Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
A Los Angeles blog
from Echo Park

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Downbeat low key

First day of the end of the strike, and I was wondering how the Downbeat Cafe would look. I've had friends tell me they won't go there any more because of all the laptops. And, yes, recently the place has been transformed. The vibe at the Downbeat for all these weeks and months has been keyed up. All of the tables taken (sometimes by friends of mine), the air crackling with tension, which is fed by the quiet. Fed by all the bodies in the room. Catering to the clientele, I assume, the staff has turned the jazz ballads and swing down way low. No blues, I noticed. It's no one's fault -- at least not anyone's here. And, person by person, it looked like a perfect world: so much health and intelligence, a wide range of ages, a wide range of ethnicity, a wide range of noses, cool clothing, square clothing, earnest faces, a sense of purpose and effort. And it added up to crackle-split in the air. Nothing bohemian about it.

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