Marking the end of an Eight Year Venture, or, My Final Post

This is my last dispatch for the Amoeblog.
Eric Brightwell

 

I started blogging for Amoeblog on 26 July 2007. In that time I created a few series for the Amoeblog: One Album Wonders (profiles of bands which only released one album), Brightwell’s Top 10 (my favorite tracks from the dawn of the record industry to the present), and Introduction to Subcultural Anthropology, to name a few. I may or may not continue those over at my personal website, so stay tuned and let me know if you’re interested.

Eric Brightwell

 

In the last eight years I’ve written extensively about holidays, all-female bands, Asian-American Cinemamusic history, interplanetary objects, New Orleans hip-hop, Vietnamese New Wave, visual arts, unrecognized nations, old time radio, film festivals, and many other topics… such as creamsicles.

At my own website I have several other columns which have less to do with music or film than those which I created for the Amoeblog. But because this is the Amoeblog, I’ll include a few relevant songs. Those columns are:

Huell Howser had California’s Gold, in which he explored the non-“Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” side of California. In homage I named my explorations California Fool’s Gold… not “California’s Fool’s Gold” because that’s too possessive. My focus, too, is more on neighborhoods and communities and less on plastic food or dogs eating avocados.

Tom Waits‘s “In the Neighborhood”

*****

FASTFOOD UNDEAD

 

Fastfood Undead
Discussions of adaptive reuse tend to focus on office buildings converted into residences… but what about fast food franchises converted into actual restaurants?

Denim‘s “Brumburger”*****

The streets are one of our greatest public assets. I walk them, I read them, I rep them.
B.G. – “Where You Been?”*****

Los Angeles and the Southland is like a sea of suburbs punctuated by pockets of skyscrapers — oh yeah, and mountains. I love a good skyscraper… and a bad one.
Suede‘s “High Rising”*****


According to the 2010 Census, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim urban area is the most densely populated in the US. That’s largely on account of the regions housing projects, bungalow courts, garden apartments, luxury highrises, and other multi-family residences.

DJ Jubilee‘s “20 Years in the Jets”

*****

Malls and strip malls are overabundant and unromanticized — except by the developers who give them lofty, pretentious names.. In Los Angeles they were once the fabled haunts of Valley Girls. Nowadays they’re where one finds the best restaurants and markets.

Supermarket‘s “Supermarket”

*****

Mist & Iron
When people talk about vertical cities they usually point to ones with the most skyscrapers. How 19th century of them. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has — thanks to its hills and mountains — the most varied elevation of any city on earth. Take that Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, and Tehran!

Some dwarves singing “The Misty Mountains Cold”

*****

No Enclave
Los Angeles is, by several measures, the most diverse city on Earth. That diversity is reflected in the presence of Cambodia Town, Chinatown, Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Arabia, Little Armenia, Little Bangladesh, Little Brazil, Little Central America, Little Ethiopia, Little India, Little Russia, Little Saigon, Little Seoul, Little Osaka, Tehrangeles, and Thai Town. It’s also home to the largest population of Burmese, Guatemalans, Mexicans, Salvadorans, Samoans, and Taiwanese outside their home countries, in addition to many other ethnicities not represented with an enclave.

Some people in an advertisement singing “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)”

*****

Nobody drives in LA, there’s too much traffic. Why would anyone when there are buses, commuter trains, ferries, light rail, bicycle lanes, kayaks, subways, trails, and about 284 days of sun? Cars are for country folk!

