Tuesday, December 18, 2007

First Published Story

Go to www.lataco.com and read my review of peel here 07. Well you can read it here to but that one has pictures and it's on someone else's web site, thus making it my first ever published story. Do Work Son !!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Peel Here 2007 @ The Ghetto Mansion

There’s a certain vibe at the Peel Here shows. It’s a combination of all the great art posted all over the walls, artist meeting each other for the first time and seeing the faces behind the stickers and of course the tacos and alcohol. Above all the commotion, music and food the heart of Peel Here shows itself in the comradeship between veterans and newcomers as well as first time admirers. When I asked host Sticky Rick to explain the meaning of the show, now in its third year, he said, “It’s not about who you are and I stressed that. ‘Why am I not on the flier?’ Well the same reason you’re not in the show. It’s not about YOU so get the fuck over yourself. It’s about culture. I’m not in this for the money and that’s the God honest truth. There’s history and diversity and that’s what I love about Peel Here. [People] are putting art on something that’s temporary, but it’s still art. This is what I like. Once like minded people get together, you can do anything.”
When asked about why the vibe of the show and the comradery between everyone is the way it is he described the nature of the artwork, “There’s nothing in here that’s threatening to each other.” He said that in the sticker community there’s no competition to be better than anyone else or to cross someone out because you don’t like their work. Kids who grew up admiring their favorite artist have a chance to be on the same level as them at the show. Artist MAS, said it’s all about “Respect. In this community, it’s all love. You meet other artist and you tell them ‘Hey I dig what your doing. Let me have some of your stuff and I’ll give you some of mine.’ It’s all love because everyone wants to expand. It’s a community.” MAS also thanked Rick for hosting the event. “Big ups to Rick. He has people in the show who are big names next to guys who are coming up. And he’s giving them a place where everyone is the same and equal.” Throughout the night the Ghetto Mansion was packed wall to wall with adhesive art lovers and artist from all over L.A. and the U.S.
Artist like NOMAD, Tiki Jay One, Restitution Press, Yo! What Happened to Peace?, Monk, Justin Kees and many more from all over the globe sent in their best work to be on display. The show kicked of at six o’clock and by seven the place was teeming with people trading, drinking, eating, talking and having a good ‘old time. Situated in the middle of the parking lot were a bench, street signs and mailboxes, which were plastered in a matter of minutes. Portapotties, inside and out, also became spots in which people posted their work. Next to said bathrooms was an amazing combo/mural of wheat paste that had work from everyone featured at the show. Parked next to the wall was the pink “Hearts Challenger” ice cream truck doing what they do best and that’s giving out stickers, selling candy and ice cream. Right next to the truck was the Hit and Run crew along side “You! What Happened To Peace?” silk screening shirts on the spot for anyone willing to wait in line.
Once inside your senses are bombarded by the smells, sounds and sights that make up the Ghetto Mansion. Stepping through that front door is like going into another dimension in which everything you know has been twisted and made into a sticker. Just walking through the door and seeing the workspace, tools and materials that abound allow you to feel the power and presence of all the artist that have come through and have yet to come. Rubbernecking and traffic inside the mansion were problems at times because Tacos own 455er was on hand working on his black and white sticker combo for the show. People couldn’t help but stop and witness the man at work. Throughout the night he kept a slow and steady pace building on it as the night continued on. Before even walking up to the second floor, stickers and artwork were all ready posted up. Between people coming and going the mansion was filled with a calm and serene energy through out the night.
The second floor featured the majority of the submitted artwork all over the walls, doors and everywhere in between. However the main attraction that caught everyone’s immediate attention was the colossal combo compiled of nothing but submitted work. The combo, which took three weeks to complete, was composed by Sticky Rick’s wife, mother in law, and sisters in law, along with stickers, envelopes and letters from contributing artist were posted up. Each of the letters thanked Rick for his work on putting on the show and his contributions to the sticker art world. There was live music through out the night with Dj sets in between bands. The show was a success by the amount of work that was on display and the number of people who came to the show. It seems that Peel Here gets bigger every year and artist keep challenging themselves and each other in creating stickers and art that make people question their surroundings.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

