My Cool Cousin

My cousin Josh has been playing the trumpet since he moved here from Houston when we were both in junior high. He and my brother formed a group that played on Venice Beach called Boardwalk Jazz. He continued blowing at Hamilton High, where he met one of his current band members, Emil. He’s never “made it”, as they say here in Hollywood, but that hasn’t stopped him from playing. He’s a construction worker on some days and a musician at all other times. He made an album with his brother, a hip-hop beatmaker named Elusive, and he continues to travel back and forth between the jazz and indie hip-hop worlds. Recently, he has joined the underground bike culture of Los Angeles. I follow him as he posts pictures of his rides and new bikes on Facebook and I enjoy his stories of the miles upon miles that he rides with groups of other bike enthusiasts. He’s brought new bike friends to my get-togethers and performed at many cycle-related parties.

Last night, his mom posted this video (link above) on Facebook. I love it because it celebrates a youthful, upbeat, happy side of Los Angeles, the popular bike culture and a mellow mix of hip-hop and jazz that makes me appreciate both genres. Piggybacking on Sabrina’s theme that the politics of our time seeps into art, I think this video sends a message of the importance of alternative forms of transportation, especially in L.A., and by extension, of our need to clean up the environment. It puts a positive spin on biking. I’m sure there are down sides, but we only see the good: how cool and fun biking is. While the video may not be overtly trying to make a political statement, it succeeds in making a powerfully cool one.

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