with 'downtown' tag

street life sucks

street life sucks

accumulated downtown

the holiday block party in the old bank district was a really great event. i didn’t even get around the corner to 4th street (spending my time between the bank and our store), but what i saw was tremendous. based on the traffic at the store, i have to say i liked the crowd a lot more than the typical art walk crowd. there was just less tension in the air. there seemed to be a lot more people from the neighborhood around.

we went to an event at the new cole’s the other night, and also picked up some sandwiches at the grand opening. there was always a fear that something would just be wrong with the renovation, but they appear to have done it right. i have decided to withhold judgement on the food until having a proper meal there. it was really strange being at the bar again. if i seem less than enthusiastic, it is because that place means so much to us. it is hard to process.

the association, a new bar next door to cole’s was a real eye-opener, though. they managed to stay fairly far under the radar, so stepping inside was a real treat. it felt like a really comfortable, contemporary neighborhood bar. not my usual scene at all, but i could imagine spending some time there.

a help up

a help up

own a bar in downtown los angeles

this craigslist ad for a cafe and wine bar in downtown los angeles has been getting posted regularly for a while now. i am not sure exactly which one it is, but i have a good guess. i do know for sure that it is not banquette.

a return to elegance

Alexandria Hotel brochure, front cover and map this brochure for the alexandria hotel has been kicking around on my desk for a long time waiting for me to scan it. celia got it from a security guard when she first moved into the alexandria.

it is in spanish, and is dated may 1, 1975.

you can still find some signs in the alexandria that feature the “a return to elegance” tagline that this brochure uses. or at least you could a year or two ago.

i am drowning!

crappy planter on main

the benches that have been added to main street recently are a nice touch. some of the other recent streetscape additions have been misfires. many of the planters look like this one, or worse — empty, dead or dying plants, and consistently overwatered. i seem to recall there are some health risks with having lots of pools of standing water around.

busted on main

busted on main

we heard a police helicopter outside, and a police officer shouting more than the usual “pull over” that we sometimes hear, and taking a look out the window revealed this scene. the man laying down next to the car (partially out of frame) and the three women on the sidewalk were all taken into custody.

the police pulled a speaker out of the back of the car, and the general sense we got from our high perch was that this was a drug bust. not surprising, given how much drug activity there is right on that little stretch of main street.

you can’t see it in this picture, but the back of the man’s baseball cap said “foolish.”

scoop: cole’s comes out from behind the barricade

there are signs of life at cole’s again — they have taken down the construction barricade that has blocked the sixth street side of the pacific electric lofts building for the last many, many months.

there is a notice of application for a liquor license in the space to the left of cole’s, and two boarded up storefronts to the right that will reportedly house another establishment in what was cole’s back rooms.

photo courtesy of rich from angelenic. yes, i just used his own picture to scoop him. sucker!

the positive side of filming

rosslyn lit again

first look: aloha cafe

aloha cafe at honda plaza aloha cafe just opened today at honda plaza in little tokyo. they are serving tasty hawaiian food at very reasonable prices — at 20% off for their grand opening. they relocated to little tokyo from monterey park after losing their lease and their original chef.

dlanc diversity and other issues

don garza speculated about the downtown los angeles neighborhood council board elections and complained about how his neighborhood is represented. no comment on the speculation, but as i have gotten more involved with the neighborhood council, i am more and more disappointed with how disengaged most of the business and social services stakeholders are. besides the planning committee, none of them are involved in any of the other board or ad-hoc committees.

i hope we can do a better job of reaching out to more business and social services stakeholders in the upcoming election, and get some people on the board who want to actually be involved. right now the executive committee can’t really take action because it has an over-representation of residential stakeholders, and the executive committee was unable to appoint members to the rules, bylaws and elections committee because that too would have been dominated by residents. (the bylaws prohibit board committees from being having a majority of any one stakeholder group.)

most of the board’s standing committees have fallen in status to ad-hoc committees because they don’t have the five appointed members necessary to constitute a standing committee.

as for the strangehold that people from the midnight mission have on the social services seats, perhaps the board should look at a bylaw amendment to restrict the number of seats that can be held by people from any one organization. even if you think the folks at the midnight mission are great, and even if they were engaged, i think it would be healthier for the board to have a more diverse composition.

downtown development scoop!

coming soon: falafel express falafel express is coming to spring street, in the los angeles design center building between fourth and fifth.

this used to be a more generic cafe. celia says her favorite part about the old cafe was how the korean owner would pass on the orders to the hispanic cook in broken spanish. and then he would say “okay, one burrito,” to celia with a roll of his eyes.

overturned blossom

overturned blossom it looks like someone did not appreciate the planters outside of blossom.

i wonder what will happen to the places that hose off their sidewalks every day if mandatory water restrictions are enacted.

it would probably also help if the city stopped overwatering all the trees that were placed in planters along main street.

pictures without wonton!

reflection of ulysses i joined the first shootdowntown meet-up today, where a large group of us walked around downtown and took pictures. i did not take very many pictures. it will be interesting to see what everyone else came up with. they are starting to show up in the blogdowntown photo pool.

and this should quiet some of the people who are sick of puppy pictures in my flickr photostream.

on broadway, 2007

stephen friday of angelenic stepped up and took pictures of everything on broadway in downtown los angeles, something i first did in 2005, and eric of blogdowntown did last year. you can read more about this year’s effort, including some side-by-side comparisons of buildings that have been transformed in the last two years.

one of the greatest things about this collaborative effort is that it hasn’t really been collaborative at all. both stephen and eric just stepped up and took pictures when they noticed nobody else had.

donate book for project homeless connect

next thursday, project homeless connect is having an event at the midnight mission. i would link to more information about the event, but i can’t find any.

the downtown los angeles neighborhood council is having a book drive to collect books to give away at the event. again, i would link to more information about that, but i can’t find any.

all the information i know is from a flier that was handed out during the last dlanc board meeting, which says that the book drop-off is at the dlanc outreach office at 450 s. main street, between 10:00am and 1:30pm, monday-thursday.

digging into the minutes from the last dlanc education committee meeting, it looks like they will be sorting the books on december 4th, so i guess you should get your books in before that.

(unofficial) dlanc news will have more of this sort of news in the future.

blossom expands

expanded blossom remember when i used to blog? those were the days.

blossom, the excellent vietnamese restaurant in the ground floor of the canadian building at the corner of main and winston streets, has expanded into an adjacent space. the layout is a little goofy, with the kitchen between the two seating areas. they have also applied for a liquor license.

new voices

if downtown los angeles was the 3rd bloggiest neighborhood six months ago, things are really exploding now. walter has become frighteningly prolific at scribeskidrow. joe, of joe and ruby fame, has started a blog at big city poz. the guys at angelenic are doing a fantastic job of digging up the news on the downtown development front. white boy/white dog has all the news from 2nd and main. nearby, the lofty dog is one of the first businesses to start up a downtown blog (disclaimer: with my wife and dog’s help). bert green also has a blog as a business owner, resident and player. and dodger is another downtown dog with a blog.

that is a whole lot of new blood in the downtown blog-la-sphere. but i think my favorite part about is that i have been lucky enough to meet all of these new bloggers in person, and they are all fantastic people (and dogs!).

at a party the other night, i was talking with another of our new downtown friends (not yet a blogger) who mentioned how small-town that downtown feels. it is amazing to see how this community is growing up, and to be a part of it while it happens. and i know that the little network of people i know is just one of many such networks downtown.

be careful with those matches

i guess if ed is going to say i have been blogging about downtown los angeles since 2000, i should blog about downtown some more. (it has actually only been since 2003.)

celia wrote about our taste of ’gina on friday night. i really was not expecting much, but the pasta was really good, and so was the gelato. the presentation on the gelato was not great — it looked all melty in the display case — but it was tasty.

we went to see point break...live! at the alexandria hotel, and it was exactly as brilliant as you would expect. kathryn bigelow, the director of point break, the movie, was in the audience.

i am a little amazed that charlie o’s in the alexandria is being allowed to operate with such an obviously deficient sprinkler system. a drop-ceiling has been ripped out, so there are some sprinkler heads that are way too low. and there are lights hanging from some of the sprinkler system. i guess the upgrade from coke bar to hipster haven isn’t quite complete.

fixing the special conditions site

i complained about the site for collecting special conditions feedback, but here is some more specific suggestions on how to fix it:

things i am not suggesting:

to be clear, i support the special conditions. my concern is that we remove any appearance of impropriety in how comments from the public are collected. it will be far too easy for opponents of the special conditions to dismiss them if there is the hint of an appearance that dissenting opinion is being discouraged or worse.

fumble at the goal line

the draft special conditions for downtown filming have been made available for public comment, but i have to say i am tremendously disappointed about the method in which comments are being collected. the site says:

Comments must include the commenter’s full name and phone number for verification purposes. Multiple comments may be made by the same person or organization. Comments that do not contain verifiable contact information will not be recorded.

there is a long and rather proud tradition of anonymous or pseudonymous political speech in the united states (like the federalist papers), and this is very contrary to that.

it also totally fails to say who will be doing the verification of this contact information, or how the contact information may be published along with the comments in the future.

the way this is structured, a cut-and-paste feedback operation like the parents television council would be given more weight than cogent feedback from someone with good points to make but reasons for staying anonymous.

for example, let us assume that bert green or russell brown are reviewing these comments. now what if you are an artist who hopes to one day be represented by bert and his gallery (or his many friends in the downtown gallery community) — would you be comfortable sending comments that are critical of the conditions that bert has been so instrumental in drafting? what if you were someone looking for help in starting a new business from the historic core downtown business improvement district?

the public comments should speak for themselves. identifying yourself is simply part of the speech, it should not be a prerequisite for speaking at all.

fire!

hosing things down

there was a small debris fire on a nearby building. i was taking wonton out on the roof to take care of his dirty, sinful business, smelled smoke, and when i looked out over the edge, saw that the los angeles fire department was cleaning up after the fire. i grabbed my camera and took a few shots. lafd says there were no injuries.

there were fire trucks parked outside the building behind us last night, and it smelled like they had put out a fire there. i wonder if there is a connection.

rosslyn signs lit!

rosslyn signs (partially) lit

i don’t know what it is for (probably a film shoot of some kind), but the rosslyn signs are partially lit. they look incredible. i’ve seen some workers crawling around in them, hopefully replacing bulbs. the signs are gorgeous, and we have a perfect view of them.

did you lose this dog?

staples dog as she was leaving a sparks game at the staples center last week, cabrini of the loftydog found this sweet dog running around with no owner to be found.

while cabrini kept reminding herself that she can’t take home another dog, the dog (which has been temporarily dubbed “sparky”) did not want to stray far from cabrini. when she went outside during the yappy hour, sparky was running between the windows and door trying to figure out how to get outside to join her.

wonton meets the neighbors

tank and wonton

dog day afternoon was a wonderful event at the cathedral of los angeles for neighborhood dogs, their owners, and other downtown residents. this was the first time that wonton really got to meet a lot of other dogs (including some downtown celebrities), and he had a blast. he was totally fearless, even with dogs that were twenty times his size.

ed and don were both there taking lots of pictures (i only took a few). i’m not sure they were on the same page as to which of them was the dog.

next on wonton’s social calendar is a birthday party with the relatives (his first people party!), and then yappy hour at the lofty dog next week during the artwalk.

i didn’t know adam was back yet

bagpiper on our parking garage

this afternoon, i was puzzled by the sound of bagpipes coming from outside. but i finally spotted the mysterious piper, doing his thing over on the roof of our parking garage. the back of his t-shirt says “old guys rule.”

maybe he’s an extra for the film shoot that is taking over several nearby blocks tonight.

it’s not just film crews

helicopter delivery to one wilshire our good neighbors at one wilshire decided that 7am on a saturday morning would be the perfect time to deliver large equipment to their roof. it looked like one wilshire from here, at least. i could be wrong.

it was fairly loud in our place at times, and i can’t imagine what it was like for residents of buildings like the pegasus apartments.

as far as i know, this sort of helicopter delivery is less rigidly controlled than helicopter filming.

in unrelated news, i’ve signed up for twitter. you can find my updates here.

enough already

well-lit alexandria it’s just the day for disrespectful film crews in our neighborhood. here’s the spring street side of the alexandria hotel, all lit up after 10pm for a shoot happening in one of the ballrooms.

i called the after-hours hotline at filmla to confirm the shoot information. valerie, the on-call person, didn’t have information about the shoot at hand, and took my phone number to call me back after she called the on-site representative. she didn’t have the shoot on her list of productions, because it was a two-day shoot starting yesterday. she went home to look up the information, but never called me back. they shut off the lights at 11:53pm.

based on the filming notification i could dig up, i think this was “off!” being produced by go films, inc. the permit number was F-204466. the location manager was adam baxter, 213-925-9050. the notification was for 7am-10pm.

since this isn’t shining directly into my building, i’m more just offended by the principle here. why issue film permits if they don’t mean anything? why have rules for downtown-area filming if they’re just ignored? why have an on-site film monitor if they don’t do anything when the permit is violated?

i asked for a non-smoking room

smoky film shoot this video shoot set up in the parking lot behind our building and started making use of their smoke machine, which naturally blew up into our windows.

celia went down to have words with them, and finally got their useless filmla rep, who had never heard of the new downtown filming rules. (the notifications for today’s 6am start time went out last night, and those said it was “pending community survey”?)

i called filmla while celia was down getting the run-around from the production, and they didn’t answer their phone.

the smoke has done wonders for my cough.

the production was called “natasha”, the production company was crossroads films, and their film permit was F-205458. the location manager, who refused to talk to celia, was bruce boehner, 213-925-5379.