DREAM Act Fails

In late October, Congress rejected the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the DREAM Act, along with the hopes of students who were depending on the bill to change their lives.
The DREAM Act failed to get the 60 votes it needed that would have brought the bill up for discussion and possible legislation.
The bill, which is supported by both Republicans and Democrats, has seen many reforms and adjustments since its inception in 2001 and keeps growing as time passes and voters become aware of it.
The problem with the bill is that there are still many people and voters who aren’t aware of the bill, but they are also ignorant as to how this legislation would drastically change the lives of thousands of students, the majority of whom are enrolled in community colleges and universities.
Students who attend colleges and universities under California legislation AB 540 have to pay for all their fees free from all financial aid outside of select scholarships.
They have been brought to this country as luggage by their parents at such a young age that they didn’t have a choice in the matter.
They are subject to deportation at any given moment if caught by immigration officials.
They are forced to hide and make ends meet at menial jobs drastically below their intellectual capacities such as waiters, clerks or manual labor.
The DREAM Act would help students currently attending a college or university and those who have already attained their Bachelors and in some cases, Masters degrees in law and medicine by allowing them to use the degrees they have worked so hard for and spent their life savings paying for.
There are those out there who argue that immigrant students are taking up valuable seats from American students in colleges and universities robbing them of their chance for success.
The U.S. is the land of the free and if you choose to deny yourself higher education that is your choice, but don’t get mad if there are those out there who take advantage of all the educational resources this country has to offer.
There are those out there who want to accomplish what their parents could never dream of back in their native countries because of political unrest, corruption and poverty.
Stop and think for a second how drastically different your life would be if you couldn’t drive because you can’t attain a drivers license?
Think about if you couldn’t get a decent, respectable job that paid you the state minimum wage with possible health benefits.
Think about if you didn’t qualify for any kind of financial aid and had to pay for your schooling while still maintaining a home.
Imagine not having any help from any type of government service while keeping a low profile from fear of being deported and yet you are college educated in this country.
This is what the students relying on the DREAM Act have lived with all their lives.
They live in fear, day by day not knowing where their next meal is coming from or if they’ll even be able to pay the rent.
Immigrant students put in more effort and work harder because they know if they don’t, they’ll never get anywhere.
The average immigrant student has aspirations of becoming a teacher or lawyer because they want to go back to their communities and help those like them.
At the same time, there are those out there who see the DREAM Act as a free pass to the children of immigrants.
Some say the DREAM Act would only cause more and more people to immigrate here to the U.S.
Under the DREAM Act, students only qualify if they arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, attended and graduated high school successfully and have attained a degree from a university or college or are currently enrolled in one.
The DREAM Act would only benefit students who are asking for a chance to be legal residents of this country and the opportunity to work hard, get a well paying job, buy a home, have kids and contribute to this great country.
With the upcoming presidential election there is a growing fear that something has to happen with the DREAM Act as soon as possible because all of the nation’s attention will be focused elsewhere.
Yet, no matter how many protests are organized and how many letters and phone calls are made to congressmen and senators, people don’t comprehend the massive impact the DREAM Act will have in the lives of immigrant students.
It would give them a chance to be something they have all worked hard for and have paid their dues for, a chance to become citizens of the country that became their adoptive home.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The East Los Angels Classic Roosevelt vs Garfield

The funny thing that happened after the game was that all the friends I know at school saw me at the game. I was running around the stands taking pictures going up and down. i was on the side lines talking to people and again taking pictures. Everyone comes up to me and says "dude I saw you at the classic. I was yelling at you and you didn't even hear me."
It's amazing how many people know me now and recognize me and the work I do.

The Roosevelt High Rough Riders defeated the Garfield High Bulldogs 23 to 15 in the varsity game while the Garfield sophomores defeated the Roughriders 29 to 14 at the 73rd East Los Angeles Classic.
After losing the last two meetings to Garfield, Roosevelt football players and fans returned to Weingart Stadium ready to get some payback.
With generations of family both young and old attending the historic match up, the rivalry between these two schools is as strong as ever.
A Roosevelt alumni, and one time coach for both schools, Al Padilla says the rivalries origins can be traced to inter-marriage between families, “You come to this game and the mother would be sitting on the Garfield side and the father would be sitting on the Roosevelt side while their kids are out in the field going at it,” said Padilla.
“Stevenson and Belvedere feed the schools. A lot of these kids went to the same junior high and then had to be split when they went on to high school.”
Former alumnae like Yolanda Ruisen, who was in Roosevelt’s graduating class of 1968, says she has two nephews playing for Garfield and that they always make fun of each other and poke fun all in good spirit.
However, when she was a cheerleader she recalls the bus being pummeled with bottles and rocks as they tried to enter or leave the stadium.
Fourteen district council member Jose Huizar was at the game as a fan but was also there to give scholarships to the top two academic students from both schools in the sum of $500.
Huizar has been giving away the scholarships for the last fours years,
“[The scholarships] are given to students showing promise to return to their community and give something back,” said Huizar.
Huizar himself has been coming to the games since a child supporting his older brothers and sisters who were either in the band or on the football team and said that while the rivalry remains as strong as ever, the violence has faded. “I remember coming as a young boy you’d see gang fights outside in the streets.
Thankfully this game has gotten to a level that’s showing on a competitive level our community and schools pride in a positive way.”
Luis Cortez who was a Roughrider senior in 2002 said that now that the classic has returned to ELAC after being moved from L.A. Coliseum, the fans and players become more involved in the game, “The intensity of the game brings it out of the [players] and the fans get into it,” said Cortez.
“You can hear more of the fans, it’s really close [compared to the coliseum]. I would have loved to play here as a senior.”
Before the game, Cortez gave players a pep talk about the game saying, “As long as you put your heart out on the field, you shouldn’t cry after win or lose.”
Janine Olmos who was a student at Garfield in1979 has a son, Juan Lopez played in this years game. She also remembers when the rivalry was far more heated than it is now, “ I was a freshmen with the band and as we were driving out, our buses were bombed with bottles and rocks,” said Olmos.
She said that she’s happy that rivalry isn’t as bad as it use to be.
She says that now she can, “Watch my son play and see him have a good time out there.”
The games significance goes beyond the rivalry as both schools crown their home coming kings and queens at the game. Bands, cheerleaders and the flag drill team also had a stake in the game.
During half time they all faced off dueling each other.
As one school would take the field the opposite side would fill the stadium with boos and heckling showing that the rivalry is as strong as ever.
However, it was all in good clean spirit as the community got together to see old friends again and to remember their past as a new generation of students make theirs.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Illegal Immigrant Students ProtestFor DREAM Act Legislation

