School of Seven Bells once again nailed it last night…

SVIIB

…and I have photos. As per usual with me now, I guess, I was posting all over Twitter so once again for here, reworked commentary plus some representative photos and links and all. But basically, a treat of a night — if SVIIB had a better sound mix when I saw them back in May, the performance was still stellar and both openers were very good. Check all of ’em out when you can, so without further ado, from start to finish:

Phantogram

Phantogram
— “…starting everything off with strobes, fog, THX soundbursts, dub level bass and shimmer and heavenly vocal hooks….Definite post-Cocteaus fix but so many years on it’s nice to hear unexpected beats. If the reggae/dub breaks are familiar the context is not entirely. They sound nothing like the XX, say, but are as dedicated to recombination. It’s also good — very good — to see a shoegaze/electronic duo where the division is not simply female=vocals, male=music but instead something where both are clearly keeping control of the music at all times, on different fronts….Their last song here is a killer, strong way to finish!”

Warpaint

Warpaint — “@masonicboomk8 mentioned their “Slumber Party vibe” and I can hear it, but it’s nice to hear the spiky energy also apparent in the performance. It’s not just moody and shadowy sounds but a certain bracing kick, a taut energy….Going to sound a little strange but it’s almost like the Chameleons play the Doors, without vocals (initially!). With vocals, meanwhile, the sense is of understated power, a careful contemplation. A Raincoats comparison is lazy, but works….Good harmony vocals too, and the drummer is a bit of a secret weapon. Again, like Phantogram, one hears new combinations of the past, a sense that everything is perfectly up for grabs. This could be 1969, 1982, now, 2019. The XX again come to mind and again not as direct comparisons….The quick driving tempo of the third song further destabilizes easy categorization of Warpaint. They aim for their own sound without apology….Meanwhile whatever mutilpart epic they’re playing now absolutely kills. Musical highlight of the evening so far, hands down….Now they’re rocking the three part harmonies! Gotta say this bunch impresses even more song for song.”

School of Seven Bells

School of Seven Bells — “….Goodbye to everyone’s eardrums! Frickin KILLING it and it’s just the first song. Seriously a great great band….The name of their album, Alpinisms, was well chosen — you get a sense of something powerful and clear ringing down from high crystalline heights, but with the force of a massive avalanche. The bass certainly ain’t hurting in this respect….It should also be said that Ben is perfecting his Bryan Ferry ’75 hairstyle….In some respects this is a classic case of needing to add little beyond the obvious. Everything is in ridiculously perfect sync cryptic but evocative visuals, massive walls of sound, serene tones cutting through the murk. A perfection of antipop pop. And yet the strutting sass on a number like the one right now IS pure pop, however buttressed and swathed in glowering murk….Main set over. My fear was that it couldn’t be as powerful as the May set — happily proved wrong. Back out now for the encore….Encore number has a throb pulse out of Suicide/Moroder, harmonies arcing like radar waves and pure Vapourspace build and rush and did I mention the feedback? (Ben’s guitar pedal setup is ridiculous in a great way.)”

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Said it before about mass transit around LA and I’ll say it again…

…people always think it’s way too complicated or problematic or what have you until they TRY it.

This LA Times story on how mass transit ridership is starting to perk up more in the face of gas prices and, in some cases, increasing traffic delays — very, very slowly perking up, but even so — contains further anecdotal evidence of the fact. I have to remind myself more than once that I am coming from a much different position than a lot of people — I’m not switching from using a car to going it on a bus or the like, I’ve always done the latter. It’s my baseline, not something to investigate.

I’m pleased that it’s starting to happen more often, of course; at the same time I have to sigh — loudly — at some of the attitudes expressed in the story from various people interviewed (and, to an extent, the author). For instance:

She thought about it for four years. She wanted to try it, but kept balking at the last minute.

“I was scared,” says Francine Choi, a Los Angeles county employee who lives in Long Beach. “I was worried I’d get mugged.” And then a couple months ago, filling her BMW at a Chevron near work, she gasped when she saw the total pass $60. Then and there, she summoned the courage to do it at last.

Choi rode the Metro Blue Line to work the next day.

….

[Sykes] loves being able to read the paper and doesn’t mind having to park farther away, with all the new riders. In fact, she is elated that she lost 10 pounds walking about three miles a day to and from her stations. And the broader spectrum of riders reduces the perception some have that the train is full of gangbangers and homeless people.

