November 26, 2008

Great LA Walk 2008: The Video

TAKE AN 8-minute video tour (credit to Drewurd, not me) of what took more than 8 hours to walk: Union Station to the Pacific Ocean, mostly down Santa Monica Blvd. And see more of my photos from Saturday's Great LA Walk.

November 25, 2008

Getting Lit for the Holidays in Atwater Village

Glendale Tree Lit
IN A HOLIDAY mood yet? Hope so, because the 2008 festivities will be unavoidable in these parts.
See last year's tree in all its glory.

November 24, 2008

Favorite People Seen on the Great LA Walk, Part 1

Waiting on Some 'B' Grade Tacos
EVERY YEAR I cull through photographs of our annual Great Los Angeles Walk (I snapped 850 this year!) and find a few gems. Some, like this one, are more accidental.

This interesting fellow was leaning against the Tacos Delta counter in Silver Lake. Normally, bystanders stare at us, the walkers, because how often do you see 150 people walking in LA? But this guy, camo pants and all, was eyeing the utility workers behind us.

This scene reminds me that our big city is sometime just a lot of small towns.

More photos (in progress) from the Great LA Walk 2008.

November 22, 2008

We Did It! Third Annual Great LA Walk

FOR THE THIRD YEAR in a row Mrs. Newbie and I marched in the Great Los Angeles Walk. We're 3 for 3 in this 21st-century pre-Thanksgiving tradition that takes us and dozens of strangers/friends from downtown LA to the Pacific Ocean. (At 4 m.p.h., instead of the usual 40.)

First year we walked 16 miles along the length of Wilshire Blvd. Then in 2007 we hoofed 15 miles down all of Pico Blvd. Yesterday: 18 miles, starting at Union Station, we sauntered down parts of Cesar Chavez and Sunset, and all of Santa Monica Blvd.

The cause? Just because. See you all in a year. In the meantime:

November 21, 2008

Starts with Broken Windows, Ends in Jail

A COUPLE OF key pieces of news this week, very much related to the car-smashing thuggery last night in Atwater Village:

1. Broken Windows Theory Bolstered by New Study - "A provocative study... lends support to the controversial 'broken windows' theory behind crime and anti-graffiti prevention programs."

2. Atwater Village Gang Member Gets 75-to-Life "A Los Angeles judge on Friday sentenced Timothy McGhee for taking part in a January 2005 disturbance at the downtown Men's Central Jail.... Authorities say the 35-year-old McGhee was the leader of a gang in the Atwater Village area."

November 20, 2008

Alert! At Least 8 Vehicles Smashed on Valleybrink Road

SOMETIME BETWEEN 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. windows on at least 8 vehicles were smashed along Valleybrink Rd. Driver-side glass everywhere tonight, inside cars and on the street, up and down the block. Almost every other car hit. Unclear if this evening's acts, occurring while many residents were home, were pure vandalism or also involved theft.

One neighbor's theory: kids and a BB gun. My theory after filing my second LAPD report this year: It's a fucking crime wave.

UPDATE! LAPD officers stopped by after 11:00 p.m., and told me:
  • It's more like 8 cars hit. (Instead of 10 as I originally posted.)
  • It's normally a quieter, safer part of Atwater Village (unlike up on Bemis St.) but they'll step up patrols.
  • It was probably "teenagers."
  • Keep an eye out for "anyone that doesn't belong" and call if there's trouble.

1,700 Words About an 80-Year-Old Restaurant

LOVE IT OR hate it (the restaurant, that is), this extensive article from A Hamburger Today (and its extensive food-porn photography) will make you hungry for The Tam O' Shanter Inn (2980 Los Feliz Blvd., Atwater Village).

LA Times Dips Tentative Toe Into Flickr Pool

FAR BE IT from me to discourage anonymous pseudonyms, but someone under the moniker losangelestimes has dipped a tentative toe into the Flickr photostream.

Assuming he/she is authorized to do so, it's disappointing that his/her contributions so far have been to mark favorites, add contacts and post one thumbnail of that best-selling Nov. 5 Los Angeles Times front page. (With a link to sell you more, of course.)

Today there's a bit more explanation:
"We're working on what exactly we'll share here (exclusive images that don't make it into print or online? hmm) and would love to hear your suggestions."
Suggestion #1: How about posting behind-the-scenes photos they'd never put in the paper? The photographers, the reporters, the printers doing their thing. (See LAFD's otustanding Flickr contributions.) Hey, maybe even the executives laying people off. Could be juicy!

November 19, 2008

Los Feliz Cafe, Formerly Eatz Cafe, Closing Nov. 30

Formerly Eatz
ACCORDING TO rumors substantiated by 2 sources (an email to me from a customer who overheard a waitress, and this AVNC forum post) the outdoor cafe at Los Feliz Municipal Golf Course is soon to be no more.

Los Feliz Cafe (3207 Los Feliz Blvd.), till 2 years ago called Eatz Cafe, may shut down as soon as Sunday, Nov. 30.

What will take its place? From the customer's email: "I overheard the waitress ... say that the place had been sold and the new owner was planning on closing it and potentially opening up an Italian restaurant."

And wishful thinking from the AVNC forum: "It would be great if the Auntie Em's crew take the place over. They know how to work a small kitchen. The place has serious potential."

Hope it comes back as something. And soon.

Increased Police Presence? Or Just My Imagination

IN THE LAST 24 hours I've seen 3 traffic stops in Atwater Village, when normally I barely notice one cop car outside Baja Fresh. I saw police pull over drivers on Los Feliz Blvd. and Glenfeliz Blvd. last night, and on Glendale Blvd. this morning. (Caused quite a slowdown in front of Starbucks.)

