Unreliably Yours

Support the LA Bicycle Coalition Fo Kwanzaa/Chanukah/Christmas!!!

November 22, 2008
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Sorry, I know this is not a political piece, but I have to plug my group! (and even if you don’t celebrate the holidays, still support us!) Check our our new, hip shirts on our online store with the link below:

http://www.zazzle.com/lacbc1

I am a part of LACBC, and pass this on to friends-we are in serious crunchtime and are trying to start lots of cool bike programs that serve low-income riders of color, as well as take over the streets for a day (Ciclovia)!!! Check out LACBC’s website: www.la-bike.org for more info or feel free to comment.


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Obama-The Inevitable Mestizo.

November 7, 2008
2 Comments

Our people have infiltrated the White House-it’s official now.

Wait, you say, isn’t Obama the “Black candidate”?

Exsqueeze me? Fuck no, he’s not. He’s me. Mixed race-messy, ooey gooey, confused, disgruntled, treading multiple waters like a grinning jet skier glancing to the side, fucker, just like me.

Yeaaah-hah-hah-hah!! The President’s Office just got diversified, not cuz of say, Jesse Jackson, or Antonio Villaraigosa, but because it takes a mild-mannered, fed up with the bullshit, too mixed to be nationalistic guy like Obama to do the job!!

Let’s delve, shall we, into Obama’s past, with the Ghost of Racial Past? Woo-ooh!! Scary!

Exhibit A: Obama’s Childhood.

His connection (or opportunity to access) to African/Black culture was all but gone-his dad done ran off. We all know this. BUT- did y’all know he grew up around shitloads of Asians??? Hmmm?! Probably not. From

Asian Nerds WILL Have an Impact on Your Social Development. We Got That Kind of Power.

Asian Nerds WILL Have an Impact on Your Social Development. We Got That Kind of Power.

Hawaii to Indonesia, homie grew up with more Asians around him than I did. No wonder he was so busy studying!

Exhibit B: Ruffian College Years of Rebellion

These are the formulative years of identity creation. This is when I started to get into ethnic politics (growing up as an ignorant, mistaken Mestizo who blended in with all the ethnics around me all these years never gave me any reason to pause to think) just like “Barry” did. Of course, that’s when Barry tried to RAISE THE BLACK FIST! at Occidental, only to get shot down by other Black radicals. Why? For not being Black enough.

Says Obama: “My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn’t, couldn’t, end there.”

Obama-Not Black Enough for You-But Got Mad Muslim Points... WTF?!

Obama-Not Black Enough for You-But Got Mad Muslim Points... WTF?!

Thank god he smelled the coffee (for his own sake), kicked the bucket (he used to drink), and got with being mixed! Ain’t nowhere else to go but up at this point!!!!

Exhibit C: A Black Man Running (And Not From the Police). (Slogan credited to Joseph’s shirt-thx!)

While running for Senate in Illinois, he dared compete against two other Black politicians, one of which had way more respect, as an ex-Panther, from the Ghetto, and was dissed as “the white man in Blackface in our community.” (Donne Trotter, one of his opponents, said this-great link/discussion on http://groups.google.com/group/soc.culture.african.american/browse_thread/thread/d407fe4a9cf36f06?pli=1)

Whoa. Crazy!!!!

Exhibit D: The “Black Candidate.

     Oh My God! Even Tiger Sheds a Tear That The Black Candidate Got Elected!!!

Oh My God! Even Tiger Sheds a Tear That The "Black Candidate" Got Elected!!!

Well, now we got old Blacks bursting into tears cause “the Dream” finally happened. Certainly, the status of Obama makes this last Election supa-special and momentous. But it is a modified, different Dream than those dear senior citizens could even imagine.

Mixed race people being accepted in mainstream culture, without needing to say they are one thing or the other. Whoa!! (Imagine my surprise in Wayne and Garth’s White ass voices!)

From accusations of inauthenticity, to claims of transcendence-

Obama surely gave people a run for their money! Props to homie for marrying a Black wife-Good foresight, dawg!! Fo sho, she gave him the street cred he needed to win the old school Blacks over with.

