Dia de los Muertos. Hollywood. Wonderful, magical night. I have photos to share. While still filled with people, the cemetery seemed less crowded to me than it has been in recent years.
I snapped this bacon-wrapped vendor on the way in, bragging to all about the juiced dogs I’d be eating on the way back to the car in a couple of hours.
Not so fast.
At 11:30pm, the festival is officially over and the remaining families are making their way out of the gates. What should the most important task be for six LAPD black-and-whites, some dozen-odd officers, a fully-equipped LAPD Mobile Booking Office and at least one intimidating helicoptor with crowd-dispersing spotlights?
Shut down the hot dog ladies.
The lady in this photo was surrounded by at least four officers, her cart pushed to the side. She was no longer in business.
Who could have possibly directed this sting operation, and for what reason? The organizers of the festival? A coalition of licensed food vendors inside the cemetery? Did the LAPD take this initiative on its own? There just had to be something more important to do at 11:30 on the Saturday before Halloween than take down a couple of people selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs without a license. These ladies were working and performing a desired service. Were they smoking or shooting drugs in public? Were they harassing people, spraying graffiti, causing mischief, throwing eggs at old ladies? They were not, but if the squadron were to were to walk a few blocks down Santa Monica Boulevard in either direction from the cemetery I’d argue that the chances of seeing any of those activities would have been pretty high.
I stared hungrily at five charred dogs growing cold in the night air. Unsellable. Forsaken. I watched as a woman offered to buy one of the cold dogs through a collaborative police officer / hot dog lady venture. No sale. Everybody go home.
A few irate Latinos made their voice known to the officers. To exacerbate the already bizarre situation, a group of citizens that had been handing out flyers for the World Can’t Wait protest began declaring fascism, whipping the crowd into a meek, generally hungry frenzy, advising that the only way to stop these types of police actions would be to march proudly against Bush on November 2.
There we all stood in the helicoptor spotlight: Irate Latinos, hungry children, families with flowers, cops, anti-war protestors. Somebody out there has to have more details for me. Please explain the LAPD motive. KCAL was on hand. I checked their video highlights from the evening and as predicted, Operation: Bacon-Wrapped didn’t merit a mention.
LAPD LOG, 10/29/2005
Halloween Saturday. We will effectively halt all bacon-wrapped transactions this year. You say you want to sell hot dogs to hungry families leaving an occasion honoring their deceased? You want to sell hot dogs to people who have driven very long distances to come to this cemetery and celebrate?
Not this year. Not on our watch.