Los Angeles Herald, May 2, 1902

SPIRIT OF LA FIESTA

People Make Merry in Many Strange Ways

Noise Making Is Essential Expression of Joy of Thousands Who Throng the Streets — First Night of Carnival

The noise of all nations combined to form the din that kept Los Angeles awake last night.

The Indian war cry clashed with the wild Scotch pipe; there was the sound of brass, of reed and of string; the clap and clatter of bells; martial notes of the bugle, and the piercing shriek of tin horns.

The Yankee boy’s joy, the horse-fiddle, lent its rasp to the chaos of sounds and mixed in the discord of noise from a myriad of more modern torturers. Every instrument that could be made to shriek, to howl, to rasp, to whistle, sing tinkle or tintinnabulate was employed by the throng of many thousands that filled the streets. . . .

 Thus did Los Angeles end the celebration of May day, the first day of La Fiesta de Los Angeles. . . .

It was only good-natured fun- making, the occasion being a license for acts that on any night but Fiesta would call for more than smiles. When a man’s hat was knocked off, he . . . smiled and passed on. . . .

Or someone tickled his nose with a long feather while some one else poured confetti down his collar. Then another blew a blast from a fish horn in his ear . . . he joined in the fun, showered back the shimmering confetti, and blew his own fish horn. . . .

There was a band concert on the City Hall steps that could be heard quite distinctly by those who crowded directly in front, but half a block away the music was lost by the crash of many strange instruments.

On Broadway there was better chance to see and admire the brilliant electrical decorations of business blocks and streets. On Spring street the effect was lost in the

struggle for a place on the walks to stand.

The crowd was as varied as the noises that it made — a cosmopolite crowd. People of all ages, all stations and all nations comprised the throng. The Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Antipodes and the islands of the north and south were represented.

Ebony-hued natives of the Congo country rubbed shoulders with yellow men from the Yang-Tse Kiang Valley, and pale sons of the north of Europe crowded the bronzed Mexicans and South Americans.

It was a thoroughly American crowd living to the letter the constitutional declaration that all men are born equal.

This was but the beginning, the first night. A doze of Bromo-Seltzer this morning, and Los Angeles will be ready for another day and night of play.

NEARLY A TRAGEDY

Confetti Throwing Is Stopped in Consequence

Confetti throwing and interfering with ladies on the street nearly caused a shooting scrape shortly after the ending of the show at the Los Angeles Theater last night.

As a consequence, the mayor at a late hour rescinded the permission given the public to use the stuff during the days of the Fiesta. Today and tomorrow the throwing of confetti will subject those doing it to arrest.

As Byron Erkenbrecher, vice-president of the Protective Savings Mutual Building and Loan Association, was walking with his wife . . . to the corner of Second and Spring streets to take a University car, they encountered a crowd of men and boys who had been

particularly offensive to ladies throughout the entire evening.

One of these threw confetti at Mrs. Erkenbrecher and placed his hands upon her.

  Although her husband is a man who is crippled, he struck the offender a blow on the chin which made a welt. . . . The man . . . attempted to hit Mr. Erkenbrecher, who thereupon drew a revolver and would have used it if some policemen who had been attracted by the big crowd . . . had not stopped him. . . .

[In another incident,] Detective Kelly at 11:50 o’clock arrested Preston Galloway, whom he charged with battery.

This individual is alleged to have thrown confetti in a very

offensive manner, confetti that had already been used and which he picked up from the sidewalk, in the face of Mrs. L.J. Christopher, wife of the South Spring Street confectioner. [Click here to see an advertisement for the confectionery.]

Today the police will confiscate all canes having a cast-iron catch at the bottom which will hold 22-caliber cartridges. These implements are exceedingly dangerous.

One of these sticks, seized by an officer, accidentally dropped to the pavement at the Central Station last night. The cartridge, in exploding, blew the cast-iron holder into fragments, and they flew all around the hall.

The Best People (well, the Best White Men, anyway) took part in a minstrel show to mark the Los Angeles Fiesta.

 

 Top left: End man [Eric] Pollock was there with the Goods.

Top right: Hi Alden in his great song hit, ‘Mah Heart’s Desiahr Is Sweet Mariah.’ 

Center: Interlocutor [Harry] Wyatt lent dignity to the occasion.

Center left: Dem Oliver Morosco jokes would make a dawg laff.

Center right: ‘Doan you git pussnal, you Mistah Wyatt, you.’

