What a Ride, Los Angeles; Our Final Flyer for BTS 2 is Now Live

It’s going to be a show like no other that day in Los Angeles. I sure hope you’ve saved the date! August 24th, 2019 from 4 – 8 PM.

J.T.

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BONUS: Back to School 2018 RECAP

It’s my pleasure to share this special recap vid with my community, both in and beyond Los Angeles. Please check it out as time permits, and tell a friend! We’re going to as much support as we can get for BTS 2 in East Hollywood, taking place again at El Gran Burrito this upcoming Saturday, August 24th, 2019!

J.T.

We Will Not be Erased: How Open Mics in Our Community Uplift Our Cultural History

Our second annual Open Mic was a second-annual success, featuring 10 different poets, speakers and other members of the community who spoke in front of up to 25 guests throughout the evening. Our guest list was diverse, with attendants as young as 11 years old and as mature as 60.

In my own experience, after more than 25 years of living in this parcel of Los Angeles, I never knew of an open “forum” in the community like those created by the three different Open Mics held in the area over the last calendar year; first at Cahuenga Public Library last April, then at El Gran Burrito in August 2018, and now, for the second year in a row, once again at Cahuenga Public Library.

I view each of these events, both individually and collectively, as achievements for a demographic in East Hollywood increasingly facing displacement from L.A.’s collective memory vis-a-vis gentrification, or the process known for “cleaning up” [ethnic] spaces for whiter, wealthier living.

In her photographic exhibit at the Armory for the Arts, Los Angeles based artist Sandra de La Loza describes her experience living in a city that constantly denies people such as herself, her family–and their neighborhoods–of space for their history.

For the dispossessed whose stories are not memorialized or recorded, memory becomes a vital space in resisting erasure, silence and invisibility.

With this in mind, by “holding space” for others such as the youth, families, elders and others who’ve attended our Open Mic events this past year, and by attempting to normalize such spaces on a consistent basis, my peers and I are taking a stand for a collective cultural history; for a present and future in the same vein of resistance against the erasure described by de La Loza.

In a commentary on de la Loza’s artwork as a “Field Guide” for others, UCLA Digitial Media Professor Chon A. Noriega recognizes de la Loza’s installation and photographing of thought-provoking, albeit temporary ‘invisible monuments’ in Los Angeles as the work of a “guerilla historian”:

The work requires photo documentation, gallery exhibition, and now, publication in order to have a continuous impact, not as a vicarious experience of another time and place, but as a model for civic engagement through archival research. Indeed, the ongoing goal of Operation Invisible Monument is to serve as an example of how anyone can become a “guerrilla historian.” In this regard [her artwork] is as much about promulgating a method or process for engaging social space as it is about generating and recovering historical knowledge.

Here, I think of the Filipino woman from last year’s first-ever Open Mic at Cahuenga who had “lived here for over 35 years” before taking up the microphone to share her story. And I think of Alfredo, the 10 year old boy who arrived to the Back to School Party at El Gran Burrito in August initially rolling his eyes at the workshops being offered, only to find through the course of the event that he was exactly the kind of youth our team had been looking for. Alfredo needed a space that recognized and uplifted his giftedness, and once he could see that our Party was just that, he transformed into one of our foremost little helpers, announcing the raffle and handing out prizes to the community as one of our team.

Lastly, I think of William Taylor III, who made his way to last Thursday’s Open Mic with stories about his time along Downtown Los Angeles’s Skid Row area. Taylor III graced the microphone with an ode to the recently passed Nipsey Hussle, statements of resistance to Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, and more letters of love for the community. These are just a few of the people who’ve been moved by our work, and there will be more.

In this respect, our events during the past year have also acted like de la Loza’s ‘monuments’ for the oft-erased and invisible histories of the wide range of people who’ve made their lives in East Hollywood and similar parts of Los Angeles; I’m excited about recognizing our achievements for organizing the events as such, and hopeful to see what else my team and I will accomplish with more Open Mics, Back to School Parties, and other monuments for uplifting our communities. Because yes, of course there will be more soon. We’ve just gotten started!

J.T.

Seeking Volunteers for Our Back to School Party this August 25th

We salute our volunteer DJ for our “Back to School” PARTY, as well as every donor to our fundraiser. We also place the call out for additional volunteers to help with the big day’s setup.

J.T.

Get Yourself Some L.A. Photography at our Back to School Party this August 25th,

I’m very happy to announce that for our Back to School Party I’ll be installing printed photographs of the L.A. community in what may be called the first “official” exhibit of four years’ worth of L.A. Stories through JIMBO TIMESThe exhibit will be one of several, as we are not playing about art by the community, for our community!

This is how it gets done Los Angeles,

J.T.

Matriarch, by Ceaser C. Tepekuyut

 

“The reduction of space for the traditions of the indigenous women and children–and those of their mestizo descendants–whose footsteps have grazed and raised the land here for generations, as those of our ancestors have done throughout the American continent for millennia, is a desecration.

To push them away from their home(s), and their businesses and livelihoods, is to push the land itself from its roots. To reduce them into objects is less than human; it is to reduce life itself. ‘Don’t forget: These are Tongva lands.’

 

Each figure in this mural is based on a real person, present and living among pueblos and reservations throughout Los Angeles, among Sonsonate, El Salvador, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, Oaxaca, Mexico, and more.

It is because of them that we’re here.

– Statement in Community,”

J.T.

