March 30, 2007

Smoke Over Atwater, Fire In the Sky

IT LOOMS ORANGE over us, the fire burning right now on the other side of Griffith Park. Sirens all over. Copters in the air. I am feverishly uploading photos to this new Flickr set. Stay tuned.
UPDATE 2:45PM - Seven photos loaded

3:05PM - National news: "Fire threatens Hollywood sign"

3:10PM - Local TV: fire contained to north side of Hollywood Hills, away from sign; take THAT, red states

3:20PM - Cats sleeping through whole thing!

3:29PM - Thumbnails added below

3:33PM - CBS2: 150 acres burning, cause under investigation, origin behind Oakwood Apartments on Barham; 39 companies responding, six helicopters

3:43PM - Caren: new shots from 17th floor, Renaissance Hollywood

3:48PM - Great shots from other side of hills, hereinvannuys

3:52PM - And from roof of Capitol Records

4:04PM - CBS2: fire could be contained by sundown

6:30PM - Dramatic new photos (and some of mine) at

Three Tiny Helicopters Up the Block In the Sun Orangeout Over the Trees

Great Moments in Email Marketing

Great Moments in Email Marketing
FROM THE PEOPLE WHO bring you the Los Angeles Film Festival.

March 29, 2007

Two Heartbeats Beat As One

EXPANSION NEWS FROM Atwater Village's biggest and best dance, exercise, yoga and ballet workshop, studio and family center and school:
Heartbeat House 2 will be celebrating its official opening this Saturday night! Performances, drinks, and mingling will all be included in this festive affair celebrating the opening of not just Heartbeat House 2, but also various other photography, design, and art studios located in the same building...

Open House: Saturday March 31, 6:00pm
3191 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village [map]
Though the "mega" housing development was stalled in that neck of the Village, it looks like other neighborhood businesses are going ahead with their own Casitas Avenue projects.

Cop Tipping Nothing Like Cow Tipping

LOS ANGELES POLICE OFFICERS are in Atwater Village today putting the "serve" back in "to protect and to serve" with the Tip-a-Cop program. Come watch cops juggle buns and guns at Mimi's Cafe. All tips go to local Special Olympics programs.
Tip-a-Cop Dinner
Mimi's Cafe
2925 Los Feliz Boulevard
March 29
11:00am to 3:00pm

March 28, 2007

LA Times Sports Site Goes to Highest Bidder?
IT LOOKS LIKE THE VALUE of re-directing this URL - - to The Sports Network is more valuable than retaining Los Angeles Times sports readers online. At least that's the theory put forth by Mark Cuban. But we here in LA just know it's just par for the course, excuse the pun, for

March 27, 2007

Five Thousand Views and Counting

Path of Friends
EARLIER TODAY MY Atwater Village Newbie photostream earned its 5,000th view on Flickr. Sorry, viewer, no balloons or Disney trips. Maybe at 10,000.

My most popular image - with more than 15% of total views - is that stunning shot of the old Pacific Electric red car on a steel bridge over Fletcher Drive, courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library.

My newest, Path of Friends, is supposed to be more of a mystery. I added it to the Guess Where LA pool tonight. But I have a hunch it'll be guessed by morning.
UPDATE! The location has been guessed. This is the Path of Friends at the entrance to Shane's Inspiration playground in Griffith Park. Again, no prizes. But thanks for playing.

Burbank IKEA Nickling Customers, Plans Diming Them Soon

I HADN'T BEEN TO OUR closest IKEA store, the one in beautiful downtown Bubank, for a while. But it seems to me last time I went those handy, large plastic IKEA bags, the ones into which you stuff your own stuff, holding up the line whilst cashiers impatiently gossip amongst themselves, were free. No cost. Piled at the far end of the conveyor belt, awaiting your Swedish-themed doodads, for no additional charge.

No more. Now the plastic bags are five cents. And they've been relocated. Now they're at the front end of the conveyor belt. And the cashier impatiently points you toward them and then rings them up, one nickel at a time.