….

Attorney Susan Seager started taking mass transit from South Pasadena to Century City. She walks to the Gold Line train, takes it Union Station, where she jumps on LADOT Commuter Express to work. “The seats are cushiony and soft,” she says “There are no homeless people. There are no screaming children.”

Brooding about the implicit class and race-based comments in evidence here could whip me up into a righteous fury if I felt like it. Another time, perhaps, but to say I’m profoundly irritated understates, and there’s more I could say about the division between ridiculously overaccesorized vehicles as private expressions of luxury vs. the seeming ‘poverty’ of mass transit in turn. If as much money had been spent on mass transit in the whole basin area as had been spent on SUVs — and the gas it took to power them — over the last two decades, things would look and be a lot different around here.

Meantime a story at the end of the article further underscores my original point in this piece, especially since it is an Orange County story:

Richard Covey, a school teacher as well, discovered an express bus from Laguna Hills to South Coast Plaza that delivers him within walking distance of his middle school in Santa Ana.

He started taking it late March — and kicks himself for not doing it sooner.

No need for me to pile on if he’s already doing the self-kicking — but it further illustrates this idea that, for so many, car transit isn’t simply an option but somehow seen as the sole approach to the exclusion of others. And that’s just not so, it just isn’t so.

Nearly everyone interviewed made the discoveries I took for granted from the start — you don’t have to worry about the road or being behind the wheel, you can use the time to reflect, work and relax, and you can simply just gain more in the way of quality of life. Are all the transit systems in this region perfect, do they cover every possible location? Of course not — would that they did, though. And if this is the spur to take care of just that, well then, bring it. It’s long overdue.

A Megabus update — alas, they’re not in LA anymore

A couple of months back I mentioned my trip from LA to SF to visit my sis using Megabusyou can find my full post on it here — and as I said at the time, while there were a couple of problems on the trip, overall my experience was positive and I was considering future trips up north when possible.

Alas, as this story from a little over a week back indicates, after another month’s time that won’t be possible:

Bargain bus service Megabus, which touted fares as low as $1, said Friday that it would pull out of Los Angeles because of low ridership.

The decision to shut down the hub, which was expected, came less than a year after Megabus began service from Los Angeles to cities including San Francisco and Las Vegas.

“Our approach has been to go into different markets and give it a shot and see how they’ll develop,” said Megabus President Dale Moser. “If they develop quickly, we’ll certainly sustain it. But in this case, the ridership trends aren’t growing enough.”

Megabus, a subsidiary of Coach USA, will end its service from Los Angeles to San Francisco and Oakland after June 22, and from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, San Jose and Millbrae, Calif., a few weeks earlier, Moser said.

I’m actually almost tempted to make one more trip up and back but my schedule over the next few weeks is verging on the hyperpacked, building up to my Midwest/East Coast trip for the latter half of June, so that won’t be possible.

In any event, it’s a real pity the service didn’t get further traction here — as the story indicates, it’s taken off in the Midwest in particular, so it’s not like there won’t be a market in general, and personally I’d’ve thought in an era of ever-increasing gas prices that Megabus would be in a prime position. In fact, given everything from those increasing prices to the word about new fees and restrictions in plane service, arguably they could have been in total pole position for summer travel, especially between the Bay Area and SoCal, and the fact that the company isn’t ruling out a future return is a good thing.

But it’s true that the advertising they made didn’t seem to be increasing recognition much — nearly everyone I talked to down here about it had never heard of it, for instance, and everyone was all deeply interested in it. Seemed like a classic word-of-mouth situation to build on, but maybe markets needed to be targeted more effectively — for instance, I would have done something over at UCI if I’d worked for them, noting how you could catch a Metrolink ride up to Union Station and then get the Megabus from there easily enough. College-age folks were clearly a primary market for this kind of thing, based on my ride up, but I don’t remember seeing anything for the company around here over these past few months.

Anyway, what’s done is done, and crossed fingers something happens along those lines in the near future for such service, or that they return and build up from the ground floor more effectively this time. Glad I had the opportunity to try it the once, at least!

Akron/Family — believe the hype

Which almost sounds dismissive, but isn’t meant to be, trust me.

