Sunday, April 6, 2014
April Foolavia! Y'allz Got Punk'd!
The Militant's favorite day is April Fool's Day. Yes, it was six days ago already, but hear The Militant out. He loves not only the prank aspect of the day, but how the normal can become suddenly abnormal, just for the day. But in this age of Teh Interwebz, though there's a plethora of April Fool's gags to be found online, we're often let in on the prank before we even get a chance to get pranked. And that's kind of sad.
In the past, The Militant has done stuff like turn This Here Blog temporarily into "The Extremist New Yorker," or revealed his identity, or revealed his identity again (on video), or posed as an Angels fan in social media during last year's Dogers Opening Day (yeah, that one was kinda lame).
This year, he was at a loss as to what to do for his April Fool's gag. Revealing his identity? Been there, done that. Re-doing his page as another site? Too much work.
He found his answer when he saw someone tweet the link from his Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour post from last June, which was the same route as today's CicLAvia. These posts get a whole lot of interest...so why not update the post with some fake historical facts?
Yes, parts of The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour 5.01 post were not real.
Take note of the date of posting -- April 1, 2014. Of course, by the end of the day, many pranks were explained, but The Militant kept quiet about this one. Of course, there's no rule that says you have to give away the prank by the time it's April 2...
Mind you, the entire post was not fake. He added six more points of interest to his updated post, but only one of them was real. In case you couldn't tell, here were the fake points of interest:
4. Urban Chew
North side of Wilshire Bridge over 110 Fwy
The Militant just discovered this peculiar public art installation by artist Matthew Kasmirofsky while witnessing the Big Pour. About 160 pieces of gum, made of either actual gum pieces or latex rubber, were placed here in an art piece described by the artist as "a commentary on contemporary consumerist culture," especially how things are easily and carelessly discarded after a short time. Kasmirofsky has done similar public art installations in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Montreal and Stockholm.
The Militant totally made this up. There may or may not be pieces of gum on the north side of the Wilshire bridge over the 110, but it's NOT a public art installation. But who knows, it might be someday!
6. Site Of "Redbeard" Pirate Lynching
1675 Wilshire Blvd, Westlake
In 1878 a man known as Cochran "Redbeard" O'Connor, a self-described "pirate," sailed into San Pedro Harbor and arrived into Los Angeles via railroad. He went on a notorious public rampage described, by the old Los Angeles Herald as, "Six months of public drunkenness, vulgarity, and lewd and lascivious behavior, which cannot be fully described in the pages of this publication." Other historical accounts of O'Connor purport he engaged in public displays of urination, indecent exposure, masturbation and groping. Police attempted to arrest him several times, but he somehow eluded them. Finally, on March 27, 1879, he was found attempting to defecate on the front yard of a mansion on Orange Street, when an angry mob chased him down. He was hung by a sycamore tree that stood near where the Home Depot stands today. According to a later Los Angeles Herald article, His boat in San Pedro Harbor was burned and sunken. O'Connor was buried in an unmarked grave at Evergreen Cemetery.
This would probably be the most outlandish fake point of interest, he for sure would have thought someone would have called his bluff on it, but no one did! But could you imagine a nasty pirate running around 1870s Los Angeles? He couldn't even imagine a nasty pirate running around 1970s Los Angeles. Or maybe he could. At any rate, maybe they should have a life-sized figure of Redbeard at The Redwood Bar & Grill in Downtown. Uh, with clothes on.
