I was in L.A. for some meetings and went with my friends Iris Alonzo, who has a community and ecologically oriented clothing line called Everybody.World and Margot Jacobs, who is an innovative landscape architect, to an event in Chinatown. First we had some pho down the street, and the restaurant was almost half full with cops. A friend asked if their green guns were tasers—“Yes, they’re green so we don’t get them confused.” I asked about the fires; if they were now under control. This was Thursday night (December 7th)—“They’re maybe 20% under control.” Wow, that still leaves some room for a flare-up.

Nearby there is a small faux Chinese plaza, called Chinatown Central Plaza. It looks like a movie set and probably has been used as one. That night a small atelier, where local artisans like Come Tees make wild t-shirts, jackets and skirts, was hosting a sale and get-together in a room across from their workshop. Next to this was Ooga Booga, where they sell zines and some unusual art books.

Two young women stood across the way, talking and smoking. They were in their own movie.

After browsing the event, we went to a jazz club, the Grand Star Jazz Club, in the same plaza. The band were set up to one side, there was no stage. Nice grooves. Good beer. Soon they were joined by a sax player. Maybe we were now all in the same movie with the two young women.

Photo courtesy of the author

Photo courtesy of the author

I used to visit downtown L.A. and Chinatown decades ago—it always seemed like a place that had an energy—it is quintessentially L.A., but it has some N.Y. density. Well, finally it’s again getting some of the love it has long been missing. I hope the locals don’t get driven out, but so far it’s all very encouraging.