Weird having lived in one city long enough to see almost all my favorite joints close.

My first heartbreak here was the Nova Express Cafe on Fairfax, and the one that hurt me the most personally, probably, was the C++ 24 hour punk rock coffee shop in Glendale (rules on the wall: "don't come in and be a drunk fool. tip or make coffee at home"). I'm guessing I've mentioned both before but I don't know if I'll bother to check. Another tough loss was the Cat Club on the strip, because André and I had once driven Dee Dee home from there - I had just met him once prior, and I had my one and only heart to heart chat with him on the way to his place. (me: "Dee Dee, why don't you drive?" him: "I don't trust myself not to do something stupid") This is also where the public memorial was for him after his death, and when Arthur Kane walked in, André leaned in and said to me: "that man is a living legend."

Living in a city of constant change as they all are, and especially in the throes of capitalism destroying all our good things, knowing anything could go bankrupt and split at almost any time, it's counterintuitive that I do this thing with a few special places, and that's make a point of visiting them infrequently, so they don't lose their magic (Toi Thai is the pique example of this dumb behavior - I've gone twice in the past six months, but really only because the first of those two was with a friend who passed away not long later, and I couldn't bear that to be my last current memory of the place)

So here's something I still only do at most only once every couple years: sit for an afternoon and read all the notes in the magic chess table at the Alcove cafe. I sincerely hope that place *does* close, and greedily I can purchase that table and take it out of commission and love it forever privately before it fills with self promotion and fuck yous. but for now: it still remains a spot where (mostly) people leave love letters and affirmations and off the cuff well intentioned poetic nonsense.

I sometimes stick a note or two in there myself, and this time I did something I haven't done before: maybe I'm going to hell - a principled documentarian should only observe - but I took a note home. It just really spoke to me.

Some favorites (for the sentiment, the humor, the handwriting, whatever) from this last visit, below. They do obviously get purged every couple years (individual drawers at different times, as they fill beyond usability, probably) and slowly regenerate. Some have dates written on them and these go back to late 2021. A barista told me the owner keeps them all and hangs his favorites in his office. I love that after all these years they don't say anything about it. There's no paper & pen at that table or anything - people discover it on their own, write on and with whatever they can find: napkins, coffee sleeves, notebook pages, lipstick. Either your curiosity leads you there, or it doesn't. And it's not an artsy weirdo hangout. The desserts are pretty good but the Magic Table is the magic (a name many people have given it, possibly independently of each other, over the years).

(good call ditching that apostrophe, Jenna)

depends on what you're using it for?

(thought i might have drawn this for a sec)

before i got to this one


(ok to live on timid island if you like)

+ cats. duh

(Magic Table product placement)

well, there it is.

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