Rollin' deep in the heart of the I.E. through the gnarled concrete arteries of 60+10+91 east to neon sunsets and Naugles, Taco Tia, the Mad/Friendly/Happy or Lucky Greek,The Menagerie, Spanky's, Butch's Grinders, The Denny's Cocktail Lounge at Hardman Center (in pace requiescat). We spell Paris P-E-R-R-I-S, bitches!


I.E. Holiday News Round Up | Shooting at Toys 'R' Us + Mission Inn Gets Totally Lit

Riverside Countians had to one-up the Long Island Walmart trampling with a shooting that left two men dead at a Palm Desert Toys 'R' Us store. Though the gun battle was NOT about a toy, circumstances were inflamed by the long lines and buying frenzy of Black Friday. The Riverside Press Enterprise reports (click on the map for the full story):

"Bargain hunters scrambled from a Palm Desert Toys "R" Us on Friday after two men were shot and killed on one of the nation's busiest shopping days.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said the men were involved in a nonshopping-related disagreement near the checkout stand of the busy store.

'This confrontation was not over a toy,' Gutierrez said.

Police in the Coachella Valley city arrived at 11:32 a.m., a minute after receiving reports of shots fired inside the crowded store on Highway 111. Retailers such as Toys "R" Us generally offer deep discounts to draw customers on Black Friday, as the day after Thanksgiving is known."


On a much happier note, yesterday also marked the start of the 16th Annual Festival of Lights at downtown Riverside's The Mission Inn. I hadn't really thought about it 'til now but in the years since grad school, I've managed to bring friends from all over the world and So. Cal to the Mission Inn's twinkly, animatronic wonderland. It wasn't (just) because they were too broke to fly home--but more often than not, because they were too broke to fly home AND to the MLA for job interviews, papers and other professional tortures. Thank goddesses this will mark the last year that dreadful gathering is scheduled between Christmas and New Year's. (Click the picture for the Press Enterprise's account of yesterday's festivities).

The Emperor dedicates this year's Festival of Lights to all the loved ones--our beautiful, improvised families--from Koeln, Paris, Marseilles, Iowa City, Lexington, Seoul, Salinas, Bell Gardens and The Valley who have each claimed these lights as their own some time or other. Please come again soon. Y'all know you're always welcome. xoxoxo, I. Emperor.


L.A. TIMES: Unemployment Surge in the I.E.

With an unemployment rate of 9.1%, the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro region ranks even worse than Detroit.

From Dan Pierson of the Los Angeles Times (click the picture below for the full story):
"The percentage of people unemployed in the Inland Empire has more than doubled from a year ago, and some experts predict the situation will worsen before it improves.

'It's a perfect storm,' said Brad Kemp, director of regional research for Beacon Economics, which recently conducted the second annual Inland Empire Economic Forecast Conference.

'It was one of the fastest-growing places in America,' he said. 'And when you have that kind of growth, you have the potential for loss.'

The downturn has all but erased the glow of optimism the Inland Empire enjoyed only two years ago, when newly minted mansions and an array of upscale retailers fashioned parts of the region into a more affordable Orange County in the making." [Right: The historic Fox Theater in downtown Riverside. Perpetually under renovation]

Sadly, this offers more fodder for the O.C./I.E. rivalry subplot in my book.