I don't know what I'm doing, more than half of the time.
Good show, if uneven. Tighten it up Bamford! This was shot in my old neighborhood. The show opens in a bodega on my block. Lots of other stuff there in AtV.
When I lived there, I was one of two white guys. Me and the singer from Royal Crown Review, who dressed like an extra from a 30's gangster movie ALL THE TIME. He'd walk down the corner dressed like a newsie and wave to my wife-beater wearing self the way that two black guys nod to one another from across the room, or motorcyclists give the 'two fingers down' salute on the road--a look of recognition because it was just us. Otherwise the neighborhood was Latino and Pilipino.
I moved out in 2002. I had seen the scouts. SUVs with white couples, twenty-somethings, windows rolled up, rolling along slowly, pointing at the houses as they drove by. I myself did damage to the hood by inviting friends to move there. Attracted by its great location, low rents, and proximity to more popular neighborhoods, they came.
In my adult life, I haven’t had such a ‘neighborhood’ experience, no matter where I lived. I made friends along the block, and was invited over to sing karaoke (scored no less, with a TV setup where you sang and it told you how you did) in houses that, if the owners were white, wouldn’t have invited me in with their family.
I’d never before been awakened from the alarm clock that is the call of a rooster. But here, across the street from a family that held cock-fights, there it was—a dawn wake-up call by whichever rooster was the big winner lately. And they served up great BBQ, or more accurately, bloody beef and pigs feet.
All this within a six block walk to an ‘old-man’ bar, where on a busy Saturday night, there were maybe 12 people in there, and they passively let us smoke, even though LA had banned smoking in bars a few years earlier. They wouldn’t hand out ashtrays, but would give us some other sort of mush device to get rid of our butts. Because the law said no ashtrays.
It was in a bar like this (I remember the name, but it doesn’t matter) that I last saw XX XX, and had a drink with him (though he was at my table, he was there because he was with mutual friends/band mates). The place had a popcorn machine that kept super-salty stuff there that patrons could grab on their own, ensuring they ordered a ton more beer. They also had a drop-ceiling with cloudy plastic rectangles below the fluorescent lighting to try and mitigate the sourness of it all. I remember one day looking up and seeing a rat run across the top of the cloudy tiles, making its way back home. I also had to stand in at some point and throw an ill-behaving fighting asshole out the door, though I never knew the bartender’s name.
I moved away a few weeks later. At some point, not long away, someone in my new town, my new bar, told me that Elliot had killed himself. I’m sure my reaction was to them, odd.
I went back to AtV a year later, and the whole place had been taken over. I had seen it coming. The bars now had large groups of people—outside, smoking. Obeying the law. Before, I had a whole one-bedroom house, $625 a month. Now I couldn’t get a motel-converted studio for $900. These folks had money and an agenda, though I couldn’t say what it was. Never mind that I saw a gangsta got shot and die in the street in front of my house at 4 am, where he bled out in the gutter. That was two years ago. Now it was prime property.
So…go Maria! Bring glory to the neighborhood!