Help keep costs low, IKEA implore on signs throughout the store. OK, I'm game. But please assure me you're not trying to lower your reputation at the same time.

Where 'Soon' Means 'Come Back Next Year'

WHILE THE NEIGHBORHOOD waits and waits and waits more than seven months, so far, for the new Starbucks on Glendale Blvd., yummy things are going on up the block at Atwater Village fave Kaldi Coffee. From Chowhound:
Kaldi (3147 Glendale Blvd.) is my regular place for coffee since it's so close to my house. I bypassed my usual (expensive and sweet) coconut mocha and tried their "cold press coffee" something they had been touting with a little info card on the counter.

Apparently it's popular in the Midwest. Basically, you soak coffee grounds in cold water overnight, then when you filter out the coffee, you are left with a concentrated cold coffee. You dilute it with water to serve. To serve hot, they steam water and add it to the syrup.

I have to say, it was a really great cup of coffee. There was very little bitterness and it's gentler on the stomach. It's also way cheaper than a mocha!

Kaldi roasts all their own beans... and they pull a decent espresso too. A new Starbucks is opening a few doors down, but as long as Kaldi starts accepting credit cards, I think they'll survive.

Update on Cole Massie, Neighborhood Superkid

JUST BECAUSE HIS EPISODE of TLC's "My Life As a Child" has already aired doesn't mean we've seen the last of this cable-ready Atwater Village youngster. Here's an update:
I thought I should let you know Cole was nominated (by me) and has been entered to Karate Angel's 2007 Karate Kids Hall of Fame. You can read the entry here.

There has been much talk about him on and His entry by me to Karate Angels Kids Hall of Fame has granted me Sensei of the Month and Club of the Month on their site. Althought I think I was just doing my job pointing out a very inspiring kid to the world, I most humbly accept that award. I do hope news of his award reaches him some day, as I really don't know if they contact the winners or not.

In any case it's a good update to add to your blog. He is a wonderful kid and an inspiration to all... I know he wants to be just another kid... But I hope he knows to so many he is so much more.

- Richard Favinger Jr., Youth Instructor, Webmaster, Pottstown Judo Club
TLC has also added a post-filming update from Cole here.

Neighborhood Signs A to Z

Welcome to Atwater Village
LA CITY NERD IS CALLING FOR photographs of all 178 Los Angeles neighborhood signs and has a Flickr group dedicated to the cause. I already submitted this photo of an Atwater Village sign on Glendale Blvd., and placed it on the Flickr map. The challenge is on.

March 21, 2007

Atwater Chatter - Spring Cleaning Edition

JUST A SAMPLE OF WHAT people on the Internets are saying about Atwater Village, also known as Baja Glendale, also known as the neighborhood formerly adjacent to Tropico.

March 20, 2007

Maybe She Knows Silver Lake Is No Good

Any Winehouse Tour Rider
COULD ROCK CHANTEUSE Amy Winehouse not get a decent restaurant recommendation in Silver Lake for tonight? Why else would her Spaceland show, as LAist and Losanjealous report, get canceled mere hours in advance?

Attention venue managers! For future reference, page 4 of Winehouse's tour rider clearly demands "recommendations of GOOD QUALITY restaurants... Chinese, Mexican, grill... Anything good really..."

Surely there must be something in these parts. I guess we'll see if she makes it to Jimmy Kimmel Live tomorrow.

Back on TiVo Bandwagon

Back on TiVo Bandwagon
THIS TAKES SOME OF the sting out of committing to a three-year subscription on my new dual-tuner TiVo. This morning I rented "Idiocracy" online from Amazon Unbox for $3.99. By noon the movie was waiting on my TiVo. It will stay there up to 30 days. When I hit play, I have 24 hours to finish it. Fair enough, TiVo. Fair enough.

Only 25 Days Till Great Termite Swarm of 2007

The Termites Are Coming
WITH ALARMING SPECIFICITY, this Terminix brochure arrived in the mail. "According to our experts," it warns, "homes in the 90039 area are 2 times more likely to suffer a termite infestation that the average home nationwide."

