The Grand Entrance: The Man on the Street

I am 24 years old. I graduated 2 years ago from UCLA with a bachelor's degree in the field of Anthropology and a minor in the History of science and Medicine after transferring from UC-Santa Cruz. I've been planning to go to graduate school combining my interest in human evolution and acceptance of other cultures, my interest in public space, and my other interest in learning and memory in cognitive science, but that's on hold for now.

I come from a family that almost likes to live cheaply, at least from my mom. For 7 years we prided ourselves on living next to a 99 cents store. I was drilled on the importance of shopping at the local K-Mart, the "Thrifty", the Pic N Save, downtown at Santee, the Ross, the 99 Cents Store. Once I started driving and going places as a college student, that cheap living mindset still held sway: since I didn't make too much money, I had to learn all of the ways I could have fun without spending money.

Very often those activities occur(ed) at the beaches, the parks, some museums, and the libraries. I've gone on to appreciate each and every one of them. I've gone to various fairs, conferences, free music festivals, open mics, 5Ks, and lectures on topics from Justice for Filipino American Veterans festivals to the return of the Streetcar to Broadway to Graff art writings to lectures on the health care system whether they were at the S. Mark Taper Forum in the Central Library at LA, the Los Angeles historic theater in the Broadway District, that Elementary school on Temple St. across from Remy's on Temple, UCLA, or USC, the Huntington.

All events usually cost at the almost absolute maximum $30 dollars, if any charge at all.

For me to spend $30 on anything, it has to be extremely useful, extremely interesting, and/or something that I will be using for at least a year. I might do it for some foot-race or conference, however.

When I'm not chasing special events, which I'm usually not, unless it's really something I've never seen, I've spent and will probably spend a lot of time on the sidewalks, the parks, and the libraries --- the day-to-day public spaces that cost nothing, at least, directly, unless I incur a fine from the library.

The sidewalks connect to just about anything in LA. Almost anything, with quite a few exceptions. Most of them are quite narrow --- clearly acting as side thoughts and distractions for the car race tracks we call streets. I have almost 7 years of experience literally running the sidewalks and streets within central Los Angeles from Glendale all the way to UCLA. I am now just learning about the spatiality of the San Fernando Valley. Sidewalks are the connective strand from the industrial grit of Alameda Street to the hipster/residential areas of Eagle Rock. Using the network of sidewalks via running or walking, I can see the abandoned lots on Temple and Hoover to the Civic Center in downtown to the Saks Fifth Avenue on Wilshire.

Parks --- pocket park, or Griffith Park, I like em, usually to play some combination of soccer, basketball, or maybe even both at the same time. Free parking, free water, free to do almost anything less you want to smoke or stay overnight. I've gotten the chance to prove my leadership and mentorship abilities just by interacting with kids who like playing soccer. If there is a basketball court like the one in Bellevue Park in Silver Lake or the newly opened Macon St. Park in Glassell Park, it's where I usually bond with other people of my sex and get to sticking balls in a few holes.

Libraries --- a physical hub for my informational needs and mental gymnastics until I become affiliated with a university or college. The Central Library is the main spot's the new black, or at least I'd try and fabricate that reality. I don't "need" "7th and Fig", or Olvera Street or Little Tokyo, which all have good things going on, but if you're looking for free AND mind-expanding, well, the Central Library it is.

Thus my personal interest, which I hope will integrate with a professional career, in public spaces in Los Angeles.

This blog will aim to talk about the public space in the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County from my point of view as a low-income, middle-class family Filipino-American college graduate, young adult runner, driver, library patron, basketball player, soccer player, footbasketball player, fairgoer, lecture/seminar attendee, observer, integrating other points of view from the Ivory towers of academia, to the man on the street.

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