All is Fair

September 14th, 2004 · No Comments · Los Angeles

This month has been full and fun; just last weekend, as Murray already blogged about, we saw Lyle Lovett at the Hollywood Bowl, and we also hit the opening night of the L.A. County Fair with another group of pals.

We saw the famous Furthur bus, from “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” and Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. We saw cute bunnies and piglets and some darling tiny goats. We also broke our month-long sugar fast and had the better-than-Ben&Jerry’s Dr. Bob’s Handcrafted Ice Cream. We’re back on the wagon again.

We also had what had to be one of the most cinematic moments of our life. By cinematic, I’m referring to something along the lines of Jean Luc-Godard-meets-West Side Story.

11 o’clock, one hour before the fair closes on the opening day of a two-week run. It’s dollar night, so it’s packed. A group of 7 friends — a couple of artists, three photojournalists who work for the Inland Empire Daily Bulletin, a studying-for-the-bar prospective lawyer, and a 10-year-old who just gotten back the day before from her summer in Bosnia, visiting grandparents — straggle through the fair, exhausted, ice-creamed out, and ready for one last ride before the long hike back to the car.

An intersection in the fair grounds, between the carnival rides, action avenue and the food courts. Throngs of people. The group of 7 is pushing though the crowds, trying to maintain eye contact with one another, getting split up, trying to get to the other side where the carnival rides are located.

Camera pans across the crowd, and lingers on 4-5 groups of young men, each group standing ground in a different territory in the intersection. The men are watching each other, indifferent of the crowds. Each group of men is alike in their dress and ethnic background and stance. The men begin to slowly move toward the center of the intersection, glancing right and left casually and calculatingly, moving in complete independence of one another, yet in unison, like a pride of lions.

The group of 7 looks right and left, then at each other, and everyone understands the urgency of pushing to the other side of the intersection, away from the centrifugal force of the lions. As the 7 move closer to the rides, they look right, and in the edge of the intersection, towards the utility trailers, one of the lion men raises his fist and powers it into another young man.

The blow signals to the other men, still moving slowly towards the center, to move faster. Pushing people aside. There is a sweeping escalation into the fight, an inwardly moving funnel cloud of dangerous young men, a backwards explosion. In the background, the loudspeaker is playing Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” maybe not in reality, but certainly in this movie.

The 7 move quickly through the intersection, as the fight sucks more people into its center. Just as quickly, a ring of officers with batons encircles the fight. The red, white, blue, of the gangs is overtaken by the black uniformed officers as the 7 make it safely to the ferris wheel.


Category: Los Angeles

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