ray’s goes double-wide

the old bank district market deli, more commonly referred to as ray’s, has taken over the space adjacent to them, knocked out the wall, and just today were moving the shelves and merchandise into the new space. it was a big change from when i was last there just a couple of days ago.

well, we are looking for a car

car commercial shoot

giant floating lights are about nine kinds of awesome. and the tenth kind of awesome is being above the light. it almost makes up for having to listen to the crew outside our window at six in the morning.

i hope they cleaned up the 5th and hill street gang tags that were on the building behind where they are shooting.

st. patrick’s day parade

cheerleaders the st. patrick’s day parade in downtown los angeles is a little odd, since it is on a weekday. naturally (stereotypically?), it is sponsored by the los angeles police and fire departments.

the parade route took a turn at 5th and main this year, so that’s where celia and i headed to watch. while she cheered and got the vintage police cars to almost run into each other, i took pictures. have i mentioned how i like to shoot parades?

this time i decided to have some fun by setting my camera to its largest aperture setting (f/4 with my basic zoom lens), which helped to isolate the subjects a bit from the background, like in this shot.

living at mile 25

leaders of the pack when the los angeles marathon happened a few weeks ago, they ran right outside our front door, which meant we had a good view of the action from our patio. but since we were at mile 25, it was a day-long flow of people, so it wasn’t that exciting to just sit and watch it go by.

we were able to keep an eye on the progress of the leaders by watching the progress of the helicopters covering the race, so i went out and snapped some pictures of the leaders when they passed by. as it turns out, that was when the eventual male winners were passing by the eventual female winner.

the wheelchair racers were actually more fun to watch cruise by, but none of my pictures of them really turned out. they were moving fast.

i saw a hawk in l.a.

i saw a hawk in l.a.

this red-tailed hawk was flying around in downtown during the los angeles marathon. while he was there, the usual assortment of flying rats made themselves scarce.

i am woefully behind in cleaning up and posting pictures from the 108th golden dragon parade (where i took almost 300 pictures) and the los angeles marathon (which ran outside our front door).

and then there’s the matter of pictures from our wedding. we’re still waiting on proofs from the official photographer, and we have an intimidating number of pictures from our unofficial photographers to wade through.

million dollar birds

million dollar birds

there were hundreds of birds congregated on the sign of the hotel rosslyn before sunset. i have no idea why. every once in a while, a cluster of them would fly off for a few minutes, and then rejoin the rest. there were only a few birds on the other sign across fifth street.

five better names for the downtown comedy club

  1. downtown clowns
  2. formerly a coke bar
  3. the peach pit at night
  4. where’s the rave?
  5. giggle on the nickel

merry christmas from los angeles!

self-portrait, christmas-style

maybe they just needed a better map

kevin roderick reports that a fugitive profiled on america's most wanted was captured in downtown los angeles, but a quick check of the given address (street name) on google maps looks a whole lot more like inglewood to me.

it’s nice to be on top

herbalife is moving their headquarters, not to a site built using using the massive waste generated by their low-level suckers, but into la live, next to the staples center.

im at yr festival, judging yr tamales

2nd annual international tamale festival after we picked up our wedding invitations from aardvark letterpress today, we stopped in at the 2nd annual international tamale festival, where we ran into dave, penelope, and don. everyone else had cameras, but i did not.

while we were standing around talking (and eating), one of the festival organizers came by and recruited my fiancée celia to be a judge in the best tamale contests, so she got to sample a ton of tamales. an operation called just “gourmet tamales” cleaned up, winning all but one or two categories.

the festival is going for one more day — check it out!

a sunday of exclusive events

disney’s halloweentime it’s halloweentime at disneyland, and we made a quick run to disneyland on sunday to have lunch at club 33, the members-only (and guests) club that has its entrance next to the blue bayou restaurant.

disneyland itself is dressed up for halloween, including changes to the haunted mansion. we’ve actually been to disneyland twice since it started, and we’ll probably go back again next week.

the smog is bad enough! we didn’t do anything else at disneyland on sunday, because we got there just before lunch and had to get back to los angeles to catch our shuttle to take in the newly-renovated griffith observatory. we scored some pre-opening passes thanks to my los angeles conservancy membership. mack reed has a great set of photos, so i’ve just shared this one of the “no smoking — the smog is bad enough!” sign that i thought was funny, and the obligatory shot of people (my fiancée celia and our friend helena) by the albert einstein statue.

apparently this was the first day that they were letting people in to see the telescope, and we talked to a couple of the operators. it was cloudy, so there was nothing to see through the telescope. they showed us how the dome can be moved around, and talked about the new telescopes that were added that included high-definition cameras so the images could be displayed down below and on a screen in the telescope room. they also have some work to do in order to figure out how things perform after the addition of the new telescopes. (all explained much more coherently than i’m explaining it here, along with a hint of bitterness about the management of the observatory.)

disney hall and dwp fountain when we were returning home after our long day out, we noticed that the fountains at the department of water and power headquarters were running, so we stopped to take some pictures and take in the view.

you didn’t need to have any inside connections for this one, but that made it all the more exclusive. there were probably fewer people who took the time to enjoy these gorgeous fountains and the view of downtown than there were at club 33 or the griffith observatory on sunday.

(random footnote: we saw curtis “booger” armstrong going into the cafe at the end of the universe at the observatory.)

new life, old theater

the owners of old bank dvd hosted a screening of iraq for sale: the war profiteers at the regent theater in downtown los angeles. banquette was also there with some snacks and drinks for sale, including their magic bars. (not that kind of magic.)

five word movie review: totally superficial, no narrative thread.

but the resurrection of the space is great. it is just stripped bare right now, so the acoustics were pretty bad, but i’m sure that will be addressed when they started using the space more. it would be really killer if a bar opened in one of the adjoining spaces.

haunted house downtown

the haunted alexandria hotel is what you might guess from the name: a haunted house being run in the alexandria hotel.

let’s hope someone is keeping an eye on the half-dozen registered sex offenders who reside in the alexandria.

fire!

when i was heating up some taquitos for dinner tonight, i smelled something that was definitely not my cooking. some debris (from the roofing work behind us) was on fire in the alley behind our building .

i made a quick call to 911 to let them know about the fire, and shortly afterwards the building’s fire alarm started going off. my fiancée celia had just closed all of our windows that face the alley, so we grabbed some essentials on our way out the door, and watched the firefighters put out the fire, which was really putting out an impressive amount of smoke by now.

thanks to the firefighters from station #9 (our skid row station — the captain had the shirt), some of whom are still blowing smoke out of the lower floors.

(i didn’t have the presence of mind to grab my camera, even though it was right next to my keys, so no pictures.)

finally, some drama

back when eric first posted the list of candidates for the downtown neighborhood council elections, some nitwit tried a little half-witted character assassination against russell brown. at the time, i said “come on, the stakes are really low here — i expect more drama!”

it looks like john sellars has finally delivered, because he has filed a complaint about election irregularities involving russell and the city west resident seat.

you may remember john as the guy who was booted from the area-wide seat when he stopped showing up to meetings (due to some sort of family thing) and made various legal threats.

internet to the rescue

there isn’t a handy outgoing postal maildrop in our new building, and last time i went in search of one, i went as far as 6th and hill and missed the collection time (4:15pm). today i got clever and found the payphone project’s mailbox locator, which pointed me to one just down the street. much better. i have walked by it many times, but didn’t remember it.

ripped-up roof

ripped-up roof

they are ripping up the roof of the building behind us. the work is being done by some guys from chrysalis. it looks kind of cool now with pieces covering half of the roof, but i expect we’ll have a different opinion of the work if they start putting down tar.

sushi ’n sh t

for a while, i have claimed that the best burgers in downtown los angeles came from tony’s (aka burgers ’n sh t). it’s under new management now, and they have taken the burgers off the menu. the new owners have renamed it “tony’s roll & teriyaki.”

i tried the chicken breast teriyaki today, which was quite good. but i will always lament the loss of the burgers (and steak fries).

wu tang clan in the ’hood

redman and celia

here is wu tang clan’s redman with my fiancée celia. there some sort of x games block party happening on 4th between main and spring, and the clan is performing at 5:30pm.

i have no idea what the drink is that he’s holding.

yeah, redman is not in the wu tang clan. whatever.

movin’ on up

my fiancée celia and i weren’t really planning on finding a new place to live together until after our wedding, but sometimes opportunity knocks and you’re smart enough to answer.

our friend adam has quit his job and is about to embark on an around-the-world tour (starting in rarotonga and including a bunch of other amazing stops — and hopefully he’ll be blogging the whole thing). that meant the lease on his amazing penthouse was ripe for a friendly takeover. that’s the site of our engagement party and where celia and i first met, so this space that was already very special to us will also be home.

we’ve already been daydreaming about how we want to make use of all of the space we’ll have. but first we have to take care of a few practical needs, like a refrigerator.

one other wrinkle is that my lease in my current loft isn’t actually up until the end of october, so i may end up paying rent on two places for a couple of months unless i can find someone to take over here. if you want a view like this, let me know.

two bits

rudy’s barbershops has opened an outpost at the standard hotel in downtown los angeles, so i finally got my shaggy mane cut down to size yesterday.

it’s a small little outpost, just four chairs with only two people working when i was there, but i only had to wait a little bit for a walk-in on saturday afternoon.

since it’s not on the web site yet, the phone number is 213-439-3058. they’re open from 9am-9pm every day except sunday, when they’re only open from 11am-7pm. buzz $15 / style $21+.

a blossoming area

sam hall kaplan writes in the downtown news that the streets of the old bank district skid row are not for strolling. while i would take some exception to that (it is much better now than it was several months ago), i know my tolerance for that sort of thing is higher than average. the corner of 5th and main can still be pretty sketchy (particularly because of the persistent drug dealing at the entrance to the rosslyn hotel).

but kaplan and architect wade killefer are going to “map, photograph and document the street's frontage” (or at least killefer’s office will). been there, done that. it’s almost time for me to go out again and take pictures of everything on the same stretches of broadway, spring, and main that i did last year. i had hoped to invest in a wide-angle lens before then, but that doesn’t look likely.

and although the hellman and san fernando are nice, it’s a stretch to call them high-end. i’d save that label for places like metro 417 or the sky lofts.

hope they don’t uninvite me

the los angeles downtown news took first place, best website (25,000 and above) from the california newspaper publishers association. second place was the palo alto weekly.

i assume this is one of those contests where you only win if you pay to enter. i have to believe there are some weeklies out there in california with websites that are actually interesting.

midway on main

bumper cars

the most fascinating things show up outside my window. they’ve set up bumper cars in the parking lot across the street. it’s not an exciting new addition to the neighborhood, even though it does appear to be fully functional, it’s just for a commercial shoot.

free story idea

here’s a story that some budding photojournalist could take on — in articles about the worker for the toy district business improvement district that was caught shoving trash into a storm drain, there were some mentions that the business owners in that area routinely just toss their trash into the gutter for those workers to deal with. why not go down to the toy district and document this? if only there was a bounty for turning in litterbugs.

hope for firefighters

flag hanging from fire trucks today was the annual hope for firefighters event in downtown los angeles.

this was my only salvageable picture, because i foolishly had left the camera with a fixed shutter speed that was too slow, and i didn’t notice.

as eric said over on blogdowntown, this event was one of the reasons i decided to move downtown. and as my fiancée celia predicted, we ate our way down the street. we had carne asada tacos, a hawaiian pork plate, kansas city-style pulled pork, a firehouse sundae, and an ice cream sandwich (chocolate chip ice cream with white chocolate macadamia nut cookies). all of it was excellent.

i placed a bid for something at the silent auction, and i hope we won. but we wanted to head back instead of loitering around the silent auction tables for an hour.

right before my eyes

dior fakes another great place in downtown los angeles is the fashion district, where you can pick up some snazzy sunglasses for $5.

these are a knock-off of christan dior’s overshine 2 design.

the funny thing is, i’d be happier without the (fake) dior logo.

house at the penthouse


a few months ago, they shot some scenes for house at my fiancée celia’s penthouse at the alexandria hotel. this is a screen grab from the episode (actually from the beginning of the second part of the two-episode story). part of the penthouse was made up to be a cop’s apartment. so for that setting, they shot basically everything at the penthouse except for the rooftop enclosed greenhouse where he was growing weed.

this is how it looked on television — celia has shots she took of the penthouse with all the stuff they used to make it look like a ratty cop’s apartment, and i’m sure she’ll post them once she digs out from under the project she’s currently buried underneath.

there were a couple of scenes where characters climbed out of a window to get on to the roof outside. there is a door about five feet to the left of that window.

not just for making horse noises

lax-c is one of those gems of downtown that doesn’t get enough credit. it is basically an asian costco (without the memberships), but it also has a crazy back room with giant thai elephants and buddhas and a totally insane dragon bench.

for our engagement party, we picked up a couple of five pound containers of coconut in coconut cream — it’s basically little chunks of coconut inside ice cream made from coconut milk instead of cow juice. it’s now easily one of my favorite foods on the planet. we had one container left after the party, and it did not last for very long after that.

we also picked up some jars of kaong (sugar palm fruit), macapuno (coconut sport), ube (purple yam) jam, and enough chopsticks to build a small house.

and on top of all the cool food and other stuff, the building is wrapped in a mural about the history of california.

undesirables

over at blogdowntown, eric wrote up witnessing a belligerent man getting picked up by the police, and it reminded me of something that my fiancée celia saw the other night. as we were leaving my building, we saw a guy step out from the outside seating at pete’s cafe and bar. this patron of pete’s approached a guy who was walking down the street with some flowers, and then offered him a couple of bucks for taking his picture. as the pete’s patron was taking the picture of the guy on the street, he asked him to “hold up your forty.”

