Lost and Found on Washington Blvd.

Lost art led me to find new art, when a Christmas gift from my father by my mother via Birmingham in the UK got lost in the post and forced me out to track it down. In the course of looking, I discovered another of my neighborhood’s hidden gems.

badly-addressed

My Ma’s handwriting is legendary – few people can decipher it. I now understand why this letter wound up addressed to Jean Bowen, and had to be forcibly retrieved by hand.

The letter led me south-west on Washington Blvd into West Adams, where I’ve wandered a few times before, but not as far. It seemed to be just a series of shops for used kitchen fittings. But there is more, there. In fact, the post office where my parcel was being held is the only US post office I know of rated more than 2 Stars on Yelp. It’s got a real community feel, and everybody was amazingly friendly.

calendar

Every day, I’m reminded of or discover new art. Thanks Dad.

So I got the calendar, but I also, accidentally, got a whole lot more.

persimmon-sexy

I found this amazing persimmon, which I think you’ll agree as my friend Alicia says: “Manages to look like about four giggly things at once”. Another shopper nearby me saw me laughing and requested a photo of her own to show her husband.

americana-liquor-store

Then was wandering home, and this Liquor Store caught my eye. It would make a great period film location. Notice the sign in the window on the right, advertising “OUT OF TOWN NEWSPAPERS”, which dates it pre-internet, or at least pre-smartphone.

graffitti-sell-your-work

This sign is what led me inside. It made me wonder: Who does own graffiti – and could the owner or tenant of the wall claim they do?

I wandered inside, and found the otherwise unlabeled “UNDERGROUND MUSEUM” on Washington Blvd.

noah-wallpaper-lynching

Pretty, chintzy even, wallpaper, Laura Ashley style… until you look closer, and see that it’s repeated images of a lynching.

noah-hoodie

“In the Hood” by David Hammons (2016), also part of the Non-Fiction exhibit curated by Noah Davis.

noah-back-garden

The surprise back garden, where there’s space to work, and in summer, a film screening series.

The area where I live (Arlington Heights / West Adams) is often dismissed as “The Ghetto” or “The Hood” in yelp reviews of places Jonathan Gold went to first, making them safe for the middle classes to explore and briefly over-run.  Most people I meet in White LA seem worried about me when I say I live here, or say in that quintessentially LA-Snob way “Oh really… I think I’ve heard of it. How IS that?” An ex-boyfriend once referred to it as a “bad area”, (because why? Because poor / immigrant / black people are dangerous?) and refused to walk two blocks to a restaurant at night with me. Poor baby…

But I’ve fallen in love with it, and more and more I find there’s much more to it than I ever imagined. And it’s not like it’s just arrived, either. The Underground has been there since 2012.

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