Bottom left: ‘It am cool at de base ball grounds bekaise ob de fans.’ (Al Levy said it.) [Read more about Al Levy here.]

FIESTA PARK FARCE

Horse and Other Features Very Unsatisfactory

The Fiesta Park management gave an apology of an entertainment yesterday afternoon.

There was only one redeeming feature to the affair, and that was the ball game played . . . between the Columbias and a picked team.

After that had been concluded, a band of Mexican and American riders from the City of Grief and elsewhere made their appearance . . .with a herd of skates that had evidently been plow-broken . . . .

Even with such material as this, the “Vaqueros (?)” found

it necessary nearly to strangle one of their animals before venturing to chance an occasional vigorous buck that might be left after the throttling process had nearly been consummated.

Miss Kate Abbot, the lady rider, was conspicuous by her absence — a fact that was thrown at the chief announcer more than once by the indignant persons who had paid for bleacher seats.

Damian Rios, a rough rider from San Diego, did a few stunts that indicated he might become a horseman of some

ability with practice. Possibly Mr. Rios was handicapped by the quality of horse flesh he was forced to straddle.

The band made an unfortunate mistake . . . when it sounded the cavalry “food and water” call. This caused a general rush to the paddock on the part of the horses, and presented for a minute a scene of comparative animation. . . .

The band was excellent. It rendered acceptable music throughout and took its cue whenever the crowd started to jeer, which became often toward the close . . . .

MUST NOT MASK

The municipal authorities have decided that masking will not be permitted tonight or tomorrow night, and orders have been issued to the police to arrest every person who shall present himself on the streets in disguise or with a mask upon his face during the remainder of the Fiesta.

This measure is due entirely to the roughness exhibited by the irresponsible portion of the crowds which promenaded on the principal thoroughfares last night and which called frequently for the interference of the police force.

Notes

Noise of All Nations. It is pleasing to see a reporter writing so positively about the variety of ethnic groups that, even at the turn of the last century, comprised the population of Los Angeles, which had about 100,000 residents.

Horse Fiddle. There’s a Mongolian instrument nicknamed the horse fiddle, and a home-made, rustic American stringed instrument also called a horse fiddle, but apparently the cacaphonous May Day Fiesta in 1902 was graced by an instrument that looked like this: You can buy a new one for about six bucks at folktoys.com.

Oliver Morosco. He was the eminently successful theater impresario. According to “Baring the Heart of Hollywood” (1921), his real name was Mitchell, though why he would choose to change it is a mystery to me. “Mitchell, or Morosco, is a talented man who started in the theatrical business with a stock house in Los Angeles. He developed ability as a producer and now has extensive theatrical interests in both New York and Los Angeles. Morosco did not long survive the merger with Famous Players and soon left the corporation . . . .”

 

Minstrel Show. The popularity of the American minstrel show is well-documented on the Web. The Encyclopedia Britannica site tells the standard format for a show :

“In part one the performers were arranged in a semicircle, with the interlocutor in the centre and the end men — Mr. Tambo, who played the tambourine, and Mr. Bones, who rattled the bones [a kind of noise-making clapper] — at the ends. The interlocutor, in whiteface, usually wore formal attire; the others, in blackface, wore gaudy swallow-tailed coats and striped trousers.

“The program opened with a chorus, often as a grand entrance, and at the conclusion of the song the interlocutor gave the command, ‘Gentlemen, be seated.’ Then followed a series of jokes between the interlocutor and end men, interspersed with ballads, comic songs, and instrumental numbers, chiefly on the banjo and violin.

“The second part, or olio (mixture or medley), consisted of a series of individual acts that concluded with a hoedown or walk-around in which every member did a specialty number while the others sang and clapped.

“Occasionally there was a third part consisting of a farce, burlesque, or comic opera.”

 

Byron Erkenbrecher. From the Mohave County (Arizona) Miner, December 21, 1901: “Byron Erkenbrecher, of Los Angeles, this week made the final payment to Henry Lovin and Jose Jeris on the original purchase price of the Gold Road mines.  The payment amounted to 10,000$ each.  Mr. Erkenbrecher obtained a deed to the property from Lovin and Jeris and is now ready to consummate the deal with the New Gold Roads company.  He returned to Los Angeles Wednesday evening last.”

Los Angeles history

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He Usually Lived With a Female: The Life of a California Newspaperman

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