Thursday, June 7, 2007

Quick cable from the Left Coast

I said this blog would not be a journal, and it isn’t, but we do have a friendly crowd here and one must keep up, no? And you do want a report from the Pacific side of the U.S., don’t you?

I am keeling over from sleep deprivation, jet lag, and dinner at my body's bedtime, but you need to know the following:

1. I knew where I was headed the minute I got on the second plane of the day, the one headed for the Coast, because all of a sudden there were Asian-American and Latino/a folks around me again, hurrah. Even more so when I got off the plane of course.

2. The Left Coast is sunny and dry and Los Angeles today looks like Berkeley or Oakland, weather-wise. (Note to those who don’t know: Berkeley and Oakland, which are across the Bay from San Francisco, are consistently warmer and less foggy than San Francisco because the city and the Bay protect them from the Pacific and thus from the chill and mist. There’s a 5 to 10 degree difference between SF and Oakland/Berkeley sometimes even though these places are right next to each other.) I hear there was rain just recently which washed away the smog for the day.

3. There is a subway in Los Angeles now! Who knew? It’s above ground mostly, a bit like the rail transport in Portland, Oregon, and it’s cheap.

4. L.A. seems to be an odd mix of competitive and mellow.

5. It’s not just congested, there are also car accidents all the time. My friend who moved from New England to here says he has never witnessed so many car accidents. As in, they happen right in front of him. Not very mellow. Is it all the latte-drinking?

6. L.A. has the largest Korean community outside of Korea.

7. There are churches with signs in four languages outside, or indicating four linguistic and cultural communities: like the one that said, in this order: Pilipino (I am not misspelling that word), English, Spanish, Korean.

8. There are a lot of small independent Spanish-speaking Evangelical and Pentecostal churches.

9. I waved in the direction of David when I saw the Metro sign for Long Beach (but I was going in the other direction).

10. I saw the real live church where Simple Village Organist works on the way to dinner tonight and waved – SVO was being a church musician tonight so I couldn’t wave in person, .

11. The friend with whom I had dinner, who is a Zen Buddhist, has actually been at that Presbyterian church. The peace movement did it.

12. Said friend and I went to a cozy little place, rather out of the way, with both tofu and red wine on the menu (not in the same dish) and, this being L.A., ended up as background for a scene B.E.T. was shooting for a new dating show. (We had to sign release forms.) Welcome to L.A., where as soon as you get to town you end up in a TV program. Lights, camera, action. We mostly ignored what was going on in front of the bright lights and had a perfectly nice time at our table in the corner, catching up, but the production person who brought us the release forms complimented us on what a good job we’d done ignoring the action. Toto, I think I’m not in North Carolina any more.

The professional conference I am attending begins tomorrow and I will be in wall to wall sessions with other happy theological nerds (and a few unhappy ones) through part of Sunday, so it’s unlikely I’ll blog much. JohnieB, so glad you got to hear Ivone Gebara and Elizabeth Amoah! If there’s anything you’d like to share about them, feel free to go journalistic on us and use the comments section here or back in the post where I announced their visit to Hartford. (Assume that your readers don't know anything -- we have all kinds of people stopping by here.)

I head North after this (that’s North as in Northern California.) No doubt there will be some Berkeley-based blogging at some point, though I will be hiding out in libraries a fair amount.

I have missed observing feasts with those of you who observe them. (I have just glanced at posts on Boniface which taught me more than I ever knew about him.) Glad you are there to keep the rhythm of the days.

Peace out,



johnieb said...

One of the joys of a liturgical calendar is first learning of St. Boniface and his witness to our Lord the day before yesterday.

RE: Theology lectures/ Q & A

uh, OK. Give me some time to work it up so as to be somewhat presentable, I hope, in the context; I am presently thinking of several posts: we'll see.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Jane, try to have a little fun along the way. It sounds as if you already are.

johnieb said...

Ah, grandmere,

it appears we have no worries in that regard; Jane admits to being a foodie, loves music, and presents us with delightful graphics. Conferences are for play, with others who are equally obsessed with the same subject as ourselves. She's back in California; this one has fun written all over it!

Jane R said...

Hey JohnieB, no pressure. Just enjoy having gone to those talks. Life is short, so don't take on the unnecessary.

Grandmere Mimi, FUN?! Moi? (Actually, I did read a rather serious book on the plane, but you know me, I am a nerd.) I'm shocked, shocked.

The tofu, by the way, was some of the best I've had. The wine was okay, no more.

This being L.A., I think I must go to the gym before the conference starts and I am stuck sitting on my arse for hours and hours. And I haven't yet had a single espresso drink. We must remedy this.

pj said...

Have a great trip, Jane R.! I'll be watching for you on BET. ;)

Ed said...

Welcome, Jane! A few quick on the ground reactions:
1. Last time I got off the plane at Louisville airport, I was momentarily confused because it seemed like everyone had a southern accent! Duh.

3. Yes, it's very nice, mostly clean, and never crowded. The stations are each uniquely designed by a local artist.

4. I'm still not used to this after 20+ years here.

5.&6. Bless their hearts, the most frightening drivers are the Korean women in their SUVs, but they never seem to actually hit anything.

7. Pilipino: There is no "f/ph" sound in Tagalog (or presumably the other ~2000 dialects in the islands), so this is a fairly common alternate spelling.

11. Immanuel has become a favorite venue for KPFK and other leftish presenters. Amy Goodman was a big draw, as you might imagine. Here's an interesting photo essay of an appearance by Dennis Kucinich in 2003.

12. Immanuel is also in regular use a filming venue, although it's often used in strange ways. You can see our lovely alley, for instance, in the movie Fight Club!

Have fun, monkette!

Jane R said...


My friend was actually there several times as a clergy-equivalent (from the Zen side of things) at meetings of the local (or one of the local) interfaith communities united for peace or some such name.

I just walked back from the conference site a few blocks to my hotel and the street was blocked to traffic because, you guessed it, someone was filming something.

The whole city is one big film set, eh?

I am curious as to where we will go for our liturgy. (These are religious type theologians as opposed to secular academic-study-of-religion people.) But more on this once I know and in a regular blog post.