Moral of the story: Obama is the shit ’cause he raised our profile and slipped under the radar simultaneously. Slick!! A mixed race foo has risen like a mosher upon hands, raising hope for us all, even if others interpret him within narrow boxes-he doesn’t. And I am smiling.


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I need Salvation.

October 28, 2008
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No, not really, I’m just kidding. But I’m dying at this goddamned university. I’m so frustrated that we aren’t able to develop awesome, real projects in school to help this fucked up world we live in. What a fucking scam.

I’m suffering a depression of wheezy, woozy privilege. I can afford school (paying out of pocket), and am able to be in school instead of a sweatshop or a field, but I fucking hate it.

How do we get control over the academic institution and require that x amount of projects coming out or funds for research or projects are tied to tangible programs for the community and the environment?

How do we KILL the BEAST???!!!


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Pop Sensibilities and Accessibility in Our Generation.

October 21, 2008
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My homie Andrew (ex-neighbor too) and I were having this great convo about what defines the 20-30 yr. old generation, by accidentally stumbling as we were (like doing the running man on a bed of pine needles), when we decided what our generation are are the conduits, the translators of information archaic and modern, and all too necessary. The past has been defined by, well, hard definitions, and goddamn rules we’re suppose to abide by, with regards to who’s supposed (or not) to know what.

*Fuck that shit. (I’m going to dedicate a whole blog entry to all tha shit that pisses me off, but more later.)*

I think many benign, but oblivious librarians; old skoo acadmeics, and those that hold this information, which is truly the key to our development as people and a culture as a whole; the knowledge of events that have transpired, these very thoughts that inspire even just one person who’s quietly absorbing it on a dusky afternoon;  don’t realize the unspoken seething power of expressing this privy information, like we do, the giddy pirateers who smilingly reach and grab it back and spread it (like manure).

Oh Snaps! Hip to The Beat, But Were All Dancing To It.

Our generation is really defined by fusing wisdom into decentralized, tasty lil bits, easily digested, without necessarily being compromised.

Less hierarchy, couverture, and an awesome freeballin’ attitude is what we bring to the table; in turn, we transform with a resilent, albeit lighthearted inevitability these ivory towers of yore.

Now, they’re Black, Brown, Yellow, Queer, Young, Laughing; they’re stylized, with a nod to a joke we can all be in on; they’re hip in their assuming innocence.

All of this long winded prose is starting to seem very vague for an entry on accessibility and the common man.

But to end gracefully,

This is a call to become historians (it’s in all of us).

Artful History.

We reenvision History with the power of absorbing,

and communicating this precious art of our lives.


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How Do We Relate Sexually?

October 12, 2008
6 Comments

While researching for a paper for school, I came across this article. It stirred some of the gender/sexuality ponderings I have had as of late. Take it from the top, Penelope!!! You go Girl: Penelope Eckert in “The Matrix of Language”:

“Gender and gender roles are normatively reciprocal, and although men and women are supposed to be different from each other, this difference is expected to be a source of attraction. it is not a cultural norm for each working class individual to be paired up for life with a member of the middle class or for every Black person to be paired up with a White person. However, our traditional gender ideology dictates just this kind of relationship between men and women.”

Part Un: Dissolution of Your Gender Bullshit You Straight Lifted From Someone Else (You Ain’t Even Original Like That).

I have been thinking really hard about how the sexes relate to each other, gendered worlds, and “queerful”, non-defined worlds. Where is the line drawn between feminism and queerness? They both seek to defy boundaries and categorizations, unduly inflicted upon women, but also men. They seem to be the same thing to me, sometimes, even though there are straight feminists. (Gotta do a quick shout out to my straight, feminist, down ass homies!!)

When queer people, especially feminist, queer people wander out into the world, we have few obvious examples of people rebelling against gender roles, especially in relationships. I’ve seen way too many progressive/punk, queer or straight people who still have gendered relationships, and I’m like, FUHHHHCK THAT!! I’m sooo fucking over that, people! Even the slightest bit of gender role infected interaction makes me sick (with anger or indigested food, I’m not sure of what more yet!!)

