The theme of this night was ‘L gets out.’ My girlfriend has not walked our neighborhood after dark, so this art night was a chance to show her that only a few of the people outside are pirates.
Began the night at the Highland Park boutique Mi Vida. E.T. tote bag was a reminder that no one on earth ever really grows up. Artist Melissa Nebrida’s work ‘The Chola Series’ was on display. She was standing next to her work and signed one of the postcard’s that I bought and I felt like I should say something insightful, so I yelled over the DJ’s music, “Alright, cholas!”
We continued down York Boulevard, past Wombleton’s, and into vintage shop Patty’s. Right when I walked into the vintage shop my phone began to ring this really positive sounding ringtone, which contrasts with my general tone, so everyone was a little thrown off. Look at that, Disney characters held up by their necks. Just like grandma used to have ’em and no one was allowed to touch.
Still no sign of pirates at this point in the evening. Sure there were plenty of people in bandanas and headbands, a man in beard with a burrito under the light of a neon sign. No, I didn’t take a picture. It’s pretty much the norm at this point.
At the corner of Avenue 50 and York was an impromptu rummage sale. The two men standing watch pointed to the street sign on their Monopoly board to let us know that we were still in Los Angeles. My girlfriend nervously laughed. These men decked out in mismatched outfits, eating fajita wraps, asking if we wanted our names etched into some wood.Pop Hop Books had some live music, so did K-York Studio along with a faceless deer that reminds of Silent Hill. Pretty standard. My girlfriend began to feel woozy.
Then there was a narrow alleyway beside 50/50 Art Gallery. Us being responsible adults we decided to not investigate, but then we saw other people go into said alleyway and we followed them. Peer pressure is the worst and I should have listened to the D.A.R.E officers when they came to my school, but I didn’t and now I’m walking down this alleyway with my girlfriend and we see etchings on the walls and people are laughing hysterically. Pumpkin patch. Honest, a pumpkin patch with hay and art, and kids running around. It was very disorienting. Pastey Whyte, artist and curator of said pumpkin habitat, was on hand to explain that he’s always wanted to put together something like this for his kids.
Looped back to Mi Vida where the bicycle riders had congregated, bumping mad beats and enjoying their motor-less evening. That is until this hot rod pulled up at the light and began revving his engine. Symbolic I’m sure, as he waited to go left. Maybe I’m reading too much from the experience. The night was alive! Bicycle people are like pirates, but with a different style of respect for land.
Then it was off to Antigua Culture Coffee House off of Fig and Avenue 34, where a whole lot of ‘woah’ was going on. A tent pitched in the street, images projected onto the sides of buildings, smoke, television sets with torsos and doll heads looped into infinite plastic smiles. Very woah. The tunnel was dark, there was smoke, bodies motioned in the confined space that once acted as a pedestrian passage for elementary school children.
At Avenue 50 Studio the gallery space is celebrating an early Dia De Los Muertos with altars and art celebrating passed loved ones. Neighbors donated photos of family members to the gallery and they were on display outside, with pieces of pan dulce to complete the altar, while more elaborate sugar skull displays towered over patrons. Then the night ended with us watching a dog eat watermelon off a fork. No really.
That’s Heriberto Luna’s dog Fifty. His bark is worse than his bite. Probably the friendliest 200-lb dog you’ll ever meet. At the end of the night my girlfriend and I made our way back home, hyper aware of our surrounding neighborhood. She bought something at THANK YOU Comics, I supported an artist, we felt alive! Mexican-Americans stimulating our economy.
And then there were sirens and helicopters over head. The good kind of sirens and helicopter sounds.
Total pirate count: 4(?)