My first KCET.org article in almost a year just made the site today. It’s part of the Lost L.A. section, a piece on Los Angeles’ true geographical location, titled, Is L.A. a West Coast City? For Many, It’s the East. Or the North.
That’s little me (in the overalls) at a Filipino provincial association picnic in Redondo Beach, circa summer 1973.
I contributed a few quotes and a picture to a recent KCET.org article today. Hometown Picnics: How Newcomers Kept Memory of Home Alive in Los Angeles, written by my friend and fellow local history aficionado, Victoria Bernal, contained a few quotes from me on how picnics, holiday parties and other social events organized by organizations in the Filipino American community contributed to the cultural fabric of Los Angeles. I also scanned a picture from my early childhood, with my dad and little 1 1/2 year-old me at the Boholanos of Southern California, Inc annual picnic at Veteran’s Park in Redondo Beach, taken in June 1973.
On the occasion of my birthday, I’d like to share with you this fascinating fact: I have perfected time travel!
Well, okay, not totally perfected it. I’ve tried it, and after some minor tweaks, was able to travel to the year 2012 — exactly one year ago — and have a conversation with myself. Yes, I know about the whole disturbing the whole space-time continuum yadda-yadda, but seriously, who cares about that stuff when you can actually travel through time?
I was able to record my conversation and make a transcript of it. Only because posting an audio recording of it would sound like I was just talking to myself. I mean, I was, but, oh never mind. Here’s my conversation:
2012 Me: Hi, are you a registered voter in the 13th district?
Me: Um, yeah.
2012 Me: My name is Elson Trinidad, and I’m running for city council. Can you sign my petition so I can appear on the March 2013 ballot?
Me: Well, you see, I already did.
2012 Me: Wait a minute, you’re…me!
Me: Yes, yes I am. I come to you from the future. From the year 2013.
2012 Me: I think I’m going to faint.
Me: No, you never faint. And even if you’re squatting or sitting on the ground for an extended period of time and suddenly get up, you might get disoriented for a couple seconds, but you always manage to keep from fainting.
2012 Me: You know me too well.
Me: No duh.
2012 Me: So, did I win?
Me: Win what?
2012 Me: The city council election.
2012 Me: I…take that as a no. Okay, so how many votes did I get? Just curious!
Me: Uhhh…none. You didn’t make the ballot.
2012 Me: WHAT?!?
Me: You didn’t get enough signatures.
2012 Me: You mean…I…didn’t…you mean…
Me: I’m sorry, dude.
2012 Me: Damn, that sucks. Tell me more about the future. Do you have make more money than me? Do you have a girlfriend? Did you finally release that album? Did the Dodgers win the World Series?
Me: [Taking deep breath] No, no, no and…no.
2012 Me: You suck!
Me: No, you suck!
2012 Me: But I’m you so…
Me: You’re right, you can never win an argument against yourself.
2012 Me: So how did you take it?
Me: Well, I was bummed, obviously, but I actually took it pretty well.
2012 Me: How did you deal with it?
Me: How would you deal with it?
2012 Me: Well, I’d probably leave town for a while.
Me: And that’s exactly what I did.
2012 Me: So where did you go?
Me: Where would you go?
2012 Me: Oh, definitely Austral–
Me: You definitely don’t have the money to go to Australia again. Or any place that involves a plane ticket, for that matter.
2012 Me: Man, you’re starting to depress me. Okay then, I would probably take a road trip to some place in California that I’ve never been to yet. Maybe Eureka or Owens Valley or Mt. Shasta or something.
Me: Yeah one or two of those. I ain’t gonna tell you which. Life is full of surprises, and I don’t wanna spoil it for you. But you’ll have a life-changing experience, and your perception of community will change.
2012 Me: What about East Hollywood?
Me: East Hollywood doesn’t need you anymore. All the work you’ve done over the years is pretty much forgotten now. You don’t matter anymore. But your idea of “community” is a much bigger place now. It’s time to move on.
2012 Me: So I’m going to move?
Me: Your address remains the same, but your heart finds a home elsewhere. And the natural world offers many clues.
2012 Me: Okay, you’re being really vague dude.
Me: Dude, did you just call yourself dude?
2012 Me: …Very funny. So, can you tell me any good thing that happens to me, er, you, er, us?
Me: You’ll make some really great new friends over the next year. And I’m 10 pounds lighter than you.
2012 Me: How did you…
Me: You’ll figure it out.
2012 Me: So I should just give up this city council thing right now, I mean, I’m not getting on the ballot anyway, right?
