Alhambra -- Which do you prefer: Tapatio or Sriracha hot sauce??á
If that's a difficult question for you to answer, then you might be from the San Gabriel Valley, a place where Latino and Asian immigrants come together to make their lives outside of Los Angeles proper. And if you're from the SGV, Paul Chan and Adrian Mej?¡a have something for you.?á
"We're just straight-up SGV," said Mej?¡a of he and Chan's project, SGV For Life.?á
The website initially started in 1999, but was more focused on skateboarding, the pair said. Late last year they decided, upon much insistence from fans of the first incarnation, to bring it back -- but this time it would be better.?á
Specifically, now the idea is to make the San Gabriel Valley itself into a brand, by creating a community around the community, and then providing merchandise that reflects that community. If you visit the website you will find photos of familiar places, videos chronicling the infusion of cultures here and merchandise that reflects the same.
"I want to highlight the San Gabriel Valley instead of push it under the rug, everybody thinks that anything east of downtown LA is like the end of the Earth," said Chan over a nom nom pastrami sandwich at The Hat restaurant.?á
"There's no reason why the SGV has to lump themselves into LA."
Both Chan and Mej?¡a have experience working in the skateboarding and related merchandising world and both past and planned merchandise really does speak to someone who grew up in this part of LA. There's the aforementioned hot sauces, the vines painted on bare walls to thwart graffiti, food, the Raiders and more.
"We realized there was a void we had to fill and we wanted to be a voice for that," Mej?¡a said while sporting a red SGV For Life t-shirt.?á
Chan insists the site is still in Beta, nonetheless there is enough content there to keep a curious visitor interested. There seems to be no end for the ideas the two have for what an eventual SGV For Life brand could be: a store, a skateboard design, a series of events. But ultimately, the company/website/community only has one imperative.
"Everything we do has to come back to the SGV," Mej?¡a said.