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Fall Artwalk at The Brewery

October 26, 2014 in Art, East Side, LA

This weekend was the Fall Artwalk at the Brewery, one of the largest artist-in-residence complexes in the world.

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s in the industrial district northeast of downtown, in a large complex/campus comprised of an old Pabst brewery (hence the name), an old Edison power plant building, and many warehouses, all of which have been converted into artist lofts. Not those crappy “artist lofts” that were just built five years ago in mixed-use spaces with cardboard walls…these are vast concrete caverns of loft spaces, the kind I’d like–you know, the kind you can just hose out when it gets dusty. And it does, because it’s right by the railyards and the freeway.

During Artwalk the majority of Brewery residents open their doors to the public so people can see their art–and, hopefully, so they can make some sales. It’s tough for a lot of people who put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their work all year long, in relative privacy, to have hundreds of people tromping through their door, assessing their life’s labor, often snapping photos without permission, then turning and walking out. But they do it because they know it’s important for the public to be exposed to art and the work that goes into it.

Thousands of people show up twice a year for Artwalk. Next week, I’ll profile a handful of artists I found and discuss their work; as for now, here’s kinda a look at the scene. You should go next time. Just go early–the parking lots fill up early! Especially the parking lot I snagged–UPS HQ, next door, opens their parking lot for Artwalkers. Check out whose spot I got.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Easy As 2, 1, 3…

February 8, 2014 in East Side, History, LA, Maps, News, Rants, West Side

I’ve mulled over the news from earlier this week of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council declaring the community it serves as NOT a part of The Eastside.

I’d’ve thought I’d be all HELLYEAH! right outta the gate, given my past protestations (that’ve mellowed somewhat in my old age) against those over-insulated 135,938 natives and the 1.6-million transplants who live in the Westside and drink deeply of the koolaid that leaves them to believe with varying degrees of commitment that their vastly superior end of the city begins and ends on the ocean-side of…uh, you name it: Speedway Alley, Lincoln, Bundy, the 405, La Cienega, or La Brea, making the other end THEIR eastside for the simple reason that all that riff raff resides east of them. How proprietary.

But instead I surprised myself at being sort of meh at the strictly symbolic and mostly meaningless action. There certainly was a part of me that was satisfied and tried to rah rah at the decision — especially when I read subsequent news stories that took the idiotic angle that Silver Lake had voted to “secede.” As if it had gone all South Carolina on some sort of Greater Eastside union. How con-veeeeeen-ient!

But ultimately it was just a big shoulder shrug. Because I’ve figured out that it’s a waste of time. We live in a city that has built itself by marginalizing its past, so how can I expect so many of its citizens not do the same? In a city that itself has a history of discarding its history as it sprawled so ever nebulously outward from its core, convincing those residents adamantly ignorant of our city’s socio-geographic foundations to look at a different perspective is about as easy as convincing those entitled aggressive motorists they don’t have a right to run me and my bike off the road.

Ultimately what’s important to me now is not changing anyone’s mind but knowing what I know and respecting what so many others couldn’t care less about: that I reside (somewhere in that orange dot I added to that pictured map fragment above) on the land that ultimately became known as Silver Lake which stands in the northWEST corner of the boundaries of the original 16 Spanish Leagues centered upon the plaza where in 1781 — when the main thing going on in the Westside was waves crashing — was established El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula and incorporated as the City of Los Angeles in 1850.

To me, that’s as easy as 2, 1, 3.

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ICME: Chandalier Tree, it just makes me happy

January 12, 2014 in Art, East Side, ICME

This just makes me happy.  Its man vs nature.  Its just silliness.  Something we need more of.  Its simply a few dozen lit chandaliers and a grand old tree.  Please excuse the photo, I grabbed it with my phone after dark, certainly just at dusk might have been a bit better, but beggars can’t be chosers.

Its located at the corner of Silver Lake Drive and Shadowlawn Ave a block off Rowena.  MAP HERE.  There is a big red curb in front of the property so you do need to park on adjacent streets if you can find it. Be kind to the locals and don’t block a driveway.

Sixty-Five More Los Angeles Placenames In Search Of Their Origins

November 14, 2013 in East Side, History, Hollywood, LA, Long Beach, San Gabriel Valley, SoCal, South Bay, The Valley, West Side

Inspired by Militant Angeleno’s awesome “88 Suburbs In Search Of Their Names” post from last week and equipped with the indispensable “1500 California Place Names” by William Bright, I decided to crack the latter open and see if I couldn’t add to the former’s impressive list of suburbs ‘n stuff. Turns out I could. Some are almost too obvious or well known to mention (Century City? Duh) and some are about as obscure as it gets (Lamanda Park?), but I mention them anyway — and there are a few that are pretty cool (check out the the 220-year-old typo that is Point Dume and the darkness that lurks behind the meaning of “Verdugo”).

So without further to-do, here’s my 65 supplemental places (64 in Los Angeles County and a 471-year-old one just up PCH in Ventura County). Enjoy!

Angeles National Forest: So named in 1908 because the larger part of the forest is within Los Angeles County.

