PRINT September 2020


Where we’re at: Los Angeles

Corn growing in the parking lot of El Caporal Mexican restaurant, Altadena, CA, 2020. Photo: Regenerative Collective.


A FEW DAYS AGO, I was listening on YouTube to a 1963 James Baldwin speech called “The Moral Responsibility of the Artist.” He said many things that resonated, but one idea comes to mind now: An artist “is simply somebody who helps you to see reality again.” I want to live by those words. Art is a ritual that is both spiritual and grounding. It is easy to forget this, and I am using this time to unlearn and relearn many things—to ground myself again.

I don’t watch TV and haven’t seen art at a show in person in months. But what artist Lauren Halsey’s Summaeverythang Community Center (@summaeverythang) is doing is really great, so a shout-out to her. Lauren has been raising money (and using all her resources) to buy local organic produce and deliver free boxes of it directly to the community in Watts and South Central LA. And there is another group I would love to mention: Regenerative Collective (@regenerativecollective), a direct-action project to decolonize LA by growing native plants all over the city—anywhere from someone’s sidewalk to an abandoned lot. 

Guadalupe Rosales is an artist and archivist and founder of the Instagram projects @veteranas_and_rucas and @map_pointz.



FOR ME AS A PARENT, it has been challenging to find energy to do much of anything during this period of shifting and unstable markers of daily life. The slowly dawning realization that all that exists is the dissonant repetition of every day, the arrhythmic yanking between boredom and shock, that there is no “in the future” or a “something unfolding” with the idea that there is an unfolded: This could be a type of enlightenment.

With what I have left, listening gives me energy—listening to other voices, to philosophies on the radio, to crows and green parrots, to the sudden gust of wind on the mountain, to cars going past at 3 AM and the still space left between them.

Patty Chang is an artist based in Los Angeles.

Organic-produce-box donation prepared by Summaeverythang Community Center, July 17, 2020. Photo: Lauren Halsey Studio.


IN SOME OLD BOXES, I recently came across intricately folded notes from high school, mix CDs, and even my old pager. They remind me that we used to make things for folks we cared about. That connection meant putting in work, and that work is what made it meaningful. Walter Thompson-Hernández’s new podcast, California Love, and Cumbiatón’s Instagram Live cumbia parties are like those things we used to make for the ones we loved most. Go see for yourselves. Maybe you’ll be inspired, as I have been, to pen more handwritten notes, make playlists for friends, or even relearn pager codes so you can tell folks to 157 differently.

César Garcia is the founding director and chief curator of the Mistake Room, Los Angeles.