Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cure for those Empty Storefronts--AUTO FREAK: a j-town pop up shop

It's been nearly a year since traci and friends were invited to use a space in Little Tokyo Mall that once housed a car accessories store called Auto Freak. traci, along with alfie numeric, phloe, and keiko agena (with plenty of help from friends and partners) worked hard to clean out the dusty, musty, fluorescent-lighted space and transformed it into an art gallery/poetry shop/greeting card store/writing workshop space for one glorious month last summer. There was music, laughter, writing, poetry, and pizza with mochi.

AUTO FREAK: a j-town pop-up shop was a place full of wonder and magic and community tucked into a corner of Little Tokyo Mall (that structure on 3rd & Alameda that . Check out the awesome sign (which the management did not let the ladies keep even after they had worked so hard to clean out the space and meticulously place those letters on the sign:

As I walk around Little Tokyo-- and, pretty much everywhere-- I notice all these storefronts sadly gathering dust, barren save for signs with names and contact information of their real estate agents, who are sitting in an office or walking down a street or driving in a car somewhere that is not this neighborhood, and I wonder why artists, writers, community groups-- people who need spaces, aren't allowed to just do something. traci and friends paid for electricity out of pocket and through donations from patrons.

I challenge property management companies to invite the community into the spaces. To invite poetry into these spaces! How lively, how revolutionary, that would be. How about poetry and art instead of another yogurt shop or hip(ster) clothing store?


  1. Thanks, Scott. Any thoughts on how can we get this goin'??