you can guess which of the two of those characters i would like to drop-kick out of the neighborhood. (hint: it’s not the guy who was holding the forty.)

great immigrants in history

great immigrants in history when i saw this sign about great immigrants in history, i had to rush over and get a picture. best sign i’ve seen at all the protests so far.

there has to be a story about waving the united farm workers flag and a gay rights flag.

this picture of a man’s fist and his flag of fists is one of those shots that i didn’t notice i was getting when i got it. (you have to love digital — shoot it all, sort it out later.)

immigrants rock!

immigrants rock! i liked the simple sentiment of this sign on the back of one of the protesters out on broadway today.

they are already saying the downtown protest was smaller than the first one a few weeks ago, which sounds about right. we didn’t see nearly as many people walking towards the start point of the march as we did for that first march.

i took more pictures, but i don’t have time to sort through them now.

on our way to join the march, we stopped by my fiancée celia’s place and ran into her roommate lucas, uploading some of his first shots of the protest like this great shot of a protester from mexico waving the american flag. (watch out, that link will resize your browser window, and probably expire in a few days.)

communists on parade

workers of the world, unite!

i guess they realized that their usual may day march was going to get buried under the two big immigration marches on monday, so the communists were out doing their thing today. there were maybe 100 people in the march.

weekend to-do

as laist covered and i said i’d mention earlier, there is a benefit concert this sunday at mr. t’s bowl in highland park, featuring the reunion of emm’t swank and performances by other great bands.

and tonight (and tomorrow), you can see the lyric opera of los angeles perform manon lescaut at the los angeles theatre on broadway. you can get free tickets through brady westwater.

blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind

wow, i’m dumb. here we are practically on the eve of the next large protests about immigrant rights, and i just noticed that i left this write-up of the last one as a draft.

libertad

i made it out to today’s “mass student march against racist legislation” while my fiancée celia stayed home to work. going through my pictures afterward, it was another instance where a theme emerged that i hadn’t been all that conscious of while i was shooting: signs at the hr4437 student protest. not quite very shot is of a sign — i had to take the obligatory shot of a child on someone’s shoulders, holding a flag.

the most telling moment of the day for me was when this older latino gentleman and his wife turned around and started walking out, and he said to me as he passed by, “this is bullshit, this isn’t why i came.” what was on stage at the time was a couple of kids, one sporting a che guevara shirt, who were dealing with the music that were trying to rap to cutting out, and dropping a few “motherfuckers” into their overly broad take on current events.

it’s those sorts of central-casting leftists and strategic tone-deafness that makes my support of these protests wane, along with the presence of groups like fnla (a political party from el salvador with a less-than-savory past), the mexica movement, and the perpetual organizing presence of answer.

dave bullock was there and took his usual assortment of crowd shots. celia’s roommate lucas also snuck up on me, so you may see one of his pictures pop up in a newspaper somewhere.

rubber-stamped

kjell hagen addresses the board the process of plopping a new police headquarters next to city hall in downtown los angeles ground a little further forward today, when the board of public works voted to approve the final environment impact report along with the waiver to go forward with unmitigated issues (like traffic).

my fiancée celia and i were there to lend our support. we tried to get one of the community members speaking to raise the example of how la gran marcha would have shut down the police headquarters at its new location, but he chose not to bring it up.

not a surprising outcome, but still a little disappointing.

(the picture is of kjell hagen, one of the founders of gallery row, addressing the board.)

my fictional neighborhood

there may be a hook in this bait, but i can’t let kevin roderick’s crack about the old bank district go unanswered it. he calls it “Tom Gilmore’s fictional creation to trick hipsters into leasing Skid Row lofts: the Old Bank District.”

but thinking about it for a day, i don’t know that he’s entirely wrong — several years ago. but where tom gilmore may have created something fictional, it is rapidly becoming real with new restaurants like blossom, the in-the-works flying tiger speakeasy-style bar (opening below pete’s), and projects like the el dorado and rowan lofts coming online soon (not to mention the nearby santa fe lofts, pacific electric lofts, and the lofts at the security building).

and it’s not skid row — it’s skid row adjacent.

go give blood now!

chairs before opening

the blood drive is underway, the laura esguerra adams foundation has a shiny new website, and for some reason you’re sitting at a computer instead of heading down to donate blood.

i got 86’d because i’m coming down with a cold. but that’s okay, it just means i get to join the “club 86” raffle, where i could win a $100 gift certificate for patina, an alarm clock that moos, or some other fabulous prizes.

they’ll be handling blood donations until at least 8pm, and then everything shifts over to cole’s for the after-party. come on down!

hope you’re not trying to go anywhere

protest rally aftermath the traffic in downtown los angeles appears to be severely screwed up, as the result of the street closures around city hall to cope with the additional protests against hr 4437.

i’ve seen some pockets of kids leaving the area, and i don’t imagine that the protests are really still going on. yet the streets are still closed….

it’s a good thing we aren’t planning on leaving downtown for dinner.

desire makes everything blossom

blossom vietnamese restaurant & teas is a new restaurant that opened recently at winston and main (near 4th and main) in downtown los angeles. my girlfriend celia and i ate there last night, and despite a small mix-up where they tried to serve our appetizer to another table, really enjoyed it. i had the shaking beef, she had the grilled pork chop, and we shared shrimp and pork spring rolls. celia also got the soda canh, which is a fresh lemonade made with perrier that was delicious.

they obviously still have some kinks to work out. there’s an unpainted wall outside the bathroom, the dining area is not really decorated, and the service was a little spotty, but they are a very welcome addition to the neighborhood. it looks like a couple of more businesses are gearing up to open in the canadian building. and with the el dorado lofts and rowan lofts under heavy construction, the old bank district is expanding out from the core at 4th and main.

¡si, se puede!

protesters marching towards city hall the march/rally was huge. estimates put it over 100,000 people. we didn’t head towards city hall at all, but there were people streaming down broadway, spring, and even main street (and probably hill street).

i put a few more photos up. you can also check out dave bullock’s photos of the march.

we ran into a couple (british or australian, my bet would be australian) in pershing square who had no idea what they had gotten themselves into when they decided to visit downtown today. i wonder how the los angeles conservancy’s walking tours went today.

someone needs to explain to me what the political value of waving around the flag of mexico or nicaragua is at a march like this.

give your blood on march 31

cole’s pacific electric buffet and the new laura esguerra adams foundation is sponsoring a blood drive next friday, march 31, in downtown los angeles.

there will be an after-party at cole’s featuring i see hawks in l.a., just like last year.

also, in the goodie bag for blood donators will be a free copy of love smart by dr. phil. so if you happen to have my sort of luck and meet someone really special at the blood drive, you’ll be able to learn what to do. or you can make a few bucks selling it on ebay.

(if there are businesses downtown that wanted to support a great cause, and pick up a little promotional value from reaching that precious downtown audience, they would do well to kick in some gifts for the goodie bags.)

protesting hr 4437

people headed to protest my girlfriend celia and i were eating breakfast when we noticed people streaming down main, spring, and broadway. once we noticed a few of the people were carrying signs that said “no to hr 4437,” we were able to do the necessary googling to find out that there is a protest against an immigration bill that starts at 10am at olympic and broadway today.

we may check out the protest and march in a little bit before heading to see some of the buildings that are open as part of the downtown living weekend, and i’ll be sure to take my camera.

chaos

ask the dust is set in los angeles in the depression, and one of the best things about the movie was the few shots of los angeles, like angels flight at its original third street location. celia thought they should have included more shots of salma hayek’s tits. (and i’m not going to argue with that.)

v for vendetta is entirely unlike ask the dust, but it was also a letdown. subtle as a box of hammers, and i thought it fell short on the action front. but there were a couple of flashy effects that were worth seeing on the big screen.

lists of four things about los angeles

clouds, palms, and skyline

my girlfriend celia tagged me with the “meme/chain letter/time suck that’s been going around.” if you read closely, you’ll notice that i have mutated it slightly.

four jobs i’ve had in my life in los angeles: programmer at mysql, programmer at homepage.com, programmer at knowledge adventure, and college (public) relations intern at harvey mudd college.

four movies about los angeles i could watch over and over: crazy/beautiful, repo man, assault on precinct 13, and collateral.

four places i’ve lived all over los angeles (with food memories from each): downtown los angeles, where i still haven’t exhausted the possibilities (but engine co. no. 28 has really won me over); north hollywood, where i discovered chinese deli t&d way too late in my stay; glendale, where i had many great lunches with my coworkers from knowledge adventure, the best at places whose names i don’t remember; and claremont, where making milkshakes at platt (the school cafeteria) probably caused my lactose intolerance.

four los angeles-themed shows i love(d) to watch: boomtown, the shield, 24 (and none of this “only the first season” weaseling — i still love it), and entourage.

four places i would vacation at in los angeles: downtown, the beach, the hills, and downtown. (i’d have added disneyland and laguna beach like celia, but that’s orange county….)

four los angeles-based websites i visit daily: 5th and spring, l.a. observed, blogdowntown, and sha in la. (but to be honest, i use blo.gs to only visit them when they’ve updated.)

four of my favorite foods found in los angeles: strawberry donut from donut man (aka foster’s) in glendora, meat loaf at engine co. no. 28 in downtown los angeles, everything at chinese deli t&d in north hollywood, and celia’s white chocolate sweet potato cake and lasagna.

four places in los angeles i would rather be right now: the central library rotunda, the city hall observation deck, the watercourt at california plaza, and wherever celia is.

four los angeles-based charities you should support: los angeles conservancy, library foundation of los angeles, childrens hospital los angeles, and the midnight mission. (i could go on.)

tagged: shannon, ask, dave (eecue), and eric.

midzt

green face

the artist apparently named midzt painted new faces on the building at 3rd and main after the earlier “be merry” piece got painted over. i’ve noticed that he (or she) has a few other pieces around downtown — there was another face on the pacific electric lofts building. there’s also this tag on one of the storefronts near 3rd and main.

i really love these green faces. here is a whole collection of murals done by midzt.

don’t forget the dash

debris, clock, entrance, and temporary street signs

they were shooting a scene for spider-man 3 at the farmers and merchants national bank last friday. i was in vegas while the actual shooting was happening, but i took some pictures of how they dressed the building. my girlfriend celia was in the neighborhood while they were shooting, and the scene involved someone zipping down on to a cab that had been flipped over. i understand that the real highlight was the little person in a spider-man costume that was hanging out around bar 107. i’m sure she’ll post those pictures soon.

update: celia posted her pictures from the shoot.

aftermath

flowers and vase celia and i ate some of the cupcakes last night, and also some of the the best lasagna ever. some generic lactaid prevented me from exploding like a cheese-eating pug.

we only made it through about half of the notebook.

as you can see, i took heed of eric’s reminder about the los angeles flower market, and also added a vase from chinatown to the mix. there were also some tulips that i snuck into her car before she left for work.

it was my best valentine’s day ever, how about you?

107th annual golden dragon parade

gold dragon chasing a ball on saturday, celia and i headed over to chinatown for the 107th annual golden dragon parade. we got to be up in the grandstands, so i had an excellent vantage point for taking lots of pictures. i managed to fill a 1gb flash card, and hadn’t thought to bring my spare.

i’m not sure how the 42nd regimental pipes and drums fit into a chinese new year parade, but it worked. at least as well as the marching band from baja california.

we actually bailed out on the parade before it was over and headed across the street to get some food, and the parade was just wrapping up when we were done eating, which seems to me like an awfully long parade.

friday is the new wednesday

i see hawks in l.a. have moved their “cole’s acoustic wednesday” to friday, and it is now weekly instead of monthly, at least through the next several weeks. they also have a new album coming out (sometime this year?) — you can check out some new tracks on myspace.

shadows flash in the light

broken bed (again) celia and i went to the screening of metropolis at the orpheum last friday. it was the digitally restored version, and this wikipedia article explains the differences from earlier releases.

we got a drink at the broadway bar before the film, and more at the golden gopher afterwards, so the list of downtown bars i’ve actually been to is now a little less meager.

despite my earlier repair job, my bed broke again this weekend. i’m not going to repair it again and give it a chance for a third strike, so i’m in the market for a new bed now. maybe i should build a bed frame using iron pipe.

union station walking tour, january 2006

window reflection on ticket lobby floor saturday was the walking tour of union station for new los angeles conservancy members. i went, and of course took lots of pictures.

while i didn’t pull the bonehead move of taking exposures that were too long (like i did for the city hall tour last week), i think i was a little over-aggressive in cranking up the iso setting (and also just plain forgot when shifting outside sometimes), so some of the pictures aren’t quite as good as they could have been.

after the tour, shannon and i grabbed sandwiches at phillipe’s, even though she long ago expressed her preference for cole’s.

more on the rest of the weekend another time.

no more fig central?

nobody seems to have made it to this paragraph in the article about kb home and anschultz taking over the convention center hotel project: “To form its partnership with AEG, KB Home withdrew from a previously announced proposal to build a twin-tower, 700-unit condo project two blocks away with rival Lennar Corp., said Jeffrey Gault, president of KB Urban.” fig central is (was?) the project’s name.

oshogatsu

moon over the japanese american national museum this completed my full weekend — going on the city hall walking tour, to the los angeles auto show, and finally to the japanese american national museum and the oshogatsu celebration. (oh yeah, and made a pizza.)

the taiko drum performance and rice pounding were both amazing. you aren’t actually supposed to take pictures inside the museum, but i didn’t notice that part of the sign until my second or third trip inside, so i took a couple of pictures of the drums in the exhibit inside.

i’m exhausted (both because of everything i did, and waking up at 4am today), but i hope i can keep coming up with things to pack my weekends with like this. maybe some weekend i won’t do all of it alone.

