Saturday, March 20, 2010

Community Spotlight and Hopi Permanent Marker Dance

People seldom ask me: Where the [bleep] is Montecito Heights?  Ha, ha… that's a good and extremely theoretical question.  Well, since I got a quota to fill and they wouldn't let me have the restaurant review beat (I'm not bitter. I'm not. At least not as bitter as the tomato vinaigrette they serve with the pan-seared halibut at-- wha?! Fine, I'll get on with it), let me put it this way...

Takes a deep breath.  A little too deep.  Grows woozy and stumbles over a box of 3-Hole Punched paper.  Cracks noggin on not-so-industrial filing cabinet.  His mind opens a channel to the subconscious and as he fades into slumber, he dreams of a place not so far from here and yet millions and millions and millions (Why not just say "billions"? -- But it's not billions -- don't be so literal, you're dreaming -- Hey, don't start telling me how to dream, [bleep]er -- No need to get snippy, [bleep]head -- I'll kick your ass you piece of dung [scuffle ensues within parentheses]) and millions and millions of miles away...

The community of Montecito Heights, located between Los Angeles and Pasadena overlooking the Arroyo Seco River, boasts huge tracts of open wilderness areas, historic homes and the highest number of retired showgirls, per capita, in the United States. This picturesque district possesses a rich history as one of the oldest and most fascinating sections of Los Angeles. The Arroyo Seco River, once lush and vibrant (and the subject of vigorous revitalization efforts before becoming even more pathetic than the concrete wash they call the L.A. River), became a guide to the padres as they traveled the Old Monterey Trail from the San Gabriel to the San Fernando Mission in search of loose women and gold. In the 1880s, a small settlement sprang up along the Arroyo Seco River, and the Old Monterey Trail eventually became a route of the Santa Fe Railroad, spewing black death into the air which has lingered for over a hundred years.

Montecito Heights, due to its spectacular beauty, incredibly convenient location and miles of cocaine trees, has attracted creative and artistic Angelenos since the turn of the century. Eccentric journalist George Lummis traveled cross-country on foot from Cincinnati until he found his invisible pet Chimp, Senior Tushy -- bordering the Arroyo Seco River at Montecito Heights. There, he used his own hands to build his dream house from local river rock and was immediately beaten senseless by the locals who called his precious little house "El Idiot Who Has Destroyed Our Dam and Flooded Our City and Left Us Homeless". It was shortened to El Alisal, Spanish for the giant sycamore growing beside the house. The site is now commonly referred to as "The Lummis Home". George Lummis founded the Southwest Museum, opened to the public in 1914, even though it had already been founded and opened to the public in 1912.  What an [bleep], huh?

In the thirties, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson fell in love with a large tract of land in Montecito Heights that is still owned by her Four Square Gospel Church.  (Get it?  She fell in love with the land!  And she started a church! Eh, it's funnier in Flemish.)

In 1901, the College of Fine Arts of the University of Southern California established a campus along the banks of the Arroyo Seco and immediately began whining. For two decades, free-thinking students came from all over the west and created a nurturing community of artists and writers and drug-addled minors. This artisan and intellectual community still thrives today until 4:00pm. Because of this richness of artists and works, the Arroyo Arts Collective and the Historical Society of Southern California sponsor an annual "Let's Get Drunk with the Artists" Day.

Montecito Heights itself began as a development in 1910. The developers envisioned the planned and affluent suburb they named Montecito Hills as groups of gracious houses placed on large lots surrounding a magnificent fountain depicting a nude Teddy Roosevelt. The company went bankrupt in 1929, and the Lord looked upon it and said that it was randy and rather naughty. But many residents still enjoy the legacy of the developers' depraved vision, and delight in their spacious oversized asses, a rare luxury in any large city. Others have profited by becoming micro-developers and building cathouses on their large tracts, attracting local law enforcement nightly in a strictly unofficial capacity, as well as the ghost of Aimee Semple McPherson (get it?).

So, uh... yeah. That's it.  More or less.  Bring the kids (every one you can find) to this pastoral and peaceful hamlet but do mind the armed snipers.  They take community safety very seriously.  Did I mention that they've poisoned the water supply?  Yeah, well they have.

1 comment:

  1. Do they still validate after the Rose Bowl parade?


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