Well, I did it. I finally went to the retooled King King - that's not exactly epochal, but what were you doing last Saturday night that was so great? - and found it to my liking. Certainly in its present incarnation as a bar w/sounds (live and juke) and food (untasted), it's as worthwhile a use of the hall as when it was just a plain old windowless Chinese restaurant to which I'd sometimes go in the days when I lived practically just around the corner and the neighborhood was condo-free. (Everyone I know still living in that area - say, Eighth on the south to the Third on the north and stretching several blocks west from La Brea - is right now loading up the conestoga for a trip east. It's a new definition of "white flight" - running away from white people.

While it's hard to say to just what degree the new King King, like its coffee pouring neighbor the Pikme-Up, owes its being to the upscaling of the area and the vague anticipation of La Brea as the New Melrose, the place itself is not all pretentious or tony; it's underdone, if anything, just a big room wit a bar in the middle of it, some leftover restaurant booths and Chinese detail, and a (for once) well-elevated stage in a corner alcove - funky, in the way my mom would use the word, but clean. If King King can avoid becoming the local bar for the kind of geeks who would actually live in the prefab-post-mod blockhouses of LUXURY UNITS now rising where once stood some of our very nicest old apartment buildings, it'll be a most welcome watering hole, a cabaret somewhere betwixt the bohemian indolence of Al's Bar and the bon chic of Café Largo. (C. Morris - him again! - recommends the Monday night blues jams).