East Los Angeles college club members from the Student Advocates for Higher Education and Equality club participated in a mock protest to respond to the DREAM Act, legislation s.2205, failing to meet the required number of votes that would have put the bill up for discussion. SAHEE members joined protest organizer CHIRLA, The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, students from Glendale community college, UCLA and Cal State University Northridge in the mock graduation on Seventh and Flower in Downtown L.A. during rush hour from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. asking “Now What ?” Students attend colleges and universities over coming great economic and personal strides to attain degrees in teaching, medicine and law only to be stopped dead in their tracks because of their resident status in the U.S. Ana Verdin, who just recently graduated from Glendale, participated in the protest handing out fliers to people passing by wearing her cap and gown, as were others, explaining to them what the DREAM Act is and asking for their support to pass legislation of the bill. Lizbeth, who only wanted to be mentioned by her first named, said the goal of the protest was to “Send a message to the Congress that has failed us so many times. We need the DREAM Act and we need it now. We’ve followed the American ideology, we’ve studied hard, worked hard and we’re graduating. We’ve done everything [the U.S.] wanted us to do, now what? Now what do you want us to do? We’ve got our degrees, we can’t work and we can’t do anything.” During the graduation, students received a paper that said “Now what?” as their educational goals were being read aloud, the majority of them wanting to be attorneys and teachers. During the students impersonated ICE agents dramatizing the round ups of immigrants across the country and the fact that students can be just as easily deported. Students also marched around Grand and Flower as people were getting off of work, giving them fliers and causing traffic congestion. Director of the student support program at California State University of Los angles, Steve Teixeira was on hand to support students who CSULA and are immigrants. He says that they are the students who work harder while still holding a job and supporting their families, “A Fuersas.” He respects that they put so much time and effort to organize and realize that change will have to come from a change in government legislation. Emotions ran high as the mock graduation got underway and students chanted protest slogans like “Hell no we won’t go” and “Si se puede.” Valedictorian Imelda Placencia, an undergraduate at UCLA, cried as she was explaining who she has worked so hard to attain her High School Diploma and her Associates Degrees. The struggles and obstacles she had to ever come and endure only to be denied of her ability to use them. “The DREAM Act is not just another piece of legislation. It holds the future of thousands of undocumented students across the United States,” said Placencia. Hector Elizalde, field representative of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allerd, was on hand to let students know that the Congresswoman is supporting them and their cause as she was in Washington fighting for the bill. Elizalde read a letter stating that Congress would not stop working until the DREAM Act would pass and for students to not be discouraged and continue on. “Despite the setback in the senate, the house of representatives will continue to fight to pass the American DREAM Act. The DREAM Act students should not be left behind during [Senators] efforts to pass immigration legislation,” said Elizalde. He encouraged students to continue their efforts by calling California legislators and writing letters letting them know that the DREAM Act needs to pass. Alma Marquez, Director of Government Affairs and Community Organizing for Green Dot Public Schools, was also on hand supporting the DREAM Act and letting students know that they are behind them supporting them, “This is the civil rights issue of our generation, of your generation and of future generations and we must act now. We must hold the democrats in Congress accountable and as people who can urge other people to vote we must encourage them to be bold for you, bold for children who cannot yet speak. We cannot let another year pass without this legislation. We need this legislation to ensure that we have a well educated work force so that we don’t have to import talent,” said Marquez. Seth Brysk, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, assured students that they have the support of the American Jewish Committee in their struggles to pass the DREAM Act. Brysk said that because he knows how much of a difference public education can make in a community; they will continue to support the DREAM Act and pro immigration legislation's. “We must give students the opportunity to complete their education regardless of immigration status to pursue higher education, to obtain their legal status and to contribute to American Society.”

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ofelia Esparza Dia De Los Muertos Altar Maker

