Today, I went to Tom’s One Hour Photo

I hadn’t a clue who Kacey Musgraves was — but without her unabashed sense of adventure and her huge celebrity-sized following, she wouldn’t have had the chance to spread the word about Tom’s One Hour Photo, which is:

  • My kind of photo lab
  • My kind of photographer
  • My kind of photo

I have fond memories of taking similar photos back in high school during the ’90s, as I flexed for the mall photographer with my group of friends around me. The photos were then printed out, wallet sized, and flipped over to be written on, whether it be a signature, a small caption of the moment, or even a love note.

I remember keeping some photos in my wallet and took them out to stare at while sitting in the bus or alone in my room, probably admiring how hard I looked in the photo, playing up to my gangbanger sensibilities.

Once a classmate handed me her portrait with a note in the back saying, “I think you’re fine. Take it as you will.”

I was flattered like a motherfucker; it was probably the first time up until that point that anyone outside of my mom complimented me. I was too shy and embarrassed to respond accordingly but it was a fond memory that keeps me delighted til this day about my time in high school.

The one thing I regret, though, as I stare at my mug today in soft portrait lighting and my brown skin contrasted against some ’90s abstract background and style, is that I didn’t keep any of those photos I took from high school.

So kudos to Kacey Musgraves (I’m sure your music is awesome) for taking a chance with Tom’s One Hour Photo and reminding us all to support local business and to express ourselves no matter what.

All you need to know about Tom’s One Hour Photo can be found in their Instagram page, where you can sort through the dozen backgrounds that are available to use in your photo, Tom’s photography process, prices, and location.

A Conversation Under a Bridge

La Cienega Blvd. under the 10 freeway.

“I thought it, poetic .”

“Not really; more of a clichéd poetic.”

“Doesn’t it say something to you?”

“What does it say to you?”

“I marvel at the fact that one word, as simple as one word, can move someone, like the same way a poem moves when you read it, all just words. You look at a billboard, words. It gives you a message. You internalize it. Words move, even if those words don’t make sense. Out of context, and sometimes, with way too much context, and even just one word, one tag, that can move.”

“I wonder if the guy who owns all that shit is okay, and of course, I immediately think, of course, he’s not okay. But he was just there. Surviving. And you think, How long does he have left? I mean, if that’s rock bottom…”

“How do you know that that’s rock bottom?”

“If that’s not rock bottom, if that’s not the lowest one will go, one can go, then what does low look like?”

“It looks like death. That’s the lowest one can go.”

“I think we’re high when we’re dead. When we die, we’re not dead anymore. We’re elsewhere. I no longer matter to people, and people no longer matter to me. I, for one, couldn’t give a fuck about another stranger dying.”

“Would you give a fuck if that person who owned all that shit died?”

“Yes. Now, I do. I feel like I know him now.” 

What Happened to Western Avenue?

What happened to the good ol’ days? Well, they went away with the winter rains. The gutter took them from block to block and dumped down to the beach where the tourists play, down by the Santa Monica Pier.

What happened to Western Avenue? They took away its soul and replaced it with a ghoul. But it’s been so long that nobody noticed that the soul was gone. So the ghoul stays and says hello.

What happened to you and me? You and me are here. We read and we write and sometime we fight about what we read and write, and by some miraculous occurrence and by the end of the night, we find ourselves smoking weed by the dim street light.

L.A. on Light

Cap back. Sunset on low.

Dippin’ down the block.

The kid enjoys his long drives around the neighborhood.

Got me pushing him around in his mini-me car, battling the uneven sidewalks, the rolling stops, dogs, territorial birds, overall non-gangsta shit in former gangsta lands. I’d rather stay in, take him — and his whip — out some other time, but I just can’t say no — so we drive on and on and on and on.

When the L.A. sun is out, that quiet whisper of a gleam, that light that lands so gently on the body, feels like it welcomes more than it brightens, all spirits heighten. In the land of fame and spotlight, the L.A. sun is prime resident. Everyone else abides.

“But ‘L.A. sun?'” she said. “There’s only one sun, fool. The SUN.”

“No, no. The L.A. sun is the L.A. sun.”

That late-afternoon light, that “cotton candy sky.”

(See: An article in The New Yorker about the glow of L.A. by Lawrence Weschler).

L.A. Corner On The Cob

Also known as elote.

Classified as goddamned street food.

Found with a strong sense of exploration and don’t-give-a-fuck-ness.

Eaten under the L.A. sun.

Made of hard work, resilience, and flair — with a dash of L.A. smog.

The recipe according to Chef Roy Choi:

  • Corn (shucked)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Butter (softened)
  • Salt
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cotjia cheese
  • Cayenne
  • Lime

See: L.A. Son by Roy Choi

I Feel Like ScHoolboy Q

Like Russell Westbrook.

Like James Harden.

Like DeMar DeRozan.

Like Kung Fu Kenny.

10-4. No Switching Sides.

Like Pioneer Chicken.

Straight from the Library Tower.

The RTD transfer.

And Rakaa Iriscience.

The 405.

The 10.

The 710.

562.

213.

310.