All posts by tarabrown

I used to live in Venice, but now I'm in Silver Lake. Same girl, different location. For more about me me me, check out my About Me page, personal blog, and my tweets.

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

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


@iamwumrpres (I Am With You Mr. Pres) is President Obama’s “Twitter Army” led by drummer extraordinaire Ms. Sheila E. This army of drumming tweeters will march on January 2nd, 2011, the day before the Republican Party takes control of the House of Representatives.

Don’t bring your signs, just your tweeting device of choice and join, Mikal Kamil and Jimmy Jean-Louis who dreamt up this Mass Twitter/Viral March. “The goal of @iamwuMRPRES is to amass 100 million tweets by 2012 and to build the President’s indestructible twitter army for the 2012 Election.”

* Admittedly I’m a tad confused because Sheila E. is leading a drum corps. but the event is dubbed “No Signs, Just Tweets.” Anyway…

On January 2nd, 3:00PM, the march will begin at Sunset and Vine, ending in front of the CNN building on Sunset and Cahuenga. Sheila E will lead the W/U MR. PRES “Twitter Countdown”. After 10-9-8-7-6-5-4- 3-2-1, Obama’s Twitter Army will shout “ W/U MR. PRES!” and tweet #iamwumrpres to

Follow @iamwuMRPRES and Like (or dislike) on Facebook.

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

Venice Garden & Home Tour

Venice Garden Home TourOn the heels of the Venice Spring Home Tour comes the Venice Garden & Home Tour.

The tour takes place May 1st from 10:00AM to 5:00PM and will feature 25-30 gardens and homes in Venice and surrounding neighborhoods.

Tickets are $60 in advance and $70 on the day of the tour which starts at the Las Doradas Children’s Center at the corner of Broadway & Pleasantview. Directions are here.

This is an annual event to support the Neighborhood Youth Association’s Las Doradas Children’s Center.

Venice Spring Home Tour – Sunday April 11th

AIA Website

I walk around Venice every day and there are some fabulous homes in the area. On Sunday, April 11th, 11AM – 4PM you can the tour homes designed by up and coming architects such as Barbara Bestor, Trevor Abramson, Douglas Teiger, Patrick Tighe, and Glen Irani.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is selling tickets for $85 at the first house on the tour:

Gelner Residence
3672 Inglewood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

The Architects/Designers and Docents and will be at each house to answer your questions.

For more information on this tour and others in Los Angeles, head over to the AIA website.

Venice Neighborhood Council – Candidates Forum

If you are a Venice resident, tonight is your chance to listen to the 43 candidates running for the Venice Neighborhood Council Board. If you want change, this is a great place to go and ensure the right people are going to represent Venice and make headway on issues that are important to you. The actual election takes place on April 11th.

Venice Neighborhood Council Candidates Forum
April 8th, 6:30-9:30pm
Westminster Elementary School Auditorium
1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd enter from Westminster
Venice, California, CA, 90291

More info on the VNC website.

Kid Clothing/Toy/Books Etc. Swap

It’s incredible how many different ways you can recycle, share, and swap items these days. I just had a baby one month ago and have quickly realized how fast they outgrow clothes, toys, diapers and other expensive items. I’m fortunate to be part of a group of ladies that swap baby items and it has been such a cost and storage saver.

If you have baby items that are collecting dust in the garage, or in need of some things, here’s your chance to clear the clutter and save some bucks.

DATE: Saturday, April 24th
TIME: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
PLACE: Douglas Park in Santa Monica
Wilshire and 25th St
Santa Monica, CA 90403

We will be set up closer to the North side of the park. (Close to the playground.)

WHAT: bring your old baby/kid clothes/books and toys etc – put them in the pile according to size and take out what you need from the next size up!

Kids welcome, if you promise to watch them.

We need as many parents as possible so please spread the word to your other friends. If you belong to a list, please post the information.

All items left at the end of the swap will be donated to charity.

Any questions, please contact Snow at

Venice Neighborhood Council Elections – April 11th

Email from the Venice Neighborhood Council:

The final list of candidates is now available – see Count them – that’s 43 candidates! More than any other Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles. Thank you Candidates!

Everyone will have an opportunity to meet the candidates at the VNC Candidate Forum on April 8th. The forum will be held in the Westminster Elementary School Auditorium, 1010 Abbot Kinney, Blvd. (parking and auditorium entrance off Westminster) starting at 6:30pm and ending around 9:30pm.

The Election will be held on Sunday, April 11th from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Oakwood Park Rec Center at 767 California Avenue (enter from 7th). Everyone who wants to vote will have to register, so be sure to bring your ID. See BoardElections for ID requirements and a map of Venice.

I Spent My First Year in LA Eating

Yesterday marked my one year anniversary in Los Angeles and when I thought about how I spent it, I realized I spent the majority of my spare time in restaurants. I think a great way to get to know a city as large as Los Angeles is to seek out great food and boy did I do that!

I’m vegetarian and my dude Sean is vegan so we probably do a lot more scouring than omnivores do. Vegan does not equal rabbit food as so many like to joke, in fact, I believe that vegans have a much more refined palate than non-vegans. And when vegans get together, 99.9% of the time they will talk about food and where to get the good stuff.

Here is a list of my favorite restaurants that we frequent and that serve vegan food (in alphabetical order):

BabyCakes: Desserts: Downtown: Cupcakes Cupcakes Cupcakes. Oh they also serve donuts and cookies and brownies. Vegan and gluten free options. The gals who work there are adorable.

Bawarchi Indian Kitchen: Indian: Culver City: I recommend getting the $8 dinner. Your taste buds, stomach, and wallet will thank you.

Bulan Thai Vegetarian Kitchen: Thai: West Hollywood and Silver Lake: I could eat their chicken satay all the day long. Mmm, I want some just thinking about it.

