November 30, 2006

Better Than Being Recently Hip-Replaced

Members of the Southern California press take a day off from drooling over Asia Los Feliz to slap some saliva across the street.

From a Whole Life Times write-up of Dtox Day Spa:

...Happily a new spa in the recently hipster-ized Atwater Village offers eastsiders a tranquil respite from abusive city life. In their ample 6,000 square feet of exposed brick and lofty ceilings, Dtox has created an oasis of steam and sauna rooms, soothing waterfalls and a spacious atrium offering comfy couches, tea and fresh fruit.

Let's hope this means Dtox rid itself of the "abusive city life" at its front desk. Nothing erases the benefits of a $100 massage faster than a persnickety receptionist.

November 29, 2006

Without a Valley to Call Home

In a factoid unlikely to appear on many real-estate brochures, Los Angeles Magazine's new Curbed LA wannabe "Ask Chris" column* draws a line around two northeast burbs.

Q: Is Burbank in the Valley or not?

A: Not only is Burbank considered part of the Valley, but so is Glendale. 'We redefined it ten years ago,' says Bruce Ackerman, president of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, who says the Valley's eastern edge stops right around the 2 freeway.

Also "right around" the 2 freeway - or as some suspect signs call it, Interstate 2 - is our banana-shaped LA neighborhood, Atwater Village. Yet the Economic Alliance map - showing in yellow the City of LA portion of the Valley - does not "redefine" Atwater into the SFV. (Slide up close and squint. Atwater would be below those gray blobs in the lower right corner.)

I guess for now we'll have to be satisfied merely being a client state of Los Feliz.

* Link to column not available at Yes, I re-typed the Q&A.

November 28, 2006

Someone Might Be Paying for Your Candy

More and more I see journalists and bloggers (including yours truly) quoting recommendations from Daily Candy, a free email newsletter with 12 city editions. Just today, in fact, a Daily Candy Los Angeles rep is scheduled to appear on NBC4's Your LA.

Let's say you own a shop or sell a product in LA. How can you get on Daily Candy? From their editorial policy:

No one can pay to be featured on DailyCandy. That's what advertising is for, and it's always labeled as such. Selling ourselves (literally) would destroy the legitimacy, integrity, and fun of DailyCandy.

But... And there's always a but...

That said, on occasion, we will send out 'Dedicated' e-mails on behalf of sponsors. You'll recognize them from the subject line: 'DailyCandy Dedicated E-mail.' Yes, these are paid for.

Yes, paid for. And sometimes arriving within minutes of a non-dedicated, non-paid-for edition.

  • Nov. 17, 11:06am: DailyCandy Dedicated - Philips Sonicare, the most advanced toothbrush ever
  • Nov. 17, 11:35am: DailyCandy - Townsend Sakai, a new Long Beach greeting card company
  • Nov. 21, 9:24am: DailyCandy Dedicated - Sears
  • Nov. 21, 11:40am: DailyCandy - Rings by You Macbeth
  • Nov. 28, 2:11am: DailyCandy Dedicated - Becca from
  • Nov. 28, 3:38am: DailyCandy - Sample Sale Joy

At a glance, especially looking at the body of these emails, it's hard to tell what's paid for and what's not. Same layout. Similar writing style. Just those tiny "dedicated" disclaimers in the subject and next to the headline. (The home page offers no such distinction, simply listing both of today's DailyCandys side by side.)

If you ask me, this candy is getting too sweet. And a bit more than "daily." Unsubscribe.

November 27, 2006

Third in Line at Baby Gap

Short Shameful Confession: That was me, the middle of the night after Thanksgiving, the first male inside Baby Gap at the Carlsbad Premium Outlets Midnight Madness sale.
Back in Colorado, we were not given the opportunity to part with so much money so early in the morning. Nor would we have stood outside for hours in November air to get an additional 40% off everything at Banana Republic. Frostbite wasn't worth it.

Quote of the night, from the Baby Gap manager, into her headset: "Someone help me figure out if there's too many people in here."

November 22, 2006

Gilmore Girls Will Have to Wait

While the rest of the country found out how Rory Gilmore took the news of her mother's surprise wedding, Los Angeles took it in the balls.

The basketballs, that is. The Lakers-Clippers match bumped KTLA's Tuesday prime-time programming, including Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars, to Saturday.

But that doesn't stop KTLA's Web site from running the same cutesy quiz - spoilers and all - as its CW network sister stations, who have already moved on to promoting next Tuesday's new episode.

I guess that's what happens when one of your favorite shows barely makes the Top 90 in Nielsen Ratings.

Bowing in the Direction of Los Feliz

LA City Beat publishes the umpteenth review of Asia Los Feliz, describing the restaurant's location as "in Atwater, which we Felicianos* like to think of as our client state."