Antelope Valley: Named not for a true antelope, but for the pronghorn (pictured) — the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere — which was once abundant in the state.

Ballona Creek: From the Ballona land grant of 1839; probably a misspelling of Bayona, the name of a town in Spain.

Bel-Air: Named for its developer, Alphonso Bell, in 1923, on the model of French bel air, meaning “fresh air.”

Bouquet Canyon: A misinterpretation of Spanish El Buque, “the ship,” the nickname of a French sailor who settled there.

Brentwood: Named after Brentwood in Essex, England, the ancestral home landowner John Marsh.

Cahuenga Pass: From the Gabrielino village name kawé’nga, probably meaning “at the mountain.”

Canoga Park: Named in the 1890s after Canoga, New York, which was originally a Cayuga (Iroquoian) village.

Castaic: From Ventureño Chumas kashtiq, “the eye, the face”.

Centinela Creek: From the Spanish word for “sentry, sentinel.”

Century City: Named for 20th Century Fox film studios, on the site of which it was built, starting in 1961.

Chatsworth: Named in 1887 after the estate of the Duke of Devonshire in England.

Chilao: Formerly Chileo or Chilleo, a nickname of the herder Jose Gonzales, famous for killing a grizzly bear near here with only a hunting knife. Chil- what? Yeah, me too. It’s primarily a campground area waaay up in the Angeles National Forest.
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American Sabor: Latin flavor in American Music and an LA focus

November 14, 2013 in Art, East Side, Education, Entertainment, History, LA, Movies, Music, People, Social issues, Which Side?

American Sabor opens on Saturday Nov 16th at Cal State  University LA with a huge open house.  Its an exhibit on loan to CSULA until February 6 2014.  The Exhibit is here are part of a grant from Ford Motor Company.  The exhibit left me speechless.  Yes, I knew some of the famous names, but I never knew until touring this exhibit the depth that Latin Music, its flavor or sabor has influenced all of American Music.

More importantly this exhibit has a  portion dedicated solely to the contributions of Angelenos, specifically East LA in the 1990s.  That will be part of the permanent collection at CSULA when the Smithsonian moves on loan to its next city.  Famous Angelenos starting with Desi Arnaz and flash forward to  Black Eyed Peas I was amazed, outright blown away with the influence Latin music has had on pop music, hip hop, jazz and other genres.  Other artists of note that are showcased in the exhibit are Alice Bag, Los Lobos, Los Illegals, and Quetzal. Read the rest of this entry →

This Is The Hollenbeck Burrito

February 14, 2013 in East Side, Food & Drink, LA, News, People

The quarter seen next to the plate is for scale. The Hollenbeck Burrito is the creation of a singular master by the name of Manuel Rojas who owned the famed Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Cafe in Boyle Heights. But the Hollenbeck is hardly the largest burrito he makes — or I should say made, since sad news came yesterday that Señor Rojas has died at the age of 79 after a half-century of  serving them up.

That distinction belongs to any variety of Manuel’s Special burritos, each of which roughly calculates out to being about 250 cubic inches of gut-busting deliciousness (here’s an example with the unknown patron exhibiting the appropriate level of shock and awe). Simply laying my eyes on such massiveness the one and only time I ordered a Manuel’s Special was almost enough to stave off my worst hunger pangs. Since then, it’s been Hollenbecks for me and they’re pleeeeeenty! But if the previously mentioned dimensional quantification is hard to wrap your head around, try this alternative: it weighs in at five pounds.

I’m having trouble wrapping my head around Rojas no longer overseeing the construction of his classics, but I take solace that they live on, and I will most certainly be paying a visit in the near future to honor him by digging into one — and taking the inevitable leftovers home.

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):

Mohawk Bend Finally Opens Tonight

August 1, 2011 in East Side, Food & Drink, LA

The sign outside Mohawk Bend on Sunset and Alvarado in Echo Park has promised “Opening soon.  Very soon” for a few weeks now, and I’m very, very excited that it will finally open at 5pm today.  Mohawk Bend comes courtesy Tony Yanow, so if you’ve been to his excellent Tony’s Darts Away bar in Burbank, you’ll know what we can expect here: vegan-friendly eats and a damn great craft beer selection.

The bar is located in an old movie theater, completely rehabbed so what was once the lobby now houses a long bar, communal and non-communal tables, and an open kitchen.  Tony is vegan, so the menu is too (“60 percent vegan, 20-percent lacto/ovo vegetaria, and 20 percent meat” is how the press release describes it).  It’s dinner service only for now, but they hope (as do I) that they’ll start a brunch and lunch service soon.

Most important, though, is that beer.  There are 65 California craft beers on tap, 5 from out of state breweries, and a two-firkin cask system for those of you who are uber-serious about your ales.  And sweet, kind people behind the bar who can patiently explain the differences between an IPA and non-IPA and help you decide which pint(s) to try.

I was lucky enough to attend a preview event of the space two weeks ago and, believe you me, the space and the beer selection is fantastic.  See their photos of the space here, and see you there, soon.

Mohawk Bend, 2141 W. Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park; (213) 483-2337.

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LAFD: Right On!

