Introducing: A New Hat by Jimbo Times

Today it’s my great pleasure to announce a new hat by JIMBO TIMES!

There will be more details soon, but if you’d like to place an advanced order, we can MAKE IT HAPPEN.

J.T

Why Visit Japan, Part II

Nishiarai prefecture in Tokyo, Japan; Summer 2018

Nishiarai prefecture in Tokyo, Japan; Summer 2017

The year was 1998, and I was about seven or eight years old. I remember that it was some time just after school when my brother and I had gotten back home from Lockwood Elementary.

We’d sat down in the living room for what was supposed to be another afternoon hour of Batman and Superman on what was then known as the Kids WB, but that day, we were in for a surprise: as a band of characters from Japanese anime roared with life off the screen to meet us, Batman and Superman turned into afterthoughts. It was time for Pokemon, the animated series.

Although as a kids cartoon Pokemon hailed from an inherently magical world, there was also something almost nostalgic about their design, as if we had encountered their figures at some different time before. They moved swiftly, with energy in every motion, and interacted with pure curiosity towards one another and everything else around them.

From there, everything we thought we knew about cartoon heroes would be forever altered. They no longer had to wear suits and masks to cover up their identities, or be strictly “grown up” to save the world. They also didn’t need to drive fancy cars to drift through galaxies far unlike our own. And they could make mistakes too. Lots of them. They could be kids, just like we were, stumbling from one place to the next, and so we became inducted into the Pokemon universe.

And the series was just the beginning.

Not long after Pokemon’s cartoon series, Pokemon, the game for Gameboy Color stormed into our lives. Three different versions of it. We thus upgraded from our original Gameboy and Donkey Kong to a Gameboy Color for the Blue version of Pokemon.

And the game was even better than the series because it allowed us to live with our Pocket Monsters every day of the week at any time of the day with them, or at least it did for yours truly. I remember carrying my Gameboy Color with me everywhere, even underneath the covers when it was time to go to sleep. Back then, the Gameboy didn’t have its own LCD bright light to see the game screen through the dark, but I solved that problem easily by hiding a flashlight underneath the pillow. It was that serious. I had to catch them all, even late into the night!

Finally, as if to leave no room for strays, there came Pokemon, the game cards, including holographic versions that were almost sacred just to look at. Pokemon wasn’t a series then. It was a pandemic, a takeover of American life. Pokemon invaded living rooms and lunch hours and after-school activities all across the Western hemisphere, and I relished every minute of it. To this day, at my twenty-eight years, I still love Pokemon.

J.T.

Workshop Flyers Now Ready for Our Back to School Party this August 25th


I’m very happy to announce that today our workshop flyers, courtesy of Samanta Helou‘s and The Think Farms support, and which each attendant in our workshops will receive a printed copy of upon registration, are finally ready for the big time!

NOTE: When my peers and I went to school in the area, we all qualified for lunch tickets. Tickets were a mostly yellow-orangeish background color with dark blueish interior. I like the idea of the flyer being like a “ticket” as well. One inspired by the free and open to the public essence that our lunch tickets signified.

It is happening Los Angeles,

J.T.

Workshops Now Ready for Our Back to School Party this August 25th

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Randy Ertll knows it’s going to be great!

Including:

Tenants’ Rights with the L.A. Tenants Union

Literature and Literacy with Salvadoran-American Author Randy Jurado Ertll

Book Publishing with Ponte las Pilas Press’s Viva Padilla

How to Start your own Company

Buy Back the Block on Branding & Apparel Making

Oral Histories/This Side of Hoover

Youth Summer Program Development

Women’s Self Defense with Peace Over Violence

Math Strategies

Live Art with Swayze

Y EN ESPANOL:

Derechos de Inquilinos con Los Angeles Tenants Union

Como Escribir Tu Propio Libro con escritor Salvadoreño-Americano Randy Jurado Ertll

Como Convertirse en un Publicador de Libros con Viva Padilla, de Ponte las Pilas Press

Como Empezar tu Propia Companía

Como Empezar tu Propia Línea de Ropa con Buy Back the Block

Historias Orales y Fotografía con This Side of Hoover

Como Crear Programas de Verano para Jóvenes

Defensa Personal Para Mujeres con Peace Over Violence

Estrategias Para Aprender Matemáticas

Pintura en Vivo con Swayze

Todo gratis para el pueblo! Or All free of charge and open to the pueblo! Saturday, August 25, 2018 at El Gran Burrito, 3 – 5 PM, Los Angeles, CA

J.T.

La Gentrificación del Pueblo Continuará

Hasta que el pueblo se levanta y dice ya basta.

A walk through any neighborhood is the most effective way to take in a culture. This afternoon through my own, at the intersection of Madison and Willow Brook avenue, I took a moment to photograph the complex above, which is now in the process of redevelopment. Around the abandoned buildings, power lines idle next to nestles of leaves from tall trees branching out through air. East of the complex, a crosswalk away, is Lockwood Elementary school, where my old friends and I went to school, and where now even some of the children of those old friends go to school.

