Jul 13, 2007
I cut my teeth as a theater critic reviewing for the L.A. Downtown News, and among the spaces I most enjoyed covering was Al's Bar, in which were staged some boisterous, sloppy, often brilliant evenings of performance, and in which many overpriced plastic cups of middling beer were consumed. Among the playwrights whose work I first covered there was Joel Bloom, who went on to found Bloom's General Store on the corner of Traction and 3rd in the arts district, long before it was the hip hub it is now. Cornerstone Theater Company's offices are practically next door, and though Al's is long gone, there are more coffee places and restaurants and galleries in the once-blighted area than ever before.
Well, Joel died today after a long battle with cancer, but his legacy of stubborn persistence--of believing L.A. had an arts district east of Downtown that was worth sticking to, living in, playing in, working in--lives on. I don't think he'd know me from Adam, but I'll miss going back to see his cantankerous, bespectacled visage behind the counter at Bloom's. He's already missed.
Posted by Rob Weinert-Kendt at 4:26 PM