It was hard to pry me away from San Diego. A lot of googling went into it, and I almost backed out once I convinced myself that the yearly Pride train ride to Lamy was the extent of this town’s gay scene.
Distraught, I turned to YouTube to revel in Santa Fe’s picturesque scenes. I came across your typical Plaza clips on the first page; an eponymous Bon Jovi gem from the Young Guns soundtrack that never really caught on with a blaze of glory; a bevy of Hyundai adverts; and a strange clip about a teen gangster called Little Pooh on a vintage episode of The Jenny Jones Show that was uploaded in April of this year.
“My teen’s in a violent street gang and I want HIM OUT” was the topic.
“He’s 16 years old, was raised in a gang [and] is now facing 30 years in prison for burglary,” Jones says in her trademark alto vibrato.
He’s dressed in a San José Sharks jersey, baggy jeans and a hairnet that rests halfway down his forehead.
Sitting next to him is his mom, “Loretta,” whose picture should be in the dictionary next to the definition of tweaker. It is later revealed that, though she was instrumental in moving her son away from the clutches of his California-based gang, she’s also an enabler and co-conspirator, as she purchased a stolen entertainment system—TV and all—from him.
In true 1990s talk show form, the quasi-Thunderdome reaction from the judgmental audience members is instant.
Pooh, a Long Beach transplant to Albuquerque and later Santa Fe, claims to have been in a gang since he was six years old. With a voice more mature than his years, Pooh, a high school dropout, claims to have broken into 11 houses in a single spree, been the victim of a failed drive-by and witnessed a cousin dying after being shot in the face. Twice.
“Too many…can’t count,” Pooh answers nonchalantly when Jones asks him how many people he knows who’ve gone to that big gangster’s paradise in the sky.
Somehow his story struck a chord with me. He appeared to be so completely unfazed by this turbulent lifestyle that it had become second nature. “We’ve got to do something to help this generation get out of this, because you know what? They’re killing off themselves,” a shaky Loretta implores, igniting rousing applause from the crowd.
My first day in Santa Fe, I daydreamed that Pooh had abandoned the gang, pulled his life together and was now a family man. But extensive searching led me nowhere; no “I survived a gang—and Jenny Jones” confessionals were forthcoming. At night, I dreamed I was interviewing Pooh through a thick prison window. In a shocking, Inception-like twist, as my dream’s camera angle widened, he was interviewing me.
Stunned, I awoke gasping for breath, my lungs still in the process of adjusting to the local altitude.
So now, I turn to you. Do you have any information on Little Pooh to assist my would-be investigation and put the kibosh on my Christopher Nolan-tainted sleeping pattern? Watch the video, then email me and tweet tips at hashtag #lilpooh2012.
Till then, keep it gangster.