Big Brown Sign

Hardly iconic

Lincoln Heights is proud home to a new youth center creatively placed in an inspired adaptive re-use of an historic church. I have yet to go inside but I hear it’s on the smallish side. No matter, the neighborhood needs more places where consumer consumption is not involved and youth are allowed.

I have one small bone to pick though, and I will digress a moment to let you know I have at times, been labeled an “aesthetic tyrant” for my critical proclamations of design, but what’s up City of Los Angeles with these tired old park signs? They might’ve looked good in the 80s or 70s or whenever they were first put together but nowadays they look just plain fuddy-duddy. The outdated thick italic font, the faux wood with pale mustard trim, it’s so…uninviting. It’s time for a make-over. I know, I know, the city is in one of the worst financial crisis in it’s history but still, graphic designers can’t be that expensive. I know a few that need work…

More Free Music at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

Friday, August 13, 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Classical Music Trio, Vincent Reyes on guitar, Lisa Grzanka on violin, and Mini Zabala on flute perform classical interpretations of contemporary pop hits.

Saturday, August 14, noon to 5pm
DJ Counterstryke hosts Three the Art Way (Live: Music, Poetry, Art)
Music by Prayers for Sale, Poetry by Mike the Poet, and Live Painting by Mear One

Sunday, August 15, 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Musical performances by The Shipl with roots in klezmer and branches extending into Balkan and Eastern European melodies.

All performances are free and open to the public.
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
4800 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 644-6269

An “Informel” Event

A Four Legged Painting

If you are strolling through Chinatown this weekend after a day’s search of bulk size amounts of fortune cookies and hole in the wall dim sum, it would be a welcomed relief to walk into the many air conditioned art spaces hidden around the freeway and metro-rail enclosed portion of the city. Galleries are popping up in the area with hoorahs and a few boos.  Chinatown is in the process of redevelopment/revitalization and there are some concerns about keeping the historical and cultural heritage intact. But nevertheless, amongst the debate of gentrification, good artwork is being made and exhibited for your eyes to feast on…if they are not already full on “Wok Kok”, (I know, cultural difference but still a little alarming) off the corner of Alpine and New High St.

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Welcome to El Sereno

Even more unknown to Westsiders than my hometown of Lincoln Heights, is my current neighborhood of El Sereno. I’m sure many have driven through it at 40+mph since it’s cut in half by the grand highway of Huntington Drive. Waiting for the 78 in the morning I can attest to how much traffic this neighborhood gets.

Yesterday after having picked up my bicycle from Gabe’s Bicycles for a much needed tune-up I saw this new monument to El Sereno, complete with green rolling hills. On its left it denotes the fact that El Sereno sits right on what was Historic Route 66; on its left it also shows that it also is on what was El Camino Real.

Random’s Rundown: Puro Pinche Pari

Except for my horrible farmers tan, I love summer. Hot days, cold drinks, long evening bike rides through Los Angelestitlan. The electricity in the air, waiting to spark a blaze of social upheaval. You can literally feel it in the air. Social unrest, riots waiting to happen. Not too worry though, we all need to relax and have a good time every once in a while, por que si no, it get’s ugly. So even though the week isn’t over, the weekend is already getting started.

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The Original Snow Cone Factory

Damn it’s hot. I’m developing the worst farmers tan ever. Not only that, but since I’m already brown skinned to begin with, all this heat is making me look all prieto and red. I look like clay dirt, but you know what cheers me up and helps me forget my future skin cancer problems, raspados. There’s no greater force on the streets of L.A. than a raspado de fresa con vainilla on a hot summer afternoon. Munching on the ice, slurping in the flavors and mashing it all up in your cup until they’re both thoroughly mixed and drinkable. You can add some tequila while no one is looking too. That’s why even though I get my raspados from peeps in carts, I still go down to the snow cone factory once in a while, just to get out of the house, get some fresh air, a sugar rush and to chill with peeps. Continue reading

Free Live Music at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

Marten, Piry, and Harry (three amazing Chicano indie rockers) have formed a band called Family Tree Analog.

For the past few years, they’ve been playing shredding shows around town and people say they sound like the next Nirvana/Smashing Pumpkins/Sonic Youth/At the Drive-In/Radiohead/???…

They are a mostly instrumental post-rock band from Lynwood, CA. Their music combines jazz style drums, distorted guitars and all with no use of a bass guitar. It’s amazing.

Family Tree Analog plays tonite, August 6, at 7:30
Where: Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, 4800 Hollywood, Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (323) 644-6269

“The Night Stalker” 25th Anniversary 1985-2010 and Walking Tour August 29th


The summer of 1985. The hottest in L.A. history. During those boiling hot nights, the darkness brought no relief. Only sleepless fear, bloody nightmares, and cold sweat. Doors and windows were double checked, and newly installed security bars imprisoned us within our own homes. The “Night Stalker” had become the living specter of our collective fears,.. and no one was safe.

Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, a young drifter and skilled burglar named Richard Munoz Ramirez stepped from a Greyhound bus at 6th and Los Angeles street and soon blended into the human cesspool of downtown’s skid row’s underworld.  From this home base, his touch of evil would reach into the sanctity of random and scattered south land homes, transforming nightmares into steel cold realities. He would leave his bloody mark on our city with an infamy to match the most brutal and violent episodes of our generation.

The Night Stalker’s path of murder and rape crossed very close to my very own East Los Angeles neighborhood. We felt his shadow lurking on our streets and at our back windows. A self professed predator for Satan’s favor, he prowled and savaged in the neighborhoods of Monterey Park and Whittier among others and no one could anticipate where he would strike next.

When the sun rose that day in Los Angeles, August 31st 1985, it was one of those mornings so brutally hot, that you got out of bed already sweating…..

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2 Random Minutes on Brooklyn and Soto

And the accolades just keep pouring in! The 2 random minutes of action on some LA street corner is making a lasting impression on people. Oh, what an impression.

Today we bring you a corner I know very well, having spent many hours waiting for the 251 to take me back home. On this Saturday morning the traffic and peds were light, not the usual crush of humanity that it once was. There used to be much more street vending which made the place lively and interesting, but the bad planning dept has made sure they get their way. With the bad planning.

On this corner I’ve seen many, many checkpoints, where cars get impounded in the middle of the night and a family of 6 has to figure out how to get home to Huntington Park, I’ve had cholos tell me that they used to kill people and take lots of drugs but cuz of Jesus they don’t do that anymore, I’ve battled for sitting space on the window ledge with the nopal vendor, I’ve seen the buses pass us up cuz they don’t want to bother with the large crowd, I’ve seen murals tagged up and sometimes restored, and I’ve heard my fair share of annoying evangelists with a bullhorn.

Since they moved the bus stop to the Payless, its no longer as busy. But still, its a nice corner.