A few days shy of a year ago I posted enthusiastically about the opening of a new Mid City-area restaurant called Indulge Cafe on the corner of Pico and Redondo. I was specifically excited because it marked the revivial of Mo’ Better Meatty Meat Burgers since Indulge was owned and operated by the creators of the Mo’ Better magic and were the original proprietors of the eatery at Fairfax and Pico, which closed a few years ago to much mourning by its fans.
Bad weather and the holidays and schedules and work and stuff conspired to postpone my first burger until a month later when a bunch of us including my friends Mr. Rollers and downtown blogger Pamela, Blogdowntown’s Eric Richardson, and fellow Metblogs contributor Spencer Cross got together and on our bikes for a visit. Once there we found the warm hospitality of owner/operators Tami and Jack and Eve and — as Spencer wrote about it here — we enjoyed their scrumptiously hand-crafted and very tasty burgers, such as the one pictured at right.
I’d been there a couple times since then and damn if Indulge wasn’t the kind of friendly and welcoming neighborhood place a lot of people yearn for, populated by a revolving a cast of local characters with conversations and introductions frequently shepherded by Tami and Jack. In fact, my last time in there happened to coincide with a visit by actor Dominic Monaghan (Merry in the “LOTR” trilogy; Charlie in “Lost”) and as he placed his order while I awaited the arrival of mine Tami suddenly asked him: “Do you know Will?”
Do Gov’t projects have a greater duty to pay prevailing wages?
Monrovia’s latest Redevelopment Project at Myrtle and Olive is being visited by pickets from the Iron Workers Union as one of the contractors is using non-union labor. Nothing unusual about unions picketing private developers over the use of non-union labor in their projects.
This isn’t a private development. It is a project that belongs to the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency and being paid out of our tax dollars. I don’t know if there should be a difference between a private developer or a governmental agency in how they contract out the work needed.
The irony in the use of non-union labor here lies in the history behind this project. The Myrtle/Olive project was to be a mixed use “affordable housing” development. Barely 2 years ago a city councilman was in my office and we were talking about the project and he mentioned how the citizens of the city would be happy to see how “affordable housing” was to be incorporated into the redevelopment plans. (Yes…I raised an eyebrow on “affordable housing” as that is the current buzzword to avoid raising the ugly specter of pruitt-igosubsidized section 8 housing in redevelopment plans).
Affordable Housing. Sounds good, but who gets to live in it when built? Maids and gardeners? Shouldn’t a government agency be looking at wages paid? Maybe instead of finding ways to keep costs down on one side then spend tax dollars later to subsidize housing needs of the underpaid workers on the other side, the big picture/the whole process should be looked at? Don’t know what the answer is or should be. It does seem like a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul (sorry for the biblical reference).
Our boy from the Modern Lovers continues to craft sweet and spirited pop songwriting with a folky, heartfelt inflection.
That there’s my “music writing” blather. Really, I just want to say that I loved his work with the MLs and now my heart belongs to him anew, once I heard “Our Dog Is Getting Older Now” a few years ago. I know he got a few new fans with his cameos in “Something About Mary,” too. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.
Wanna go to the show? So do we all, my friend. So do we all.
Oh! You want to know how to win? Right. Yes. Hmm. Howabout you ‘splain me what a huuuuge fan of Mr. Richman you are, and why you should deserve to go, instead of my shiksa ass.
If you simply must go and can’t risk attempting to win this silly little contest, you can go here and cover YOUR shiksa ass.
While there’s no video from this past Thanksgiving weekend of me basically stuffing my face at every freakin’ opportunity (and don’t think I don’t know how thankful you are for that lack of documentation), on the last day I did manage to step away from the fridge, mount the handlebar cam and engage in some physical activity in a desperate counterattack against my inner gluttonian.
In righteous victory and in the hopes you’ll enjoy the trip, I offer a condensed timelapse version of my 26-mile bike ride that starts and ends in Silver Lake and includes one flat tire, one coyote (around the 5:12 mark), one observatory and a lot of winding roads getting up to the tops of Elysian and Griffith parks and down on an insanely beautiful last day of November.
PS. In my fluxuating capacity as chief bottlewasher for the International Association of Armed Librarians / Mobile Assault Force (IAAL•MAF) I’m pleased to announce our next public spinvitational is coming up: a decidedly non-hilly 65-miler we’re calling the MepTRic Centurionz Ride scheduled for December 13. Details are here at midnightridazz.com. Join us, won’t you?
I just got word that La Mano Press is closing up shop after five years, and that their annual holiday sale scheduled for December 5-7 will actually be their last event.
Writes La Mano’s creator and master printer Artemio Rodriguez:
After five great years at La Mano Press we have decided to say goodbye to LA.
For me it has been about 14 years of learning experiences, accomplishments, many good moments and many great friends. We, Silvia, myself and all the friends who have collaborated with us, have done all our best to try to promote the arts in our communities. I hope we have at least left some mark along our way.
This is sad news. I discovered La Mano just last year from the “Puro Muerto” exhibit at the Central Library and I’ll definitely be making some time to get over there this weekend to say goodbye and get some of their unique handmade offerings.
La Mano Press, 1749 N. Main Street, 90031 (map). Sale hours: Friday, 6 -11 p.m.; Saturday, 12 – 5 p.m.; Sunday, 12 – 5 p.m.
