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Re Creo Underground Supper

May 21, 2013 in Downtown, Food & Drink, LA

Lately, most of my adventures have been in food.  A great deal of it has centered around my proximity to Ricardo Zarate and Stephane Bombet of Mo-Chica, Picca and now Paiche fame.  They are my bosses.  (Amazing bosses, by the way.)  So, I’ve had the chance to eat some of the best food being created in LA.

Part of what happens when you are in the nexus of awesome energy is you meet a vast array of amazing people.  DTLA people are quickly becoming my favorite sorts.  They are artsy, creative, edgy, a little dangerous and full of life.  One of those people is Jean Francoise Valcarcel.

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Elisa Lam: Body of Missing Canadian Tourist Discovered in Downtown Hotel Water Tank

February 21, 2013 in Downtown, LA, News, Obituaries, People

The body of missing Canadian tourist, Elisa Lam of Vancouver, British Columbia, was found in the water tank of the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Lam had traveled to California by herself on January 27, en route to Santa Cruz, and was last seen by workers at the hotel on January 31.

Although Lam was scheduled to check out of the hotel on February 1, she had disappeared, despite being in daily contact with her family up until this point. By February 6, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) had released details about the suspicious disappearance of Lam and on February 7, a press conference was held about the case.

A week later, on February 14, the LAPD released a disturbing surveillance video of the 21 year old University of British Columbia (UBC) student darting in and out of the hotel’s elevators.

Earlier this week, on February 19, guests at the Cecil Hotel complain about low water pressure and a worker checks the hotel’s water tanks and discovers Lam’s body. Guests staying at the hotel had likely been bathing, brushing their teeth and drinking water from a tank in which Lam’s body had been likely decomposing for more than two weeks.

Photo courtesy: LAPD

George Tetsuo Aratani, Nisei Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Passes Away at Age 95

February 20, 2013 in Downtown, LA, Obituaries, People

George Aratani, a survivor of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and later successful businessman and philanthropist who founded Mikasa and Kenwood, passed away Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at the age of 95.

His legacy in philanthropy through The Aratani Foundation has supported many Japanese American organizations, but especially in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. One literally cannot walk a block in Little Tokyo without passing by a space endowed by George and Sakaye Aratani: Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s Aratani Japan America Theatre; the Japanese American National Museum’s George and Sakaye Central Hall; and the Union Center for the Arts’s Aratani Courtyard.

From The Nisei Week Foundation Facebook page:

The Nisei Week Foundation mourns the passing of George Aratani who passed away peacefully today [Tuesday, February 19, 2013].

Aratani successfully launched post-World War II international trade enterprises. His first was Mikasa, a tableware company which was doing $400 million in annual sales when it was sold in 2000.

Influenced by his late father and motivated by the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, Aratani and his wife Sakaye have donated a sizable amount of their wealth to Japanese American organizations and causes.

For More Information:
Hirahara, Naomi. An American Son: The Story of George Aratani, Founder of Mikasa and Kenwood. Los Angeles, CA: Japanese American National Museum, 2001.

Photo credit: CalPoly Pomona, The George and Sakaye Aratani Japanese Garden

9th Annual LA 3-D Movie Festival This Weekend

December 12, 2012 in Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, LA, Movies

This weekend, the LA 3-D Club is hosting the 9th Annual LA 3-D Movie Festival at the Downtown Independent Theater. The festival opens Friday, December 14th at 8pm with Robin Hood: Ghosts of Sherwood 3D, a 2012 feature from Germany, directed by Oliver Krekel and starring Martin Thon, Tom Savini, and Kane Hodder.

Short films in competition will screen at 1pm and 3pm on Saturday, December 15th, followed at 5pm by a special presentation of 20th Century Fox’s Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare,  a 2012 3-D animated short film starring the youngest family member of  The Simpsons. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with members of the creative team behind the film, including director David Silverman.

The festival’s Closing Night will showcase the feature U2 3D, the 2008 concert film that was shot in South America during the band’s Vertigo tour.  U2 3D will screen for FREE at 8pm on Saturday,  December 15th and will be introduced by 3D Producer and 3ality Technica CEO Steve Schklair.

Sunday, December 16th will be dedicated to remembering and celebrating the life of Ray Zone, LA 3-D Club Vice President and 9th Annual LA 3-D Movie Festival C0-Chair in a free public memorial at the theater. Ray was an author, 3-D film producer, speaker, and award-winning 3-D artist who passed away on November 13, 2012. A reception, hosted by the International 3D Society, begins at 5pm, followed by family and friends speaking in memorial to Ray in the theater. The evening will include displays of Ray’s art, writing, and film work.