How do they know? Footnote: "Infestation calculation is based on an algorithm using data from the EEA and Terminix International."

Right. Who's the EEA? In any event, this Termite Infestation Probability Map shows Terminix may be right. I mean, California is at least twice as dark as, say, Idaho.

They go on: "And now, with termite swarm season predicted to start on 4/14/2007, it's even more critical to know that your home has Ultimate Protection."

It's a Biblical plague, Los Angeles, right between Easter and Tax Day. Again, how do they know? "Swarm predictions based on historical data." Right. Just like Easter.

March 17, 2007

One Year Later, Still a Newbie

ONE YEAR AND THREE DAYS to be precise since my first Atwater Village Newbie post. Thanks for having us, Los Angeles!

March 16, 2007

How Trendy Can We Get

LAST YEAR WE MOVED HERE to Los Angeles. We weren't the only ones. What helped the city cross the 4 million population mark in 2006, Curbed LA reports, was U-Haul.

LA was the number one destination for U-Haul moves. And since #47, Van Nuys, is a district within a region within the city of Los Angeles, it makes the lead over Houston, of all places, that much greater. We're Number One Plus!

      U-Haul Top 50 U.S. Destination Cities
January - December 2006

2. HOUSTON, Texas 27. ANAHEIM, Calif.
4. CHICAGO, Ill. 29. SAN ANTONIO, Texas
5. SACRAMENTO, Calif. 30. NASHVILLE, Tenn.
6. ORLANDO, Fla. 31. COLUMBUS, Ohio
10. TAMPA, Fla. 35. BOSTON, Mass.
11. DENVER, Colo. 36. SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.
13. DETROIT, Mich. 38. RALEIGH, N.C.
15. LAS VEGAS, Nev. 40. OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.
16. SEATTLE, Wash. 41. MANHATTAN, N.Y.
17. MIAMI, Fla. 42. CINCINNATI, Ohio
18. SAN DIEGO, Calif. 43. FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.
19. PORTLAND, Ore. 44. TUCSON, Ariz.
20. SAN JOSE, Calif. 45. RIVERSIDE, Calif.
22. FORT WORTH, Texas 47. VAN NUYS, Calif.
23. AUSTIN, Texas 48. MEMPHIS, Tenn.
Of course we didn't rent a U-Haul to move from #11 to #1. We used Budget Rentals. And our truck broke down three times. Let that be a lesson.

March 15, 2007

German Documentarian Substance War: LA 1, NY 0

Substance War: LA 1, NY 0
FROM HIS HOME IN THE Hollywood Hills, filmmaker Werner Herzog gets grizzly in the April 2007 Esquire:
"Los Angeles is the city with the most substance in the United States - cultural substance. There is a competition between New York and Los Angeles, but New York only consumes culture and borrows it from Europe. Things get done in Los Angeles."
Imagine him saying it in the sharp German accent that narrated Grizzly Man. Then imagine him bitch-slapping Carrie Bradshaw. First Maher, now Herzog. It's on, Big Apple.

March 14, 2007

Arthur Magazine Might Be Unfucked After All

THOUGH ATWATER VILLAGE-BASED Arthur Magazine seemed to meet its untimely demise in late February, now comes an update from editor Jay Babcock via LA City Beat:
"As of early March, however, new developments may mean there's still hope for Arthur.

"'It looks like we may have found a way to save the magazine,' Babcock says. 'That's all I can say.'

"He could only acknowledge that, if the new plans went through, he would still be in charge of editorial content, adding, 'Something very, very, very unexpected happened.'

"'I wouldn't write a eulogy just yet.'"
So much for Babcock's earlier assessment that "the magazine can't be restarted" and "the situation can't be unfucked."

Funeral arrangements on hold till further notice.

Rentslicer Slices Out Atwater Village

ONE OF THE HANDIEST housing tools is Rentslicer. This Craigslist mashup maps available rentals and average rents. I relied on it when we moved to Atwater Village last year. It was the easiest way to find Los Angeles neighborhoods and learn how much they cost.

