Monday, June 25, 2007

"Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans," by Jean Pfaezer

You can keep your Steven King. This is the scariest book I've read in a while, and it's all true!

Pfaezler, a professor formerly at Cal State Chico, researched the ugly side of California history that the state, local Chamber of Commerce or visitor's bureau would just as soon you didn't read.

A lot of what she documents wasn't so much hidden, but ignored when it came time to recounting the "official" histories of many California communities.

It's a book you'll want to read with all the lights on and doors bolted.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Okay, Arnold, do you want the Mel Gibson or Isaiah Washington suite at the foot-in-mouth rehab?

Gov. Arnold Scharzenegger, who has done nothing to stop runaway production from leaving California to set up shop in Canada or other states, has basically told Spanish language media that they should drink the kool-aid. speaking before the convention of National Association of Spanish Journalists, Arnold exhorted Spanish speakers, "You've got to turn off the Spanish television set." Sacramento seems to be unaware of the financial benefits of California being the center of Spanish language media. For being such a savvy businessman, he seems rather willing to stick it to the entertainment media.
Perhaps he is unaware that Los Angeles, not Miami (yet), is the center of the Spanish language media. 38 million people -more than the entire population of Canada- watch Spanish language media in the US. 60% of bilingual households are cited as preferring Spanish language media, even though they may speak English outside the home.
Arnold also said, "...when I came to this country, I very rarely spoke German to anyone." Gee, Arnold, is that because not that many people in the US speak German?
The Latino vote is largely credited with giving Schwarzenegger, who had no previous political experience, his gubernatorial win. I guess he isn't running for office again. And he ought not to expect Spanish language media to carry any of his movies anymore, either. That goes for all of Latin America, too.
And when is he ever going to get around to learning how to say, "California?"

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just because I've not been posting doesn't mean I've just been sitting around the house...

One thing after another has kept me from posting; but I've not been sitting around going crazy over it.

The Getty just opened an exhibition of Manet's The Bar at the Follies Bergere. They've given it the royal treatment, with a room all to itself. Hard to believe that this painting is now 125 years old!

I took myself on an 'urban road trip' at the beginning of June, logging a total of 138 miles beginning and ending at my front door. I began with the centennial celebration of the Port of Los Angeles, which took me around some streets I haven't seen in decades. A definitive highlight was being able to climb to the top of the restored Point Fermin Lighthouse. The coastal fog obscured Santa Catalina Island, but it was a treat, all the same. I think it might have been the first time I've actually climbed to the top of a lighthouse!

I try to watch myself from opening my mouth on such excursions when not absolutely necessary (nobody wants to be that know-it-all on the tour bus who butts in on the tour guide). The employees of the POLA had scant knowledge of some of the sites, such as the former Fort MacArthur reservation, now home to the Angel's Gate Cultural Center, the Korean Friendship Bell and museum, the Fort MacArthur museum, youth hostel and marine animal rescue station. As it turned out, a number of the folks on the tour were locals of the port area, so we were all able to swap various stories about some of the sites.

Sadly, the tour didn't include a trip over the Vincent Thomas Bridge, although there are several monuments to mark the location of East San Pedro's Japanese-American fishing village and the fishing industry.
Few Angelenos know of the existence of an entire community on Terminal Island that was shipped off to the Manzanar Relocation Center during World War II. Not only has every trace of the community been bulldozed, but virtually the entire Long Beach Naval Shipyard is gone; all across Terminal Island there is new construction as the port enlarges both the shipping container facilities and provides more slips for pleasure craft. The map they provided each participant with did, however, include a history of the fishing village among the many historic sites not covered on the tour. At last, there is more inclusion of one of the more shameful parts of American history --and Los Angeles history-- getting acknowledged.

After touring around San Pedro and Wilmington, it was on to the second Culver City Art Walk. This year there was 150% increase in the number of galleries over last year. The town is definitely on the art scene radar, now. It wouldn't be incorrect to say that Culver City has become quite an art town --not bad, considering it was practically an urban no-man's land just a few years ago.

Sunday I took in the Los Feliz Village Street Fair and the second annual Lummis Day in Highland Park.

...And there were a number of events I didn't even have time to get to ...yet.