April 28, 2007

Caught in the Act

LOS ANGELES RIVER CARP caught on video by Jay Babcock (of Arthur fame) and Carmelo Gaeta (of LA Times fame) around noon Thursday. Originally posted to Babcock's new Nature Trumps blog about the LA River.

April 26, 2007

Run for Your Life

OR JUST YOUR HEALTH. Users at FavoriteRun map their best running routes. This one goes four miles on the "flat neighborhood streets" of Atwater Village.

Plus, on each of the six zigs between Los Feliz Blvd. and Glendale Blvd., there's usually something new or interesting to see.

Fear of God

Fear of God
HERE'S A PICTURE OF that odd dome, the one with parking for thousands, behind Costco in Atwater Village.

It houses the heavily protected New Hope Chapel, where this security guard demanded, "Who are you taking pictures for?"

What, you mean this picture and this picture?

"Myself," I replied. "Am I free to go?"

Photography is the new terrorism.

April 25, 2007

Recreating Atwater Village's Beastie Boys Days

THREE GENTS OVER AT clothes maker XLarge have recreated this classic Beastie Boys photograph.

In the 1990s Ari Marcopoulos shot the Beasties in front of our neighborhood sign. The rappers Atwater Village studio was at 3218 1/2 Glendale Blvd.

XLarge founder Eli Bonerz (far right) and two designers posted their recreation today. Eli credits Beastie Mike D for his help "creating a unique concept" for the company, which keeps offices at 3222 Glendale Blvd., next to the old studio.

Find the sign - which could, incidentally, use a shine! - along southbound Riverside Drive [map], just before Glendale Blvd.

Four Hours with Don Suggs

HOW DOES AN ARTIST stay with the same gallery for 30 years? Based in our northeast corner of Los Angeles, Don Suggs has been showing with LA Louver in Venice since 1977. This April 24 LA Weekly piece gets to the center of the painter, illustrator, photographer and sculptor:
"His spacious Atwater Village studio, though packed with books, tools, materials of all kinds, mountainous bins of plasticware, and a contraption the size of a small room designed to spin a canvas horizontally while the artist applies pigment from a mattress-lined perch above, is minimally stocked with chairs, and we make little - in fact, no - use of them over the course of my nearly four-hour visit..."
Suggs' next show, Concentric, opens at LA Louver May 17 with a reception Saturday, May 19, 6:00pm.
[Photo of Don Suggs in his studio by Meg Linton, Director, Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design]

April 24, 2007

X Marks the Hints

X Marks the Spot
THIS IS MY LATEST submission to Guess Where LA. Let Flickr users flounder with guesses. You, dear readers, get hints:
  • It's within Los Angeles city limits. (Duh.)
  • It's within Atwater Village neighborhood boundaries. (Also, duh.)
  • A lot of people have been shot here.
Comment below or hazard a guess on the Flickr page.

April 23, 2007

Everything But the Carp

WATCHING VIDEO PODCAST HOST Jacob Soboroff pratfall into the Los Angeles River (at the 0:43 mark) is only one reason to watch his LA Observed video report on new attempts to revitalize the flood channel. There's also the chance to watch Army Corps engineers (at the 3:41 mark) squirm out of "narrow minded" decisions made by other Army Corps engineers 60 years ago.
Look for shots along the more natural-looking portions of the river in the Glendale Narrows and in Atwater Village. Here the Army Corps contended with bubbling groundwater by lining the riverbed with pebbles and boulders instead of concrete. Lucky break for us!

Why Costco Doesn't Have Day Care

Remains of Franciscan Pottery
Los Angeles Independent, January 10, 1996
from the Los Angeles Public Library
THIS THOUGHT HAS OCCURRED to me on more than one occasion. All these rugrats running under carts at our cramped Costco: Can't someone babysit them here? In a word, no, thanks to Franciscan Pottery. From the entry for 2901 Los Feliz Bvld. at California's EnviroStor database:
"The Franciscan site is a former ceramics manufacturing facility, situated on 45 acres in Atwater Village. It was in operation for approximately 70 years, during which time ceramic waste and sludges were disposed of onsite. Elevated levels of zinc, cadmium, and lead were identified in the soils, both in the surface and in the subsurface. Soils contaminated with weathered diesel fuel were also found on the eastern boundary of the site. Asbestos was also discovered, as a result of various salvaging and demolition activities, inside the building structures and along the immediate perimeter of the site."
Amongst the prohibited uses:
Alas, then, no day care at Costco. But how did Toys'R'Us end up in the same parking lot?

