You Can Now Support J.T. The L.A. Storyteller on Patreon

It’s true! After six years with JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller as a free and open source for all, yours truly is now prepared to offer exclusive deals and content to subscribers via PATREON. Hop on over to see the first major giveaway!

J.T.

A fence with barbed wire barricades the site of the former Super Pan Bakery at Virgil avenue and Monroe street

We Raise It: A Poem for Los Youngs During These Times

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 88)

I know. It’s not fair. It’s been more than three months since everything up and changed. And since then, nothing has changed. Everything is still a mess. Home is stressful.

I know. Even if someone says otherwise, still feels like there’s nowhere else to go. Even when we step out, everything is weird. Strangers are stranger. It’s not fun anymore.

I know. The pupuserias are not the same. The panaderias take forever to get into. The burger joints aren’t even there anymore. Pockets don’t have enough to get much anyway.

I know. You didn’t get to say goodbye to your friends. Everyone knew this was the last year you’d get to see each other. Now everyone is fighting. Everyone online is just going at each other.

I know. Summer’s coming up and there’s no pool at the house. No AC. Not enough fans. All the sockets are taken.

I know. Family is stressful. Everyone says the same about how we’ll get through this. Doesn’t feel like we’re getting through.

And I know. It can’t be long before some more riots pop off. Cops killing Black people. Whites got no love. How are you supposed to walk around when they can get you any minute. Racism’s worse than corona.

I know. Everyone online is just stressing. And if there’s just one more argument–

I know. It’s not fair. Everyone is scared. It’s no love. Can’t get any love.

I know. It’s like a war that’s coming. It’s dirty. But rules are rules. If they hate us, gotta hate back.

I know. It feels this way. And I know it feels like it just stays this way.

I know it’s not a time for promises. But this is not a promise.

This is just to let you know that through it all, you’re still heard, still seen, and still the future.

To let you know that you got every right to be mad, like from the top of your lungs, ready to let it all out. We’re mad with you. We’re tired of the same old story too.

But I know that you know. That if it’s another day we get, we gotta take it.

So we raise it.

J.T.

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EPISODE 15 – POST CORONAVIRUS IN L.A.

In our 15th episode, we update listeners on the latest with JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller, and provide up to ten (10) predictions about what we can expect in Los Angeles following the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic over the last month under stay-at-home orders. Predictions include thoughts on the future of our community work in East Hollywood, the 2020 elections this November, the push for affordable housing in Los Angeles and California, and more.

J.T.

To subscribe to jimbotimes.com, add yourself to the list HERE.

All Great Cities are Must-See, for their People

In just one lifetime, cities like Shanghai have transformed from trading hubs for merchants only to internationally renowned metropolises for tens of millions of people finding a way to make a piece of the city their own. In China, Shanghai’s trajectory to stardom over the course of some seventy years is not so different from that of L.A.’s rise to global recognition. For each city, migrants and migrant culture are indisputably what make them so rich in flavor, style and depth. At the same time, in cities so large it’s difficult to keep track of just where everything is going, that is, in terms of who’s staying or who’s going, who’s coming, who we’ve lost, and how we might support those who we find along the way again. In my own life, at one point cities seemed to be the very end of the world themselves, places with no end for good reason: to explore indefinitely. Now, I view cities as another destination through the road, but not the end-goals outright; even after all we might achieve with beautiful skylines, bustling financial centers, and a litany of food and retail choices, so long as our people remain in need, still there must be something better to find, something better to create. Shanghai, you’ve inspired me to create again! To think BIG.

J.T.

Top 5 NOs to Remember with Relationships this Summer

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It’s time for the Relationship talk.

Okay, so this is a very special post, and for some of my teens out there, it’s going to be the most important post you’ll read on my blog all Summer 2019! You can count on one thing: I will be as authentic as possible with these tips because I’ve been there and I know it’s not easy! So, are you ready? Okay, here we go with the real.

1. NO, you DO NOT need to be in a Relationship this Summer. It may be hard to believe, and I know that for some people, this very “No” will turn them away from the post entirely! I can live with that. But what I can’t live with is failing to let you know that NO, you DO NOT need to live like all the celebrities, or like all the characters on TV, or like those other friends who are with somebody else right now. How can this be, even if you feel like the only thing that would save your summer would be to finally just be with that other person? Because being with that other person IS NOT the magical solution to how tough things get for you this Summer 2019. Think about it this way: if we pretend for a moment that finally being with that other person does make your life better–at first–is that really how you want to live the rest of your life? That is, do you really always want to depend on someone else for your happiness? The answer starts with a capital ‘N’ and ends with a capital ‘O.’