Renowned “Dia De Los Muertos” altar maker Ofelia Esparza, who is a former ELAC student, clarified and explained misconceptions about the day’s origins and its true meaning.
“An altar is a healing experience. It’s a unique way of celebrating the dead and not how they died, but how they lived,” she said.
“From my experience, most people see altars as sacred pieces,” said Esparza.
“It’s not a Mexican Halloween just because you see skeletons and skulls. The meaning of an altar is to honor our loved ones and to remember them in a loving way.”
Esparza, who grew up in East L.A. attributes her passion for her art and altars to her mother.
“I was greatly influenced by my mother and the people I grew up around when I was a child. My mother had this tradition of making home altars and I became involved in helping her,” said Esparza.
During those years her mother gave her advice as to why she celebrated “Dia De Los Muertos,” and why she built altars.
Esparza says that it is the essence of why she does her work “Las Tres Muertes,” the three deaths.
Esparza said that in life we all go through three stages of death: the day we die, the day we are buried and the day we are forgotten.
She said that the worst death a person could go through is dying and not being remembered for who they were and how they lived.
She contributes this to the reason as to why she has continued to build her altars, so she will never forget her family, mother and ancestors.
As a child, Esparza recalls her mother making altars at home and at the local cemetery with marigold flowers, candles and various pictures of her grandparents and great grandparents.
Esparza said that these three elements, the marigold flowers, candles and personal items, are vital elements needed for any altar.
“I got to know my [ancestors] even though I never met them and through the altars they became a part of my life,” said Esparza.
Over the years, Esparza has had help from her own children in building altars.
Her sons and daughters help in the construction of the altars, building frames and tables to decorating the altar with flowers, pictures and various decorations.
One of her daughters, Rosanna Ahrens was responsible for creating the visual presentation used by her mother during her talk at the Edison Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 10.
Even though Esparza has been creating altars for a number of years, she didn’t start to get recognition until she started working with Self Help Graphics in 1980.
At SHG, she began working with founder Sister Karen Bocalerro and other local artists.
Since then she has been involved with SHG’s annual celebration of “Dia De Los Muertos,” and has created altars dedicated to immigrants who died in September 11, soldiers who have died in the Iraqi war and altars for incarcerated and dead prisoners.
“SHG opened up many doors for me and as a result I was able to travel to many places and continue making altars,” says Esparza.
She traveled to Chicago to build an altar for the Mexican American Museum, and to Scotland.
While in Scotland, she visited a community that through her altar mourned the death of children who died in a bombing.
Even though people never heard or knew anything about altars and “Dia De Los Muertos,” they embraced and accepted her contribution.
Syvil Venegas, who is a Chicano Studies instructor, has been hosting Esparza in her Chicano Studies 62 class for the last three years.
Venegas has her students create personal altars and have been on display in the library for the last couple of years.
However, this year with the help of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano(a) de Aztlan club and Vincent Price Gallery’s Director Karen Rapp, they were able to host the event not only for Elans, but also for Roosevelt High School students.
Ben Gertner, who is an English and Journalism teacher at Roosevelt, brought students to listen to Esparza speak because like Venegas, he is having his students create “Dia De Los Muertos” altars for their class project.
Esparza will be building an altar again this year at SHG for its annual celebration.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dia De Los Muertos True Meaning

"Dia De Los Muertos" not a Mexican version of Halloween. DDLM is and has nothing to do to with going around in a costume asking complete strangers for treats in neighborhoods you don't even live in. DDLM is a family tradition celebrated in Mexico and parts of South America. In the last two weeks I had the opportunity to write a story for my schools news paper about Ofelia Esparza, a reknowed DDLM alter creater. DDLM has many aspects of it tradition and it varies with families, locations and generations, but the over all reason DDLM should be celebrated by Mexicans or anyone in particular is to Honor those that family memberrs that have come before us and paved the way so the the next generation could havething better than they had themselves. To never forget who they were because no one is truely gone until know one remembers who they were are that they were once alive in the same world we live in.. Esparza in her presentaion talked about her various experiences going all over the world doing what she loves nad helping people understand our traditions and involving them. However the major portin that I took from it again is the fact that DDLM is about remembering our ancestors and to never forget the sacrifices they made for us to get where we are today. This can be best described, as Esparza put it as "Las Tres Muertes." She explained that we all go through three levels of death in our life times. The death from the physical world, the death of being buried in the earth and the worst and most brutal death anyone can go through is the death of being forgoten. If no one remembers who you once were or that you lived how can you live on ? I was lucky to write that story because like other Mexicans I wasn't too sure what DDLM truely meant. I know about all the food and celebrations that go into it but never the true purpose or reason for it. As a result I have found new inspiration to start my own personal DDLM alter when ever I can and pay tribute to MY ancestors because if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here now would I ? DDML is a time honered tradition that is now becoming more popular thanks in part to a new generation of kids who are embracing their roots and traditions, along with Rage Agaisnt the Machine. DDML is one of those meaningfull times that has grown obscure through time, but now it's returning to what it once was, a time to remember those that came before us family, friends and pets.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Individual Tax Identification Number

It's safe to say that anyone reading this who isn't an illegal resident or knows someone who is doesn't know what an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is right ? Well no matter what your residence status maybe be here in the states, the government will accept your money whether your from another country or another planet. An ITIN is a number issued by the internal revenue service (IRS) to people who have to pay taxes in some form or another and don't have a social security number. Basically that's what they are a government issued number that allows you to pay taxes if you own your own business or because like most immigrants think, it will help you become a citizen down the line because your paying taxes. Well that has and never will be the case because in the end all the government is concerned about is getting its fair share of a persons profit, legal or not. Wikipedia has it that in 2006 1.4 million people filled taxes with an ITIN, 1.4 million people that's insane in the membrane yo. Yet they're all people who have come to the states with nothing but some clothes and a dream. A dream to be American and to open and own their own store not working for anyone but themselves and their families. I know this because my father has been doing this for as long as I can remember. He may not have always had the ITIN, but in some shape or form he, like all Americans paid taxes. Now this issue of paying taxes has come up in my life many a time, but because I don't make enough money to file taxes so I never really bothered. However having a job changes things, adding to that was the fact that I opened a bank account. This is possible thanks to the Mexican Consulate I.D. card immigrants can attain at the Mexican consulate. To get it you go to the consulate, bring you birth certificate and two forms of I.D. and proof of your current address. From there the card is literally given to you in the span of one to two hours on the spot. I have one of course and the picture of me there was when I was 200 lbs bigger and way ugly looking. The card is a legal government issued I.D. so I'm allowed to go into federal buildings, clubs that have bouncers that know what the card is and use it like you would your regular I.D. Some banks accept the I.D. to open bank accounts and with a combination of the ITIN, take out loans and get credit cards. The cards extent even goes as far as being able to purchase a house and cars. Any who apparently I need an ITIN to keep my back account so the government doesn't take away any of my hard earned money. I can just close the account and forget about it but something interesting came up in deciding what to do, there's a chance I can get back the money I paid for my schooling, which is a considerable amount at $ 250. I'm going to call the IRS and ask what the specific qualifications are and see if I can qualify for the exception that is stated on their website. There would be no real repercussions in doing this because the IRS doesn't disclose information on people with ITINS to the gov so it's all good. Having an ITIN is no big deal but it was something my father always stressed me to get, even if I didn't need it, use it or qualified for it. To him I just had to get it because he figures it'll look good if you pay taxes while still illegal. I still haven't called them up and found out what's the delio or even went to the bank to talk to them, even though I should A.S.A.P. For now I'll just think about the repercussions of having to attain an ITIN will have in my life good and bad. Just think about it, the government will know more about me if I get the ITIN, not that's it's a bad thing, it's just I'm shy like that.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Getting A Higher Education

