How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Because it's Friday: The 25th anniversary Night Stalker tour

nighstalker

Photo by Brandi666/Flickr (Creative Commons)


The Night Stalker's likeness on Silly Putty, October 2009


Yes, a tour. The occasion is the 25th anniversary of capture of "Night Stalker" serial killer Richard Ramirez, the onetime Eastside terror who was chased down and beaten to a near pulp on the street by a mob of angry East Los Angelenos who recognized him after the cabrón had the gall to try and steal a couple of their cars one hot, hot late August morning in 1985.

Ramirez, who was eventually convicted on 13 counts of murder, remains on death row in San Quentin. And in celebration of that fact, artist Al Guerrero, aka Eastside Desmadre Tours, has put together a tour of Ramirez's haunts this Sunday, with the added highlights of witness interviews, live musical street theater (really) and a character who goes by Crimebo the Clown.

Guerrero, who lives in Silver Lake, said the tour does not make light of the deeds of a notorious murderer.

"This is not a celebration of someone who has committed horrible acts," he said. "It is a celebration of his capture, and the sense of community that came together to enable his capture and put him in jail."

Guerrero said he was in his early twenties during the summer of 1985, a particularly hot summer during which his mother ordered iron security bars for her windows. "She did it specifically becaue of Richard Ramirez," he said. "Those bars on the windows are still up."

I remember that summer also, baking at night in my parents' home in Huntington Park, close enough to the areas in which the Night Stalker was striking in to make for a very uneasy time. We had no iron bars, so out of fear, the windows were kept closed. I remember a community-wide sense of relief when Ramirez was caught, as if throughout the entire overheated Eastside, people were opening their windows again.

Guerrero's tour runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, with participants gathering in an unspecified location. The tour is one of the many offbeat cultural offerings put together by LAVA, the Los Angeles Visionaries Association, of which Guerrero is a member.

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