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#Every28Hours (3.2.2015): LAPD officers shot dead a homeless man yesterday, street execution-style. The man’s name has not been released yet, but he was known to many as “Africa.” The entire murder was captured on camera. Brother Africa was being subdued by multiple police officers when he was shot 5 times in the back. No action has been taken against his killers yet. #staywoke #farfromover

LAPD Officers Shot and Killed a Man on Skid Row in Broad Daylight Sunday

Around 11:30 AM Sunday, LAPD officers responded to several simultaneous calls about robbery and battery just outside one of the largest rescue missions in LA’s skid row, as local radio outlet KPCC reported. One witness told the LA Times that when the officers arrived, they found two men fighting inside a tent. Officers then allegedly Tasered the man who was later shot, dragged him outside the tent, and attempted to restrain him.

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The actress Audrey Hepburn photographed in the backstage of the 58th Annual Academy Awards (held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion) in Los Angeles, California (USA), on March 24, 1986.

Audrey was wearing:

  • Evening gown: Givenchy (Indian-inspired: one shoulder, of silk jersey in a beautiful shade of pink, embroidery with small sequins, bugle beads, crystals and silk threads, of his haute couture collection for the Spring/Summer of 1986).
  • Earrings: Givenchy (of his haute couture collection for the Spring/Summer of 1986).

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5JgtJwQUMk

I want to write a love letter to the city of Los Angeles.

After almost six months to the day, I am back. What started as a spontaneous decision to visit the hub of Asian America two years ago has turned into an annual visit that feels a little more like a homecoming every time.

I am sleeping in the living room of a man I met on Twitter. I have just eaten three tacos from a truck off of Wilshire and Vermont after a party I was invited to by a Youtube celebrity. Earlier that evening, I spoke on a panel at USC organized by students I connected with on Tumblr. Balancing the plate of tacos on one hand, I use my other to quickly search and add the other panelists on Facebook and Instagram.

This is my life, one gigabyte of data at a time.

People say I’m kind of Internet famous, which always makes me laugh because I have no idea what that means. For a person who lives and works on the Internet, things can get a little weird. I talk and write about the importance of community, yet often feel like I lack one of my own. In the frozen wasteland of upstate New York, I am hours away from anyone who has a vested interest in building Asian America.

I am hungry.

I am hungry for conversations about responsible representation, about Confucian naming traditions in China, about the spectrum of sexuality. I am hungry for mentors, friends, and chosen family. It is the same hunger that left pangs of pain throughout my adolescence in Arizona. Sometimes the hunger turned into loneliness. It’s the reason I latched onto the Internet. I wanted to know how the story ended, how people combined their Asian and American sides, how they dealt with this unfair juggling act.

To some degree, being online 24/7 satisfies my craving. But it’s just not the same as sharing a meal with someone, reading their facial cues, and giving them a hug. Some days I feel more cyborg than human.

Sometimes it feels like I’m never doing enough. The likes, retweets, follows – they all blur together until it means nothing. I start questioning whether or not online organizing is “real” organizing. Fascinasians sits on Tumblr, collecting virtual dust. Since I started working with 18 Million Rising I’ve neglected the blog that was my stepping-stone. Maybe some things aren’t meant to last forever; maybe they’re just a means to an end. And in a way I wonder if that’s what LA will be someday.

LA is everything I never knew I wanted. She fills me up with music (a student strumming a guitar and singing about allyship). Theater (Paul Dateh and Jane Lui reading for a play about video games). Poetry (every Tuesday Night Café). Art (the guy covered in charcoal, sketching portraits of people while Far East Movement performs a few hundred feet away). Food. Oh god, the food.

Los Angeles is a place that always manages to break me. She shatters whatever ideas I have about myself, and then makes a mosaic or something out of the pieces. The first time I visited, I was in the midst of one of the most challenging times of my life. My professional and personal lives were crumbling, and LA caught me with her open mic nights, her cornbread, and her eagerness to love.

New York doesn’t love you like LA does. New York makes you work for it and then spits on you once you think you get on her good side. You hide the way you feel about New York under complaints and expletives. 

My parents approve of Los Angeles. They know I’m consciously working to improve my Chinese. I call them and tell them about the food I ate: the tomato and egg the stewed beef, the tealeaf eggs. She’s the perfect way for me to preserve my culture.

Everyone asks me when I’m moving here. They tap their wrists and smile, telling me it’s only a matter of time until I get sick of the long, depressing winters of New York and join them. Whenever I’m at an event or show, a certain Yonsei gives me a toothy grin and says “this could be every night if you move here”.

The truth is: I’m scared to.

If I move here, am I taking the easy way out by joining an already established community? Will the magic fade away? Will my peaceful walks down 7th street turn into angry running to catch a bus or pay a meter? Will I get caught up in the undercurrents of politics and personal feuds? Will LA stop loving me the way I love her? Inevitably.

LA is the one place in the world where I can park at a gas station under a giant mural of Hyun-jin Ryu, smell the soup dumpling someone is eating nearby, and overhear two aunties chatting in Tagalog behind me. This is Asian America. This is the Promised Land, and I’m not sure if I’m worthy yet. I want to be good enough for her.  

Los Angeles has this magical quality about her. She’s a Lazarus Pit. She heals parts of me I didn’t know were broken. She buzzes with community, glows with love, and shines with hope. I am hopelessly infatuated.

Soon.

Yours,
Juliet.