How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

St. Patrick’s Day L.A.-style: Taco specials in Bell, Irish whiskey in Koreatown

Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Yes, it's the Irish Nachos, that pinnacle of culinary fusion. A Guinness helps.

It's St. Patrick's Day, the religious feast day turned celebration of Irish culture that in the United States is, well, marketed to and celebrated by everybody. And in the Los Angeles area, it's celebrated in parts of town where Irish tradition isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

In Bell, the taqueria Tacos El Unico has posted green shamrock-studded coupons on its Facebook page for a "St. Patrick's Day Exclusive" special of street tacos and mini cheeseburgers.

In Boyle Heights (named for Irish immigrant and settler Andrew Boyle) the Chicano hipster bar Eastside Luv Wine Bar y QUEso is celebrating what it's calling “St. Pochi's Day,” a St. Patrick's Day party and a celebration of Eastside-bred pochismo rolled into one. “St. Pochi's is kind of tipping our hat to the Irish, and not so much being satirical but more of being a show of respect,” explained bartender Ed Castellon.

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Will 'Blank-sy' contest inspire more immigration-themed art?

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A memorial where Banksy's "Caution," a parody of the migrant family freeway sign - flying a kite - was cut out of the wall at First and Soto Streets, February 28, 2011

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A memorial where Banksy's "Caution," a parody of the migrant family freeway sign - flying a kite - was cut out of the wall at First and Soto Streets, February 28, 2011


Will an online contest to "fill in" the space left on a Boyle Heights wall after street artist Banksy's version of the running-family migrant freeway sign draw more immigration-themed political art?

The culture blog Remezcla has launched a "Fill in the Blank-sy" art contest asking readers, "What would you put in this spot’s space now that Banksy’s work has been stolen?"

A Multi-American post yesterday explored the brief life of a stencil by the elusive British artist, in town for the Oscars as a best-documentary nominee, which depicted the familiar freeway sign showing a running family of three. Only in this case, the characters against the yellow background were depicted flying a kite.

The stencil at First and Soto Streets in Boyle Heights was defaced and later removed on Friday; at least two nearly identical stencils were documented around town, including one on a Boyle Heights bridge (also gone), although those weren't claimed officially on Banksy's website.

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American snapshot: Boyle Heights

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

The Velez Ice Cream truck, February 28, 2011

No, this is not a gourmet taco truck, just a striking rolling canvas that sells plain old ice cream. The truck was parking for the night in a lot shared with other ice cream vendors.

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Thanks for the kites and the love, Banksy

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A memorial where Banksy's parody of the migrant family freeway sign - flying a kite - was cut out of the wall at First and Soto Streets, February 28, 2011

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A memorial where Banksy's parody of the migrant family freeway sign - flying a kite - was cut out of the wall at First and Soto Streets, February 28, 2011

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A memorial where Banksy's parody of the migrant family freeway sign - flying a kite - was cut out of the wall at First and Soto Streets, February 28, 2011


This morning I went in search of what I'd hoped might be a remaining version of British guerilla street artist Banksy's stencil nicknamed "Caution," a parody of the famous migrant family freeway sign that for years was a fixture of the drive between Los Angeles and San Diego on Interstate 5. But no luck. Like the better-known stencil at First and Soto streets, the image that was briefly captured on the bridge at Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Pleasant Avenue - and which may or may not have been Banksy's - is also gone.

Banksy art began popping up throughout L.A. in the days leading up to yesterday's Academy Awards ceremony as the elusive artist, a best-documentary nominee for his film "Exit Through the Gift Shop," made the rounds of the town. The "Caution" stencil portrayed the familiar running migrant family, only flying a kite instead of making a harrowing sprint across the freeway.

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American snapshot: Boyle Heights

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A sticker message spotted on the freeway, February 13, 2011

The stickers on a truck driving along the 101 interchange through Boyle Heights get at the long-running debate over how to identify those of us with ancestry from Latin America: Latino, Hispanic, or simply as from wherever it is our roots are, like Mexicano?

An older thread on one chat board had some interesting and occasionally raw takes, including this one: "Hispanics are things and people of Spain. We are not things or people of Spain."

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