Amoeblog

Where the samba takes you out of nowhere -- Visiting Santa Catalina Island and Avalon

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 26, 2013 07:38pm | Post a Comment
Two weeks ago I made my first visit to one of California’s Channel Islands, Santa Catalina Island. For those that don’t know, Southern California is home to an archipelago of small, rugged islands off its coast. My 2012 New Year’s resolution was to visit one or more of the Channel Islands. Having failed to realize this wish by December of that year, I instead resolved to learn to tie a bow tie after being berated (jokingly, I think) for not knowing how do so despite operating a gentlemen’s shop. For the record, I accomplished this last minute resolution and wore a bow tie a few nights later New Year’s Eve that I tied all by myself. Any, since transportation via Catalina Express is free on one’s birthday, I decided to have another go at island life.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Santa Catalina Island
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Santa Catalina Island 

Accompanying me in her debut appearance was Una. In order to get as much out of our adventure as possible, we departed at some pre-dawn hour. After a hastily-devoured meal from McDonald's (which, though simple and clarified three times, managed nonetheless to be both screwed up and roof-of-the-mouth blisteringly hot) we raced down the docks and leapt aboard the boat with about two minutes to spare.

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Welcome to friendly El Monte, the end of the Santa Fe Trail (or at least some trails)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 23, 2013 08:00pm | Post a Comment
INTRODUCTION TO EL MONTE 

City of El Monte
Valley Boulevad and Peck Road -- Welcome to El Monte


El Monte is a city in the middle of the San Gabriel Valley. As of the last census (in 2010), its population was 113,475. It contains the neighborhoods of Arden Village, the Auto District, Downtown, Five Points, the Flair Business District, Hayes, Maxson, Mountain View, the Northwest Industrial District, Norwood Village, and Park El Monte.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of El Monte
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of El Monte



El Monte is neighbored by Temple City, North El Monte, and Arcadia to the north; Irwindale to the northeast; Baldwin Park to the east; City of Industry to the southeast, Avocado Heights and South El Monte to the south; and Rosemead to the west. Although El Monte's top three employers are school districts, its economy seemed to me to be dominated by auto shops and smog checks as well as nail and beauty salons.

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Where the West begins and the sunset ends -- A San Fernando Valley primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 5, 2012 10:55am | Post a Comment


SAN FERNANDO VALLEY STATE COLLEGE 1973 postcard
San Fernando Valley State College postcard (1973)

_THE_ VALLEY - A SAN FERNANDO VALLEY PRIMER


San Fernando Valley panorama

San Fernando Valley panorama


There are numerous valleys in Los Angeles County: the Antelope, Crescenta, Hungry, Peace, Pomona, PuenteSan Gabriel, Santa Clara River, and Santa Clarita, to name a few of the better known ones. However, when one hears mention of The Valley it is almost universally recognized as a reference to LA County's San Fernando Valley.

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Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography art opening at 1650 Gallery

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 19, 2012 02:16pm | Post a Comment
Photo of Los Angeles

In a recent poll of Americans conducted by Public Policy Polling, only 33% of respondents said that they view Los Angeles favorably whereas 40% view it negatively. 27% stated that they’re not sure. Of America’s largest five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia), LA is the only one with a higher negative response than positive. As someone who lives in and loves Southern California, this disappoints but doesn’t surprise me.

 Legends of Hollywood postcard - 1989 LA Gang signs

Growing up in other parts of the country, pop culture sculpted and skewed my perception of the Southland more than anything else. Living here I consider it to be the most misrepresented too. I’ve never been to Philadelphia but my experiences in other large American cities haven’t produced the same sort of glaring dissonance between my expectations and experience that LA has. And with LA the center of America’s pop culture machine, I have to wonder why the city doesn’t do a better job of showcasing its positive attributes instead of its negative – mainly conspicuous consumption, movie stardom and gang culture.

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Let's show these fools how we do this on that westside - A South LA's Westside primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 29, 2011 08:54pm | Post a Comment
A TALE OF TWO WESTSIDES

Just as Los Angeles has two Eastsides (one being the largely Latino enclave east of the LA River and the other being South Los Angeles east of the 110 and/or Main St) it also has two Westsides. One Westside is a collection of LA's westernmost neighborhoods (such as Bel Air, Brentwood and Venice) and the area's enclosed cities (like Culver CitySanta Monica and Beverly Hills).

The other Westside is the area of South Los Angeles (and the surrounding communities) that lie west of the 110, south of the 10 and east and north of the 405 (although some of those are can make the historical argument for being part of the South Bay, despite being separated from the Santa Monica Bay by miles of land and other cities). This westside, after white flight in the 1950s to the present, is also colloquially known as "The Black Westside" and indeed, it's still, as of 2011, home to most of Los Angeles's black residents and businesses despite changing demographics.

Pendersleigh & Sons' Map of South LA's Westside
Pendersleigh & Sons' Map of South LA's Westside

The region of South LA's Westside is a large area bounded by South LA's Eastside to the east, The Harbor to the southeast, The South Bay to the west and south west, The Westside to the northwest and Midtown to the north. Definitions differ of exactly what communities constitute the region with several also claiming the South Bay and/or The Harbor. No doubt part of the reason these neighborhoods are in question are due to residents of and developers in those communities eager to disassociate themselves with South LA, which carries negative connotations for many.

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