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Bloguero

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My L.A. County Sheriff's press pass just arrived. And last month I signed up for another three year membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. I'm not itching for many more credentials to provide me validation. Nevertheless, I inched north on Spring Street headed to Phillipes for the Latino bloggers meeting.

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I figured it would be something between the meetings the Marxist-Leninists had at UC San Diego in the late 1980s trying to recruit students and a Latino fraternity pledge meeting. It turns out these online denizens just like the face time.

I made uncomfortable eye contact with shady characters and any hipster-looking men and women in the sawdust French dip lines. Maybe a glance would elicit a 'Hey, are you a Latino blogger?' 'Claro que si.' I would reply. There's Gerard Meraz. He's leading the meeting tonight. He's a legendary DJ who was one of the people behind the East L.A. backyard parties exhibition last year. I produced a radio feature about it. He writes the Pachucoville blog.

'Yes, I write a blog now.' I told him. 'No, it's not film reviews.' You know, movimiento, the Spanish word for movement, the Movement, 1960s, miento, mentir, to lie. 'Ah.' he replied. Maria Elena Gaitan showed up. She's well known as Chola Con Chelo. She put in a lot of time at these Phillipes booths with the ASCO East L.A. art provocateurs in the 1970s, she says. She writes the East of the River blog, to put in writing the performance art she's done for decades.

Unassuming Cindy Mosqueda walks in wearing a college sweatshirt. 'You are letting your canas grow.' someone says, apparently in response to one of her blog postings on Loteria Chicana. Abelardo de la Peña sits down, El Padrino, several people suggest. His Latino L.A. has been documenting the goings on of the Eastside for a decade or longer.

Alicia Escalante writes the Swapmeet Chronicles blog. East L.A. Community College student Erick Huerta writes the Just a Random Hero blog. L.A. Times reporter Jesus Sanchez, recently bought out, writes in The Eastsider L.A.

Want to rile this group up? Ask 'What's the Eastside?' It's like banging on a Tasmanian Devil's cage. Meraz shoots from both hips about hipsters gentrifying Silverlake and Echo Park and about the colonialist-like forces that are erasing the Mexican and Central American presence in that area. The Echo on Sunset Boulevard is the Nayarit, he says, just look at the sign that's still there! What about generations ago when Latino immigrants replaced the previous ethnic group? Man, talk about upending the animal's cage! It was great discussion. Meraz says the group started started about a year ago, where there seemed to be a critical mass of L.A. Latino bloggers.

Meraz and others say that some people "not from the community" came and wanted to write about the group but they shooed them away. But we trust you, they tell me. The Chicano in me smiles. The writer in me, well, I don't know.

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