* Felicianos are residents of Los Feliz, apparently, not fans of blind Puerto Rican singer Jose Feliciano

Nonhistoric Very Little Filipinotown

A throwaway song, "Bebot," from a year-old Black Eyed Peas album, becomes an anthem for California's Filipino American community. From the LA Times:

So begins the story of Allan Pineda, a member of the hip-hop band the Black Eyed Peas, who two years ago wrote a song about his journey from a poverty-stricken district in the Philippines to Los Angeles' Atwater Village...

The Filipino American community... the second-largest Asian group in California behind the Chinese... have never established set 'Filipino' neighborhoods - the equivalent of Monterey Park for Chinese Americans or Little Saigon for Vietnamese Americans.

There is a historic Filipinotown west of downtown LA, but the U.S. census found that less than 15% of its residents are actually Filipino...

Hudgens was living in the Wilshire district at the time but decided to look for a neighborhood where there were mostly Filipinos. The best he could find was a block in Atwater Village, a diverse section of northeast LA that included some Filipinos...

He wanted to pen a song about his roots that people could dance to. It took him about two days in the band's sound studio in Atwater Village.

UPDATE: A stat to back "Bebot." According to the 2000 Los Angeles Almanac, of Atwater Village's 8,042 neighborhood residents, 1,028 are Filipino. That's about 13 percent.

November 21, 2006

Atwater Village, Back in Time, Via Google Books

A perusal of Google Book Search brings me back in time, decades before I added my 1,100 square feet of yuppie do-dads to the gentrification of Atwater Village. And I don't even have to read a whole book to do it.

From Education of a Felon, I get a page about the "fierce summer of '43" and "a cocktail lounge on Fletcher Drive near the gigantic Van de Kamp bakery." Is the cocktail lounge still there? The bakery is not.

Then in The Clustered World, I find a section about the Atwater Village of 2000, just six years ago, where "the American Dream lives on streets where a family of four rents a one-bedroom apartment with a sloping floor and the children find safety from rival gangs at a busy rec center supervised by protective eyes."

Another one-bedroom apartment, this one on a page from Dreaming: Hard Luck and Good Times in America, sits "down by the Los Angeles River, close to Griffith Park, a blue-collar section in the middle of nowhere."

Finally, in I Am Alive in Los Angeles, the author maps us into the "Eastside indie circuit, a magical realm of creativity" with "undercover 'hoods like Elysian Valley and Atwater Village."

Maybe you can judge a 'hood by its excerpts.

Three Days Later, Standing Is the Hard Part

After a walk down the entire length of Wilshire Blvd. - with no training or preparation, except to buy a new pair of shoes - I admit I could walk a little more.

If I can stand up first.

The $40 New Balances kept my feet comfortable (and blister-free) but they couldn't protect my 36-year-old knees from 16.2 miles of Los Angeles concrete.

Good news: it only hurts to stand when I've been sitting a while, like when I'm at work or at the movies.
But really, how can I not go to the movies?

[Group photo - shot by passing tourist at West end of Wilshire - from Scott]

November 19, 2006

Canele Googlers, Ye Shall Receive

No Google searches bring more visitors to this blog than those including the word "Canele." Until Mrs. Newbie and I - along with some new friends made on the Wilshire walk - get a chance to try this new California-Mediterranean bistro at 3219 Glendale Blvd., here's what some early adopters report:

  • "Canele is already off to a very appealing start in a neighborhood starved for places that get it right." [Los Feliz Ledger]
  • "If this were your dinner party, and your kitchen guru of choice is Julia rather than Marcella or Madhur, this is the kind of food worthy of the good china." [LA Weekly]
  • "Open only a few weeks, it's still green, but Canele could be just what's needed to rev up the neighborhood." [LA Times]
  • "A very encouraging and tasty start for Canele. Can't wait to return!" [Miles Think]
  • "Food was well prepared but the menu just didn't seem inspired to me." [Chowhound]

BONUS: Daily Candy posts chef Corina Weibel's pissaladiere recipe.

Nothing Is Certain But Lattes and Taxes

Despite hairdresser rumors to the contrary, the space next to the space housing Atwater Village's second Starbucks store will not may not be a wine bar after all.

The Glendale Blvd. location is home to Atwater's first H&R Block office.

Wilshire Power Walk

I grudgingly accept the blogging hierarchy in Los Angeles.

I know that in the Blog-LA-sphere* some blogs - Defamer, Curbed, LAist- lead the pack in readership, revenue, frequency of posting and usage of multi-syllable adverbs.

But I don't know what kind of mad power grab would let a blogger believe he could lead two dozen of us on a 16.2-mile walk.







As an LA blogging newbie, I had little choice but to submit to the eight-hour concrete march yesterday.

And except for a couple of overstretched knees, the most memorable parts of strolling LA's Grand Concourse were the beginning (downtown, Park Plaza Hotel, Koreatown) and the end (Santa Monica).

They offered the best sight-seeing - and the fewest strange looks.