April 20, 2007

What the Carp Is Going On in the LA River

AS MENTIONED HERE ABOUT 16 days ago, there's something fishy going on in the Atwater Village stretch of the Los Angeles River. The fish in question: carp. From the LA Times:
"Then came the events of three weeks ago when hundreds of carp in the Glendale Narrows were seen thrashing about in the river - apparently they were spawning...

"Carmelo Gaeta, an Atwater Village native who recently moved back to town and has become thoroughly obsessed with carp fishing in the Los Angeles River: 'There are some monsters in there...'

"Do the carp glow, have three eyes or look like extras from 'Jurassic Park'?

"No, said Gaeta, though he added that he tries not to touch them when releasing them. He also had a bottle of hand sanitizer in his backpack."
Not everyone is as fastidiously giddy about new life in the old channel. From Valley News:
"Although the carp have not yet been identified as to type, carp generally have a reputation as an invasive species to established ecosystems - invading and quickly dominating new ecosystems often with serious negative effects... FoLAR has said they will be conducting a study this summer..."
Despite living yards from the river, I have yet to witness the invasion. Next best thing: this page of photos with closeups of fish and anglers alike.

Artists May Save Us From the Rain

IF THE RAIN CONTINUES these open studios might be a good way to participate in Saturday's Artwater Music & Art Festival. From Steve Stanard:
Artwater Open Studio Tour
Saturday April 21, 3:00 to 6:00pm

"Here's your chance to meet neighborhood artists and experience their work in a casual setting. On this self-guided tour, you’ll see the art your neighbors are making right here in Atwater Village. There’s nothing to sign up for, and it's free." (Click to enlarge map.)
  • Samuel Saga (drawing, painting) - 3149 1/2 Glendale Blvd., upstairs
  • Christi McAva (painting) - 3181 Glendale Blvd., #6 - Enter at back door in alley
  • Lorraine & Rick Heitzman (painting, drawing, jewelry) - 3251 Garden Ave.
  • Cathy Ford (painting, photography) - 3910 Glenfeliz Blvd.
  • Eban Leher (painting; adult content) - 3933 Legion Lane, off Dover
  • Juan Rosenfeldt (painting, assemblage) - 3828 Valleybrink Road
  • Ed, Vivian & Ian Flynn, Flynn Art Studios (painting, drawing, assemblage) - 3765 Legion Lane, off Sunnynook
Just don't be surprised if upcoming exhibits include variations of a"wet shoeprints on studio floor" theme.

April 19, 2007

How to Play the 'Planet Earth' Drinking Game

RESPECT MOTHER NATURE and get a good buzz at the same time. Watch episodes of the Discovery Channel's miniseries Planet Earth with your favorite libation. Here's how Mrs. Newbie and I play the drinking game:
  • Sex! Any time narrator Sigourney Weaver coyly describes an animalistic mating ritual, take a drink.
  • Death! A fox scoops up a hatchling for breakfast? A polar bear flops over from starvation? Take a drink.
  • History! Every time the show purports to show anything "for the very first time" - baby pandas in the wild, snow leopards on the hunt - take a drink.
  • Technology! When Weaver boasts that only a recent innovation could provide the awesome pictures and sounds on your TV, take a drink.
  • Time Lapse! Anything sped up to Koyaanisqatsi-like exposures - flower fields suddenly blooming, buffalo herds racing across the plains - enjoy a quick shot.
This game not recommended for Discovery Channel's three-hour marathon viewings. Please watch responsibly.

