Best Pirated-Loot Spots

(Illustration by Ronald Kurniawan)

Best Pirated-Loot Spots

It’s no secret Los Angeles is a major hot spot for music and film piracy. The Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America estimate their losses at hundreds of billions of dollars a year. The two organizations have teamed up with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the LAPD, even installing cameras across the city, to halt criminal activity. But we know Los Angeles is the capital of the working poor, so here are the best spots to come up on loot.

Santee Alley (between Olympic Boulevard and 12th Street in the Fashion District): It’s “one of the biggest pirate havens on the West Coast,” according to the MPAA. Even with LAPD swarming and surveillance cameras filming, the walkie-talkie-communicating paisas were not only selling new copies of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and The Devil Wears Prada before their release dates, they were hooking customers up with matching faux Prada accessories and other designer knockoffs. "What you need?"

MacArthur Park (Alvarado Street and Wilshire Boulevard): Despite the LAPD “quality of life” arrests (including nabbing “illegal vendors”) and, again, surveillance cameras watching your every move, you can still buy “mota and micas” — the good herb and counterfeit immigration documents (permanent resident alien or green cards). Along these streets, the Salvatruchas selling you pirated Shakira (hips do lie!) and salsa-mix CDs are so bold they allow buyers to use a boombox to test the quality of their discs. Hey, it worked for me. I bought the hard-to-find Arriba el Norte y Arriba el Sur by Vicente Fernández y Ramón Ayala for $5!

MTA Rail Lines (all over L.A. County): If you’re tired of walking the streets for good bargains, get on the Metro’s Blue, Green, Red or Gold lines. While evading the fare inspectors, sheriff’s deputies and security cameras en route to your destination, pick up the latest DVDs. Netflix, ha! On the Ghetto Blue not only can you get Cars and Superman Returns, the brothas will also peddle you some concession candies, maybe some M&M’s and Raisinets to go with your night of film watching? Enjoy!

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