July 30, 2006

Top 10 Reasons to Live in California

The new roadtrip-comedy-drama Little Miss Sunshine - about a family that finds itself on a highway to California - led me to rediscover brainstorm notes from September 2005. These lists launched our move to Los Angeles six months later.

First, from Mrs. Newbie, her top ten reasons to live in Southern California:
  1. Smoking ban
  2. Humidity better for hair, nails, skin, allergies
  3. Ocean
  4. Produce
  5. Seafood
  6. Greater diversity of people than any place I've ever been
  7. No harsh winters
  8. New experiences
  9. It's a blue state
  10. Different job opportunities
And these reasons, some based on a one-time plan to move to San Diego rather than LA, belong to me:
  1. Hash House A Go Go
  2. Del Mar Race Track
  3. Beach
  4. Pacific Coast Highway
  5. Produce
  6. More 71-degree days per year than any place I've ever been
  7. In-N-Out Burger
  8. Fewer wardrobe transitions between indoors and outdoors
  9. Higher application-to-interview ratio
  10. Our godson

July 27, 2006

Atwater Chatter

What the people are saying in, around & about Atwater Village:

  • Rob Lowe's little bro Chad eats at Baja Fresh on Los Feliz Blvd.
  • Cookie contest loser - " I do know cookies, but clearly I don't know people" - tries to justify those citrus clouds
  • Up-and-coming areas really just industrial warehouses
  • Fictional hipster biker sends AV roommate on latte errand
  • Bigfoot Lodge patrons: Tidier than Silverlake dirtbags
  • Osteria Nonni "re-concepted" as Canele
  • $799,000

Onion Unfolds Without Me

For years - while Los Angeles chuckled only at computer monitors - readers in my old hometown could walk the streets of LoDo guffawing at one of 45,000 printed copies of the satirical newspaper The Onion.

Now Franklin Avenue reports that Los Angeles finally gets 50,000 of its own dead-tree editions, including an A.V. Club section non-satirically focused on LA music, movies and art. Alas, they'll be doing it without your humble Newbie, whose resume and clips package didn't survive the flood:

Jun 15, 2006: Thanks for applying for the position of Los Angeles city editor with The Onion A.V. Club. As you can imagine, we received a flood of resumes over just a couple of weeks - more than we've ever received for a job of this nature before. The quality of applicants has made it difficult to narrow down, and I'm sorry to report that we won't be able to consider you for the position. Thanks again, and good luck.

Ah, well. I may not be the editor of A.V. Club, but I'll always have A.V. Newbie. Who says onions have to make you cry.

Down By the River, Minus the Van

I've noticed a campsite - tent, stove, bicycles, boxes and belongings - below the Fletcher Street bridge along the west bank of the Los Angeles River. And I've seen a weathered woman crouching along a sliver of land below Atwater Village's pedestrian bridge. Little did I know they've nearly formed their own city council district. From the Los Angeles Times (via KTLA):

They are among a dozen or so drifters and homeless people who live on the small islands that sprout from the undergrowth along the mostly concrete-lined riverbed near downtown...

"It's just life down here like anywhere else," says [Robin] Country, who has lived on the island near Atwater Village on and off for the last seven years...

Country says no matter how much care the city takes in removing them from the river, they'll still be out of a home. "It scares the hell out of me to go back up there," he says, referring to the streets...

Los Angeles police recently launched a river patrol, dispatching officers on bike and foot to monitor the segment of the channel from the Pasadena Freeway to Los Feliz Boulevard.

[Photo from Los Angeles Times]

Village Night Out

Sounds cozy, doesn't it? This handy-dandy easy-to-print black-and-white flyer tells all about Atwater Village's participation in National Night Out. But for those with limited attention spans, know that for two hours next Tuesday neighborly commotion replaces spooky isolation at Red Car River Park. "Celebs" in attendance: LA City Council President and recent Beirut visitor Eric Garcetti, and local tipster and LAPD senior lead officer Gina Chovan. Here's a map. With ants on it.

July 21, 2006

Dtox Day Spa Opens

Based on these last couple of posts, you'd think the chamber of commerce is taking over the Atwater Village Newbie blog. Alas, no, it's just a newsy week for trendy businesses in the hood. Especially those eschewing capital letters.

  • dtox day spa open house July 22 & 23, 10am-4pm
  • 3206 Los Feliz Blvd., 323-665-3869

Scout It Out

From the July 20 Los Angeles Times:

Best known for its outdoor furniture from the 1950s and '60s, the Atwater Village store Grain has added something new to its mix: tables and chests by abstract painter Todd Johnson... 3135 Glendale Blvd., (323) 664-3130.

More about Grain - one of those shops we AVers are lucky to have within walking distance - from a piece last year in Daily Candy.

July 16, 2006

Atwater Village vs. Panorama City

In Atwater Village, there's a video store in a bricks-and-mortar establishment along a retail strip of Glendale Blvd. It features video selections like Failure to Launch, The Libertine and The Matador that were screening in cinemas approximately three to six months ago. It accepts a wide variety of payment options, including cash and credit cards.

In Panorama City, there's a video store in a cardboard box on the curb next to an apartment complex on Chase Street. It features video selections like Garfield 2, Nacho Libre, and You, Me & Dupree that are screening in cinemas now. It accepts cash.

Argument Ender of the Week

For all the Starbucks shenanigans (and Home Depot kvetching), from the Atwater Village business forum:

It could be worse - if you lived in Whittier you would be arguing about whether or not to put a prison in your neighborhood.

