The last time I played Street Fighter, it was a decade ago, in a dirty but awesome arcade called The Reagan Years in Fullerton. I was beat, handily in two rounds, by some sassy 6 year old who demanded a buck in quarters and a pack of gum from the vending machine as tribute.
I hope that sassy 6 year old was at the Geffen Contemporary on Thursday night. As frazgo the awesome Mike Winder mentioned earlier this month, Capcom rented out the otherwise closed Geffen Contemporary to host a huge party launching the release of Street Fighter IV and to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its highly influential fighting series.
When we rolled up around 8:30, there was a line blocks long. At first, we thought everyone was there for the Kogi truck, at its usual Thursday night stop in front of the Japanese American National Museum … but, no. An estimated 4000 people showed up; many were rejected, marshaled out by the fire department, though had they returned a few hours later, like we did after grabbing some sausages and beer at nearby Wurstkuche, they would have been able to get in and experience some serious Street Fighting. Some choice pics follow:
Remember when the threat of the pink slip was strictly a lower-to-middle class concern? Ah, those were the days. Now that everyone from the factory worker to the law firm associate is ducking the corporate knife, we all can collectively and finally acknowledge that yes, we are in a recession and yes, capitalism means no one’s job is safe. So, what do you do when you or someone you know is laid off? First, don’t burn your bridges too badly on the way out. Second, know your rights.
There are a number of legal aid organizations in Los Angeles that offer free to low-cost legal services to qualified individuals with a variety of unemployment and employment issues. If you meet their income requirements (i.e., you didn’t make so much money that everyone is wondering why you don’t get your own lawyer), attorneys at these organizations can offer you assistance with your EDD paperwork and provide legal counsel for your employment problems. Even if your income or asset level is too high to qualify for direct legal services, many are happy to direct you to other resources or can answer your basic questions.
From walk-in clinics to self-help centers, here is a handy little resource guide that you hopefully will not need anytime soon.
Shepard Fairey, accused last week by the Associated Press of infringing on its supposedly copyrighted photo of Obama, has fought back the only way successful street taggers can: with a lawsuit. Specifically, Fairey is asking a New York federal district judge to find that his HOPE poster does not infringe on the AP’s copyright and that his use of the photo was protected by the Fair Use Doctrine. Looks like there’s going to be a lot of welcome billable attorney hours on this one.
Remember the May Day Melee? In a visible display of What Happens When LAPD Gets Scared of Large Gatherings, the police on duty monitoring the 2007 May Day rally in MacArthur Park launched an out of control, freaked out display of force in response to “agitators” who allegedly threw bottles at them. As a result, nine separate lawsuits were filed against the city. The LA City Council voted today to settle all nine for $12.85 million. That is a lot of money. In even worse news, it still has to deal with 27 other lawsuits stemming from the incident. In even worser news, this settlement comes right after the City Council approved $20.5 million to settle a Rampart-related case brought by officers who claimed they were falsely arrested and otherwise mistreated.
In case you’re one of those types of people who think that immigration rally-goers deserve whatever punishment the riot-geared cops dole out, lest we forget the clip that forever erased all feelings of annoyance I’ve ever had towards one Ms. Christina Gonzalez of Fox 11, circa John Beard:
Right before I got my dog, there were two things I vowed I’d never do: (1) unless out of pure necessity, dress her up; and (2) get a professional pet photographer to take photos of her as if she graduated college or something (and even then, no one in my family bought any of my graduation photos). I’ve steadfastly stuck to the first vow; I’m dangerously close to breaking the second.
This potential affair is all because of Sugar Hair Salon. It’s a hair salon and, with an eye towards its potential role in gentrifying Echo Park, plays host to a surprisingly tasteful, community-oriented rotating gallery of art. This means a visit to get a haircut – or, in my case, a de-mulleting – also is a visit to a mini-art show. The last time I went in for my chop, Sugar was exhibiting gorgeous photographs of … dogs. Specifically, canine profiles captured by pet portraiture studio Furtographs, with the piece de la resistance being a “40 Year Old Virgin”-like Chihuahua wearing a striped sweater, hung on the salon’s largest wall.
Ordinarily, I roll my eyes way, way back at people who get their dogs professionally photographed, but these? These are adorable and, honestly, beautiful. The closing reception for the show is this Saturday, February 7, 7pm-11pm, at Sugar (3022 Sunset Blvd.). Food from Pho Cafe and booze will be provided. For the first time in a long time, I’m going to a reception for more than the free drinks and without feeling compelled to say random, pretentious things like, “Yeah, that one is, like, post-modern but without the confines of modernism, you know?” Because, really, I don’t know. Dogs are so much easier to work with.
