Work and Progress

November 15, 2010

Rolling City Vol. 3

Filed under: 1. Rolling City: A Graphic Short in Block Prints — Tags: — Work and Progress @ 6:25 pm

In 1984-85 Reagan’s America, inspired by the 1960’s, was still very consumer friendly. Production factories and strip mall culture was alive and well. The landscape of my Southern California was about 20% nature and 80% pavement. Parking lots freeways and palm trees, side-walks, cinder blocks. Accented by grassy island patches.

The 1980’s street skater was influenced by skate idols whose wheels were custom made for riding half pipes and pools; not an activity available to the average child from the ghetto.  We didn’t own pools, let alone live by someone who had one. To the average inner-city kid this was a mythological activity we lived out by way of schoolyard banks, highway slopes, empty river beds or any curb that could give us a moment of freedom.

The popular street skater identity hadn’t been developed just yet. Street competitions consisted of mostly cameos by professional ramp skaters.

But in Los Angeles, the relationship with the street was already there. Wheels and asphalt are synonymously a part of LA culture and have been for a long time. Your “wheels” are like the shoes on your feet. They’re with you whenever you leave the house and likewise are an extension of your personality, aesthetic, and style. Our wheels got us places………………..

“Here it is!”

“Wow… it looks like a broken fish.”  I said.

“It use to be my grandmother’s, and it runs great.” said Shelly.

So we got into this lopsided, 1960 Plymouth rust bucket of car that had a patchy green paint job and an interior that wasn’t much better.  Although it did have a functioning radio.

“I brought some travel music.”

“And what’s on that!”

“Just some good rock tracks by some kick ass bands.

“You’re kidding!” She responded. “My car, MY music. Here!” She handed me her own mixtape.

“Sit back and  listen to a real mixtape.”

Her tape was actually kind of good. Bands I’d never heard of and songs I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. She pontificated a bit about the punk rock movement, her preference in music.

This was the first time we actually hung out.

I’d never seen her in this light. Normally she was just, well…. Shelly and it was cool, she was cool.

Between all the new music and the different freeways, I’d lost track of where we were. That is, I could hardly recognize anything.  We stopped off at some skate spots Shell said Charlie might be at.

There was no sign of him, but I got to skate some unfamiliar territory.

We finally made it to Blank City and stopped off at one more skate spot where she said all the locals would be.  It was an empty riverbed bank that ran under a freeway. A group of real intimidating, older kids were skating. Landing tricks with ease, jumping and carving the pavement, catching speed in an instant, like gazelles on skateboards just thrashing up the place.

“Aren’t you gonna try.” Shelly asked

“Yeah right!” I responded sarcastically.

After 30 minutes of watching in awe, we got back in the rust bucket to look for Charlie’s place. Shelly didn’t actually have his address. We spent some time navigating both the neighborhood and her memory, before we finally arrived.

“That’s it. That’s the house.” She Said.

There was a lady on the steps of the house having a cigarette. She was wearing a summer dress and her hair was short. Though you couldn’t really make out her face behind the flower of smoke, she was obviously pretty.

“SHIT.. that’s his mom on the steps. You wait here.”

Shelly got out of the car and walked across the street to the smoking lady. I couldn’t make out what they were saying. They spoke for about five minutes before Charlie’s mom went inside and Shelly came back to the car.

She looked bothered.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, “Did you find out if he was home?”

“He’s not home!” she responded, and we sped off.

She said nothing.

Click! Her mixtape ended.

Shelly reached past me into the glove compartment where there were more tapes.

“You gotta be kidding! Please don’t make me listen to Niel Diamond!”

“I like Niel Diamond.” she responded.

“What about all that talk of thrash music and the Godfathers of Punk.”

“I like this. It reminds me of my grandmother.”

“I guess, If you like sad bastard music.” I muttered.

She didn’t respond.

I thought to myself, “That was a low blow. What could Charlie’s mom have said?”

“Come on, what happened?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” she said.

It was disappointing to see her so sad. I didn’t know what to do,  so I just bothered about the music.

“Can you at least change this music?”

No response.

“Do you have some metal?.. or some BLUES!”

“I don’t have the Blues”

“Well I do! from listening to this bullshit!”

“That’s It!”  She pulled over.

“Get out!”

“What? But…we’re not.”



Comfort music……. that’s what it was. Glove compartment comfort music.

I didn’t understand what just happen.”Sigh” I was speechless.

“Well. well……little fat ass. We meet again.”

Text and original block-print Images © by Sergio Teran

Rolling City Vol.1

Rolling City Vol. 2

Rolling City vol.3

Rolling City Vol. 4

Rolling City Vol.5


  1. Not a bad song on that mix tape!

    Comment by Guav — February 7, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

    • I agree guav.dna.

      Comment by Work and Progress — February 7, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

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