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Occupy L.A. = One Solution to a Broke-Ass Living Situation

 

Last week I was down in L.A. visiting my cousin. He happens to live downtown in one of the raddest lofts I’ve ever seen. The first night I was there, we finagled our way into a fashion show at an old church. There, I saw the L.A. types of people I was expecting – decked out in stilettos and mini skirts. However, on the way home – I couldn’t help overhearing a whole bunch of ruckus by people screaming over a megaphone and getting all riled up over something.

I decided to try my luck and check out what was going on a block away from where I was staying. Sure enough,it was Occupy L.A. Right in front of the Civic Center and literally in between the Police Department and the Courthouse were hundreds of tents occupied by the masses. I made my way in through the chaos. There were people everywhere. I couldn’t really differentiate whether I was at a festival or a protest. On the one hand, there were the Fight Club  types repeating in unison whatever the main dude screaming over the megaphone was preaching. On the other hand, there were loads of people drinking beers, talking bullshit, smoking joints, listening to music, passed out in the grass and dancing to loud music. Being the nosy journalist that I am, I just decided I should talk to basically everybody to get a real feel for what this whole Occupy thing was all about. Was it a true political movement? Or was it merely just a place for all of the homeless people that normally occupy Skid Row to crash? Or was it a party? I was confused, but determined to find out the truth.

 

I was greeted by these two huge guys that appeared to be hardcore gangsters. They were super nice and told me they were there because it was a way to escape their “baby mamas! ” Holy shit! That was unexpected. Anyways, they pointed me in the direction of the main congregation. I took their advice and meandered my way over to the steps where the protesters were ranting and raving about unjust wages and corporate totalitarianism. Mind you it was nearly midnight, and I felt that these people never stopped! They just kept shouting and preaching in a really aggressive tone of voice. I met one guy named Tony, that told me he had been there for about 10 days, and was really into it. He kind of creeped me out with his intense tone and pushy words. I moved on quickly, and met these wacky characters pictured above. These two girls were wasted, and the older man was wearing a pink bra over his T-shirt. They were pretty hilarious and I very much liked his pig tales and bad jokes.

After talking to the Three Amigos, I realized I was standing right in front of a tent in which a cute Venezuelan guy was painting satirical comic book figures which represent issues Occupy L.A. (or anywhere else) stands for. He had a whole bunch of them and was eager to see people’s reactions to them. He told me that he used to work in the comic book industry but now he was getting so much work done hanging out at Occupy. The whole scene gives him inspiration to create art with a twisted meaning, and he gets the chance to show it off on a large scale. There are probably about 1000 people hanging out in front of the Civic Center in L.A. at this very moment. Some of them are clearly involved in the political aspect of the movement, while others are just there to party. And let’s not forget the abundance of homeless people who suddenly have a cool new place to hang out without being bothered. Either way – it makes for an entertaining scene.

 

As the night went on, I met a lot of interesting people. I guess I could call it networking, as I even got a lot of email addresses and Facebook friends. There was always something going on or someone to talk to no matter what time it was. I went to mini-rave – and danced with some party kids. I went to the 215 tent and smoked weed. There was one guy in the tent that was going off on this other guy who was obviously fucked up. “Hey guy,” he said. “I’ve seen you here all week all fucked up and listen man, this is not a party, ok? This is a political movement. If you don’t understand that then get the hell out of here!”

The fucked up guy just laughed and smoked more weed, but I think he was a little embarrassed. I mean, who wants to get called out for being a scumbag within the 99 percent? Anyways, I was over the drama and sauntered off to see my painter friend and some other dudes beatbox and dance in front of a fountain. They were good. They were alive. Occupy gave them something to stand for. It was a pleasure to see such a massive mix of people expressing their ideas. But as soon as someone came over and asked me how I felt about Occupy as a political party – I was kind of over it. I mean, really?  I understand these people are trying to make a change. And just how much influence they can have on the fucked up system our world is ruled by is unknown. Anyways, I bet that old guy wearing the pink bra would make a great president. And he would probably let you live in your tent in front of City Hall forever. So, to all of you broke-asses out there, just move out of your house, join the Occupy movement and live for free amongst the freakshow. I’m sure you’ll fit right in…

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About the author

Heidi Smith - The Ultimate Scavenger

Originally from San Diego, Heidi migrated north to study journalism at SFSU and interned for the SF Bay Guardian writing music stuff. She later embarked on a study-abroad program in both Denmark and Holland, and basically never came home. For six long years, she froze her ass off in Oslo, Norway, pretending to be a viking princess, trying to figure out how to survive in the most expensive city in the world. The other two years were spent frolicking on the beach in Spain - sipping on sangria in between being tossed around Europe working as a stressed-out journalist. Heidi currently works at for a non-profit cultural exchange program, helping others experience life from a different perspective. She is thrilled to be back in SF, magnetizing the obscure, and scavenging the city for fun, free things to do.