Letters from the Blue Line, part 1

A blinding peace dominates this morning. It’s almost surreal. But everything out there is true, is real. Is calm.

A man is selling batteries on the blue line today. “One dollar” is all he says, going across the train car, and back up the aisle, fanning across his path the AA batteries he’s peddling. He’s on at Grand, off at San Pedro. No takers in car 137B; maybe he’ll he better luck in the car ahead.

“The next stop is Washington Station.”

There are a few regulars who hustle their wares on different parts of the line, but this guy is new. The crazy angry dyke gets on at Washington. Mumble-shouts about…something?…finds an object on the floor, and settles in quietly to a seat, chewing on her gum with intensity while she talks shit to the world passing by outside.

“This is no fun! It is fun with the dark angel, it ain’t fun with you. You ain’t what you plan to be in this lifetime, with a bunch of fucking people laughing in your face. (mumble mumble…)”

A woman and her young son board the train and sit behind the hooded dyke.

“That child better quit fucking with me!” the dyke turns around, and mumbles something angry and fast to a boy about 3.

His mother, shocked and angry, shudders under her pink sequined headband. “I know you are not talking to my son like that!”

Crazy threatens to punch mom in the face. Says she wasn’t talking to her son, but she’ll punch her in the face.

“I know you’re crazy but I don’t care!” I will hit you.” says Mom, exposing the gap in her upper row of teeth.

Crazy stands up. Mom stands up. Boy stands below the two, in between. Crazy looks down, picks up her backpack and moves down the train car. She rises and exits at Florence, stopping to look in the trashcan just outside the train’s door.

By Artesia, Mom is laughing about it on the phone. “She got up and she looked at me…(pause)…if she had I woulda been calling saying ‘Pick up the kid.’”

It’s her mom on the other end of the line, the boy’s Nana. The boy tugs at Mom’s floral tank top and speaks a heavy toddler dialect, but articulates “Gameboy.” His curly hair obscures his mother’s gut. The boy stands up on the seat beside Mom, bundled in his camo zip-up hoodie, armed with a tiny bright orange backpack, and makes a song to his own rhythm: “boop boo bum bum…”

They exit at Wardlow, and the boy’s small feet patter in short, quick steps to keep up with Mom’s pace.

 

 

 

Crisis – A nursery rhyme for the 21st century

Albany RubbleI’m having an existential crisis
Half the reason why is
All this shit that we’ve been buyin’
Is based upon a lie and
Artificial pricing
Is bringing our demise in
If you really think that’s so surprising
You can keep on lying
Or maybe you can try and
Confront what’s conspiring
Manifest a new environ
Listen to the air raid sirens
Raise up the blinds and let the light in
Struggle, hustle – why we’ fighting?
If you love this planet, put some time in.

Navigating the Connotation of Spaces

Aside

Every space has a certain connotation that is identified with it. Much of this connotation is collective: specific groups view particular places in pretty much the same way. These ideas help us decide where we think we belong and–diversity, be damned–where we don’t.

We choose our neighborhoods, what kind of work to pursue, where to shop, eat and play based on cultural expectations, variations in economy, who we can identify with and are willing to interact with, if it meets our definitions of safe, or welcoming, or worthwhile. This is how we decide where we belong.

A space might be male or female, professional or punk. But connotations are malleable, and spaces are often more dynamic than we give them credit. Deeper readings may return new meanings. The war room, the man cave, the center stage. A dark alley signifies danger to John and Jane Doe, but for someone else the same channel is “home.”

Parks, parties and front porches–these are permeable spaces that we move through and impose our attitudes into. My point is this: Make a conscious contribution to the creation of spaces with positive connotations. Leave a way-finding marker that facilitates navigation. In English: Go forth and make a path for the ones who will come after you. This is a process of breaking expectations, thwarting intimidation, surprising the naysayers, swallowing fear and ultimately making meaning within the space you choose to occupy.

Sounds for Lost Angels: Music around town

This is a post about:
A) Some dope artists I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live recently.
B) Some dope artists that are playing in L.A. in coming days (scroll down to find out now).

