KFitz, Gary, Straydog and I were on Skype last week talking about the business, brand and what do The Words Plata O Plomo mean to us, and then we got on the topic of:
Naturally, we started swapping stories. Plata Stories... Plomo Stories. Stories about people we knew personally, and some we didn't, that we admired.
So, now, for your inspired reading pleasure, here are 4 inspiring stories from the Plata O Plomo Los Angeles Crew.
Keep in mind, "Inspiration Is In The Eye Of The Inspired" - but sometimes the Plata Boyz do get "Crazy Eyes." We hope you enjoy hearing some stories from Back In The Day... And Today...
THE MATADOR ON 34th STREET
Pasquale AKA "Pete" DiAdamo (l.) with Lena DiAdamo (r.) circa 1928
JAYDEE: Some of you know that I’m from Brooklyn, NYC. The part of the Borough that I grew up in wasn’t the über hipster world of beards, skinny jeans and artisanal pickles of today's “Brand Brooklyn.” No, where I come from is where John Travolta walked with the two paint cans eating two slices of pizza on top of each other at Lenny’s. Dyker Heights was ground zero for Wiseguys, Corner Men, Runners... Hoods of all levels. Growing up on my block “the boys”, always turned out in expensive clothes, hung out on the corner… well-manicured, grown men… who drove the newest Cadillacs and Lincolns, but never seemed to have a job to go to. This was "Goodfellas" Brooklyn, "Saturday Night Fever" Brooklyn. My Brooklyn.
My Grandfather Pasquale (everyone called him Pete), grew up a few neighborhoods over from where I grew up, in Park Slope on Union Street. Back in the day (1920-60), the North Slope was a working class neighborhood of firemen, sanitation workers, cops, nurses and factory workers... Italians and Irish... but mostly Italians. Around the block from Pete, on Garfield Place (#38), stood the house where a family named Capone lived. Yes, Scarface himself, Al Capone. Capone came from a big, Neapolitan family of 9 brothers and sisters, including his brother, James, who ironically was a Prohibition Agent if you can believe that. Al was was the fourth-born son and his younger brother,
Johnny “Mimi" Capone, was my grandfather's childhood best friend and later, when my dad was born, Mimi became my dad's Godfather! While not directly involved in his older brother’s shadier businesses, he did run a number of "legit" fronts (owned by Al) that included a Brooklyn olive oil company and a nightclub in Chicago.
Here’s a picture of Capone leaving Federal Court after testifying, in 1950, in front of the Kefauver Committee (The United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce), where he appeared with the likes of Tony "Joe Batters" Accardo, Louis "Little New York" Campagna, Mickey Cohen, Frank Costello, Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik, Meyer Lansky, Paul "The Waiter" Ricca, Virginia Hill (former Joe Adonis-Chicago Outfit messenger and mobster Benjamin Siegel's girlfriend), and four of Irish mob boss Enoch "Nucky" Johnson's (Yes the inspiration for Steve Buscemi's Boardwalk Empire Nucky Thompson character) former policemen in Atlantic City.
Johnny "Mimi Capone"... A colorful figure, to say the least.
Now back to my grandfather...
Pete, could have had a promising career as a minor league ball player, but my grandmother wanted him to “Get a real job, because ALL baseball players are bums.” So, in 1926 he became an NYPD Officer. Back then, there were almost no patrol cars and most cops walked a beat, calling into the station house from police call boxes on the street corners. His beat, was in the 13th Precinct, East Side, near 34th Street. In the 1930’s there were still a few meatpacking and slaughterhouses like United Beef left in Manhattan... And it's here where our story begins as we learn how...
On May 23rd 1930, Pasquale “Pete” DiAdamo Became Legend.
Let’s turn to New York Times for a little color commentary.
Okay, how fucking Plomo is staring down a bull, grabbing his tail and jumping him... alternately riding and getting dragged by him for the length of a football field... then… putting two slugs in his dome. Damn.
JAYDEE: To me, the lesson of this story is, 'When life comes charging at you, sometimes it’s not the bull by the horns you need to take… but the fucking tail." Use your wits, imagination and courage to summon the strength to take on the bulls, then fuck them up, BIG TIME!
44 YEARS REIGNING AT THE PINK PALACE
Emilio Trejo Is One Badass Dad... Watch Your Step!
My father Emilio Trejo slept in Will Rogers Park until he saved enough money to rent a studio with a hot plate in Hollywood, as he embarked on his journey from washing dishes to holding court at the door of LA's hottest power spot for the rich and famous, "The Polo Lounge," at The Beverly Hills Hotel.
Keep it in check that, as this was back in the seventies and eighties, he had to endure, on more than one occasion, being called a wetback. But my dad always kept his eye on the prize, drawing his strength from his years as an amateur boxer. Emilio always was one tough son of a bitch, so when he was disrespected, he took it all in in stride and with a smile, but believe me when he got your number... good luck brother.
