Eastside 101: ELAC Swap Meet


I’ve been slacking off on my Eastside 101 posts, but that doesn’t mean I’m putting down my guard against the newbie usurpers. Over at Curbed LA they are running a “definitive poll” to determine the location of the Eastside and its dividing line, but their system is rigged: I suspect they purged the voter rolls. How else to explain the fact that the east-of-the-river option is in last place? Maybe the “it’s a state of mind, ese” option (the current favorite) was used to confuse Eastsiders ala the Butterfly ballot in Florida. Because being from the Eastside is a state of mind, it’s an overwhelming awareness that the rest of the city has no clue or interest in what happens over there in the Mexican quarters. And despite your ignorance of us, we are well aware of you. It reminds me of the Eastside punk scene; everyone knew of the shows happening elsewhere in the city, but nobody else seemed to know about the backyard gigs happening in our neighborhoods. Whether it’s intentional or not, ignorance of the Eastside is nothing new. When you finally move back home, in a tacit acceptance that your fantasy career in the film industry isn’t going to happen, the Eastside will still be here, ready to be ignored by the next crop of newbies.

Since Westsiders seem to take a special interest in shopping places, this post is dedicated to them. Come take a look at our fabulous ELAC Swap Meet!


Located at East Los Angeles College, the weekly Sunday swap meet is one of the best around. It’s sort of like The Grove, only more practical, affordable, and entertaining. (Assuming The Grove has any of those qualities.) Check it out, movies for sale. The seller didn’t think much of the Batman Forever cover so they came up with a new version.


Potted plants, including the ever popular medicinal herb ruda.


Tables full of random crap. It’s the American Dream.


Business in a box: shoe shine kit for the budding entrepreneur.


Baby Cowboy.


Rebel Eastsider sticks to Roman numerals and a non-conformist dollar sign.


Piles of leather; make your own jacket!


“Rappin’ Vampire Bopper”. Umm, yeah, I took these pics before Halloween. Please excuse my tardiness. You have heard of being on Chicano time, right?


The price on this suit: “the lady from the stall will be back soon.”


Creepy baking dolls. When I turned away, I’m quite sure I heard a tiny spoon stirring in a bowl of dough. Just saying.


Crafty needles. Are we hip yet?


For the “green” consumer; a mode of transport that fits within your carbon footprint. Ready to supply your latest fads, the Eastside will escort you as shop your way into a better environment!


There was a long line for the raspados.


Finally, the table the fits within my shopping bracket. One stop X-mas shopping!


The Blessing of the Hot Wheels.


More Halloween costumes. I told you I was late.


My favorite stall, the one with all the weird little tools.


Delta Dental? Pfft, I’ll grind that cavity out myself.


“A mi me pega mi mujer..pero como soy muy macho, me aguanto.” Ha, ha. Translation: “My wife hits me..but since I’m very Macho, I can take it.” Subverting gender role dynamics…err, sort of.


Boots and jeans. Bargain rate fashion.


Para la musica.


Almost as good as clothes by the pound.


Ah, the main reason I like the ELAC swapmeet: cheap tools.


Punk in a box. If Punk is Dead, this would be a sure sign of it.


A French waiter to hold your wine bottle; Classy!


“Wassup Payasa? Why you keep ignoring me?”


Tortillas, al chingon!


No self-respecting Mexican or Chicano would own one of these “quesadilla makers.” I bet this will never sell.


Big Ass Macetas.


Just the essentials: shopping for detergent. How fucking sexy is that?


Not everything is affordable here though, these vintage cookies are priced way beyond my means. But for the gourmand, these might be the perfect gift.


A view of the shopping scene.


From the dirt to your face; snail mucus is the hottest new facial cream. Try finding that at Aveda. See, the Westside ain’t got shit on the ELAC Swap Meet.

Favorite overheard quote: “You should have kicked my ass.” One retired looking chola to another. The response? “Yeah, you deserve it.”

PS. When I took these pics the swap meet was temporarily moved to one of the fields, it should be back to it’s normal location now.

Link to all Eastside 101 locations.