Thing is, I’d known of Akron/Family‘s work for a while since the first album, as I’ve been lucky enough to be on Young God‘s promo list for a bit, and was well aware of how they were good sounding sorts, both on their own and playing with Michael Gira in Angels of Light efforts. Apparently at some point they’d been tagged with being another one of ‘those’ NYC bands in a ‘you’re all from Williamsburg or Park Slope or something, right?’ sense, which sounded pretty nonsensical to me three thousand miles away and all. It’s not like they sounded like the Strokes, for heaven’s sake. (Good thing too.)

I’d not seen them live, though — and it wasn’t until I read something from Nari about how a performance she caught up in Big Sur was apparently one of those WHOA-my-god-my-world-is-changed moments along the lines of me seeing MBV that I realized ‘okay, so something is clearly up.’ In rapid succession I had almost everyone and their mother who had encountered them live say, “You HAVE to see them perform.” This is a good thing, it reminds me of the essential difference between Radiohead in studio (exquisite) and Radiohead live (monumental), both astonishingly great but somewhat different beasts.

In a convenient bit of timing, there’s a great piece on the band in the latest Yeti which I recommend — I actually need to recommend the whole issue, that’ll be another post — so they’d been on my mind anyway. Then friend Eric drops me a last minute line after I get home from work yesterday saying, “Hey, they’re playing a secret show at the Echo Curio tonight, wanna go?” (Like a lot of bands playing Coachella, as they’re doing today, Akron/Family decided to slip in an unannounced show for LA while in the area.) Tentative plans had fallen through so I was on board pretty quickly, helped by the fact that the Echo Curio is a great venue — last year’s Bottling Smoke festival was a treat and a half, as I wrote about for Plan B, and you can scrounge through all my photos here if you like.

It was great to go again, been far too long, and folks like Grant and Ged and Tim and many others familiar from last year were there, as were a healthy contingent of the current KUCI crew (many of whom recognized me from the library — love how that works). Opening bands Vampire Hands (Minneapolis quartet, percussion heavy art/math/pop dudes with a slight early Eno fetish) and Chapa (local LA quintet, stylish jazz/hint of klezmer/sweetly zoned rock, like a better National or something) both put on some great sets so the mood was right, and Akron/Family came in and set up, introduced themselves as the great Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (no Riverbottom Nightmare Band?) and DAMN. Yeah, they killed it. I’m still tired from getting in late last night so the words aren’t really around, but even if you didn’t know a note from these folks, bring your earplugs and get there and go to town. Most energized crowd I’ve seen in nonstop dance mode for a ‘rock’ band as described since probably the New Fast Automatic Daffodils — and that was seventeen years ago.

What was most interesting to me wasn’t their vaunted and successful sense of getting the crowd going with singalongs and handclaps and direct participation without having to do any sort of “C’MON LET’S SEE THOSE HANDS!” hoohah (Dave Gahan is the only one I’ll allow that from). It’s not like they involved call-and-response, after all (and they would never claim to have). Instead, it really was all about the jaw-dropping fluidity with which the band performs and slips and moves from mode to mode, style to style, without making it seem clunky or forced. At the risk of damning with faint praise, at a couple of points I thought “This would be what the Arcade Fire might be like if I liked them,” ie able to be successful at uplifting energy transformed outward — a more apt comparison to my mind came later, namely that they might actually approach prime Boredoms instead. (And I thought this before I met Sam from KUCI wearing his Boredoms shirt.)

Anyway, took photos of all three bands, quietly crouched near the fan and the front door (the Echo Curio can and does overheat just by default, so I’ve learned to trust my comfort levels), and my set of Akron/Family photos is here. A lot of murk of course but there were a few shots that stood out for me:

A kind of blue Miles

A little off-kilter

Caught in the light

Dance, dance, dance

Good stuff. Great band. And Miles and Seth were extremely polite and cool fellows when I chatted with them briefly. Yeah, see ’em. (And see Vampire Hands and Chapa too — the former are currently going up the coast with their tour and they’re all real friendly dudes, so introduce yourselves!)

A report on the MEGABUS!

If you like. People have been asking me about this ever since I planned my SF trip around testing out this company, so I figured I would post a bit about it.

I first heard about Megabus some months back when I stumbled across this story at the LA Times talking about their service between LA and San Francisco for a low price. A very low price — $1. As the story mentions and the official site also indicates, this isn’t the price for every ticket, merely the initial starting ones, but overall the point is — we’re talking cheap.