If you buy a pass to the festival, you could be the lucky winner of a FujiFilm FinePix REAL 3D W3 digital camera. A Festival Pass is $30 and gets you into all screenings and events during the weekend  and enters you into a drawing to be held at the awards ceremony on Saturday evening at 7pm.

Come out and support a great local organization, a fantastic independent theater and see some amazing indie 3-D films and music videos from all over the world.

The 9th Annual LA 3-D Movie Festival
December 14th through 16th, 2012
Downtown Independent Theater
251 S. Main Street, Los Angeles 90012

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by frazgo

L.A. Auto Show opens today and what to expect.

November 30, 2012 in Blogging (in) LA, Downtown, Driving, Events, Transportation

Ford World 2012 LA Auto Show

Ford World 2012 LA Auto Show, click to embiggen

So much to talk about so will try to bring it down to a Reader’s Digest condensed version.  I will also try to bring you up to date as well as what you missed during Press Days which were this Wednesday and Thursday.

First of all, if you are looking for exotics fuhgetaboutit, there are none.  The entire class is represented by Galpin’s stock of Aston Martins.  Very nice cars, but not the boat load of Ferraris, Lambos and Rolls of years past.  That’s what happens when the L.A. show grows so big with a focus on green cars it alienated that fun bunch of fantasy cars. Read the rest of this entry →

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L.A. Auto Show opens Friday

November 27, 2012 in Downtown, Driving, Events, Transportation

It is one of my most favorite times of the year, but then again I’m a car guy so it may not rank as high for you.  Since the L.A. Auto Show moved out from under the shadows of the Detroit show a few years back to right around Thanksgiving the show has taken off in terms of international importance.  Even Detroit has begrudgingly noted our importance as an international show.  Actually our show kicks Detroit’s butt, been to Detroit and they have nothing on us, especially when you roll in all the tuners, customizers and other goodies found in Kenetia Hall.  That is something that Detroit completely lacks.

It starts Friday November 30 and runs through December 9 in the entire Convention Center in DTLA.  All the information you could want about the L.A. Auto Show can be found on their web site HERE.  That includes the ability to order tickets online and save yourself some line time waiting to get into the show.

I’ll be there for Press Days as well as a regular paying member with the fam this weekend.  Yes, for me its that big of a deal.

PS as of 8:30AM yet another article out of Detroit goes live about how important the L.A. Auto Show is and sets the bar for others in the US Auto Show circuit.

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Lexus Lanes coming to Los Angeles’ Harbor Freeway

November 9, 2012 in Downtown, Driving, San Gabriel Valley, South Bay, Transportation


lexus lane aka HOT transponder

It was bound to happen here eventually, another money grab that gives privilege to the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.  The Harbor Freeway is converting from traditional carpool HOV lanes to HOT (toll lanes) both directions from Adams to the 91 Freeway on Saturday.   The toll paid will depend the time of day and congestion costing from 25 cents a mile to as much as $1.40 mile.

Motorcycles and legit carpoolers can still use the lane for free.  You must  have a transponder to use the newly christened HOT Lanes even if you are exempt from the tolls.  Transponders can be purchased from the MTA and select Albertson and Costco stores.  The MTA also charges a $3.00 fee per month for the privilege of having a transponder.

All the info you could want can be found via CHP Nixle and Metro Express Lanes web sites.

Have no fear SGV…you too will have Lexus Lanes coming after the first of the year for the 10 Freeway, both directions,  from Downtown LA to the 605.


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Desert Noir 3-D Double Feature: INFERNO and DARK COUNTRY, Sunday 10/28

October 24, 2012 in Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Movies

Event Poster Desert Noir

Desert Noir, click to embiggen

If you love classic film noir and like it even better in 3D this could be do not miss this Sunday. The LA 3-D Club is sponsoring the screenings that will take place at the Downtown Independent Theater on Sunday October 28 at 7pm.  All the information you could want on the event as well as purchasing tickets online can be done HERE.

Deets:  Sunday 10/28, 7PM.  Admission $6 for current LA3DClub members, $12 for non-members, (admission is waived with USC Student ID). Downtown Independent Theater, 251 S Main, Los Angeles CA 90012. MAP HERE

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Space Shuttle Endeavour makes its final cross of L.A

October 12, 2012 in Downtown, Photography, South Side, Transportation

Its happening now, the space shuttle is slowly making the drive to its new home at the California Science Center.

Just my luck I blew out my knee and can’t stalk it as it makes its way to the CSC.  If you had a chance to see it in transit today please feel free to share links to your stuff in the comment section.

