Reflections and Scenes From a Mallrat

The touch screen on my phone stopped working a couple of weeks ago, and I had to drive all the way to Paradise Valley Mall to get a new phone, since that’s where the AT&T warranty center is.  PV mall was a major hangout for me all through the entire 1990’s.  First when I used to visit my grandparents, and they would drop me off there for hours. I would hang out at the arcade “Pocket Change” (a place where great romances were later born) next to the infamous Orange Julius(now a chinese food place) playing Cruisin USA(possibly the best car game ever with the exception of Fzero for SNES.) and spend time in the Vans skate shop. Basically I just wandered the mall and daydreamed,  the same stuff I still do now.

In the summer of 1996 when I moved to Phoenix, I knew absolutely no one, and as such going out with friends for me simply meant going to the mall by myself which was the closest I could get to actual human interaction(late night trips to Denny’s were also common.) The first Friday night that I spent in Phoenix, I went to the PV Mall theater and saw “Escape From L.A.” by myself.  I always had a love for Los Angeles(and would later live there and  subsequently make my own daring escape) Anyway, I remember the movie projector broke about 20 minutes into the movie, and so they gave everyone free movie passes to come back. I returned the very next day to see it again at the matinee showing.

For one of my first demo tapes in 1998, Oliver Hibert drew me a picture of the pv mall food court which I used as the cover. The mall closed down the arcade that same year, because they no longer wanted the place to be a teen hangout and didn’t like the type of people they were attracting(there was famously a stabbing/shooting there where someone was killed.)

I had an apartment across the street  from PV mall for a brief period in 1999 before moving to Los Angeles. It was at a place called Paradise Point. I’d go to the mall every day and spend hours there.

Anyhow, more than 10 years later there I was,  returning to my old stomping ground. I was taken aback by how small the place really is. How on Earth did I ever spend so much time there? It’s only one floor. There are like only two directions you can walk, and neither of them go very far.

I was pleased to see they actually brought back the arcade. Only now it’s called “Tilt”, and is only about half the size and is mostly an empty/self maintained video game room. There is no attendant or prize booth> The place just isn’t the bustling, action packed, hooligan teen headquarters it once was. It  almost serves as  a museum or memorial to the old arcade.

The old PV mall actually reminds me of  Logan’s Run, which was filmed in a mall that was built around the same time period(mid to late 70’s) and looks very similar in design(or used to before PV mall was substantially remodeled.) The mall logan’s run was filmed in was demolished in 2006.  Strangely, while attending the Dallas Guitar Show in 2007, I’ve actually stayed in a hotel in Dallas that’s right across from where the Logan’s Run mall used to be.

In another  eerie Logan’s Run coincidence, at some point Paradise Valley Mall appears to have added a “Carousel” adjacent to the food court.

The security guards at PV mall were always notorious assholes, the stereotypical mall rent-a cops who comically take their job way too seriously.  After I managed to take this one harmless  cellphone photo, they promptly descended upon me like a pack of idiots to inform me that “cameras  and photos are not allowed.” It was almost (but not quite) enough to ruin my trip down memory lane.

 

I (still) hate overly cheerful employees.

Especially the Starbucks ones where they say your name like 5 times. It’s supposed to make it more personal and friendly but always comes off as forced and awkward. “Hi Brandon! What can I get for you today Brandon?! Hey everyone can I get a venti soy latte for Brandon? Here I have a venti soy latte for Brandon! Thanks for coming in Brandon. You have a great day Brandon!

It’s meant to be good customer service, but in reality it’s so phony and insulting. Another example of corporations trying to fool people into thinking they actually care about them,  instead of doing what big corporations do best, providing convenience and shopping anonymity.

It’s like that scene from Falling down where Michael Douglas goes into the Whammy Burger:

Take it out to Pomona and let ’em know

Gonna save all my money and buy a GTO
Get a helmet and a roll bar, and I’ll be ready to go
Take it out to Pomona and let ’em know
That I’m the coolest thing around
Little buddy, gonna shut you down
When I turn it on, wind it up, blow it out GTO!

-Ronny and the Daytonas- GTO   1964

Just got back from Pomona, CA  where I attended the LA World Guitar Show.  It was fun but exhausting to say the least. Managed to escape without buying anything ridiculous. Pomona is yet another example of places in California which were great in the 1960’s but have since become overrun and become scumtowns. Across the street  from my hotel was a beautiful wooded park, which upon closer inspection turned out to be filled with bums, gangsters and other riff raff. Initially I had considered setting out to explore, but decided that more than anything it looked like a good place to get shanked. I could just see the creepy crime show reenactment scene with the narration, “Brandon told his friend just wanted to walk through the woods and get a few photos, which turned out to be a fateful decision.”

The houses in Pomona are actually pretty nice, mostly typical southern California bungalows, with some mid century modern and ranch….but the inhabitants drag them down.

Anyhow, I spent most of my time in Claremont, which is still a bastion of civilization(for now.) I ate at a really good pizza place there which I can’t remember the name of.

I hadn’t been to Pomona since 2000, when Phantom Planet, Kara’s Flowers(known now as Maroon 5) and The Siren Six(which later became Big City Rock and now The Remainers) played at The Glass House.

Oh, and you’ve gotta love the internet. Unspoken truths which would have been filtered out of existence 20 years ago can be found at a moment’s notice.

Check out the Urban Dictionary entry for Pomona:

2.   Pomona     106 up, 46 down

a ghetto ass place, where it used to be such a popular and lovely place. it was an attraction for stars, but not anymore.. now it’s an attraction for the cholos and shit. its mostly hispanics, some blacks and cambos, and fewww whites.

aye foo, where’d my homie go?

he went to some kickback in pomona.

The view from my hotel room
breakfast at Norm's Hangar
maturity

Carousel is a Lie!

“Welcome, humans! I am ready for you! Fish, plankton, sea greens and protein from the sea. Fresh as harvest day. Overwhelming, am I not? Are you, too, startled? Am I too removed from your kin?

InformationI am more than machine. More than man. More than a fusion of the two. Don’t you agree? Wait for the winds. Then my birds sing. And the deep grottoes whisper my name”

-Box