Interview with Sam Sweet, Author of the Forthcoming “All Night Menu,” A Secret History of Los Angeles

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Sam Sweet lives in Highland Park and has written about surfing, music, and Los Angeles culture for the New Yorker and the Paris Review. His latest project is All Night Menu, a 64-page book that is the first in a five-volume series about the lost heroes and miniature histories of Los Angeles. The writing takes to you places you didn’t know were real but are right in your backyard and introduces you to people who shaped this city in unseen ways. Created wholly in Los Angeles, the booklet is only available locally, in stores like South Willard, Mollusk Surf Shop, and Anzen Hardware. More info at the end of this interview.

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and what neighborhoods do you like best?

I moved here in 2007. I like the usual stuff. How can you not? No amount of overexposure can diminish the greatness of driving on Mulholland, or loitering on the rim of the Venice Skate Park, or being on the top floor of the Arclight parking garage. Even so, I think you get the best of Los Angeles in places undefined by any particular attractions. I’m happiest when I’m doing nothing much in Lincoln Heights, Chatsworth, El Segundo. I love Sun Valley because it’s so fiercely unattractive but within that labyrinth of auto recyclers is a living culture that is unique to LA. In a more conventional sense, I think San Pedro is one of the prettiest towns in America.

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34.03°N 118.15°W ~ Los Angeles

A film by Omar Lagda for L.A. Taco.

Introducing the Miche Mobil from Fernando Lopez

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Entrepreneur and restaurant owner Fernando Lopez was at dinner about a year ago, talking about plans to market his new instant Michelada mix. “You know what I’m going to do, I’m going to get a vintage Volkswagen bus and turn it into a mobile michelada party station. Roll up to parties with my own taps, speakers, everything…” Everyone laughed but the seed was planted. A bright green shiny seed in the mind of someone who doesn’t give up easily. After weeks of fruitless searching the internet and the streets of Los Angeles for the right base vehicle, a perfect candidate was spotted less than a mile from the Lopez family restaurant, La Guelaguetza, in Koreatown. The asking price was too high, but Fernando managed to win the seller over with a combination of persistence, charm, and an all cash offer in crisp $100 bills.

Vehicle in hand, Lopez knew where to take it– S. Dominguez Coachworks of Bell Gardens. Over the past 9 months, he and the shop’s owner, Sebastian, have worked the vehicle over by hand, taking it down to its basic elements and building it back up again with hundreds of small details and touches to make it the ultimate party wagon. This VW has a full DJ booth inside, complete with two turntables, a mixer, high-end speakers, and video output to a flatscreen monitor mounted on the flip-up media sail. There are four taps allowing for ice-cold kegs to be kept inside the vehicle. The interior stereo system is also functional, with amps, a subwoofer, and speakers to make getting from party to party fun and comfortable for the I Love Micheladas team. The interior is perforated leather, which when finished will completely wrap the vehicle in crisp white perfection. The stock engine was completely rebuilt and shines like it just can’t wait to get out on the open road.
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“They Live” Live in Downtown Los Angeles

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Artists Stephen Zeigler and Calder Greenwood gave downtown residents a living installation inspired by the classic film  They Live, with signage and actor dressed as an alien in a business suit as seen through Roddy Piper’s magical glasses that reveal the truth of existence. From the film’s official description:

They influence our decisions without us knowing it. They numb our senses without us feeling it. They control our lives without us realizing it. THEY LIVE.

A rugged loner (RODDY PIPER) stumbles upon a terrifying discovery: ghoulish creatures are masquerading as humans while they lull the public into submission through subliminal advertising messages. Only specially made sunglasses make the deadly truth visible.

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Mexico City’s DJ SMURPHY Lands in Los Angeles

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THIS WEEK MEXICO CITY’S DJ SMURPHY STOMPS OVER THE BORDER AND OUT OF TIJUANA’S ALL MY FRIENDS FEST TO PLAY AN ONSLAUGHT OF SHOWS IN LA. DJ SMURPHY PART OF SPIRTUAL REGGAETONERO LABEL N.A.F.F.I. PLAYS #TRIPMENTAL MUSIC- THINK CUMBIATON RAVE MUSIC PLAYED OUT OF A LOWRIDER ICE CREAM TRUCK ON A SATURDAY MORNING CARTOON.

The electronic music scene in Mexico that exploded in the last few years is beginning to mature.. How has that sound developed? What’s the party/music scene in DF like these days?

