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Radio Sombra's Second Anniversary

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 18, 2013 06:31am | Post a Comment
 
On Saturday, November 14th, Radio Sombra celebrated its second anniversary as an Internet radio station. Radio Sombra was started by Marco Amador as an important first step in creating more autonomous spaces throughout the Chicano community. Internet radio is nothing new to the world, but it’s an important first step in the advancement of communities such as Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles in looking beyond our traditional means of expression. From Radio Sombra came Espacio 1839, an art gallery/bookstore/record store/apparel shop that houses the station. Again, nothing new to most progressive communities, but Radio Sombra and Espacio 1839 has continued to flourish without corporate sponsorship, grants, and city funding or bank loans. This enables both entities to not compromise and continue defining itself.



Radio Sombra now has over twenty shows with the archives of past shows now running 24/7 in between the live shows. All radio shows pays dues for the upkeep of the station and equipment. Each show is required to run independently, with each host getting a course on how to engineer their shows and uploading them once completed on radiosombra.org. The shows vary from social/political talk shows to music shows specializing in every genre of music imaginable. There are youth programs that teach students from local high schools how to run their own shows as well as an ongoing achieve of interviews from important voices both locally and internationally.

Saturday’s broadcast was twelve straight hours of live programming. Starting at 11 am with This Is Not A Radio Show with Omar Ramirez & Gabriel Tenorio and Ending with Heartbreak Radio with Lady Imix & DJ Phatrick at 11 pm. Other shows that participated were AF3IRM Radio, an anti-imperialist transnational feminist national women’s organization. This was followed by O Lo Siento, a 90’s noise rock revival and platform for new groups personally recorded by studio engineer Eddie Rivas. Beatific Audio followed by DJ Cezar, a mixture of jazzy funk, hip-hop and social consciousness, Small Talk From Sapo is hosted by Moises Ruiz, aka Sapo, which on that day was a tribute to all the great jazz organists, all from vinyl. Steady Beat For Lovers by Mali is exactly what the name entails, a sweet blend of Rocksteady and Lover’s Rock. Nicotina hosted by Nico Avina, always plays political fueled rock and folk in Spanish and English. I did a set for Discos Inmigrantes, an all vinyl set of my favorite jams from past shows. Social Machine Broadcast with Becky & Dewey plays mostly powerful female-led rock in the first have and punk and metal in the second half. Heartbreak Radio closed it out with a set from DJ Phatrick followed by another tearjerker set by Lady Imix.

They were other shows that didn’t participate and were missed. Art & Grooves with Reyes, Radio Discostan with Arshia Haq, Shades Of Soul with O-Dub, Barrio Roots Radio, Counterstrike and lastly, Black Beans And Brown Rice Radio with Maya Jupiter, who had her first child not to long ago.

ESL's 8th Annual Dia De Los DEAD '13 MusicA Festival November 2nd!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 28, 2013 01:43am | Post a Comment
As Dia De Los Muertos becomes more corporate and commercialized, it’s easy to forget what is behind the day that makes it special to many of us. It’s a celebration of life as well as death. It’s a reminder that one day; we will leave this earth much like many who we come to cherish. Whether it’s family, friends or people who have inspired us to live our lives to the fullest, we remember them and the imprint they left with us. We celebrate them by creating altars, offering up our loved ones favorite flowers, food and libations. And since the spirit world can’t partake in the goodies we leave them in the physical world, we offer them the essence (and eat the goodies ourselves!)

Celebrating its 8th annual Dia De Los Dead celebration is the crew from Eastside Luv. What makes their event impressive is they pay for it all out of pocket. No corporate sponsorships, no city money and the event is free! Last year’s celebration was the first to be done outside of the bar and in the streets of Boyle Heights surrounding The Mariachi Plaza. This year the event adds another stage, more vendors and a full-liquor/beer garden. The line-up is impressive. Mexican Institute Of Sound, with record digger, beat maker and always fun Camilo Lara. Camilo will also do a DJ set inside the bar Eastside Luv after the event. Nina Dioz, straight reppin' on the mic from Monterey, Mexico, Familia Valera Miranda out of Cuba, Chicano Son featuring Alice Bag with guest Bob Robles (Thee Midniters) Los Diablos, who are a classic grupera that played started in 1969  that in their heyday played a wide spectrum of the Mexican-America experience. They play Rancheras, Disco, Boleros, Santana-esque rock, soul cover in Spanish, Grab you abuela and get ready to dance!
The State stage will have impressive line-up of newcomers such as Bongoloidz, Cherry Glazerr (The band, not the NPR lady) and Irene Diaz. Veteranas Locas such as Lysa Flores and Maria Del Pilar former known as Pilar Diaz or Lady P from the band, Los Abandoned. And what would a Day Of The Dead festival be at Mariachi Plaza without Mariachi?  Trios Ellas and Mariachi Los Toros will put a tear in your beer for sure. 
Besides the many booths, local business will be open late such as Espacio 1839/Radio Sombra (with a face-painting booth) Un Solo Sol, The MBar, Primera Taza Café and hopefully, Pati Zarate’s new taqueria will be open as well. She is formerly the badass head chef of the beloved Homegirl Café in Chinatown and her restaurant should be a sight for sore eyes (and stomachs) Not to mention some of my favorite old school spots La Placita Del DF (one of my personal favorites) Birriera Jalisco, Yeyas Restaurant (Kick-ass chilaques) La Serenata De Garibaldi, or get drunk with your borracho tio  for cheap at Las Palomas.

