Botanitas: March 9, 2010

Yes, at home I can feel like a tourist, which is what inspired me to try a vegan hot dog at the famous tourist spot, Pink’s in Hollywood. Of course, the vegan hot dog would be named after one of LA Eastside’s favorite media personalities, Patt Morrison (vegan hot dog topped with guacamole and tomatoes.) I was pleasantly surprised by it’s tastiness.

Botanitas is an ongoing feature bringing you stories and news from various sources, upcoming events and other bits of ephemera that might be of interest to LA Eastside readers. Suggestions welcome!

Click through for maestros con ganas, income gaps, history razing,  phantom raising and Mexican clovers.

***3/10/10: NEW EVENTS!***


Jaime Escalante

Unless you’ve been living under a Westside rock somewhere, you’ve probably heard the unfortunate news regarding well-known and respected former Garfield High School teacher Jaime Escalante, he is battling cancer.  The situation has been made worse by the growing costs of his medical treatment and his rapidly progressing illness. Despite his struggles, he still fondly remembers his students and his belief in “ganas” as motivational tool for the young pupils of East Los. Best wishes to the Escalante family…

Read here for the full article on his progress.
Visit Edward James Olmos site for more information and to make a donation.

Jobless Discoveries

Sad to say, but the news is just as bad for Escalante’s former colleagues, LAUSD plans to lay-off 4,700 teachers. The jobless recovery just keeps on getting jobless-ier, LA County Superior Court will be laying off 329 employees by April 1. The City of Los Angeles has approved 4,000 jobs to be cut from the budget. The prospects for making money legally in Los Angeles are getting grim. People will find a way to get by though, and it might not be pretty.

We’re number #1, again!

And while we’re on the subject, we’re number one, in income disparity that is! According to a recent opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times,
“The sputtering recovery now underway is producing few, if any, jobs to replace those that have been lost. Meanwhile, a variety of factors continues to push wages and most salaries lower.” Yup, pretty grim…

That’s all of a piece with trends documented by economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, whose research into global income patterns shows that between 1992 and 2007, America’s 400 richest households increased their average income by 399%, while the bottom 90% of the country’s households gained just 13%. (Those percentages, by the way, reflect inflation-adjusted dollars.)

For a country that prides itself on creating opportunity and encouraging social mobility, those are distressing figures. And if you narrow the focus to Los Angeles County, the picture is even darker. According to figures compiled by the local chapter of the United Way, 1.47 million, or 15%, of the county’s approximately 10.4 million residents are living in poverty, which means an annual income of $22,000 for a family of four. Close to 100,000 of those families are getting by on less than $10,000 a year.

So what are we gonna do about it? Expect the banks and corporations to fix things? Does anyone still buy the ‘trickle down economics’ theory? I feel trickles of stuff and it ain’t money!

This Place Matters

The National Trust for Historic Preservation features an informative piece on their blog regarding the current battle to save Wyvernwood Garden Apartments from massive redevelopment.

Massive redevelopment threatens Wyvernwood Garden Apartments, the first large-scale garden apartment complex ever built in Los Angeles. Completed in 1939, Wyvernwood is located in East Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights area, and has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Residents oppose the complex’s demolition which would quadruple the site’s density and significantly impair its historic layout and park-like setting. These qualities paired with the close-knit community and family ties spanning generations have shaped Wyvernwood’s unique sense of place. Not only would Wyvernwood’s destruction mean losing an important part of the social fabric, architectural heritage, and urban landscape of Los Angeles, but it would also translate into a tragic loss for the city.

Full piece by Karina Muñiz here.


Don’t be shicken eh, go hang out with the awesome folks of The Boyle Heights Paranormal Project for their meet and greet and Linda Vista Hospital on Friday,  March 12  at 9pm.

Come celebrate with Boyle Heights Paranormal Project, in Collaboration with Linda Vista hospital in welcoming our family, friends and fans . Dare to experience the mystery and lore of one of Paranormal worlds most iconic haunted places, it is our pleasure to bring to you guest speakers, BHPP team members, and view snippets of the new documentary by BHPP titled ” My Boyle Heights Ghost Story ” , a collective account of personal experiences with the paranormal, by the people who experienced them. specifics and invite instructions will be posted on our facebook page. any concerns feel free to contact us.

Um, let me know how it goes cause I’m a big ‘fraidy cat and will not be in a attendance.

For more info, see their Facebook page.

In case you missed the interview I did with these fine folks, you can read it here.

San Patricio East Los Style

Eastside rockers Ollin will be performing for their annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebration across the river, at everyone’s favorite former Nayarit Nightclub, The Echo.

On St. Patrick’s Day, Ollin, the world-folk-punk fusion outfit from East L.A. will perform Rum, Sodomy and the Lash by The Pogues as well as many other traditional Irish tunes. This yearly tradition has a following unto its own. Ollin themselves have opened for The Pogues, in San Diego, LA and in New York on St. Patrick’s Day at The Roseland Ballroom 2008. Opening for this years show is singer songwriter Brant Bjork, a true artist of Mexican and Irish descent.

Mas info here.

Also Ry Cooder and The Chieftains have hopped on the San Patricio bandwagon (or is that the pattywagon?) with a new album full of Irish-Mex tunes.

Mas Exitos


The folks who put these nights together are not only innovative in their quirky cumbia song sets but also in their brilliantly detourned flyers. Tonight’s flyer has to be my favorite though, my love for the Eastside Stories oldies series is no secret. Ruben Molina of Eastside Oldies knowledge will be a guest DJ. All happening tonight at The Verdugo Bar.

Homeboys and Books

Fr. Greg Boyle will read from his book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. Books will be available for sale, and Fr. Greg will sign all books. Friday, March 12, 7:00 p.m., Pasadena, CA: Reading and discussion at Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101. Open to the public. For further information, contact Jennifer Ramos,, 626-449-5320.

Azteca New Year

Celebrate Aztec New Year at Xokolatl Cafe on Saturday, March 13th as part of our month-long celebration!

Event will feature a tianguis featuring over 20 local artisan vendors, spoken word performances, carnival style goodies like Xokolatl churros, and Elote Cups of corn, plus a special lecture by internationally acclaimed author EVERARDO LARA GONZALEZ who will discuss the connection between math, danza and the Aztec calendar.

Proceeds from our celebration benefit Semillas Community Schools, so please come out and show your support!

March 13: New Years Celebration Schedule:

12:30 – 5pm: Tianguis featuring over 20 artisan vendors, hand-made crafts, jewelry, pottery, local vendors, child activities and more.
6:30 – 7:30pm: Spoken Word featuring Mixpe Ley of Semillas and Lilia Ramirez, Semillas muralist and formerly of First Street Studios.
8- 9pm Lecture by internationally acclaimed author and mathematician Everardo Lara González, discussing the connection between math, danza and the Aztec calendar. Followed by Q&A and book signing.

Saturday, March 13, 2010
12:30pm – 10:00pm
Xokolatl Cafe
4987 Huntington Drive North (behind Cal State LA Credit Union)

5 thoughts on “Botanitas: March 9, 2010

  1. To HELL with supply side economics, also known as trickle-down economics, it has failed, and failed repeatedly. Giving tax breaks to wealthy people and corporations is supposed to promote investment, stimulate the economy, increase the income of working people, and eventually increase tax revenue because of the increased economic activity.

    the reality is, when Reagan and Bush I tried it, the deficit tripled, the economy declined, and the working class watched their total tax bite go up and their pay-checks lag behind their productivity.

    Time to to hang the Robber Barons !!!!!!!

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