Just Who Is She Calling a Ho

The four-day-old Westward Ho blog has a solid Los Angeles blog listing. Also, dead-on depiction of Pazzo Gelato in Silver Lake - "a space the size of a neighborhood dry-cleaner." Just arriving in LA from back east, the Ho's a Newbie just like me. Some other new-to-me LA neighborhood blogs:

July 15, 2006

Nick of Time

Garcetti, second from left, the only one in perfect pose, in Beirut, from Flickr

June 29 - Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti leaves for Beirut to finalize historic sister city agreement

July 7 - Garcetti returns from Beirut

July 15 - Israeli military attacks Beirut

Sorry, sister.

Atwater Chatter

Here's what people are saying lately about the goings-on in Atwater Village (Baja Glendale, Far East Hollywood, Upper Frogtown, etc.) and environs:

  • No fewer than five Very Important Bloggers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) are bummed that Habibi's Cafe is mere Hollywood fakery. Any Middle-Eastern restaurateurs out there? Could be Famima!! big. Among VIBs, anyway
  • Teens heart AV library's manga influx
  • Ouch: Seven-hour tattoo
  • Award-winning, "420 friendly" writer ends three-year hotel stay, seeks change of scenery
  • Indochine part of perfect day in LA
  • Latest float in Prose Parade: "I drove Oree from the soot-scuffed 'hood to gentrified Atwater Village, where two-bedroom bungalows baked in the heat like turtles beside the LA River"
  • Stuck in AV on a hot day

July 13, 2006

Kist by LAist

Aww shucks, Zack. Ya should'na.

Parking Nonspot in Hollywood

I took a chance going to Kung Pao Kitty today. No, not the food. The parking.

I found a spot - make that a nonspot - along the north side of Hollywood Blvd., about halfway between Wilcox and Cahuenga.

It had white corner boundaries painted on the street. It was the right length and width. And the curb was uncolored. No green. No blue. No white or red. It wasn't in front of a driveway. Or a loading dock. Or a fire hydrant. Or a hooker.

The only difference: It had no parking meter.

I took my chances and pulled into the spot. I left for an hour. I came back, and no ticket, no scribbled post-it, no boot.

I feel lucky. And believe me I'll be on the hunt for other nonspots in LA. But I don't know if I should take my chances again.

Hot Sushi on the Sidewalk

My morning commute revealed workers outside Asia Los Feliz constructing what appears to be an outdoor patio space for Atwater Village's quarter-old restaurant.

Where I come from, a new patio is a good sign. It means at the very least the restaurant is doing OK with cash flow. And maybe that it needs more (relatively cheap) space.

But that's a busy intersection at Los Feliz and Glenfeliz, and I don't see much more than sidewalk width between the traffic and where the new patio will be.

Waiter, two samurai rolls. Hold the tailpipe.

July 11, 2006

Visitors from Lands Far and Near

This weekend the jeffreystravels blog came to discover Atwater Village. Highlight was the Rollin Pin Bakery on Glendale Blvd. Pros: clever signs. Cons: iced mochas. Maybe 1,700 more square feet of Starbucks will help after all.

Then, poor Miles has his dreams shattered after he discovers the unfortunate truth behind Habibi's Cafe, also on Glendale Blvd. It's all movie-set magic, I'm afraid. A falafel facade.

But if AmericanEast turns out to be some kind of Arab-American Pulp Fiction cult hit, our disappointed hunger may someday turn to hipster boasting.

Oh, you should have seen it, we'll say. That's exactly the spot where Tony Shaloub gets into it with Al Faris. Classic!

July 8, 2006

Newbie Restaurant Haikus

    some places to try
    my first week on a new job
    so bon appetit

    gingergrass: good shit
    though waitress sports a tattoo
    with "eat shit and die"

    cold treats, fast service
    from that pazzo gelato
    when they're not all stoned

    bacon on chicken
    avocado on romaine
    vermont on vermont

    the cops and drag queens
    must enjoy overpaying
    or bye-bye astro

Atwater Chatter

In and around Far East Hollywood:

Input This: The unambiguously-named No Home Depot Coalition will be in full force at the more diplomatically titled Fletcher Square Community Input Meeting, July 11, 7:00pm.

Monk in the Hood: The yummy Eating LA blog notes, "Did you think a new Middle Eastern restaurant was coming to Atwater? Well, not unless Tony Shalhoub is the head chef. The film AmericaEast, about Arab-Americans, constructed a realistic-looking restaurant set in the former Manila Oriental market space on Glendale Blvd." No word on what will come of Habibi's Falafel and Kabab after filming.

Abstract in Concrete: J Ferrari Gallery reception, July 8, 7:00pm.

What Stinks: LA blog Stinks Good has a page of reviews for eastside eateries.

Grande Priorities: War in Iraq, government phone taps, immigrants in slave labor, but Atwater Villagers are "organizing against the proposed Starbucks scheduled to go into the old Atwater Ranch Market site at glendale Blvd and Glenfeliz."

Like a Blind Archer Misses His Target:
What someone in Lawrence, Kansas misses about Atwater Village: tacos.

July 4, 2006

Check Hobo Village Down by the Tracks!

Gotta love that third-string news reporting and web-site updating you get at NBC 4 on a national holiday. The image of the kid - all his belongings carelessly slung over his shoulder - looks familiar. Is it from a classic film? I doubt it has much to do with the $105,000 reward for a recent triple murder in Los Angeles. Unless there's a semi-automatic weapon bundled in that handkerchief. Oh, that rascal!