time to veg out.

city hall redux (and more)

city hall and the sister cities i had one last walking tour pass from my los angeles conservancy membership, so i decided to go on the city hall walking tour. i had a major brain failure and didn’t crank up the iso setting when i started taking pictures inside, so not as many shots turned out as i would have liked. an excuse to go back!

after the tour, i checked out the downtown arts district farmers market. it seems a little smaller than the one near the library, but they’re just getting restarted after moving to little tokyo.

i also stopped in at the little tokyo branch of the los angeles public library, and it has an incredible interior. but i didn’t take any pictures, because i didn’t want to annoy all the people using the library.

floating balls of light

floating balls of light

the lights for whatever shoot is happening down on fourth street also lit up the foreground buildings for a shot of the skyline, which i thought was sort of interesting. the pictures aren’t as good as the view, though.

but i have suffered for my art, sort of — my phone rang when i was taking pictures, and when i got up to get it, i smashed my nose on a table. and then got promptly hung up on when i answered. kicked when i’m down.

last call for big drum in little tokyo

at the japanese-american national museum in little tokyo, there is oshogatsu: new year family day festival on sunday, and it is also when the big drum: taiko in the united states exhibit closes. there’s also a concert on saturday night. i’ve been meaning to head over there for a while, i guess i’ll have to make sure to do so this weekend.

los angeles city hall from the inside

chandelier in the rotunda we visited city hall today, and checked out the numerous historical photos on the fourth floor. many of them are from the los angeles public library photo collection, including this picture of pershing square (then called central park) from before any of the current buildings around the square existed.

the main reason we were there was to check out “last looks: the ambassador hotel,” a photo exhibition with shots from the ambassador hotel. here’s a los angeles times article about the exhibition. the prints were on the small side, but they were all great. and some are amazing, like the mushrooms growing on carpet that you can see with the article.

and now that i’ve given them as gifts and i won’t be ruining any surprises, i can say that i got calendars from both qoop and lulu using pictures i had taken, and they turned out great.

i’m going to miss this

lindbergh beacon on city hall and traffic, long exposure when the medallion gets built across the street from me, i suspect i’m going to miss this view. actually, i may still be able to see city hall after it is built, but the wider view will be less exciting.

as eric has covered over on blogdowntown, the light on top of city hall is the lindbergh beacon that was used to help pilots navigate, but is now just switched on for the holidays.

i was playing around with some longer exposure times, and took a thirty-second exposure of just the traffic on main street.

i also grabbed another close-up of the full moon. it might be fun to get a telescope with a camera mount to get some really good close-ups of the moon, but it would be such a one-trick purchase that it’s not high on my list.

downtown business idea

a mail boxes, etc. or generic equivalent. i spent way too long today trying to find a (stocked) fedex drop box. there is supposedly a fedex kinko’s at 110 e. 9th street, but i couldn’t find it. i finally found a drop-box in the back of the los angeles law center after an elevator repair guy pointed me in the right direction. the first place i went is the post office at california plaza, which also has a fedex drop box, but it was out of envelopes.

déjà vu

old bank district from california plaza laist used on of my photos on a recent entry, which was kind of strange. i thought the picture looked very familiar, and then saw the shout-out at the bottom of the entry and it made sense. here’s the original.

and to be clear, there’s no problem at all that they used the picture like this. all my pictures on flickr are tagged with the creative commons attribution license, and that’s only because there’s no “public domain” option in the flickr licensing widget.

blues, fried chicken, and…

i finally made it out to little pedro’s last night to see mickey champion, south side slim, and some others whose names i did not catch. the music was great, the fried chicken was good, and the corn bread isn’t worth quibbling about.

thirty-second stories

the downside to watching live football games is having to see the same commercials over and over again. but one commercial i keep seeing that i actually like is the dockers commercial set in san francisco. it’s a great confluence of perfect music, a beautiful setting, and a nice little story.

if companies were smart, they would put good versions of their ads up on their websites. you can view a tiny, crappy version of the dockers ads on their site, or there’s a better link to one of the versions in the sfist article. i’d imagine that the cost of putting it online would be a drop in the bucket compared to actually getting it on the air, and there’s a chance you will actually get people seeking out your commercial.

it can also be entertaining to spot the commercials shot in downtown los angeles. it seems like at least half of the car commercials that show any sort of urban setting are shot here, and about half of those include shots within a few blocks of my apartment.

but giant isn’t playing

giant village 2006 is a big new years eve thing happening in downtown los angeles. the flaming lips are playing, along with a bunch of other interesting acts. tickets are $80, or $150 for vip tickets that get you into a special lounge at the pegasus.

and next wednesday, i see hawks in l.a. does the cole’s thing again.

self portrait

self portrait

who says i don’t like to have my picture taken?

when i play my cards right, my work day consists of screwing around with my camera while i wait for compiles to finish.

strange things are afoot at the city hall

city hall and a blue glow

i don’t know why, but there’s a giant blue glow next to city hall this evening. (it is probably a film shoot.)

back for more

shooting the sky

the heist crew is back for more, and this time they brought a helicopter. it’s not clear to me if they are shooting the helicopter or the ground, because they had this crew on the ground, and the helicopter clearly has a camera mounted on it.

doug liman on location

doug liman and others

i’ve started collecting some of my shots of the shoot of the heist pilot into a set. and that’s not the actress i wrote about earlier.

doug liman is the director of the pilot for heist. he directed the movie go, the pilot for the o.c. (which explains my temptation to yell “welcome to downtown, bitch!” out the window), and a bunch of other stuff i’m too lazy to look up.

bomb squad entering bank

bomb squad entering bank

it’s comforting to have a fake bomb squad entering the fake bank across the street. this is for the pilot of heist.

when i was coming back from the gym this morning, there was a cute actress/extra that was totally checking me out. but i could be wrong. i’m not very good at picking up on that sort of thing, so this was either so obvious even i couldn’t miss it, or something else entirely. for the sake of my self-esteem, i’ll assume it was the former.

downtown on ice

downtown on ice

i missed the little blurb about trader joe’s showing some interest in downtown los angeles in the latest los angeles downtown news. awesome! (picked up by l.a. observed.)

the los angeles downtown news explains how mickey champion ended up performing at little pedro’s every week. going to one of her performances is one of those things on my to-do list that never gets done.

sunrise over little tokyo

sunrise over little tokyo

i guess if i’m going to keep waking up before sunrise, i should take advantage of it. this morning i grabbed a few photos of the sunrise over little tokyo. here’s one with the zoom lens, and one with the kit lens.

it’s almost too easy to take an great-looking picture during sunrise or sunset. good thing, because there’s not a whole lot of time to be experimenting before it is over.

previously: full moon over little tokyo

full moon over little tokyo

full moon over little tokyo

some day i’ll read some sort of guide that will tell me how to really shoot pictures like this, but in the meantime, this was the best of the twenty or so shots i took out my window. the moon has been amazing the last few nights.

not a pornfield

i like how everyone is picking a different favorite quote from the los angeles times article about alleged porn production at not a cornfield. eric at blogdowntown thought the opening line was too cheesy even for porn dialogue. mack at lavoice.org liked a later quote: “Landy said he had been falsely blamed after Not a Cornfield employees found a section of cornstalks flattened and condoms scattered around the ground.”

my favorite is this:

“We never accused him of filming pornography. But there were people filming naked people. We had an open policy, but then things started to happen,” [project general manager Adolfo] Nodal said.

But Landy had his high-definition video camera rolling during the confrontation and secretly recorded Nodal.

“You guys are shooting pornography,” Nodal says on the tape. “You also cut a crop circle in the middle of the cornfield. You guys have been shooting porn in here. We have a lot of witnesses.”

it is never a good idea to lie about things you’ve said to people carrying video cameras.

there will be a screening of the new film version of the producers at the orpheum theatre in downtown los angeles on december 14, 2005. you can buy tickets online ($50/person for non-reserved seating, or $150/person for reserved seats and a vip reception), and the proceeds benefit la’s best after school arts program.

blimp in los angeles skyline at sunset

blimp in the skyline

vibiana place courtyard

vibiana place courtyard i just have to point out this picture because i am amazed that it turned out at all, given the length of the exposure. as i was walking back home from the tamale festival, i stuck my camera through the fence of the courtyard at vibiana place, where they had a party last night.

i took a few shots of city hall and other buildings during sunset, and the drum circle at not a cornfield. to check them out, just follow the photostream backwards from the shot of the courtyard.

$3.55/ft²/month

my jaw dropped when this los angeles downtown news article claimed a 400 ft² apartment at the medici was going for $1709/month, but it turns out to be not quite right: it’s a 481 ft² apartment for $1709/month.

okay, that’s still crazy.

the 1st annual los angeles international tamale festival and carnival 2005 is this weekend, and it’s right across the street from not a cornfield. (spotted at blogging.la.)

not a cornfield

not a corn stalk today i finally made it over to see “not a cornfield” from the ground instead of from a gold line train. it’s a strange experience standing in the middle of a cornfield within sight of downtown.

there were no activities going on while i was there, and only a few people around. walking down the path through the middle of the field is very isolating, because the corn is tall enough to block out most of the surrounding area and muffle the sound.

on the way back home, i grabbed a french dipped sandwich at philippe the original.

children’s court, los angeles central library

king arthur
when the tom bradley wing was added to the los angeles central library, the entrance to what was the children’s department was moved to become the entrance to the mark taper auditorium, and the children’s court was was also relocated, including the sculptures by lee lawrie. it is generally closed to the public now, but i was able to get in while observing a tour and grabbed snapshots of all of the panel carvings and the lotus shaft fountain. the fountain isn’t actually functioning — i’m not even sure if it is hooked up to anything now.

no annoying yodeler

culture clash, an “infamous chicano performance group,” will be at the central library as part of the zócalo series on december 14. you might think i’m mentioning this early, but someone beat me to it a long time ago. you can actually make (free) reservations now.

the zócalo event earlier this week at the national center for the preservation of democracy in little tokyo, with los angeles times editor dean baquet and moderated by l.a. observed’s kevin roderick, didn’t really light any fires. but baquet did make it pretty clear that he was concerned about making sure the times reclaims more of a los angeles voice.

something i don’t think i’ve seen noted anywhere else is that the new blogs from the times, like gold derby and the movable buffet, are being hosted by typepad. and they’ve got rss feeds. now if only the actually news site did.

the los angeles conservancy is having a benefit at the former cathedral of st. vibiana on november 12. tickets start at $350 ($275 is tax-deductible).

when i was walking by the building yesterday, i was able to peek in and see how things were progressing. i took a picture (through the fence), but it didn’t turn out.

the same night, lauren bacall and larry gelbart will be doing readings at the central library as part of the gregory peck reading series. that’s free, if you’re a library associates member at the right level.

día de los muertos

dia de los muertos there really wasn’t a whole lot going on in the olvera street area during lunchtime, but there were a bunch of memorials set up in the square there, so here’s a photoset of most of them.

i also stumbled upon another fountain in the los angeles city mall that i had missed before, and another nearby that appears to be under repair.

also, two fountains that were turned off when i last grabbed pictures of them.

from the latin docere: to teach

here’s yet another group looking to train some docents in the downtown area: las angelitas del pueblo begins their docent training in february. they give free walking tours of el pueblo de los angeles, otherwise known as where this little city was founded.

but that brings another thing to mind — i should go check out the dia de los muertes happenings down in that area tomorrow (or wednesday).

the not a cornfield project near chinatown has been fun to watch grow, but i’ve never actually been down to the site. i’ve just seen it from the gold line.

i think i’ll rectify that on sunday, and head out there for the weekly drum circle and harvesting. i’ve been itching to get out and take some pictures of something.

the los angeles downtown news reports on all the restaurants opening up downtown, and the pitfire pizza in the higgins building is one of the latest. i feel like they’re stalking me — i used to live near the original location in north hollywood. i only ate there once or twice. pizza joints aren’t terribly exciting for the lactose intolerant.

it’s almost the end of the month, which means it is almost time for the monthly truly acoustic wednesday at cole’s featuring i see hawks in l.a. and amy farris. it’s october 26 at 9pm.

also, the upcoming.org cats are having their farewell-to-los-angeles party on saturday, october 22. it starts at the broadway bar in downtown los angeles at 8pm.

i think there’s something else happening this weekend, but i don’t remember what it is.

roasted almonds

these are the almonds from the farmers’ market that i mentioned last week. you can’t have any. they’re all mine.

these things are dangerous. while i was waiting in line, and after having a sample, i talked myself up from the $2.50 snack pack to the $6 medium bag.

downpour

downpour

it looks like we’re going to be in for another wet winter here in los angeles, if the last day or two is any indication. just as i made my way back from shopping during lunch, the rain really started coming down (again). i also saw some lightning off towards the east side. we’ve gotten almost an inch of rain in the last 24 hours.

don’t get the wrong idea

after having lunch at the cuban place on spring street (go support them being open on saturdays!), shannon and i checked out apartments in metro 417, also known as the subway terminal building. we were shown a two-bedroom apartment which wasn’t terribly exciting, but then saw two one-bedroom apartments on the 8th floor that were both pretty cool. one had a bit of a view of pershing square, and obviously was good for afternoon light, and one had a view over angel’s knoll park, and was good for morning light. we also got to see the rooftop deck (with hot tub) and second-floor lounge, screening room, and exercise room.

the prices are high, but the apartments (and amenities) are quite nice.

there’s an interesting little note in this story about the deal the bonaventure hotel owners are trying to cut with the city because they’re afraid the new convention center hotel being subsidized by the city may cut into their business — the bonaventure itself was subsidized. goose, gander, etc.

and as eric surmised, it appears all of the bonaventure’s saber rattling on this is to get leverage to do a partial conversion to condominiums.

