Author Archives: Jim Marquez

Downtown Playground: Ala RRicardo Garcia
The Downtown Playground | RRicardo Garciafotoboy62 | Citizen LA

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ART! BUY ART OR DIE! I DON’T NEED YOUR STINKING COMMISSION! (well, on second thought…) Mantras oft repeated by the artists that live, eat and breathe the stuff. To show in a gallery. To splash onto the side of a building. To sell online. To display on the inside walls of offices in the Midwest, private country clubs on the Westside, downtown hotel lounges, or, better yet, in your own damn home. But, after suffering and slaving away at this art they call LIFE, he or she needs an outlet. A place where the beast in any of them can come out and play, and maybe pee on the floor if nobody is looking. And for that you need plenty of booze, broads and/or dudes, music, poetry, more booze, art, of course, but, most importantly, somebody to talk shop with, to rant and complain about the same crap with, to hold, stroke, listen, connect…

Once upon a time this Disney-fried three-ring circus of late called Downtown Los Angeles used to embrace such debaucherous faire, debased and bemused, reigning high and nigh throughout the sticky corners of the city, breathing hard and sweating badly; sex-drenched the alcohol-fueled speakeasies spilled well into the next morning chock full of funky music, beastly literature, live nude modeling, guests artists, acrobats on fire, midgets shooting from canons…and all brought to fruition by a lusty cast of a thousand freaks.

Hosts and venues though are long gone. “Bedlam”, “Higgins”, “Jungle Rush”, “The Landing Party”, Etc. They are sorely missed. At various openings and around camp fires and especially during bouts of tearful drunkeness a glass is raised, memories are exchanged, and myths are created…

Well, it’s 2017, kids……..So, fuck all that.

Into the fray then comes a man, a fellow artist, to change this maudlin atmosphere, not to return to those burning days of Rome, but, to put paint to canvas and create something new. His name? RICARDO GARCIA. A painter, a muralist, and a stamper {yeah, ‘stamper’, look it up, it’s a thing}. A man so fuckin’ cool he spells his first name with a double-R on social media: RRicardo!

A locally-based artist ten years now (by way of El Sereno and then Texas) who, like other young artists before him, live on the edge of the LA arts scene; down the street from a strip club, across the way from a homeless camp, and around the corner from a new Starbucks.

Campers Cornerfotoboy62 | Citizen LA

The man makes art, yes. He’s got a solo show coming up at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel this summer, but it’s the community of the artists, and those who appreciate the work, and to some extent partake in its sometimes hedonistic life style, that RRicardo digs……so, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado (and I thank you for your patience), may I present to you THE DOWNTOWN PLAY GROUND @ CAMPERS BAR. Located on the third tit of Downtown LA’s notorious skidrow area. Sketchy as fuck…..

I’ve prattled on here for far longer than my Editor G.C. wanted me to, so, let’s have RRicardo take the floor. Ok, Old Boy, impress me:

“This will be a home to all refugee Artists that understand the changes that are occurring in our city today, from over priced menus, to too much development with no soul, and underappreciated works of art by the people who put in the time to get it right. That’s all going to change now. D.T.P.G. has been created as a way to unite artists. To foster a space where artists can gather, meet and converse with other like-minded people, where artists can feel free and be treated with respect and dignity, a place where the artist is important and acknowledged for what he or she is doing in their art. A place where people can be free from their daily routine with no judgement, worries and fear of expressing themselves. A place where anyone can let go of their fears and tap into their creative expression without boundaries. An all-inclusive urban sanctuary for the artist and others alike.”

Goddamn. And that’s the name of that tune!

June 6, 2017
THE DOWNTOWN PLAYGROUND
@ Campers Bar
724 E. 7th St. LA, 90021

Group Live Art w/ Emmeric Konrad, Raul Baltazar, Rricardo Garcia DJ Murky Mark DJ Sex Funny Stuff (w/D.T.P.G co- producer Luis Polanco)
Bands: Wax Children & NK Riot
$1 Taco Truck
Buckets of Beers Avail.
7:30pm-2am
$5 cover

The Closing of Bar 107
citizen-la-cover-bar-107fotoboy62 | Citizen LA

The official last night of ‘Bar 107′ was Sunday, May 31, 2015. Ten fucking years in business. Life, motherfuckers. Fuckin’ life! 10 years! Thump, thump, thumping away!

At first known to me as a local artists’ gathering spot, especially after art walks, and various resident art shows. Cheap booze. Even cheaper artists. Classic dive bar situation. Olympia in a can. House Whiskey & Coke for $5. Healthy pours too. None of this measuring cup crap. Fuck no. Manly pours. Drinker’s pours. Their unofficial motto should have been, ‘Fuck you, be nice, handle your shit, or get the fuck out. In the mean time you’ll be taken care of’. A fuckin’ bar-bar, brother!