In reading the story and noting the possibilities, I realized that I should give it a whirl one of these days, simply because I do love SF, and have someone to stay with thanks to my sis and her boyfriend and their place together is even more of a bonus. I’d initially thought over a late February trip but since late March provided a three day weekend and a chance to get away from OC for a bit in between academic quarters I sprung for a ticket in early February at $10, a mighty fine thing. I planned on only taking the trip up that way while flying back, since that way in case the whole thing turned out to be a washout that way I didn’t have to worry about problems on the return journey.

Having booked, I started talking to a lot of others about this all and needless to say there was a lot of interest. The advantage of Megabus’s service as described is not only a matter of price, but convenience and simplicity. Its two routes to SF involve only one brief rest stop around Coalinga, then otherwise you’re being put in at San Jose (which could be handy for anyone wanting to get to Santa Cruz from there, say), then Millbrae and finally SF’s main station at 4th Street, or the route I did, which went to Oakland and then the same SF station. The advantage of both routes, meanwhile, is that both Millbrae and West Oakland are major BART terminals, so if one wanted to switch from the bus to that, it’s even a handier situation than simply going into 4th Street.

However, the proof had to be in the pudding. Greyhound, the major US bus service, is somewhat notorious for its downmarket image on a variety of fronts, while friends of mine who have used it in the past always talked about problems with the drivers, creepy passengers and a generally bleh feeling. Clearly the folks behind Megabus know that and aren’t interested in gaining something similar — the company is an outgrowth of the original one in Europe, though, and there bus and coach services are a little more entrenched and of a higher reputation, at least in comparative terms. Meanwhile, the pricing reminded me of many European airlines that provide cheap flights like Ryanair and EasyJet, so I wasn’t surprised by the low cost.

In any event, I was booked for the trip and on Thursday night found myself waiting with fellow passengers for the late night trip. It should be said that Megabus runs three trips per day between LA and SF (and the same number back), so it’s not like one has to try a night trip or else. However, there’s an advantage in that if you can get some sleep on the way via the late night trip, then you can have the day to yourself once you’re in, and it just turned out to be more convenient for me that way anyway. As the service is all done online there’s no extra assistants or anyone waiting for you at the top — we all formed a general line, the bus pulled up and the driver, a garrulous but friendly fellow named Chada who is the same driver profiled in the Times piece, got everyone shipshape and loaded in as quickly as possible.

The bus itself was clearly still quite new — looked sleek both outside and in, and there’s plenty of space for both hand luggage inside and regular luggage down in storage bays below the seats. The seating was slightly cramped for someone of my height but not impossible; as I was fortunate enough to get two seats to myself (it’s first come first serve but nobody took the seat next to mine, so hey), this wasn’t so bad at all. A toilet in the back of the bus was there for anyone who needed it but I ended up not having to so nothing to report there.

Now I wish I could say that the trip from there was a dream — but there were a couple of initial problems that I have to report (and I’ll be sending a note to the company about this blog entry for their reference). First, shortly after we pulled out to head north, Chada noticed that the coolant had almost totally leaked out, which he found very surprising since the engineer had signed off on it before taking the bus out. Therefore, he pulled the bus off on Lankershim in the Valley after calling it in, as they’d have to send out a new bus as well as an engineer from their Long Beach depot. The engineer arrived in good time and started to work on it, but the replacement bus was delayed because the fellow driving it up for whatever reason didn’t know how to get to where the broken bus was at — completely on the wrong side of Dodger Stadium for a start. Chada noted a touch tartly on his call back to the depot that the GPS indicator should have been clear in terms of where they were at, so who knows? After some delay, the new bus arrived, everyone transferred over and we were on the road again after a delay of two hours.

What to take from all this as a traveller? Well, I’d definitely have to say that Chada did the right steps from what I could tell at each stage — safety was the prime consideration, and had the bus shut down in the middle of nowhere or on the Grapevine or the like, who knows where things could have gone? So while he was obviously a bit frustrated with the delays — he clearly prides himself on running a punctual service and made mention about how he always aims to be in SF before the morning rush hour ties up traffic on the bridges — he was following correct procedure, and I certainly thank him for that as well as his can-do attitude and professional attitude for the whole trip. But the combination of learning that a mechanic had apparently made a mistake of some sort in checking on the bus equipment (apparently this same bus had had an initial problem on a Vegas run just previous to this one — and without sounding flippant, I did have to wonder what the equivalent for a plane’s engineer making this mistake would be; at least all we had to do was pull off on a highway exit) and the error on the part of the driver bringing up the replacement bus made me think that Megabus might want to strongly consider reviewing these areas for the future. These may well have been both isolated situations; nonetheless they’re the ones I experienced, so there you go.

