At 3 p.m. yesterday, my daughter, Madeleine, was officially fit for the public (3 being the 24-hour mark since her diagnosis of step throat and the time at which she was no longer considered contagious). She didn't even look sick, was bouncing off the walls. So I took her to an all-ages country rock, urban-country-rockabilly-cow-punk extravaganza, called Roots Roadhouse, I'd been hoping to attend at the Echoplex in Echo Park, near our house. And what a treat that was! Not to mention a graceful confectionary fusion of cultural...stuff, both intentional and not.
Since we don't have plazas in Los Angeles or much that is similar, we have to create/commercialize our public milling spaces. Which is what the Echoplex provided on Saturday afternoon/early evening (with shows scheduled to continue till around midnight). A self-selected public of country types a la Nashville glamour -- lots of cowboy hats and fancy shirts, women with urban boots, sheepskin vests, peroxide hair, glowing skin, plus lower-key country styles, punk country styles, and indie-grunge-hipsters who didn't realize they were going to a costume ball, even after they got there. Once past the ticket tables that blocked the alleyway entrance, there were two food trucks, a band playing, and many vendors. The outside vendors sold guitars, hats, t-shirts, beer, lots of other stuff. Lots of energy as dozens of musicians arrived, carrying their own guitars, threading their way through the crowd, the alleyway also being the musicians entrance to the club. It seemed to be a fairly big day, at the sub-festival level. It was an insiders' scene that felt genuinely friendly to outsiders.