When I was a little kid, I remember my Popo lighting firecrackers on her freshly swept porch and it scared the shit out of me. Being a third-generation Chinese American, I didn’t really understand everything about it. I still don’t. But getting together and feasting was really cool and so were the gold and red decorations, lunar animals, and lucky money.
So I’m super stoked that my wife’s family is also Chinese and that our daughter goes to school in Chinatown. Chinese New Year is an extra big deal now–like Thanksgiving (family getting together), Christmas (kids getting gifted), and the Fourth of July (pyrotechnics) all in one.
My in-laws hosted an early Chinese New Year dinner last weekend and it was massive. For the 20 or so guests, there must have been eight or nine entrees (not counting the vegetarian dishes they made just for me). I love how noodles are served for long life. hairy seaweed is served up just because it sounds like “fat choy,” and all the other reasons behind the menu which happens to be amazing.
I used to try to explain some of the traditions to Eloise’s mostly non-Asian classmates when she went to preschool at Bellevue Park in Silver Lake. I’d give a short lesson topped by the lion dance from the beginning of Once Upon A Time in China. Now she goes to first grade at a school that observes the holiday on an official capacity with a minimum day and Eloise even makes her own lai see just for fun (above).
We won’t be setting off any firecrackers at midnight (illegal) but we did catch The Adolescents’ in-store at Amoeba this evening (questioning the law). Holy crap, they’re on a huge roll with a very solid lineup and so many great songs on their excellent new LP. Yes, they ended the generous and ripping set with the store’s namesake song.
Eloise and I arrived super early, said hi to Mike when he was setting up the drums, and sheepishly asked for Amoeba stickers so we could lurk in front. He said, “No problem. You’re like family!” How cool is he and the rest of the band? How great is it that one of the best bands in the world is also the best people?
After the show, we waited in line to have the new LP and the most recent Save Music in Chinatown flyer signed by our friends. It was extra cool that there was a handful of people in line who introduced themselves as having attended our benefits, including the one in which the Adolescents played a surprise set. It’s awesome to feel like part of something bigger.
Oh. Mike Watt’s set with the Tom and Jerry Show for the Live after 5 program in Long Beach last week was excellent, too. Another famously nice legendary musician to emerge from L.A.’s punk scene and help raise money for the music program at the public school in Chinatown that Eloise attends.
One more late breaking CNY item… On Friday, the very cool coordinator at Eloise’s school asked if we were going to attend the parade in Chinatown. He said that she could hold the banner and how could we pass that up?
Mayor Eric Garcetti happened to be nearby at the parade’s start, I asked if he’d take a photo with the schoolkids, and one thing led to another. Eloise, two friends, and a teacher were asked to ride along…
Our Year of the Sheep, Ram, or Goat (take your pick) is off to an awesome start with awesome music, food, family, friends, and some surprises. May yours be filled with all of that, plus health, happiness, and at least enough fortune to get by.