Especially with straight boys, it seems like at the end of the day, you are expected to eventually revert back to gender roles once you’ve had your fun of “being equal”. When it’s not novel to insecure fuckers who don’t see it as a lifestyle, or mantra, and see it as a token mental masturbatory thought; when people really believe that these roles are normal; when someone always has to be the bitch, and someone the butch.

Can’t we be more holistic? Sheeit!!

Part Deux: How Am I Attracted To You????

I try to understand how I relate to the male body and how I relate to the female body. To the female mind and heart and the male version of such. It seems like, maybe since I didn’t really come out as early as I should have, or that I have mostly dated boys, that I have this limited, not-hetero-but-with-lots-of-weird-hetero- experience-therefore-quasi-hetero-mentality of how to relate to both sexes.

I don’t understand it-not subscribing to gender roles and all- but it’s not possible to relate to both the same way, even though I’m the same person!!! WTF?!

On the queer side, I have to take much into consideration: Self-consciousness, possible gender expression clashes (not being butch or femme, the right size, or race or the kind of girl someone demands); someone smooth and small and my size. I must understand the powerful nature of U-Haul relationship tendencies in women and how impossible it is to override that, until you find that one queer ho who will break your heart. Women don’t seem to want casual sex with other women. No obvious delineations of who is in charge (cause no one is), or definitive assumptions about what sex is to be had.

And on the straight side, I contend with the fact that boys are easy (which accounts for why I wind up with them more, less of a conscious choice to “lean that way”, more because of availability reasons), are stupid (in bed and in believing that they are “the man” of the relationship, and that I should just fall by the wayside into being some kind of submissive female), and are more rigid and stubborn about what sex they will have. AND they’re rougher AND ganglier, what with hanging appendages and other awkwardness.

I often don’t understand how my body, which I don’t think of as female when I’m alone, somehow transforms into a girl when in contrast to a boy, or just dissipates into wondrously new, but familiar territory with women. Sometimes I’ve been butchy in bed, with girls, mostly, since boys don’t let me do that with them, and I question the moral validity. But then I remember that old adage: “Relax, it’s just sex”.

AND NO-there is no explanation for that or most of why we do what we do sexually (Shoutout to an argument a friend and I had the other day).

So, as I leave work for the day, this humble fable comes to a close, with what?

No satisfaction, no answers, y nada.

¿Comprende?


Southern Porch Easy Times-The Next Trend for Southern Cali?

September 23, 2008
2 Comments

The number one thing that will reduce traffic, crime, and the lack of parks and public places in LA- Drinking 40′s in the late afternoon sun on our front porches, already.

You’re asking where these porches are.

It’s a new trend to take this super important and obvious element of housing and bring it back, to LA! This amongst other things are going to change LA dramatically over the next decade.

I am excited because the planning movement is exploding with badass innovative ideas, for combating a low quality of life, such as alleyway parks/greenstrips (http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-me-outthere12-2008sep12,0,3244805.story), parks on top of freeways (http://www.angelenic.com/780/park-101-vision-downtowns-next-big-thing/ and http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/emeraldcity/2008/01/a-green-roof-pa.html), and front porches.

Many of these ideas do not require LA to be completely rebuilt nor seek to create within LA a replica more of an old monied small town, or a New York lite. I’m all for us doing it our way, not simply just replicating, to the T, other cities’ form. New Urbanism, LA style, is all about reclaiming what everyone has written off (for social or environmental reasons), be it a Brownfield, a neighborhood, a small strip of land, or even our whole city-and doing something amazing with it to facilitate a better quality of life.

Synthesis, people, synthesis!! This entire blog relies on that concept!!

While I find a lot of 50′s-80′s era architecture utterly unexciting and ugly, we see what amazing tricks people can do when they’re creative.

Anyways, back to the original subject: Can’t we all just get along (get drunk together)? For the sake of a better city and community-Salud!

Colwell Building in K-Town (6th/Vermont)
Colwell Building in K-Town (6th/Vermont, Stephen Friday | angelenic.com), before and after (courtesy of my camera below)The Colwell Bldg. now, courtesy of my camera


Tidbits From a Conversation.

