Monday, April 30, 2007

Fiesta Broadway or My Birthday Project #4

Still looking to do new things each week to celebrate my upcoming milestone birthday, I was torn between going to the Oinkster in Eagle Rock and going to Fiesta Broadway downtown. So, I did both. Only one, though,was worthy of writing about.

The Oinkster, it wasn't. Though delish and having flavors that stayed with me all day, it wasn't all that. And they're not kidding when they call it "slow fast food". Will I be back? Probably.

Fiesta Broadway is the annual "cinco de mayo" festival they have on Broadway in downton L.A.,always the weekend before the 5th. This year was no different and I decided to finally see what 500,000 others annually find so irresistible. So, I hopped over to Lincoln Heights, passing the new Rio de Los Angeles Park in the former Taylor Yard, tucked in my iPod headphones and jumped aboard a gold line train. Bada boom, bada bing, I passed the new Cornfield park and Chinatown and changed trains at Union Station.

In minutes, I was walking down 1st to Broadway where there was a Si, Se Puede giant rally going on. This was different alright. Once I was on Broadway, I weaved my way through enormous crowds down the entire length of the fiesta, which must have been at least 12 city blocks long. The street was lined with every kind of commerical representation and intermingled with booths of sizzling meats and cool fruit juices.

More overwhelming than the smell of the food, though, really was the commericalization. Seemingly no product -- from toilet paper to Chrysler to Macy's -- was not represented. It was as if corporate America woke up and realized that latinos have buying power. Sort of the same way it woke up and discovered they could make more money selling to the gays than discriminating against them.

Anyway, it was interesting. When there wasn't commercialization, there was music. Loud, loud, loud music. At the corner of 7th and Broadwasy there was a giant screen and huge speakers playing the concert from 1st. Here, the volume was turned so high, I literally felt like crying.

A few of the more intriguing things -- at least to me -- about the fiesta were:

1. A few times I found tight circles of people surrounding competing dance couples. It was really cool, joyous and uplifting.

2. I have two friends that I mentioned my visit to Fiesta to -- one an L.A.native and the other works 2 blocks away from Broadway and has for years. Neither knew of the event even though a huge percentage of our population attends every year but it still remains literally steps or miles away from caucasion L.A. There were not a lot of white people there. The city, though diverse, is still so very separated.

3. Broadway is still the heart and soul of L.A. Walking down it reminded me of Las Ramblas in Barcelona. I hope some day the city makes it a walking only street -- like 3rd st. promenade in Santa Monica and people from all over revel in the madness of it. Screw the Grand Ave. project -- it should be all about Broadway.

No comments: