Family Dance Party today at 4pm!

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!)

We’ve Got Valentine’s Day Licked: Vendor Fair at the Bordello of Decadence

Going to a Valentine’s Weekend Vendor Fair at a local BDSM Fetish club, one might expect to find some surprises, but the real surprises are the down to earth, common sense options that may be useful all year to any Consenting Adult.

My friends at The Bordello of Decadence had a Vendor’s Fair Friday night for much the same reason Blogging.LA is doing this series; to help find playthings for Valentine’s Day. Sure, there were all manner of floggers, whips and paddles to be found, plenty of toys in an environment whose very accessibility may be surprising to some, but leave it to the Truly Kinky to think of some things that most people wouldn’t think of, but I think most people can use.
Innovation from the Extraordinary.

Do you need an IT guy who won’t react like Seth Rogan in 40 Year Old Virgin when he see’s what’s on your Hard Drive? Maybe you need to scrub things clean before you give your old computer to someone who doesn’t need to know just where you spent your extracurricular browsing time. You really wanna take your porn to some College kid at Best Buy?

You want EP Consulting, “The Kinky IT Guy.”
13 years in the business, discreet, reliable, understanding and a great guy. And he has constructed his own “Cat 5 of 9 Tails.” (It could only get geekier if it were used on Seven of Nine.) Go to www.epconsultingco.com.Cat 5 of Nine Tails

Okay, maybe that’s not exactly romantic. Might not be a Valentine’s Day thing, useful though it is. Maybe you want to Pretty up the Package that contains your real gift. Perhaps you want the Box that Special Present is in to look extra nice. Maybe that whole process can be part of the fun.

Let me introduce Miss Jenny, the Waxinatrix. Manscaping, waxing, anywhere there’s hair there, Domme and Master Esthetician Miss Jenny can make the process as comfortable or excruciating as you wish. Everyone is welcome, couples included, and believe me, that can be a lot of fun. Find her at fetlife.com/MissJenny or shoot her an email at  stiffler’[email protected]. She also has a wicked love of puns. Enjoy.

Bed by Ivan BeastOf course, there was no shortage of fine, handmade instruments of delight and torture, with standouts from Big Daddy BD, Ivan Beast (owners and operators of the venue) and Black Cat Whips. “Leggs” provided kinky undies, vibrators and chocolate flavored edible body paint. (Razzgasm!) Ivan also makes incredible furniture, beds, cages, St Andrews Crosses and so much more, if you’re ready for that big kinky purchase. (Contact the Bordello of Decadence for more info on any of the above.) But what do you get for that deviant Star Wars Fan?

If Slave Girl Leia was really a big influence on you or that special someone, you need to shop the wares of The Kinky Geek. Dragontails, floggers and whips with lightsaber handles. Yeah. He has, on special order, even made a couple of double sided, detachable, Darth Maul-type toys. Go to www.thekinkygeek.com. Excite you, they will.The Kinky Geek

So, it may be a little late to get any of this stuff for this year, but if your Valentine misbehaves, I guarantee there’s something here to back up your promise of retribution. Now that’s Love.

The Bordello of Decadence is still working of their website, but for informationon when and where they have their parties, and/or info on any of the vendors mentioned, shoot them an email at [email protected].

The Kinky GeekThis post is part of the We’ve Got Valentine’s Day Licked series of posts.Furniture by Ivan Beast

Walk This Way: 2nd-Annual March March

As much as I like to bike around Los Angeles whenever possible, I’m occasionally known to and prone to taking long walks around and across town. Aside from joining in the last four of  the awesome annual Great LA Walks organized by Franklin Avenue Blog’s Michael Schneider, I’ve gone on ferthehelluvit strolls over the full length of Cesar Chavez/Sunset Boulevard from Union Station to Gladstones in February 2007, and the whole stretch of Western Avenue from Griffith Park to land’s end in October 2008 (with fellow Blogging.la’er Julia, among others). Last year, I went on my first March March by going from USC to the top of Baldwin Hills Overlook State Park and back, primarily along Jefferson and Adams boulevards.

So with March coming up again fast, I figure it’s high time I put the word out where I’ll be marching next in case any like-minded crazies wanted to join me — and you should because on March 5 I’ll be heading east to explore an historic and amazing  thoroughfare I’ve pushed bike and gas pedals over many times, but until now have never pedestrianated upon: Whittier Boulevard.