June 16, 2011 in East Side, LA, Rants

I just want to take a moment to exploit this public forum to send out some very personal gratitude to the LAFD’s emergency responders.

Thankfully, it was only water spurting out under high pressure this morning and not blood, but the intrepid (and so handsome!) dudes appeared in a jiffy and had the situation under control in short order.

Did I mention they were gorgeous? And that after battling the water I looked like a drowned rat?

Oh and before you downgrade my IQ by 50 points you should know that They couldn’t find the water shutoff to the house either.

In fact, now that daylight is upon us and calm is restored, I’d really like to know where that shutoff is….

(and PS, kids: if you’re gonna sleep naked, maybe have some clothes in your handy emergency kit. Just sayin.)

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So delicious it defies pronunciation

June 3, 2011 in East Side

Want some really great Vietnamese food?

It’s cheap, yummy, and for the love of god It Has Parking!

(maybe I should save this as a draft until I eat there a few more times)

Compromise: I just won’t post the address – D’oh!

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Uncle Jer’s Closing

May 6, 2011 in East Side, News, Real Estate

Driving down Sunset today (I got the Sad Foot, by the way, and indeed:), I saw that Uncle Jer’s, that little shop of curiousities and knicknacks and randomness across the street from the Vista Theater, was having an “End of an Era” sale.  I got home and checked: yup, sadly, Uncle Jer’s will be closing after 10 years.  Owners Rob and Cassandra simply say they want to spend more time with their two young sons and so it was time to move on.  There is a storewide 20% clearance sale from now until they close their doors at the end of the month.  They plan to have some sort of online presence after they close the shop, but those are tentative for now.

Sorry to see this little shop go – it was always such a delightful way to kill some time before catching a movie across the street.  Oh, sad foot.

Photo courtesy Lush Bunny and used under a Creative Commons license.

Happy Foot/Sad Foot: A History

May 5, 2011 in East Side, History

Happy foot/Sad Foot SignSalon has a great piece today about the urban lore behind the rotating Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign on Sunset in Echo Park.  For future reference, if you’re driving the street and see the happy foot side, you’re in for a great day; if you see the sad foot side, you should stay in bed.  The sign has inspired several writers, including Jonathan Lethem and David Foster Wallace, to incorporate this symbol of chance and fate into their novels:

The Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign became better known to readers outside the Los Angeles area when it appeared in Jonathan Lethem’s 2007 novel, “You Don’t Love Me Yet.” In that book, the main character, a musician named Lucinda, can see the sign from the window of her apartment: “The two images presented not so much a one-or-the-other choice as an eternal marriage of opposites, the emblem of some ancient foot-based philosophical system. This was Lucinda’s oracle: one glance to pick out the sad or happy foot, and a coin was flipped, to legislate any decision she’d delegated to the foot god.”

The article tracks down a few other pop culture references, which I found fascinating.  You probably don’t want to let a sign play footsies with your fate (ha ha), but it is a fun thing to watch out for when you’re headed down Sunset.

Photo courtesy rachelkramerbussel and used under a Creative Commons license.

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‘Tis the Season

April 13, 2011 in East Side, Holidays, Seasonal

For the love of god, get thee to a Gelson’s (or a Mayfair), and get a hold of about the only yummy thing on the Seder plate!

Don’t just use it for that though – put it in your oatmeal – an excuse to have wine for breakfast!

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CicLAviawesome Is Back

April 5, 2011 in Biking in LA, Downtown, East Side, Hollywood, News, Social issues

I’ve come to consider last October’s inaugural CicLAvia something of the Los Angeles cycling community’s Woodstock, both in the fact that it was a defining and shining moment for our city and also because as the years go by I get the feeling that a lot more people are going to say they were there than actually were.

Whether you were or you weren’t a part that street party spanning between East Hollywood and Boyle Heights, your chance to get out and enjoy the second CicLAvia is imminent. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Sunday, April 10, the same 7.5-mile route as the first one will be closed to vehicular traffic and open to all manner of self-propellers. Be it bike, skateboard or just your feet you really should set aside some time to soak up what is such a unique and sensational experience.

Here’s a slightly remodeled version (higher res with an original soundlayer I created with the iPhone Bloom app) of the timelapse I made during part of my CicLAvia’ings from Boyle Heights back to East Hollywood:

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Family Dance Party today at 4pm!

February 19, 2011 in East Side, Entertainment, LA

A family that dances together is…embarrassed together? As a new Mom, I am forced to do all sorts of things I would have stayed a mile away from pre-child, couple that with Los Angeles having weather issues, and this party at The Echo Center seems like a fun idea!

If you don’t see yourself performing a few disco moves, there are plenty of other things to do: Art Activities, Face Painting, Hula-hoops, Scarves, Healthy Snacks, Drinks, and Music.

The doors are open to all ages, so bring your toddlers, teenagers and grampa too. Keep in mind that this is for FAMILY so you can’t just drop your kid and take off.

Here are the deets:

The Echo Center
1226 N Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Date: February 19, 2011
Time: 4:00pm–7:00pm
EAT, LAUGH & DANCE!

Admission:
$20 per family (but if you can’t afford it, you will still be welcome!)