The 79th Annual Chinatown Moon Festival was a happy accident for me. I’d recently gone to LA’s Chinatown to do a little research on Chinoiserie Architecture, when I noticed that many of the buildings were trimmed in neon. I can only imagine how much work it must have taken to do that, so I promised myself I’d come back the following Saturday right after work, so that I could see the neon at dusk. Well, when I arrived there were signs and banners everywhere for a festival. I asked the parking attendant ‘what festival’? The Moon Festival he exclaimed. Ugh, I thought. So many people everywhere… maybe I’ll come back another day. I’m so glad that I decided to stay.
As the evening progressed, it got more and more enchanting. Children were everywhere laughing and screaming, throwing confetti into the air. There were performers on stage including a contortionist. Food trucks were parked along an alley way, so I dove into a rice and raw salmon burrito wrapped in a paper thin shell. Overall I spent nearly nearly 2 hours at the festival, soaking in the pure joy of it.
Have you ever heard of the book The Artist Way? It helps people get in touch with their creativity, and one of their exercises is to have an ‘artist date night’ with yourself. Well, the annual Moon Festival turned out to be my artist date night. There’s something so wonderful about being a silent observer, letting an evening evolve as it may. After I left the festival, I took the long route home through downtown LA, via Broadway. I finally saw the iconic Bradbury Building at 304 S. Broadway, an 1893 landmark with a skylit atrium. Next up was the recently restored Eastern Columbia Building at 849 S. Broadway. It’s a smashing 39 story blue terra-cotta structure that looks absolutely divine at night. I literally was stopped at the light and looked over and voila! There it was.
Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying then getting lost in your hometown, all by yourself. No rushing from place to place, just enjoying whatever pops up in front of you, letting the evening unfold. If you haven’t done this lately, I highly recommend it. You just never know what you might discover in your own city, or more importantly, about yourself.