Personal History: Documenting Gang Graffiti in Los Angeles, 2011

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The following is one man’s personal history that starts with a move to Los Angeles, where he became interested and then obsessed with documenting gang graffiti and the world in which it flourished. The photos that accompany the piece represent a small fraction of the photos in eF Be‘s archives. You can view more here.

Graffiti is illegal. That’s really the main reason why I was initially attracted to it. We can discuss the significance of self-expression or dig deeper into the social ramifications of this ever-growing medium of aerosol exchange, but the bottom line is that it is against the law. It’s a blunt “fuck you” to authority, and that alone was enough for me to buy the ticket, and as we all know, once you buy the ticket, you have to take the ride.

My dream had always been to live in this world I had created inside my head that was composed of CHiPs episodes, Freestylin’ Magazine, Thrasher, Colors and Boyz In The Hood. That was all I knew about this mystical land of danger between the desert and the ocean. In 2002 I stepped out of a cab in Kentucky and rode a horse by the name of Seabiscuit all the way to Los Angeles. Upon arrival I immediately connected with some people in the skateboarding scene. I shot photos at backyard pools, parties and shows, and while graffiti was never too far from the frame, it was never clearly in focus. It was only after returning to Los Angeles from a brief hiatus in New York that I began to read the writing on the wall.

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Taco Research Department: 1980’s Mass Market Taco Making Kit From Minnesota

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Images and text Via The National Museum of American History.

Nordic Ware, a family-owned manufacturing firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was founded in 1946 by brothers Dave and Mark Dalquist, as “Plastics for Industry.” In 1950, the brothers bought Northland Aluminum Products, a small firm with a line of “Nordic Ware” products including griddles and steak platters. The same year, Dave Dalquist created a cast aluminum, fluted cake pan and trademarked it as the “Bundt” pan. The company continued to grow its product line to include specialty baking and cookware items, including the microwave turntable.

Nordic Ware is notable due to its history of product innovation through engineering, and its continued production of cookware in the United States. Sadly, it does not appear that Nordic Ware currently offers any taco-related cooking equipment. Keep reading for historical images and descriptions of the product, which we believe was the first mass market taco related cookware kit produced in the United States. If anyone has examples of earlier, complete taco kits, please drop us a line.

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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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