That said, and now dealing with the fact that we were quite behind, we hit the road and from there, everything went pretty much like I’d expected and hoped it would. I was near the front of the bus, and besides getting a nice clear view of the road ahead I also got to hear the conversations between Chada and a couple of passengers who clearly used this service a lot; turns out that at least one and maybe both used it not so much for pleasure but for jobs, a good cheap way to get between home and work, if an exhausting one still. As it was a night run, though, most of the conversation died down after a bit as we quietly chugged along the familiar reach of the Grapevine and then the flatness of the Central Valley, lights far off in the distance indicating other roads, towns, farms. As is often the case with night travel like this, I wasn’t able to fully nod off to sleep, but I catnapped well enough.

The stopover in Coalinga was brief but welcome, a chance to stretch legs and munch on a snack (I’d made sure to bring a little something with me — some water, an almond mix, an apple) before heading out again. Chada was able to make up some of the time; however, as we turned off from the 5 to head towards the Bay Area, traffic was already starting to pick up noticeably as the morning rush hour began to kick into gear. By the time we were over in Oakland itself I realized that rather than going all the way to 4th Street Station it would be handier for me to get off at the Oakland stop and take BART into the Embarcadero, where I could switch to the N-Judah MUNI line, which is all needed in order to get within a couple of blocks of my sis’s place. This line also runs from 4th Street Station, so by doing this — and since the Oakland stop is the West Oakland station, which is just opposite the Embarcadero station on the other side of the Bay, in essence — I ended up being able to get exactly to where I needed to go via a quick BART switch as opposed to waiting for the bus to try and force its way across the Bay Bridge in the rush hour crunch. It meant spending a couple of extra bucks for the BART trip, of course, but that’s nothing!

And so I got into the City, stopped off briefly at Arizmendi Bakery for some necessary refreshments (and hurrah for it being on a street the N-Judah line runs on) and from there have had a great ol’ time; as mentioned in the previous post yesterday was a lot of good fun out eating and drinking with folks (my friend Remy’s just finishing up a monthlong visit in town and so I got to introduce him to my sister and her crew; everyone got along great!), today’s been some relaxing and a bit of shopping indulgence (thanks to a birthday gift certificate from my sis and some store credit I had a hell of a blast today at Amoeba) and tonight will be more chat and a show (specifically the one listed here) and I fly back tomorrow — and I admit I will enjoy the quickness of that! (I’m going to be testing out the LAX Flyaway service upon arrival, since that provides a quick turn around between the airport and Union Station.)

So that all said, but final thoughts on Megabus? Well pretty much you’ve seen my take — yes, I would recommend it, but with caveats. Keep in mind that I wasn’t really following a set schedule, was only traveling with myself, was able to make a last minute change of plan on a dime — flexibility was key. If I had been with folks, if things were more incumbent on being in the city at a specific time, then maybe the inconvenience of the delays could have been worse. Meantime, I can’t say that I would totally be trusting in a bus now until we’re well on the road, and even then I’d have to wonder if another mechanic maybe made another mistake that isn’t immediately apparent. It’s unfortunate to have to say it but I can’t NOT say it! If the company is worth its salt, it’s already investigated this situation to try and figure out what’s wrong; if it hasn’t, hopefully my take on it (and possibly that of others on the trip) will help.

But yeah, I think I will do it again sometime. I think though my biggest change will be to make it a day or evening trip rather than a night one — not positive in the end, really, because eating up the time during the late night is handy, and it just took a little nap in the morning for me to get myself back in shape, whereas eating up the time during the day can feel a bit wasteful. I might do more combined trips, where I go up via the bus and fly down in return. But all in all, it was a good experience, I am glad I did it, and I think for a lot of folks who, like me, want to make the trip but don’t always have the easy funds to do so will jump at the chance to give it a whirl.

So in all, good on Megabus — but yeah, double check those coolant systems, would you?