next friday between noon and 2pm, there will be a “public safety appreciation barbecue” at pershing square. i can’t imagine a safer time to visit pershing square. (not that it is ever particularly unsafe.)

it sounds like a $2 donation may be required, with proceeds going to the los angeles firemen’s relief association.

i am a sucker for the zócalo and alôud events at the library and other downtown venues, and coming up on november 1 is dean baquet, newly named editor of the los angeles times, being interviewed by kevin roderick of laobserved.com at the new national center for the preservation of democracy in little tokyo.

small protest march this is the front half or so of the people who were marching along. one of the people in the back had a sign that said “you are standing on indian land.” or something to that effect.

it pays to have a camera around when you hear drumming outside your window.

i need to do some research on a telephoto/zoom lens. this one is only $4000.

okay, that’s absurd. this one is only $1200.

maybe that’s still absurd. this one is only $160.

but maybe this lens would just make more sense as a new general-purpose lens. $430.

strawberries i started the docent training at the central library today, and one big perk to it being on wednesday mornings is that afterwards i get to hit the farmers’ market on 5th street.

mmm, fresh roasted peanuts.

according to one of the people who works at the library, it will now be going on until the end of the year.

another booth was selling some sort of cinnamon-flavored roasted almonds that smelled amazing. i can still smell them. i’ll have to fight my way through the crowd to try them next time.

you’ll have to dig for the info on the chinatown business improvement district website (stupid frames), but they have a monthly 2½-hour walking tour called “undiscovered chinatown” that sounds great.

it’s also booked up through the end of the year. something to keep an eye on for next year, i guess.

tony pierce posted an excellent list of birthday freebies, to which i would add the free birthday cake at clifton’s cafeteria.

city hall east mall janice hahn wants to give the los angeles mall a makeover, and i’m not sure i see the point. i just can’t see how it will ever start getting any after-hours or weekend traffic.

revitalizing broadway is a different story, though. the momentum there is definitely building, including all sorts of residential developments.

you should also check out the great photos accompanying steve lopez’s article about nathaniel ayer’s visit to walt disney hall. (the article is great, too.)

historic downtow sign except for the small matter of the missing n, this sign is an improvement over the other wayfinding signs in the downtown area — note “broadway theaters” instead of “broadway th district” and “historic spring st” instead of “spring st hist/fin.”

i’d tell you where the sign is located, but anyone who really cares should be able to figure it out.

(i also have to point out this picture of a downtown los angeles reflection because i really love how it turned out. it was a good photography day.)

grand avenue festival 2005 photos

young mimes

commercial shoot at 4th and main

commercial shoot at 4th and main

no serenity yet, but the aristocrats is playing at the laemmle grande this weekend.

orpheum the producers guild of america is doing a benefit for the los angeles conservancy at the orpheum on saturday, october 15th with a cocktail reception, vaudeville show and screening of the freshman with accompaniment on the 1928 mighty wurlitzer organ. tickets are available from ticketmaster for $40 plus the $5.75 “convenience” charge and $2.50 for the privilege of printing out the tickets at home (or more to mail them, or no charge to pick them up at will call).

and on my left is a parking lot

tour bus it’s a little odd to hear a tour from a double-decker bus outside your window.

a week from wednesday i start the training to become a docent at the los angeles central library.

applications to be a docent for the los angeles conservancy walking tours are due november 20. they are especially looking for people who can do weekday tours. (which is funny because the library docent program was most interested in people who could do weekend tours.)

los angeles downtown news confirms what i had questioned in the article from the los angeles times about the sheriff’s department “dumping” of someone near the midnight mission: “Ward, the Midnight Mission spokesman, confirmed that the single-file line often stretches to Seventh and San Pedro streets.”

other interesting bits of news:

also, pete’s got a review in the times, although it is a pretty goofy review.

free museums

twenty-four los angeles museums are free tomorrow, october 1. that includes moca and the japenese american national museum downtown. (spotted by art.blogging.la.)

also, there’s a screening tomorrow night of infamy, a documentary about graffiti artists by doug pray, director of hype! and scratch.

reflections on minneapolis

reflection off the at&t tower

while i was home, we took the light rail from the mall of america into downtown minneapolis, walked around, and had lunch at the foshay tower.

looking at the pictures i took, an obvious theme emerged. and it seemed highly appropriate for where my head has been at lately. (it’s that time of year.)

there’s also some less thematically tied pictures.

old bank district artwalk

old bank district artwalk, 2004 the old bank district artwalk will be taking place on sunday, october 2nd. you’ll have the chance to poke around the lofts of my talented neighbors, hear some other talented neighbors play their music on main street, and otherwise revel in the talentedness of my neighbors.

this is the same day is the self-guided wilshire tour, which i guess poses certain logistical problems.

there’s also some sort of evening event to celebrate the centennial of the farmers and merchants bank building, but i don’t think you’re invited. (i’m not even sure i’m invited. i’m assuming something will get slipped under my door at some point.)

the picture is from last year’s artwalk, where they had a bunch of ribbon strung out between the fixtures on either side of main street. as i recall, i spent the artwalk last year reading a book and nursing a horrible headache. here’s another picture i took last year.

lapd caught the sheriff’s department apparently dumping a former inmate in downtown, or actually relocating them from over near the men’s central jail to vaguely near the midnight mission.

the sheriff’s department claims they dropped the man off at the food line for the mission (at 10am on a tuesday). but if i remember correctly, one of the features of the new mission was supposed to be that the food line didn’t go out on the street. it seems like an easily verifiable (or falsifiable) statement — too bad the reporters didn’t.

the second-to-last grand performances event of the year is upon us today, a free lunch concert by i see hawks in la.

yeah, this is pretty last-minute — the concert is at noon.

they’ll also be playing at cole’s next wednesday night. (but i’ll have to miss that one. my flight gets in after 11pm.)

at some point, the historic downtown los angeles retail project snuck online with a website. los angeles downtown news reports that the project helped twenty new businesses open since it started two years ago. still no video store, though.

bar 107 is the new name of the bar formerly known as score that is just up the street from me. in its previous incarnations it was one of the oldest gay bars in los angeles, but the new ownership has gone in a new direction.

on friday, it is the venue for an ’80s prom.

tragically, i will have to miss it. i’ve got a midnight flight.

okay, that’s not really even the slightest bit tragic.

dave wrote up his shopping foray at the downtown farmers market today. mine was much less exciting, because i couldn’t just buy food that would rot in my fridge while i was away. so i only bought a couple of things i needed for the next few days.

and some fresh roasted peanuts. if anyone was ever trying to get me to do something, bribing me with fresh roasted peanuts would probably render me powerless to resist. yummy.

sadly, there will only be one more downtown farmers market for me this year (on october 5).

rainy day in los angeles it’s raining. and thundering. and there’s lightning. in september in los angeles. crazy.

with the streets all wet, it’s like the city has been turned into one big movie shoot.

that i find rain noteworthy is another sign i’ve gone native.

new caltrans building

today i took pictures along main street in downtown los angeles to complete my trilogy of historic core photo sets.

i like this shot of the caltrans building because it shows both the best and worst of the building — the giant “100” street number is really striking, and the parking entrance and concrete face at street level is representative of the completely lame relationship the building has to two-thirds of the street around it.

if you pay close attention, you will notice that there is a gap of about half a block on the east side of main street between fifth and sixth streets. it’s a parking lot, but it is also a popular area for people to loiter about. i had a couple of people yelling at me as i was taking the pictures of the buildings leading up to that area, and a guy who came across the street to tell me i couldn’t take pictures because it was an invasion of privacy. (which is pretty laughable, but i figured there was little point in antagonizing anyone further.)

by the time i got back to that area to shoot the other side of the street, a couple of los angeles police department officers had come along to roust everyone who was loitering there.

it will be interesting to see what happens to that little half-block area in the next year. the santa fe lofts, pacific electric lofts, and more developments are all less than a block from there, and it sounds like there is some development planned around fifth and main, too. (maybe in this interesting little building?)

you can’t tell from the mockups of the lapd parking structure where it is going. judging by the map in the notice of preparation of draft environmental impact report for the police headquarters facility plan, it will fill these three lots (oops: four or five). i’m not sure what the plans for this empty lot are, but it doesn’t appear to be part of the parking structure and maintenance bay.

kathryn maese’s article in the los angeles downtown news happens to mention why building the garage at metro 417 took so long — they found “lots of foundations that we didn’t know were there” and an oil well. metro 417 looks nice, and the location is great, but it is quite expensive. (and since my lease is ending at the end of next month, i just got notice of my new lease or month-to-month terms — no change from this year. excellent.)

i’m surprised that a health club is one of the possibilities for ground floor development there — they already have what looked like a pretty decent exercise room for tenants. they’ve covered the windows now, but i used to get taunted by the empty exercise room on my way to the gym each morning.

according to the big list of development projects, groundbreaking on “medallion,” the project at 4th and main (across the street from me) will be this fall.

c-class commercial shoot

car commercial shoot

bank of america tower michelle gubay of the los angeles downtown news writes about various fountains downtown. i guess it’s kind of a companion piece to my photos of various fountains in downtown. the photo here is of the bank of america garden pool area she writes about.

looking back at my photo set, the place i wish i spent more time is by the reflecting pools and fountain near moca.

busy night

tonight there is a discussion with william mcdonough about “the ‘cradle to cradle’ design protocol” at the central library, a party to celebrate lavoice.org’s 1000th post at cole’s, and it’s the monthly downtown art walk.

right now, i’ll count myself lucky if i make it to the talk at the library instead of being knocked out by allergy medication again.

eagles the identity of the mysterious building on spring street has been made, courtesy of an architectural guidebook to los angeles by david gebhard and robert winter. it’s an annex to the i.n. van nuys building. it was built in 1929-30. the book claims that the north parking entrance “retains its original classical metal gates,” but unless it is behind the not-original not-classical gate you see in the picture, that may no longer be true.

if you look at the picture, the ledge near the top of the annex does match up with the ledge around the van nuys building (on the right). i don’t see many architectural similarities between the buildings other than that.

more organic produce during lunch today, i managed to remember to head over to the central library to return some books and take some pictures of the farmers’ market.

all i bought was a bag of roasted peanuts (so tasty). next week i’ll have to bring a bag and load up on produce. it all looked awesome.

shannon pointed out that i see hawks in l.a. are playing another free show tonight at cole’s. i don’t think i can not go. the believers will also be playing — judging from the samples on their site, that should be a very good thing.

mickey champion performs every tuesday night at little pedro’s, the oldest bar in los angeles, located over in the arts district. i really need to go over there some day and catch her show. it includes free fried chicken and cornbread at 11pm.

slanty eyed mama was the happy surprise from last night’s grand performances. very funny, and great electric violin playing. marc bamuthi joseph was also excellent.

i see hawks in la were also great, as promised. and now i’ve actually seen and experienced the bar half of cole’s.

and then celia and shannon talked about various things and then worried that i would write about it. lucky for them, all i really remember is that boys are stupid.

and it is possible to be a bartender and not know how to make a long island iced tea. neither do i apparently, because i didn’t think tequila was a usual ingredient.

los angeles herald examiner building the los angeles downtown news reports that the old herald-examiner building is being hit with the adaptive reuse stick. they also weigh in on the sometimes silly wayfinding signs.

i find it interesting that the downtown news started running more editorials in the last few months. i don’t remember seeing them at all when i first started reading it regularly, and now they generally have three each week.

bleed like me

the blood drive is still happening, so if for some reason you happen to read this in the next few hours, you can hustle on down there to give blood and enjoy the view.

and you get a hello kitty moon pie. they totally should have advertised that.

celia introduced herself to me as i was standing around not passing out. i’m losing my ability to go incognito.

the after party starts at 8pm. but i think i’ll head over to one of the last grand performances this year first. (but unless the cole’s web site lies, it closes at 10pm, so i guess i won’t be staying for much of the grand performance.)

5th and crimeway

it is funny to be walking along the street and have a drug deal happen not more than a few feet away. sometimes, like today, it is almost exactly like in the movies — a couple of quick hand-offs, and then the two parties are on their separate ways.

on spring street, 2005

los angeles city hall well, uploading them took forever, as expected, but here is my photo set of every building and parking lot on spring street from aliso st. to 9th st.

as with broadway, there were a few buildings that were surprises to me. one was this building, next to the van nuys building that was probably a bank at one point, but i couldn’t find any information about in my meager searching.

something that should not have surprised me, since i walk past the building nearly every single day, is that the broadway spring center is mostly a giant parking garage. for some reason, that had never really registered before.

and the person how decided that it was a good idea to use a star trek font for the name on the los angeles theatre center needs a boot to the head.

chandeliers in tom bradley wing i took the tour of the los angeles central library today, so i had some idea of what i would be getting myself into if i go through the docent training. i took pictures, of course, so there’s a 15-picture set of things on the tour and near the library. (like another fountain i somehow missed when i was photographing fountains.)

judging from how long it took for these pictures to upload, it’s going to take forever to upload the spring street photos i’m planning on taking tomorrow if that ends up being about the same number of pictures as the broadway set. sucks to wildly asymmetric internet connections.

it’s a good thing i checked the library website for the time of their tours — i had gotten myself confused, and thought their saturday tour was at 12:30pm. turns out that’s when the weekday tour is, and there’s actually two saturday tours at 11am and 2pm (and one on sunday at 2pm).

what i was originally looking into was whether tomorrow was one of the days they have the used book sale out in the courtyard, and it is indeed. that’s from 10am to noon.

the chinese food festival los angeles takes place august 27-28 in chinatown (where else?). sounds yummy.

old souls last night before heading up to hotel cafe, i went to the rock ‘n’ rights: rockin’ for the mentally disabled concert in little tokyo and took some pictures. it was organized by a group of students, and was to benefit lamp community, which provides services to the mentally-ill (formerly) homeless in several locations downtown.