Could this be increased LAPD presence related to recent thefts in the neighborhood? Maybe they oughta be hanging out in our parking lots!

November 18, 2008

Toonerville Gang: No Chevy Chase Park After 10 PM

Chevy Chase Park
THIS WEEK'S lawsuit from Los Angeles and Glendale, the cities' first joint injunction against Toonerville gang members, includes a city park ban. From the Glendale News-Press:
"They would also be barred from Chevy Chase and Palmer parks, and be placed under a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily curfew with few exceptions. Those found to be in violation of the order would be subject to immediate arrest and prosecution, officials said."
I'm sure North Atwater Village families will be pleased to know they only have to wait till 3 or 4 hours past sunset each night to let their kids play safely in Chevy Chase Park. (UPDATE: Scott notes that the park ban as worded may be 24/7.) Complete coverage:

November 15, 2008

Theft from Vehicle: In 3 Acts

LADIES (AND GENTLEMEN) of Atwater Village, and visitors from surrounding environs, be alert. From a reader:
  1. "In broad daylight at around 9:30am this morning [Friday Nov. 14] while my wife was in Pilates Metro [3178 Glendale Blvd.] someone smashed her car window and stole the purse out of the car."
  2. "She was parked in the public lot behind the pilates place and had hid the purse under a jacket in the back of the car. The thief broke the back window and took the purse from under the jacket. Obviously they were scoping the parking lot and saw her hide it!"
  3. "Someone just called and found my wife's drivers license and a couple credit cards dumped on the ground at the corner of Virgil and Third."

November 13, 2008

We Even Did an 'Aftershock' Drill

Great Shakeout View
THIS IS THE VIEW from under my desk during the Great Southern California Shakeout this morning. Since I had to stick my arm (and cell phone) out a bit to get this shot it means, technically, I violated the "drop, cover and hold on" directive. Wouldn't happen in a real 7.8 earthquake. Trust me.

November 11, 2008

How Atwater Village Went This Election

Unmixed Messages
ARMCHAIR ANALYSIS of the Los Angeles Times precinct map reveals how our little slice of northeast LA voted on Election Day 2008. The leanings of Atwater Village:
  • Presidential Race: Obama (solidly)
  • Prop 4 Abortion Notification: No (but just barely)
  • Prop 8 Gay Marriage Ban: No (but just barely)
  • Measure R Transit Sales Tax: Yes (solidly)
No big surprise except this: precincts a few blocks away in the City of Glendale voted Yes to ban gay marriage. Apparently it's more than just the train tracks that separate us.

November 10, 2008

In Praise of the Spinach Breakfast Burrito with Bacon

NO SHORTAGE of love is professed for Atwater Village's Tacos Villa Corona (3185 Glendale Blvd.) especially for breakfast by the eater behind Starvin' Like Marvin:
Do I stick with a winner? Yes. So, That's why I go to Tacos Villa Corona at least once a week... All I ever order lately is the Spinach Breakfast burrito with bacon. And oh, the bacon!! My friends and I have had a few discussions about this heavenly stuff. They won't tell you where they get it, I've asked. It's that good. Big smoky chunks of bacon tucked into your eggs and cheese etc. makes it the best burrito around... Viva Villa Corona!
Still waiting for the same kind of rabid love letter to newly-opened across-the-street rival, Hugo's Tacos.

November 9, 2008

Stay Buzzed, Atwater Village

November 7, 2008

LA Times Likes 'Hip,' 'Upscale' Viet Noodle Bar

FROM THE LOCAL daily newspaper's (website's) roundup of Best banh mì shops in Southern California:
Viet Noodle Bar (3133 Glendale Blvd.) - "Far more upscale (and pricey) than the traditional Little Saigon banh mì shops, this hip vegan-friendly Atwater Village restaurant has five bánh mì to choose from: white fish and dill, shiitake-tofu, lemon-grass organic chicken, spicy sardine and vegan tofu basil. It doesn't make its own baguettes but has them made from its own recipe at a San Gabriel bakery. Stay for dessert: The fresh ginger soy curd alone is worth the trip." (323) 906-1575, $5.75-$6.75.

November 4, 2008

The 15-Minute Election

Maybe 12 Voters Outside
Maybe 10-12 Waiting Inside
Just 7 Stations Inside
ONE OF THE (many) nice things about living in Atwater Village is voting in Atwater Village. For this national election day, our polling place at Glenfeliz Boulevard Elementary serves an area barely 3 blocks wide, maybe 7 blocks long. Which the lines never are. (Long.) More photos from my 7:30 a.m. vote.

UPDATE: Unlike some polling places (looking at you, Lincoln Park Recreation Center) the Atwater Village election officials did not ask for photos IDs. Some voters in my line volunteered IDs, but none were asked for them.

November 3, 2008

Spraying Some Pre-Election Hate in Atwater Village

WHO'S READY for this election to be over? I bet the owner of this car, near Edenhurst and Dover, has had enough. He emailed that he "awoke this morning to find that my 'No On 8' sign and car had been vandalized. Someone spray painted 'Fags' across my back bumper."

Another reader noticed a similar (if more nonsensical) pro-Prop-8 message: "I noticed someone had tagged the fence on the corner house of Sunnynook and Valleybrink. Black spray paint was sprayed over the 'Vote No' sign with what looked like 'VAG.' I don't know what VAG could mean in response to Prop 8 but clearly tagging that happens on someone’s fence is not something to be taken lightly. Very uncool indeed."

Yes, very uncool.

November 1, 2008

All Saints Day Message to Children of Atwater Village

Skull Face
NEXT YEAR on Halloween, how about not bringing any live snakes with you when you go out Trick-or-Treating.

Oh, and Mrs. Newbie's favorite costume? "Static Cling."