Recently, I gave my brother a black t-shirt emblazoned with a white stencil of la Virgen de Guadalupe. She wasn’t the same Virgen my mom has placed throughout our home. This Virgen’s demure face was covered with a handkerchief and rather than hold her hands in prayer, she held a rifle. A ribbon below her feet showed the well-known mantra of the 1910 Mexican Revolution and 1994 Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, “Tierra y libertad!”
I warned my brother about wearing the shirt in front of our mother and grandmother. They probably wouldn’t approve, and I wonder what they would think of the dozens of artistic renditions, depiction in films and other creative interpretations. These renditions on a 474-year old image by Chicanas/os have gone on to encompass all that is Mexican, not just the religious aspect.
Yet despite her indigenous and European religious roots, she is not limited to an alcove in a church or a small altar in a home. La Virgen de Guadalupe is the subject of numerous works by scholars, writers, artists, actors and musicians. Scholars see her as symbol of the syncretization of indigenous and Catholic religious beliefs. Activists for immigrants rights, improved conditions for farmworkers, the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, and pro-life groups have used her image on banners and billboards. Franklin Avenue reported that just last month she was advocating a SÌ vote on Prop 73. No surprise there, most Catholics are pro-life and la Virgen is revered by all Mexican Catholics.
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ìSince the first time I saw her eyelash trapping the fly on MTV as a teenager I was transfixed. She carried a gun. She killed men. (She killed women.) She wore barely anything. She worked for no one. She had control. She was out of control. She died. And she returned. She had the most fabulous hair I had ever seen. (Princess Leah couldn’t even think about competing with Aeon.) I wanted to be her then. 15 years ago as a teenage girl. I dreamt. I would be the ass kicking, gun wielding, whip snapping, tongue probing, exotic, erotic, hard core, soft worn forever changing, never tied down. Constantly dying, always living.î -source
Anyone who has spent time on my site, knows me or has randomly run into me on Halloween, knows that I am a huge Aeon Flux fan. Her character is an inspiration by which I live.
Last year, I got wind that there was going to be an Aeon Flux movie. I was excited and jaded at the same time. Live action Aeon? Who would play her? Do I want to see a live action movie version of Aeon when I had fallen in love with her anime personality? I had mixed feelings. Months of anticipation went by and then I started to see street signs and billboards of Theronís gun clad back ìThe future is fluxî tagged all over Hollywood. Iíd sit in my car at the corner of Franklin and La Brea and chuckle silently to myself: ìWell, I live in the future. Iíve been Aeon Flux in the future (and past har har)Öî But it hit too close to home to someone who doesnít like to admit sheís somewhat obsessed over a character.
So with doubts (the Elektra Assassin fiasco echoing in my brain), but always the optimist, I headed to the Egyptian Theatre last Sunday to watch Hollywoodís interpretation of my favorite anarchist heroine ñ and I didnít leave puking.
The costumes and landscape were futuristic. A clean, solid, sterile future, manicured bougainvillea terraces and biomechanical gun pods (that to my delight echoed Cronenberg). I was initially disappointed that Trevor was no longer a blonde; and instead a pudgy melon-faced soft heart. The Trevor character is solid gold cold and thatís his sexy appeal. But in keeping with Aeon Flux story lines that contradict themselves like a sexy DNA combat scene, I approved of his new formed character. I also approve of the Jungian selective-consciousness telepathy and bio-communication device suspended in fluid. Sign me up, future flux!
My disappointment (and secret desire come true) showed with Aeonís skinless full body couture corset. The boning and threading and stitching were really something to desire and the design is delightful and flattering. Granted, the Aeon I know and love is a character drawn by the imagination and weíre talking real-life actress. Still, a big part of Aeon is her angular skin sex appeal, that and the guns.
Which leads into the action and plot. The story is solid with good character development; twists, turns and surprising outcomes. So much plot in fact, not much room for gratuitous action. What action there is, is excellent. The Sithandra / Flux flip-twist acrobatics through no-manís land and the later face to face battle are executed seamlessly and give props to the original animated sequence while not merely imitating it.
All in all, I give Karen Kusamaís Aeon Flux a 10, because redefining eternal change twisting back on itself and keeping the essence of the change is not an easy accomplishment. If Aeon Flux is anything, sheís all that.