That whole stretch in the middle - Mid-Wilshire, Beverly Hills, Westwood - are best viewed by car. (Explains a bit about west-side LA culture, yes?)

Speaking of west-siders, the Ladies Who Lunch at Beverly Hills sidewalk cafes seemed disconcerted by the sight of 20+ marchers. Especially when they found out we were walking for no reason whatsoever.

We needed a cause, they said.

So thanks, ladies, for the suggestion of "overcrowded women's prisons." I'll think of them when I spend the only cash raised on the Wilshire walk: a $1 bill I found blowing underfoot on a Koreatown sidewalk.

November 17, 2006

Leaving Pasadena for Nirvana

Exasperated with Hollywood's "exaggerated ballyhoo" and Glendale's "relative boredom," the food critic for Pasadena Weekly falls under a Zen spell in Atwater Village.
I had not yet reached nirvana, but when I arrived at Atwater Village for lunch in the reputedly 'Zen-inspired setting' of Asia Los Feliz restaurant, I felt that something good was coming to pass...

(In my early review, it never did.)

And in what becomes a mini-profile of AV's trendiest block - till Starbucks and H&R Block open on Glendale Blvd., that is - Dan O'Heron ventures beyond Asia's valet:
I decided to see if Zen vibes escaped the restaurant. Next door, at the pastoral Rancho Los Feliz apartments, a woman told me she didn't mind high rents but objected to the $400 deposit she had to pay for her cat.

Yeah, same reason we didn't want to live there.


November 16, 2006

Doing My Part for the Blog Chart

I moved here in March 2006, started blogging on Atwater Village Newbie the same month. But it took a few months to rev up this Technorati chart showing posts that mention Atwater Village.

November 13, 2006

This is the Ice and These Are the Penguins

Halfway through a preview for the movie "Happy Feet," Mrs. Newbie and I spontaneously uttered the same words: "The Point."

Does anyone else remember that kids album and movie from the early 1970s? Remember the poor kid, Oblio? Meet Mumble.

"The Point" (1973)"Happy Feet" (2006)
Animated fable with songs by Harry Nilsson, pop royalty
Animated fable with songs by Queen, Prince and other pop royalty
Story of Oblio, a boy with no point on his headStory of Mumble, a penguin with no song in his heart
Oblio is banished from the land of Point
Mumble is banished from the land of penguins
Upon banishment, Oblio finds a friend in The Rock ManUpon banishment, Mumble finds a friend in a Rockhopper Penguin
Oblio asked, "Ever been to New Dehli?"Mumble makes friends with Adelie
Main character voiced by Mike Lookinland, boyish actor known as Bobby on "The Brady Bunch," a TV show popular in the 1970sMain character voiced by Elijah Wood, boyish actor known as Frodo in "Lord of the Rings," a movie popular with anyone born in the 1970s
Home video version includes narration originally performed by Ringo Starr
Songs include "Golden Slumbers," originally by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr
Looks like a cross between Peter Max and "Rocky & Bullwinkle"Looks like a cross between "Shrek" and "The Polar Express"
Harry Nilsson was the composer for "Popeye" starring Robin WilliamsThree characters - Ramon, Lovelace and Cletus - are voiced by Robin Willams

"This is the town and these are the people. This is the town where the people all stay. That's the way they wanted it. That's the way it's going to stay."

November 10, 2006

Mrs. Newbie Wants to Know, Part 2

When I drive down Los Feliz in the morning, I see the stroller moms training for their next baby.

In Silver Lake I see groups of people running, either from the cops or for some type of training.

And across the river I hear the sounds of whistles - which I misinterpret as rape whistles - from soccer matches.

So now I want to know, does Atwater Village have any regularly scheduled group activities, besides the annual cookie contest or graffiti clean-up day?

How about a rugby match with teams from North, South and Central AV?

Or a walking group?

Or golf on Wednesday at Los Feliz Golf Course? It's cheap, easy and a quick round.

Comment below or email us.

    Previously on Mrs. Newbie Wants to Know: Buy Candy?

November 7, 2006

Surreal Things About Voting in California

1. Schwarzenegger. On a ballot. Don't tell me everyone's used to that already.

2. Third-party candidates. For nearly every race. As a closet card-carrying third-party member, voting straight down the line has never been easier.

3. The 10-second wait. From the barrage of media, you'd think there'd at least be a line at lunchtime.

4. It's 95 degrees. In November. Voting or not, that's surreal.

5. Ink dots. The whole time I think I'm punching holes in the ballot card. Nope.

UPDATE: Mrs. Newbie was so elated by seeing a sci-fi character on her ballot that she took a photo from her cell phone.

November 3, 2006

My Favorite Thing About ArcLight Parking

My favorite thing about the seven-floor ArcLight Cinemas parking garage is watching people get on the elevator - and ride one whole floor - to go to 24 Hour Fitness.

If our modern gyms cannot train us for the rigors of parking-garage staircases, really, what good are they?