2. NO, you DO NOT need to message the other person every day to make sure you’re still together this Summer. If you are in a relationship with someone else, you may ask yourself: how do I make sure the other person doesn’t start talking to somebody else? Your answer might be: we should message each other every day. This is WRONG. And it’s wrong because your life is incredibly important. It’s wrong because your life is THAT MAJOR. What do I mean? Scientifically speaking, it’s a miracle that you were even born, which makes you truly unique. In fact, you’re so unique that you actually owe it to yourself to explore that uniqueness on your own. Just like the other person owes it to themselves. I AM NOT PLAYING. You have to discover whether you can truly play that guitar like Jimi Hendrix, or if you can truly pick up that paintbrush like Salvador Dali, or if you can in fact design your own clothing brand like JIMBO TIMES. These are possibilities you’ve got to find the answers to all on your own.

3. NO, you DO NOT need to just get away to be alone with each other. Ever heard of Romeo and Juliet? It’s an old story. Like a 424 year old song on repeat, actually. And SPOILER ALERT: when Romeo and Juliet try to escape their realities without being quite prepared for it, it doesn’t go well. In fact, they both take the biggest Ls. Have things changed much in 2019? Nah’. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t like the other person; I’m not even saying that it’s wrong to want to just be alone–and left alone–with them. What I am saying is that if you insist on spending time with each other, you have to be thoughtful, finding safe spaces to be in together and not just by yourselves, where you risk making assumptions about what you’re ‘supposed do’ when everyone else isn’t looking. TRUST.

4. NO, you DO NOT have to buy each other gifts to make each other happy. This one makes a lot of sense when you hear it at first, but it’s easy to forget it as you go along. Do you ever wonder just why that is? As in, why people spend so much money on things we don’t really need? I’ll give you a hint: it’s because we’re surrounded by movies and music telling us how when we really care about someone, we have to buy things to show them. It’s a very ‘American‘ way of doing things, but the alternative is much better: you just chiill. Again, be thoughtful about how you show someone that you care for them. You can write a song, land a somersault or kickflip, or simply run three miles for them. It’s not just that these options don’t cost you as much, but that they’re more creative. And 90% of the time being more creative with your life is just better. TRUST.

5. No, you DO NOT have to “prove” to each other that you’re loyal to each other or call each other out once the relationship ends. At the end of the day, we live in a world filled with choices. And if the other person chooses to be ‘disloyal’ to you, that’s their decision. You CANNOT control every decision the other person makes, or ‘control’ which way the relationship goes. Nor would you want to, because you have your own life to lead. Plus, if you truly care about each other–just as it is with your friends–you have to respect the other person’s differences. Does that mean that if someone you’re with suddenly chooses to break up with you, that you don’t do anything about it? Yes, actually. It means that if someone doesn’t want to be with you, you just leave them alone. Just like you would want them to leave you alone if you suddenly chose to work on yourself instead of working a relationship. Don’t call them out. And don’t respond to being called out. It’s a waste of your time. Didn’t you have a clothing line to design?

BONUS: (Relationship or no relationship) You DO NOT need to act on every emotion this Summer. Let’s be honest: a lot of us have our phones with us nearly 24/7, and this makes it difficult to get away from all the instant ‘goings-on’ over the screen, especially if it feels like “nothing else is goin’ on.” So we end up watching each other–especially people we have feelings for–coming up with ideas or ‘implications‘ about what we see, and then we get caught up in all these feelings. But often times our feelings actually cloud our way of seeing things for what they are. So even if your feelings tell you that you just have to message that other person–or those other people–it’s probably better to talk it over with an adult you can trust first. NOTE: I am not that adult. It needs to be someone who’s been in your life longer, and who you can trust will keep your feelings secret if you tell them how you’re thinking of approaching someone over an instant message or two.

Now, does this list cover all the NOs you should remember when you’re with someone else, or when your feelings seem to overwhelm you this summer? NO. The truth is that even if you read this list, I don’t expect it to ‘save’ you every time you get into an issue with someone you’re with, or when you get into issues with your own feelings. It takes time to learn. And we have to make mistakes before we learn. Lifetimes of mistakes. But if there’s just one part of this list to remember, it’s this:

Respect the other person to get respect yourself. If you put respect out there for them, you will see it come back to you. It’s like a circle; you get back what you put in. Doesn’t this take time to master? OH YES. But you have every reason to give it a shot. It’s a beautiful journey, friends.

Now, it’s been one month of summer already. Have you tried your shot at the free Los Cuentos Hoodie yet? You’ve got lifetimes to work on relationships, but only a few more weeks before the Hoodie Challenge is over. Get on it!

J.T.