With school staring for me next week I thought maybe I should explain how immigrants, like myself, are able to attend colleges, universities and other institutions for higher learning. First of anyone can attend these school's meeting the proper qualifications, but immigrants don't have to pay out of state fee's like other's thanks in part to the California Assembly bill 540, which let's us pay California resident fees. Out of state students pay around 180 $ per unite, while we get to pay 20 $ per unite, significant difference no ? but that's at the community college level, higher up the prices depend on what school your attending. AB 540 students are those who have attended a California high school for more than three years and graduated. Upon enrollment at a college students are asked to sign a "contract" that states that the signer will apply or is in the process of legalizing their immigration status. Obviously we don't qualify for fee waivers or gov aide so some of us make do with scholarships that don't question residency,family and of course work. Books are always a pain in the ass because they're so expensive and when you have a home to keep, suddenly spending 100 $ plus dollars isn't easy, needless to say we have to save up for the upcoming semester weeks in advance, like I did. Also the number of classes and what classes enrolled one is enrolled changes things as well. I myself am enrolled in two Honors classes this semesters, Philosophy and Humanities so I don't know what to expect and I've been saving up for the last two pay checks. For me there's also this gratifying feeling knowing that I'm paying for everything on my own straight up cash baby girl. I've only had one semester in which my parents paid for my classes and that was because I didn't have a job at the time, other than that everything has been all me. Going to school is necessary for us because we have to prove our worth to this country and society. We have to be productive members of our communities because if we don't help each other, other's wont and they'll do their best to keep us down and uneducated. School starts on Wednesday for me and I cannot wait for it because the possibilities of meeting new people, mostly girls, is extremely high and with all this new found self confidence that comes from having a stable job that puts money in my pocket, I'm going to make things happen. In fact I'm on the schools newspaper staff, but because I put my foot in my mouth and started shit in all the wrong places, that's now up in the air. I'm hoping she can forgive me for being a stupid ass and allow me to stay, but if she doesn't I fully understand her decision. Even though I cause trouble everywhere I go, I know being able to attend an institution of higher learning is a privilege, one that I fully take advantage of. I see other students who have free rides getting their classes and books paid for and even getting spending money from federal grants all so they can go to school, yet all the do is waste their time drifting trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives all the while complaining that they're stuck in the ghetto and how they'll never get out. All I complain about is the decrepit conditions the school I'm attending, East Los Angeles College, is in as it falls apart from being so old (Est. 1945) I'll make do with what I have and make the best of, after all I came up through the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Housing Cituation

Housing in Los Angeles is becoming expensive to the point that you have to live in a house with 5 other people just to be able to pay rent, bills and stay afloat. I have been keeping tabs on the housing market because I don't have a home of my own, yet. Since March of this year I have been "crashing" at a friends house and eventually even though they are doing you a favor by helping you out and you yourself helping were ever you can, eventually you'll over stay your welcome. However before that I started looking around eye balling places,checking out prices and figuring out how the hell I'm going to get a place of my own when people are asking 900 $ for a single room apartment while still asking for the first and last months rents. Things only get more complicated when you add a dog to the equation, a 1oo lb Labrador to be exact. For as long as I remember the housing market in central areas like Watts, Boyle Heights and Compton have always been high. Maybe it's because the landlords know they can ask for more money in those kinda ethnic areas without worries of people calling the city or complaining, but not in Downtown. Back in the day all the lofts that are going for half a million dollars now use to be cheap, dirt cheap and space up the ass. You basically had an entire floor to yourself for 300$ a month, plus utilities. To think that now you can't a no bedroom studio apartment for no less than 700$. Ever since I was riding the buses with my mom and sisters I had a dream of living in downtown in a loft. The idea of living in the central hub for one of the best cities in the entire U.S. To this day that dream is still there but apparently I wasn't alone and now other's are making that dream harder to reach by making everything so expensive and making it trendy. no offense to all the Gavachos out there but when you go to Downtown all you see is La Raza working or taking a bus to work. To think that now the lofts are renting for 1,200 a month and include a roof top pool, gym, Internet room, cable and dsl connections and a whole bunch of other crap like marble table tops and oak hardwood floors all so you can live as if you were in the suburbs. Back in the day all the upcoming artist and musicians lived in those lofts, but as soon as the properties were being bought up and remodeled, they all moved to echo park, the new artist hub. Echo park is the new place to be specially with all the families there which can be seen at the lake on Glendale Ave. Echo park has always been the plan B of dream places to live, but even now more and more celebs are buying up properties for themselves forcing out all the families how had rent controlled housing. Not to mention that all those old houses are finally being fixed or renovated all in the name of higher rent. Finding a place to live is extremely tuff specially when your on a tight budget, but now a days who isn't right ? For me it's even harder because of legal reasons and because i don't make enough money to live own my own. This is why Mexican families always have so many brothers and sisters living together because only by living together can they all afford to live comfortably. It's not that we don't wanna leave and get a place of our own, it's just cheaper and easier to live at home when you know you'll have home cooked meal, clean clothes, and a clean house to come home to.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

