Carmen ~ A Story by Jacqueline Gonzales Reyes

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Tell Your True Tale is a project by author and journalist Sam Quinones, where he works with authors who have never been published and helps them tell their stories. You can read more on his website, and you can buy the first edition of collected True Tales from Amazon here. Interested in learning more? You can also attend a TYTT Workshop.

CARMEN

BY JACQUELINE GONZALEZ REYES

The summer of 2009 I spent in Houston working with janitors as they fought to renew a union contract.

That July 4th , local pastors held a press conference supporting the janitors. Several union janitors were asked to attend.

That’s when I met Carmen Sanchez. I picked her up and drove her to the event. Carmen was our shortest member, in her sixties, direct, well groomed. She was from Chihuahua, Mexico. She was always at union events. She’d been a janitor for 12 years.

That afternoon, driving her home, my car got a flat tire. I called AAA, but it was clear that due to the holiday help would be a long time coming.

So it was that I found myself with Carmen Sanchez in the middle of downtown Houston on July 4th.

I thought I’d just get Carmen a cab and have her on her way home. But she refused.

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Amazing Images from 1903 Book “The city and county of Los Angeles in southern California”

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The internet archive just added thousands of scanned book images from their archives to flickr. We’ve found some great L.A. nuggets all ready, and many of them come from an amazing 1903 Book called The city and county of Los Angeles in southern California. This book is by Harry Ellington Brook and contains images of all sorts, and descriptions of Los Angeles and SoCal at the turn of the century. You can peruse the book in full on archive.org here. It contains many interesting observations such as:

here is a great variety of soil, as well as of climate, in Los Angeles county, varying from light sandy loam to heavy adobe. The price of land also varies greatly, ranging from $30 to $100 per acre for lands adapted to grain,hay and deciduous fruits, without irrigation,up to $250 or $300 per acre for first-classcitrus land, with an ample water right. Land may be purchased in Los Angeles county on easy terms. A great many improved places,with bearing orchards and comfortable houses

 

Here are some of our favorite images… 

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Visit 1940’s Los Angeles in this Vintage Video

This video from the 1940s gives you a nice tour, including going inside the original Von’s on Olympic Blvd. Another interesting stop is a drive-through shoe repair business! Here’s the full list of locations visited:

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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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10 Years in Los Angeles ~ Photography by Kwasi boyd-bouldin

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Kwasi boyd-bouldin has lived in and photographed Los Angeles for over 10 years. His new project, the Los Angeles Recording, seeks to document his city, from Downtown to Hollywood over that period. Kwasi focuses on architecture, the small details of urban life, and the contrasts between soaring towers and daily pedestrian life. We asked him for 10 photos, one for each year to help show the scope and style of the archive.
From the project description:
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Wattstax (1973) ~ Los Angeles Colliseum

Wattstax is a 1973 documentary film by Mel Stuart that focused on the 1972 Wattstax music festival and the African American community of Watts in Los Angeles, California. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Documentary Film in 1974.

The concert was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 20, 1972, and organized by Memphis’s Stax Records to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. Wattstax was seen by some as “the Afro-American answer to Woodstock”.

Tracklist:
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GIF of the Day: Los Angeles at Night in 1985

Reddit user /u/BigMurph26 made this gif from the 1985 film Chronos (YouTube embed below).

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Fun With Archives: Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Los Angeles Items

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Los Angeles
Carleton E. Watkins (American, 1829–1916)
Date: 1876, printed ca. 1876

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new Open Access for Scholarly Content now provides free access to almost 400,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain artworks from their collection. We’ve gone through the archives searching for Los Angeles related items that we present to you for your non-commercial enjoyment. This use is part of our longstanding digital study and survey of Los Angeles, its artists, and its history. All images via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Real Noir ~ LAPD Photo Archives

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Gallerist Robin Blackman and her husband, LAPD Reserve officer have spent the last thirteen years combing through the LAPD photo archives looking for gems in a collection of crime scenes, mug shots, and other on-the-job photographs and negatives that were due to be destroyed. The result is a collection of about 50 images that will be made into prints and sold at this weekend’s Paris Photo LA. You can view some additional images at the official site, and also at this Daily Mail article. Keep reading for some of our favorites…

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Remember Your Roots w/ Rootcheck Vol. 4 – GTA Style Anaheim Chase W/ Arbe Kog / SUMEN / Betue

@Rootcheck – Remember Your Roots @LAtaco / Vol.4

BELIEVE IT OR NOT EDITION + ANAHEIM ARCHIVE #1

At first the plan was to cram the story of that night in, but some history of Anaheim came up in the archives, small detour.

If you want to skip all that and jump straight into what happened that night, look for the BOLD SENTENCE as a jump off.

Isek LTS and Arby KOG some time around 98.

Isek LTS and Arby KOG some time around 98.

Back in the day (96-99) in Anaheim there was a big ass construction zone.

Disney was building underground tunnels, Cal-Trans was all over the place and they were mean as hell in general. During this construction big ass chunks of the 5(lots), the 405(lsds dtd ek), the 22(aubs) etc. freeways would shut down and black out completely. A lot of bombing took place, kings/crews came and went throughout the tag banging days. Just195 and Earn (some straight OGs in graffiti) were holding down the Anaheim Swap Meet with a little hip hop / airbrush shop. Just195 had a wall behind the swap meet, with Lucha libre wrestlers doing their thing in the background. A lot of writers met up there so speaking on Anaheim, Masterpiece was sort of a middle ground for OC to meet LA. Earn and Just called the shop Masterpiece and in 1999 the MP2k crew was formed there, a lot of them are still around to this day.

The Lucha Libre truck at the Anaheim Indoor around 99 - Just195 / B2.

The Lucha Libre truck at the Anaheim Indoor around 99 – Just195 / B2.

In a way, Just and Earn took writers in at Masterpiece, and gave them a gateway to something bigger. OC writers looked up to the LA writers, and in some cases OC produced the same originality. Getting way off the point, but the BALL yard, behind the indoor, is where the dudes in this story all met.

Czer UCA / WGS / MP - behind the Anaheim indoor (Masterpiece shop wall).

Czer UCA / WGS / MP – behind the Anaheim indoor (Masterpiece shop wall).

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Los Angeles From the Air in 1961

What did L.A. look like in 1961? Dodger stadium wasn’t built, most of the Freeways didn’t exist, but there are a lot of fun similarities to that time and today. Explore them with this informative film from 1961, provided by the people at travelfilmarchives.com.