Well, friends, if your bicycle event is gonna get upstaged, at least be glad its Mother Nature doing the upstaging and not some dude poppin’ wheelies on a lame sport bike, wearing one of them full-face helmets with a purple mohawk. What? Exactly. As some of you may be aware, in the last few days the raging Angeles National Forest fires have shrouded the entire northeastern portion of Los Angeles County in a haze of smoke.
From Incase’s distro center in Irwindale/Azusa to our homes in Echo Park and beyond, the air is ashen and the daytime sky has taken on an ominous orange tint. The State of California & City of Los Angeles have both issued public service announcements telling citizens to not to breathe when they’re outside. Good luck with that! No sports, no jogging, no dodge ball. It is SKETCHY out there.
Why are we telling you all of this? Keep reading, here’s why!
This past Wednesday, on the eve of the calamity, the Bicycle Film Fest held its much anticipated Bikes Rock event in the quaint little foothills neighborhood of Eagle Rock. [To give you some geographic context, this is less than 3-miles (as the crow flies) from the impending chaos]. Upon arrival I spied a mega-herd of bikes locked to the racks and railings of the Eagle Rock Center. Good sign! I even saw a few homemade bicycle/motorcycles and motorized scooters.
Live music sets were provided by experimental crooners Blank Blue, afro-poppers Extra Golden, and the deep dark garage drones of Deerhunter at its most lugubrious. Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks & Black Flag played intermission DJ sets while Sir David Scott Stone delivered ambient blips & bloops on his mighty Moog synth. It was by any measure a perfect show. The line up was rad, the venue was beautiful, the turnout was mighty and the assembled audience was excited. Nevertheless, it all had a really weird, subdued vibe. Like, a sleepy vibe. Even the photos say so.
The whole night just sort of felt calm. And not calm as in boring, but calm as in ‘calm before the storm’ calm. Despite being a nice summer night, few pedestrians walked the hood and even fewer cars cruised Colorado Blvd. The streets were dead, the air was humid and still. And then, as I departed the show, it hit me—I noticed a windshield in the Bank of America parking lot accumulating a thin film of greasy ash. Spooky. It was the sort of calm that comes before a 160,000 acre raging fire storm.
Thanks to the BFF for hosting the evening’s musical score for catastrophe! And remember, for the next several days if you’re gonna ride your bike—wear a mask or a bandana over your face. You do not wanna get this stuff down your lungs!