Vendys 2010

Ξ April 29th, 2010 | → Comments Off | ∇ Beyond Northeast, Drinks, Food, Politics |

22100326-vendyawards1

The Vendy Awards are moving their annual awards from New York to Los Angeles to pit bacon-wrapped hot dogs vs. tacos in a battle royale that promises to decide the best L.A. street food vendor.  The event will be held on May 15th, in MacArthur Park, and your $50 admission gets you all the food and alcohol you can drink between 4-7 PM.  The event has already begun garnering some buzz, but for those of you who care about the larger social issues surrounding street vending, we hope to provide you with a bit of background for the awards.

In August 2009 Sean Basinski of the Street Vendor Project in New York City contacted us hoping to scout Los Angeles’ street food scene for the awards.  (At the time, his group was also considering Philadelphia.)  In my more narcissistic moments, I like to think he came to us because we’re experts, but the sensible truth is simply that we have a website and speak English.  Sean eventually made it out to Los Angeles in August and spent a few days meeting with some of the groups that have dedicated themselves to the larger social issues surrounding street food, the Loncheros Association for one.  When we were finally able to meet up with Sean, he was excited about our city’s vibrant street food scene.  Since everyone had to be at work the next morning, we took him to a few local spots as an introduction: Tacos La Estrella on York, and to the Figueroa Street Marketplace for some esquites. (He declined the cologne and DVDs.)  Sean struck us as altruistic and dedicated to improving the plight of street vendors; He simply needed a bit of a primer on the Mexican street food that didn’t seem to be familiar to his New York palate.  We sold him hard on L.A., and eight months later, here we are.

True $50 seems like a steep price to pay for admission to a three hour food fair, but consider the fiasco that ensued at the L.A. Street Food Fest: $5 admission resulted in thousands of people waiting in line who were denied admission, long lines for the vendors inside the festival, and a shortage of the more popular dishes.  Tickets to the Vendys are limited,  include food and drink, and are tax deductible.  Also, if you’re so inclined, the festival will coincide with the end of Contesting the Streets, an academic conference on street vending hosted by the UCLA Center for the Study of Urban Poverty.  I for one am looking forward to Queering el Barrio: Latina Immigrant Street Vendors Navigate and Perform Queer and Gendered Identities in Los Angeles.  It just has a catchy title.

contesting

 

Vote!

Ξ April 18th, 2010 | → Comments Off | ∇ 90042, Highland Park, Politics |

The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council’s annual election will be taking place next Thursday, April 29th at the Highland Park Recreation Center, 6150 Piedmont Avenue.  Janet Dodson, who is running for one of the eight At-Large Director positions, has asked us to spread the word about the election as well as her Nueva Vida slate of candidates. Ms. Dodson describes the group thusly:

This slate includes community veteranos, the as-yet-unjaded, business owners, and residents. We all share the understanding that only by organizing, does any community develop the political power needed to get attention from the City. We are all ready to work hard together to make sure Highland Park is not ignored, especially as we begin to face the coming financial cuts.

We have plans to be sleek and efficient, and we especially want to invite everybody, and groups, and organizations to come to the Neighborhood Council to tell us their plans and needs. We see ourselves as conduits to Huizar and Reyes.

Highland Park has begun to wake up. We have been under-represented for too long.

You can find their voter guide, but to make up your own mind, stop by the candidate forum this Thursday at 6:30 PM at the Franklin High cafeteria.  To read candidate statements, determine if you’re eligible to vote, and find out more about the election, check out the election website.

 

Parking Politics

Ξ February 22nd, 2010 | → 2 Comments | ∇ 90042, Highland Park, Night Life, Politics |

Every nation has the government it deserves – Joseph de Maistre

Maybe we Angelenos deserve to be lorded over by bar exam flunkees who couldn’t govern their way out of a wet paper bag.  We vote them into office time and again either because they stamp the right party affiliation next to their name or because their skin is the right color.  These fools can’t find budget fat to trim in a city where rookie firefighters average $80,000-$100,000 a year, but they have managed to symbolically ban bad words,  build a rail network that ignores the worst traffic congestion in the nation, and criminalize taco trucks. (Actually, I suppose they failed at even that.)  The latest example of bureaucratic stupidity is in our neighborhood’s public parking.  No, not the quadrupling of parking rates, but instead the closure of lots at midnight.  Specifically, the lot on Lincoln between avenues 50 and 51.  A new sign now threatens to tow those parked after midnight.  This wouldn’t seem to be a problem until you consider the nascent night-life at Johnny’s and The York, where some people like to drink even after their coachman has transformed back into a mouse.  I guess we’ll all have to pay for the valet at Marty’s if we want to stay out past our bedtime now…

More proof that you're smarter than your elected representative...

More proof that you're smarter than your elected representative...

 

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