Me: Just do what you’ll set out to do. But on the very last day, in front of that Ralphs on Hollywood and Western, you’ll already know that you won’t get the signatures you hoped for. You’ll feel disappointed, but you’ll also feel relieved because you’re already stressing out about not raising any money. You don’t know how to raise money for these things. But that’s okay. Just go into the City Clerk’s office on the December 5 and pretend that you have all the signatures. And then they’ll tell you right there you won’t have enough. you’ll know this already, but because of that, you’re already emotionally prepared to hear the news. And then go on your adventure. I think you already know where to go. Don’t dwell on your disappointment but immerse yourself in the town of Indep…oops, I mean, wherever you decide to go. And the place will be very kind to you. Be open to discovery. You’ll forget about your failure very fast. And when you come back, sure, there will be people who would have lost their faith in you and don’t care about you anymore, but you’ll easily replace them with these new friends that you’ll meet throughout the next year, who understand your ideas and your heart better than those people who don’t care about you anymore. It’ll be okay, man.
2012 Me: Did you regret running for office?
Me: I’m not proud of it, and I’m not sure what I achieved aside from $2,000 in debt that I’m still trying to pay off, but…I have no regrets. Whatever you do from this point forward won’t have any context unless you go through with this. You’ll end up endorsing some of the other candidates. You’ll even make friends with some of them. Well, except for you-know-who.
2012 Me: Heh heh heh.
Me: Heh heh heh. Well, I have to get back to 2013 now. It was nice talking to you, 2012 Elson. Hang in there.
2013 Me: Hey, are you gonna go visit 1983 us and show him how to be more confident with girls?
Me: Hm, I’d like to do that, but on second thought, I could get arrested trying to strike up a conversation with a minor.
2012 Me: Oh, right. Hey, you wanna jam? Me on keyboards, you on bass?
Me: Man! Wow, I’d LOVE that! But…I gotta go back now. Hey look at me, no wrinkles yet! Happy 41st Birthday! [Enters portal, disappears]
If there’s one pop culture buzzword that can sum up the Summer of 2013, it’s…Sharknado. I need not describe the cultural impact the SyFy channel movie has had on the entertainment world and social media.
However, since I don’t have cable TV, I hadn’t even seen the film.
Fortunately, it was screened midnight on Friday night at 200 Regal Cinema Theatres across the country. And having already participated in the snark-nado on Twitter and Facebook, it was only appropo that I experience the film itself, so yes, I was crayzay enough to plop down $12.50 to watch this in a movie theatre.
And I didn’t regret it.
Some friends of mine on Facebook were planning to watch it as a group, and I was looking forward to loading myself up at The Yard House or Trader Vic’s beforehand, and staring some loud chants with the people in line (“When I say ‘shark,’ you say ‘nado!'”) but having already had a full agenda that night co-emceeing a Thai CDC vigil/event in East Hollywood and hopping on the Red Line to catch the last few minutes of the Songs In The Key of Los Angeles concert at California Plaza, hurriedly rode the Metro to L.A. Live (even tripped while running up the stairs at 7th St/Metro Center to get on the Blue Line, but I was too amped up with Stevie Wonder and Sharknado-anticipation to feel any pain). My friend Justin told me he got a ticket with another friend, but the main theatre had sold out already. I was hoping the second screen didn’t sell out, and was able to buy one at the automated ticket kiosk. It was also my first time at the Regal, such a tall theatre but a vital part of DTLA nightlife and its recent renaissance.
Just a few minutes before midnight, they let the 50 or so of us into Cinema 8, where we were greeted to “Sharknado” trivia (Did you know there were 400+ special effect shots in the movie?) and a music video of the movie’s closing theme song.
So here’s what I got out of watching “Sharknado” in a movie theatre (WARNING: Skip this if you don’t like spoilers):
– The movie unabashedly has tons of plot holes, continuity errors, bad acting scenes and ridiculously over-the-top plot devices. That said, it was still suspenseful enough to be entertaining. It wasn’t boring at all, and in fact, I’d never say that it “sucks.”
– Emphasized again, unlike truly awful movies like The Room, (which has been presented via screenings in a similar way), it’s still thrilling and fun enough to not be a letdown. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s everything you’d expect it to be.
– The film had a few scenes that looked like they were going to drag on, but when you realize they’re dragging, they soon redeem themselves (the school bus rescue scene, for example).
– The actual “Sharknado” wasn’t really as damaging or destructive as the shark flood.
– Yes, the film features spliced-in footage of typhoon storms hitting the Philippines (I could tell by the architecture of the houses), passing for Los Angeles. Heheheh.
– This movie is extremely selachophobic.