We’re doing things a bit different this time. Instead of an out-and-back all on foot, we’ll be multimodaling by gathering at Union Station for a 10 a.m. departure to board the Gold Line out to East Los Angeles. Along the way we’ll be detraining at a few stations for quick loops and looks around those stops’ vicinities. Eventually we’ll reach the end of the line at Atlantic Boulevard and from there we’ll then head south to Whittier and begin the return trip westward until we cross the historic 6th Street viaduct. We’ll then cut up through the Arts District and make our way into downtown and back to Union Station via Los Angeles Plaza and Olvera Street.

With the inclusion of the Gold Line getting us east, this walk’s total distance will depend in part on the number of tangents we take. The main stretch back to Union Station from East Los Angeles through Boyle Heights is about 7.5 miles, so the total will probably fall somewhere between the 10- to 14-mile range. If I had to guesstimate a more specific number I’d say 12 miles.

So, to recap:

  • What: 2nd-Annual March March — Whittier Boulevard
  • Starts/Ends: Union Station (main entrance)
  • When: March 5, departing at 10am (if raining that day we’ll try again March 12, 10am rain or shine)
  • Costs: Bring money for food/drinks and a $6 Metro Day pass is highly recommended
  • How far: About 12 miles, give or take
  • How long: Approximately 5 hours. Could be longer, could be shorter.

Any questions, drop them in the comments or tweet me @wildbell. Hope you’ll come along for the stride.

Ladies & Gentlemen: Waltarrrr Has Left The Blogging

Pictured above leading a charge westward toward downtown across the 4th Street Viaduct during CycLAvia last October is Highland Park-based blogger Waltarrrr. I find this image I captured of him on that glorious day rather iconic in that for the past 4.5 years he’s been trumpeting to greater Los Angeles all about the present and past of the multifaceted communities of Northeast Los Angeles. And I present it to you today so that you can join me in saying goodbye not to him, but rather to his indispensable 90042 blog, whose hibernation he announced yesterday:

What I can say is this blog is going to sleep for a while. The weekly posts just won’t be there anymore. Instead, I plan to focus on my first love, Art. I’m a painter by trade. As a byproduct of putting my efforts into writing and researching this blog, I haven’t actually made a painting in some time. In my studio sits a pile of blank canvases awaiting my attention. This year I resolved to start painting rather than writing, to start sketching rather than tweeting. I’m a craftsperson, a maker. At this juncture I need to create tangible objects more than web posts.

It has been a fun trip, but the time has come to put the blog to rest. Thanks for sharing the ride.

I’ve had the pleasure of his company on numerous bike rides and various long walks. The favorite story I like to tell about him happened in October 2008 when I’d planned to walk the entire length of Western Avenue from Griffith Park to the land’s end. Waltarrrr was very much looking forward to it, but as the day approached a conflict arose that prevented him from joining us. So he did the entire thing himself a week earlier than us, adding untold distance by venturing off on explorations down countless side streets until he was forced to stop around Torrance. Set on completing the journey, he returned the next day to where he’d turned back by the 405 Freeway and walked the rest of the way to the sea. His Flickr photoset of the two-day trek is here.

While I’m going to miss 90042 immensely, I’m also going to hope there’s ultimately a parallel to draw between his amazing journey and his blogging: he knew when to quit but came back to where he left off and kept going.

ICME: Rowena Reservoir

One of the things I love about living in Los Angeles is the constant discovery of new-to-me things. I recently visited a friend in Silver Lake. I parked on St. George Street near Rowena, as I almost always had, but saw something I’d never seen before. (I think it was always dark). What caught my eye was the Rowena Reservoir, referred to as “Fantasy Island” by locals. It’s beautiful! I drove around it to see where to enter and found the gate. It was locked as the public is not allowed into this oasis.

Gymkhana Grid

How did I not know about this??  For those not in the know, Gymkhana is a sport that has grown in popularity lately thanks to the efforts of rally driver Ken Block.  Block released a series of web videos showcasing his amazing talents at this incredibly entertaining sport.

This is what I’m talking about:

I love that I just found this video.  I hadn’t seen it yet and (perfect for my post on here) it takes place in Long Beach!

Back to this invitational.  From what I can get off their awful website, it is a competition containing a Gymkhana style course.  I wish I had know about this earlier, I think it would be a blast.  If you like cars and you’re free tomorrow.  I suggest you make your way over to Irwindale Speedway.