Another CicLAvia, Another HandlebarCam Timelapse

October 7, 2012 in Biking in LA, Downtown, East Side, Events, South Side, Transportation

Not to take away from the awesomeness of today’s CicLAvia, but there will never be one as supremely magical as the first one, two years ago. Even if it can never be topped, I still get out with my trusty GoPro cam mounted to my handlebar and participate whenever the next edition rolls around, and today’s was no exception.

So without further adieu, here’s the timelapse vid of me riding in from Silver Lake and then casually roll every inch of the 9.5 mile route from MacArthur Park to Exposition Park, back to downtown, then to Boyle Heights, back downtown, then up  into Chinatown and through downtown and to MacArthur Park (about 21 miles total over three hours):

It Caught My Eye: Arts District Angel

September 19, 2012 in Art, Downtown, ICME, Photography

Because of whatever often-fleeting eye candy I might chance upon when venturing forth into the urban arena, I rarely leave home without some sort of photographic documentation device in hand — and that goes double whenever I find myself in the Arts District south and east of downtown. Case in point, discovered near the 6th Street Bridge and signed by what looks to be “dreb” near her left hip (click to enlargify):

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L.A. Center for Digital Art presents Electron Salon

August 8, 2012 in Art, Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Law Enforcement, Mass Transit, Photography

Electron Salon Postcard

Electron Salon Postcard

One of my most favorite art gallery’s in L.A. has got to be the L.A. Center for Digital Art.  Maybe because I drift into that realm with my own art often, but the images shown there  are technically at the top of that genre and media.

The current show that will run this month is the Electron Salon bringing in art from 24 different artists.  Its opening reception will take place in conjunction with Thursdays Art Walk at L.A.C.D.A from 7-9PM.

If you are planning on attending this weeks Art Walk and the Artists Reception at L.A.C.D.A take a train to Pershing Square and walk the 3 blocks or so to Gallery Row. It beats the hassle of traffic and trying to find parking in the area of this well attended event.

As a sidebar the folks at Occupy LA have apologized for what happened at last months Art Walk.  This was reported HERE in blogdowntown.  (If you don’t follow blogdowntown add it to your reading list as it is a great hyper-local source of info on DTLA). Another Occupy L.A. event likely won’t happen again at this month’s art walk.

Details: Electron Salon, L.A.Center for Digital Art, 102 W 5th Street, Los Angeles CA 90013. August 9, 2012.  7-9PM  Map HERE 

Back To The Future: The Turtles @ Grand Park

July 27, 2012 in Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Music

In retro-honor of Wednesday’s opening of the first segment of the long-awaited Grand Park, which will eventually span a 12-acre corridor between City Hall and the Music Center, let’s go back 47 years earlier to November 1965 with The Turtles singing “You Baby” at the west end then of what’s now this latest addition to downtown’s renaissance. Dick Clark, take it away:

(h/t LAObserved)

Los Angeles Plaza Historic District In 1869

July 4, 2012 in Downtown, History, LA, Vintage

Happy 4th of July! Being a sucker for historic images of our city, I just had to share the following two exquisite views of Main Street, La Placita Church and the historic Los Angeles Plaza that I found on the History, Los Angeles County blog and the Watt Way blog. Both photographs were reportedly made in 1869, and may very well have been done by the same photographer on the same day — the first one facing east from Fort Moore Hill and the second facing north from the Pico House Hotel that was completed that same year (click to slightly enlargify):

Bonus image after the jump is one from Fort Moore Hill looking a bit more southeast of the location seven years later with Pico House at the right and the plaza having adopted its round configuration that remains today.

Read the rest of this entry →

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March against Walmart in Chinatown June 30

June 29, 2012 in Downtown, Events, Shopping, Social issues

Walmart pulled a fast one and pushed through its permitting knowing city council was voting to prevent them from going into Chinatown a few months ago.  They won.  The community is upset that they pulled a fast one but aren’t taking it lightly.  (This isn’t the only store they are opening that caught a community off guard and isn’t entirely welcomed either as Altadena recently discovered).

At the rally there will be many speakers to help explain why Walmart in Chinatown is a bad idea.  Among them:Speakers and performers will include 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dolores Huerta, U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, Grammy winning musicians Ben Harper and Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman, United Food and Commercial Workers President Joe Hansen, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the L.A. County Federation of Labor Maria Elena Durazo, Chinatown residents, Walmart workers and other Walmart supply chain speakers.

Deets:  Rally starts at 10:30AM at Los Angeles Historic Park (Corn Fields) with a rally at 11AM, then to march for a final Rally at Cesar Chavez Blvd. & Broadway: 12:00 Noon for the close.

Full press release after the jump. Read the rest of this entry →