All posts by EL CHAVO!

EL CHAVO! is the pen name of some menso living in Lincoln Heights.

Chicken Boy is Alive!

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He’s only been up for a few days but Chicken Boy is quickly regaining his strength and will soon enough rule the roost of LA cultural icons. He lost his old Downtown home on Broadway some years ago (no doubt due to gentrification) but I think he will adapt fine to his Northeast LA home of Highland Park, hopefully he gets to stay put for awhile. I went by HLP today and stopped by to take a look, he’s much smaller than I remember but I guess I was much smaller as well all those years ago. Oh wait, that’s not him..
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Greatest Dead Angelenos #15: Pío Pico

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It might be a stretch to include a Politician/Businessman as one of the greatest dead Angelenos, but the story and tumultuous political life of Pío Pico, last Mexican Governor of California, is an interesting and informative narrative that still has some relevance today.

Born of African, Indian, and European descent in 1801 at the San Gabriel Mission, this Mestizo was 100% Californio. When his father José María Pico (he was on the De Anza expedition to Alta California) died in 1819, Pío started his business ventures “by opening a small store in San Diego where he sold liquor, provisions, furniture, and shoes” in San Diego. By the 1850’s and “in only two generations the family amassed terrific wealth in land.” (Monroy)
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Get Your Sugar Skulls!

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It’s time for the Harvest season holidays, and of course, all the requisite fun stuff that comes along with it! For United Statesians it might be pumpkins, costumes, and candies. Mexicans usually favor marigolds, pan de muerto, and sugar skulls. (And Chicanos get to pick and choose from either tradition, being ni de aqui, ni de alla has its upside!) The Dia de los Muertos traditions and iconography have quickly seeped into the mainstream non-Mexican culture. Shit, it’s even been crassly commercialized by Target. In no time, the origins of those traditions will be forgotten, incorporated completely into Americana. (I can picture it now, the next generation of anti-Mexican xenophobes building altars and making ofrendas to Jim Gilchrist and Lupe Moreno; you know it’ll happen!) But whatever, that’s how living cultures work and I’m all for it. So if you want to get a head start on the (de)Mexicanization of the season, click ahead for suggestions of where to get your sugar skull supply.
Continue reading Get Your Sugar Skulls!

More Halloween Decorations

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Since frazgo mentioned it, I figured I’d put up these pics of some lawn decorations spotted yesterday in Huntington Park. That’s Park not Beach, which is really a major difference, but I prefer the park. Above you’ll see some monsters, vampires, and a well dressed tiger having a sumptuous drink made of 2 parts blood, 1 part wine. There’s a spit bucket on the table for the serious blood taster but this bunch seems to want to get their ghoulish buzz on, so it’s yet to be broken in. Good choice.

Two more pics after the jump.
Continue reading More Halloween Decorations

Drinking and Reading: Just Do It

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One of the funnest things to do Downtown is to spend a few hours roaming the shelves of the Central Library, reading up on topics you assumed a lack of interest, and freaking out just a little bit at how much intriguing stuff there is to read before you kick the can. Maybe it’s not as exciting as going to a wild drunken party, but I’ve been to enough dull get-togethers where a shelf of books to browse would have been a welcome (and much more entertaining) distraction. The only problem with the Central Library (besides the fact it’s also known as the “Richard Riordan” Central Library, boo-hiss-yuck) is that no matter what I had for breakfast, after a few hours of looking at books I start getting peckish and sometimes just plain hungry. It doesn’t help that I often browse the cookbooks, especially those with tantalizing full color pictures that make my cast iron pan get hot. Aside from that, I still think they must be putting some sort of delicious scent in the ventilation system or emitting savory subliminal radio frequencies, there has to be another reason for the predictable hunger. Does anyone else experience that? Surely there’s a story there, maybe even some sort of secret conspiracy that the Times should investigate.

Whatever the reason, I don’t mind it, that just gives me an excuse to try out some of the downtown eateries. What better way to start into your freshly borrowed book than to leaf through it over a beer and some snacks? Which brings us, finally, to the point of this story..
Continue reading Drinking and Reading: Just Do It

Pasadena Reboot

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For some reason I really enjoy seeing technology-gone-wrong, like this example spotted today near a Gold Line Station: a frozen Windows 2000 boot up screen, in a spot where a simple map or info poster would have been much more useful. It’s a reminder that relying on technology for everything assumes things will never go wrong. Yet, they always do.

PS. Also on the reboot, the Crown City “Brewery” nearby no longer brews their own beer. Goodbye Black Bear Stout.

Eastside 101: Lupe’s & La Placita del D. F.

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Yes, I harp on this Eastside thing, I’m not going to let it go. That beautifully coarse landscape East of the River is an expansive terrain that encompasses such a variety of stories and interpretations that it’s absurd to accept the Westsider Cultural Empire knocking it out with a weak punch of irrelevance, arbitrarily deciding that Silverlake/Echo Park are the easternmost regions of the known LA universe. Just because you don’t live here, just because you refuse to get out of your car here, that is not sufficient reason for you to decide that we do not exist. But anyways, I’m preaching to the nonconvertible.