Kraftwerk‘s “Trans Europe Express”

*****

Office Park Life
Perhaps it’s only because I’ve never worked in one but I find those shiny, generic, suburban cubicle farms sat on vast, sparingly designed landscapes to be deeply mysterious and absolutely fascinating for reasons which are hard to articulate.
Bill Lumbergh montage from Office Space 

*****

Los Angeles is the world’s great Pan-Asian Metropolis. In Los Angeles, Asians and Pacific Islanders comprise more than 15% of population and are the most numerous racial minority and the fastest growing. Recognized Asian ethnic enclaves include Cambodia Town, Chinatown, Filipinotown,Koreatown, Little Bangladesh, Little India, Little Osaka, Little Saigon, Little Seoul, Little Tokyo, andThai Town. The Los Angeles urban area home to the largest population of Cambodians, Filipinos,Koreans, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese outside of their respective home countries. There are large populations Bangla, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Pakistanis, and Samoans; and substantial but diffuse populations of Afghanis, Bhutanese, Burmese, Hawaiians, Hmong, Indonesians, Laotians, Malaysians,Mongolians, Nepalis, Singaporeans, Sri Lankans, Tibetans, Tongans, Uyghurs, and Uzbeks.

*****


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography
In the course of my explorations, I draw and paint maps. You can purchase prints of them from 1650 Gallery(or originals from me).

*****

RED DESERTS

Red Deserts

Los Angeles has been home to a number of industries. Most of those industries have left and we’re left with a lot of industrial ruins and refineries. Although they have wrought a lot of environmental devastation, they’re often quite beautiful.

The trailer for Il Deserto Rosso

*****

Southland Parks

Los Angeles is home to the largest park located partially within an American city (Topanga State Park), the nation’s largest municipal park (Griffith Park) and a whole lot of other parks, recreation areas, wilderness areas, parklets, and pocket parks.

The Small Faces‘ “Itchycoo Park”*****

SWINGING DOORSSwinging Doors

In which I explore drinking holes of all kinds, whether alehousesbiker bars,
bikini bars, bodegas, booking clubs, breweries, cantinas, cider housescocktail lounges,coffee bars, dives, fern barsgasthauses, gay bars, gin mills, hostess bars, honky-tonks,izakaya, juiceries, lingerie cafesnightclubs, pi-jiu wu, piano bars, pubs, rathskellers,roadhouses, saloons, singles barsspeakeasies, taprooms, taverns, tea houses, tiki barswineries, and maybe even sports bars.

*****

TAKE ‘EM TO THE BRIDGE

Take 'em to the Bridge

California’s most recognized icon might be San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. However, the Los Angeles area is home to hundreds of equally interesting bridges which span valleys, roads, creeks, rivers, train tracks, and troubled waters.

James Brown‘s “Sex Machine”

 
*****THERE IT IS, REVITALIZE IT

There It Is, Revitalize It

 
Los Angeles is often wrongly characterized as a desert. That mischaracterization downplays the importance of wetlands, rivers, oceans, and other bodies of water that are so important to the Chaparral metropolis.

*****

THOSE USELESS TREES

Those Useless Trees

There are quite a few famous trees in California, including the tallest, the largest, the oldest, and the most photographed. In Los Angeles there are some famous ones too. Come to think of it, People or Us Weekly should do an issue on “celeb trees.”

Pulp – “The Trees”


*****URBAN RAMBLES

Urban Rambles
The best sorts of walks are undertaken without much research or agenda. I notice an interesting area and then I let my nose, eyes, and ears lead my feet.

Alan Partridge’s Country Ramble

*****
Sometimes I found myself traveling outside of Southern California. When I do it’s never long enough to get a really deep sense of a place so I like to treat my reflections on these places as snapshots.

Glenn Miller And His Orchestra
featuring Ray Eberle ‎– “Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread)”

*****
Alan the Dingus

Also, my Siberian cat, Alan, has a Tumblr, titled What a Dingus!

 


*****

 

So as a final note I’d like to say thanks for reading, commenting, the free tickets, and the email, and please continue to keep in touch at my website, ericbrightwell.com. Sgt. Brightwellicus signing off!

 

*****

Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities — or salaried work. He is not interested in writing advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other 21st century variations of spam.

Brightwell has written for Angel Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICS, Hidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery.

Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA? and at Emerson College.

Art prints of Brightwell’s maps are available from 1650 Gallery and on various products from Cal31.

He is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Click here to offer financial support and thank you!

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