MacArthur Park Rebuilt

On August 8th Mac Arthur Parks band shell was re-opened to the public with a free concert, the first of 30. Now I first heard of this from the channel 34 spanish news and was dumb founded that I missed out on something this important happening in L.A. for those of you not in the loop MacArthur Park is notoriously know in the Mexican community as the place to go buy fake I.D.s, "mikas." The park is also know for the abundent amount of transients, crack heads, hookers and homeless people it houses giving the park the unique and distinct smell of urine. For years the park has been in decrepid conditions even though it's one of the central hubs for Mexican communities. Families pass through the area everyday on their way to home or school witnessing drug deals in front of them and other illegal transactions I would rather not mention. I remember that my dad would mess with the guys selling fake I.D.s by signaling them and pulling over, then before they can reach the car he would take off hahahahah. The park itself isn't that bad as people make due with what they have and ignore the problems at hand. The lake itself was soo bad that shopping carts, trash barrels and even dead bodies were a common sight. 2 million $ later and some decent police presence have changed all that now. With the cops at hand people dare not do anything in front of them because they're shit scarred of the cops. I have visited the park in the last couple of weeks and noticed little changes like more families around the park than dealers and hustlers. One the places I first lived around was MacArthur Park and to see it change from what it was then to what it is now is gratifying and heart warming. If anything it all started to change around when they build that Homedepo/ food 4 less shopping plaza. the jobs and new stores gave the community new life specially now that new schools are being built around the area to ease the over population of my almamater Belmont. Everytime I pass by the park now I actually feel like just walking around and relaxing ranther than holding my nose wishing I would be somewhere else.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Los angeles Animal Services

Los Angeles animal services is facing a major problem a problem most goverment agencies face, understafing. I write this because I have read articles on said problem and because I have experienced this problem first hand recently. It all started when I wanted to save a baby opossum that was injured on evergreen cemetery. I called animal services and asked if someone could pick him up because I couldn't take him. Their responce was that they didn't know if they could send an officer to do a pick up. Obviously it's understandable that they have more urgent matters to attend, but alas the opossum died over night to my. Second time around though when I found an injured crow I took him myself because some sheltors have a 24 hr drop off available. You can take all kinds of animals and drop them off. People can also take unwanted newborns or in rare cases pets they can no longer care for. One of the reasons for the understaffing is that they cover too much area with not enough officers, basic supply and demand. A few weeks ago I was on Soto and Cesar Chavez going to the Ben Franklin Library and a mixed black and white pitbull followed me all the way over there running by my side as I skated. At the library he ran around in the sprinklers and cooled offed from the run. I checked him out to see if he was healthy and he had a licence. I called the general number that's on the licence and got put on hold for 15 minutes. I hung up and instead called the local sheltor on Lacy st. I gave them the 411 and they told me it would take about an hour because all officers were busy in the field. I caged him in the libraries back lot waited the hour and no one showed up. I wanted to help the dog but I couldn't do anything else so I just let him go. Another crisis L.A. animal shelters face that's more significant that field officers is that they're understaffed with qualified vets as well. I remember reading a story about it in the times how there's a lack of experienced vets in L.A. It would seem that problem is getting worse. I myself would do what I could and volunteer, but because of legal restraints I can't do it. I just do my part as a responsible pet owner by getting my dog her license and keeping her healthy and safe. Other people don't think like me and there the one's who kill, abuse and sell animals because they're ignorant. People buy from pet stores or street vendors promoting their abuse and neglagence. Where I live people around the neighborhood know me all ready because I walk my dog ,Harleyand her mom, Brooklyn everyday. They compliment me on their behavior and their looks, which by the way is thanks in part to just brushing them everyday. Some have even looked to me for advise on nutrition and how to walk them and train them. I have given them simple advise that I myself have used and still do. I tell them that just walking for 45 minutes a day makes a world of difference when a dog is stuck at home all day bored. From those experiences I know that my place is to help people care for their pets by giving them the knowledge they need to do so. Every walk is a new teaching experience because people see my example of how I treat my four legged friends. However most people are scarered off by them when they see two 100 pound black labs coming their way. They act as if I'm walking a rot or a pit. There's dog whisperors and trainers all over the place but problem is they deal with the non-ghetto communities, that's were I come in. I have spent my life being a translator for my parents. Now adays I help inform people on how to care for their animals in english and spanish. Everytime I do I get a great sence of a complishment knowing I helped improved someones life with their dog.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

