Pasadena May 2015 – Her eyes were smiling. I had a single shot left in a roll of film and I decided to walk Colorado Boulevard to get the last image. She was walking with another woman and a baby stroller down the street, and I waited next to this bright red wall (I think a seafood restaurant). I could have spent all day taking her picture.
CicLAvia Pasadena – Everyone I asked for a picture said yes. People seemed in better spirits, more responsive to friends, family or a stranger on the street. I spoke with the nicest people who asked me, “Do you know what song this is?” And we just listened to their music blasting from boombox and cellphones tied to bicycles.
Several businesses along Colorado Boulevard offered free water. In fact businesses that opted to remain open for the day were all crowded, jostling with foot traffic and patrons willing to spend money. Occasionally a busy intersection would open up and a car would zip through, and now the automobile was foreign to the road and out of place.
The homeless population in Los Angeles sees a 16 percent increase since 2011, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
Earlier this year hundreds of volunteers canvassed neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles in what has become the biennial Los Angeles Homeless Count. The numbers this year show that the general homeless population has risen from 50,214 in 2011 to 58,423 in 2013. A decrease in homeless veterans and families was reported by LAHSA thanks to increased funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The 16 percent rise is one thing, but even more startling is the rise in unaccompanied youth. Up 122 percent, rising from 366 in 2011 to 817 in 2013. This pertains to youth 18 and under.
The Homeless Count took place late January this year and I participated in Monterey Park. I detailed the findings of our group, took some photos, walked around the park past 11:30 p.m.
The information gathered will be released over the next several months. The broad information on general population comes first, and then the more detailed findings on specific neighborhoods and types of population. Previous years have shown interesting findings, but I’m always more interested in neighborhoods that don’t participate in the count and their neighboring communities.
Fall 2011: Jonathan Perez and Isaac Barrera turn themselves into immigration authorities in Mobile, Alabama. As undocumented immigrants they are immediately sent to a detention center. Perez walked right into the immigration office and confronted a set of officers asking them, “What do you do?”
As an undocumented immigrant Perez along with Barrera were sent to a detention center. They were released within a few days. When they returned to Southern California they held a press conference outside of Pasadena City College where Perez was a student.
I wrote about their journey for The Alhambra Source and the full story can be read here.
Gabriel was playing outside of a gallery and people passed him as his trumpet blared.
“Do you know what happened to the walls of Jericho? I blew them down with my horn.”
“Are you the angel Gabriel?”
“Just call me your gay cousin Gabriel.”
I didn’t know what to make of that. It certainly was something to say if you wanted to make an impression.
– April 4, 2009. Downtown Los Angeles, outside the Hive Gallery.
Then in 2012 I hear a trumpet player in Old Town Pasadena. The man is much thinner than Gabriel, but he has the same sombrero, the same beat up trumpet. It sounds deflated, like the brass is no longer pristine. He smiles when I pass him on the street.
“Did you used to play in Downtown?”
“I’ve played everywhere. Thank you for noticing.”
– Pasadena, 2012.
Put the word free next to anything and people go crazy. Free Comic Book Day is a great marketing tactic for publishers to get the word out on unknown books and new talent, and also introduces a good jumping on point for newcomers to get familiar with ongoing series. It’s also the day where grown men push children to get a free comic. Some people take their free comics way too seriously.
I attended three local shops in my area. One costumed person, plenty of sales and lots of adults were found.
THANK YOU > 5011 york blvd
They had themselves a sale on Marvel hardcovers. Some were as low as $3. That’s like a cup of coffee. THANK YOU’s sister store, Secret Headquarters in Silver Lake, happen to treat comic aficionados as people. There is a culture alive and well at both shops, but it seldom feels pandering, or indicative of any type of marketing ploy. THANK YOU comes across as a great first shop for children or adults. It’s classy, while still being incredibly fun.
Comics Vs. Toys > 1613 Colorado Blvd
They had Batman. That should make for an exciting day. Kind of weird to see the dark knight in broad daylight under a tent, but you know what, that’s cool, because you have to suspend disbelief when dealing with comic books. There’s no place for reality, physics or logic in the world of comic books. It wasn’t just a guy in a costume. Nope.
Comics Factory > 1298 E Colorado Blvd
The line at Comics factory pushed out the door. A man in a suit was referred to by the staff as ‘The Doctor’ and he lapped it up. A group of men pushed through the line and then stopped in front of the free comic books.
I picked a handful of free comics and also purchased some graphic novels, because I’m weak and I don’t like money.
Also, Comics Factory has a dense manga library. We don’t go back there anymore.
The day also celebrated May The 4th Be With You, Star Wars Day, which is like a lunar eclipse over the Arctic Circle, creating the perfect Death Star joke, but I’m not going to do it.