Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Commute, 3

This view of downtown Los Angeles isn't exactly on my commute, but I like the picture so here you go.

We're looking down an alley near 2nd and Vignes. I used to drive to that area years ago because my headshot photographer had a studio there. Space was cheap and the light was good, but it was an iffy neighborhood and I always made sure to park where I could see my car from the big, bright studio windows. Now the area is artist lofts and condos.

John and I drove there (and parked safely) last weekend to see a play called The Last Day, written by Christina Joy Howard and directed by Tiger Reel. While exploring her relationship with her father, a daughter tells the story of her dad's experiences aiding the American exodus from Saigon during the last days of U.S. occupation. As with any brand new play, there are minor rough spots. But I do recommend this baby/puppy/sucker/world premiere.

I was young in 1975, but I remember those days. I attended protest marches not only with my friends but with my parents and teachers as well. Nobody I knew was happy about our occupation of Viet Nam. Now, with a more mature perspective, my emotions are more complex. Those were not good days, not proud days.

The author plays herself in the play. The night we attended, her father was in the audience. As emotional an experience as it was for me, I can only imagine what it was like for the two of them.

14 comments:

Irina said...

Photos as memory storage boxes are priceless experience. Great memory photo.

Shell Sherree said...

I like the picture too, Petrea. As for the play, I can't imagine what any souls in such circumstances must have gone through. Such things would surely stay within scratching distance of the surface.

Bellis said...

The play covers a painful period in US history, but my mother was very grateful to the Americans for their intervention as we lived in Malaya at the time. She was very worried about the "domino effect" that was predicted to reach us unless the US held off the communists in Vietnam. Of course, none of us then knew they were destroying the mangrove swamps with Agent Orange, and other increasingly desperate efforts to win the war. I talk to my Vietnamese manicurists (and they're all Vietnamese) about their memories (usually of escaping on a boat), and how their families had fared in those last days. Although they're happy to be in the US now, they all miss their homeland and the extended family there.

Did you know that the manicurists are all Vietnamese because of Tippi Hedren?

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Irina.

Yes, Shell. When I was 20 and marching in protests, I was very sure of my position. Watching the play from the distance of years, one can see it's much more complex.

Bellis, you must tell us about Tippi Hedren, don't leave us hanging.

Bellis said...

While filming The Birds, Tippi visited a nearby camp where Vietnamese boat people were kept. The women admired her nails, so she arranged for her manicurist to show them how it was done. Then she got the bright idea of training these women to be manicurists so they had a way of earning money. The Vietnamese-owned parlors flourished. Many of the women working in them now have come over quite recently, while others were young children in rickety boats that landed in Hong Kong. It's worth getting my nails done occasionally to find out their histories.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I zipped up the back of Tippi's glittery green dress.

Petrea Burchard said...

Did you get a glimpse of her nails?

dive said...

I love this. A pretty picture of downtown LA brings forth a comment-fest smorgasbord of cultural history and cool trivia.
More, please.

TheChieftess said...

Fabulous photo Petrea...

As for the Viet Nam era...my ex husband is a Viet Nam vet...when we divorced, he left the US and lived in Viet Nam for about 9 years. I'm sure that was healing for him...in his heart, he never really left VN.

Petrea Burchard said...

Yes, Dive, great comments, aren't they?

Well said, Chieftess. I think that's true for so many.

becca3234 said...

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Ms M said...

Great photo!
And the play sounds powerful. That must have been an emotional experience for the author and her father.

Susan Campisi said...

Wonderful photo. Wish I had time to check out the play. How interesting that you saw it when her father was there.

Linda said...

I love seeing photos of people's daily routines.
Yes, that was a complex time in recent history.