I recently reconnected with an old compan~ero from earlier years in the streets, clubs and raves of LA.
Eventually the conversation, like most conversations with old friends, made its way to places and experiences we had in the past.
Manglor was the first person I knew who moved into the Artist District of L.A. before it was called the Artist District. Manglor at the time was a bike messenger, and with another bike messenger as a roomie, they could easily afford a nice sized loft.
Don't even think bike messengers were paid better then, it was the rent that was cheaper then.
All the area was known for was the very punk rock Al's Bar (r.i.p) and big ass apartment/lofts filled with tripped out peeps who partied all the time.
We would be tripped out, partying at Manglor's on any night of the week and one neighbor or another would always come by and join in, or invite us over to their own party, or their other neighbor's party. Music flowed through the hallways. The few cars were usually rusted 'n dented and/or covered in paint that would wash off for a new color in a few days. Art pieces were cast off into the hallway or street below only to be dragged back in and re-touched a day or two later.
Sometimes you couldn't tell the difference between the people who lived in the building or the ones who lived outside and lived off your tips for keeping an eye on your car. The local food was only at T.V Cafe, (thanks always for that introduction Manglor!) and no one would ever dream of a French-styl-ish over priced cafe anywhere near there. A hop over the river for tacos was not an expedition, but part of natural migratory patterns.
It was an Artist District before it was an artist district.
We both have seen how things have changed.
Today you see nice shiny cars zipping in and out. In some builidngs, I heard/read that, there are formal building groups that monitor your comings and goings and any hint of a party in order to send you a 'tsk tsk, you should know better' email via the building's website that has a resident code of fricking conduct! New artists pushed out the old with their rules and much higher rents.
They want to live in the city, but feel like they are back in suburbia.
They don't want film companies working too early or too late. They want a dog park in an area where the majority of people sleep in tents on the streets. They have laws and non-cops, who dream of being cops, to scare off, harrass and 'clean up' the area of people who have no where else to go . There are now formal galleries, not signs that say "Come In And Buy Some Art So I Can Pay My Rent." They have overpiced French stylo cafes with cloth table covers and napkins. Shit for all I know they got free wireless internet in that little zone that once celebrated life and art not just the business of art and its benefactors, collectors and 'successful' artists.