I spent the weekend trying to avoid the mall. We did pretty good and if you’re looking for something not quite cookie-cutter for a holiday gift, check out some of these:
The Man and I started on Saturday morning by heading to Culver City to pick up a few things at Surfas at the Helms Bakery Building and of course explore the many new-to-us stores. Most notably the HD Buttercup, which I suppose could be called a mall in the sense that it’s lots of stores under one roof, but they’re not chains and you’re more likely to find something a little less common here. If you’re looking for home accessories, it’s a pretty good bet you’ll find something to your liking here. Parking was super easy and it’s freeway close. But what I really enjoy about the building is their celebration of the history of the place. Ooh, and all the way in the back there was a little machine that gave you free coffee! We ended up finding some really good deals at Boom Studio around the corner. There are also a few sassy restaurants there.
We then headed over to the 3rd Street Promenade, which is also rather mallish, but contains many independently owned stores and shops and of course is a madhouse. I can’t say we had any success there, but it was fun to look and of course the people watching is pretty good.
On Sunday we headed down to Chinatown. It’s a great place to find inexpensive stocking stuffers (or even Chinese silk damask holiday stockings). Teapots and pottery for everyone on your list and amazing selections of tea. Little silk items, handpainted parasols, slippers, and ties make great inexpensive gifts
There are plenty more places in LA to find some really well-thought out gifts for your friends and family. And I still have lots left on my list to take care of. Anyone else have some suggestions?
I know you’ve seen her. She’s on candles, murals, taco trucks, and flickr. She’s in private homes and in public spaces. She has her own alcove in ornate churches and graces humble shrines. She’s even on a steering wheel cover in Wal-Mart.
La Virgen de Guadalupe is omnipresent throughout El Pueblo de Nuestra SeÒora la Reina de los Angeles del RÌo de Porci˙ncula. I was thinking of this on the way to campus yesterday morning. I was so lost in concentration that I almost hit a black pick-up truck slowing down at the 10/405 interchange. When I noticed the white decal of la Virgen de Guadalupe on the rear window, I laughed at the irony of nearly crashing into the subject of my thoughts.
A decal on a truck should not surprise me. There are thousands of people with roots in Mexico living in LA. La Virgencita is the patron saint of Mexico (but this does not preclude other Latinos from being devotees). Monday December 12, el DÌa de Nuestra SeÒora de Guadalupe, is the day when Mexicans and other Guadalupanos (devotees), get together to celebrate and honor her.
I’ve split this up into three posts because one would be too long. Tomorrow, the origins of la Virgen de Guadalupe and the story of how she appeared to a humble Aztec Indian, Juan Diego, in 1531. Monday, more about the way she’s been interpreted by Guadalupanos in contemporary times.
Thanks to Gilbert Estrada for the photo.
While certainly I’m a long-winded advocate for cycling as an alternate commute option, it could be argued that I come up short in practicing what I preach… and I’m nowhere near as knee deep in the bike culture as I could or should be. That changed some when I got better acquainted with the Bicycle Kitchen last summer and undertook an abandoned bike restoration project (previously written about here and here).
But in the time since that connection was established I’ve managed to avoid the Kitchen’s keystone Midnight Ridazz event. Either by lethargy, trepidation or conflicts of schedule I’ve put off participating in the monthly group ride, which basically mashes up elements of a mobile hipster hangout with the take-over-the-streets aspects of a Critical Mass ride. But last night I damned the apathy and fully sped ahead over to the event’s staging area in the Pioneer Chicken parking lot on Echo Park Boulevard a block north of Sunset.
Arriving about 15 minutes before the 10 p.m. start time I found well over a hundred cyclists already assembled on every imaginable type of bike and dozens more arriving as the minutes ticked off. Many embraced the promoted pool/beach party theme by costuming themselves in snorkles, masks, flotation devices. One guy cruised around with a giant shark on his back and still another, donned a furry rabbit head, goggles, waterwings and a beachball as if it were nothing new. One gal removed her tee to bike in just a bikini top despite the chilly temps. To say the mood was festive and high-spirited would be an understatement, in large part fueled by the consumption of many a Tall Boy from brown paper bags. In short order, I was handed a coveted spoke card, with the route listed on the back: Sunset to La Brea to Hollywood to Normandie, ending at the dive bar at Fountain and Normandie. That was shorter than I’d expected. But what I hadn’t expected was how fun, invigorating, empowering and at times flat-out insane the journey would be — even a short one such as this.