– No one actually says the word, “Sharknado” in the film.
– I’ve pretty much accepted with this movie that any film set in Los Angeles will always be geographically inconsistent (The end scenes feature the main characters near Van Nuys Airport witness a tornado spinning close to Downtown L.A.).
– Hey, it was filmed locally! Up yours, runaway productions!
– Cassie Scerbo = hawt.
– Even though the movie had Asian and Latino actors in speaking roles, there wasn’t a single black person in the film. Wassup with that? (Incidentally, the last film I saw, Chinatown, also set in Los Angeles, was the same way).
– When the actors recited the key lines (“I hate sharks…”) The crowd just screamed and cheered in the theatre. Yeah, it might have been sarcastic cheering, but still, it was fun.
– Some audience members even cracked comments in between lines and were responded by laughter in the audience…love that.
– Despite it’s shlock value, watching it in a theatre with several other people reminded us the fun and value of watching a movie on the big screen, as opposed to a TV or computer screen, or mobile device.
– The success of the midnight showings prove that one-off big screen events can be the wave of the near future in terms of entertainment. They’re natural money-makers (social media covers what marketing is usually spent on) and they bring a fun, live-performance-like environment. This could be a game-changer folks.
– I really would like to see this become the next Rocky Horror Picture Show. Thing is, will the world be all Sharknado’ed out by next year (Unless the sequel is just as good)?
– If it does, I only ask but one thing: Sharknado cosplay.
After the film, the audience was treated to a “Behind The Scenes” mini-documentary and a gag reel (which wasn’t as funny as the actual movie). It was kind of like watching a Sharknado DVD, except it was on a big screen, with a number of people present (everyone seemed to stay for the BTS and gag reel features though).
So there you go. Big props to SyFy (even though I can’t watch your network), The Asylum and Regal Cinemas for making this event happen.
When I first visited Australia in 2009, one of my fondest memories was riding the train around Sydney and stopping at a pie shop for a cheap meat pie right outside the train station. Fast forward four years later, and I could pretty much do the same thing here in my hometown, thanks to Bronzed Aussie.
Downtown is where it’s at now, and this one-of-a-kind restaurant in Los Angeles is a pleasant surprise. I can take the Metro to the 7th Street/Metro Center station and walk or bike down to Los Angeles street (the food court does have bike parking racks) and drop by here.
I came here on a Saturday and though the place wasn’t packed, there was a steady stream of customers, most of whom were Australians seeing what this place was about (or at least feeling homesick). I had a ground beef pie, a spinach & feta roll and a large cappuccino.
The pie was excellent, the crust was the right kind of flakiness, and the meat filling, though slightly greasy, was downright flavorful. The spinach and feta rolls were excellent. The cappuccino, true to what I experienced in Australia, came with some fancy designs on the surface — that’s a big part of the cafe culture there. My only complaint was that the cappuccino wasn’t as hot as I had expected (though stil entirely drinkable).
They also sell frozen pies to go, at about a dollar less than the ready-to-eat versions. I bought a Thai Chicken Curry pie, a chunky beef pie, and a couple sausage rolls to take home. I also had a Lamington, which I never had in Australia – basically a cube of sponge cake covered in chocolate frosting and shredded coconut.
I’d totally come by here again, I even thanked Samantha, the owner, for opening up in a central and easily accessible (especially via transit) location in Downtown. A few years ago, there was a place called Mojo Pies in Redondo Beach that sold Australian meat pies, but they closed down (incidentally, I came on their final day and was their last customer…).
Incidentally, I had visited Samantha’s hometown of Manly, a beach town outside of Sydney on the Pacific Coast, which reminded me a lot of the Redondo/Hermosa Beach area. She told me she was originally considering opening the restaurant in that area, where she also happens to live in. And having visited her Australian hometown, I know that area reminded her of home.
This place is Fair Dinkum! Highly recommended for Aussies, Aussiephiles and eaters of all cuisines.
Bronzed Aussie, 714 S Los Angeles St, Downtown Los Angeles.
I once ran for office and all I got was this lousy website.
Well, after my little political miscarriage last year, I still own this elsontrinidad.com domain, so I might as well put it to good use. I’m dedicating this site to my writing, community and other endeavors, though my music-related subject matter will exclusively remain at elsongs.com. This site will also effectively merge my previous blogs, such as elsongeles and my old Hijo de E-Ho neighborhood blog.
Although my writing appears publicly at KCET.org now, but this is where I play my pickup games, where I let loose and write whatever I want to write, or further elaborate on things I’ve written on. So, enjoy.
– Elson Raymund Garrote Trinidad