13. Brotherhood Mansion Site
3183 Wilshire Blvd, Koreatown
The first automobile in Los Angeles took to the streets in 1897 and Delbert J. Walford, businessman and early automobile enthusiast, (and one of the first Angelenos to own a car), created the Most Benevolent Brotherhood of the Horseless Carriage (a.k.a. "The Brotherhood"), perhaps Los Angeles' first-ever car club. Members would offer repairs to stranded motorists, free of charge, hold Saturday afternoon salons to educate the public about the automobile, and offer driving classes for a very small fee. Some though, considered the organization to be a cult-like group, where members lived inside the mansion, maintaining strict standards on uniform dress and hats. In 1903, the group published a 106-page, eerily prophetic utopian (autopian?) manifesto, The Automobile For A Most Glorious California, envisioning a network of "automobile super-roadways" spanning several lanes wide, the creation of "automobile gardens" built around cities and communities oriented towards the car, developed far from the urban core. They also shunned and criticized the use of streetcars, bicycles and long-distance pedestrian travel. Now here comes the strange part: In August 1909, Walford and all of the members who were have known to have lived in the mansion vanished without a trace, leaving all material valuables (aside from their automobiles) behind. Their whereabouts were never found and the mansion was razed in 1917. Ironically, the site is home to the Wilshire/Vermont Metro station.
Though it's true the first auto rolled in Los Angeles in 1897, there was no Delbert J. Walford, nor was there any Most Benevolent Brotherhood of the Horseless Carriage anywhere. He just made that up.
But everyone likes their conspiracy theories, so some cult-like organization behind the propagation of the automobile in Los Angeles might sound plausible to many. The irony of the Wilshire/Vermont station location just made the crazy story even sweeter.
Militant readers Audrey Dalton and questhaven posted in the comments that they couldn't find anything about "The Brotherhood" (no one can, lol...) The Militant got a little nervous, so he just told them that he;d get his books out of storage and give more information by Monday. And this was your "more information!" Bahaha!
19. Site of DeBeers Paradise Flower Garden
Wilshire Blvd and Normandie Avenue, Koreatown
Everyone knows that The Bird of Paradise is Los Angeles' official flower, but how did it become so popular? South African trade importer and horticulturist Wouter DeBeers, who built the DeBeers mansion and gardens in Garvanza, bought a plot of land on Wilshire Boulevard at Normandie Avenue in 1896 in hope of building a second home closer to the city. Having discovered he lacked the funds for constriction, and not wanting his land to remain vacant, imported several Bird of Paradise plants from his native Durban and grew an exotic plant garden on the plot, called "Paradise Flower Garden." Visitors were amazed at the orange bird-like flowers that seemed to flourish with little watering. DeBeers later sold seedlings and eventually became profitable enough to finance construction of his mansion, which he eventually built in 1905. The residence and legendary garden were eventually razed in 1919. The popularity of the flower in Los Angeles was largely credited to DeBeers.
No Wouter DeBeers, and no Paradise Flower Garden. The real story of the Bird of Paradise was that it was introduced to California circa 1853 by a Colonel Warren from Sacramento. But it wasn't until a century later, in 1952, a plant and seed company owner lobbied the City Council to make it official.
22. Crenshaw Tar Pits
Wilshire and Crenshaw boulevards, Hancock Park
Everyone knows about the world-famous tar pits of La Brea just down the street, but did you know there's a (much smaller) tar deposit by Wilshire and Crenshaw? Look around towards the back end of the parking lot on the southwest corner and you'll find less than a dozen tar puddles and seeps peeking through the pavement.
The Militant laughs just thinking about this one. How many of you actually bothered to check for tar seeps by Wilshire and Crenshaw? Well, it might be hard to right now due to the Metro Purple Line construction staging area that's there right now. This sounds like one of those Howseresque "Man, I never knew this" Los Angeles places that we all love. The Salt Lake Oil Field, where Arthur Gilmore first discovered oil and the Hancock family found tar deposits on their Rancho La Brea property, is a bit west of here, just west of La Bra Avenue in fact. So, no tar here at all, LOL...
The Berlin Wall entry is the only real new entry. He knew about it for a while but neglected to add it to the original Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour post from last year.
YOU JUST GOT PUNK'D, LOS ANGELES!
Happy April, fools! But The Militant hopes you had an awesome CicLAvia today anyways.