Other noteworthy celebrations are The Self-Help Graphics Dia de Los Muertos celebration. Self-Help is L.A.’s longest standing Day Of The Dead event celebrating its 40th Anniversary. They have the best collection of Dia De Los Muertos art in the city and will have performances by the likes of Quetzal and Arabian Prince. A few transfers on the metro and you can go to Grand Park in Downtown L.A., which will have music from the likes of The Nortec Collective, El Conjunto Nueva Ola and others. Hollywood Forever Cemetery is always fun with impressive altars, food, drinks and performances by Saul Hernandez, Ceci Bastida, Chicano Batman and many more. Plan accordingly at you could hit all of them.

ESL's 8th Annual Dia De Los DEAD '13 MusicA Festival is on 11/2/13,  located in Boyle Heights on East First Street between Boyle and State Street. It is suggested that you take the metro to The Mariachi Plaza stop to avoid any parking or sobriety issues. The Metro will run until 2 A.M. and the event will be from 12pm-12a.m. All Ages and Free/21 and older to enter the Beer garden

California Fool's Gold -- An Eastside Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 30, 2011 04:11pm | Post a Comment

ACROSS THE RIVER -- THE EASTSIDE

People are weird about Los Angeles' Eastside/Westside thing. The same wannabes from Midtown, HollywoodSilver Lake and Echo Park that throw up "W" hand signs and exaggeratedly say, "West-side" when they're ironically enjoying rap music are the same jerks that claim, despite the fact that they live in Central Los Angeles, that they live on The Eastside. If you call them on it, they usually claim that the real Eastside (the communities east of the Los Angeles River) are all East Los Angeles -- which is incorrect but more likely a sign that they've never been to the region that they claim -- and not some willful act of subterfuge. 


THE OTHER EASTSIDE 


To be fair to these noobs, ill-informed Westsiders, transplants, and weirdos who insist on dividing the entire city or county into just two regions (I count 20) -- there is more than one Eastside... sort of. The other Eastside is sometimes referred to as the Black Eastside (even though it's currently mostly Latino) and has a long claim to the Eastside name. To many black Angelenos and South Los Angeles residents,  the traditional division between the Eastside and Westside is the 110 freeway (and before that freeway's existence, Main Street).  However, when "The Eastside" is used in this respect, it's implied (and usually understood) that one is talking about the Eastside of South Los Angeles.


THEE EASTSIDE

Outside of South LA, the communities east of the Los Angeles River have historically been considered The Eastside -- communities like Atwater Village, Boyle Heights, Brooklyn Heights, City Terrace, Cypress Park, El Sereno, Garvanza, Glassell Park, Happy Valley, Highland Park, Hillside Village, Montecito Heights, Mount Washington, Rose Hill, Tropico,  and yes, East Los Angeles (which, of course, isn't actually part of the City of Los Angeles). I'm not sure why, but Eagle Rock seems to be alone in Los Angeles neighborhoods ever considered to be part of the Eastside -- but I could be wrong. Maybe its because even long after its annexation by Los Angeles it still feels like its own municipality (perhaps because it still has its own city hall).


NELA's SECESSION FROM THE EASTSIDE

An Arroyo Seco regional affiliation distinct from that of the Eastsdie  first began to emerge in the 19th Century when the river and surrounding hills were home to a handful of later-annexed-by-Los-Angeles communities. It was only around the 1970s, however, that a separate Northeast Los Angeles (NELA) identity began to emerge that was referred to thus. It seems that eager to disassociate themselves with the negative associations of "the Eastside" (gangs, barrios, working class Latinos, &c), homeowners, real estate developers, and others jumped on board the NELA bandwagon in the 1980s and it NELA became a widely accepted and popular identity. In fact, I've found examples of people claiming every single Los Angeles neighborhood traditionally considered to be part of the Eastside to be part of NELA at some point or other -- leaving me wondering what they think that the Eastside is!


