Tuesday, April 30, 2002  [!]

Pardon me boys, is that the cat who ate my new shoes? Or was that Pardon me boys, is that the Chattanooga choo-choo?

Last Friday I checked out Internet World in downtown L.A. Afterwards, I visited a couple of LA institutions, The Pantry (owned by Richard Riordan, former Mayor of LA, former Gubernatorial candidate, and now the publisher forming a new newspaper for LA), and the train station— Union Station. Here are some pix of the interior... sorry, none of the exterior, which is image-worthy in its own right:

union station interior:
The interior of Union Station, looking toward the main entrance

union station ceiling:
The ceiling of Union Station has lovely painted patterns on it, but a closer look reveals that it's very carefully painted acoustic tile. The upper walls are cork, too, making the grand place nice and hushed, rather than loud and clacky the way the hard-surfaced California Pizza Kitchen jangling noisy interiors tend to be done nowadays.

waiting seats:
With seats like these, here's a place I wouldn't mind having to hang out and wait!

traxx bar:
Right as you come in the main entrance, there's a cozy little bar to the side— Traxx Bar...

traxx restaurant:
...which has a companion restaurant called Traxx Restaurant, a swank-looking establishment.

A walk in the corridor underneath the entrance to all the tracks brings you to the MetroLink and Metro stations and some great public art.

choo choo art:
This is a still image of a fascinating set of lights —called Atrain by Bill Bell— which show a whole animation of trains and cars and trucks going by, and celebrity faces in train windows. You gotta stare at it just right to see the moving images. Very captivating!

Related link: Public Art in LA

Speaking of Los Angeles and the 10th anniversary of the riots, LA Weekly remembers (be sure to check out the eyewitness accounts in the sidebars)

Where was I ten years ago? I was working freelance for a small design studio in Calabasas, daily schlepping some 45 miles from home. Deadline pressure. We worked late. I remember going to lunch with Mark and Jim, the people I was working with. Jim announced that he'd heard about the acquittal. We said something about it, I don't know what. Then we went back to the office and worked. Hard. Late.

In the evening, a bit bleary-eyed, Mark and I went to dinner at The Red Robin around the corner. There was hubbub near the TVs in the bar. On the screen, I saw the dark of night and floodlit police cars being rocked by mobs of people, running, flames. Riots! Aaack! I watched for a bit, then, over dinner, managed to get our attention back on the next items on our to-do list. Much later, when knocking off for the night, Mark invited me to stay with his family on the couch. When we got there, Mark, his wife and I watched more of what was going on with the riots. There was layer of layer of disorientation. Strange environs. A foreign couch. Wonderings about whether I'd get home safe, how far the unrest was spreading north of Los Angeles into the San Gabriel Valley, where I lived.

The next day, I drove home. As morning wore into afternoon and evening, the air filled with smoke. They announced a curfew at night. Stay home. As I had no TV, and was not in LA proper, I left for a time to go visit some friends who had a TV, where we watched news in mutual shock.

I also remember doing these things: One of the radio stations had a live spur-of-the-moment call-in show where different people could describe what was happening in respective parts of LA. We had an extended neighborhood chat to discuss it all.

Earlier in the month, I had signed up for AOL. (this was in the old old days when there'd be a limited number of People Connection chatrooms, and in the standard chatrooms, we'd exclaim at the wonder of it all when we managed to fill the room to its limit, 23 people.) I went to the list of chatrooms and looked for the rooms created by region. They had names such as Los Angeles and Burn, LA Burn! It was my first experience of the connections of cyberspace—and the way that frantic typing helps spread information and calm nerves in a greater crisis. Heh. I remember printing out the log of that chat and showing it to my parents a couple or few weeks later. (Wow! What an amazing experience I had when I was on America Online! Look at this! See? this person is located in Compton, and is describing how he just heard gunshots. He typed that *live*! Can you belive it?!)

I also remember, a few days later, going down to some place in downtown LA with some people from my church for a special service of prayer called by the bishop of the Episcopal Church. Filled with a mix of heavy hearted concern and curiosity to see the effects of what had happened, I remember driving on WIlshire Blvd and noting all the police patrol cars from all the different cities from Southern California.