The decor a mishmash of 1970s kitsch and your cool uncle’s bedroom who still lived with his mom well after the age of 30. They even had full on cum-shot-porn blasting away on the TVs for a while. Yeah, baby! Along, with, of course, the Cartoon Network.

I was there when many of you weren’t. I was there on New Year’s Eves in my big dumb hats. Cinco de Mayos in my big dumb hats. 4th of July’s in my other big dumb hats. Had taken/introduced hundreds of friends to Bar 107. Met dozens of women there (yeah, baby). Had some of the best times of my life in the Downtown LA drinking community there. I’ve written heavily about it. Praised it. The number of photos Mini-Beast Rick Mendoza has taken I can’t even begin to count.

The music. Kick-ass Djs cranking the 80s & 90s KROQ-type indie hits. Incredible sound system. Sometimes I went there to sit and drink and listen and in my mind watch the memories that each of these songs brings back. Most are recalled fondly. Some create tears. Other memories bring on the fear. But the bartenders always took care of you. The hot fucking bartenders. Christ. Got to know a lot of good people in that joint. Just about polished off the free pizza at the happy hours too.

I went to Bar 107 to celebrate. I went Bar 107 to cry. Went there to think. Went there for company. Went there just to simply drink. Went there and I was the only one on a late afternoon, or on a rainy night. I’ve been going once or twice a week for the past decade. I put in my time, boy. The-classiest-fucking-dive-bar in the city. I miss the smoking patio they used to have out back. Goddamn, so much is changing and disappearing in Downtown LA lately, quite suddenly, and mostly for the bad because its soul is being raped out of existence. A passion is no longer there. A life that once was. Yeah, yeah, you got this chef-inspired crap going on here, that cocktail lounge/craft beer infused bullshit going on there. Big-fucking-deal. That ain’t downtown anymore. It’s marketing now for the blank-generation. You know, the millennials. And run by robots who live on the Westside. Written about and chided by snobbish-cunts who won’t even walk the streets at night. Anyway, for all the good that Bar 107 has done for me thank you. Thank you, kids for giving it life. I will miss the hell out of you. I will never forget…

Now, I never, ever go out on Sundays. It’s a rule of mine. People know this about me. The Lord rests on Sundays does He not? So I went at the last possible second. Almost 11pm. Taking the #18 bus in from East L.A. No money in my pocket. Hoping I could rely on the kindness of strangers. I was flabbergasted at how much kindness was thrown my way. I thought I’d be heading out in 30 minutes with one dollar left in my wallet, barely enough for bus fare home. How pleasantly surprised I was. I had dozens of people asking me to go all day, I kept saying, no, no, no, I have no cash, I just can’t. I’m sorry. Thank you for asking. I was already there Thursday night after my reading at Art Share for “The Anna Broome Room’”in the arts district, figure that was it.

Fire breathers, baby! A man strutting the bar, he taking the fuel, me lifting the candle to his side, his finger tickling the flame, then, the explosions. Screams of bedazzlement. Shock. My god. Booze sprayed everywhere, on everybody man enough to hug the bar for dear life. For that’s what it fast became. A life raft with the rats clinging to, on, and over, sucking, imbibing, swallowing, snorting. the alcohol. People dancing on the bar. Shots flowing. Friends coming out of the woodwork putting drinks in my hands. Hell, dudes standing next to me, tripping on The Beast, buying me shots for the love of god.

The air pulsing. Throbbing. Grinding. Fucking. Sweltering. Packed. Champagne lapped off of bare breasts! People crying. Dogs howling. Clothing removed. Smelly sex in the bathrooms. The music cranked as loud as I’ve ever heard it before. And then when Vee Delgadillo got up on bar (LATINA OWNERSHIP AND THE TRUE POWER IN THIS FUCKING CITY), and the announcements were made that the kids were gonna stay and file in the courts to stay on, to fight the baffling eviction by the overlords, oops, I mean, landlords, well, then, my fucking god the place erupted, ejaculated with cum for all. It was an amazing experience. Something to behold. You could not breathe.

That night, in that atmosphere, that is exactly what happens for 30-consecutive-fucking-days at the bars when you go to a men’s soccer World Cup tournament in person. That was Paris for me again. Seoul, South Korea. Osaka, Japan. Cologne & Berlin Germany. Hell, even Old Town Pasadena way back for the ’94 cup when Brazil won and the pigs let us dance in the streets, hundreds of thousands of us running rampant up and down Colorado Blvd. Yeah, motherfuckers. Truly, it is good to be The Beast.

And so here’s to ya. I raise a glass of whiskey. Long Live Bar 107! May She Reina On…

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