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Lincoln Park, CA 1997, transcription by Jóse López Feliú:

I became acquainted with Filth Saints/Manifestos/Ballons sometime in
1986-7, when I was in Sonora, Mexico. An eccentric collaborative
publication, I was asked to contribute for the summer 1988 issue
commemorating the rupture of 1968.

The Sonoran desert at the time was full of miscreants, savages,
demonic forces. I studied with a ghost who lived in an abandoned
aluminum geodesic mushroom. It was in Sonora that I first met Ericka
Llanera, the founder of the second incarnation of East Los Angeles
Balloon Tours.

The history of dirigibles and balloons in East Los Angeles is long.
There is growing evidence that there was an infrastructure in place in
East Los Angeles (stations, anchoring spots, filling stations for
hydrogen and helium, hangars) to facilitate a mass transit system of
dirigibles and balloons. Launched sometime between the two world wars,
East LA Dirigible Transit Company transported its first passengers
from Monterey Park to Downtown Los Angeles on September 4th, 1921.

Surviving records show that rider-ship was moderate the first few
months, steadily increasing as the public realized the benefits of
flying. It’s thought that a conspiracy of oil, rubber and automobile
interests resulted in the company meeting an abrupt end. Most records
of the company were lost by the Los Angeles Police Department, assumed
destroyed, after the company went bankrupt. Likewise, any tax records
of the company have been redacted or lost. One photo remains as
evidence of the operation: a photo of a balloon operator found at an
estate sale along with stationery and ledgers with the company logo.

In 1969, Ericka Llanera resurrected the East LA Dirigible Transit
Company by launching a balloon from an old anchoring point in the
community of City Terrace. Renaming it East LA Balloon Tours, she
began to offer a limited route to and from California State University
Los Angeles from another anchor point in the community of El Sereno.

Ericka Llanera was also founder and editor of Filth Saints/Manifestos/
Ballons. The magazine covered a diverse range of topics within the
field of entheogenic physics, urban design and prophecy. It was also
designed as an echo of the revolutionary events of 1968… a kind of
delayed echo and elaboration of some of the policies put forth by the
student revolutionaries those years ago.

There were other contributors, some I knew like Renato Frias or
Agustina Sandate. Many I never met, their work came to the magazine
through anonymous mailings or go-betweens. Llanera’s most productive
decades were the 80’s and 90’s. She operated in the night, sharpening
her efforts to mine the ebb periods of the large social movements.

The magazine ran from 1988 till 1995, folding when Llanera was
arrested after the police raided her apartment in East Los Angeles.
All of her papers were confiscated and I lost contact with her. No one
knows where she went; we’re left with her valuable work.

 

June 2011
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