Silver Lake Holiday Nights Out

Starting TONIGHT, you can hang out on the streets of Silver Lake and listen to live musical performers including carolers, nom on some tasty treats, bid on live auctions, vote for your favorite window display, patronize the shops, and get to know your neighbors.

This first annual holiday block party runs for the next three Fridays – Dec. 3rd, 10th, and 17th from 6-9pm on Sunset, Hyperion, Rowena, Glendale and Silver Lake.

Hop over to the Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce website for all the deets.

Silver Lake Holiday Nights Out

Boycott of K2 in Silver Lake?

This morning these little flyers were taped on walls and telephone poles around Sunset Junction. I snapped a quick picture of one on a short walk to get coffee thinking I’d count how many I saw on the walk back, but within the hour they seem to have all been pulled down. Anyone know anything about this? The lack of contact information or anyone taking credit for the flyer seems a little suspicious.

Menu Mining: Deep Fried Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen

I think even the most adamant, will-not-go-east-of-the-405 Westsider knows, deep in his/her heart, that the Eastside is not really Silver Lake and Echo Park.  Because to actually think that is to be far more provincial than the sprawl of Los Angeles permits: this is a very big city that, yes, goes way, way further east than Echo Park Avenue (and Downtown, for that matter).  To get to East Los Angeles, you have to cross a bridge.  And that bridge is not named Franklin.

The Cesar Chavez Avenue Viaduct is one of the oldest bridges in the city, and if you’re headed to Boyle Heights from the west via Sunset/Cesar Chavez – which is where we’re going on this edition of Menu Mining – you’ll cross this bridge when you get to it.  After the bridge, you’ll pass a King Taco.  Then you’ll also pass Breed Street, one of the many birthplaces of this city’s street food.  Antojitos Carmen grew up as a vendor on Breed Street, making and selling antojitos (street snacks by way of Mexico; if you prefer, think of these as small plates a la tapas).  When she saved enough money, Carmen moved out of her home on Breed Street, but, like any good daughter, she didn’t move too far away: no, Antojitos Carmen, formerly warming fresh tortillas on a little hot grill on Breed Street, has a small but more than serviceable storefront a few blocks away on Cesar Chavez.  Her parents must be so proud.

There are two menus at Antojitos Carmen: one in English, the other in Spanish.  I can’t read Spanish very well, so I’m forced to settle for the English side.  In either language, there is a whole lot of awesome/asombroso choices on this menu – sopas, tortas, huaraches, etc.  I was very tempted to write about their pambazo – two giant hunks of torta bread soaked in enchilada sauce and stuffed with your choice of meat, sour cream, and cheese – but the deep fried quesadilla has a special place in my heart.  It so totally was not what I was expecting when I ordered it, but so exactly was what I wanted that I get it every time I go, even if I’m not even particularly in the mood for something fried.

When you order the quesadilla, you’re asked whether you want it pan fried or deep fried.  Deep fried is the correct answer, and it’s not because you want to re-live any particular LA County Fair experience.  No, it’s the correct answer because it’s the best one.  I usually get it stuffed to the brim with cheese and squash blossoms (if your server seems confused when you say “squash blossoms,” try “flowers” instead – I learned this after a pretty funny I Love Lucy moment a few months ago) (the servers here are one of the nicest, most patient people you’ll ever meet).  The quesadilla comes out, bigger than you’d expect for only $2.99, piping hot and lightly deep fried, if there was ever such a thing.  It’s almost like an empanada, but it’s not, because it’s a deep fried quesadilla.  Lettuce, cheese, and a few slices of tomato top it off.

Because this is a house of antojitos, you can split the quesadilla with a friend and have room for at least one other plate to snack on – a pambazo perhaps?

Antojitos Carmen (they have quite possibly the best About Us page ever – see here)
2510 Cesar E. Chavez Ave.
Mon-Thu  8:30am – 10:00pm
Fri-Sun 8:3am – 12:00am

The Lotus Festival Is Back

2007 Lotus Festival by Jodi

After being canceled last year for budgetary reasons, the Lotus Festival returns to Echo Park this weekend. This event, in which local Asian and Pacific Islander communities come together to share and celebrate their cultures, has traditionally been held in July when the Lotus Flower blooms. Echo Park once house the largest lotus bed in the country. Unfortunately, the lotus bed died off two years ago and while there are efforts underway to bring it back, there will not be any of the pink flowers to see. (There weren’t many in ’07 as you can see).