11 thoughts on “Eastside 101: ELAC Swap Meet”

  1. Growing up in Inglewood (that strange city that is too far west to be part of “South LA” but too far south to be “Westside” and too ghetto to be “Beach Cities”) and going to the local Roadium swapmeet near El Camino College, it was quite a shocker when I realized that “flea markets” were the white version of swap meets. More or less the same thing, except more expensive, and with a more sanitized name?

  2. Excellent post, the running commentary. Especially the whole Eastside vs Westside discussion. I was ready for Rita Moreno and Natalie Wood to chime in with a song from “west side story”.

    Those ugly ass baking dolls look like those gawd awful dried apple head crafty things everyone was doing 25 years ago.

  3. Actually, I have always argued that the eastside of LA was anything east of downtown LA (and when I say downtown, I mean the one with the skyline that shows up most in movies and postcards). Thats why they call it “east LA” – its a real location! But I also included monterey park and alhambra while they counter back with, its the san gabriel valley. I think ultimately, the argument comes from people who were raised in downtown LA vs transplants to the westside (anything west of mid-wilshire)who have the differences.

  4. Sorry Chavo, I am the guy responsible for the “EastLos is a state of mind ese” comment. I stand by my comment though, in the spectrum of the chicano community; I had no idea it would be coopted and butchered or confuse any of my fellow carnalitos. Now we got folks posting “the westside is a state of mind”, next thing you know when my wife drags me to urban outfitters I’ll hear an announcement about it on the loudspeakers by some guy with his hair combed over his forehead.

    El Chavo knows what I mean. As an official EastLosAngelino (both Boyle Hts and unincorporated, god bless mobile single moms) I have scorned people from Highland park and maywood for claiming their hood is also part of Eastlos. But in reality, it is a state of mind, a homage to the motherland or as I wrote in curbed, the mecca of lowriders, destructive urban renewal and single needle tattoos.

    EastLos and the Eastside are different things though for chicanos, and should be explained to all outsiders who wear giant sunglasses and walk downtown at night. The eastside is a more ambiguous mix of geographic proximity to DTLA as well as ratio of Latinos and the evident barrio markings. As chicano diaspora colonized most of the SGV and East/Southeast LA county, and whites/money fleed these older suburbs, many areas began to resemble a more suburban version of East LA (EastLos was a lot more suburban back in the day as well, as noted by my veterano uncles). If someone is saying they are from the eastside nowadays (well, not some yuppy at least), they generally mean the barrio, whether it be SouthSide montebello, El Monte, South San Gabriel, City terrace, Hollenbeck, the flats, pico rivera, etc.

    It’s a barrio state of mind holmes. I meant the comment to help explain things to the gentrifiers, but it backfired and is now being called the butterfly/floating chad of this contest, spensa.

    BTW Chavo, what parts of BH you from? Thanks for the great commentary also, your shit rocks, and i’m a pretty cynical guy who abhors much of the over self gratification in our chicano community. Intelligent raza with minimal issues is a rare gem, now there’s 2 of us!

  5. I got that same exact quesadilla maker as a wedding gift!

    Those were my precise words!!!

    I must be the only Mexican in the world that owns one. I simply can’t get rid of it out of guilt. I am going to use it to say that I did (though I haven’t yet) in case the gifter ever asks about it.

    Then I’ll try to find a good home for it.

  6. Good post, Chavo, como siempre. I’ve never been to the ELAC swap meet because it’s too far from home (to my parents, more than fifteen minutes freeway driving is too far), but I’ve always gone to the Paramount swap meet on Rosecrans. It was a great place to go, except for the fact that parking is now brutal to get and that they charge way too much to enter.

    I personally prefer the Alameda swap meets, the bodegas all over Maywood and Vernon, and Plaza Mexico in Lynwood (which I still call Marketplace), but it’s all great. I enjoy just walking around and looking at people actually peddling their wares, not dressing up windows to entice people.

  7. Eastside is east of the LA River. It’s bad enough that Curbed LA can’t figure this out but I expect more from this site.

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