September 22, 2008
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My friend Mike Weiss (http://www.myspace.com/mwdonk), who is also hapa (Pogilicious! Rrrr!),  and I had a conversation a few years ago over IM, about what culture means, and I though it would be really cool to post it, since it’s made me (and continues to do so) think really hard. Which is really good.

mweiss@laphil.org says: maybe there is some sense of horror at becoming “american” even when trying to survive in america

mweiss@laphil.org says:
ok thats harsh… I’ve become cynical about “culture”, maybe because I don’t feel any sense of community in my life

mweiss@laphil.org says:
sometimes I think culture is just a diorama in  an exhibit at the mall

mweiss@laphil.org says:
sometimes I would equate being “ethnic” with being “country folk”

mweiss@laphil.org says:
ethnic customs are usuall tribal, traditional and usually not performed and perpatuated by the urbane and educated.  discuss.

allison says:
ok, i think that certainly the most “ethnic” one can get is by being from or of the background of a rural-ass tribal background, yes, a thing that even the urban or “wannabe urban”  immigrants cannot touch….

allison says:
the ones from manila, hong kong, and tokyo, can they really be at the heart of what it truly means to be filipino, chinese or japanese?

allison says:
just living in the city nullifies them a little bit, i think

mweiss@laphil.org says:
ethnicity by degrees may be impossible to measure, but it is possible to be so steeped in locality, so as to be more ethnic, which is not to say backwards necessarily, but more directly impressed upon with a simple sense of right and wrong; a culture

allison says:
yada yada yada culture, i’m starting to think it’s bullshit

allison says:
those people are just taking on what someone else arbitrarily created

allison says:
is that being real?

allison says:
or ethnic?

allison says:
or just doing what someone else told you to do, whether it makes sense or has any sort of good in it?

mweiss@laphil.org says:
I think what I am saying is I don’t know if culture truly exists exept in a vacuum, unless that

mweiss@laphil.org says:
is all you know, unless that is the only culture that exists within reach

allison says:
then that is really what culture is..

allison says:
i don’t know, perhaps it doesn’t matter anymore. the cultural and linguistic mutoids that people like you and i have become-maybe that’s not bad-i mean it’s inevitable, that if you stay somewhere hospitable for a while, like, say, a few generations, assimilation of any kind will occur, right?

mweiss@laphil.org says:
it can’t be bad (to be a godless heathen), but its all very confusing.  especially when being educated in a “culture of diversity”, when I was growing up “ethnicity” was something to be celebrated, while lionizing the stories of all the immigrants, but in diversity the real power of culture, is lost, because the notion of culture is something that happens over there

allison says:
i know that is the paradox of diversity

allison says:
one might think think there was a conspiracy on behalf of the repubs to dilute all immigrant cultures by promoting diversity…


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Short Hair Vs. Long Hair.

September 16, 2008
2 Comments

As every queer, or paranoidly insecure straight girl knows, hair length can supposedly determine or differentiate one’s sexuality. It seems stupid that something that evolved merely to maintain body warmth should be so irrevocably attached to gender. We all know society dictates that shit be like this, though.

I have short hair, and am actually not a fan of long hair. Medium’s aiight, short is cool, but long hair tends to distract from one’s face and seems less flattering. Now that we’ve established my aesthetic standards (which everyone surely felt compelled to know), we should further discuss this gendered paradigm.

We are told, as women, that long hair=femme/woman, short hair=butch/boy, and I think enough of us graduated elementary school to realize how lame this is. Problem is, even some queer girls think like this. Yet all of us know giggly fag girls with short hair, and tough ass long haired bitches-so what’s the deal?

I wanted to wait to post this blog with a silly pic of myself contrasted with a long haired girl, but fuck it, I want to get this up and out.

HOWEVER-

Short hair, it’s true, is one of the queer girl’s most efficient tools. I must admit, while I love to narcissistically stroke my own hair after just cutting it (Feels like a Chia Pet!), last summer I also self-consciously realized it would be extremely helpful as a queer mating call. It truly feels like a pimp daddy move, on my part, as well as a guilty pleasure. (The Pitcher also comments on this:http://pitcher.wordpress.com/2008/08/19/the-matter-of-hair/)

Even when a girl is femme and her hair is short, there seems to be a stronger possibility, even though many straight, femme girls look straight and femme still. In this day and age of whatever wave of feminism, queer rights, etc…, we shouldn’t need to rely on stereotypes or antiquated notions of gender to get laid, but we do.

