Summer Returns to Los Angeles

Let’s make it count.

J.T.

An Excavation of East Hollywood, Part I

This is the first of a three part series.

All photos are specific to a particular pocket of Los Angeles known as East Hollywood, and are courtesy of publicly available collections at the University of Southern California Libraries and California Historical Society, as well as at Los Angeles Public Library with the exception of two: The first, taken at LACC by L.A. Times photographer B.I. Oliver on March 13, 1969, and the second, taken by J. Benton Adams at Vermont & Santa Monica, circa 1998.

Before Los Angeles was called so by Spanish settlers,“the city” is supposed to have been known as Yaangna village by aboriginal Tongva people, with respect to what we now refer to as the L.A. river. This is according to Cindi Moar Alvitre, a descendant of the Tongva and Cal State L.A. lecturer of Indian American studies. An excerpt from Alvitre’s essay, “Coyote Tours,” from Latitudes: An Angeleno’s Atlas (2015) reads:

“Yaangna was the principal ancestral village that moved along the Los Angeles River for countless generations, before the water was confined and silenced in a concrete sarcophagus, separating the people from that which gives life. In pre-contact times people moved slowly, with the seasons, the food, and ultimately, the water.”

Alvitre also points out that Spanish invasion of the land in the late eighteenth century, which would eventually lead to “Los Angeles,” continually pushed out native or indigenous people farther away from their ancestral lands. For a time, the dispossessed communities found refuge along their ancestors’ storied riverbed. In Alvitre’s words:

“Colonization and missionization accelerated the pace of relocation as native people tried to outrun the colonizers, always clinging to the river…Yaangna became a refugee camp for tribal families seeking some sense of tradition.”

Finally, Cahuenga, the name first given to our special little library on Santa Monica boulevard in 1916, is Tongva for “place of the hill.” And since Cahuenga is also supposed to be related to Kaweewesh, describing “fox,” one can think of Cahuenga as “hill of the foxes.” Of course, more people think of the “Cahuenga pass” in Hollywood when that word comes up, but hey, I guess that does show the link between Humphrey’s Hollywood and our “East Hollywood.”

A few archival images of the area show hilly farsides, both before and up to the area’s time as a major site of lemon groves, hence Lemon Grove Park and such. The rest is history, as they say, although in a past that’s not yet past for our communities. At least, not if we’ve got anything to say about it.

J.T.

In photos: Two years on, from El Salvador to Guatemala, and Oaxaca to L.A., our pueblo lives on

Two years since our first sojourn through familial homelands in central America and beyond, one lesson remains: the need to continue discovering our cuentos in yet more places is as important as ever. Admittedly, this particular time is a difficult one for us to discover more of the world beyond familiar borders on foot, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take some time to learn about the world from afar through a good book; I’d say a good starting point would be Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America. Of course, it’s also said that a picture’s worth a thousand words, so here are a handful. More with yours truly once again soon, Los Angeles. And with hands extended in prayer for all the people of the world during this extraordinary time.

J.T.

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A military plane, presumably belonging to the National Guard, flies above Los Angeles

In Pictures: A Week that Changed Los Angeles for A Generation

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 80)

A group of police officers, sheriffs, and National Guard service-members at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles
A group of police officers, sheriffs, and National Guard service-members at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles
A line of National Guard service-members guard the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles
A National Guard truck gets ready to make a turn on Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles
A police officer, sheriff, and National Guard service-member guard the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles
A police officer, sheriff, and National Guard service-member guard the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles
A police officer and National Guard service-member exchange a word at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles
A police officer and National Guard service-member exchange a word at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles
A crowd of protesters gathered on North Spring street
A line of police officers forms a barrier at L.A. City Hall in downtown Los Angeles
A line of police officers forms a barrier at L.A. City Hall in downtown Los Angeles
A police officer holds what appears to be a rubber bullet rifle at L.A. City Hall
A police officer holds what appears to be a rubber bullet rifle at L.A. City Hall
A protester holds a sign at a protest in front of L.A. City Hall
A protester holds a sign at a protest in front of L.A. City Hall
A helicopter circles around L.A. City Hall, monitoring protests
A helicopter circles around L.A. City Hall, monitoring protests
A police SUV cruises by on Hill street in downtown Los Angeles
A police SUV cruises by on Hill street in downtown Los Angeles
Police cruisers parked along 1st street and Hope street in Los Angeles
Police cruisers parked along 1st street and Hope street in Los Angeles

“The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation…We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.” – James Mattis, Former Secretary of Defense of the United States with more than 50 years of experience in the U.S. Marine Forces

J.T.

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40 Cuentos

Did you hear about the blogger from Los Angeles turned fashionista?

It’s Los Cuentos.

In these last days of winter, I’ve got on hand my first bulk order for Los Cuentos hoodies by Jimbo Times. 40 hoodies, that is.

I’ve now got to sell all 40 hoodies before the first day of March in order to keep the production going! Can you help me do it? Colors come in Black and Maroon, and are available in small, medium and large sizes. You can place your order HERE.

If the hoodie’s not for you, you can get one for your friends or family! It’s a comfy, cozy and resilient piece to get through winter with.

Each sale earns yours truly a humble profit to keep the site and podcast running, but it’s not about the profit. It’s about the challenge; it’s about the unending call to adventure and success in Los Angeles despite any odds to the contrary!

So, what do you say L.A?

Let’s get the world Cuentos!

J.T.