Saturday, April 30, 2005

Los Reyes Del Langer's

Here's GeezBob getting his freak on with Evelyn -- our favorite crazy, Scottish waitress at Langer's.

Everyone should be "known" in at least one restaurant. Larry King is "known" at Nate 'n Al's deli in Beverly Hills. Nancy Reagan is "known" at the restaurant at the Bel Air Hotel. Warren Beatty is "known" at The Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills. You get the idea.

GeezBob and I are "known" at the best Jewish deli in Los Angeles, Langer's, near MacArthur Park. We meet there for lunch every Saturday when we're each in town.

The cashier always has a hearty hello. The kitchen staff always makes a point to wave hello. Even some of the crazy customers have started to recognize us. And Evelyn doesn't even ask for our order anymore -- she just asks if we want the usual.

Ironically, even though we've been steady customers for over ten years, the owner -- Norm Langer -- can't be bothered to say hello. He's too busy talking to his cop buddies or chewing out the staff. But that's a whole different story. We definitely feel "known" when we show up.

Tonight I saw Luis Aflaro's gripping new play, "Electricidad," at the Mark Taper Forum. It's a retelling of the Greek myth of Electra -- set in an East Los Angeles barrio "surrounded by three freeways and an El Pollo Loco."

The main character, Electricidad, seeks to avenge the murder of her Father (El Rey del Barrio) by her Mother -- Clemencia. Can you say "disfunctional family?"

Written in "Spanglish," the play perfectly captures and presents the rhythm of life in East Los Angeles.

I lived in Wilmington until I was 8 years old. By the late 60s Wilmington was pretty Latino. My best friend from Kindergarten through the fourth grade was Tyco Gonzales. (I often wonder what happened to Tyco.)

The set, with it's small house, two really life-like palm trees and low hanging utility lines really reminded me of that time in my life.

Bertila Dames as El Madre (Clemencia) and Alma Martinez as a very Chola Abuela create two searing characters that I'll never forget.

The very upper-middle class and very white audience at the Taper gave a very lukewarm reaction to the show. It was clearly outside of their comfort zone. And I'm more convinced than ever that, because of anti-Latino racism, Antonio Villaraigosa won't be elected Mayor of Los Angeles two weeks from Tuesday. (Of course, his new corporate money laundering scandal isn't exactly helping. Live by the sword, die by the sword.)

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