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This showed up in my inbox and seemed like something I’d actually like to check out. We’ve got an opening at sixspace tonight so I can’t make the release party, but the book looks like a must read. From the e-mail:
“Just a reminder to come and join us in celebrating the publication of Walking LA: 36 Walking Tours Exploring Stairways, Streets and Buildings You Never Knew Existed and visit the Los Feliz Village Holiday Festival tomorrow evening. We hope to see you there!
Who: Author Erin Mahoney, publisher Wilderness Press and host Skylight Books
Where: Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 323-660-1175
When: Saturday, December 10th 6:00 to 9:00 PM
These two weeks after Miami and before the holidays are full of art exhibitions, fundraisers, and events. On abLA I’ve listed two benefits, Incognito at the Santa Monica Museum of Art this Saturday and Small Wonders at Pharmaka Gallery next Saturday…continue reading
One would think that after such an art experience like ABMB would curtail art events ever-so-slightly under at least the New Year but not in Los Angeles! At least not this weekend anyway. Saturday night hosts many receptions, mainly in Chinatown and Culver City, that really just carry over the momentum gained by Miami. What a way to end the year! I’ve listed my picks from West-side to East on abLA so have fun kids!…continue reading
Image: Elizabeth McGrath @ Billy Shire Fine Arts
Here’s a really comprehensive follow up on the Starbucks Challenge created by Robert Blum that maps all the del.icio.us tags for people requesting fair trade coffee at a Starbucks.
As a little background, GreenLA Girl started this back in October (Fair Trade Month) when Starbucks was promoting its fair trade coffee. However, not everyone is able to get fair trade poured for them at Starbucks and the corp didn’t seem to understand that. So folks have been documenting their experiences at requesting fair trade coffee at their local Starbucks.
Personally I tried it twice. Once at the Starbucks on Sunset & Gower where they happily had it brewing and the other time at the Glendale Blvd. & Fletcher location where they French pressed it and didn’t even charge me! So my success rate has been 100%.
The annual LADWP Festival of Lights (continuing through December 30) is one of those events you do once — if that — and then probably never again, because suffering the Griffith Park gridlock it creates is more trouble than a mile-long bunch of twinkling representations of everything from city hall to LAX to the Los Angeles aqueduct are worth.
In the years since it debuted, bikes have been a prohibited means of transport through the festival presumably because of perceived safety issues, but in response to bike advocates calling bullshit, last year saw the debut of the Festival of Lights Bike Ride. The second annual excursion is scheduled for this next Tuesday, December 13. So if you’ve avoided the event because of the traffic or just want to reacquaint yourself with the festive use of electricity from a different perspective, you’ll want to roll over to the staging area at Griffith Park Carousel parking lot at 6 p.m.
From the Bicycle Kitchen website:
The more bikes that turn out for this event, the more the DWP will increase the “car-free” time slots! So show your support and bring your friends!
And keep in mind the L.A. Fire Department’s “Spark of Love” crew will be on hand with a bin at the festival’s entrance to accept new, unwrapped toys to be distributed to needy children.
Super congrats to Brian Humphrey and the LAFD News & Information Blog and making it through their first year. I’ve said this before but their blog is an amazing resource and something about which every other Fire Department, Police Department and Sheriff’s Department should be taking a hint. We’re very lucky to have these people working for us as a community. Thank you.
Maybe it’s eyebrow waxing day on the blog? This afternoon, I visited Frenchy’s Beauty Parlor in Burbank, because I wanted one last haircut (and eyebrow waxing) before I move away next week. As you can see in the photos on their website, Frenchy’s is supercute and retro, with lots of pink decor. I like the friendly salon people and the scent of Aveda products in the air, but my favorite thing about this place is the view of the ceiling as they wash my hair. Normally I hate popcorn ceilings, because the textured stuff always looks so cheap and dirty, but not the one at Frenchy’s. It’s pale pink with sparkles!