Now Rentslicer has expanded from LA to hundreds of US cities, thousands of neighborhoods. And it dropped Atwater Village.

Today Craigslist has 16 Atwater Village rentals. But where are they on Rentslicer? Did we get wrapped into another neighborhood - or another city?

Man, first FOX11 tosses us out of LA. Then Urbanspoon annexes us to Glendale. Now Rentslicer drops us off the map altogether.

Atwater Village: the Rodney Dangerfield of LA neighborhoods.

Call Off That Search for LA's Best Pizza

BILL MAHER HAS BETTER dinner plans. From last weekend's Real Time on HBO, a comedic commentary that falls somewhere into the sliver of zeitgeist between Eater LA and Curbed LA:
"New rule: Ex-New Yorkers have to stop bitching about how there's no good pizza in LA.

"You're a junior agent at William Morris. Not Joe Pesci.

"People in LA don't care about pizza. Because unlike New Yorkers, after we pay rent we have money left over to buy real food."
The bit starts at the 0:30 mark on this YouTube clip.

Maher adds, parenthetically, "I just bought another three years of bad press in New York." No word on how much bad press he bought with people paying overpriced rent in LA.

March 13, 2007

Does Los Angeles Still Have Seven-Digit Dialing?

IT'S A DUMB QUESTION, but I don't know the answer. I have a cell phone. No land line. I have to enter all ten digits.

I see storefronts posting signs - new signs, even - that don't list the area code. Seems silly to make people guess. Unless the area code is obvious to everyone but me.

Causing a Row

CommunityWalk Map - Artwater Village
THE NEIGHBORHOOD MAY BE in serious danger of getting one of those Gallery Rows everyone talks about.

Newbie friend Swirl Syndicate emailed me the scoop on the newest art scene in Atwater Village. Taking over the Heart To Heart Candies space at 3195 Glendale Blvd. is LittleBird Gallery. Artist opening and reception is planned for Saturday March 31, 7:00pm.

So that's five galleries on that side of Glendale Blvd. If only they could schedule their openings on the same nights...

March 12, 2007

Downtown Alley Loiterers Getting More Particular About Bar Critiques

LAST WEEK MRS. NEWBIE and I ventured out to The Edison, the new-ish conventioneer/loft-dweller bar in downtown Los Angeles. When it turned out we were more hungry than we were fascinated with people falling on their asses before 8:00pm, we climbed out of the converted power plant and into this conversation with a sun-worn rumpled guy trolling Harlem Place Alley.
Rumpled Guy: What's it like in there?

Me: Loud.

Rumpled Guy: Dodger Stadium is loud. That doesn't help me one bit.
Oh, I'm sorry. Were you paying me by the word? We ignored his editorial feedback and sauntered around the corner for a middling white pizza and a better-than-expected steak salad at Pitfire Pizza.

There. Can you work with that, Rumpled Guy?

March 9, 2007

Connecting Atwater to Points Beyond

Burbank-Glendale Line: 1 of 2
Burbank-Glendale Line: 2 of 2
MY FASCINATION WITH DEFUNCT Los Angeles transportation systems continues, with this gem of a map from the Metro Transportation Library and Archive Collection.

Click the top or bottom half of this Burbank-Glendale Line map to see amazing detail of Pacific Electric Railroad conveniences gone by.

In fact look along the top border of the bottom half for a handwritten note, "high bridge," referring to the long-gone Fletcher Drive trestle. And hey, there's the lost city of Tropico again!

March 7, 2007

Fancy a Train Ride to the Beach?

BACK IN THE DAY, a Pacific Electric Red Car floats along a steel bridge over Fletcher Drive in Atwater Village.

From transportation photographer and prolific publisher Donald Duke, courtesy Metro Transportation Library and Archive Collection.

UPDATE: More coming! The Metro Library has been quite accommodating with my Atwater Village train history research. I'll try to post 2-3 more photos and one amazing rail map before the weekend.