RE-APPROPRIATION OF THE EASTSIDE

Jump ahead twenty years and a new crop of developers began to market the very things the previous generation had shunned (albeit with a different vocabulary) as selling points of a new Eastside -- albeit an Eastside now located on the west side of the river. As with the real Eastside, these neighborhoods were working class (authentic), gritty (less likely to receive city services), and primarily Latino... but also heavily (and historically) gay and more primed for gentrification than the real Eastside. Also, they didn't have a widely-recognized designation. Angeleno Heights, Echo Park, Elysian Heights, Elysian Park, Elysian Valley, Franklin Hills, Griffith Park, Historic Filipinotown, Los Feliz, Pico-Union, Silver Lake Solano Canyon, Victor Heights, and Westlake are located in Central Los Angeles along with Hollywood and Midtown but aren't really part of either. People will keep having East Side Mondays in Westlake, Taste of the Eastside in Hollywood, and call themselves Mr. Eastside Cool because they own venues in Silver Lake and Echo Park unless people inside and outside embrace an identifier. I favor the Mideast Side. If NELA can create an identity, so can the Mideast!


RE-RE-APPROPRIATION OF THE EASTSIDE



Justifiably annoyed that "the Eastside" was being pulled away first by NELA and then Central Los Angeles, many real Eastsiders continued to embrace The Eastside with a sense of pride. In the 2000s, some fought back by slapping up stickers around the west bank stating "THIS IS NOT THE EAST SIDE!." In my capacity as an explorer of Los Angeles neighborhoods I was asked, along with DJ Waldie, to speak on the issue on KCRW's Which Way, LA? (listen here). Someone from the station told us that we were to represent the Eastside. Waldie, a lifelong resident of Southeast Los Angeles who has famously written about Lakewoodand me, a longtime resident of the Mideast Side, both informed them that we weren't Eastsiders... which seemed to confuse the Westsiders on the other end.

Anyway, now that we're all clear...
 

Continue reading...

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Boyle Heights

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 28, 2010 09:11pm | Post a Comment

This neighborhood blog is about Boyle Heights. To vote for more Los Angeles neighborhoods, go here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.


The area now known as Boyle Heights was originally inhabited by the Tongva, who lived there for centuries until their displacement by the Spaniards. When the area was still part of Mexico, it was known as Paredón Blanco. Prominent families in Paredón Blanco included the Lopez and Rubio households.

  
Pendersleigh & Sons' official maps of Boyle Heights and The Eastside

In the 1830s, a cemetery near Soto and Breed was removed and bodies displaced in order to make room for a new elementary school. Though the bodies were relocated to Evergreen Cemetery, there have been reports of various paranormal activities within the walls of Breed Street Elementary School, presumably the work of the lost souls who once rested there.

  
         Andrew Boyle                                        The Boyle House                                     William A. Workman

The neighborhood acquired its current name when Irishman Andrew Boyle moved to the area in 1858. His son-in-law, William H. Workman, was the mayor of Los Angeles and was largely responsible for developing Boyle Heights.

1941 The Flats


FROM SLUMS TO PROJECTS

Boyle Heights was traditionally viewed as being divisible into two sections, the more affluent section, The Heights, and the more downscale section, The Flats. Until the 1930s, The Flats were covered with slums that noted reformer Jacob Riis compared unfavorably to those in New York. In fact, the slums around Utah Street were widely considered to be the "most abominable in the country."

  
                      Aliso Village                                         Estrada Courts                                           Pico Gardens

In the 1940s, the slums were razed and replaced with the Aliso Village, Estrada Courts and Pico Gardens projects. By the 1970s, the neglected projects had been allowed to fall into disrepair and served as the breeding grounds for local gangs including Primera Flats, AV Fellas, AV Rockers, Varrio Nuevo Estrada and Alcapone. Village and Pico Gardens were, in turn, razed in the 1990s and replaced with the New Urbanist and Pueblo del Sol projects. The Estrada Courts project still stands and today is more recognized for its many murals and preservation efforts than gang violence. 


CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS OF BOYLE HEIGHTS 

First Annual Boyle Heights Block Party

As of 2000, Boyle Heights was 94% Latino with a very small (2.3%) Asian minority. However, in a world where the movements of even a few white people are attacked either as "white flight" or gentrification (depending on the direction of their movement), the existence of a 1.6 % white minority is threatening to nearly complete homogeneity.