For whatever it’s worth, this next installment of ES 101 is going to focus on two Eastside eating establishments, and hopefully this post will shine a bit of light on why I love this geographical area so much. I know many of you just think the Eastside is simply where the Mexicans live, dumping it into a cerebral corner of cultural homogeneity, but the reality is a bit different; under the surface there is still a vibrant tug and pull that keeps the area interesting. For one, there is a major difference between Mexican food and Mexican-American/Chicano food, and our first stop at Lupe’s is a shining example of Chicano eats!
Continue reading Eastside 101: Lupe’s & La Placita del D. F.

Food Linking

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Over at la.foodblogging.com, Jonah has an excellent post that points out the value of local food blogs and compares them to the work of professional food writers, it’s worth a read. But I was surprised to read this info from an older post:

Whoops, I was reading the LA Times Terms of Service, which I would link to, but, well, just keep reading. I removed the direct links to the LA Times blogs because of their statement that:

Links to, and frames of, Latimes.com. If you operate a Web site and wish to link to Latimes.com, you may link only to the home page, www.latimes.com, and not to any other page or subdomain of Latimes.com.

What?!? Sure enough, check out the LAT Terms of Service, if you operate a website (FYI, a myspace page is a website) you are not supposed to link to any articles, just the home page. Oh wait, did I just screw that up? Oops. (Hmm, what’s the Spanish word for lame? Culeros? Mamones? Never mind, I’ll stick to lame.) Lame. Seriously lame.

I only get the weekend edition of the Times (they sneakily added Thursday to the weekend!) since I don’t have the time to read it daily. But now I’m thinking of canceling it all together as I mostly don’t have the patience to go through the whole thing looking for something of interest, it’s become a damn chore. They should be encouraging people and sites linking to the rare items of interest, not fighting it with this bogus TOS. Get with the times already.

(ps, pic above was graffiti spotted at Pita, Pita! I think the connection works!)

Parking Turd of the Day

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With all the ugly over priced lofts being built near the Gold Line station in Lincoln Heights, parking in that area is getting tight. (So much for lofties using public transport!) It doesn’t help when a thoughtless driver parks their car like this and takes up an extra space: they clearly could have moved up a bit to leave space for another auto.

More pics of this inconsiderate citizen after the jump.
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Sycamore Grove Park Upgrade

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Congratulations are in order to the people of Recreation and Parks that made this new feature possible in the Northeast LA park of Sycamore Grove: exercise equipment for the masses. This addition debuted a few months ago and it’s been an instant crowd pleaser, as it should be since it really is a great idea. Praise for a City Dept? I can hardly believe it. Click ahead if you want to check out the equipment in use.
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Beckham is Injured – Hurrah!

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Finally, an end in sight to the incessant media machine regarding the new LA Galaxy player David Beckham, since he is now injured and likely out for the season. What a relief. I’ve been watching this whole BS media fascination with the new celebrity in town, and groaning every time some reporter uses the term “bend it like Beckham” as if it was some sort of clever turn of phrase. It ain’t, it was a title for a movie. Besides, everyone knows that nobody bends it like Roberto Carlos. Reporters on the Beckham beat have been either average, lazy, or exuding the feeling of being stuck on a story they don’t want to cover. Here’s some ideas to spice up your next Beckham report when you rekindle an interest in the Galaxy next year: ‘Dribble like David’, ‘Push it like yer Posh’,’Yay, New Guy on the Team’, and maybe ‘Pretty Face Returns to Foreigner Sport’. Any of those crappy tag lines might have been a bit more tolerable, at least they might indicate some sort of original take on DB’s arrival to the LA Galaxy. Instead, all we got was non-stop celebrity coverage (where will they live? who are their friends? what will she wear?) that heavy wet blanket which covers everything related to the mundane and needless, and avoids the most basic of information. Hardly anyone mentioned his position as midfielder, a crucial spot but one that isn’t necessarily expected to make goals: the most goals you can expect from Beckham will probably be from set plays and free kicks, hardly the stuff of celebrity heroes.
Continue reading Beckham is Injured – Hurrah!

FIGHT

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I saw this big poster near the Lincoln Heights Post Office, with the enticingly red background and a full fist in the air above a black star and large type that simply reads FIGHT. Since I’m always partially interested in a good fight I had to get a closer look to read the details. Was it a local punk rock show? A Zapatista protest event? Maybe a stance against gentrification?

What do you think it might be? Take a moment to think about it before you click ahead for the grand reveal, if you guess right you’ll win an insignificant prize!
Continue reading FIGHT

Eastside 101: Odd Fellows Cemetery

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One of the most prominent characteristics of the Eastside has to be the abundance of cemeteries, you can’t keel over without plopping down on another muertito! That might be a slight exaggeration, but that’s kinda how it feels when you get to know this part of town, you always seem to run into a graveyard. I was hoping to do one massive post, cover some of the different cemeteries with a few pics of each along with a bit of info, but I ruled that out since there were a bunch of snapshots I took on my first trip to Odd Fellows that I wanted to share. This resting ground also holds a special place in my heart but not because I know any of the corpses there, more on that in a bit.

You all like pictures, right? Well I hope you do, otherwise feel free to not click ahead.
Continue reading Eastside 101: Odd Fellows Cemetery