Once, as a waiter on a room service delivery, he was flying through the property, when Mickey Rooney
came out of his bungalow, and - BOOM! - They both collided. Mickey and my dad went tumbling into the bushes. Stunned, they both picked each other up and asked if they were OK. My father removed some leaves from Rooney's hair and Mickey dusted off some dirt from my dads shirt. They silently stared at each other for a second or two,and laughed their asses off. Then Mickey took off into the night, as graceful as ever saying, "Until we bump into each other again, Mr. Trejo!" "It's always a pleasure Mr. Rooney." My dad had a way of talking to the janitors the same way he spoke to celebrities and business titans... with respect and an interest in their lives. Most of these cats looked at my dad as their friend and equal, if not equal in money and fame, equal in life. But as far as power goes, my old man ruled that bitch. He made stuff happen as if magically, he fixed shit, he made people feel important, and he kew how to keep secrets. And he, most of all, made them want to keep comeing back to The Polo Lounge.
As my dad headed back to replace the food order that went flying, he spotted The Godfather Of Soul Himself, James Brown.
My dad had good relationship with him, Brown liked to kid my dad and my dad was good at givin' it right back to him. So, dad asks James Brown how he's doing. He responds "I'm good, but how 'bout you Emilio?" Without missing a beat, and knowing it was his time to shine, my father breaks out some crazy James Brown-Style dance moves
and says, "You know what James! - shouting - I feel good!" and James starts laughing, barely able to contain himself as he tries to respond with "I know that you would now -Emilio!" Priceless.
Emilio (l.) With One Of His Mentor The Great Cosmetics Giant Max Factor (r.)
Emilio (l.) With Jodie Foster (r.)
What is so amazing about my dad is, that in all of the years, never once did I hear him complain about how unfair life is, how hard he worked, the sacrifices he made to take care of us kids, or how he had to sleep in the park, just as he started on his path to achieving SO much. That's what immigrants do they work hard on achieving the dream and they do so in silence and with grace. Emilio broke down barriers with his smile, humor, and most of all his respect for the differences and decency in men (and women too - he was great friends with Elizabeth Taylor... who he has told us... liked a cocktail or two).
For me, yeah, my dad is as tough as Plomo, but what made him who he is, is The Plata; Drive, Optimism, Charm, Wit and Grace AND All with a bit of Latino Swagger in the mix-- So Fuck You Donald Trump.
Mick Fanning (l.) Just Before Gettin' All Bruce Lee On That Shark's Ass (r.)
In 2015, Pro Surfer, Mick Fanning
was attacked by a shark during the final of the J-Bay Open in South Africa. Luckily, he didn't get bit, but it was gnarly, and you know what saved his ass? He punched the fucking thing in the face.
This year, he returned to J-Bay, South Africa and he won the fucking event.
That Shit Is PLATA!
KFITZ: "To me, Fanning's story says, you gotta face your fears to conquer them - and if you can punch a shark in the mouth while you do that - thats even more rad!" Adding... "I can write more... if you like this as a cool, inspiring, Plata O Plomo story."
JAYDEE SEZ: "It's okay KFITZ, you keep working on the Hats and Hoodies - We all good here... the motherfucker punched a shark."
LOVE FOR LEVI
Levi (l.) With His Mom Jen (r.)
My Plata Inspiration Is Jen Straiton.
We aren't always born with the Plata.
.. Sometimes life deals you the Plomo. Levi was born in 2008 with a hypoxic brain injury and a severe form of epilepsy. By the time Levi was only 10 months old, his mom, Jen, had already spent countless hours in hospitals including one
30 day stretch with Levi, where she had been told to sign a DNR, Do Not Resuscitate order, (which she refused) -- because her son had almost died from pneumonia and severe seizures.
But through all the chaos, and in the years since, I am forever inspired at the love, dedication and work that Jen does to help Levi lead as normal a life as possible. Jen is tough, resourceful, and has a way of talking to folks that just makes them want to help. I've watched how she works the system, researching the top doctors, therapies and everything possible to heal Levi - it's amazing.
Watching Jen never give up in the battle for her child's health and future well-being shows me the power that love has to make this world a better place, even if its only in the world of one little boy.
Yes Jen, You Are Pure Plata.
Also... Single guys... you're on a date... you pull your phone out to check on a movie time... Silly Spin ABC comes up on your screen, and she says... "I didn't know that you had kids..." and you say "I don't, I'm very close to my nieces and they love it when I play Silly Spin with them..." Dude... the ladies will melt at the thought of you rockin' the Silly Spin with the girly girls AND will think you are MUY PLATA! PROMISE!
Till the next time... Stay Inspired... Stay Plata... Stay Plomo
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