On Friday, I rode again with LA Critical Mass. This is the one on the last Friday of the month, that leaves from Wilshire at Western. We meet at the Metro station and ride at 7pm. Or we’re supposed to – without anyone taking charge of the ride, it’s more like 7:15. Which was when one guy just lost it and yelled, “COME ON, ALL YOU SCENESTERS! IF YOU WANT TO SIT AROUND AND LOOK COOL, GO BACK TO F–KING SILVERLAKE!”
And that did actually get everyone started on the process of beginning the ride. Ten minutes later, we were wheeling down Western, towards Venice. And somehow, it spread through the ride by osmosis that we were going to the South Central Farm. The idea had to circulate by osmosis; the portable sound system that one of the riders had on a cart behind his bike was too loud for any sort of talking or conferring.
Of course, this required some zigzagging: Western to Venice, Venice through downtown, and a half-dozen turns through the “Decorative Arts and Furniture District”, which is really just “ghetto warehouse district”. We got to MLK, turned down through the residential streets, and waved our hellos to the startled residents, mostly families, who waved back as we rolled by. Some of the little kids even gave high fives to some of the cyclists.
We did find the farm, eventually. I knew it was on 42nd and Alameda, but had no idea where that was in relation to 41st and…wherever. But when we did get there, there were people outside. Hundreds of people, with candles and signs pleading for the Farm. And as we rolled up, they actually started cheering, like we were the cavalry. And we rode around the perimeter of the farm, came back, wheeled our bikes in the main gate, and there we were, inside the Farm, on what was supposed to be its last night.
I left early after that. I’d chosen dancing at Perversion over sleep the night before, and I was exhausted, and still had to get to Pasadena. So I left, through a gate that was almost closed, and guarded – I’m not sure why. Were the farmers supposed to be out by Friday? Were they not supposed to be continuing their vigils? Because everyone who had been outside the Farm gates when we came in, was inside, waiting for the concert to begin, and twentysomething guys with walkie-talkies were stationed at the corner and outside the gate.
As I walked my bike back out, everyone else went to await the start of the concert that was taking place that night, as part of the last-gasp efforts to save the Farm. I headed down the street to the Blue Line stop, bought a scalped day pass, and took the train into downtown. Which is where I found out that to get from South Central to Pasadena, I had to take the Blue Line to a station downtown, carry my bike down a flight of stairs to the Red Line, take that out to Union Station, and then carry my bike back UP a few flights of stairs to the Gold Line platform.
(By the way, the only place my ticket was checked was as I was getting on the Gold Line. Is there any reason that is the ONLY place that anyone seemed to care whether or not I’d paid the fare? No turnstiles, nothing anywhere else.)
What I want to know is, what’s happened this weekend with the Farm? I haven’t checked in, and there doesn’t seem to be an update on any of the blogs or the website – or even from any of the left-wing mailing lists I’m on. Indymedia has a “Sunday at the Farm” writeup, but it doesn’t mention any change. I know it’s a holiday weekend, but did anything happen since?
(Photo courtesy Anton Sipos, my adopted cousin and fellow Mass’er, and it’s actually from the January ride because I didn’t bring my camera this week)