Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Making of El Chavez Ravine

LAST NIGHT, we watched and listened to people talk about various places in Los Angeles that no longer exist quite in the way that they once remembered them.

One of the enduring stories of "erased" Los Angeles is the story of the old neighborhood of Chavez Ravine.  Earlier this semester, I passed out a profile I wrote about a young artist, Vincent Valdez, who had the task of reconstructing the saga of the old neighborhood on the body of an ice cream truck -- a low rider ice cream truck. Yes, that's right.  Upon completion, Vincent named the truck: El Chavez Ravine.

Below is a mini-doc of Valdez at work. Remember when we saw the image of the woman being dragged out of her house last night? This little piece starts with a reenactment of the event that Valdez is filming so that he can better reproduce the action on the side of the truck.

The truck was commissioned by musician Ry Cooder, for his album Chavez Ravine, that told the story of the old neighborhood in 360 -- taking the listener from it's days as a "poor man's shangri-la" to the green turf and bright lights of night baseball, but told from the perspective of a fan whose family lived just about where third base is.
 Here are a couple of pieces that take us down the trail of the story....

The photos you see are by Don Normark who documented the old neighborhood on film. 

"Poor Man's Shangri-La"

"Three Cool Cats"

"Third Base, Dodger Stadium"

-- L.G.
image: Chavez Ravine cover via Wikipedia

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