So I’m going to keep cutting my hair short, and not just cause of the LA heat.


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A Quick Note on Dog Eating, Before I Forget.

September 12, 2008
2 Comments


Yo, fuck this shit (Go read the article):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7501768.stm

“China bans dog from Olympic menu

China has ordered dog meat to be taken off the menu at its 112 official Olympic restaurants in order to avoid offending foreign visitors.”

Glad to get that off my chest.

I mean I know that the Olympics are over,  but the I’ve wanted to make an entry of this for a while. I’ve been a vegetarian for 7 years, and I think it’s super fucked up for anyone to impose this kind of cultural imperialism (to use big, juicy, PC kind of vocab.) on my people.

Let them eat dog!!! (They tend to be lactose intolerant, so cake won’t work)

I find those that get moralistic about it, cause they’re animal lovers or whatever, seem to value only one life, that of the dog. My belief is eat ‘em all or none of them. Comments?


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The First Non-White,White Supremicist on Death Row-Wanna be his Pen Pal??? I Think Not.

August 29, 2008
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So the first mixed race White supremacist has been sentenced to death (for stabbing an Asian-American in Orange County)! Can I say an “amen” to that??! Totally disturbing, though…How do these things happen? Why do people internalize so much racist bullshit that they go and kill other ethnics/their own ethnics? The movie The Believer is a great example of this (Nazi skinhead Jews, who knew?).

This kicks off the next few posts, which will all be studies of different manifestations of the Mestizo, the struggle for identity, and lack of obvious mixed role models. In both ways good and bad, these forged identities aren’t covered in ethnic studies books and warrant conversation. It’s the only way we can prevent people like Lindberg from straying into racist niches if they don’t have a strong mixed race identity or anyone they can relate to…  Next up: Obama-keep posted.

Interestingly enough, the inmate has a request for a pen pal (Not sure who would write to him except other White Supremacists). (http://www.deathrowspeaks.info/inmates/gunnerlindberg.html):

Profile: Gunner Lindberg

“My name is Gunner Jay Lindberg; I’m 29 years old born March 1st, 1975 in Orange County California. I am just looking for people who want to write a good guy who’s been locked up most of his life. Have fun, share experiences, pass the time and get to know one another and who knows, maybe become good friends. J

About myself…I’m ½ German and ½ Indian. I’m 5”11 and 173lbs., great shape as I enjoy working out. Other things I enjoy are reading, drawing, writing letters, good movies, music, sports, chess, and just about any and all challenges.

I’m honest and respectful. I don’t play games or try to use anyone…I’m not looking for any romance. I’m just seeking friendship. I like to think I’m funny and have a lot to share; I’m a great listener and never boring!

Gunner Lindberg

I’ve lived all over, such as: Las Vegas, Arizona, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Okinawa Japan, and just about all over Southern California. I have a few tattoos as you can see by my photo. So if you think you’re interested in writing, please drop a line or two. J I’m a great pen pal and write regularly. Take care, smile. :)”

Gunner Lindberg # K-79300
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA. 94974
USA

If I were you (or me for that matter), I would write to him before he gets put to sleep and tell him what a fucking loser he is!!!


The Perfection of Being Mestizocore in Earthquake Country.

August 23, 2008
2 Comments

So yeah, after attending a really awesome poetry event tonight (check out Celebrate the Word, by the people that do “Da Poetry Lounge”:http://www.myspace.com/celebratetheword), I feel hella inspired to write.

So, my friend Suzy and I were talking tonight about the assumed nature of (the only correct assumption!) the ever shifting definitions and borders of the mestizo. We were amazed that with “non-mixed people” (obviously, technically, everyone is “impure”, or rather, not simply a distillation of any one thing) that they are that cultural identity that they are expected to be (like daaamn, if it was that easy for me to be Asian or whatevz else, maybe then I would finally be content and shut up (if it was possible!), cause I would believe in that faith like a devout housewife who believed faking it in bed would make the marriage stronger.) cause of their appearance and the whole world recognizes it like it’s a god given fact!

