Four Years of Jimbo Times: The L.A. Storyteller

JIMBO TIMES began just a little over four years ago following an epiphanous walk from my mom’s newsstand on Santa Monica boulevard the evening of August 19, 2014. It was near mid-night when the idea took hold of me, and I can still remember crawling from the apartment bedroom into the bathroom with the same laptop I write these words on now to spill out an ode to the city I call home.

Four years later, with the Back to School Party, a day of art, workshops and music for youth and families in my neighborhood less than a week behind me, I can think of no better place to be with J.T: The L.A. Storyteller.

If I’m fortunate enough to get four more years of this magical glitz through the stars, the idea is to do so not alone, but alongside more of Los Cuentos. Not only Los Cuentos, the shirts by Jimbo Times, but also with Los Cuentos de nuestro pueblo, Los Angeles.

What do you say, L.A? Do we dare dream of what could still be, might be, or should be if we only put our minds to it?

J.T.

It’s Summertime in Los Angeles,

And we’re going to work.

On August 25, 2018 at El Gran Burrito in Los Angeles, California:

We’re putting together another first-of-its-kind event for our community, including workshops for locals, performances, an Open Mic, and a major “BACK TO SCHOOL” raffle for our students. It’s one you won’t want to miss!

J.T.

L.A. Metro’s Buses Are for Writers

I can still remember riding Metro’s 780 bus –from North Vermont and Prospect in the Los Feliz neighborhood–out towards Pasadena City College. With my notebooks in hand, I mused about the world I viewed through the windows. Still a teenager at the time, in true L.A. fashion I’d always take the seat all the way in the back-corner, right next to the windows, where I could watch nearly everything and everyone in front of me.

I started college in the city of Pasadena in the Fall of 2008, or the same year that Barack Obama would be elected to the office of the President of the United States.

It was a radically transformative time for me, and all I could wonder about through the days on the bus was just how much of the rest of the world was changing too. Somehow, I felt right at the center of this change, or at least near the center of something monumental, and I valued that feeling. It’s the reason why I wrote.

I often found myself as the only person on the bus scribbling away at a notebook, but didn’t think it strange. I also didn’t find it odd to spend whole evenings on the third floor of Pasadena’s Shatford Library, even if it meant I’d get to the bus stop after 9:00 PM.

It all came to me naturally as I made my way between what were two very different cities to me at the time.

In the evenings on the bus the stillness of nights lit up by the stars and streetlights above made for dazzling visions to take into my dreams. In the daytime on the bus, the bands of pigeons making their way through the clouds while people darted through the crosswalks made it clear that we were all in it together, separated only by whims of time and space.

And I always cared about these particulars of Los Angeles, seated quietly on Metro’s buses, absorbing the city’s landscape through the deep boulevards, on the way back to or from ‘the pueblo,’ long before it was the pueblo.

I’ve shared the days and nights with Los Angeles on the bus in sequences like these for nearly ten years now, and still do. But I wonder just how many people my eyes have actually seen through all of the rides I’ve taken, and just where they all might be now. I imagine most of them are still in Los Angeles like myself, but only Los Angeles knows.

Since those early days between L.A. and Pasadena, I’ve only gotten to see more of the world.

Other than my hometown, I’ve also been to Seattle, to Washington D.C., to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and New York, Miami and Chicago.

I’ve also been to Sacramento and San Francisco, to the wonderful city of Davis, to Tahoe, Santa Cruz, Salinas, Watsonville, Oakland, Berkeley, Half-moon Bay, Pleasanton, Chico, and San Jose.

San Salvador, El Salvador
City Center; San Salvador, El Salvador

I’ve also been to Mexico thrice since 2008, and seen a number of its beautiful cities; from Tijuana to Guadalajara, to Mexico City, to the city of Puebla in the state of Puebla, to Zacapoaxtla, Oaxaca, Ayutla, and more.

This past summer I also visited El Salvador, to the heart in San Salvador, and to Soyapango, Santa Tecla, San Jose Guayabal, and more. Not one to let the adventure end early, I also visited Guatemala while I found myself on the central side, including the city Guatemala, as well as Tikal, and the adjacent city of Flores in Peten.

In 2017, I even made it to Japan. To the marvelous city of Tokyo and its various mini-cities or Japanese pueblos in Shibuya, Ginza, Harajuku, as well as in historic Kyoto, the wonderful city of Osaka, and Hiroshima too.

I’ve met many wonderful people through each of these trips, and am still in contact with many of them. Together, they form what Los Angeles and the world is to me today.

Yet if ten years ago on that 780 bus route someone had told me that I’d get to see all of these places and more, I can only imagine how curious I’d find the idea to be. Now, I’m only more curious about how the next ten years with The City and the world will unfold.

IMG_4154
Atomic Dome; Hiroshima, Japan (2017)

One thing is certain to me, though. The seats of L.A’s Metro buses–whether on the back-corner or elsewhere–are congenial places to write one’s thoughts out, to claim one’s dreams, and to imagine all the other places we can see and be a part of. Just as well, the city of Los Angeles is quite the city to write in. Together, these are the ‘Goldilocks conditions’ that have transported me across the world and which continue to do so.

So let’s keep writing, Los Angeles. L.A. Metro is but a great place for it.

J.T.

Sweet Dreams Los Angeles

 

Even with a bounteous affinity for The City, there’s still so much about it which is left for me to get to know; but at the same time, there is also more for Los Angeles to see from JIMBO TIMES. Although The L.A. Storyteller is in its fourth year now, there are certain other incarnations for ‘J.T’ which I’ve had in mind for nearly just as long.

I can assure readers and other supporters that I’m working on it. For example, how about a JIMBO TIMES ball cap for a more grassroots representation of L.A under the sun? Or for that matter, a shirt or sweater with art inspired by photography from yours truly of Los Angeles, the community? My interests in more for J.T. are not limited to just apparel, however.

Most recently, I’ve very much appreciated the NY Timess offering of articles by its staff in both Español and Chinese-Mandarin. The L.A. Times has also begun a multilingual publication process, though it’s still in the formative stages, and I know that for this little set of pages, it would be fantastic to publish in both English and Español. Sixty percent of the American continent comprises of Spanish speakers, and certainly over my last few visits to more of the pueblos throughout America, I’ve definitely got more gente I’d like to reach with the cuentos now.

In the same spirit, I’d like to know how JIMBO TIMES can go to print as a dual-language paper for circulation throughout L.A.’s neighborhoods, or for circulation among its student bodies. I am nearing on four years as a partner with The Plus Me Project, and though in the past I’ve been able to donate postcards and posters to different classrooms and their students following our ‘lectures’, I’m now interested in how I can leave them with some written material just as well.

Maybe it’s nostalgic on my part, but there is still nothing like the feel of a printed periodical or journal for a literary and visual journey through the world. Indeed, it’s what this website aspires to ‘recreate’ for readers and observers. To that end, of course I’ve got to find out how it gets out there for the people to grasp with their very own hands just as well.

I am working on all of it, and more, and while it’s a continual process, I also know that it’s such for good reason. Bear with me, Los Angeles. In the grand scheme of time, we are definitely nearly there.

J.T.