the irony and the ecstasy

by urquiza!
Posts Tagged ‘los angeles’

la nueva ola

el conjunto la nueva ola is a mix of culturally heavy flavors from cover tunes of 80s new wave to rock en español. original songs are smothered in spicy addictive cumbia rhythms from colombia, but taste like the mexican-american los angeles experience when performed in luchadore masks (wrestling masks) and with songs like “home depot”. mexican band members urbano lopez, lead singer; primitivo rios, bassist; luzio nava, guitarist; hipolito madero, percussions; raio manzares, keyboards; tacho vasquez, percussions perform for the 8th anniversary of la cita bar in downtown los angeles. set includes back stage and images from a los globos show just weeks before. these are part of an image mapping project about the los angeles experience.

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all together in the middle of everything thinking of nothing

from the series, “the love train” and assorted street sessions. the bulk are from new years eve 2013, but some from as early as 12.14.12 through early 2014. this series is constantly growing and changing from every moment on the street with a camera. this is the third edit for some of these, while others get added or dropped.

street photography is beat poetry written while swimming in the current. it is a flip chart of time and a record of a city or space for a decade or an era, that is if it survives the day after… this series of street photographs explores the la metro. style, culture and aesthetics constantly change, but people do not. we are afraid, we are voyeurs and exhibitionists, we are together on the train or bus and we do human things. we come and go worrying about things and forgetting more than we worry about. the human race is to the finish line of death. with that eventuality comes all the fears and joys of being human. this series of images on the metro explore how we use this constructed space or our city hive to fulfill our own needs of comfort and dreams.

in the beginning my early street images were distant from what i was searching for. on the road to making these images i found the guilt and pity of street photography. we peer into the intimacy of other’s lives seeking the beauty of being. that i am human and sometimes lapse in the pursuit is my fault. i forget they are gifts given to me by the subjects and not something to be taken. this time we spend running and in transit between moments of connection and contemplation trying to get to the next one, and the next one. the rich strut through the subway, the lovers embrace, the homeless find refuge while the poor are trying to get home. the train, the car, the bus is our solace as it is our window to the world.


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street fragments

from street sessions 07.20.13, 07.27.13, 12.02.13, 06.05.14 and 07.30.14.

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poesia para la gente

presented by avenue 50 studio “poesia para la gente” scheduled readings by poets iris de anda, abel salas and matt sedillo followed by an open mic on saturday may 25, 2013 at the home depot workers center in cypress park. more than half dozen poets gathered in the morning along with the usual day labourers sanctioned by the center. the worker’s center is operated by IDEPSCA, instituto de educacion popular del sur de california and is located at the south western corner of the parking lot, under the interstate 5 overpass. at first the rush of cars and semi trucks four or five storeys above is a bit overwhelming, but eventually the traffic becomes a white noise as you settle into the cool morning air with a white styrofoam cup of antigua coffee and a pan dulce from la morenita.

if you have ever hired a day laourer at all, you know that they are different than us. they are in their work clothes, we are in our saturday casual clothes. we pay them cash at the end of the day, while we get a monthly check, sick days and even vacation days. we for the most part speak english, they for the most part speak spanish. they come to our home and work on any given specific task we ask for the day, we commute to a concrete cube and probably like myself push paper around a desk and stare at a computer screen. if we have never hired a day labourer that knowledge and experience gap between us is even greater than the border that separates them from their origins and even their family. we are different. we are separated by perceptions and fears, money and status.

on the westside of the home depot parking lot are the workers with an identity card that qualifies them to be hired out through the center. on the opposite side of the lot with a few on the north are the day labourers with no documents or disposition for that kind of organisation. it is every man and his own skills for himself, while larbourers at the work center are selected by lottery as clients come seeking help. the work center labourer can negotiate their own rate depending on the tasks, as well as pass on a job for the next labourer in the lottery line. when your car pulls up to the east lot with the unregulated labourers it is the man and sometimes woman who can shout the loudest, jump the highest in the crowd and elbow their way into the passengers seat or the back of your pick up truck that will work on that day. the others will retreat to the shade of the curbside and wait for the next vehicle to pass.

as a veteran of many readings dating back to the late 80s and the days of the onyx and e-bar in los feliz and pasadena respectively, i can say they have become quite predictable. the breakout moment at “poesia para la gente” came when a day labourer closed the gap between us a little more. day labourer and poet leonso “el revolucionario” martinez read his works “stray dog” and “¡benditas tus manos mama!” in spanish.



