Santa Ana Officials Don't Care For Viet Art, Dangerous Elevators

Too bad that the Weekly moved its world headquarters away from SanTana and back to Costa Mesa's industrial-park blackhole this week (although the offices we now occupy ain't that bad), because the best non-Carona story to emerge this weekend was the shutdown of the revolutionary FOB II art exhibit by SanTana officials and not the usual elderly Vietnamese brigade of First Amendment haters. The exhibit, held by the Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association, got those aesthetic Know Nothings yelling and accusing artists of communism because one of the pieces in question featured imagery of the Republic of Vietnam. Much better coverage about the issue on the Bolsavik blog.

But here's what's interesting. In a city where virtually every civic, state, and national code gets violated daily, where artists create makeshift lofts in industrial areas and people engage in all types of illegal activity, why on Earth did Don Papi Pulido decide to shut down FOB II? Yes, the building in which it was held wasn't zoned to exhibit art, but wanna know something? The former Weekly world headquarters is still the home of the Santa Ana Business Bank, where all sorts of shady characters sit on the board of directors? The permit for that building's elevator was expired for TWO YEARS (they were just renewed), yet I never saw SanTana code enforcement take the building's owner to task--maybe because bigtime developer Mike Harrah owned it for so long? Art Pedroza has his own theories as to why Don Papi Pulido's shock troops closed FOB II, but I won't add any here. I will point two things out:

1. In a city that supposedly prides itself on its Artists Village, to shut down FOB II is foolish and ignorant. The original FOB exhibit was a landmark presentation held in 2002 in a building owned by Nguoi Viet that  showcased a new generation of Vietnamese artists (I wrote about it then but can't find the damn link). Any city that truly cared about fostering an arts scene would've bent over backwards to host it. But since VAALA isn't involved in SanTana politics, no go.

2. Speaking of the Artists Village, a challenge to ustedes and the people over at the Santiago Lofts: which will be the brave, permit-holding gallery to offer FOB II a new home?

*Note on picture: disregard Chinese script and focus on the guy!


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