As I walked along the sidewalk on behalf of this blog, a cholo bitched "Too many f---ing weddos around!" as he passed, presumably for my benefit. What this hater probably didn't know is that, in the first half of the 20th century, Boyle Heights was historically one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, home to large numbers of Croatian, JewishJapaneseMexican and Russian immigrants. It is only in recent decades that it has become one of the least ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city.

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JAPANESE IN BOYLE HEIGHTS

 

After the 1882 passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, many Japanese immigrated to California to fill the resultant void in the labor force. After the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, many Japanese citizens moved away from the bay, often to Boyle Heights. Faced with growing numbers of non-Chinese Asian immigrants, the Asian Exclusion Act was signed in 1924 to broaden discrimination to other Asian-Americans. By then, however, Little Tokyo (just across the river) and Boyle Heights were already home to about 30,000 Japanese-Americans, including famed artist Isamu Noguchi.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, hundreds of Japanese residents of the Japanese fishing village on Terminal Island were given 48 hours notice to evacuate their homes so that a new military base could be built there. Many of the displaced moved to the Forsythe Hostel in Boyle Heights. Not long after, however, they along with almost all Japanese-Americans were rounded up and shipped to concentration camps.

After World War II ended, few Japanese returned to the neighborhood, preferring, in many cases, to move to Gardena, Monterey Park, Torrance, Pasadena, San Pedro, Compton and Long Beach (rather than back to Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo or Little Osaka). The highly acclaimed restaurant, Otomisan, established in 1956, is one of the few reminders of a more diverse era. Other Japanese vestiges include Haru Florist, Hayashi Realty, and Tenrikyo Mission.


RUSSIANS IN BOYLE HEIGHTS


The next major wave of immigrants to Boyle Heights came with the arrival of large numbers of Russians, many whom immigrated to avoid czarist persecution. A large number were Molokans, a religious sect that refused to follow orthodox practices. By the 1930s, there were six Molokan churches in Boyle Heights. Later many Russian Jews fled to Los Angeles. In the 1940s, the nexus of Russians in Los Angeles shifted to West Hollywood, although there are today large numbers of Russians in Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas and Sherman Oaks.


MEXICANS IN BOYLE HEIGHTS


Texas-born pachuco Don Tosti moved to Boyle Heights

As previously mentioned, Boyle Heights used to be in Mexico. However, after the US took over, many more Mexican began to move to Boyle Heights in the 1910s, often fleeing the violence of the Mexican Revolution. In the 1930s, large numbers of Mexican-Americans were, regardless of their country of origin, deported to Mexico. When the Japanese were interred in the 1940s, however, Mexicans were actively encouraged to return to fill the void in the labor force. 

An uncharacteristically calm scene along Cesar Chavez Ave

Whereas most of the other early groups left the neighborhood, Boyle Heights' Latino population has steadily increased over the years. Reflecting the continuing Latinization of the neighborhood, in 1994, Brooklyn Avenue was renamed Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, which most nights is a bustling street, and not just by Los Angeles standards.



For many years, one prominent Mexican-American resident, Ross Valencia, was known as "Mr. Boyle Heights." Since his death last year, a small park has been dedicated to his memory.


JEWS IN BOYLE HEIGHTS


The Vladek Center (1950)


By the 1920s, Boyle Heights had the largest Jewish population west of the Mississippi. Today, one of the few visible vestiges of Boyle Heights' (particularly the Brooklyn Heights tract's) historic Jewish population is the Breed Street Shul, which, when it opened;in 1923, was the first synagogue on the west coast.

At the time, the Jewish population was centered around Brooklyn and Soto, where there were many Jewish-owned businesses. Few Angelenos likely know that the famed deli Canter's was actually started in Boyle Heights (as Canter Brother's Delicatessen) in 1931. In 1941 it moved, with much of the city's Jewish population, to the Fairfax District 


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CULTURE IN MODERN BOYLE HIGHTS


image source: KCET


Proyecto Jardín is a unique community garden and art and cultural space created in 1999 in the shadow of White Memorial Hospital. It includes a performance space, art and garden plots. It's also closely associated with Ovarian-Psycos, an all-female Eastside bicycle crew.


CAINE'S ARCADE

 
Nestled in the northwesternmost corner of Boyle Heights is Caine's Arcade. Because I still run into people who've never heard of it, Caine Monroy built this amazing, elaborate arcade out of discarded cardboard boxes in the back of his father's auto parts store. In 2012 filmmaker Nirvan Mullick made a short film about the arcade which he shared on Hidden Los Angeles and the whole, heartwarming thing went viral in a huge way.

MUSIC IN BOYLE HEIGHTS