We are in a wild land—there is no Valley Produce here. At least in Los Angeles’ ethnic supermarket, there are fucking aisles.
I’ve talked a lot about the various oddities of Brighton Beach et all, from the snowglobe Moscow Disney facade of tickle-me cheburashka, bleach and babushkas to Brighton Diez and the massive Poblano labor force, and most recently, about the salwaar/delhi hat/open-toe fashionplate that is Coney Island Avenue and the Pakistani familes who live there. Brighton Beach is as much about the National and M&I International Foods as it is about Eastern Market II, as much about the Young Israel Yeshiva of Brighton Beach/Family HeadStart Center as it is about P.S. 253, the Ezra Jack Keats International School. Brighton Beach isn’t quite Russian anymore, but it isn’t not Russian either. A certain project advisor thinks i should narrow this all out and talk about the Mexicans, but I think that misses the point. It’s precisely the mishmash that’s interesting (maybe I’m an idiot to think so). If you don’t think so, just go shopping.Check out my recent collection of BB weirdness.
This is from Tel Aviv Market on Brighton Beach Avenue, (another corner grocery staffed entirely by mexicans and patronized entirely by ancient ex-soviets, and owned, i can only imagine, by russian jews) and here we have a vacuum sealed sack of sunflower seeds, the packaging for which was recycled straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Beside the picture it says “Шалом из Израйля!” (Shalom from Israel!) i Which would be hugely weird if it were actually made in Israel, but it’s not. it’s a product of kremlinksya kukhniya, a Russian company. why. G-d, why does this exist???
This, also from Tel Aviv Market, is almost definitely made in China, and will therefore kill you.
Finally, there is Cheburashka, whose voice I promise to record and post, after I double back and fill everybody in on the New Yorker Festival. Remind me.
I guarantee you, no one has ever written about this brighton beach. Ok, cool, I’m on it.