The LA Times has an interesting article about the potentially disastrous, or potentially awesome, consequences if Antonio Villaraigosa is re-elected as mayor, Jack Weiss is elected as city attorney, and Wendy Greuel is elected as city controller. As Weiss and Greuel are the mayor’s most unabashed supporters, their respective campaign rivals caution that “a victory for all three would leave City Hall without checks and balances over its three most powerful political posts.” Villaraigosa’s spokesman predictably pooh-poohs such dire predictions, stating that if the three worked together, family-restaurant style, the result would be “unequivocally positive” and would allow them to combat crime and other issues effectively.
So, what say you? If Batman, the Boy Wonder, and Batgirl all win their respective races, will the city crumble as the lemmings rubber stamp Villaraigosa’s agenda, or will the two underlings actually exercise a mind of their own?
In part because of yesterday’s dust-up here (the other part being, work), I completely forgot to mention that Monday, January 27 was the first day of the lunar new year or, if you’re Vietnamese, Tet. This year, we let go of the Year of the Water Rat and usher in the Year of the Ox or Water Buffalo. These are the strong, silent, hard-working symbol of the zodiacs. If you were born in roughly 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961 1973, 1985, or 1997, this is your year. Obama, I’m looking at you.
Where the West celebrates its new year with a brief, one day December 31-to-January 1 hangover (y’all are doing this wrong), we have a week long community celebration with booze, non-stop food, and (the best part) little red envelopes full of money. Sidenote: If you see a bunch of Asian people right around this time lining up at your local bank, this is why: new bills. Crisp, fresh-from-the-mint dollar bills symbolize a fresh start and good luck. I loved receiving new Tet bills, but always was stingy with how I spent it, the same way Charlie Bucket was stingy about his eating his one fifth portion of chocolate on his birthday. So sad.
To celebrate the New Year, Chinatown will host the annual Golden Dragon Parade on Saturday. Festivities start at 10am, the dragon parade starts at 2. This gives you plenty of time to wander the streets and hit up the very likely overcrowded Empress Pavillion, CBS Seafood (tip: try the takeout side, immediately adjacent to the restaurant, instead), or other delicious foods made especially for the New Year. Gung hay fat choy! Chúc mừng năm mới!
“If the progressive movement were a firing squad, it’d be in a circle.”
-the wonderful Eva Paterson, Keynote Speaker at the Equality Summit
A day or two after Prop. 8 passed, a huge protest congregated in front of the Mormon Church on Santa Monica. Afterwards, they streamed past my Century City building on their parade back to the safety and comfort of West Hollywood. I watched this great scene with one of the senior partners at the firm, a 60 year old gay man. He said what I was thinking: “What should we do? Do we run down there?” Then he said, “I’m too old for this. I’m going to give money. You march. I marched 30 years ago, I helped get you here. Now, it’s your turn to do something for us.”
I took part of my turn this past Saturday. While Matt was on the other side of the Convention Center, I attended the statewide Equality Summit in the same locale, organized by Equality California. Essentially the activists’ version of a corporate retreat, complete with crap continental breakfast-type food, the Equality Summit was billed as “a gathering of community leaders committed to winning back marriage equality in California, to network, share information and resources, and plan next steps.” Personally, I hoped for discussion on how to unite the plethora of post-Prop. 8 groups that currently are engaging in a variety of pissing contests over strategy and territory. I also hoped that there would be discussion about uprooting the seeds of the marriage equality problem – homophobia. But, as you’ll see, hope springs eternal.
I rarely watch reality shows, but I once was really, really hooked on “The Amazing Race.” Two-person teams travel the world, chasing clues and conquering various mental, physical, and gastrointestinal challenges, all to finish first and win $1 million. The girlfriend and I wanted to audition for the show. Our highest priority was figuring Our Shtick. These teams usually had super solid or super weak relationships that helped their chances of landing on the show: mother/daughter; BFFs; divorcees; etc. Our options were, in descending order of likelihood to win their attention: The Lesbians; The Asians; The College Sweethearts; and The Early 20somethings.
But, we never got around to filming our audition video. Come this Saturday or early February, though, we all can live out our fantasies of being stereotyped on a reality show by participating in one of two separate LA-specific, Amazing-Race-type urban adventures.
In a rare collision of adjectives, the LA Times has an interesting, sad, and funny story about the cubicle man’s war against supergraphics, i.e., those giant vinyl billboards that drape giant buildings and somehow stay flat despite the wind. Our building had a supergraphic of something at one point; it obscured Partner on the Left’s view of the ocean, Partner on the Right’s view of the skyline, and my view of a giant mound of dirt that was once supposed to be the nascent signs of a luxury loft tower that thankfully did not get built. They were angry, I was indifferent about not seeing the mound. In any case, it was a temporary anger, as the sign was removed by the end of the day. Continue reading Supergraphics: Annoying→
For those of you who have not been lucky enough to be privy to the deliciousness that is the Kogi BBQ taco truck, the video below is a great primer. Briefly, Kogi BBQ puts the “Korean” in “taco truck” with Korean-inspired tacos and burritos to dish out. If you find the truck, you’ll see hungry masses amass for delicious shortrib, chicken, spicy pork, and (my least favorite) tofu tacos and burritos. In the best use of Twitter that I’ve seen, the truck twitters its anticipated locations, from Venice to Silverlake, every day – how awesome is that! And, in an unexpected reach for taco truck street cred, it’s finding itself running away from the cops every other night or so.
