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The Beat #37: Southern California Street Culture, Part 1

We have a special two-parter for you! Our friends, the artists Rachel Beall Pac and Thatcher Unsworth take a look at Southern California street culture — be it lowriders and pinstriping, surfing and skateboarding, or the great and wonderful burrito. Catch part 2 on Wed., April 7!

Baja Surf Trips

One of the great things about living in Southern California is the close proximity to Mexico. Many may remember long nights of underage partying into the early morning and enjoying incomparable late night food. Whether it be a quick trip to Tj for the night life or a multiple weeks long adventure down the coast past Ensenada, Southern Californians have always had a close relationship with our neighboring country.

The Burrito

In San Diego, the burrito is a constant source of nourishment. Traditionally, in Mexican cuisine the burrito as we know it now didn’t exist. It was California restaurateurs who made the burrito into an entire meal. Piled high and wrapped to the verge of bursting, it has sustained generations of hard working, hard playing folks.

Pool Skating

Pool skating came about in 1976 during a great Southern California drought. Surfers on skateboards saw a correlation between the curves of a pool and the curves of a wave. They took an opportunity, with many pools left empty, to push the boundaries of what skateboarding could be. Pool skating was born. There are many obstacles to skating a pool — transitioning to vertical, riding over the pool light, hitting tile… each one more difficult than the next. The sound of the skateboard grinding coping (the concrete lip that overhangs the edge of a pool) is the unmistakable proof of achievement only surpassed by grinding over the filter door opening known by the initiated as the Death Box. The Death Box is a formidable obstacle conquered by few deeming itself a revered symbol in Southern California skate culture.


The dry and warm climate of Southern California coupled with our abundant roads proved to be ideal conditions for car culture to evolve and grow. Vehicles as symbols of identity, individuality, and social status were readily available to modify and alter to fit individuals living in the prosperity of post war California. Hot rods and their lightweight stripped down utilitarianism for speed were directly contrasted by the lowriders originally modified by Mexican Americans in Los Angeles. Built to be seen, these beautiful shiny cars were adorned with artwork commemorating the owners culture and history as well as accentuating the vehicles lines. Driven slow and low, cruising was a social experience akin to anywhere one had the opportunity to show themselves in the light of the sun or streetlight.


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