Entire Freeway Gets Towed for Red Flag Day

The 110 on the 5
NEVER DID I SUSPECT that the many talents of the Los Angeles Fire Department (rescuing river dwellers, saving the Hollywood sign) included moving major traffic arteries. Nor that the LAFD could reposition a California freeway with the speed and efficiency (but luckily not the apocalyptic recklessness) of Magneto moving the Golden Gate Bridge.

This morning I find (via Metroblogging) that the LAFD Red Flag warning map for council district 13 - the map that shows where your car will be towed on days with "wind speeds 25 mph or more and humidity 15% or less" - has towed the 110 freeway.

Yesterday I-110 connected downtown LA and Pasadena. Today it runs north, past Atwater Village and into Burbank, where previously only I-5 feared to tread.

What does this mean for Angelenos? Probably nothing. We employ a double redundancy system for naming LA freeways. Each stretch earns a numerical designation (the 110, the 5, the 10) and a provincial destination (Pasadena, Golden State, Rosa Parks).

So instead of driving from Chinatown to Chatsworth via the 110 to the 5 to the 118, take the Pasadena Freeway to the Golden State Freeway to the Ronald Reagan Freeway.

You know, like always.

April 18, 2007

From the Research Department: Freebies for Peter Bart

SOMEONE PLEASE SHOW THE EDITOR of Variety how to use Google. I like watching Peter Bart on his TV show. And I appreciate curmudgeonly exaggeration in the interest of making a point. But seriously, who fact-checks Bart's columns? From April 13:
"Why did absolutely no filmgoer in the U.S. pay to see 'Perfume'? Here was a non-odoriferous movie that grossed $130 million overseas but couldn't get arrested here."
Absolutely no filmgoer? I wouldn't say $2,223,293 equals no one. Given average ticket prices, that's about 340,000 filmgoers in the US. Not huge, but more than the number who saw the Mutant Ninja Turtles movie this weekend.
"Since festival directors supposedly get to see every good (and bad) movie made anywhere in the world, how come every festival last year turned thumbs down on 'The Lives of Others'?"
Every festival turned it down? Including one (AFI FEST) that screened it four miles from Variety headquarters? And another (Toronto) that gave it a standing ovation? And Telluride?
"Does an old pro like John Wells really believe his heralded new 'writers company' is workable when the idea has failed several times in the past?"
Right. And "who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" (H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.)

April 17, 2007

LA's East Side Gets a Glossy

WHO SAYS PRINT IS DEAD? Welcome to the year of glossy magazine launches in Los Angeles.

First up: Real Talk LA. The self-described "gutsy, smart, sophisticated, sharp mag" is coming in May to give LA's "neglected" majority - "upscale apsirational multiculturals" - something else to read in the bathroom.

Then: New Angeles Magazine. The first 30,000 print editions of this magazine, commissioned to "celebrate the intellectual and cultural renaissance of LA's Eastside," hits streets (well, mailboxes, mostly) in late May.

Of course one cannot mention "LA's Eastside" - never mind printing 30,000 magazines about it - without saying where one thinks this mythical "Eastside" might be. The mag's media kit offers a handy ZIP code map and a list of where 17,500 copies will be mailed to "influential households directly affected by the cultural renaissance" (with an average income of at least $100,000):
  • Hancock Park (90004 & 90020)
  • Hollywood Hills (90068)
  • Los Feliz (90027)
  • Koreatown (90005)
  • Wilshire Blvd. Corridor (90010 & 90036)
  • Atwater Village (90039)
  • Echo Park (90026)
  • Silver Lake (90026)
New Angeles Magazine will distribute remaining copies to "influential Downtown residents" (90012, 90015, 90017 & 90021) in condos and lofts, plus select retailers and venues.

April 12, 2007

What I Do Not Understand About You People

WHY ARE NEARLY HALF the Internet searchers who land at Atwater Village Newbie looking for Jamie White? Exactly two (now three) of my 486 posts have been about the hacksaw radio host. But nine of the last 20 search-engine referrals include her name. Please tell me you're just trying to make sure she's not back on the air. in the meantime, may I suggest another resource?

Atwater Chatter - Getting Things Done Edition

EVENTS AND DOINGS in and around this northwest corner of Northeast Los Angeles. (If that makes sense geographically.)

