Artist Tony Remington’s Thoughts on the I-Hotel and Manilatown as we approach the 40th anniversary of the eviction


(Manilatown Manong on the left, Poet Al Robles on right) By Tony Remington

“Al Robles’s post-Manilatown Senior Center which survived many years after the eviction and demolition saw several transitions, from it’s location from Mabuhay Gardens, to a couple of local hotel basements and other makeshift spaces. On the last day of one of Manilatowns major incarnations, when the lease had run out at the basement of the Clayton Hotel, when many of his beloved Manongs had passed away, I stumble upon him quite by accident. The center was empty, and I found him staring at the wall, the darkness lit only by the flashing red neon light which had leaked in from across the street. I’d seen him like this before, silently listening to manongs sing, dance, and telling their stories. I’d seem him like this before, when we were constructing one of Manilatown’s first major incarnations in the basement of the San Joaquin Hotel. He just stops and stands there staring silently with a force that you can’t describe but you know is there. He’s dreaming realities, like a big hand coming out of the sky to make it happen, like the 40th anniversary of the International Hotel. Where In 2017 the idea of gentrification is still diversified, but unfortunately much clearer. On this day we celebrate our diversity and tolerance of all colors, creeds, genders, and the poetry, literature, art, music, dance, films, etc., all that express this diversity we know as culture.”

–Artist Tony Remington