“the more you drive, the less intelligent you are.”

there will be a screening of repo man in downtown los angeles at a parking lot near third street and santa fe avenue, on august 27 at 8:15pm. it’s the capper for a road-rally that will be occuring the same day. tickets for the movie are $14 in advance, $18 at the door.

there will even be space to watch the movie drive-in style. and a bunch of cast and crew will be participating in a q&a after the screening.

“the life of a repo man is always intense.”

cole’s pacific electric buffet is putting on a blood drive on august 26th, inspired by cole’s regular, and downtown resident, laura.

no, i won’t be using this as an opportunity to run a harvey mudd triathlon.

silent wind chimes the tofu festival was really cool, and the tofu tostadas were as good as promised. if you’re really nice to me, i’ll share the recipe.

the picture of these silent wind chimes really doesn’t do them justice. you need to see them spinning and catching the light to really get the full effect.

one of the things in the big tofu cookbook we got with the pre-festival package was a section on various dairy-replacement recipes that used tofu — and one of them was for tofu mayonnaise. real mayonnaise is already dairy-free. there was also a tofu pancake recipe that called for pancake mix. people who use pancake mix deserve a boot to the head.

docent work if you can get it

the los angeles central library is recruiting more docents for their library tours. there are orientation meetings on saturday, august 27, and wednesday, september 14. it requires six weeks of training.

i haven’t been on the library tour yet. i need to check it out. i have heard good things about it.

farmers & merchants national bank sometimes you better be careful what you wish for, because it might just come true.

i’m now officially one of those jerks with more camera than photography skills. something to work on.

i think the los angeles downtown news actually managed to scoop eric on his election as treasurer of the downtown los angeles neighborhood council.

the los angeles times reports that many of the plaques at the old caltrans building were actually cement, although they appeared metallic.

i find it fairly mind-boggling that there is no picture to accompany the article. the building is literally across the street from the los angeles times building.

i am surprised that newspapers don’t use more photographs on their web sites, and use them more effectively.

here’s another example: this article about how to store book collections doesn’t have a single picture. unbelievably lame.

what do we get instead? ten little pictures to tell the story of the watts riots.

free downtown walking tours

the los angeles conservancy is celebrating the 25th anniversary of their walking tour program with free forty-minute walking tours and live music in pershing square this weekend, from 4 to 6:30pm.

the postcard they sent to announce the event was a real knife-twister: pershing square looking like a park, the pacific mutal building without the (inferior) art deco facade, and a red line trolley passing by on hill street.

now all i have to do is not forget to go. i’m developing a bad track record in forgetting events even after writing about them. i completely forget the zócalo event last night at california plaza, and forgot about today’s farmers’ market outside the central library until just a few minutes ago.

wired news happened to publish an article about a9.com’s block view, which they generate by driving around in a van with a specially mounted camera hooked up to gps equipment. here’s the block view of broadway in downtown los angeles, which you may also recognize from my photo set yesterday.

on the whole photo thing, i have this vague idea that i should get a real digital slr camera and learn what i’m doing. but i’m loathe to spend money on a camera that i may not end up using much, so i am able to resist the urge for now. we’ll see how much i keep going with my current photo-taking forays.

i thought briefly about taking a photography course at someplace like la city college, but i’m not terribly interested in non-digital photography. i’ve already done my time in a darkroom.

i wondered how the folks at a9.com dealt with the driving-by-a-bus problem. it turns out they don’t. that makes some shots rather less than useful. but it does mean i can say that the shots of broadway were taken in early october or late september of 2004. the ads for taxi on the bus were the telltale sign.

more academy qualification screenings

some more movies being screened at the laemmle grande 4-plex in downtown los angeles. it’s like downtown’s own little documentary film festival.

the site for one six right mentions that they expect all of the showings to sell out, so maybe that applies to all of these screenings in general. and here i had figured that they were probably playing to some empty houses just to satisfy the academy qualification requirements.

on broadway, 2005

merritt building today’s exercise in misdirected energy was walking up and down broadway and taking a picture of every building (and parking lot).

it took less than two hours to take all of the pictures — and over six to get them all uploaded to flickr. i didn’t retouch (other than rotate) any of them, and i uploaded every one i took: 231 pictures.

they aren’t all of buildings and parking lots — there’s a few shots of some people in action. a paletero walking by the los angeles times building, a riding vacuum cleaner also outside the los angeles times building, a three card monte game, and a shell game.

the last few pictures are out of sequence because i screwed up adding them to the flickr set. i wish iphoto and flickr were more seamlessly integrated, and the iphoto interface for adding titles and comments to pictures wasn’t so lame. i guess i should play with flickrexport.

some of the buildings aren’t labeled as well as they could be. i need a handier resource for looking up the names of buildings in downtown.

the plan, unless it changes, is to do the same thing for main and spring streets (and maybe hill). and then keep doing it every year.

arrest at 4th and main earlier today i heard some shouting outside my window, and snapped a few pictures of what appeared to be an arrest in progress. when i first looked, one of the lapd officers was pulling a bicycle away from the scene.

last night i saw george sarah and friends, part of the grand performances at california plaza. the music was okay, but i don’t think it was well-suited for live performance — it had a little too much of that “press play on the synthesizer” feel. i only stuck around for the first half, of which the highlight was monique powell, of save ferris, singing a couple of songs.

next tuesday at 7pm, zócalo will be having one of their events at the california plaza, a discussion with robert j. dowling, editor-in-chief and publisher of the hollywood reporter, and joel stein, columnist for the los angeles times. it could be interesting, since i think stein runs in second place to editorial cartoonist michael ramirez as the person people would most like to see gone from the op-ed pages of the la times. but ramirez has a pulitzer to hold his critics at bay, so i think stein is more likely to be the first to disappear.

more pork

there is something like $2 million earmarked for “pedestrian improvements” on broadway in the latest federal transportation bill, and according to the most recent story, $400,000 for crosswalk bumps on temple street near downtown.

i’m still trying to figure out why it is that federal money is going towards these things that should be locally funded.

tofuzilla

the la tofu festival 2005 is coming up — august 13-14 in little tokyo. until august 10, you can get a festival package that includes two admission tickets, two raffle tickets, fifteen food tickets, and a festival cookbook, all for $30.

theatre recovery

the los angeles downtown news covers the excellent news that someone is leasing the million dollar theater and plans to host live events, as well as open a cafe in the lobby. an interesting footnote is that brady westwater, the president of the downtown neighborhood council, has been trying to get someone interested in the regent theater just a few doors down from me. i guess that might mean it isn’t totally gutted, which you might think it was based on the exterior.

(here’s a thought — if the million dollar theater starts hosting events on any sort of regular basis, there’s probably some location near the intersection of 3rd and broadway that would be ripe for a bar. perhaps the ground floor of the new pan american lofts building.)

another article this week reports about a spate of apartment buildings being turned into condominiums. i think i’d have a really hard decision to make if my building were to get turned into condos. (although with where the prices seem to be at for condos downtown, perhaps the decision would be made for me.)

the devil and daniel johnston is playing at the laemmle grande 4-plex through monday — at 10am each day.

this must be an oscar® qualifying run, but at first i couldn’t see how running at 10am is “advertised and exploited during its los angeles run in a manner considered normal and customary to the industry.” but this is a documentary, so there’s a rule 12 exception, which just specifies that it has to be run between 10am and midnight for seven consecutive days.

goofy. i may have to check it out this weekend.

an evening of dynamic personalities

next tuesday is “is california governable? a conversation with gray davis, pete wilson, george deukmejian, and jerry brown” at the dorothy chandler pavilion, the latest zócalo event.

i got an email inviting me to the “private vip reception” after the event. i don’t know if that’s anything special, or just the usual post-event reception that zócalo does. if it is special, someone has made a grave mistake: a vip reception is hardly some place for someone whose fashion choices don’t rise above which t-shirt to wear and just barely scrapes by with the social skills to order lunch.

(here’s a brilliant shirt: “what would macgyver do?”)

city national plaza i spent about three hours walking around downtown los angeles taking pictures of fountains, reflecting pools, and even one swimming pool (at the westin bonaventure). i’m sure i missed some in the areas i was in, and there are some places i didn’t go — i skipped the cathedral, since it seemed like 11am on sunday wouldn’t be the best time to be cruising through taking pictures, and i didn’t make it over to olivera street or union station.

i took a few non-water shots, too: two guys cleaning windows on the mellon bank building and the california club (detail).

i sprung for a flickr pro account. between today and the historic core tour two weeks ago, i more than blew through what you can upload per month with a free account.

the loftification of broadway

according to the los angeles downtown news, the judson c. rives building on broadway has been acquired to be turned into lofts. based on the address and size, i think this is the building with the heineken mural on the north* side. i wondered what was meant by “6-unit tomahawk lofts on main and spring streets” because those are parallel streets, not cross streets. but the tomahawk lofts are at 812-814 s. spring — where main and spring to intersect. i guess that shows how often i head that far south(west) on main or spring.

loftification would be a great name for a blog about all the development in the downtown area.

* i’m getting better.

this week i gave a restaurant that is apparently just called “cuba” a try. it’s located in the building on the west* side of spring between third and fourth. it’s a little on the expensive side for what i would consider for a regular lunch stop if i ate lunch out every day, but the food is quite good. it made me miss going to versailles for lunch regularly.

* i think it is on what people consider the west side of spring. downtown los angeles is on a diagonal grid, which i find enormously confusing to translate into map directions for some reason. it’s actually the northwest side of spring.

the circus is coming

the ringling bros. and barnum & bailey circus will be at the staples center in downtown los angeles from july 20 to 24, 2005.

on july 19, starting at 9:30am, there will be a circus parade from the train yards to staples center — it starts at 25th and alameda, up to washington blvd., then over to maple ave., and finally up 11th st.

bases covered

friday is usually my eat-lunch-out day, and rather just grab food from the grand central market, i’m trying to expand my horizons a bit. after lunch today, i can safely say i’ve eaten where the french-dipped sandwich was invented, whether that is actually philippe’s or cole’s p.e. buffet. of the two, i think phillipe’s wins out on the ambience and food, but they’re both excellent.

nor any drop to drink

you would have to lay down some heavy incentives for me to brave fantastic four this weekend, so my current plan is to spend saturday or sunday taking pictures of outdoor fountains in downtown. there’s a certain hubris to putting fountains in a city that imports a huge amount of its water from hundreds of miles away. and on top of that, i like fountains.

but the following weekend, charlie and the chocolate factory is absolutely in the cards, even with the possibility that it will fall short of willy wonka and the chocolate factory. i’d say it was worth seeing at arclight, but they won’t have it.

i caught terence blanchard at grand performances on saturday, or at least part of it, and one funny thing that happened is that these two older gentleman and some woman started dancing on the secondary stage that is sort of off to the side of the main stage, in front of the amphitheater-style seats.

one of the organizers of the grand performances went to ask them to knock it off, and got booed by the audience and then applauded when he relented.

the old guys were pretty funny, but had a great purity to them. you really got the feeling they were just into the music, and letting it move them.

the place was full — not quite as packed as for mad hot ballroom, but more people than i remember from the performances i went to last year.

tour group in bradbury lobby today was the big tour of the historic core shepherded by shannon, and it delivered on all the promised reasons to go. even the story about the parking lot. i have a bunch more pictures, and i’ll upload them to my flickr photos after i sort through them and clean up the good ones.

after the tour, albert, lisa and i went to clifton’s cafeteria, which i think is a required stop for anyone who hasn’t yet been there. and though i still think it is overpriced, the turkey was quite good.

zócalo will be having one of their events at the dorothy chandler pavilion later this month, “is california governable? a conversation with gray davis, pete wilson, george deukmejian, and jerry brown.” that’s four former governors for the price of none — it’s a free event.

they also have an upcoming event with wonkette’s ana marie cox, and one at the california plaza with the editor-in-chief of the hollywood reporter and joel stein, everyone’s favorite hollywood-wannabe opinion columnist for the los angeles times.

reason #11

i can add one to shannon’s list of ten reasons you should sign up for the historic core walking tour on july 2: i’m going. or does that add one to the list of reasons you shouldn’t sign up?

theatre organ events at the orpheum and in pasadena

there’s two upcoming events that are part of the american theatre organ society conference and are open to the public. the first is “5×2: the opening night concert” at the pasadena civic auditorium and the other is a screening of wings with bob mitchell at the mighty wurlitzer pipe organ at the orpheum. tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 for both events. the concert is on friday, july 1, and the film is on saturday, july 2.

movie gallery projected a weak sales outlook — they’re the video rental chain that focuses mainly on smaller communities.

locally, video action at 1st and hope just announced that they’re closing at the end of the month unless they find a buyer — after 24 years of operation. and eric recently reported that there’s a video store looking to open in the old bank district in the fall.

the grand performances series that takes place at the california plaza in downtown los angeles is starting up this weekend with two films: mad hot ballroom and double indemnity. there’s all sorts of cool stuff on the schedule, which runs through september. and it’s all free.

the los angeles times covers the downtown loft boom and where developers are turning to next in a fairly long article, but doesn’t really cover any new ground.

downtown los angeles is the hot new place to open a bar according to this article in the los angeles downtown news, including news that cole’s p.e. buffet has been purchased by marc smith, one of the co-owners of the golden gopher, and it is one of the three new bars he is opening in the downtown area. it doesn’t sound like many of these new places are planning on featuring live music, which is kind of a bummer. (but who am i kidding? i wouldn’t go even if they did.)