L.A. <3 At Crewest

In one of those "you had to be there" events that happen all over Los Angeles, Crewest(http://www.crewest.com/) was the place to be this past Saturday night. "L.A. <3" featured Mark Ferem signing and promoting his new book "Bathroom Graffti."(www.myspace.com/latrinalia) With live performances by legendary L.A. street artist "mear one" (www.mearone.com) and spoken poetry by Mike Sonksen "Mike The Poet"(www.myspace.com/mikethepoet) who has been gaining a following. If that wasn't enough Overton Loyd (http://www.overtonloyd.com/) was doing live sketches of Mike and mear as they did work. Ferems book consist of shit house poetry from the bathrooms all over L.A. and the U.S. Mark was selling and signing the book for 15$ which was as he said himself a steal. The book is a great piece of work that is chronocaling another type of graphitti art. The entire night was stolen by Sonksen and Mear as the crowd young and old was mesmarized and captivated by them as Sonksen recited his poems with a passion that Mear matched in his painting. Sonksens poetry went down a roll call of who's who in L.A. history from Ray Bradbury to our current mayor Antonio Vigarrosa. His poems took you from Watts and Echo Park to Downtown reflecting on the people that make up these cities. His poems themed from the racial tensions past and present, politics and everything else in between. All the while Mear was in the back going crazy like a man possed painting the city that he has lived in and loves. At the same time Loyd effortlessly sketched each of the artist so perferctly that one would think he spent hours, not minutes sketching. I could tell the night was a success because of the youngsters that attend the show and the look they had in their eyes. They saw me and my skate deck tricked out with stickers that they thought I was a slapper, not yet anyways. I passed them on to sticky rick as they wanted to start doing their own thing and making their mark on the world just like Senkson and Mear have done. However the entire night didn't belong to them, knowing he had the audiance with him, Sonksen took a break to let his prodiche who's name I forgot to get follow in his footsteps. With his mother and younger brother looking on giving him inspiration, he quickly got over his stage fright and layid it down. Senkson met him when he spoke at Hollywood High if I'm not mistaken and since then has seen him as a little brother. Senkson made it a point to encourage all the youngsters at the show too keep on doing their thing, doing what they love and never stopping. The whole even couldn't have been made possible with out the man that is know as Man One (http://www.manone.com/). Man one has had a long history of putting his work up all over L.A. and know in his older age he's become a business man providing services to corparations looking for some street style. He now curates crewest here in L.A.

For me this even was another evening that would have never happened had it all gome as planned. My intentions were to go to the "yo ! what happened to peace ?" (yoart.org)My brother in arms ranked out on me so I decided to stop by after work and still check it out. On my way there I passed a cute girl who once inside introduced herself as Diane. She's a street artist herself and after being looky-lous I asked her if she wanted to check out Crewest. From there on it was out of my hands as another random evening that I was blessed to be a part of. I met great artist and networked with them as this is what I want to write about, L.A. life and event's. Now I'm just waiting to see if Diane will look me up on myspace

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Dream Act

Well all have moments in which we make connections and realize certain things. A couple of days ago I had one of those realizations on my way to work. It was six in the morning and I was going to my local donut shop to buy a donut/coffee to wake up. As I'm crossing the street I see my friend/exgirlfriend(x) come up the hill. She compliments me on my new hair colour and greats me with a huge hug. She was on her way to school and her mom, who was with her was going to work up in the hills of hollywood if I'm not mistaken. I talk to them and make the small catch up chit chat, but once she left I still talked to her mother. She toldme that for the last 27 years she has dedicated her life to cleaning houses for the finacially secure. As she told me this I could tell that she wished that she couldlive in the homes she cleaned. Her face had such a look of longing and hope, but at the same time she had the look of a mother who has spent everything she has for her family giving life and spirit.I shouldmention that she was an immigrant who miragted here and had two daughters. One who is 35 doesn't speak to her anymore because somewhere along the way she pushed her away, so I'm told by her other daughter. X told me how strict her parents were with her and that they were also praticing mormons. That being said it explained a lo of her actions and interest but her desire to help illegal immigrants never really fell into place till I met her mother. Like most of the first generation children of immigrants she wants to accomplish the things her parents never did and sacraficed their lives for. She goes to a great university and is some what politically active but her energy and focus are misguided. This is because her desire to help other's from the life her parents live clouds her judgment. She falls into to the catagory of activist who want equal rights for the 12million + immigrants that reside in the united states. Since this whole "immigration war", as it's called, started people choosen their side not really thinking about their desicions. It's impossible to accept 12 +million people into the U.S. even if it was possible such a system and service would take years to establish, tax payers money and other valuable resources. In stories that I have read immigration officials say they arrrest and deport honost hard working people on the basis that they willingly broke immigration laws when coming to this country. I agree with their logil 100 % percent because they knew the risk they were taking and the problems that would come with them. Only problem is that people have forgetten about the children they brought with them. Children that had no choice in coming to a country they never knew of, children like me. I have spent the last 15 years of my life here and know nothing else. everyday I face the fact that if caught or arrested I qualify for deportation. I'm going to school and I never had a criminal record outside of a ticket that I never payed for. My only choice is to continue living in the shadows keeping quite waiting for legislation to do something about the 360,000 students like me who have graduated or are in insitutions of higher learning. Propostions like the dream act that would give us a path to legalization aren't receiving the attention they deserve. The dream act requires that people be in good moral standings, enrolled in a school of higher education for more than two years, no criminal record and excellent character. Pretty much the same qualifications other immigrants must fufill to become americans. Until something happens I'll just keep going to school bettering myself waiting to find an american girl to marry.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Krazy for Cult Show Opening

