If you dare, venture out this Friday evening December 2nd for a riotous occasion in San Pedro’s favorite dive, Harold’s Place. Performing rock ‘n roll music played from the gut and shot from the hip are: Sick Secrets (Seattle), White Murder, L.A. Drugz, Los Headaches (Mexico City), and Cochinas. There will be an impossibly cheap door entrance fee as well as strong drink and good company. Harold’s is proud of its decor: deer heads on the wall, beer-stained pool tables, and an impressive array of Budweiser football helmets dangling precariously from the ceiling. Harold’s is situated on 1908 South Pacific Avenue San Pedro, CA 90731-5530 (at 19th, across from the liquor stores and 7-11, just down the street from Angelito’s taco truck).
Here’s some back story on San Pedro.
My uncle’s friend Ed Gupta, a long time Los Angeles resident has warned me multiple times about avoiding the port town of San Pedro, California.
“You don’t want to go to San Pedro, the Croatian sailors will kick your fuckin’ ass!”
Perhaps he was warning me to watch out for Pegleg.
Joe “Pegleg” Morgan, was ex-godfather of the Mexican Mafia prison gang. “Croatian Joe” spent years in San Pedro. He was the link between the Mexican Mafia and West Coast Italian crime lords in the 1970s.
San Pedro was named for St. Peter of Alexandria, a Fourth Century bishop in Alexandria, Egypt.
Spaniard Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo “discovered” the area in 1542, and it soon became the main port of the Los Angeles area. All imported goods that were brought in by ship arrived in the port of San Pedro/L.A. and was transported by horse and wagon to the ranchos and settlements of Southern California.
Charles Bukowski lived there in his twilight years, moving to Pedro from his East Hollywood/Los Feliz digs.
“San Pedro is real quiet. It used to be a seaport full of whorehouses and bars. I like the quietness. They ask you how you’re doing, they really want to know.”
Unique punk bands like the Reactionaries, the Minutemen, F.Y.P., Toys That Kill, and the Jag Offs all hailed from Pedro.
San Pedro is a dimension of its own. It’s like being transported to 1974. Generally Pedro locals are a bit xenophobic, wary of outsiders, especially if the outsider is from a more affluent area of L.A. Locals are even suspicious of people hailing from the neighboring South Bay city of Long Beach, half-jokingly referring to it as “wrong beach.” If there is a working class city in Los Angeles county, San Pedro is it. Pedro is home to Mexican families, military families, Croatians, Italians, troublemaking juvenile delinquents, and guys with baseball hats and missing teeth.
Some great films were shot in Pedro including: Raging Bull, Chinatown, To Live and Die in L.A.,The Naked Gun, The Hunt for Red October, Boyz n the Hood, The Big Lebowski, and Fight Club.
Twenty-Eighth Street in San Pedro, between Gaffey Street and Peck Avenue, is the steepest section of public roadway in Los Angeles. For about 50 feet (15 m), the street climbs at a 33.3% angle, although the rest of the street is less steep.
Prominent authors: Louis Adamic and Richard Armour hailed from Pedro as well as actors Patrick Muldoon (Starship Troopers), Sharon Tate (murdered by the Manson Family), and D. L. Hughley, who graduated from San Pedro High School.
Prominent musicians from Pedro: John Bettis (the Godfather III theme song), Minutemen ( Mike Watt, George Hurley, D. Boon), and Krist Novoselic (Croatian-American Nirvana bassist) grew up Pedro before moving to Aberdeen, WA.
For fans of “Mad Men”:
In “Mad Men” Season 2, Episode 12 -, scenes are shot in San Pedro near Point Fermin and Cabrillo Beach. The first wife of Don Draper, Anna Draper, is said to live in the area.
“Don disembarks from a bus at San Pedro, pauses to look around in a picturesque manner, and heads on his way.”
“It appears that Don and Anna lived for a time in the San Pedro area of L.A.”
See you in St. Petersburg Friday night at Harold’s Place!