Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
A Los Angeles blog
from Echo Park

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July 4 diary

Independence Day: My friends, old guard Echo Park, have put together a gorgeous party -- lots of neighbors.

At the barbecue, it seems everyone is talking about how quiet things are this July 4, and it's true. People are talking about "disruptions in the flow" of fireworks from China. An artist friend of mine says factories there have been damaged in fires. (Fire at fireworks factories?! Doesn't sound good.) No one says a different obvious: it's been getting quieter and quieter on July 4 in Echo Park for the last few years. The noisy people, with their eruptions, are getting pushed out, replaced by the nosy ones.

The sun sets spectacularly -- partly due to smoke coming from Santa Barbara. The sun is red-red, dipping fast below the ridge over Griffith Park. Before it gets dark out, the flower-bloom-type of fireworks have started all around in the neighborhood, particularly to the south. It's a downward view of them we're enjoying, but they are lovely and not too loud from the ridge. My three-year-old daughter is enjoying them. I am, too. Some of what we're watching comes from Echo Park Lake. I am aware of what an untranquil scene it will be down at the lake, and can't bear to think of the four heron nests on the island, never mind the other nests. "Look, Maddie!" I say, pointing to the flower of fire in the air. (It can't be sky if it's below you, can it?)

To see what it was like at Echo Park Lake this July 4, 2008, click here. Footage by Kevin McCollister. In his email, McCollister says, it's "anything goes" down by the lake. Maybe the party people and the city think it's safer to set fires next to a body of water. Better than in Elysian Park, or most back yards -- if you're thinking in terms of fire. This morning, McCollister reported:

At 7:30 [a.m.] the place was pretty much trashed and you could still smell the gunpowder (cordite, smoke, whatever) in the air. Surprisingly, tho, the cleanup had begun.

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