I just received a phone call that Arts District pioneer and Downtown activist Joel Bloom just died at the Veteran's Hospital. His death comes not long after the intersection in front of Bloom's General Store was named Joel Bloom Square in his honor at the request of a number of us. More details on that honor in the link above.
As for who Joel was for those who did not know him, I first met him some 20 years ago back when the Arts District was small enough that we all knew each other and Al's Bar was ground central for the scene - and yet I am still discovering things I never knew about him.
Besides all of his art world and civic activities, he was also a playwright, an actor - and he was one of the early members of the famed comedy troupe SECOND CITY in Chicago before he moved to LA, among many other hats he wore.
But once he relocated to LA - his biggest passion was in promoting his new neighborhood and nothing of note ever happened here without his participating in it. His second biggest passion, however, was - and he would proudly love to be remembered for this - becoming the world's biggest pain in the butt.
Incapable of political correctness or hypocrisy - if there was something - anything -that Joel did not like - he was not just unafraid, but incapable of not telling you about it.
But it was also clear that his complaints always had the ring of truth to them - and that it was his desire to make the world a better place for us all that was behind his all hectoring.
He was that true rara avis of our times; a genuine original. And we shall never see his like again.