Meanwhile, for all you Bauhaus/Love and Rockets fans…

David J’s best of LA. You know, I’m still annoyed I’ve never seen him do one of his solo sets. I need to fix that. (One of my greatest concert regrets: missing a small show at the Roxy or Whisky back in 1992. Opening act? PJ Harvey. You KNOW that ruled.) Much as I love the work of all four members of Bauhaus, collectively or individually, David’s work has always seemed the most underrated seemingly by intent, a deceptive downplaying of flash in favor of his calmly artistic presentation of style and self. I strongly suggest checking out his homepage, where among other things he’s started to stream a variety of rarities and experiments; meanwhile, his latest project, a musical based on the life of Edie Sedgwick called Silver for Gold, has just finished an initial LA run with plans to go off-Broadway in the future.

Nothing more much than this to say in this post, so as a bonus, the fun video for his almost solo hit back in 1990 “I’ll Be Your Chauffeur.” There’s something sweetly breezy about the visuals here, matching the enjoyable song equally well. The album it’s from, Songs From Another Season, is one of those understated delights that I forget how much I enjoy until I give it another listen. (You can find my AMG mutterings from some years back here.)

Anyway, the video:

Armenian food, Mexican bakers, American setting — I love SoCal

First off, read the story in full (and check out all the photos). To quote the introduction:

So how did a pair of childhood buddies from Zacatecas, Mexico, turn into two of Los Angeles’ most popular Armenian bakers?

On West Adams Boulevard, Francisco Rosales and Jose Gonzales did it by adopting Leon Partamian’s family recipes — and then getting “adopted” by Partamian themselves.

The crusty owner of the 60-year-old A. Partamian Bakery in the Mid-City area liked the way they cooked his sarma and lahmajune. And he liked the two of them.

So when Partamian died 17 months ago, he gave his bakery business — and the building that houses its vintage ovens and bread display cases — to both of them.

Now on the face of it, a classic ‘human interest’ story, which it is. It’s meant to make you smile, get you interested in the subject matter, the usual sort of stuff. Given that the focus is also to do with food, it should also get you hungry (rightfully so — I’ve not been to this place in question but I’ve had a couple of excellent lahmajunes over the moons, given my shamefully limited experience with Armenian cuisine, and if these guys cook some of the best, that’s a sign enough for me).

There’s a larger significance, though, and rightfully the author of the piece doesn’t spell it out entirely, nor do I need to — but it’s good to note the contextual web of assumptions and axioms. It’s very much a classic ‘American’ success story, one that undercuts, indirectly, a variety of overriding narratives, nearly all of which are laden with stereotypes if not bigotry. Grab a Malkin or a Dobbs or the like and say something like, “Yeah, there was this Armenian American businessman who worked out getting green cards for his two assistants from Mexico years after they arrived here…” and see how quickly they will prevent you from completing the sentence before something charming is said that shouldn’t be repeated.

The point is not to balance stereotype with stereotype, however — we live in a land of imperfections and sadness of all kinds, of exploitative bosses and desperate people under the radar, and this article doesn’t wipe that slate clean. The story of Partamian, Rosales and Gonzales is one story, not all stories, yet it’s a story of the land of opportunity made manifest. It undoes the question of authenticity in favor of the one of skills, learning, passion — Rosales and Gonzales didn’t grow up with the food? No, but they learned it from someone who did, and who in turn made sure they knew.

There’s a long-standing association and preference in America — likely many other countries — for the food at a restaurant identified with a particular national cuisine to be made strictly by people of that nationality, and yet that’s a well-meaning myth at best. Ditch it. What matters is what’s done and how well, and what a chef can bring to it, and what people pass on to their assistants, and so forth.

This story covers everything from hard work (consider the hours mentioned that Rosales and Gonzales put in) to the transformation of an ‘immigrant’ cuisine into a home one (the one patron who isn’t Armenian but grew up with the food as a youngster because of where she lived) to the value of community and family knowledge (Partamian never wrote a will but it was recognized by all who he wanted to deed the business and building to, and after time it was all resolved in the duo’s favor). And it’s a very LA story — it couldn’t have just happened here, no, but there’s a combination of everything (from Anglo-Saxon/English probate law to Armenian immigration after the horrors of a century ago to the search for work in Mexico and the United States and more besides) that can result in something like this happening here, recognizably in this area.

And above all else, there’s no sense that anyone involved is a plaster saint — just folks doing what they can, and hopefully to the best of their ability. Now that’s all right.

Here’s where the bakery is, off the 10 via La Brea or Fairfax — they’re probably going to get a big spike in business. Well deserved, I’d say.