Archive for November, 2011

Jane Jacobs on North Hollywood (and Napizaro)

26 November 2011

Cities and the Wealth of Nations by Jane Jacobs, 1984

I’ve been reading Jane Jacobs book Cities and the Weath of Nations: Principles of Economic Life (1984.) I’m not quite finished yet, but, so far, it’s good but I can’t highly recommend it – at least not so very highly as I recommend Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961.) Death and Life is really one of the very best books for folks interested in cities – what makes them work and what screws them up. I really enjoyed Death and Life and it shaped some of my thinking about cities,  so I figured I’d pick up another book by Jacobs.

I am not through Cities and the Weath of Nations, but I just read and want to share this passage which felt very Los Angeles… the story of a Mexican bullring named “The North Hollywood.”

Consider […] a village named Napizaro in a poor region of central Mexico, several hundred miles to the northwest of Mexico City. For about forty years Napizaro has been heavily subsidized by migrant workers. Almost everyone in the region containing Napizaro used to live by farming, and many still do – mostly subsistence farming, although some practice a bit of cash cropping. The families who depend only on subsistence farming are known locally, for good reasons as the morosos, those without hope. Their lives are inconceivably grim. But a couple of generations ago a new factor entered the lives of some of these people: the pull of jobs in the United States, distant jobs that, as it happens, were illegal as well because it is hard to crack the American immigration barriers. Some took seasonal agricultural jobs but others found year-round work in such cities as Houston and Los Angeles. It is on jobs in Los Angeles that Napizaro has come to depend.  (more…)

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Letters to Mom

23 November 2011

Artistic envelope that I mailed to mom in 2004

I’ve started scanning and posting some of the letters that I wrote to my mother, who passed away earlier this year. I post these at my art blog Handmade Ransom Notes – under older work pages – see here, here, here, and here. I’ve been trying to mainly post new artwork there, because I want to use the blog to motivate me to work on and finish new artwork.  (more…)

Comics Vocabulary: Polyptych

22 November 2011

Multi-panel pan or polyptych from Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics

I recently re-read Scott McCloud‘s awesome 1993 treatise on comics Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. This book, along with McCloud’s subsequent comics volumes, is really the best resource for exploring comic book vocabulary – ie: how comics do what comics do.

McCloud’s chapter 4, on Time Frames, touches on what I’ve been calling a “multi-panel pan sequence” (though I’ve been thinking of trimming this to a “multi-pan”) and he calls this sequence a “polyptych.”

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L.A. Union Station crowds

1 November 2011

Nicely crowded tunnel at L.A. Union Station

I took this photo last Saturday, on my way down to Orange County to see the greatest Sondheim appearance that never happened. It’s a shot of the main hallway connecting to the rail platforms at Los Angeles’ Union Station, which is one of my favoite people-watching places. It’s also one of L.A.’s great architectural historical monuments… and the site of historic racist removal of L.A.’s Chinatown, which was forcibly evicted/displaced to make way for the station. I was really happy to see such crowds, on a Saturday afternoon. (more…)