San Pedro has always been a city with character. I lived there for a couple of years in the early nineties, and despite all the grime, drug addled zombies, and sporadic gang violence, the place was not without a great deal of charm. It was a city rife with poets, artists, buskers and salty longshoremen in crusty dive bars. There were smartly stocked independent bookstores where locals would spend entire days arguing big ideas. There was a fairly legendary coffee shop and art gallery, run by a guy that called himself Rain Dog, who let really great stuff happen there. It is the town that gave birth to punk funk legends The Minutemen. Charles Bukowski lived, wrote, died and is buried there. I once read a poem to Wanda Coleman on 6th Street. It was kind of a magical place.
The economy has not been kind to San Pedro. When I visited the area back in April of this year, certain streets seemed like ghost towns. That coffee shop is now a pizza joint. The great bookstores are boarded up. Vacant storefronts were everywhere. This place that was so alive with artistic impulse, now seemed hollow, gutted out. The bars remained.
So then a few weeks ago, I came across an article announcing the opening of Crafted in a huge warehouse off 22nd Street. Crafted is an indoor marketplace packed with a wide variety of art, decorative objects, jewelry, clothing, and food that real folks have made with their own hands. Refreshing concept, is it not?
As I perused the booths at Crafted on Sunday, I was reminded once again why San Pedro holds a special place in my heart. It’s because they do stuff like this. In this one place you can get an authentic Day of the Dead papier-mache figure, watch as Justin Deines tools and engraves a leather handbag for you, purchase a David B. Cuzick woodcut painting at a fair price, and enjoy cake in a mason jar.
It’s early going for Crafted, and there are a number of spaces still available to rent. Yet, even under capacity, there’s still something for everyone and odds are strong that you don’t walk away empty handed. Do you think I’m not coming home with apple pie on a stick?
I really hope this unique Art and Craft hub brings people back to San Pedro, and that the brilliant, vagabond, artistic, misfits return to the streets to sing their songs.
Crafted – The Port of Los Angeles 110 & 112 East 22nd Street San Pedro, CA. 90291 310-732-1270 Fridays: 12pm to 8pm Saturdays & Sundays: 10am to 7pm