Today was what it was all about. Kiss My Booty and I went to an gallery on Melrose called Gallerry 1988 for the show "Krazy for Cult." Artist know and unknow interprited cult movies like Dogma, Donny Darko, The Big Lebowskie in their own way making for some great paintings. It was hosted by Kevin Smith and other cult movie guys where there but no one would recognize them if I told you, however Craig From "Malcom in The Middle" was there. The experience started out right on our way to the bus stop we met and talked to David Boreanous, Angel, Buffy and Bones. We got there waited in line with all the other early birds an just chilled getting to know each other. The show started at seven and the line went around the block of course. Inside it was hot, smeally and I was sweaty as crap. All the works were amazing, clever and insightful, pictures coming soon. Goldel Apple Comics which is next door was giving away free snacks and they where showing said cult movies in the parking lot on a 35mm film projector. Of course there was free boose so I wet my whistle and took a drink. Once we did and saw everything like talking to Jason Mews and other B-level celebs there we took off and headed for home with some tortas that we bought at the plasita Olvera. Not bad for a tuesday night hahahah....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lost Dog

We all have certain responsibilities that we cannot deny in our everyday lives. One of my responsibilities is to help animals and people in need, today it was a black and white pit bull. He followed me from Cesar Chavez and Soto, if you're geographically inclined, to 1st and Chicago at the Ben Franklin Library. There he ran around with the sprinklers cooling off and drinking water. I noticed he was nuetered so I check if he had any tags and he did. No name or anything but a city dog lincence that would identify him. I get my phone and for 15 minutes I'm on hold trying to talk to an oporator. I hung up and called again so I can be transfered to the North Central animal shelter. I told them I found the dog and looked him up so he won't leave. She tells me they'll come in an hour so I wait. After the hour I let him go even though I knew it wasn't the right thing to do. I called and tried to help him because the owners are resposible enough to nueter him and get him a licence and if I lost my dog I would want someone to report her so she can be returened to me. The thing that pissed me of is that I was on hold for so long and that animal control never came. Either way I did what I could.

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Plan To Be Awsome

So it was brought to my attention yesterday that what Rudy, my heterasexual life mate and I do for fun can be turned into something constructive. Since returning to L.A. in March I have been more out of my shell buildings conections with people at the art galleries and random people I meet and talk to who turn out to be writers and journalist themselves. Take for example the city of Los Angeles town crier Don Garza who I happened to meet on a whim passing by the offices of the downtown L.A. city council I think. Wih him was Ed Fuentes who's also some what know in the Downtown scene, mostly because he's that old. Talking to them they were impressed by the fact that Rudy and I get around to the art galleries. All we mentioned was the I am 8-bit show at gallery 1988 and the Dangerous curves show where Paris Patton took a sledge hammer and blow torch to a frozen Piano. Which now inretro spect would have made bad ass blogs by I fell asleep at the wheel and not having a personal computer of my own hurts me, but that's all going to change. Rudy told them about freeway watching and I realized that we are doing something and we could be doing something WAY more if we streached ourselves. I want to be a writer of sorts and seriously doing a coherent, organized blog makes a ton of sence. Looking around Ed's blog, www.viewfromaloft.typepad.com I skimmed through his links and found some great stuff. All of it doing what a million other sites, blogs and mags do but still great. The one that hit me in a sweet spot was www.labusgirl.blogspot.com. It's a personal blog of course but her comments on the bus system, stories ralated to the transit system made me realize that I have to do this. So here we go again, another transition that will take me to new places, meet new people and best of of build my writing skillz biatch !!! I know I have gramatical errors problems up the ass on the basis that I don't take the time to carrect myself, study and fix my errors and until recently I just realized that my my brain thinks faster than my body can react. With school comensing in September I need to bone up on my writing skills again to prove myself worthy of running the school newspaper. Writing is a part of who I am an even though I have been putting of I have found the inspiration to change that. I may not post here on myspace or my blogspot everyday but that sure as hell doesn't mean I wont write for that day. I have a bunch of stories about our random adventures going to galleries and getting lost, talking to strangers and finding kick ass stores and restaraunts all over L.A. One the the randomest things to happen to us is when we were getting on the redline and a Mexican metal head comes up to me and witha deep voice goes to my face and tells me "Black Metal Muther Fucker !!!" I replied by saying "damn straight." Shit like that happens all the time I just gotta find an angle to make it readable and most importantly readable to others.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Forgot About This Place

Hey I haven't been in here in the longest. Must be because I mostly blog on myspace which I know is lame and dumb sometimes but it's the most convinient and I have a wider readership on it. Ohhh well www.myspace.com/justanotherrandomhero