the los angeles times reports on the new development that will be outside my window (via blogdowntown), which looks pretty cool. i do have slightly mixed feelings since it seems likely to mess up the amount of light i get in the morning, and the pretty good privacy i have now.

but the development will be good for the area. gilmore is right: a block-long parking lot is pretty dreadful. it’s not clear what is going to happen to the little park/homeless encampment at the corner of 3rd and main. i remember seeing plans at one time that would put a more permanent public (pay?) toilet there and pretty it up a bit.

let’s see if i can beat eric to the punch here: j. russell brown won the special election for a new at-large representative to the downtown los angeles neighborhood council with 16 votes to run-off runner-up david poffenberger’s 14. there was one abstention in the run-off — the guy who got booted out of office after he apparently stopped showing up to meetings, and during his candidate statement claimed that the election was illegal and going to be invalidated because of a lawsuit he was going to file. he didn’t get any other votes in the first round. there were two other candidates, and at least one of them also didn’t get any other votes.

taking the figure of about 20,000 residents of downtown from these demographics, the 31 voters at the meeting represented 0.15% voter turnout.

if nothing else, it was a great excuse to go inside the los angeles theater again.

the annual hope for firefighters event in downtown los angeles is next thursday. i didn’t make it last year, but going to this while i was doing jury duty a few years ago is probably one of the factors in my deciding to move downtown.

madre dios

from a report (on the newdowntown mailing list) about the vote of the cultural affairs commission rejecting plans for the new police headquarters in downtown los angeles: “A third commissioner voted against the headquarters plan because the design was not in keeping with positive feng shui. (Specifically, the sharp point on the north side would direct negative energy toward City Hall and those who work there.)”

i found it fairly difficult to get past the self-satisfied writing in this la weekly article about main street in downtown (via blogdowntown).

i wouldn’t characterize the old bank district lofts as particularly fancy, as the writer does. one of the things that attracted me to them is that they are pretty basic.

and alice callahan comes across as a tremendous jerk for someone who provides social services to the homeless. i’m glad i don’t share that zero-sum view of the world.

i got the order form for tickets to the last remaining seats events put on by the los angeles conservancy in june and july. i share eric’s disappointment that the orpheum is the only downtown venue being used this year, but it looks like they’ve put together a good program and the hollywood pacific sounds like it should be an interesting venue.

tickets don’t go on sale to the general public until may 6, but since i’m a member i can buy now. if you’re interested in going to any of them, let me know and i can get some series tickets and split them up, or just buy individual tickets for some shows.

go vote! i voted! i decided to not deal with heading to the polling place for the upcoming mayoral election, and voted by mail already.

somehow i doubt this will eliminate the campaign mailers and phone calls.

blowjobs, $5

it is rare that i walk more than a few blocks in my neighborhood without being asked for change. but today’s “<mumble> blow job, $5” was a new one. i didn’t try to get clarified whether he was buying, selling, or mediating.

spring has sprung

which means that i’ve entered allergy hell until my system readjusts.

but today was “spring on spring,” a self-guided walking tour of various places on spring street in downtown. almost all of the places on the tour were notable, including the stock exchange nightclub, which is on what used to be the trading floor of the pacific stock exchange, with the four trading desks turned into bars; the vault of the old los angeles trust and savings bank that is being turned into a bar by the same folks that are behind the golden gopher; the lobby of the el dorado hotel, which is being converted into for-sale lofts; and one of the finished lofts in the douglas building (which is amazing, but $400,000 for 1200ft²?). the disappointment was the lofts in the mercantile arcade building, which were just badly finished.

with all this residential and retail activity, i’d wish somebody would open a decent video rental store already. it’s the idea that just won’t die.

prepaid plans and subscriptions as self-imposed consumption quotas

like i said, midas world is thought-provoking. and as i was juggling a few items in my long-neglected netflix queue, i started to wonder if you couldn’t think about monthly service plans as a sort of self-imposed consumption quota.

(downtown los angeles still badly needs a video rental store.)

theatrexpresso is a new outfit doing lunch theater in downtown los angeles. they do two shows each thursday. they’ll provide the lunch, or you can bring your own, and the play is only about 25 minutes long (which makes it sitcom-length). it sounds like a brilliant concept, i’ll have to check it out sometime.

the los angeles downtown news takes a look at places to shop for groceries downtown. i think i’ve used all of the places they mention, except for the farmers’ markets.

i’m not sure it’s fair to characterize the grand central market as mostly prepared food stalls these days. the only unprepared food vendors that have gone away since i started going is one of the deli counters (and there’s still another one) and the baked-goods place (and there’s a bakery and tortilleria opening soon). and now that there’s a 99¢ store in the basement, i find there’s very few things i can’t get from the grand central market.

go vote! go vote!

la downtown news takes a look at the different downtown tour operators. it’s not strictly downtown, but the museum of neon art bus tour sounds great.

from the los angeles times: “meet the new town crier: the city website”. what about when the town crier has a website?

a long weekend ramble

my parents were in town this weekend, and we spent almost the whole time doing things around downtown.

the arrived late on friday afternoon and checked into the westin bonaventure. (the person who wrote “the hotel's interior can’t quite match its dramatic exterior” is wrong — the interior of the bonaventure is one of my favorite spaces.) i met them at the hotel, and then we walked down to my apartment, and we had dinner at pete’s café.

on saturday morning we took the los angeles conservancy’s walking tour of the broadway theaters, and had really great luck: in addition to the usual theaters on the tour, the tower theater was opened up, and we caught the very tail end of the performance that celia of 5th and spring wrote about. we ate lunch at clifton’s cafeteria and then went over to the los angeles theater, which wasn’t open during the tour but was open in the afternoon for some reason.

in the evening, we hopped on the red line up to hollywood & vine and walked down to the arclight to see in good company (short review: liked it!) and had dinner at the baja fresh that is part of the new sunset & vine complex. there were a couple of scenes in the movie where you could see the bonaventure in the background, which was a funny coincidence.

on sunday, we hit some of the open houses that were part of the downtown living open house (actually we had gone into the eastern columbia building on saturday, and there was also an open house in my building that we checked out). the open house was a little disappointing because most of the properties were still under construction, and there was nothing to really see. (but maybe that was just those we happened to go to — we didn’t visit them all.)

from the south park area, we took the dash out to chinatown to explore that area a little bit, and then had lunch at yang chow. andy richter and his family (wife and kid) sat down at the table behind us while we were waiting for our food.

we took the dash back to my place (or as close as it gets, and then through part of the toy district on foot) to pick up the tickets for the matinee show of as you like it at the ahmanson theater and made it just as they were closing the doors after hustling through the civic center. either the second act of the play is much stronger than the first, or it just took us a while to get into the shakespeare headspace, because we all agreed that we enjoyed the second act much more than the first.

after the play, we went back to the bonaventure and had dinner in the lobby bar (after unsuccessfully trying some of the other restaurants in the hotel).

this morning, we met up again for breakfast, and then walked around a little in the financial district (mostly just sitting and watching the ducks in the watercourt at california plaza). my parents then caught their shuttle back to lax, and i picked up lunch at the happy cow diner at the bonaventure on my way back home. (i didn’t order it, but they have a ½lb. kobe beef burger for about $9.)

it was a very long weekend, and a lot of fun. i recommend any and all of the things we did, especially the walking tour of the broadway theaters and as you like it.

i’ve started putting some photos up at flickr.

this week in downtown news

this interview with duane cameron, one of downtown’s parking-lot kings, has a choice quote about the space he controls in the subway terminal building: “We have about 45,000 square feet on the ground floor, and I think the property would also be a good place for a market like Gelson’s.”

also: the linda lea theater is going to be revived, which is awesome news. the building is in pretty sad shape right now, as are the other buildings nearby, but hopefully this will help spark this block back into life. (rooftop bar? hmm.)

downtown is uptown?

according to the los angeles downtown news, the new residents of downtown los angeles are rich. or in any case, outside of the middle class that richard riordan, eli broad, and a member of the governator’s administration talked about at a zócalo event last week.

here’s the original study, and thanks to eric at blogdowntown for digging up that link.

the article mentions that the study is being used as a tool to try and lure trader joe’s downtown, which i’ve already said is a good idea. in fact, when i was checking out at trader joe’s (in pasadena) on saturday, they asked for my zip code. hopefully that’s another data point in favor of a downtown location.

something that has been on mind as we’ve entered this new year is how i could be more effectively investing my money. part of my thinking is that i would love to find a way to put it to use locally. i would very much love to start a small business, even something in the retail space like that old video store idea, but that desire is still overwhelmed by the reality that i have a job that pays well and that i enjoy. maybe what i need to find is someone who wants to open something but needs some (modest) financial backing.

one quote from the study: “strong potential demand for … video stores.”

loft appeal is a furniture store that opened up in downtown los angeles a few months ago (at 9th and hill). i dropped by today, and they have a really great collection of stuff. and some oddities, like more than a half-dozen payphones, each mounted within a seven-foot tall metal pillar. mentally deranged as i am, i was almost tempted to get one. but the $1200 price tag was a great way to prevent that.

they say that they’re always getting new stuff in (every couple of weeks). some of the more unique stuff was originally used as movie props.

the new york times has a long article on thom mayne, the los angeles-based architect who designed the new caltrans building in downtown los angeles (which they also reviewed recently).

walking back to my apartment from chinatown the other night, i had a discussion with a friend about how dull the cathedral of our lady of the angels is. i’ve only been on the inside one time, so i can’t say much about that, but the exterior of it is utterly uninspiring.

speaking of chinatown, i’ve really been lame in not heading over there more often. using the red and gold lines to get to it from my apartment is overkill, but it is easily reached via bus (and probably the dash on weekdays). and the walk isn’t bad at all. it was only when we were leaving chinatown and i saw how close city hall was that it really connected that my apartment was just a few blocks further than that.

as reported by the los angeles downtown news, the city council has passed a measure preventing new bail bond businesses from opening in little tokyo. while the article cites community concern about the “negative air” such business bring, the people best served by this measure are the existing bail bond business, who will now face less competition. it makes me wonder who spurred jan perry to put the measure up before the council.

the los angeles times has a a review of cafe pinot, which is in downtown los angeles, next door to the central library. (i’ve never eaten there, but it sounds good.)

the los angeles times takes a look at the plight of downtown residents who still have cars (via eric richardson). i feel like i should have more to say about the article, being someone that lives downtown without a car, but i can’t say that i do.

candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker

the los angeles downtown news this week reveals a “candy speakeasy” in downtown los angeles. sounds like a great place. ben myerson candy co. (one of the longest continually operating companies in los angeles) sells bags of factory irregulars out of their office. sounds yummy, and like something i’ll have to check out some day.

ralphs delayed (again)

according to the latest los angeles downtown news, the opening of the downtown los angeles ralphs location is delayed until at least summer 2006. that has to hurt the folks who have been touting it as a big draw for residents. personally, i see it as an opportunity for smaller retailers to fill the niche, which i think would be much better for downtown in the long run.

also: the giant penny building to be converted to condominiums.

if (when?) the bottom drops out of this downtown development boom, it’s not going to be pretty.

the new york times reviews the new caltrans building in downtown los angeles, and it is quite a positive review. the building really is amazing at night, but it suffers from not having much going on at street level around most of the building. it also isn’t a remarkable building when viewed from many angles, particularly the one from out my window. in fact, the side of the building facing my apartment looks unfinished.

laser light show downtown

they’re doing three nights of a holiday laser show in pershing square, along with performances by various artists. last night was the cast of beatlemania, tonight is sheila e., and tomorrow is “big bad voodoo daddy’s wild and swingin’ holiday party.” and, of course, the skating rink is now open in pershing square. more info here.

be my neighbor

the entrance to the “stunning huge loft in downtown la” in this craigslist search is just across the stairwell from me. i’ve always wondered if the hallway is included in the square foot calculation for that unit.

no more oprah

it’s a good thing i caught the changing of the oprahs the other day, because now oprah has left downtown. what’s odd is that i somehow managed to notice as they were changing the sign. but it was early, about 6am, and i was too toasty in my bed to get out and grab my camera and document the momentous occasion. for the record, the sign under the sign, i guess from when they used to glue on new ads instead of stretching them over the framework, was for marlboro.

eric and will have already weighed in on yet another clueless public transportation versus car article in the los angeles times, and now i’ll pile on. one obvious thing the author missed is taking the dash “d” line from the los angeles times building to union station. and the times for the north hollywood to union station trip are obviously wrong. (it takes thirty minutes from station to station.)

you have to wonder what goes through the head of the editors at the times when they decide to do yet another iteration of this article. why not an article about people who actually rely on public transportation (by choice or not)?

the latest amazon short film, do geese see god was also shot in downtown los angeles.

downtown retail development

here’s something extracted from the newdowntown mailing list archives, which is only open to members. (i’m not sure why, considering membership is not moderated, and yahoo! groups castrates email addresses in the messages.)

In reference to the question about a program for vacant storefronts....here's a brief summary of the program and its goals.

The Historic Downtown Los Angeles Retail Project and the Downtown Amenities Group Convened by Mayor Hahn's Office of Economic Development, the Downtown Amenities Group is a working group of Downtown LA stakeholders (City Council staff, City department staff, the LA Conservancy, property owners, retail consultants, residents, etc.) who seek to attract new retail and other amenities to Downtown vacancies. While Downtown welcomes major-credit anchor tenants, we believe that Historic Downtown's success as a thriving, 24-hour community for residents, tourists, business, and others is ultimately dependent on the creation of small retail/service/entertainment/arts establishments.

With a philosophy that "occupied storefronts build a neighborhood," we seek to attract unique amenities to Downtown Los Angeles vacancies. As a result of the work of the Downtown Amenities Group, the City created the Historic Downtown Los Angeles Retail Project, also known as the Targeted Retail Initiative.