First up, I met up with some friends at the Smell last night and caught this guy tearing it up:


Signor Benedick The Moor is a punk as fuck metal ass rapper. He’ll get inside your head and make you feel alive. Whatever that means. SBTM is part of the DeathBombArc collective, and a recent transplant to this teeming cesspool of a city from Suckramento. Welcome to L.A. sucker.


“You’ve been sleeping” is what I was told after seeing Sole for the first time at the Church of F.U.N. recently. Yeah, I have. Shit. This guy tells it like it is. Real talk like you don’t even know. In-your-face kind of real, and mad beats to boot.

Sole is touring with Pat “the Bunny” right now, and that guy’s dope as fuck too. Reminds me of John Darnielle, but maybe more punk. He’s one helluva songwriter, that’s for sure.

~Now for Part B!~

Novi Split is having a record release show at the Echo this Sunday. Go. Do it. Don’t sleep on this local L.A. band.

And Chantal Claret, who I really can’t fucking get enough of, is doing a free show at the Satellite on Monday (3/10).

I wrote this post instead of doing the work I’m supposed to be doing, so I hope you enjoy it. I did this all for you.

Go for it.

ladderdetroit_2

DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT 

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance—but how ready do you have to be?

newthingsareexcite

#~new things are excite!~#

Sometimes you gotta just go for it—and by sometimes I mean, like, all the time. Just go for it. You’ll never be ready if you keep telling yourself you’re not ready. You might surprise yourself. You might have fun, or learn something.

You might totally fuck up, SO WHAT? You know what’s worse than making a mistake, or not being the best?  Missed opportunities.         I hate that shit. Opportunities don’t come around twice. Every opportunity is once-in-a-lifetime. Don’t wait for the next time. Today is the day, go forth and go for it.

 

brokenbottle

I have some reports on my first race and my first century and some other first-y moments that I am polishing up to share in the coming weeks (handwritten accounts that never made it through the keyboard). In all honesty, the firsts were great—exhilarating and new, totally–but the best thing about getting out there and taking on tasks and challenges that I might not have felt ready for (most all of them, tbh) is all of the opportunities that follow. The next new thing that lies after is the thing you won’t ever get to unless you get over that first hump.

 

It's just a fucking scrape.

It’s just a fucking scrape.

I’ll admit, I am not risk-averse—but that doesn’t mean I don’t get shit-my-pants scared.

Life is short, dammit. How else will we know what it’s like? How else can we know? Hearsay is bogus, just do it yourself. I dare you.

I actually got ran over in my first real cyclocross race. Ran. Over. Yup.

I actually got ran over in my first real cyclocross race. Ran. Over. Yup.

riskitall_2

Soul Salvation

This is real life. Slab City, CA. Photo by Richie Trimble

  Slab City, CA.    Photo by Richie Trimble

It was all too short; it was all too fast; it was all too beautiful, but the best art never lasts. 

Our pilgrimage to the slabs, past the toxic sea riddled with fish bones and sodium compounds, it gets bigger and brighter and more holy each year as we deepen our bonds with the universe and one another and discover just how universal and boundless love can be. So we sweat and bleed and burn, dancing into delirium under ten million stars, with skin that feels like pieces of the sun, speaking words that taste like rapture.

Before there was ridazz spinning and singing and shouting across the sand, blowing up the physical in the name of the eternal, there was Leonard. Leonard Knight saw a blank canvas in the desert by the sea, and he filled it with a mountain of love. Salvation Mountain is proof of what divine creatures we are, turning junk and sand and paint into a monument so bright and stunning it turns the harsh landscape into a hallowed Oz. So we go out here to be free and to live together for a few infinite days and endless nights.

For 30 years Leonard built up the mountain, adding new layers of paint and cement, greeting visitors and living beside it. He built the mountain twice, and before that he spent 14 years making a hot air balloon that never could fly. Rest in Peace Leonard, in the big, glorious sky above the desert.

The sun is just the moon getting brighter, and our hearts are as full as our eyes are wide. Outside of the city, we are free to find ourselves and find each other and discover the depths of our souls. Here we find salvation from the complexities of the city, from the running wheel of the rat race that tugs at our footing day after day.

We go and we grow, and we come back and pine, for we realize home is not a place in the city, but a place in the mind. We can build mountains too.

www.slab-city.com