They Don't Buy It : Some Vendors Worried About Swap Meet Expansion - latimes
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They Don't Buy It : Some Vendors Worried About Swap Meet Expansion
On wooden hangers, smooth kimonos touch and chat with each other, cloth clasps fastened. The bamboo wardrobe belies the 21st century.
We pass into a new room of some of the costumes Peter designed in his many lives. Beads reflect each other as royal gowns hang with pride, larger than life.
These gowns used to rest on famous celebrities and professional performers. He takes us to his private workroom last.
- How to display items at flea markets and swap meets
Up along the ceiling hang robes designed by himself but also other designers, his friends. As experimental and extravagant works of art, they serve as both inspiration and wall paintings.
Peter keeps them covered in plastic to protect them. We peek at his spools and his secrets.
Culture spreads like pollen across the globe, until Tokyo births a Little Tokyo elsewhere. Hidden next door in the Arts District is this even Littler Tokyo, still: The traveling art of humans manifests in a new city as Japanese colors begin to belong in the Hollywood palette, too. Pollination by boutique, Peter Lai dresses Los Angeles with the experimental exuberance of Asian stage performance. Each kimono is unique, no mask is the same. Peter hoards delicacies, bringing together expressions of the same form in every size, cut, shape, color.PARAMOUNT*SWAPMEET*CA
He collects antiques both in his home and in the clothes he designs, fusing eras and contexts past and present. A gem of many hues in an already colorful city, we found an intersection of different times and places. Beads and teacups glint with the reflections of tapestries.
For 30 years, the Paramount Swap Meet has fit that image to a T-shirt. But over the next year, this outdoor market will expand past its drive-in roots to become the third-largest swap meet in the state, behind ones in San Jose and at the Orange County Fairgrounds. The now-unused movie screen will come down. Parking capacity and vendor spaces will almost double.
An eight-foot mission-style brick wall will spruce up the perimeter, and beer will be sold.
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And after decades of animosity, the city and swap meet owners are working happily together, looking forward to increasing revenues. But the people who come to this asphalt lot every day to sell used tools, silk-screened shirts and new electronics are nervous. Business is slow enough as it is, said Christina Hernandez, looking over her racks of children's play clothes rustling in a faint breeze.
She does not think more parking will necessarily bring more customers, and adding alcohol to the hot market could be disastrous, she said. Now everyone goes there just to drink and hang around.
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They don't buy," she said. That man over there who sells bikes, he hasn't sold a single thing all day," Ramos said. But as proof that this swap meet has plenty of room to expand, Glenn Bianchi, managing partner of Modern Development Co. Recently, the market turned away vendors and closed the visitor parking lot several times during the day because of overcrowding, he said.
Bianchi, who inherited the business from his father, also defended his decision to sell beer, saying that many open-air markets sell it.