I wanted to like it… really…

My story begins like this. It was a hot summer day in Boyle Heights. Temperatures were reaching 101 Fahrenheit. .
My homegirl is starting a new page in her life. Grad School. Just like me, more on that later. So in celebration, she hosted a night out with friends at new hip local Boyle Heights bar “Eastside Luv: Wine Bar y Queso”.
Another friend and I showed up around midnight. We walked in, and there must have been well over 150 people inside. I don’t know if the heat made the place shrink, but it was obviously overcrowded. I could barely get through the first five steps and I was immediately drenched in sweat. If there was an AC system, it was obviously turned off.
The décor was great, traditional Latino dark reds, mixed with dark wood paneling, old colorful Mexican movie poster by the small stage wall, a row of tall tables and bar stools, a small sized opened roof top patio separated by a curtain of plastic, the kind you see at a carniceria, great tunes were being played, and the bar… the bar was set on a step lower so that the bartenders looked up when they served you, a tall mirror behind them reflected the hip and trendy single, bilingual and ready to mingle Latinos ready to party.
While nearly suffocating to sweet death, we waited by the bar for nearly ten minutes without once being acknowledged. The bartenders seemed more interested in pleasing personal friends and obvious regulars. A woman with a low purple blouse leaned over and exposed her goodies and was promptly served a glass of red wine.
My friend and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes. Partly because we should have thought of that, but mostly out of frustration. We shouldn’t HAVE to do that to get a drink.
We gave up and went back to my homegirl. I told her what had happened and she became upset and took us back to the bar. She knows the owner. See, I hate that. I hate that we have to get owners and managers involved. Why cant people just do their jobs in the first place? And do it with a fucking smile? Is that too much to ask?
She tried to get the bartenders attention, but was met with “we are busy, cant you see?” looks? Oh hell, by this point, we were literally sweating, people were sweating on me, and there was no way I was going to give them my money.
But in an effort to give this place a second chance, I ordered a cherry coke with Hennessey.
OMG. The bartender may as well have slapped me with his towel.
“ugh, this is a wine bar only, that’s why we have ‘wine bar’ in our name. We don’t serve hard alcohol”
I don’t know what was worse, his We-Ho attitude or that I was at a bar with no real alcohol. No jagger shots?! You have GOT to be kidding me. But no, no real alcohol. Just $8 beers and wine.
I walked back to the table, fanned myself with a coaster and look at the walls. Oh will you look at that? It’s a vagina.
Yeah. Apparently, Eastside Luv also serves as a wall space for artists. For this month’s feature, Eastside Luv is hosting the works of Gregory Bojorquez’s “All Chicks”.
A photography exhibition, if you could call it that, of the female form.
I have seen the work of Bojorquez before. He has a unique way of looking at Latino culture which I can appreciate. However, his work on “All Chicks” is borderline porn.
While I can appreciate a nude, a clever photograph that plays with my minds eye, or the brazen curves and form of the female body, I also believe there is a fine line within photographic art form and photographic porn a la Hustler. Pictures of women licking themselves, or pictures of a woman’s torso whose legs are spread open to showcase her “other lips” is not artistic. There is no room for interpretation. It’s a bar, where people’s goals are to get drunk and get laid. If being nothing short of sexualizing, demeaning and offensive to the female body, being a Latina woman, and seeing and hearing other Latino males say things like “fuck man! Look at her pussy!” does not make me appreciate the photography. In fact, it forces me to dislike it. The photography, which goals I imagined were to showcase the women (most of which look Latin) as sexual seductive creatures whose look varies drastically, does the exact opposite, it takes away from their beauty, it objectifies, ridicules and worse, degrades.
One female in particular said to me “I come here often, but after tonight, I won’t be back until the display is gone”.
Like I said, I wanted to like it, I want to badly support a local bar which can offer great service, a great ambiance, good drinks, even if just wine, but I have to echo the other bar patron, I won’t be back any time soon. Not only because the photography was offensive, objectifying, de-sexualizing and lacked artistic quality, but because the place is way too small for the capacity of people it lets in, there is no air conditioning and the service is terrible. Why would I want to give my business to pissy bartenders who wont acknowledge me or recommend a good wine to drink? Why “Tu Ciudad” magazine named this place in their “Best of LA” June profiles is beyond me. 

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4 thoughts on “I wanted to like it… really…

  1. cindylu says:

    Maybe they think those photographs (which do sound offensive) and no a/c will make people want to drink more…

    Doesn’t sound like a good business model to me.

    You know, I’ve heard this “I wanted to like it” think before, not about Eastside Luv, but about Antigua and a few other places like that.

  2. Hamster with no wheel says:

    And to call the exhibit “All Chicks” just slap me on the ass and call me “Toots”, now I feel so violated!

  3. adriana says:

    I’m so proud of you for plugging ahead and going to grad school. 🙂

    That sucks about those pictures. 😦

  4. adriana says:

    I’m so proud of you for plugging ahead and going to grad school. 🙂

    That sucks about those pictures. 😦

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