more and more individually wrapped, this-many-calories-only "snack-paks." It might be convenient, but the amount of extra trash it generates is alarming.
Of course, there have been times when I have violated these habits, but some action is better than none. Better to try and falter than not to try at all.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

2008 Lotus(-less) Festival

The 31st Annual Lotus Festival sponsored by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks is coming up this weekend. The Lotus Festival began as a way "to promote an awareness and understanding of the contributions by the Asian and Pacific Islander people to our culture and to the local and surrounding communities." I'm very excited about attending the festivities but I am also terribly disappointed to learn that the lotuses that once filled Echo Park Lake are, in a word, gone. It is intensely upsetting to me. How the city could have allowed what was once the "largest lotus bed in the United States" to dwindle away to nothing is beyond my comprehension. To me it shows a lack of concern about maintaining symbols of the community's heritage and that is unacceptable.

I think I was so excited about the festival because the thought of lotuses reminded me of the month my family spent in Cambodia, walking around snacking on fresh lotus seeds bought from kids who carried around whole bouquets of them to sell. We'd tear into the spongy, alien-looking seed heads and pop the edamame-like lotus seeds into our mouths. They were everywhere, but I particularly remember a day at the riverside in Phnom Penh, sitting across from the Independence Monument with my father and brother. Cars and motorbikes and cyclos (see-cl-ohs) whizzed by us, the humidity was made bearable by a warm breeze, and it was beautiful knowing that we were thousands of miles away from home, and together.

On that note, while I will wish with all of my being for lotuses to miraculously appear for the Festival, I will keep in mind that the point of the festival is to nurture and celebrate community--the absence of lotus blossoms does not hinder that.

Festival Schedule:
Friday, July 11 - 5PM-9PM
Saturday, July 12 - Noon to 9PM
Sunday, July 13- Noon to 8:30PM

Metro Bus 2, 4, 603, and the Dash Pico Union-Echo Park all run from SoDo to Echo Park on the weekend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thursday: Downtown Art Walk!

I went to my first Downtown Art Walk last month and it made me regret missing the last six walks that have taken place since I moved to SoDo.

(Tangent: As the LA Times points out in this article about the nebulous "South Los Angeles," having distinct nomenclature is important for neighborhood identity, so I'm trying to nurture mine.)

I rode my bicycle up Main Street last month and was amazed to see how many people were in the streets, walking from gallery to gallery, hanging out at Lost Souls Cafe, standing around listening to bands perform on the sidewalk.

Even more amazing to me was the fact that there was so much life in downtown after 8PM.

The images in this post are from the LAMP Art Project. This exhibit struck a particular chord in me. The politically-charged pieces reflected the people of this city who are largely ignored, abandoned, and abused. The collage of images and words communicate the voices of the silenced, and I appreciated seeing a reflection of these ideas during the walk. While the LAMP Project is what resonated most with me, there were many interesting exhibits at the various galleries and I encourage folks who haven't gone before to check it out, to get out and enjoy this wonderful cool spell we're having if nothing else.

Downtown Art Walk

July 10
(2nd Thursday of Every Month)
Admission: Free (as access to art should be)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Libros Revolucion

If you've been in Berkeley, then you must have seen the branch of Revolution Books nestled in a plaza downstairs by a parking garage. The Los Angeles, Spanish-language version is tucked away on 8th and Hill among the various clothing vendors, nestled next to a pet shop. After a visit to one of the first South Park Flea Markets (when it was held on Olive and 8th), a friend and I wandered around SoDo and spent some time at Libros Revolucion. I hadn't expected to come across this bookstore while wandering toward the Jewelry District, and was excited to go inside to peruse their stock of political texts and materials. The rear part of the store is an open space reserved for events and readings. I've yet to return since my first visit, unfortunately.

Being a proud bastian of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, it is not surprising that a Google Search revealed that Libros Revolucion faced serious harassment when it opened in the late 1980s. This letter published in the New York Review of Books in 1989 cites
"Uniformed and plainclothes police, right-wing religious fundamentalists with bullhorns, and callers identifying themselves as members of "death squads" appear to be working in concert to intimidate people associated with the store."

It's good to know that the store has stood strong for nearly twenty years.

Libros Revolucion
312 West 8th St.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12PM-8PM

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jean P's 99-cent Soul Food Express

[Update: Jean P's was closed, sadly, sometime in early 2009. Alas.]

After seeing Big City Poz's photo of the blue-plate special he whipped up for himself, I was inspired to share this fabulous meal that has a similar combination of protein, starch, and green:

The meal is from Jean P's Soul Food Express, which is on the corner of Adams and Figueroa, tucked into a plaza that is dominated by 7-Eleven and Popeye's Chicken. I had ridden my bike past it numerous times, and was always intrigued by the rusting barbecue grill that they keep in the parking lot. I was skeptical, though, of a place that advertised 99-cent food, so I assuaged my fears first by reading reviews of the place on (oh Yelp, where would we be without ye?).

I walked in at about one in the afternoon and the place was nearly empty. The place is very small, with room for approximately 10 people in the dining area. The buffet was piled with southern food: collard greens, macaroni and cheese, hot links, and many other things that I can't recall at the moment. There was one other person ahead of me, and when I went to order, the woman behind the counter said "Wait a minute, baby." Something about Southern women allows them to get away with calling anyone "baby," I love it.

The meal came to about $8.00 and was actually enough for both a satisfying lunch and dinner for me. The collard greens were some of the best I've had 'round these parts, and the macaroni and cheese was fantastic, creamy and cheesy but still not overwhelmingly rich. The fried chicken was not the most spectacular I've had (which was at Babe's & Ricky's Inn on a Monday night), but it was good, especially with the Louisiana-style hot sauce.

