Check out a column in today’s LA Times about the sauna in Hollywood, in the club now owned by LA Fitness, where I love to spend time in and which is well worth visiting for all it can tell you about Los Angeles, I think.
I always liked the idea of the region as a place where people come and live with their own, more or less oblivious to others from elsewhere who live nearby. This, too, is on display in the sauna.
It’s a raw place; you may hear things that offend a PC sensibility, but L.A.’s geography of multiculturalism can be messy, which makes it so interesting.
Don’t pay attention to the commenter who says the only language you hear in there is Spanish. That’s nonsense.
Kelvin Anderson, owner of World Famous VIP Records
Here’s my story on Kelvin Anderson, owner of World Famous VIP Records, and the last of the great independents in what’s become now the old music industry.
He marketed music via boomboxes and car stereos and championed a host of young kids, rappers from Long Beach streets, some of whom, like Snoop Dogg, went on to change the music.
So punk rock!
Now Anderson is downsizing his store and says he’ll probably only stay in business a year.
You can read the story at the link above, and listen to a podcast interview I did with Anderson regarding the early days of the store and gangster rap and how a music that took over started from a small little drum machine.
I’ve spending time with Wan Joon Kim and his son Kirk. Mr. Kim was a gangster rap empresario in Compton, selling records, then cassettes, of the rap pioneers from that town when no one else would, and operating it all out of a stand at an indoor swap meet.
The story began as a piece about indoor swap meets and how in Los Angeles they’ve become an avenue that thousands of Korean immigrants have used to work their way into America, selling whatever anyone would buy. They pioneered the indoor swap meet and most vendors in indoor swap meets are still Korean, though new immigrants find their way into many other businesses nowadays.
Mr. Kim just happened to sign a lease in Compton at a time when it was a hive of DIY rap artists and promoters who had nowhere else to sell their stuff. He didn’t care what he sold so long as it was different and moved. He became “Pops” to an entire generation of young Compton rappers, and had 20 years of great sales, until computer downloads began the decline of the record store. Great story, I think. Very happy I happened on it. Here he is with his son and wife….