a labourer reads the morning newspaper before the poets started arriving at “poesia para la gente”, may 25, 2013, IDEPSCA work center at the home depot, cypress park.




through the gates of the worker’s center abel salas of the community arts newspaper “brooklyn and boyle” reads the spanish translation of a poem with poet matt sedillo reading the english version at “poesia para la gente”, may 25, 2013, IDEPSCA work center at the home depot, cypress park.




iris de anda reads from her folio while the day labourer and poet leonso “el revolucionario” martinez looks on and waits for his turn to read at “poesia para la gente”, may 25, 2013, IDEPSCA work center at the home depot, cypress park.




two audience member look on as abel salas reads at “poesia para la gente”, may 25, 2013, IDEPSCA work center at the home depot, cypress park.




a day labourer and the the poet flor de te talking at “poesia para la gente”, may 25, 2013, IDEPSCA work center at the home depot, cypress park.




from left to right, day labourer, poet flor de te, the day labourer and poet leonso “el revolucionario” martinez talking with audience member and making final notes on their reading materials at “poesia para la gente”, may 25, 2013, IDEPSCA work center at the home depot, cypress park.




poet flor de te reads to herself the poem “¡benditas tus manos mama!” by the day labourer and poet leonso “el revolucionario” martinez at “poesia para la gente”, may 25, 2013, IDEPSCA work center at the home depot, cypress park.




a day labourer not affiliated with the center listens to the reading from the parking lot at “poesia para la gente”, may 25, 2013, IDEPSCA work center at the home depot, cypress park.




under the shadow of the interstate poet, musician and entertainer raul cardona of teatro arroyo starts the open mic portion with a reading and a manu chau acoustic cover at “poesia para la gente”, may 25, 2013, IDEPSCA work center at the home depot, cypress park.




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highland park study no.01

reflections and reactions. bicycles and french restaurants, spanish language health clinics and gentrification. beware this is the frontier of america.





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sin turistas preview

these few images are from the sin turistas workshop project that i organise and instruct. the student works can be found on our facebook page, but these are some of mine that were shot during various sessions.

highland park is an old neighbourhood of los angeles that is rapidly changing. it appears to be facing a similar fate as in brooklyn, new york. the residents in highland park were primarily 70% latino in the mid 2000s. their environment is rapidly being replaced by a hip, young, urban and middle class white environment. while the latino population has fallen a small amount, the white population has exploded leaving latinos at 53% of the population. the changing landscape has raised nieghbourhood’s property values and shifted the business services. these rising values have started to displace the most vulnerable.

this set of images goes back and forth from both groups, just as the arguments go back and forth between economic development versus displacing the existing economies. this topic is a personal project. i grew up in northeast los angeles of which highland park is the northern most area. i have been watching this change since i was a boy from one immigrant group to another.







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old marchers

walmart protest march june 30, 2012. everybody had a reason to be there; the young sought hope; the angry a chance to fight; the lone got to participate; and, the retired a chance to stand again.




















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coco and bvlgari

part one. a few out takes from a retail assignment in beverly hills. i was almost regretting this for the obvious reasons. however, i found rodeo drive far more accessible than some other neighbourhoods on the west side as well as areas in the east. this was not a mono-linguistic environment as many parts of los angeles are typically either english or spanish. i over heard french, chinese, korean, german, tagalog, spanish and portuguese all in the same street, on the same corner block. rodeo with its open top busses of tourist and luxury SUVs everywhere is not the same kind of posh that is ginza nor the champs-élysées. it is certainly unique as it is clichéd. grey haired men in blazers stroll around; slender women in all manner of heeled shoes march down the avenue; and, while young handsome men patrol store fronts opening doors, discouraging shop lifting; while still other young men glide through the street by behind tinted windows. i want to come back here and shoot some more.



















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sweet arroyo nights

editorial assignment, dreaming accessories in los angeles for visionarios magazine, milan.

spring in LA is always complicated. history and the night collide with LA chic. in this accessory story the colour block trend is still going strong, but its LA! and, vintage, earthy and western styles always lurk in the shadows. southern california is not all freeways and shopping malls. LA is dotted with old neighbourhoods filled with craftsman to art deco architecture as well as the many revival styles of the early 20th century. so many textures this spring, copper mixing with brilliant stones and juicy colours. its gritty in the city, its night in the city, but its always beautiful in LA.

elisabeth joy murray fashion/accessory stylist

kelly casper lombardo assistant stylist:

carlos anthony olivas assistant photographer / model

(click on image for fashion information)

















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