Just back from BookExpo in LA - a confluence of two weird scenes: Stephen Baldwin signing some Christian weirdness! Magic Johnson! Andre Dubus! Nikki Giovanni! Stacks of free books, pens, chocolate, bags, posters, honey, chocolate, chili powder, aprons, books, manga masks, 3-D glasses, and did I mention chocolate?!
My high school friend Jack, who's lived out there for 20 years, works in The Business, and has a swimming pool in his backyard, says "In LA you're never far from a Baldwin." Very sweetly took me around to a bit of sightseeing, since it was my first time in LA, including to the spectacular Griffith Observatory, deco gem (and site of agonized scene in Rebel Without a Cause, if I'm remembering correctly.)
Yesterday before leaving I walked over to the Pueblo - early LA. As it was Sunday morning, many folks were out praying at the outdoor shrines, selling candles and rosaries, handing out flyers for sewing jobs at American Apparel. The church is a Sanctuary Church. Throughout the city bus stop benches quote JFK on how we are a nation of immigrants and must have a generous immigration policy.
In fact, I just Googled the quote. Here it is:
"Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands and a clear conscience."
Turns out the city benches are part of a Legalize LA campaign, sponsored by.... American Apparel.
I took city buses - there are lots and they are affordable and run frequently. All the Angelenos I met said, Good for you! We don't even think about the bus... Meaning middle-class people don't. The buses were full of working-class people of color, of course. Fascinating city. Met a lovely reporter for the LA Times, originally from LA, who said she'd lived elsewhere briefly but came back, as LA is endlessly interesting, even if maddening and messed-up too. I said it sounds like DC, each in its own special way....