How to Beat Summer 2019: Part II

Greatness Looming; Spring 2019
Los Cuentos with David; Spring 2019

So it’s the second day of summer and you did everything outlined in How to Beat Summer 2019: Part I, even though you didn’t quite do everything (since I’m still waiting for my next round of (five) subscribers). But even after that you feel like you’re still not enjoying the most awesome summer of all time yet. Why? This is because if you’re anything like most humans, sometimes your mood–like the weather–is simply going to change by the day. First, understand that June Gloom is totally real. Second, fear not! Below are three additional tips for you to start making Summer 2019 your best right now, right away:

1. TAKE A BROOM AND DUSTPAN. FIND AN AREA. SWEEP THAT S***. Try this for just an hour. Admittedly, an hour of sweeping floors at home will seem to pale in comparison to an hour with your team on Fortnite, but all of us know it’ll eventually be time to put the game down. When that time comes, think about this: everything at home besides the game, from the distance between the couch and the TV, to the way the pictures in the living room are framed, to the fake art on the walls and the old toys, and even to the boogers you hide underneath the desk, is all arranged exactly the way it is because of somebody’s doing.

And so, if you can make just a few simple changes to the way your living room, kitchen, or some other spot at home looks with just a little bit of cleaning, you right away boost your chances to create change in your social and emotional life too. How? Because the person you want to be out there needs to start with the person you are at home first, and the person at home always needs to get organized before they can do big things out there. Now, the hardest part of cleaning house is just getting started with the cleaning, but I guarantee that once you get going, you can really get into renewing the space around you as a therapeutic experience. Don’t believe me? Watch THIS.

2. WRITE (or PAINT, or DRAW). It may come as no surprise to you that I’m something of an ambassador for literacy, or the ability to read and write. In particular, I like reading books and talking about books and telling others about books they’ve never heard of and also looking for new books and different ways to get those books and even different ways to read them and—you get my point. However, have I told you about how much I actually enjoy WRITING, too?!

Here’s another secret for you to keep in mind. This entire website, and all of my creative work everywhere, started with just a little bit of writing when I was a teen. Don’t believe me? See it with your own eyes, skeptic. This is why I believe the most important part of summer is the creative work that you emerge with at the end of the season. Now does this mean you still have to write even if you’re not much of a “writer”? Actually, yes it does, because writing is a proven way for anyone to release emotions. But doeit mean that writing is the only way to release emotion? No. You can also paint or draw, or even dance. As long as you’re picking up one of those pencils (or brushes or feet) of yours and splashing ideas on to the paper (or canvas or floor) of something authentic to you, you’re setting up for some major payoffs this summer. Now, what to write about, you ask? Oh, don’t worry about that, How to Beat the Summer: Part III will have plenty of options for you.

3. LEARN HOW TO CUT YOUR OWN HAIR. THEN DO IT. Okay, now this tip doesn’t need to be read too literally. As in, let’s move one step at a time here. But think for a moment about the benefit of learning how to cut your own hair this summer:

I. You’ll save $15 every two months, which in a year becomes nearly $100 on savings since you won’t need to go to the barbershop or salon (much love to the barbers and all the stylists out there, though). $100 can get you a lot of Los Cuentos Merch.

II. You can’t get mad at yourself for a bad haircut (because when it’s your fault instead of someone else’s, it’s all good). The same is true when you make your own eggs, pancakes, or other meals. And ON THIS NOTE: substitute “Cut” for “Cook” and “Hair” for “Mac & Cheese” and then message me as soon as you need someone to taste the samples. It shall be arranged!

III. You stand to love yourself for cutting your own hair (or cooking your own Mac & Cheese, because if you look fresh or eat good all thanks to your own genius, that’s what it feels like to be a rock-star).

Now let’s be frank, neither haircutting or home-cooking are quite for everyone, so it’ll be okay with me if you actually avoid this last tip (though if you’re brave enough to actually cut your own hair, let me know). Your cleaning and your writing, however, will be absolutely key if you hope to win the next contest for Los Cuentos. Expect the announcement of our next contest in How to Beat the Summer: Part III, scheduled for this next Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 8:00 AM. Set up a reminders! You will not want to miss it.

J.T.

How to Beat Summer 2019: Part I

Los Cuentos with Pierre; Spring 2019

Okay, so you’re (finally) done with school and can’t wait to enjoy the summer shine in L.A. but you don’t quite know how to get started. Moreover, it seems like all these other kids have somewhere to go while you’re just sitting at home watching IGTV re-runs on your couch.

I’ve been there. It’s tough when your routine suddenly vanishes like the spammers on Instagram who follow just to unfollow, but here are the first three steps you can take on the very first day of your summer break to create an amazing time by yourself right away.

