Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Other Broadway

My lunch break from work was always some ungodly great escape, but no great escape could ever top my weekly forays down Broadway in DTLA (Downtown LA). No lover of Mexican culture, I was nevertheless in awe of all the cool shops down this heavily Latinized section of town. I'd walk down the hill from 1st Street and cut over past all the bridal dress shops - teenage brides served daily! - and head over to The Bradbury Building. It's weird stepping in there and seeing those legendary staircases and balconies where Darryl Hannah attacked Harrison Ford in "Blade Runner" and the immortal Edmond O'Brien facing down his killer in "D.O.A." Brilliant. It's also home to the classiest-looking Subway I've ever eaten at. Next door is the world's oldest men's barber supply store. You can actually pick your favorite straight razors and shaving cream brushes; the selection is incredible.

Next door to the Million Dollar Theatre is a wild place called the Farmacia Y Botanica Million Dollar, which has in addition to Jesus and Virgin Mary statues figurines of El Diablo (Satan) and The Grim Reaper. In addition to the incense and votive candles are green penis candles and red vagina candles. This is religion a la Burger King - "Have It Your Way", divinity and sex objects galore, a real action kind of place, y'know. A few steps away is the legendary Grand Central Market where you can buy any kind of food you like and then some. I saw a lot of cabezas (cow and sheep heads). I think I saw a few pig skulls, too, which reminded me of Rory Calhoun in "Motel Hell".

Meanwhile a lot of bad cha cha music booms out of tinny speakers just like the beginning of "Touch of Evil". You'll be looking over your shoulder making sure Uncle Joe Grande isn't trying to throw a bottle of acid at you. Take another block down and after you pass Falles Paredes (sounds like Phallus Paradise!) you'll chow down at Hoagies And Wings, one of the few places in L.A. where the hoagies actually have some soul and personality. More importantly, though, is the International House of Music, an enormous music store with PA equipment, turntables for the DJ's and even tympani and cellos for all the cats fromneighboring concert halls like The Music Center, The Walt Disney Concert Hall and The Colburn School for The Performing Arts, in case they're short a few strings or reeds. I also liked the "Nipper" statue in front greeting you as you entered the store. Awesome!

Broadway was such a fucking Shangri-La from all the starchy, uptight, post 9/11 paranoia motherfuckers I had to suffer all day at the Board of Supervisors. While the job I deserted hangs a pall over me like a bad nightmare I have to confess to missing my little escapes, like the majesty that is Broadway and all its beautifully eccentric quirks. Any place that can pull off a cool Subway deserves your respect.

1 comment:

Busy Gal said...

Nice photos! They look like they were shot anywhere except LA.