Ξ February 20th, 2008 | → Comments Off | ∇ Highland Park, The Arts |
Not two days after writing an article extolling Debs Park, I get a filming notice taped on my door for “The Ultimate Warrior”. Is Hollywood remaking the Robert Clause (Director of Enter the Dragon) campfest with Yul Brenner and Max Von Sidow traipsing through a post apocalyptic New York City? Will Debs double for Central Park? Will plague victims appear on the big screen limping through the avenues? I have to work tomorrow, but if anyone has the chance to check out the action at Debs Park, let us know. The flyer promises “gun fights”, “explosions”, and other celluloid pandemonium.Then again, this all could just be a movie on the old WWF wrestler. But why would he be in a park? Maybe The Honky Tonk Man and Sergeant Slaughter have bivouacked in the Audubon center with his Intercontinental Belt. Only time will tell.
This Presidents Day weekend brought a gaggle of indie rock bands to the venerable Mr. T’s Bowl. My musical tastes are still stuck in 80′s/90′s punk (Social Distortion, Rancid, Dead Kennedy’s, et al.), so I’m not as up to date as I could be on our music scene. Also, as much as I enjoyed the shows, I do have a slight bone to pick with the converted bowling alley: Shouldn’t beers be cheaper than $5 a bottle? I’m all for paying the $12 to support the musicians, but if a bottle of Bud is going to cost more than a pint at the York, I want nicer ambiance than what they provide. Dives are fine, but they’re dives because they’re cheap. Anyhow, my brief impressions of the bands I enjoyed the most:
Les Hormones – The 3 piece San Francisco band played a nice set of very surf/garage-rock. Very raw and very fun. Website
The A-Bones – The Brooklyn headliners of Sunday night take their name from a Trashmen song and boast members of indie rock stalwart Yo La Tengo. Blues inspired indie rock that they self describe as sounding like “like Chan Romero with the Hombres doing Trashmen songs” (you do the cross-referencing on that one) makes for very danceable rock and an extremely fun show. Website
Haunted George – The eponymous artist with another guitarist (George kept rhythm on the drums with his foot) looked like something between the Misfits and Johnny Cash. Haunted George played simple rock music that sounded like a morbid spin on Local H. Songs such as “Pile of Meat” and another with a refrain that asks “Whatcha look like after weeks in a casket?” aren’t exactly innocent, but are way too much fun to be really disturbing. Website
Guilty Hearts – My personal favorite, the local LA band, knew how to play to a crowd. While scoring points with their song “Glassell Park”, the bassist stepped around the chicken wire to make out with a female fan in the front row. The most impressive part of it was that he continued playing straight through the face-sucking. The music wasn’t too bad either: very blues inspired with elements of garage rock and punk. Website
I like to think that the average Highland Park resident has a pretty good head on their shoulders and typically a lot going for them. Therefore, I would assume most everyone here is aware that 1) red lights mean stop, 2) trains are really, really big and 3) running a red light (1) right in front of an on-coming train (2) is a really bad idea. Seem reasonable?
Well yesterday, for the third time since September, somebody once again challenged all these assumptions and lost. In what is becoming all too common of an occurrence, yet another car blazed through the closing gates north of Figueroa only to be hit by the Gold Line. Fortunately it happened late on a Sunday evening (8:50, according to the Times), meaning the train most likely had very few passengers, and nobody besides the driver of the car was injured.
September’s Fiery Crash (photo courtesy Waltrrrrr)
I find this most recent event purely aggravating, for a number of reasons. For one, though low on my list, is its hindrance of me easily getting to Mr. T’s Bowl for a concert last night. Over an hour after happening, Avenue 57 and Fig was still blocked off by a half-dozen police cars, and numerous flares and cones.
The larger issue, of course, is the complete pointlessness of the incident and the ramifications it has for other HP residents, commuters, and Angelinos in general. Expanding the Gold Line out here and beyond has been a somewhat controversial and hugely expensive project for the city. Meanwhile, few people benefit from it other than the residents it most directly serves—i.e. us. We’re the ones who get less traffic and better commutes. Now, because of a handful of impatient morons, the city will be spending even more money on cleanup, policing, new barricades, and potentially settling lawsuits and so on. Plus, it obviously hampers the commute for anybody riding on the train, and anybody trying to drive nearby. Combined, these things surely make further expansion more difficult, and also make fewer people willing to ride our light rail.
Finally, terrible as it is to say, I couldn’t help but think in the back of my mind that I’m a little disappointed the driver of the car wasn’t in more trouble. Actually, there really isn’t much information at all as to what happens to these people after they are released from the hospital, but for as much damage as he caused, only a few bumps and bruises seems karmacally short of what is deserved. What will it take to dissuade more people from trying to outrun an on-coming train? Hopefully at very least, a huge bill from the city of Los Angeles.