I think music scene in Mexico has grown just by the need of young people to party. Is relatively easy to make it, and so fun to spread it around and get people response. Mexican people love to party, its our nature!!! and we do it well!!! DF is such a wild place, we have like certain different music movements around, formed by very different people -socially and economically – with very different backgrounds. You can be in a neighborhood in DF and move a few miles and find a total new place, also in the last years must people from other parts from the country moved here, and the vibe of the city however have changed a lot. It could seems that scene in DF is just at cool neighborhoods like Roma or Condesa – our “soho” (lol) – but thats not true. The city has a huge variety of ghetto places, with their own music movements – cumbias, huarachas, salsa, reggaeton, hardstyle, punk, tribal, house, electro, even hippies!!! – there are a lot of young people starved to party, but unfortunately, we have just a few clubs, and not much money! As well, to party in DF is quite expensive, most for young people. We all just wanna have some fun, tho.

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Recap: Artist Talk with Estevan Oriol

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Dax Gallery opened the exhibit “Like Father. Like Son” on May 17th featuring the photography of Eriberto and Estevan Oriol. This past Thursday, they held an insightful artist talk with Estevan to give a more detailed understanding of his work and technique.  The wide ranging discussion touched on subjects such as photography, social media, his recent lawsuit against H&M, and future plans for his career. All photographs by Erwin Recinos.

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Sandy Koufax ~ 1959 Topps Baseball Card

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On May 11, 1963, Koufax no-hit the San Francisco Giants and outdueled future Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal. Koufax carried a perfect game into the eighth inning against the powerful Giants lineup, including future Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda.

Interview with Peanut Butter Wolf

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Peanut Butter Wolf is a DJ, Producer, boss of influential Los Angeles based Stones Throw Records, record collector, and general inspiration to all of us at L.A. Taco. Stones Throw is releasing a 4LP boxset to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the passing of  his friend Charizma and the collection of works he and Peanut Butter Wolf  created between 1990-1993. Compiled by Peanut Butter Wolf, the anthology  includes rare, classic and unreleased tracks that makes up eight sides of vinyl, along with never before seen photos and ephemera. Based in Los Angeles for over a decade and currently living in Highland Park, PBW was kind enough to answer some questions on L.A., Charizma, and of course his favorite taco spot…

How is having the Stones Throw HQ in Los Angeles important to the label as a whole and how does it influence you?
Well, I was raised in San Jose where there was a loyal, yet very small hip hop community so I moved my way up the coast when I was old enough to live on my own. I started the label in my bedroom in San Mateo which is in between San Jose and San Francisco, then moved to San Francisco and took the label with me the following year. Lived there for a few years and decided I didn’t like cold weather or parking tickets and moved down to LA. A big motivator to moving down here was because Madlib lived down here. And I loved LA immediately after doing so. There’s a saying that LA is the city that chews most people up and spits them out in the first 6 months and if you make it past those first 6, you’re good. Luckily I didn’t hear that saying til after I was here several years. I always wanted to live here ever since my best friend’s parents used to take us down here for vacations every year throughout my childhood and teen years so it was ingrained in me before I even knew there was a music scene here. But I don’t think it would be the same anywhere other than Highland Park, where I’ve been for the past 13 years.
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Jack Nicholson Leaves Kid Hanging

This would never happen at a Lakers game… what was Jack doing at a Clippers game anyway?

L.A. TACO Interview with ABCNT

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ABCNT has always been a favorite artist of ours, as his work demonstrates the power and potential of art to invade the corporate-dominated public spaces of the city. His multidisciplinary work includes clothing, music, and a wide variety of visual art which all speak to the idea that the streets belong to the people. ABCNT recently sat down with Erwin Recinos to discuss art, power, politics, Los Angeles, and tacos… 

Name and occupation?
ABCNT, occupy all streets.

What type of work do you do?
Solidarity through design.

Favorite taco spot?
Pinches Tacos, Culver City

Is there an artist that you would like to work with and why?
Most likely a musician.. maybe Kanye.. make some fucked up music videos.

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Mahfood Taco ~ Jim Mahfood Gets Down at Grand Park

Follow Jim Mahfood aka Foodone as he creates a painting he donated during the LA Taco event held on April 5th 2014 in Grand Park, Downtown Los Angeles. Also featuring artist Vyal One. Music by Fat Larry’s Band. Filmed and edited by Jordan Ahern.