Will Los Angeles Support Long Form?

by Conor Friedersdorf

After an extremely successful debut, the new Los Angeles literary quarterly, Slake – previously mentioned here – has made it to issue number two. A brief excerpt from a piece about the city's Little Tokyo:

The trapezoid of land still stands in 2011, but it is of course filled with development, condominiums, and fabricated lofts spread like STDsugly but real and unavoidableand a new public railway line. I do not know if the area has a name, if it had a name before the transition, but a decade ago I called it the Golden Trapezoid.

Roaming bums and eccentric, acid-damaged fine artists exchanged nods and plotted their murders quietly among the vacant lots, the few warehouses and factories either abandoned or clandestinely in use, and the shrugging, graffiti-soaked, out-of- service rail depots. Anyone could live or die in the Golden Trap. Red stains and no questions asked. Where packs of wild dogs dragged the rotting, skinned heads of pig and steer carcasses from back-alley cut shops as far away as the Grand Central Market and Chinatown for a safe haven to gnaw, and where, too, other wolves of esoteric passion found safe haven to shoot up in broad daylight.

I lived in a warehouse at the corner of Vignes and First, and down in my hollow you could still buy the company of a Mexican T-girl at Little Pedro’s, one of the only businesses in the GT, for $40. The Little Pedro’s building still stands, but its guts have long since departed. I am mentioning all of this because if I stepped outI took what little food I ate and much of my grog in Little Tokyoall the decrepit solitude and fragmented suffering of the Golden Trap went with me, every footstep to pavement, glass to lips, mist to mouth. The dim, explicit, and inescapable hollow bore deep in my sad, beautiful green eyes. I broke hearts with a single glance.