“Block Party” Art Exhibits In Highland Park Homes

blockpartyLooking for art that’s not in a stuffy gallery setting? We’ve got just the thing. Tonight check out Block Party, a one night tour of apartment exhibitions in Highland Park.

The tour consists of three exhibitions hosted by curators Kiki Johnson from Artist Curated Projects, Kate Hillseth from Young Art, and Daniel Ingroff and Paul Pescador. The apartments are in close proximity and guests can tour the three venues during the evening, like a block party. Hence the name.

More info behind the jump!

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Galco’s Soda Pop Stop: A Bubbly Walk Down Memory Lane

Surely you’ve heard of, and maybe even visited, Galco’s Soda Pop Stop in Highland Park. It’s definitely one of my favorite L.A. places, which I enjoy introducing to friends. The warm, summery weather we’ve been enjoying lately has got me craving one of my favorite hot weather beverages that I can only get there.

Among the 400+ sodas that Galco’s owner John Nese stocks is something that is called Mr. Q. Cumber. Yep, cucumber flavored soda. Many turn their nose up at the very idea. But, I’m here to tell you that it is actually quite tasty and very refreshing.

An outing to Galco’s is always an experience. It’s really fun to peruse the shelves to find new things you’ve never tasted or those classic drinks you remember from your childhood. John is usually stocking the shelves and is more than happy to share his extensive knowledge of any and every product in his store. He is clearly passionate about soda and his enthusiasm is contagious. I find it hard to leave the place without a case or two of liquid goodness. It’s not cheap, so I either splurge or just make due with a few bottles. There is a “Case Club Card” you can get if you do buy in bulk.

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Villa Sombrero in Highland Park Reincarnated!

Those of you who knew & loved Villa Sombrero, in Highland Park, mourned its passing a few months back when it shut its doors on those sombrero-sized margaritas forever.

But despair not! My friend, often when we lose a loved one, what we don’t realize is we only lose the shell of that individual. We lose that small representation of them, yes, but what we do not realize is that they are actually restored to us, a greater version of what they were before. And, my friends, such is the case with our beloved Villa Sombrero.

Eagle Rock Talk discovers this:

“Villa Sombrero, the classic Highland Park Mexican restaurant with the supersize margaritas on York shut its doors over the summer. The original owner, Felipe Nunez – who sold the name and business, but not the property twenty years ago – has reclaimed the space and is opening his own restaurant – Felipe’s. He’ll be bringing back some specialties from the original menu, which was more of a continental, upscale Latin cuisine. Dishes will include swordfish, scallops, lobster, chicken mole, and grilled steak.”

Hallelujia! Praise the Lard!

Central Arroyo Stream Restoration & Watershed Programs Halted: Hooray for CA Budget Crisis

So in case you didn’t know (I shoulda told y’all when I found out, a while back, but I was stupid busy), the Arroyo Seco–which runs from Devil’s Gate Dam, south thru Pasadena and parallel to the 110 freeway into South Pas & Highland Park, was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places (although I can’t find it in that crappy database of theirs, maybe you can). It’s also a valuable habitat for the rare and wee Arroyo Chub, a leeetle beeeety fish that dwells solely in some SoCal streams, and which is valuable not only for adding its own little fishy topping to the biodiversity pizza pie, but ‘cuz it eats mosquito larvae: hooray for the Chub!

The nice people who did all the work theyre not getting paid for.
Just a few of the nice people who did all the work they're not getting paid for.

Of course the little Chub was pretty much on its way out, along with a lot of the Arroyo Seco–edged out by pollution, junk and Avenues graffitti–until recent rehabilitation grants came in the form of The Arroyo Seco Watershed Coordination Program ($35,000) and The Central Arroyo Stream Restoration Program ($251,000). The grants were awarded to the Arroyo Seco Foundation, and they got to work asap to fix up the river. Hence the Chub-comeback. And the river’s lookin’ mighty nice, too. And some folks got some fine work out of it during a tough economic time. Until now.

Just a few days ago the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Conservation sent out orders (here & here) to cease activity on Arroyo Seco watershed management projects and–here’s the clincher–notified the river-rehabbers (who are not state employees) that the Arroyo Seco Foundation will not be paid for work already completed. WTF?!

Your tax dollars at work, ladies & gents, paying these fine folk in BallSacramento (heh) big fancy salaries to come to an agreement on the state budget. Yay!

So now how will the Arroyo Seco Foundation, a nonprofit organization, pay its workers and contractors and suppliers, who have already rendered services?

And–looking beyond the money issue–what will happen to the great progress that was being made in the Arroyo? Will the cease-and-desist-and-we’re-gonna-stop-paying-you order cause a big enough hiccup in the state & the Foundation’s paperwork & processes that the Foundation can no longer secure grants, or perhaps loses its current grants?

The full information is here at the Arroyo Seco Foundation’s site.