Chinatown, Los Angeles.

Now on Flickr: 9 new photos of Chinatown, Los Angeles.

Chinatown is one of my very favorite areas of the city. It has the feeling of a real community, due in no small part to the aging Chinese population that still lives there among the new art galleries and restaurants. While Los Angeles as a whole is known for juxtaposing old and new, Chinatown feels different than anywhere else – a place you can go as noticed or unnoticed as you want to.

Chinatown

Unlike the Chinatowns of other major cities, Los Angeles’ Chinatown has always had a bit of Hollywood in its blood. The Central Plaza was designed by Hollywood set designers; Cecil B. DeMille himself donated props. And yet, the area has been largely Chinese-owned since its inception, with Chinese businesses, restaurants, and community centers dominating the landscape. All these factors lend to a sense of authentic inauthenticity that is impossible to escape. (Not that you’d want to!)

Chinatown

Nowhere else in the world grants the opportunity to visit a museum of velvet painting art, eat “slippery shrimp,” and buy two tiny red-eared slider pet turtles for only $5 – all in one day! And at the end of the day, there are few places I’d rather be than drinking Tsingtao in front of the jukebox at Hop Louie.

Click for the rest of the photos over at Flickr.

Chinatown Central Plaza
950 N. Broadway
Los Angeles, California 90012

The sad, strange affair of Cheque Tires

I walked by the former site of Cheque Tires in South El Monte the other day and did a double-take. What was once a vibrant local tire shop is now a burnt-out husk.

Cheque Tires

What happened here? It’s the scene of a molotov cocktail attack that left three teenagers dead and a fireman injured.

As of now, the site is still there, collapsed buildings and all. It’s an eerie place, that’s for sure.

Cheque Tires
1252 Santa Anita Ave.

South El Monte, California 91733

The 80s are alive in Anaheim

Hidden away in a nondescript industrial park is one of the best-maintained private collections of video games in Southern California.

Arcade 2084, which is either clearly named after the Robotron arcade game or the world’s most super-freaky coincidence, is the result of four personal arcade collections put together in one place in Anaheim, California. It’s private – by invitation only – and it’s amazing.

Pinball at Arcade 2084

I’ve been to Arcade 2084 twice. The first time was for an SC3 gathering (another first for me!), when the parking lot was filled with collectors trading video game paraphernalia, and the upstairs was filled with home consoles. It blew my mind.

Inside Arcade 2084

I returned to Arcade 2084 on Saturday, June 6th, for one of the arcade’s bi-weekly events. Ten bucks at the door got me free drinks, free cupcakes, and most importantly, free play on all of their machines.

Hanging out at Arcade 2084

There’s something about coming here that makes me feel like I’m part of a private club. (I guess that’s because I technically am!) Walking in just feels right. No food or drinks (except in designated areas, away from the cabinets), no drunk dudes crashing into you in the middle of a game of Track and Field. New Wave blasting through the speakers while retro movies and Dragon’s Lair animations are projected onto the walls. And, of course, so many games.

Rows of games at Arcade 208

How many machines are there? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I end up getting too entranced by all the blinking lights and forget to count! All I know for sure is that there are a ton, most in absolutely immaculate condition.

Star Trek at Arcade 2084

It’s incredibly easy to spend a whole evening here. I arrived at around 8:30, took a break around 10:30pm to get food and beer at the nearby Umami Burger, then stayed until after 1am.

If you’re in Southern California, you owe it to yourself to make a trip out to Arcade 2084 at least once…if you can get in. Luckily, you know a guy. (Me!)

Arcade 2084
By invitation only
520 S. Claudina Street, Unit C
Anaheim, California 92805

Arcade 2084