It’s taking every last bit of restraint to keep myself from bubbling over with jubilant enthusiasm about this show, but luckily my dark, tortured ennui has triumphed and I’m suitably gloomy. If you’re just as consumed by your own strangely danceable suffering, boy are you in luck! You can win tickets to the show by telling me when you first heard the Sisters, and what you loved about them all those years ago.
They play tomorrow at the Fonda in Hollywood with Iranian rockers Hypernova, who, at first listen, sound like a quality blur between Joy Division and the Strokes. Thumbs up. You can buy tickets here if you’re just too morose on the dancefloor to take your chances at winning.
In yesterday’s NY Times, op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd reminded me about Pasadena Now owner James Macpherson’s decision earlier this year to outsource local news coverage to India. At the time, the LA Times said he would be paying a pair of writers in India a total of approximately $20,000 a year to be “glocal” news sleuths who cover things like Christmas tree-lightings and Pasadena city council meetings from afar for the daily online magazine.
Dowd traveled to Pasadena recently and interviewed Macpherson about the numbers. He appears to have revised his pay scale.
He fired his seven Pasadena staffers — including five reporters — who were making $600 to $800 a week, and now he and his wife direct six employees all over India on how to write news and features, using telephones, e-mail, press releases, Web harvesting and live video streaming from a cellphone at City Hall.
“I pay per piece, just the way it was in the garment business,” he says. “A thousand words pays $7.50.”
The low end of the scale was $10 per post for very short posts. Almost everyone else said they were paid $25 per post. One person said they were paid $80 per post! One respondent said they were paid $200 per item of long-form writing; bloggers often do other kinds of writing as well.
Pay increased for in-house/full-time bloggers, with the big money being reserved for consultants. No mention was made of outsourced writers.
A Christmas tree light show at LA Live, the Grammy museum opening, and the return of Cole’s highlight the busy commencement of the holiday season in Los Angeles. And guess what? It’s all happening Downtown. Just in time to abuse Metro’s late night Red Line and DASH hours. Fill your Calendar app accordingly.
Ice Skating in Pershing Square with daily concerts. What, no outdoor movies this year? At least you have an excuse to wear that Old Navy scarf of yours in 80-degree weather without looking like a total Hollywood jackass.
ESPN Zone opens at LA Live. There is no local NFL team to cheer on to the playoffs, and the BCS Champion, the Super Bowl Champion, and the Gold Medal Curling Team of the 2010 Winter Olympics have already been decided by HAL 9000. But you can still watch the events as they happen on a bunch of big TV screens.
What is known as the country’s oldest and largest miniature train garden, the Fairplex Garden Railroad will have it’s Holiday Open House on December 14th from 11am to 5pm.
The railroad began as a special static exhibit for the third Los Angeles Fair in 1924. It soon became a small, hand built, operating miniature train, in true 1/2 inch scale. The small railroad continued to grow and in 1935, moved out of the Fair’s tent to its present 100X300-foot outdoor location where it remains today.
I wrote about my first visit to the Railroad, last year. It made such an impression on the entire family that we’re eagerly looking forward to visiting again this year. Why don’t you join us?
We’re excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with the folks at outside.in to bring Story Maps to LA Metblogs (as well as most of our US sites). Astute readers will note these have been live for a few days now but you know with the weekend and beta testing and stuff, we thought it might be best to hold off until today to throw a big fuss about them. So commence fuss throwing immediately. These little maps which you’ll find on the right side of the site will give you a visual representation of where what we’re talking about is. At a glance you can see which posts relate to what parts of town. We think they are super cool and hope you do too!
I’ve been enviously following the progress of Patrick Ecclesine’s Faces of Sunset Boulevard project since I first heard about it a couple years ago, in large part because he was living what I’d only once dreamed of doing with the help of a high school classmate and a Super-8 movie camera waaaaay back in the day: document one of the city’s most iconic and diverse/disparate thoroughfares from one end to the other.
My pal Hovik and I didn’t get very far. With a working title of “Sunrise To Sunset” we got downtown one early Saturday dawn to start the journey — driven by his dad. But the opening shot we wanted of day breaking from behind Union Station was thwarted by overcast skies and after several minutes of standing around bummed that we’d have to get up way too early and come back on another hopefully clearer-skied Saturday, we adjourned to breakfast and the realization that we’d vastly underestimated the scope of the project. There was just no way a couple punks like us had all that was needed to do the boulevard justice.
Ecclesine had what was needed — and it took him four years to paint a portrait of Los Angeles via one of its longest and windingest roads that my buddy and I foolishly figured we’d be able to do in a day. Beginning with small street-corner shoots involving willing passersby, Ecclesine’s projects evolved into full-scale productions with elaborate lighting, street closures, and the occasional celebrity.
The result is awesome and can be found in a new 208-page 9″ x 12″ hardbound volume ($39.95) from Santa Monica Press that to me perfectly captures what Los Angeles is all about and would make a perfect gift this holiday season for the angeleno who has everything or the non-native who wants greater insight into what this place is all about. I got mine at Amazon for $26, and it’s also available online at Barnes & Noble and Borders. PS. Ecclesine states that his personal profit from the book will benefit the Surfrider Foundation.