Today Lockwood Elementary is no longer just one school, but ‘two in one,’ as the site is now split between the traditional Los Angeles Unified School District program (LAUSD), and a charter school overseen by Citizens of the World – Silver Lake Charter (CWC), which serves ‘qualified’ students whose enrollment is based on a ‘lottery.’ But Lockwood Elementary is actually not located in the famed Silver Lake area; instead, it’s in what’s known officially, according to the LA City Clerk, as ‘East Hollywood.’

In any case, when my peers and I finished fifth grade at Lockwood, our next stop was Thomas Starr King Middle School (King MS). King was located East of Virgil avenue on Fountain avenue, and at just under a mile away from Lockwood, if one made the trek to King MS on foot from say, Madison and Willow Brook Avenues, they might reason that the school was actually better situated to serve students located in the wealthier Los Feliz area.

An urban policy planner might say this distance would be an easy fix, however; all the parents at Madison and Willow Brook Avenues had to do was drive their kids to King MS. Of course, that just meant the parents had to be able to afford a car, which wasn’t always the case for many of the single Latina mothers who oversaw many of my peers and I. In 2008, according to the L.A. Times, the median household income for families in East Hollywood was $29,927, while only 13.4% of adults in the neighborhood had a college degree.

Even so, at just under a mile of walking distance to the school, the daily trek couldn’t be that bad of a slog, right? Some mamas did it. Indeed, some had to. There wasn’t a whole lot of support for them otherwise.

When my peers and I finished at King MS, what followed was John Marshall High School (JMHS) for ninth through twelfth grade. At just about two miles walking distance from the old apartment complex at Madison and Willow Brook avenues, Marshall High School was unquestionably farther east of Virgil avenue. Unlike King MS, which an urban planner could argue was located between ‘East Hollywood’ and Los Feliz to serve both areas, Marshall High School was definitely located in the Los Feliz and Silver Lake areas.

As such, Marshall High School was definitely designed to serve the students of parents there. According to the L.A. Times, in Silver Lake, the median household income in 2008 was almost twice that of East Hollywood’s, at $54,339, with nearly three times the rate of adults in Silver Lake with a college degree at 36.2%. In neighboring Los Feliz, the median household income was $50,793. Los Feliz also had more than three times the rate of adults in East Hollywood with a college degree, at 42.7%.

Despite lacking much in terms of income versus these neighboring areas, and hailing straight out of our homes as “first generation” students, many of my peers and I made it in through the gates at Marshall, either by carpooling with one parent or another, or by taking the Metro 175 bus for those of us who could catch it early enough in the mornings.

Only 48% of the class that my peers and I entered into Marshall with in 2004 would walk out of the school with their diploma in 2008.


Was that paltry graduation rate planned? With ten years of hindsight from the day of graduation, it’s clear it certainly wasn’t planned against. From the time my peers and I were at Lockwood, all the way through our time at Marshall, there wasn’t exactly a cultural plan from the urban policy planners around us and the elected leadership at the time–Mayor Garcetti was the local Council Member for East Hollywood from 2001 – 2012–to get young people from our neighborhood successfully to college and back.

Should that have been the work of urban policy planners in the first place? One may argue that it was not; yet it’s precisely that same lack of accountability which leads me to believe that in a significant way, the neighborhood surrounding the old complex at Madison and Willow Brook avenues, like many neighborhoods all across Los Angeles, was either supposed to get with the program, or just get lost. Parents in our vecindad were supposed to run with the market, or be Left Behind.

Similarly, today’s redevelopment of the old complex at Madison and Willow Brook avenues is a matter of getting with the program. Except that the program of the new complex at the intersection will be one of sleek buildings, the flaunt of which will be accentuated by bold fonts, and the grounds of which will be guarded by steep fences shrouding the complex in seclusion and high visibility all at once, thereby earning its ask for the unenviable rent prices it’s destined for; rent prices that virtually none of the trabajadores now reconstructing the complex day by day, nor any of their vecinos in the pueblo surrounding the complex, will be able afford for them and their children.

Asi es. Y asi sera, me dirian tantos compadres en los trabajos por ahi. Pero asi es hasta que nosotros decimos no mas, Los Angeles.

Despite the odds, there is reason to be only more optimistic about challenging this lack of accountability for L.A.’s neighborhoods, or this lack of protection for so many of the working families who make them. Everywhere in Los Angeles a resistance is growing to the “old” order of power, which has stifled pueblos like those of my peers and I, and our movements, throughout The City, for decades.

I’ve got a feeling, then, that even at the intersection of Madison and Willow Brook avenues, a resistance to pricing out the pueblo and its children can grow in the area too. It may not do so overnight, nor even over the course of tomorrow. But it will rise and make its voice heard, one day at a time.

Asi es. Y asi sera, Los Angeles.

J.T.