March 5, 2007

Zaio Values House at 17 Cents

Zaio Photographers
ACROSS THE JOB TRANSOM this morning comes this opening for Photographers - Real Estate Exteriors:
"Zaio Corporation is seeking 10 very hard working exterior real estate photographers to walk the streets throughout LA COUNTY (and 10 more needed in Orange County) to gather one photo of every residential property to create a real estate database...

Essentially, the job is to walk the streets taking one photo of each residential property you see on both sides of the street, gathering hundreds of photos each day, then matching photos to addresses in software and uploading over high speed Internet daily.
The company's Web site gives a few more details:
  • Pay is 17 cents per photo plus weekly bonus
  • Zone takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete
  • Photographers are trained how to respond to inquisitive homeowners (5 to 15 met daily)
The end result sounds like a more painstakingly detailed version of the defunct A9 Maps, where you could walk the streets, as Zaio puts it, without leaving your desk. And without getting punched by inquisitive homeowners.

March 4, 2007

Have a Little Faith in the Neighborhood

ATWATER VILLAGE MAY BE the quintessential Los Angeles neighborhood. We have it all. Taco trucks, river dwellers, sex offenders and, now, Christian filmmakers.

The LA Daily News exposes them:
"One of those filmmakers - a graduate of Act One, a Hollywood-based organization that trains Christian scriptwriters - is Atwater Village resident Amanda Llewellyn.

"Llewellyn and her husband, Wes, have made two short films for the project and have a full-length feature film coming out Tuesday. That film - The Moment After 2: The Awakening - is a post-Rapture story that follows the lives of two former FBI agents.

"'You are starting to have more people like me ... who are starting to make inroads into management and executive positions in Hollywood,' Llewellyn said. 'It's not a secret coup or a takeover. What it is is just allowing us a place at the table. I think Mel Gibson was able to kick down some doors for us in that area because of his financial success.'"
Besides, who doesn't love a good post-Rapture movie. The Lllewellyns also have a film screening as part of the 168-Hour Film Project. Hey, that's seven days. Shouldn't they be resting?

Late Night, Get Home, Dive Into This

Tacos y Salsa
I MUST AGREE WITH that thorough blog Goodgoings about the taco stand at Fletcher and Larga in Atwater Village. Excellent price ($1 each). Jolly service. Off the hook.

March 3, 2007

The Great Glendale Takeover of 2007

Restaurant Takeover
FROM WHAT HAS BEEN hailed as the best restaurant mapping thingy ever, comes this breaking news. Urbanspoon maps show that former northeast Los Angeles neighborhood Atwater Village has been claimed in a hostile takeover by the adjacent city of Glendale.

More than 80 years after the failed Tropico-LA-Glendale Mega-Merger, this new foodie invasion is leaving a suburban aftertaste in the mouths of Atwater Village residents.
  • Asia Los Feliz, previously named for a neighborhood on the other side of Atwater Village, could be redubbed Asia Glendale, immediately losing cred with anyone under age 50
  • Tam O'Shanter Inn, formerly the 3rd most popular restaurant in Atwater Village, is now the 4th most popular restaurant in Glendale
  • Canele, to maintain its media darling status, must now attempt to impress those hard-asses at the Glendale News Press
I guess despite how the mayor of Los Angeles corrected him on the air, FOX11 reporter Rick Lozano was right all along.

March 2, 2007

A Neighborhood with 'Potential'

South Atwater Village Rebuild
EVEN TV PEOPLE LIKE Atwater Village. Or at least its "potential." From a March 4 LA Times story about how they just don't flip houses like they used to:
"Michael Corbett, a veteran home flipper, author of 'Find It, Fix It and Flip It!' and host of the 'Mansions & Millionaires' segment on TV's 'Extra,' recommends looking for property in historically low-priced areas that may be on the upswing.

"In the Los Angeles area, he named Echo Park, Atwater Village, Culver City and Watts as neighborhoods with potential.

"'I look at older homes in transitional areas.'"