Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
A Los Angeles blog
from Echo Park

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Guerilla history in the hood

There was no Pocho plaque in front of The Echo nightclub this morning, and that fact, which used to be unremarkable, is now significant. At about 10:30, sun bright, I parked in front of the building and looked around, having read a post about a project by the Pocho Research Society of Erased and Invisible History in Chicken Corner's own host, LA Observed (I had received a press release, third-hand, a few days earlier and had been planning to look for plaques, but couldn't get away from the roost, so I missed the moment in at least one locale....) Which is not to say there are no plaques whatsoever -- a sports walk of fame bronze tribute to the golfer Jerry Barber graces the sidewalk in front of The Echo. Other elements of the scene: a prominently displayed security camera and the original -- but painted over -- raised sign that reads Nayarit, the name of the bar and restaurant that preceded The Echo, which is about five or six years old. I called the Echo to see if there had been any Erased History plaque placed in front of its premises recently, and the woman who answered the phone said, indeed, there had been a plaque. Was it removed? I asked sneakily. She said she didn't know. I told her it wasn't there anymore.

The Pocho Research Society is quite serious, despite the prank-like quality of the operation. In their pre-action cummunique (or press release, if you will) they stated, eloquently:

Dedicated to the systematic investigation of space, memory and displacement, the PRS understands history as a battleground of the present, a location where hidden & forgotten selves hijack & disrupt the oppression of our moment.
Within this massive “land grab” [enacted through gentrification] questions like ‘where do drag queens, closeted quebradita dancers and gay cholos go once they been pushed out?’ arise. How and who defines a space? Is a space defined by its present incarnations or does its past ruthlessly resurface like dust in unswept corners?

Good questions. For the complete communication, check the jump.

A bit of discrepancy between press release and some of the coverage, such as that of KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, who rode with a female artist as she affixed plaques. The PR says it's an Echo Park operation. Guzman-Lopez cites Silver Lake.

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