M Cafe: Macrobiotics: Culver City and West Hollywood: The Tofu Benedict and French Toast are a great way to start the day. Their tempeh bacon is my favorite. I took a class on how to make it but haven’t actually attempted it yet…

The Meet Market... Continue reading I Spent My First Year in LA Eating

New Venice Community Garden

For many of us without yards, the idea of growing a vegetable garden seems like a far-fetched idea. Not anymore, a couple of Venice residents have a found a private plot of land which can be rented and turned into a community garden. There are a lot of Farmer’s Markets on the Westside that make buying fresh, organic veggies really easy, but I think growing your own garden is a great idea for a family looking to spend more time together, learn how and when to grow veggies and flowers, and make new friends.

According to Kip Wood, “each plot will be about 75 sq. ft and cost $25 per month — we will have roughly 60 plots available. This is not city land, but a privately-owned lot that we will be renting, so rent is a little higher than city-owned Community Gardens, but at $25/month it’s still a great chance for all of us to grow food, develop a new community and create a place of beauty and magic.”

If you are interested in meeting to discuss the timeline, the needs of the garden and to assign positions and duties contact Kip Wood and Fritzi Horstman (kipwood23 at g mail dot com).

Photo Courtesy of The Commons Photo Courtesy of Toban Black
Photo Courtesy of The Commons Photo Courtesy of Toban Black

Neighbors in Venice Need to Band Together

For those that caught this post before I took it down, you might be wondering what the heck is going on. Well, I was strongly encouraged to take it down it because I could be construed as a “crusader” and trying to bring change to Venice could stir up the wrong pots. At the time my husband was out of town and being pregnant I didn’t want to take any undue risks. Since then I attended the Candlelight Memorial Service for Eun Y. Kang where many community members strongly advocated for forming Neighborhood Watches, and so I decided to post this again. I’m no crusader, I just want to ensure that the neighborhood I live in is safe for myself, my family and my neighbors. Both Assistant Commanding Office Andrew Smith of the LAPD South Bureau and Councilman Bill Rosendahl said that Neighborhood Watches should be your first line of defense in conjunction with the police. That answered my first question in the first paragraph of my original post.

Let’s try this again, shall we….

Is it time to consider the LAPD our backup plan as opposed to our first option for protection? With the budget cuts and considerably reduced force in neighborhoods like Venice, neighbors need to become more neighborly and look after each other. I’m not saying that citizens of Venice should work against the police, I’m saying that we need to strongly consider coming up with a new first line of defense in order to keep ourselves and our families safe.

Last night I came home to find a homeless man and his dog in my carport. It was dark and raining very hard, and I was alone. I called out of my car to the man bundled in his blanket to “please leave now.” He merely grunted. I thought about just parking my car and walking past him to my door because he was probably harmless and trying to keep dry. But then I thought about my unborn baby and thought about the horrific death of Eun Y. Kang just a few days before and I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. My landlord, husband and friends all advised me to call the police so I did. The dispatcher said the patrol car was on it’s way. I waited half an hour and called back and explained I was pregnant and scared to enter my home. The dispatcher said the patrol car was on it’s way. I called back after an hour and the dispatcher said the policemen had a higher priority call and didn’t know how long they would be but he was willing to stay on the phone with me while I went into my house. I hung up. I was tired and just wanted to go to bed, so I turned my high beams on the man and yelled again “please leave!” He finally did. Thankfully the incident ended friendly, but I am also very glad that I didn’t take any chances. Since I have told my story to some people, I have heard about cases that weren’t nearly as friendly. One woman told me about a time a homeless man in her carport was asked to leave and responded by “…smashing my garage door, threatening to burn down my house and torch it, swearing…”

I’m not targeting the homeless population in particular because there are also problems with drug trafficking, gangs, “hot prowls” and the list goes on. Just read the forums on Yo Venice! or the alerts on Voice of the Canals. I have a friend that literally packed up and left Venice for Santa Monica where they have their own police department because her and her family couldn’t take the drugs and violence that were happening outside her door.

I no longer go outside at night without an escort because I’ve heard of the increase in crime in Venice. Many women and families in Venice share this fear. I know many people say that’s just how Venice is. But does it need to be? Do we merely sit back and accept things how they are? I say NO!

When I was in San Francisco, I lived on Shotwell Street, known for prostitutes and drug trafficking. I joined the Shotwell Street Neighborhood Watch and we met regularly with the Mission Police Captain. Just before I left San Francisco the neighbors were creating committees to brainstorm different ways to prevent everything from bicycle theft to drug and alcohol abatement. Captain Tacchini himself said, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” and was referring to citizens who get together and engage in regular conversation with the police and work to solve problems together.

The woman that had the unfortunate encounter with the homeless man said that her neighbors in Venice banded together and hired a security services company to patrol and offer armed response for a very minimal monthly payment per person. These armed responders come out to move homeless people sleeping on your property and other incidents that make you feel unsafe. The Venice Canals has this type of armed response too.

I would like to join a Neighborhood Watch program on my street in Venice and work with the LAPD to improve the safety in the area I live in. Is there an organization that helps you to create neighborhood watches? Do I need to start one? I looked on the Venice Neighborhood Council website and didn’t see anything on this topic. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough. If you have some insight, please share in the comments. Since I originally posted this, I have done some research and found out that the LAPD has information on starting a Neighborhood Watch. You get some neighbors together and then talk to the LAPD to make it official and get them involved. Some great tips on preventing crime in your home and information on Neighborhood Watches can be found on the LAPD website.

My next step is to start recruiting my neighbors to start a Neighborhood Watch and go from there. Whether you live in Venice or not, I encourage you to join or start your own Neighborhood Watch.