Tag Archives: Santa Monica

PODCAST: Juan Gutierrez, Oaxacan baker in Santa Monica

Juan Gutierrez, Oaxacan baker in Santa Monica

Welcome to a new feature of my blog — podcast interviews — which I hope to do more of.

The first one is a conversation with Juan Gutierrez, a Zapotec Indian from Oaxaca. His Panaderia Antequera in Santa Monica is believed to be the first Oaxacan-owned business in the L.A. area, opening in the late 1980s.

The conversation is about his arrival here, working at Shakey’s, and opening his bakery — a piece of oral history of a people’s move north.

These last few years a mini-boom in Oaxacan owned businesses has been underway in L.A., spurred by several factors: the idea many have now that they’re not going to be returning home; the size of the Oaxacan immigrant consumer market in L.A.; and a general dispelling of the fear and intimidation with which many Oaxacans, formerly campesinos, viewed business.

The interview is in Spanish and runs about 24 minutes.

I’m hoping to talk to more folks like Mr. Gutierrez, pioneers, people with interesting stories — as well as authors of books that are relevant to the themes of this blog.

Feel free to suggest some.

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Filed under Los Angeles, Mexico, Migrants, Podcast, Southern California

LOS ANGELES: In Praise of the 4 Bus

Took this off a Yelp entry….A young woman, name of Oiyan P. writes of why she likes the 4 bus, which heads out of downtown LA and out to Santa Monica….Very hip….

“I ride this bus and the 704 up and down Santa Monica Blvd., to City Yoga, to Java Detour, down into Santa Monica, and even to Dodgers games. ¬†For my roommate, whose a So Cal native, what I do is CRAZY! Having grown up on mass public transit in Boston, and learning to feel like a car was a burden, I love me some public transportation.
“I must say that this bus and the 704 has a mix of very interesting characters. Grannies, trannies, backpackers, and crazy people! Most of the time when I only go 2-3 stops and stay within WeHo, there will be some crazy looking grannies and trannies. I know it’s totally politically incorrect of me to say this, but when a man trans to a woman, I really think she should get fashion/makeup lessons. This one time after yoga, I waited at the bus stop with a very tall M to F, who was wearing some leopard print, clunky biker boots, and a man’s black overcoat, with some chandelier gold earrings, really long nails painted hot pink, and her make up… oh my… her make up reminded me of the scary dude from Silence of the Lambs. You know that scene where he’s putting on lipstick all over his lips and face and saying, “F*ck me.” OMG, when i see these ladies, I really want to talk with them about the art of make up. Perhaps even suggest they go to Muse Atelier and pay Atticus a visit.

“Don’t mess with the Russian immigrant grannies either. They hock loogies and spit with some serious distance.

“And of course there’s the plain crazy people who talk to themselves and no one and everyone all at once.

“And then there are the Japanese and European backpackers who just look completely shocked.

“The other day I got in a conversation with an ex-con, a 2nd striker. One more, and he told me he’s going off to the clink for life. He was really nice, and we had some good conversation about baseball.

“I really do love taking public transit. You meet some amazing people from everywhere. It’s just too bad that sometimes the bus is in bad need of some clean up inside. The best part is that I only fill my gas tank about once a month now, and I pay $50 for 3 months of a bus pass. Love it!

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Filed under Los Angeles