As Kogi has really taken off, be prepared for a wait of at least 20 minutes (or more) – the lines are getting longer by the twitter minute. Kogi offers some tips to deal with the wait.
New York-based photographer Martha Cooper is probably most famous for picking up on the collision of hip hop and graffiti back before it was fashionable for white dudes to “make a statement” by going around the world to tag up other city’s walls (see Banksy). From this Friday, January 16 to February 13, Echo Park’s Subliminal Projects – home of Shepard Fairey and the insanity that are his “limited edition” Obama posters that cause hipsters and EBayers to line up for hours and hours, Star Wars-Episode IV-on digital projection-on-opening-weekend-style, in the hopes of scoring a $50 print – will house a new Cooper exhibit. Entitled “Street Shots,” Cooper looks inside this graffiti meme to document inner city kids turning trash into toys and exercising a type of creativity that only poverty can engender. For those looking for the intersection of scarcity, children, and ingenuity, this exhibit is a match made in heaven.
Subliminal Projects is located at the base of the hill before you get to Dodger Stadium – i.e., 1331 W Sunset Blvd. There is an opening reception Friday night, from 8pm to 11pm, which I’m hoping will translate into free food and booze.
In yet another unfortunate step towards the Korean-izing of Little Tokyo, Rich Alossi over at Angelenic reports that gigantonormous Japanese one-stop market shop, Mitsuwa, will close on January 25th. Mitsuwa sadly confirms this in awesome mistranslated English: “As of the 25th of January, Little Tokyo Store will close a business. We greatly appreciate your business and support for 24 years since 1985.” A 50% clearance sale is scheduled for the week before the closing, from Monday, January 19 to (sniff) Sunday, January 25.
Mitsuwa’s closing comes as an increasing number of Koreans are moving in, and immediately around, Little Tokyo. Capitalizing on this influx, Korean investors last year bought the Little Tokyo Shopping Center (which Mitsuwa anchors) with plans to turn it into a Korean-themed shopping center and mall. As Rich points out, “[W]ith changing demographics, increased outside investment and an aging population, the neighborhood that for decades had been the center of [Japanese-American] culture is now facing perhaps the biggest challenge to its identity in years.”
There is, of course, Mitsuwa over on Centinela (home of one of the best bowls of ramen this side of town, Santouka), but the loss of the Little Tokyo location sucks symbolically. The beginning of the end of Little Tokyo? I hope not.
Over the weekend, the LA Times’ LA Unleashed blog had a quick blurb about health insurance for your pets. According to the article, 1% of all pet owners have pet insurance, and the number is expected to increase. In November, the Los Angeles Animal Services Commission recommended that the city partner with pet insurer Pet’s Best to refer
Pet’s Best as an insurance option for individuals who adopt an animal from any of the six Animal Care Centers. In return, the city gets a sponsorship fee for each policy sold. Pet’s Best estimates that between 200 and 250 policies will be issued this year as result of this partnership.
Now, the eternal question for pet owners: at a time when people can barely afford insurance for themselves, is insurance for their pet worth it? I agonized over this to-insure-or-not-insure problem when I bought my dog, and then lived to kind of regret not insuring her when, at the ripe age of 6 months, she vaulted off a sofa and somehow managed to completely break her left foreleg.
The emotional and financial agony after the jump.
I’m yet another newbie in this influx of new writers. You very likely don’t know me from that annoying 2009 Hummer with license plate MRY XMAS hogging the road next to you (or me, this morning, as Yaris and I barely escaped being eaten by that silver monstrosity of a car) but I run a foodie blog over on What You See is What You Eat. I know, another one of those. Oh well. Other random things: I have a dog that everyone thinks is a fox, but really, is just a shiba inu. I say this at least 5 times a day, so if you’re in Santa Monica and there’s a girl explaining that No I did not steal this “fox” from Runyon Canyon, and, anyway, who would steal a fox and domesticate it? That makes no sense., that is me. My day-and-often-night-time job is to be a lawyer; having to write pleadings that are variations on a you-owe-me-money theme, I am eternally grateful to Lucinda and the rest of the LA Metblogs team for entrusting me with the space to write in English a few times a week.
So, this is my hi post. The substantive post will be forthcoming.