Prior to a journey recently taken, I hit the Alarma (magazine) mother lode, and couldn't be happier about it -- despite the fact that nobody depicted in the magazine itself is particularly happy.
Every now and then, we need to reset the counter, energize, regroup. Call it what you want, but us humans we need a break from the grind, the hussle, the tide of hypocrisy, and that day finally arrived for me. I'd been as busy as a one-armed juggler editing a doco I'm very fond of, writing a screenplay, and finishing a novel. So, with some business pending in LA, I planned my culture hunt (that would make it c-unt for short), and left the house with an important address given to me by a friend. He knew of my penchant for all things Mexican and bizarre, and felt inclined to steer me in a fresh direction.
My idea of recreation (solo recreation, anyway) is usually movies and bookshops, so I'm constantly tracking the global release patterns and whereabouts of various movies. I never stop looking for the wild and wonderful books and magazines that aren't so easy to find, and my natural curiosity is rarely dampened. Gems like Alarma can't be found on-line or at a traditional newsstand. Unless you're living in Mexico, you've got to click into predator mode to track down these totally unique and audacious weekly magazines, you've got to be hungry, you've got to kick down doors, spill some blood, and venture into neighborhoods where nobody knows your name (not in English, anyway!)
After a visit to the wonderful Luis De Jesus bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard where I picked up a book on creepy dolls and a Bukowski bio, I headed for East LA with the fresh address. There, in LA's answer to darkest Tijuana, I stumbled upon the Alarma mother lode.
At first, I thought the Alarmas in the foggy plastic bag, placed high on a shelf to avoid the eyes of kiddies, were copies of the same issue. Fortunately, I was dead wrong. When I presented the protective bag to the cashier, she tore it open and asked me if I wanted everything in the bag or just one issue? I replied "Just one issue," but when six more fanned out across the counter like a lucky hand in a game of cards, my pulse quickened and I blurted: "I'll take 'em all. Gracias!" I then added a cheerful "Buenos noces!" as I departed with my brown paper bag of crime scene goodness. I had such a spring in my step, I could have leapt tall buildings with Superman.
I drove home in a state of excitement while listening to the Drive soundtrack and a podcast on, you guessed it!, obscure soundtracks (Mr. One-Track-Mind Rides Again!) Now and then, I'd pull an Alarma out of the bag and leaf through it impatiently under the dim interior light.
I'm sure my idea of a great day is several miles south of yours, but I'm certainly happiest when I'm following my own sun.
Enjoy these treats.