I was introduced to the art of bee keeping by Nate Murray and have been fascinated with it ever since. Bee keeping isn’t apart of my daily reality so it was intriguing to learn how crucial honey bees are to my urban way of life and also worrying to learn that there is currently an epidemic of honey bee colony collapse. So urban bee keepers, like Megan Paska, have become my new heroes as I look into supporting my local bee keepers.
A little known fact about me is that I LOVE to watch cartoons. I don’t subscribe to cable TV or own a TV for that matter, but if I did I would just so I could watch the Disney channel and Cartoon Network. I know. I know. This may come as a surprise, but let me explain.
Cartoons are written and animated by adults—very witty, sharp, intelligent, talented, and hilarious adults. The amount of story information that they fit into any given scene or sequence is incredible and a well done cartoon can make me laugh and make me think. By allowing for exaggerated and amplified narrative little to no dialogue is required to produce a heartfelt belly laugh – you all know what I’m talking about. The downright silliness provides a break from all the other life circumstances vying for total seriousness. And often times cartoons provide an indirect social commentary making them a great piece of pop-culture.
Disney recently relaunched the Mickey Shorts and are worth a watch. Watch the entire series»
Here are some additional shows that are simply cartoon gold:
I feel like the term “multi-culutral” has been coming up a lot lately in various conversations over the past several months. I am currently working at a church in West Los Angeles that is located in a neighborhood currently going through a season of gentrification. On the same block you can have a section 8 housing apartment complex next to a newly built luxury apartment complex complete with penthouse suites. As our church strives to reach out to our surrounding neighbors and community I have watched the demographic of our congregation start to change. You can have the working class immigrant sitting next to the wealthy American professional sitting next to the international college student studying at UCLA. On any given sunday we have a clash of cultures as we strive to have one service where we worship together as one body. But of course when you bring several cultures together they tend to want to merely tolerate each other, ask for assimilation, or self-segregate. So I found it interesting when Leonce Crump introduced the term of “trans-cultural” to describe how a church can pursue unity in diversity.
Carlos Corral shared the following video with me that I feel helps illustrate how two very different things can come together to make something new. The type of music in the video is called Banda Music, which was a result of German immigrants in Texas interacting with the northern Mexican rancheros bringing together polka and spanish guitar… together at last.
I found this very interesting as I often find myself crossing multiple ethnic, racial, and socio-economic lines in any given day. So this made me curious to take a survey of all the neighborhoods that I have lived in to see the trend over the course of my life.
Green = Black
Red = Asian
Brown = Other
My family moved from Mission Hills to a small rural town 45 minutes outside of Los Angeles (Point E) called Acton, CA: population approximately 1,500 people in 1993. We lived on a dirt road and had to commute for everything. We were one of the few Mexican families in the area and it was a cultural adjustment to say the least. The area was home to “California Cowboys”, and families of LAPD, LAFD, and the general city expat who was seeking rural solitude. We had a dog, as small two bedroom house on an acre of undeveloped land, and an epic view of the north-side of the Angeles National Forest with the city of Pasadena directly on the other side. In my teenage years I would often day dream about life in LA and what I would do once I was old enough to move back.
I went to high school in Lancaster, CA (Point F). It was a 30 minute commute one way from home to school and the majority of my friends lived closer to campus. I was again one of the few Mexican students in a predominately white upper-middle class school. I had dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer so I could build roller coasters for a living, but I eventually became a graphic designer with a strong math and science background after being declined admission from all the engineering schools I applied to. All latino parents at the time aspired for their sons to become doctors, scientists, or engineers and mine where no different. So they were a bit shocked when I ended up pursuing a career in design.
I have been living in “The City of Los Angeles Proper” since 2005 and have lived in various neighborhoods within the city (Points G–L). It wasn’t until I moved to the city that I gained an appreciation for vegetables (outside of the city vegetables are poorly cooked or over cooked making them taste disgusting), became an urban explorer, and learned how to quickly transition across different cultural, ethnic, and socio-econmic lines. It’s not rare that you’ll find me hanging out in a cafe in Brentwood and later driving to East LA to get some tamales for dinner. It’s also not rare for me to meet up for coffee with a friend in Malibu and later drive out to Sylmar for a family dinner. Although there are still very distinct racial divides in Los Angeles I serve as an example that they can be crossed and even bridged for others from both sides to cross as well.
I recently came across this video by Naked Juice and Wholesome Wave that got me thinking about Food Deserts again.
Having grown up in a small rural desert town we would take bi-weekly trips to the nearest Costco to stock up on enough food to last several weeks, but this was merely a preference and not our only choice as we had a local market down the street that offered decent food options at slightly higher prices for convenience.
Given my experience growing up and the amount of effort we put into buying our food I am still astonished that there are densely populated communities in Los Angeles that have little to no access to high quality food options. Its incredible for me to think of how limited I feel when one of the Trader Joe’s in my neighborhood is out of stock of my favorite peanut butter and I have the option to go to one of the four other locations in my area along with all the other large chain grocery store options and not to mention the Costco location 15min away from my apartment.
There were also several years in my recent past where I was living in Los Angeles without a car and took the bus everywhere. This meant that weekly trips to the grocery store where also by bus so I completely understand the need to have high quality food options within a one mile radius. I can imagine the difficulty of having to commute several miles by bus or by foot would be a serious obstacle for most families.
All this to say that food deserts are something that I will be keeping in mind as I make my weekly grocery shopping trips and as I start to think through how I can help address this reality for my city neighbors merely one or two communities away. Leave a comment on what you think of the Curious Catalyst idea or if you have any of your own ideas to help transform the food deserts of Los Angeles.
As an American there are certain periods in my nation’s history that I will never fully comprehend and I feel that the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s is one of those periods. 50 years ago life in “The Land of Free” was completely different than my current reality and I am left to rely on what I read in books, historical video footage, and movie portrayals of that era. So although I may never fully comprehend the full significance of past events I can be moved by the images of past events and draw the connections of their impact to my modern life.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and as part of his ongoing UNFRAMED project JR (of The Inside Out Project fame) “pasted a few iconic images from the march on the walls of Atlanta, in the very neighborhood where Martin Luther King grew up.” (via jr-art.net) There is a great write up on Creative Loafing.
Take a moment to re-listen to the famous speech by Martin Luther King Jr. given on August 28th, 1963.
I have been listening to Propaganda since 2003 when he was collaborating with The Tunnel Rats crew and later came out with his solo album “Out of Knowhere”. It has been great to see him back on the scene lately under the Humble Beast label.
The story that he shares with I Am Second is compelling to me because he speaks about Jesus Christ giving him personhood outside of his background, circumstances, or surroundings. Despite feeling like “a fish out of water” and being “the only” everywhere he went God showed him how it was all orchestrated for God’s glory and that he truly was “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
Propaganda came back on my radar when he came out with the G.O.S.P.E.L. spoken word piece back in 2011.
I got a chance to watch him live at Rhetoric 2012.
You can listen to his latest album “Excellent” on Spotify. Download “Excellent” for free via Humble Beast.