Next time I go, I'll have to actually try some of that barbecue that comes from their parking lot grill!

Jean P's Soul Food Express
2540 S. Figueroa St.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Metro Ticket Machines Lied To Me

None of the three machines I went to on Sunday evening actually accepted my credit or debit cards. That was frustrating. I'm sure that the non-dedit-card-accepting status of the machines was well-known to folks who are less naive than I.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why Bike?

It's easy to stop and look around for a while.

Vermont & 101 Freeway. Sunset.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

El Sereno Loses Antigua

In the short months that I spent living in El Sereno, I found a warm, happy home at Antigua Cultural Coffeehouse. It was a place that was vibrant with community, with a commitment to social justice and to good, fair trade, beautifully roasted coffee. I was drawn to the bright yellow and green interior from the first time I drove by, and when I finally entered, I was amazed by quality of the coffee there. Antigua was where I performed spoken word for the very first time in Los Angeles in November, during a benefit for AB540 students that was organized by the Coalition for Latino Advancement. Months after seeing him perform at UC Irvine, I ran into Quese IMC while he was taking advantage of the Wi-Fi in the cafe. Antigua was always filled with good people and good energy.

I am extremely disappointed that the property owners have deigned not to extend a lease renewal to Antigua. El Sereno will be no longer be home to one of LA's best coffeehouses and a three-year-old community hub. The bright side: another location will be opening in Cypress Park.

Antigua Cultural Coffee House
4386 Huntington Drive South

Friday, June 6, 2008

Announcement: Zero-Point Space

Posted on behalf of friends at Zero-Point Space.
Now accepting submissions:
The Zero-Point Art Collective

Working studio space now available in common room
3000 sq. ft./ high ceilings / east-facing windows / wood floors / second story

You choose your weekly schedule

Month-to-month agreements / workshop / salon environment

Also available for photography & filming, one day art gallery showcases.

Gallery hours forthcoming.

We are open to hosting workshops / classes / social / art-based meetings and groups

We also have a professional sound engineer & can record your work live or in a studio environment, and do vegan treats catering as well

For submissions / inquiries / volunteering / internships:
1049 E. 32nd St.

Zero-Point on Myspace

I found out about Zero-Point from Mark Ferem, whom I met when I was haunting Lost Souls Cafe on a near-daily basis. In March, Zero-Point an event called the Dream Time which included an exhibit from Mark's book, Bathroom Graffiti.

At the moment Zero-Point will not be able to host any music or extremely loud events due to noise complaints, but I hope that the space can stay open and eventually get soundproofing.

Art is alive in So(uth)Do(owntown).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hang In There, Megabus!

Utterly horrible news: is making moves to stop service out of Los Angeles.

This news is particularly devastating to me because Megabus made it affordable for me to pay frequent visits to dear friends in San Francisco-- I've used Megabus twice since finding out about it in February and was planning on using it again for a trip in June. The most recent LA Times article states that Megabus will be abandoning Los Angeles altogether on June 22nd. (How am I supposed to get to Pride!?)

I wish that Megabus would just hold out a little bit longer and give Angelenos more time to get with the program. My last venture to the Bay Area cost $22.50 roundtrip. Yes, there is always the possibility of carpooling, but why cram into a car and force one of your friends to cope with driving and traffic when you could all just pile into an air-conditioned bus together for about the same cost?

I pray for a miracle to happen in the coming weeks that will make Megabus stay. (And by "a miracle," I mean hundreds of people trying to book Megabus tickets.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wonderful News: One Stop Mini Market Has Dairy!

I walked into the market to say hello to Felipe and as I gave him a hug I noticed that there were milk, eggs, cottage cheese, and sour cream where once there had only been fruit and fruit juices. I nearly exploded with joy and hugged Felipe all over again and I'm sure I overwhelmed him a bit with my happiness. I had to take a picture, but in my excitement, I was unable to take a proper photograph.

I haven't had eggs or milk in my refrigerator regularly for months, and this is truly huge for me. It's a quality-of-life issue, really.

One Stop has been open for at least eight months and their license and their suppliers just came through. Gotta love bureaucracy.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Write To The City

I've been doing a lot of gallivanting lately, from LA to Long Beach to San Francisco (Long Beach via the Blue Line, SF via and that is why I haven't posted in over a week. I will have more substantial posts as I finish recovering from being away. For now, an event announcement:

Write To The City, "LA's First Writers' Slam on Gentrification," which will be held on May 29th.

The lineup of writers is exciting (and includes Nina Revoyr) and the subject matter is compelling. Gentrification is a complicated issue and I look forward to hearing what presenters and attendees have to say.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nightshot: Commute

I've learned the hard way that Adams is not the best street to bike on during the day, but it's wonderful at night.

I drove to Lost Souls tonight because I was already in my car and I wanted to swing by before closing time. I drove home with the windows down, but it was not at all the same as feeling the cold air whip at my face and creep beneath the layers of my clothes as when I bike. Conclusion: driving makes the journey home much less satisfying.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Things Are Changing: Main & 21st

I pass this building on a near-daily basis, and love it.

Dayshot, one month ago:

I once rode by at midnight from a show at Zero-Point Space and met two street artists with wheat-paste in hand, ready to add their mark to the wall. I love that something someone abandoned and can be turned into a canvas.

The new windows indicate that this building might not be such a willing canvas for much longer.

Nightshot, recently:

A larger piece on the side of the building:

Apologies for the poor use of flash; the light on my bike wasn't very effective. It is sad that guerrilla art is a casualty of gentrification.

Google's "Street View" option shows men at work on the side of the building:

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