You still might want to take in the free festival though, which runs today and tomorrow starting at 12pm. There will be a variety of entertainers and lots of food vendors. There is a good rundown of what will, and will not, be happening at this year’s 32nd Lotus Festival on the Echo Park Now site.

The festival is today, Saturday, July 10th from 12pm-9pm and tomorrow, Sunday, July 11th from 12pm-8pm. Echo Park Lake is located on Park Avenue between Glendale Avenue and Echo Park Boulevard, just north of the junction of the 101 and 110 freeways.

Sunday Sweet Street Scooter Rally

Delivering food on bikes is so Peter Parker.  No, in this city, we like our food delivered in style – say, Vespa style, courtesy The Scootabaker.  Upon your order, Scootabaker Heather Wong bakes up cookies, tarts, and cupcakes and delivers them to you via Vespa.  This Sunday, she’s leading a Sweet Street Scooter Rally from one side of town to the other.  At 11am, Vespa owners will take the streets Critical Mass-style from the Vespa of Sherman Oaks and scoot across the city, finishing around 2pm at the Silver Lake record label company that brought us Silversun Pickups, Dangerbird Records.  For those of us (me) without Vespas, we’ll be waiting at the finish line for our rewards: Scootabaker, along with The Sweets Truck, will have all sorts of goodies for your consumption.  The ride and ensuing bake sale are all part of a fundraiser for the Pablove Foundation, an organization dedicated to funding pediatric cancer research.  This is an issue near and dear to Dangerbird’s heart – the organization was founded in honor of Pablo Castelez, the 6-year old son of Dangerbird Records founder Jeff Castelez who passed last year on June 27th.

It’s a rally, it’s a bake sale, it’s a fundraiser, it’s a great Sunday.  See you there.  I’ll be stuffing my face whilst innocuously trying to ride your Vespa.

Full details of the Sweet Street Scooter Rally can be found on the event’s Facebook page here.  Oh, Facebook, are you the Evite killer we all are waiting for?

UPDATE: If you can’t make it out the Sunday event, vote for them to receive a Chase Community Grant here.

Rad vespa photo courtesy Fire Monkey Fish via the Metblogs Flickr pool.

Electrical Box Art: Dancing in Silver Lake

This lovely bit of electrical box art on Hyperion in Silver Lake caught my eye while I was visiting the new Silver Lake branch of the LA Public Library (a very cool place — I’ll be posting about it this week). It’s right in front of the outdoor seats at Gingergrass, so I divert two patrons from their Vietnamese fare for a moment to assure them that I was only taking pictures of the electrical box and not secretly stalking one of them. Thanks, ladies!

So, the side facing the street features two dancers:

And while you enjoy your pho, you’re entertained by a single danseuse:

Electrical Box Art: Psychedelic Panda Edition

Disclaimer: I am not a person who can speak intelligently about art. Honestly, it’s a pretty bad idea that I’m even writing about this sort of thing, since it’s often hard for me to tell the difference between public art installations and utilitarian public-works items such as mailboxes and the homeless. Fortunately, my neighborhood is filled with electrical boxes painted by the artists at LA Commons.

Today’s edition takes us to the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue. I’ll start with the side facing New Hampshire, which is my favorite.

This man lives and breathes soccer.

More pics after the jump. Continue reading “Electrical Box Art: Psychedelic Panda Edition”

Don’t Forget: Songkran Fest in Hollywood Tomorrow

A quick reminder for anyone (anyone who doesn’t celebrate Easter, that is) looking for something to do tomorrow: April 4 is the local celebration of Songkran, the Thai New Year.

Outside of Thailand itself, LA is home to the largest collection of Thai people in the world. Each year the Songkran festival is held in Thai Town, along Hollywood Boulevard between Western and Normandie — the only Thai Town in the world. It takes place between 8 AM and 9 PM, and includes a pretty huge variety of food, entertainment, shopping and drinking. But why listen to what I have to say when you can read the English version of the official Thai New Year website:

It is exciting time when you will have experience in all aspects of Thai such as, ancient crafts and arts, remarkable culture, Thai heritage and ancient-unique traditions, delicious Thai food, apparel, martial arts, the world-class beautiful tourist attractions, Thai sophisticated manners, warm hospitality, and friendliness of Thai people.

So: Have fun at Songkran. And watch the peripheral traffic on Sunset and Franklin if you’re driving through Hollywood or Los Feliz.