Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
A Los Angeles blog
from Echo Park

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Graffiti watch

I don't know how long it's been there. On the Corner of Sunset and Portia, around the side of the Little Joy Bar, which used to be a Latino gay bar, and now is a hang for post-college somethings or other. Portia Street is wide-ish, residential with craftsman houses that have been maintained but not "restored"; some have bars on the windows. Then, at the corner, there's the bar, a tiny Cambodian/Vietnamese restaurant and a gas station named Meghna. A friend of mine mentioned the graffiti tonight, so I stopped on my way home to read it: There is no joy in this hipster hell. (The italics are not mine.) It's written in white spray cursive on the sidewalk, and, strangely, it's written in front of Phnom Pen restaurant, just around the Portia side of the Little Joy. I read the message and then glanced into the restuarant. A solo, square-looking young guy sitting at a table by himself (the time: 8:35). Maybe a couple of other patrons under the bright lights. People say good things about this eatery. It didn't look like hipster hell to me. It didn't look joyful either. I crept closer to the Little Joy. A screened, iron-frame side door allowed a view of the pool table, at which a young woman took her shot. The place looked mellow, and I felt weird peeking in through the screen. I wondered why the bitter message -- in pretty spray pensmanship -- had been left in front of the restaurant, when it so clearly referred to the bar. I wondered who had written it -- surely not simply someone who felt disappointed, square, or left out (as the best of us have). Someone who owned a can of white spray paint! Certainly. But there were no other clues on the sidewalk, no body language, beyond the words themselves.

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