In a nod to a previous reader who was getting ready to bring out the cane, I will try and keep this a simpler, shorter post, with less disparate ideas competing for attention, for the sake of coherence. Its my bad to write prose/conversation like with formal writings, but I feel it’s better to just let it out just like I hear it, I guess.

Having a set identity is a luxury, and also not, but certainly a comfort to those who possess it. Traditionally, it has not been perceived this way-many friends of mine have said they wished they could just not “be Black” for a day (in terms of how society views them, not cause they’re like house negroes or anything). But I think many people are unconsciously grateful to belong to one group.

I do think ethnic identity is not a sacred cow though, so I choose to question its validity, and maybe skewer it a bit. How can identity be totally static, just cause society dictates it to be? Do you really believe you’re Brown, Black, Asian, White, etc.? You believe in it cause that’s all you’ve been told you are your whole life?? When you’re mixed, you’re forced to never stay standing-ambulatorily traversing like a wild eyed treesitter between Douglas firs, like a breakdancer windmilling in the struggle for survival, like the fleeing victim of a terroristic earthquake.

But instead of seeing these quasi-empirical facts and super-scientific observations as negative, shouldn’t we see that instead of being fleeing vacaters, maybe we are just the most obvious example of people who, like atoms in motion, are shapeless and proof of the fluidity in everything. The core of anything is like a gooey maggot, no?

I, Maggot

I, Maggot

Mixed people will never be just one cultural identity, unless they happen to come out looking only like one of their ethnicities, which is totally rare and like 1 in a hundred. There is no convenient, “Hey, I’m Mexican, etc..” We’re always going to be trying different hats on by default. Fine, many will say, that is an obvious given, but what I wanna do is move us forward and make that a good thing, make us proud of being something else entirely. I feel much of the mixed race community fixates on trying to align with being one of their ethnicities, and either crying about their lack of being that, or simply giving up on forging a truly “mixed identity”, by stating that now they finally feel totally ethnic or White. (This is the same kind of shit going on with the queer vs. gay/lesbian argument) Why can’t we revel in being synthetic products, maybe less due to a colorblind world, but to an accidentally and awkwardly more diverse one? Why can’t we always dance (up)on this splitting ground? (get up on it, homie, if you don’t know, already!) This is the possible and probably next evolution of the mestizo experience and scene.


Blessed Be LA’s Glorious and Damned Sprawl-I’ll Tell Ya Why.

August 5, 2008
2 Comments

One of the reasons I love in LA is it’s geography.

It tends to encourage a certain mentality in anyone who lives here;

Mel Gibson-Everyones Favorite Anti-Semitic, Culture Mix-n-Matching, Bloodthirsty Fundamentalist. (Thanks to Mike for the last adjective)

Mel Gibson-Everyone's Favorite Anti-Semitic, Culture Mix-n-Matching, Bloodthirsty Fundamentalist. (Thanks to Mike for the last adjective)

Namely that of rage ridden, homicidal, Mel Gibson like fuckers on PCH, Wilshire, and Sunset; bewildering frustration for those that hail from dinky Midwestern rural suburbs where you DO drive everywhere like you do here, but with much faster ETA’s; or bitchworthy icebreakers when sipping Newcastle at the bar for hipster imports from NYC or SF whose subways run every 5 minutes at light speed late into the night.

It pisses off rich housewives in Brentwood who don’t mind driving to the valley for their manicure or dog grooming appointments, but won’t set foot in Downtown LA except for the arts venues (despite the massive pandering to them by downtown developers who want much of Downtown to be the Rich’s playground).

It’s rough for the broke queers coming all the way from East Hollywood or South Central via the 4 bus on Santa Monica to the clubs in Weho.

Yeah, it’s tough.

Sprawl sucks and that one reason I’m trying to become an urban planner when I get big-to fix some of the problems here. Though I find that there isn’t a set vision to aspire to for how we should be, even though we need stuff like better transit and parks. Argh-the paradox of activism!!!

