In the melting pot that is Los Angeles two local holiday food traditions stand out. One is eating tamales during the Christmas season which obviously is inspired by Mexico and the many Mexican restaurants around the city. Even one of the local fast-food hot dog chains offers tamales during the holidays.
The second tradition is going to Chinatown to have dim sum (Chinese bite-size noodle/pastries) for mid-day dinner on Christmas Day which seems to have originated in the Jewish community.
Other people, including my non-Jewish family, have begun doing Christmas-in-Chinatown, too. No long hours in the kitchen and no leftover turkey for us!
So if you decide to visit Chinatown for dim sum (or any other reason) and haven’t been there recently, you will see color gone wild on buildings around the area. I think that the new Blossom Apartments next to the Metro station instigated the painting craze.
On a shopping trip to Chinatown I stumbled across an art gallery called Eastern Projects that is participating in the Pacific Standard Time LA/LA exhibitions. The gallery is located on the street level of those new brilliant red buildings that almost overwhelm the old structures of Chinatown.
Works by Shepard Fairey (of the famous Obama ‘Hope’ poster), Locos, Dusters, Slick and others vaguely followed the Pacific Standard Time ‘theme’ of Latin American art in Los Angeles.
I was especially intrigued by the skateboard and skater images in the show.
The weather gods must love parades. The Rose Parade, the Doo-Dah parade, the Chinatown Golden Dragon parade all happen during our rainy season, but the days of these parades usually are sunny, although not necessarily warm.
The Chinese New Year’s parade changes only slightly from year to year, but is always fun to photograph, so expecting more of the same, I slipped on a sweater–it was slightly chilly–and caught the Metro to Chinatown.
Photographing the Chinatown Hub on Broadway had been my plan for the CicLAvia Heart of L.A. event on Sunday, but before I could take more than a couple of not-very-interesting photos I felt a tap on my shoulder and a pedicab driver asked if I wanted a ride. I had seen the pedicabs at the last CicLAvia in August and noticed they were sponsored by AARP and thought that it would be fun to ride in one. “Sure,” I replied to the pedicabbist, who I soon learned was named John Berry.
I hopped into his human-powered vehicle and off we went along Broadway toward the Downtown CicLAvia Hub. Along the way the thought skittered through my mind that it was as if I was in some steamy, hot Asian country a century ago, wearing a long pastel dress and holding an umbrella to protect me from the sun. I pushed that fantasy aside and began taking some photographs of this latest CicLAvia. (I will post more photos from downtown–including demonstrations, a Unicyclist, and a very bizarre hairy creature tomorrow.)
John’s business is named Awesome Pedicab and he usually takes people on tours in the Santa Monica area. While the fares listed on the pedicab were identified as being for Venice, I learned later from his website that he also does a taco tour of the Westside and will take you to the Rams game from wherever you have been forced to park.
Here is what I saw on our way to downtown…well, except the first photo which was taken in the Chinatown Gold Line Metro Station.
Last weekend the annual Lunar New Year Parade marched through Chinatown in Los Angeles. While the parade was colorful, much else happened off the parade route. (See photos of the 2016 parade here.)
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce put a lot of energy into the event including rock musicians on one stage, Chinese lion dancers and acrobats on another stage and, of course, parked nearby were the food trucks and the other local vendors one finds at almost every public festival in Los Angeles.
Local building owners obviously have been sprucing up their buildings in Chinatown, perhaps under the influence of the enormous apartment complex that is being built right beside the Gold Line Metro Station. You can see it below. Sadly, it is so huge that it obstructs the view of the old, historic buildings in Chinatown.
It seems that the weather luck of the Rose Parade also holds true for the annual Golden Dragon parade in L.A.’s Chinatown. I have been going to it for several years and it has never rained on the parade. This year on February 13th it was warm enough to wear shorts –although I didn’t!–and the umbrella sellers made out like bandits.
Because I took so many photos this year, I’m going to split them into two parts. This is Part One and I’ll show you the parade itself. Part Two will be photographs taken around Chinatown before the parade began.
The Golden Dragon parade held every year in Chinatown in L.A. is–well, appeared to be–a big money-making venture for merchants, as well as a celebration to Chinese culture.
Stores were open and the restaurants–especially the ones with take-out–were doing great business. (Photos of the actual parade are on the previous post.)
I attended the parade 4 years ago and noticed a young boy, accompanied by his father on one street corner, preaching to the crowd. Well, his preaching must have been effective because I saw quite a number of people wandering around this year with large yellow signs about Jesus and the Bible.
Then just before the parade began who should appear but that same young man and his father, walking along the parade route with a big sign and a speaker system.
Then a cop on a bike pulled up next to them and asked them to step onto the sidewalk. I could not hear what the father answered, but the policeman then asked if they had a parade permit and, if not, they had to walk on the sidewalk. “We’re not infringing on your freedom of speech”, I heard the cop say. “You need to walk on the sidewalk.” This exchange continued with the policeman being polite and insistent that they had to move to the sidewalk. Eventually, the two roving preachers did step out of the parade route.
I’ll finish this post with a few random photos from this year’s Chinatown celebration. Be sure to read the captions.