boulderdash n: a road game played by California drivers during the wet season <Penelope called her friend to tell her about the ~ that was already underway along Pacific Coast Highway.> -more-



Liesure & Lifestyle

L.A. River Rowing Team
Hits Rock Bottom

The beleaguered Los Angeles River Rowing Team runs aground, goes on fast and vows not leave boat until city demolishes river's concrete infrastructure.

by George Wolfe

DOWNTOWN L.A. — This stretch of the Los Angeles River has seen more movie sets than boaters. Among other films, Terminator 2 and Grease were shot here, with cars driving along concrete river banks or screeching across the concrete basin.

But the doggedly stubborn L.A. River Rowers are determined to change all that.

"Here in L.A., river rowing isn't just about water. If the water is there, we'll use it; if it's not there, we'll make due with what we're given."

— Kraus Paterski, coxswain

Unfortunately for them, the river itself isn't cooperating. While inland counties have received their share of rain, Los Angeles County remains in a dry spell and the river has been reduced to a trickle.

"Here in L.A., river rowing isn't just about water," explains coxswain Kraus Paterski. "We like to say we have a Zen-like, Phil Jackson approach: If the water is there, we'll use it; if it's not there, we'll make due with what we're given—and if that means we're grinding on concrete, then we'll find a way to scrape by somehow."

Common sense, fatigue or shame might've quelled these rowers' desires, but the contrarian-minded group has chosen to use their grounding experience to call attention to the grassroots "Take Back The River" movement through collective fasting.

"We were sitting here in the middle of this dry basin, feeling pretty depressed," continues Paterski, "when one of the guys, Raj Singh, says out loud 'What Would Gandhi Do?' We all sort of scratched our heads, then ol' Singh says, 'Why, he'd go on a hunger strike!' And that started it."

Despite pleas by the crewmembers' various partners at home, the crew remains committed to the fast — now in its third day. The group says it won't eat unless the city agrees to break up the concrete river within its jurisdiction. City officials have issued decrees for the group to disband from their craft, but the group hasn't budged an inch.

Mayoral spokesperson Linda Carlisle said, "We acknowledge their right to protest, and in return we trust that they will acknowledge our right to haul them away if they make a big deal out of this — like one of them dying."

As of this late afternoon, amid ninety-five-degree heat, several buzzards were seen slowly circling the famished group, hoping for a few handouts.


UP CONCRETE WITHOUT A PADDLE: It can be a real drag for scullers on the Los Angeles River.




ISSUE # 22

L.A. River Rowing Team Hits Rock Bottom

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