Getting back on track, there are however, some advantages to this notoriously large, grotesquely planned beauty of a monster called LA. Los Angeles is definitely not under anyone’s thumb, so ooey-gooey it can be anything and everything, a romantic(‘s) nightmare. It’s like an unlit mass in outer space, with no brightness to give contrast and definition. I’m thinking it’s a great thing-anyone can come here and claim the place.

It’s like a magical projector that simply reflects Angelenos’ prideful man(girl?)handling in creating whatever dream or existence (be it lowly, high up there or somewhere or nowhere in between) they want to transpose upon it. LA can always be recreated, in my mind, as far as how I experience a certain neighborhood. Other towns seem to be eternally defined, stagnant though glamorous somehow. LA is a bunch of niches that overlap. Neighborhoods bleed into one another, as many an LA newbie has confusedly noted, when, for example, trying to find Little Armenia, they suddenly find themselves also in Thai Town. It’s the same with the people, too. Nothing being set in stone, people are able to re-invent themselves continually here, there aren’t any cultural elites you can’t break into, no class you can’t upgrade into… Just take a look at  multicultural suburbanites, like my family. We take more chances here in LA; more experimental stuff is allowed to happen here.

Perhaps I am personifying LA too much.

LA Is Cloaked In Anonymity Like This Little Boy Is Cloaked In Well, A Cloak.

LA Is Cloaked In Anonymity Like This Little Boy Is Cloaked In Well, A Cloak.

But the landscape lends itself well to anonymity. Disappearing into the glaring gray of the city when avoiding lovers who become ex-lovers becomes necessary, being the eternal new kid on the block is a satisfying part of living in LA. I mean how many other cities are so large you can straight up immigrate to another neighborhood and not run into anyone you know?? The geography allows for this.

It also deconcentrates scenes, which make it less suffocating than living in a smaller, hipper city. I like that I can fade in and out of whatever social group I want to, or get completely the hell away from any of them.

So, on a historical nostalgia vs. urban moderne architecture note, while writing this entry, I read a really cool editorial in the LA Times by Gregory Rodriguez (http://www.latimes.com/news/

opinion/la-oe-rodriguez4-2008aug04,0,3517229.column who also coincidentally, is trying to convince people to vote no on Prop. 8, an anti-gay marriage homophobic ballot measure this November, in order to make for a happier society! (ha ha ha! I agree-happy queers make for a happy society, or at least them suffer like most married heteros do!, goes the joke!)) which totally went with this post, about how China bulldozes all it’s building left and right, just like LA!!! Here’s some juicy excerpts from his interview with the head of the USC Architecture Dept., who’s also from China:

“Ma sheds no tears for the quaint buildings that have given way to thousands of new structures — and they aren’t all ugly by any means. In fact, he barely conceals his disdain for architectural nostalgia. “The concept behind historic preservation is foolish,” he said. “It assumes that there is infinite space for future generations. We have to allow people in the future to build their environments based on their own needs and intelligence.”

It turns out that L.A.’s lack of historical sentimentality is one of the reasons Ma enjoys his adopted home. “L.A. is for the future,” he said.

And that makes it like his home country. “I think our sense of our ancient lineage gives us a perpetual sense of obsolescence,” he said, referring to the Chinese. “I think we know that whatever we’re experiencing now is part of a long passage. Each new dynasty replaced the buildings that had been constructed by the last one.”

Ha ha, the parallels are amazing! Chinese people and Angelenos have a lack of sentimentality and destroy all that was to recreate a new identity! It’s inevitable for me to perpetuate this sort of mentality-I can’t be blamed!!! Destroyed art deco and pagodas= Asiatic Angeleno happiness! (Too bad Asians are assholes, or I could have lived in China, having the same don’t give a fuck philosophy and all. See my former post on that:http://manushkin.wordpress.com/2008/07/25/

asians-in-asia-are-assholes-and-other-thoughts-on-ethniccultural-hoo-ha/)

I put some of these comments in response to it, but I doubt they’ll allow them since it’s too long:

“What Ma had to say about historic preservation rang true, despite the fact that I am an LA History nut, and have always lamented the lack of our old, beautiful buildings and their replacement with, as the City Planning Dept. calls it, “a sea of stucco”. Similarly, the lack of firmly planted sentimentality in LA has brought us to try new and different things that entrenched East Coast towns can’t/ won’t.

