Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Los Angeles went crazy with fireworks this 4th of July. I was at a barbecue in Chavez Ravine, at Craig & Ping's house. It was a great, boozy, ethnic, all-American barbecue. We drank sangria, beer, and soju while feasting on hamburgers, veggie dogs, chicken, dim sum, and veggie/tofu kabobs. By the time the sun went down we had destroyed major brain cells and I was grateful for elastic waistbands. Then the show started.

From the front porch, we watched the most amazing neighborhood fireworks throwdown. For over two hours, these two factions engaged in dueling fireworks. One neighborhood on one side of the ravine would send up a stream of fireworks, only to have the other side of the ravine answer their call with an equally impressive array. I don't mean the party pack you get from a stand in Alhambra either. I'm talking six-inch mortars throwing a barrage of illegal fireworks someone probably snuck in over the border. So much for homeland security.

After an hour, we figured the lull in explosions signaled the end of the fireworks display. A few of us trudged back inside to fix another plate of food. But the noise started up again, so back we went to the porch. More fireworks. A half hour later, there was another lull. So back we went to fill up on more sangria and clean up a little. A few minutes later, the fireworks started up again. The timing was impeccable. I imagined they would set off a few, then fix a plate, go back and set off more, stop for a beer or two, then set off yet even more. I liked their timing.

Everyone I talked to/emailed today said pretty much the same thing about their 4th of July experience. Whether eastside, westside, inland, OC, or the valleys - neighborhood fireworks were out of control and we were all glad we stayed home. I wish there were some way to splice together all these neighborhoods, these people, these flavors, to create a Los Angeles experience I could send to friends elsewhere that fully explains why I love this city so much.

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