A single candle-light on Normal avenue following another fatal shooting in East Hollywood, the fifth in the area this year

Today, Put Your Sunscreen On And Get Ready for Another Walk, Los Angeles

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 83)

During a time of so much change, one is not unreasonable to ask themselves: what can I change? There is much work to do at home. Many lines to dial up, different items lying around needing to be stored in better places, handfuls of books to finish reading, and more.

But even when we see each of these tasks through, almost at the same time we close the cover on one set of interests, ideas, and responsibilities, we acquire new ones. Before we know it, we find ourselves swept by another cycle of work, traffic, and the need to slow down before it’s too late again.

Maybe that’s the single reason why death is so inconceivable: life as it moves seems like it can never be complete, even if sometimes it feels like it’s just a breath away from closing the covers on us for good.

In my own life, I believe I’ve walked through the same streets that too many young people have not had enough time to see as more than just more concrete they’re confined to.

I believe I owe it to each of them, and so many more lives that have come and gone, to continue putting together the pieces for serious visions of a better Los Angeles, one step and one breath at a time.

Here is to continue working for it, but first, to walk some more for it. The light is calling, Los Angeles.

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 63

Today I’d like to encourage readers to take a break from their phones, and to take a respite from the news, in order to devote some time to their own personal well-being.

For myself, that means walking, as far as I can go, to enjoy the fresh Spring air and the violet blue jacaranda leaves all across Los Angeles.

For you, if it feels like there might not be anywhere in particular to go, you can give yourself a random task that requires you to step outside.

This Tuesday morning, for example, I took some old black & white film rolls to nearby D & J Digital Imaging, which sits just a couple of blocks away from home, and which opened its doors again just the day before.

When I got to the store, however, Mr. D & J explained to me that his shop only develops color film, not black & white, and that my best bet from there would be the Freestyle Photoshop on Sunset boulevard, a little over a mile out. I thought then that maybe I could walk the few blocks back home to get the car and then hightail it onto Sunset, but quickly decided against it. I was already outside, and all I needed to do was keep heading west. I knew exactly which intersections I needed to cross to get to the Freestyle shop.

What I didn’t know was whether Freestyle would be open, but I figured that if Mr. D & J was reopening his doors, then surely his counterparts were also getting back in the motions as well.

Moreover, even if the shop wasn’t open, I’d enjoy some time apart from my desk and away from my phone’s screen. And while I had a familiar intersection in mind to get to my destination, at the last minute I decided to take a slightly different route, crisscrossing through a street I’d definitely driven past before, but which I’d never actually walked through. What struck me then most of all were the luminescent trees hanging over the block, dividing the light from above into what seemed like fractals over the nestle of single-story homes and apartment buildings along.

Then, along one of the homes, outside, a sparrow arrived as I walked past to dip its beak into a water-bowl set up for it. The bird seemed to celebrate the whole of the environment each time it raised its wet beak, only to dip it in again for another dab of freshness. Even if I might have walked a thousand blocks just like it before then, it felt like I had never seen a street quite like it.

When I got to Freestyle, it was open after all, though with the usual new stipulations as everywhere else. The attendant also informed me that while they were still accepting film, there was also a new process: before dropping my film into the bins set up outside for them, I needed to go online to set up the appointment and fill out a form. Then I needed to print out the form and drop it off with my film for a turn-around of about seven business days. Although my old film would have to wait a little longer then, I told the attendant it’d be just fine; I’d make another task of it. It was time for lunch then. My walk could continue, and Thai food it was.

J.T.

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The downtown Skyline appears behind a fence separating the 101 freeway from Echo Park

Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 48

Our city lives inside of us. Keep breathing, Los Angeles.

J.T.

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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.

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.

Tambien Aquí es Los Angeles

Y como no, si de aqui vienen varios de los Salvadoreños en L.A. Valla’ pue’.

J.T.

Saludos Los Angeles,

Desde otra lugar que nuestro pueblo llama home.

My eyes have seen–that is, they have glimpsed at–another world from which a people hail. Today I rode El Salvador’s shuttles through Soyapango, on past San Salvador, and even onto the Metrocentro to have a drink at Bulevar de los Heroes’s Pueblo Viejo. I heard the corridos playing through these bus-lines, the sound of the operator’s calls inviting passengers onto the ride, and just as importantly, the urgency with which vendors make their way through these microbuses offering their small goods–everything from medicine pills to chocolate and other sweets for the little ones–to each rider in their periphery.

I purchased a small chocolate from the last of the vendors, which is still placed right by my bedside for just the right moment, and it was another major step in the development of these JIMBO TIMES, which I’m thankful to be able to share with this constituency.

J.T.

After all this time

img_3232img_3233img_3234img_3235img_3236img_3238Inspiration will come and go, but the opportunity to be inspired remains there.

With new love for a new year,

J.T.