I agree that architecture, especially in LA, has not been designed for public use near enough, for example, the upcoming Grand Ave. park project-it looks like an extension of a business park, not a civic treasure.

No más concrete parks!!! We already done got Pershing!

No más concrete parks!!! We already done got Pershing!

And yes, I do believe that Westerners, even good liberals, often expect others to conform to their values, in this case, involving historic preservation. We might find what China is doing now to be aesthetically horrendous, but can we expect them to be preserving old proletariat concrete brick housing or to always be mired in stereotypes of being nothing but ancient, wise, and rural?

Every country deserves to reinvent themselves. I just came back from China a few weeks ago, and have to say that it truly looks as bad as Gregory was describing with regards to most of the architecture, but as citizens of one of the most disturbingly planned (and often just as ugly) cities in the US, who are we to judge? They have the right to mirror our Capitalistic garishness, too, I guess.”

It could only be in earthquake country like LA that these constantly shifting sensibilities would be the norm.

And there you have it, y’all, the destruction of our precious old, centralized communities and buildings in LA has given rise to sprawl and traffic, and amnesia, but it’s also allowed us to accommodate the population growth, as well as reinvent what LA means. More to come on historical preservation issues in LA…


Asians in Asia are assholes, and other thoughts on ethnic/cultural hoo-ha.

July 25, 2008
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So, I don’t know what y’all think about “Asia Asians”-but they suck. Whew! That said, I DO have FOB family members. Moving on, I am sort of testing the waters here, with my new project, Mestizo Revelations, and I hope that people reading this will have replies and comments that can help me form new ideas or inspirations for this ‘zine, which will be about ethnic identity and culture.

Questions: Does being a certain kind of ethnic mean you have to like your fellow ethnics, or the culture they hail from? Can one still be proud of something one has no desire to entertain? In what is pride being taken in, then?

Returning to the Motherland/Ethnic Pilgrimaging-A trend since the ’60′s radical identity movements.

Questions: Is it a motherland? Or do I stand where I stand? How much of our identity is truly formed by our ancestors’ culture or more truthfully formed by our own experiences? I’ve got to say (and I don’t want to write too much here about it, since it’s part of my project, and I need to keep some tender nuggets of writing material to myself), I myself subscribed to the belief that “going home” would actually fortify something in me.

I was wrong.

I realized I am American.

(What a profoundly obvious conclusion, sucka!) It’s American style, my way. We’ve got to wake up to the unlikely realization that we are Americans, regardless of ethnicity, politics, etc. It sounds shitty, coming from a progressive, rail against the man perspective, but it’s infinitely and smug smilingly true. If you’re ethnic, just try and go to a country where you look like the people and realize how not them you are. Our attitudes, styles, preferences and experiences all have a unique tinge that people in less diverse, less bitchy and in your face, individual rights-asserting-til-death countries will not have, for better or worse. My experience with LA ethnoburbia is that it’s very, very rare. I feel quite privileged to have grown up in such circumstances for many reasons, especially after visiting Asia.

What do you all think about being American? It has such a dirtiness to it, I know. I don’t mean the obvious reactionary, flag waving, apple pie Americana, but just the simple fact of our lives: being either born and/or raised here.

Discuss. I’m feeling ferklempt.


Asiatic-core Goodness. Fresh from the Deep South (of China).

July 25, 2008
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We Out in the Country, Foo!!!

We Out in the Country, Foo!!

Just visited the small, semi-quaint village of Wo On Li, a 5+ hr. trip via a bus that left from an unmarked stoop in Downtown Hong Kong. (Have to give props to my 2nd cousin Cynthia for that crucial info!!!)

” Why did we go there?”, they asked when we arrived…

“Um, well, funny thing… My family’s from here, even though none of them live here anymore…”

They still didn’t understand why. But were oh so sweet. They had no qualms about slapping dead the mosquitoes biting my legs. Or asking for Lai See money even though we’re not related…. Everyone’s gotta come up somehow…

Village Peeps

Village Peeps

La Casa de la Patriarca de la aldea

La Casa de la Patriarca de la aldea

Rice farms abound!!!

Rice farms abound!!!


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