1. EXERCISE (yes, not kidding). This does not require WiFi, any long distances, or even that much time, frankly. The fact of the matter is that your body’s health totally affects your state of mind, which means that if you’re just sitting around at home all day, you’re more than likely going to get grumpy. Grumpy kids lead to awkward vibes, and awkward vibes are not at all what you’re looking to get the most of during your break.

So, does this mean you have to suddenly drop everything and sign up for the Olympics? It does not. All it means is that you need to STRETCH OUT your body in order to feel more relaxed throughout the day. You can do this on the very first day of your summer break in multiple ways, including the following:

I. 25 push-ups (or an amount more proportionate to your ability)
II. 25 jumping-jacks (same as above)
III. 1 Mile of light jogging (same as above)

I promise that if you can do any one or a combination of these at least three times a week, you will instantly feel better about nearly everything else in mind.

2. FIND A BOOK. TURN TO THE FIRST PAGE. READ THAT MF. Now let’s be honest, I know that flipping through the pages of a textbook doesn’t prove as IG-worthy as a trip to Magic Mountain or your best friend’s cousin’s quinceñeara, but I’ll explain how it’s just as good, if not better. Let’s be clear about this too: it’s true that when you’re assigned books at school and are required to read them, it can take a lot of the fun out of the reading experience. But this does NOT mean that reading overall isn’t an enjoyable, enriching activity for your mind. It just means that you’ve got to take reading at your own pace is all. Consider three key benefits you’ll gain from channeling your inner-reader this summer season:

I. You’ll improve your vocabulary, which is just better for everyone, including those of us who want to rap, those of us who want to go out on dates to drop a great one-liner or two, and those of us who simply want to better explain to others why they can’t tell ’em nothin’.

II. You’ll get away from home, even if you’re just home. This is especially important when you’re not really trying to go out to anywhere in particular but still want to get away from the predicaments of home. Now, I know what some of you might be thinking: your phone is the best way to get your distance, but consider this: your phone is a warm and tired object that rarely let’s you focus on just one thing. Over the summer, it’s going to need a break from you and vice versa. A book, on the other hand, is literally cooler since it doesn’t require batteries, and is much easier to focus on as it entails just you and the author on an adventure. The latter will not fail you. Trust me.

III. You’ll grow to see yourself in more of the world out there. Again, let’s be honest: your IG is filled with people who are like you but also not. In the throes of being similar to others you’ll inevitably compare yourself to others. But what if you’re really just comparing yourself to an idea you have about someone else based on appearances instead of reality? Don’t overthink it, though; Just consider this: reading allows you to relate to other characters and personalities out there in a way that doesn’t require you to compare yourself to them. This, my friends, is an extremely useful skill that you’ll appreciate being familiar with over the course of many lifetimes.

For a few favorite books by yours truly to get you started, consider Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, or even–if you think you’re tough enough–Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X. You can also check out my BOOKS section on the site for more recommendations, which I’ll be adding more reviews to this summer (because of course I’m going to follow my own list).

3. SUBSCRIBE TO JIMBO TIMES FOR MORE COOL STUFF. By far the easiest thing to do on this list is to make sure you’re in touch for all the latest updates with The L.A. Storyteller. There will be more poems, stories, contests for Los Cuentos, and a world of other stuff in the making through the site. Subscribing will also guarantee that you don’t miss How to Beat Summer 2019: Part II. So, what are you waiting for? Find the subscription button on the bottom section of this column and DO IT ALREADY! And if you’ve already done that, tell a friend! Or FIVE. This is not a drill.

J.T.

For My Favorite Ultimate Frisbee Team Ever

The spirit
Levitates

Leveling the wavelengths
Unidentified destiny

Drifting towards
The clasp of titans.

Time beckons
But lies distant

In a field fettered by the
Hurling of a thousand dreams

Destiny possessed,
Gravity is an afterthought

Dreams paint the edge
Illuminating the palms
Grasping them.

The bodies lift,

Watch
Them

RISE.

J.T.

The Soft Graze and the Pitch (An 8th Grade Student’s Poem on Doubt)

There is no other breath like doubt,
Moving through it are different pulses of

Fear
Anxiety
Sorrow

Mulling over to myself,

Am I enough?

My main concern
Is not being enough,

Why do I need to be the best to succeed?
Why do I need to become better?
Better yet, how do I become better?

I strike the field to calm my doubt
Stepping on the pitch, feeling the breeze
The ticklish grass barefoot
The soft graze and the goal,

Accept life for what it truly is
Accept that everyone has a dark side
Let out emotions and feeling,

Don’t hold on, but just move on.

Rest In Peace, Mac Miller <3

KJ