INTRODUCTION TO DPS
Truancy is presumably exactly as old as education. Some 800,000 years ago in the Middle East, people learned how to start fires. Though an important skill and an entertaining subject, I’m sure that some frustrated student thought to her or his self, “Lame. I’m outta here.” Later truants organized parties during school hours. My research for this blog entry turned up accounts of actress Sharon Tate and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa frequenting them in the 1960s. I myself -- though something of an advanced ditcher of high school -- only attended one organized ditching event (it wasn’t really a party. The drumline I was in all went to a restaurant and played tabletop shuffleboard. My punishment was having to work in the school library for a spell).
In the early 1990s, a ditch party scene emerged as a phenomenon on LA’s Eastside (for clarification: the region east of the LA River). That is the subject of this entry. DISCLAIMER: This post is not meant to glorify drug abuse nor truancy; neither is it meant to suggest that I’m an authority on the subject. I didn’t even move to Los Angeles until well after the scene had faded.
I have searched for firsthand accounts of the “Old School Ditch Party” scene but, aside from a couple of blog entries, and scanned images from Street Beat magazine, almost all of the information in this post is derived from the sensationalistic and comically disapproving FOX Undercover stories from the era. So far only one of my friends has told me about her firsthand experiences with the scene. So this isn’t mean to be taken as anything remotely suggesting a serious study but rather an invitation for readers to share their memories and help fill out the picture of this seemingly scarcely documented but fondly remembered era.
INTRODUCTION TO DPS
Today is the birthday of PBS and also Teachers' Day. For any reader that might not know, PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) is a non-profit American public broadcasting television network headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. It was founded on this date (5 October, 1970), 42 years ago, in 1970, after the termination of its predecessor, National Educational Television (NET).
Sesame Street (which began on NET) and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (which debuted on CBC). If your parents weren't unhealthily preoccupied with celebrity culture or car chases, you may've suffered as they turned commandeered the TV to watch PBS Newshour with it's in-depth coverage of "hard news."
On this day (1 October) in 1982, the first album released on CD came out -- Billy Joel's 52nd street.
On the day of that occasion, I still hadn't really discovered music for myself yet. My dad played '50s, '60 and '70s jazz records on the rare occasions that he mustered the paternal energy required to make his children grilled cheese sandwiches. My mother was more likely to play Carmen Rivero, Johann Sebastian Bach, Bill Monroe, Aretha Franklin or Otis Redding records that she'd purchased back in the ancient, vinyl 1960s. We also had a Victrola which was fun because you had to crank it if you wanted to rock out to some Earl Rogers or other shellac 78.
Paninari - che è il gran gallo?
Paninari (the plural of Paninaro) were an Italian youth subculture in the 1980s. Their name came from the word "panino," Italian for "bread." La Stampa branded them that due to the fact that their original, preferred hang-out was the Al Panino, a sandwich joint in in Milan's Via Agnello, where they first congregated in 1983.
In 1985 the now defunct Burghy, an Italian chain specializing in American fast food, opened a location on Piazza San Babila, that became their home base.
It was probably because I recently spent two weeks in El Sereno that I found myself thinking back to these self-determining sedans of cinema. During my stay I spent time under a bridge where a killer car, Christine, long ago killed someone in the eponymous film. I've still never watched entire picture but I scanned through it to find the scene and remembered the Killing Miss Daisy box set. I wonder where it is now? Anyway, I also began trying to compile a list of films about cars with consciousness and figure out where this all began.