Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
A Los Angeles blog
from Echo Park

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Beauty pageant

Low riderIt happens once every two or three months. The car clubs meet in a valley of Elysian Park. Car clubs have a long history in the area, predating the term “low-rider,” though it is the low-riders who come out in force to see the rows of antique and lovingly adorned auto machines. On Sunday it was Chevys. I got a call from my friend Angela Wood who had stumbled onto the car show while trying to sell her Westphalia VW bus. She said, “I am standing next to a car with naked women painted all over it.”

Up and down Stadium Way, in the shadow of Canary Island palms planted over a hundred years ago, Chevys dating from what looked like the ‘30s to the present sat on display. By far the most numerous, vintage Impalas were king for the day. The first Impala I noticed had two elaborate ventriloquist’s-dummy-sized dolls propped on wired supports at the front and back of the car. One of the dolls looked like a possibly white stoner guy; the other looked like a Latino dude, with a baseball cap. The black car had delicate pin striping. It gleamed.

The crowd – gasp – was mostly male. I’d say about two thirds had shaved heads, though the biker crowd was there as well, with hair. There were also a small number of short-sleeved button-down shirt fifties-style guys. The atmosphere was tense, with cops at both ends of the closed-to-through traffic stretch of road. A guy rapped while being videotaped. There was a large number of young sons with their dads. A lot of milling around, and waiting by cars. Waiting to have yours noticed.

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