Los Angeles Has Photographers

In the age of the smartphone it would seem that the world has no more secrets, but actually dispersed through the world are many gems still awaiting our ‘discovery’. Last night my eyes had the fortune to intersect with precisely such gems, and en masse, at the opening reception of a Master Photographer’s exhibit in Los Angeles. Held at The Lodge, in none other than my native ‘East Hollywood’ area, the work of fellow L.A. native George Rodriguez envelops audiences in a stunning blast through the past.

‘Stunning’ might also be understating the effect of the blast. For me personally, as a millennial twenty-something, there is hardly such a thing as the past before the new millennium to begin with, but I also live in a city where an endless wave of real estate developments and its chic new markets strive to place the ole pueblo at the edge of the future, or at least far away from ‘what [it] was‘. These factors together only make the past, in the historic sense, an even stranger figment to conceptualize, if not an outright absurd one.

Yet in George Rodriguez’s Double Vision, the past in historic terms is not only still with us, but roaring with a life-force so vivid that it matters little whether I know how to appreciate it or not; each photograph takes its place as a monumental reality to ‘contend’ with that any observer will have to reckon for themselves.

From the trepidation winding out like a terrible mist in a picture of Marilyn Monroe seated next to her Mexican boyfriend at a night out at the Hollywood Bowl, to the unmistakable charm and intelligence beaming from the mind of Eric Lynn Wright or ‘Eazy-E’ in a portrait of him, and much more, each of George’s photographs carry a magical sense of ‘time’, and just how precious it may actually be to be inside of that time.

The radiance beaming through each photograph is of course due in no small part to the photographer’s whimsical and indefatigable talent, but for the student of photography, it should be noted that the exhibit also benefits from the print quality of each picture.

Remember: as the exhibit features pictures from as early as 1962, absolutely none of the photographs hail from DSLRS, or digital cameras or photoshop; every photograph is from film, the ‘process’ and development of which can make for fine arts themselves.

Marc Valesella, French-American professor of Black and White photography at Santa Monica college, printed each and all of the photographs for Mr. Rodriguez’s exhibit, at grades more than justifying his title as professor. Chatting with Marc for a moment, the professor told me how each picture is a balancing act of punctuating exposure, or the light captured in the photograph, at just the right angles in just the right sections.

The professor’s passion for the work could be heard as much in his tone as it could be seen in the prints. It was a combination of forces. Marc was born in 1955. George, 1937.

Then, as if the exhibit were not enough of a treasure cove for yours truly, Professor Valesella encouraged me to go and talk with George Rodriguez himself for a moment. I replied that Mr. Rodriguez looked busy enough, what with the book signing and all, but the professor insisted, and accompanied me to walk over to where George was seated.

Standing before George and the table decorated with the books of his work, I had no choice but to cease the moment. I gestured towards him for a handshake, which he returned kindly, and on grasping his hand, introduced myself. George curbed his ear towards me to hear me more clearly–there were troves of people chattering through his exhibit–and I quickly registered the warmth of this reception. I then regaled George not only with congratulations on the exhibit, but on what was obviously a wonderful ride through the ages for him.

The Master Photographer thanked me, and then asked me about my own work. The rest was history, yet again in all its indispensable timeliness, as I proceeded to tell George Rodriguez of my writing and photography at JIMBO TIMES. A true discovery indeed.

J.T.

Window to the Inside: Decolonize L.A.


On Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of attending a galvanizing event hosted by the Youth Justice Coalition at Human Resources Los Angeles, in which an array of formerly incarcerated artists educated the community with breathtaking stories of how they came to realize their creative gifts.

The theme for the night was deconstruction, or decolonization, based on the concept of bringing new life to a traditionally “colonized” framework, as modern museums tend to be.

By bringing together the formerly incarcerated who have been “outcast” from society with teachers, activists, and other members of the community, the program functioned to reclaim public space in a communal, nurturing manner.

The program also allowed participants to recover “lost” time with their neighbors; including time lost behind bars, but also time lost as consumers, as it is all time that we lose from the naturalness of each other.

While each artist spoke, the group engaged in a reflective experience with them, looking back to recognize not just how much we’ve lost as a collective because of mass incarceration, but also just how far we’ve come despite it.

Ultimately, our reflections made one thing clear: as far as we’ve all come, we’ve all still got a long way to go to transform the world around us.

Staying rooted, however, or connected to each other, we can look forward to the work, knowing that we’re all striving for a better tomorrow.

To learn more about the YJC or HRLA, check out the links above! And thank you once again everyone.

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With honor and respect,

J.T.

With Love

Today it’s my pleasure to celebrate a year of J.T. with the Beautiful Gate in Los Feliz, but for the fans who can’t make it, I’ve still got festivities in store! Last night I got to playing with the site, when it finally dawned on me that it was time for a little collage of memories over The L.A. Storyteller’s first spin around the world.

The result is a new page for people to enjoy at JIMBO TIMES: IN PICTURES.

Spanning from the first days of my return to Los Angeles from school at Davis, all the way up to my latest voyage to Miami and back again, the pictures capture a life continually on the road, enjoying new treasures at each turn. I hope others can enjoy these treasures as much as I do, and find inspiration from them to enjoy in their own time on the road.

In the meantime, I think I’ll be picking up my camera again soon. I’ve given it a break over the last month-and-a-half, just as I’ve gotten more into writing for the site, but after taking a look at the first year of photos for the site, I can’t help but want to make next year’s even better! And the work of improvement is work that always starts immediately.

I guess, then, I’ve got to get back on the road!

Until Next Time Everyone,

Jimmy “Jimbo” Recinos