Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
A Los Angeles blog
from Echo Park

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Coffeehouse diary, II

To make a truly long story short, Mike McGonigal was in town last week with his girlfriend, Lily. They live in Portland, Oregon, which Mike says he prefers over Seattle (and presumably New York, where my husband and I met Mike so many years ago). Mike edits an arts journal called Yeti, and he used to publish the somewhat legendary ‘zine Chemical Imbalance. Guys like Mike gravitate to Echo Park, when they visit Los Angeles, and as Mike sipped his coffee in my kitchen it was clear that he knew a great deal more about the people who hang out in my local coffee house than I do. (Example: I mention Lavender Diamond, and Mike starts rattling off names of band members – first name only –- as though I knew them, too. Not to mention the other bands who pass the time at Chango, telling tales.) Mike said one of the nice things about his visit to L.A. was being in the presence of people who didn’t know the old stories about him (tales of excess and extreme experience). Mike had been to Chango, the coffeehouse on Echo Park Avenue twice, I think he said. The first cup of coffee was served by a depressed-looking clerk who was playing a Royal Trux CD, and that cup was good, by coffee-snob standards. The second cup was served by a cheerful, pretty guy with whom all the girls were flirting, and that cup didn’t pass. Mike used to say he wasn’t a coffee snob. But those days are over.

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