Artwater Music & Art Festival - Saturday April 21, 2:00 to 10:00pm along Glendale and Los Feliz, with shuttles between. Concert, retail offers, restaurant tastings included in $20 admission after 6:00pm. (Hmm, Sunset Junction fair was only $15.) Download snazzy flier here. Check photo exhibit submissions here. Mine here.

Crime Watch 1 - No rapes, robberies and homicides reported in Atwater Village in March 2007. Stats here.

Crime Watch 2 - On the other hand, not all neighborhood regulars avoided trouble as the Black Eyed Peas' most famous member is accused of being too drunk to fly from LAX, and the band's least famous member is stopped for being too wasted to drive in LA County.

The Midwest Strikes Back - Lawrence, Kansas, 2-bed 1-bath: $133/sq ft. Atwater Village 2-bed 1-bath: $661/sq ft. Full comparison here.

New Entry in Blog-LA-Sphere - East of the 5

New Newbie in Atwater Village - Ronckytonk

Rent Check - $700, $1,350, $1,795, $2,200, $2,950

April 11, 2007

Nice To Be Back Where 'Things Get Done'

Approaching LAX
DESCENDING INTO LOS ANGELES last night from an Easter weekend trip, I couldn't help but recall the words of filmmaker Werner Herzog:
"Los Angeles is the city with the most substance in the United States... Things get done in Los Angeles."
Not that I personally got much done today, my first day back, but I still appreciate LA for the opportunity. And for that nighttime view from row 40 of a 767.

East Coast Finds LA's East Side

Los Feliz Surfacing
THE NEW YORK TIMES continues to discover the Los Angeles we live in east of Hollywood.

Last month the paper profiled our fellow neighborhoods in Northeast Los Angeles, or NELA. New Yorkers, it seems, are learning that some California homes are priced under $600,000 and have views of Mount Washington - "which could be mistaken for Tuscany."

This Sunday our neighbors in Los Feliz Village, "below the sylvan hills" of Griffith Park Observatory, are fit to print with an overview of their pedestrian friendliness. The lesson here? New Yorkers aren't the only ones who walk a block for calamata olives!

Just in the nick of time, too, as more Los Feliz residents look to further restrict neighborhood parking.

April 5, 2007

Wings Down

Wings Down, originally uploaded by Atwater Village Newbie.

THE LOS ANGELES RIVER can be a wet dream, pun intended, for photographers. Urban, architectural, animal, vegetable and mineral, it's all there for the snapping. I headed out yesterday to see if any carp would spawn for me. No luck. But I did get close to some of the winged residents of Atwater Village. And evidence of other flighty individuals.

Hot Lips Eye Spy Dangerous Slippy Slide Slime Off His Rock Round the Corner 2

April 4, 2007

Not So Much Tacos at Tacos Villa Corona

WORD IN THE VILLAGE is that local fave-in-the-wall Tacos Villa Corona (3185 Glendale Blvd.) discontinued its $1.25 meat tacos. With a choice of chicken or beef, they were a screamin' deal. Apparently too good to last.

Bean and potato tacos are still on the five-quarter menu. (A bit carb-y, no?) But if you want chicken or beef, you gotta getta tostada. Or a burrito.

Spawning in the LA River

Fletcher Drive Bridge
AS REPORTED BY THE FOUNDER of the late/not-late Arthur Magazine, Jay Babcock, via LA Observed:
Subject: Large carp are mating/spawning now in the Atwater area

A friend first saw them Friday, March 30 around 11 am, in the hundreds, flopping in groups, splashing and mating in the shallows of the River about a hundred yards south of the Hyperion bridge. He called me, I called Lewis MacAdams from FoLAR, and we all went down there to see what Lewis said was the first-ever reported sighting of this activity in the LARiver. Absolutely amazing sights. They were going at it again Saturday and again today.
Not that I'd know how to find spawning carp, but this might be a good subject for the next photo safari. Has anyone else spotted them?

April 3, 2007


Hulky, originally uploaded by Atwater Village Newbie.