This is a City program administered by the Community Development Department (CDD) with input and oversight provided by the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and other Downtown stakeholders. This program has contracted with VEDC to provide a project manager/retail consultant and a project assistant whose sole mission is to attract, retain and expand street-level retail and other small businesses to Historic Downtown. The primary service area is between 3rd and 9th Streets to the north and south, and Main and Hill Streets to the east and west. Minority and women-owned firms are also a focus of this project. The consultant team will assist with site location, business plans, marketing, inventory issues, access to capital and financing issues.

The Mayor's Office of Economic Development provides permitting assistance, identification of possible financial resources and City incentives, and other facilitation on an as needed basis. Services are available to new businesses, businesses interested in relocating within the project area, and existing businesses within the project area.

The Historic Downtown Retail Project has opened a Downtown office location at 315 W. 9th St. (at Hill St). The project currently has nearly 40 clients and is pursuing relationships with additional clients. The project team has also hosted or co-hosted several workshops in Historic Downtown to promote business opportunities to new and existing businesses. A comprehensive Historic Downtown marketing and business attraction package is in development and will be complete in late November 2004. A City-funded loan loss reserve program for these businesses is also in development. This program will largely be used to leverage financing for tenant improvements for small businesses within the project area.

The Downtown Amenities Group and the Historic Downtown Los Angeles Retail Project also work collaboratively with the Gallery Row Organization, which is a separate group that is focused on attracting galleries and related uses to Historic Downtown.

For more information and/or consulting services, please contact Warren Cooley or Audrey Madrigal with the Historic Downtown Los Angeles Retail Project at 213-488-3599.

For permit facilitation and assistance with City departments, please contact Tara Devine, Downtown LA Economic Development Representative for Mayor James K. Hahn, at [email protected]

there’s a tiny bit of other info about the targeted retail program and other los angeles business incentive programs on the city website.

this week’s los angeles citybeat has another article about the maybe-downtown-boom. a quote that jumped out at me: “Already, Gilmore [developer of the old bank district, where i live] says he’s inundated with retailers who want to put shops, cafés, and bars of all types in the ground floors of his buildings.” that would explain the empty storefronts in the continental and hellman buildings. (but warung café did finally open, although inexplicably only for breakfast and dinner at first. it seems like they’ve avoided the one time of day when there’s a chance they’d draw a healthy crowd.)

the video store is an idea that haunts me. maybe i should start playing the lottery.

amazon has been releasing a series of short films, and this week’s is agent orange, directed by tony scott. it’s shot using a hand-cranked camera, and is really quite amazing. it is also shot at the 7th and metro station, primarily on the blue line level.

i never had much luck with the in-page movie player, and just downloaded the quicktime, which is down lower on the page.

(the first film in the series, portrait, wasn’t nearly as interesting.)

los angeles downtown news repots that dash ridership up 35% in the last five years, higher than the 20% national average for public transit. i probably don’t take as much advantage of it as i should.

the outdoor skating rink at pershing square in downtown los angeles opens next week. because of the lock-out, it’s not sponsored by the kings this year. (and i won’t be taking advantage of it. i grew up in minnesota and never learned to ice skate. go figure.)

brian wilson will be performing smile at walt disney concert hall next tuesday and wednesday, and i’m just finding out today, long after it is sold out. bummer.

in a couple of weeks, the los angeles conservancy is hosting a preview of national treasure at the orpheum. “premium” seats are $20, regular seats are $15.

grand central market happenings

the hawaiian bbq place looks even closer to opening up: there’s a menu up.

there’s a sign up on one of the mysterious boarded-up sections that claims it is going to be a bakery. that has the potential for much awesomeness. i hope they have good bread. (it has the same name as the tortilleria that is going in, so they are presumably connected.)

they’ve also lost a food vendor or two recently, and a 99¢ store has opened up in the basement (which is a very odd space).

la downtown news has a review of clifton’s brookdale cafeteria. the time i ate there, “cheap” wasn’t an adjective that came to mind, but perhaps i just don’t know how to work the menu. here’s something interesting: you can get a free cake on your birthday, you just need to have a group of four and give them three days notice (the article says two, the website says three). if only i knew someone with a birthday coming up.

one more years

i signed a new lease, so i guess that means i’m planning on staying in downtown los angeles through at least october 2005. (and the nice thing is that my rent did not increase.)

maybe by then i will have unpacked and/or gotten rid of the things that are still in boxes.

old bank district artwalk

i just mentioned it in passing before, and this is a little late to be calling special attention to it, but the old bank district artwalk is today, from noon to 6pm. some of my more-talented neighbors will be opening their lofts to show off what they do, there will be performances down on the street, and the neighborhood businesses and art galleries will all be open.

trouble out my window

the higgins building, which you can see in the bottom of my earlier city hall photos, is converting to condos and some of the residents are not happy. it sounds like the developer is either screwing with the tenants, or only marginally competent.

i looked at the higgins building, but it was more expensive than where i ended up for lofts i wasn’t as attracted to. the deal for the condo conversion (half of the rent being put towards 5% of the purchase price) was intriguing, but it was pretty clear to me that the higgins spaces were not something i’d be happy owning.

another bit from downtown news: the old bank district artwalk is next weekend. read the article. (and the claim is that warung cafe will open soon. i’ll believe it when i see it, it has been “coming soon” since i moved here almost a year ago.)

“crowded downtown neighborhoods”

this reuters article about the proposal to mostly-destruct the old ambassador hotel says it is to build a school in “crowded downtown neighborhoods.”

news flash: the ambassador hotel is out near wilshire and western. that ain’t downtown.

i went to the zócalo la event tonight at the central library, an interview (taped for kpcc’s airtalk radio program) with michael kinsley, editorial and opinion editor for the los angeles times. it was a bit strange to see a radio talk show live (well, live-to-tape), but it was interesting. they focused a bit too much on national issues, but i guess that is really what kinsley is supposed to bring to the times. after all, an editor living half-time in seattle isn’t brought in to add more local color.

the crowd was a little too uniform in it’s politics, so the short question-and-answer period was pretty tame. the moderator did force the final questioner to get to his question (with some audience prompting). i was reminded of the question-and-answer with rep. howard berman that i went to a while ago, where a little of that moderator direction would have been a vast improvement.

painless

so i was not even called for a jury panel during my day at the court house. there was one group i was very glad to not be called in: the group of about five people called to report to the court in hollywood. (which i guess would not have been too bad, since it is near the hollywood and vine red line station, but still less convenient than downtown).

i saw “a dangerously unexpected tribute to la music with musical direction by stew, featuring the cover problem” at the california plaza last night, part of the (via grand performances series. the california plaza is a really cool performance area (the stage is actually within a part of the fountains at the watercourt).

the show was pretty good — the cover problem performed what were basically mash-ups of songs about los angeles or by los angeles bands. one of the best mashed together the eagles’ “hotel california” and iron butterfly’s “in-a-gadda-da-vida”. one of the special guests did a cover of van halen’s “jump” that was great, too.

this week in downtown news

two pieces that caught my eye in the la downtown news this week: “a market shift: grand central struggles to balance history with changing demographics”, and “broadway buildings get $1 million facelift”.

personally, i’m glad to see more (prepared) food vendors in the grand central market. the one thing they’re bringing is variety. it will be great to have a tortilla maker in the market again, and i’m looking forward to the hawaiian barbecue place. i’m not sure that mongolian barbecue is a great fit for the space (you have to point out what you want to the person loading the bowl through glass partition, which makes it nearly impossible to communicate), but the food is tasty. it will be interesting to see how the 99 cent store opening in the underground space does. perhaps it will help fill the gap left when the baked goods vendor closed a few months ago.

i’m not entirely sure about what variety the multitude of produce vendors really brings to the market. they all sell basically the same things at the same prices, and none of them appear to put much effort into distinguishing themselves from the others.

the broadway renovation projects sound great, although i’m less than thrilled about the use of taxpayer funds to pay for it. it is a shame that the building owners can’t justify spending their own money for the improvements.

oh, and i should probably mention the article about bringing wifi to pershing square. it’s a fine idea, although i’m really not a big fan of pershing square.

blogging downtown la

the la downtown news takes a look at bloggers in the downtown los angeles area, although the only downtown resident they featured is brady westwater. (but i guess that’s okay. the only other downtown blogging resident i know of is eric richardson.)

red car 2: electric boogaloo

according to the los angeles times, the city is going to spend $100,000 to study the feasibility of building a trolley system downtown. that would be pretty cool.

jury duty

while on vacation, i got a summons for jury duty (originally addressed to my old address, but it got forwarded). i report (at the end of the month) to the stanley mosk courthouse (six blocks away), which handles civil cases. actually, it’s the call-in-each-day type of service, so there's a chance i won’t end up having to go in at all.

meow

they’re doing what are reportedly catwoman reshoots on the roof of the hellman building (across the street). they’ve got two of those really cool floating lights. (something like these.)

they’re just far enough away and high enough up that i can’t tell what is going on, but if they’re doing reshoots four weeks before the release, you can be sure it’ll be craptastic.

ralphs in 2005?

this article in the downtown news about mayor hahn’s trip to new york to promote downtown los angeles mentions that the ralphs is scheduled to open next year. i guess their schedule slipped.

map of loft developments

the map from los angeles magazine showing downtown loft developments is online.

l.a. means business is an upcoming event being put on by the economic development committee of the downtown los angeles neighborhood council.

downtown movie theaters

another boutique hotel will be opening downtown, but the bit of news that really caught my eye is that the developer hopes to include a small movie theater. also, the linda lea theatre may be reopened if a buyer for the property can be found. a nearby gallery owner plans to submit a plan for showing independent films. (that’s nice, but i think someone could also do well by taking one of the old theatres in the area and running second-run movies, or popular mexican and latin-american films.)

speaking of downtown theaters, the los angeles conservancy’s last remaining seats program is going on now, with movies being screened at the los angeles theatre, the orpheum theatre, and the alex theatre (in glendale). tickets are sold out except for a couple of shows at the orpheum theatre.

blockbuster downtown

i’ve mentioned the ralphs that will be opening downtown before (drawing a comment from one of the folks who spearheaded the deal — gotta love people who google their own name). of course, where there’s a big grocery store, other retailers will follow. according to this december 2002 press release, blockbuster will also be opening a location in the same complex.

i picked up the latest issue of los angeles magazine last week, because it features several articles about downtown. one of the things that was particularly interesting is a map of the downtown area with all of the loft developments either already open, under construction, or planned. one thing that is noticable is that the gas company lofts (where the ralphs and blockbuster will be) are in the southwest corner of all of the development, and the number of developments is actually weighted towards the northeast corner of the map. it may look different if you plotted the number of lofts — the developments near the gas company lofts are generally larger than those on this side of downtown. (and southwest/northeast is just using the top of the map as north. it’s actually closer to being the west and east sides of downtown, which is on a diagonal grid.)

according to yahoo! maps, the location of the ralphs and blockbuster is 1.1 miles from the old bank district. i haven’t been to that end of town for a while. i wonder how close they are to opening. i guess i should make the trek out there some day.

according to this september 2003 profile of the downtown los angeles retail rental market, the average rental rate is $22.23 per square foot (per annum).

the los angeles times decided to write about fiesta broadway after the fact, and after spending a half-hour or so down there, i can understand why they didn’t pay it much attention. it really was little more than a bunch of tacky booths where they were handing out junk. (via l.a. observed.)

fiesta broadway is today. it’s a sort of pre-cinco de mayo street festival in downtown los angeles.

you might think this would be the sort of thing the los angeles times would have information about. as far as i can tell, you would be wrong. but la opinión has things covered (en español).

drinking downtown

from what i’ve heard, the bar business can be fairly lucrative. this article in the los angeles downtown news covers the plans of two developers to open a number of bars downtown. they run banquette, the cafe in the ground floor of my building, and will soon be extending its hours and serving beer and wine.

so much for my view

developers are in escrow to purchase the parking lot across the street from me. otherwise known as the reason i have a good view of city hall.

good for downtown, i suspect, but not so great for my view. and privacy.

cut loose like a deuce

neighbors of walt disney hall get blinded by the light reflecting off part of the structure because the wrong steel was used. no discussion that at street-level, the residents of those condos face a mostly blank wall. (david sucher commented on related issues, with some pictures, back in october.)

philippe the original vs. cole’s p.e. buffet

who really invented the french dip, and who does it better now, is the question about these two downtown restaurants. i haven’t tried either yet, although a number of people have told me to check out philippe’s. because it is over by union station, it is a little more out of the way for me. cole’s is just a couple of blocks away.

small world

i’m still debating whether to sign up for “drawing 1” or “designing effective communications” through ucla extension (they both start on tuesday). doing a little googling of the instructors, it turns out that the latter is taught by my next door neighbor.

downtown business idea

there are a number of old theaters in the downtown area (mostly on broadway). turn some of them into single-screen movie theaters using digital projection. the first one to set up would be a theater that shows spanish-language films. (why doesn’t los angeles have any theaters that do that?)

i bet it’s an idea you could get robert rodriguez to invest in.

if only i were a business school student looking for a business idea to develop as part of my studies.

in fact, the los angeles conservancy has a broadway initiative to develop the area. hmm, i think i’m due for a donation to a local charity….

i ♥ downtown

have i mentioned how fantastic the los angeles downtown news is? there’s no similar local news coverage in an area like north hollywood. one way the downtown news could improve is to seperate the online publishing schedule from the once-a-week print publishing schedule.

this week, two articles caught my eye: the first is a profile of mark tarczynski. he’s excited about ralphs coming to downtown (and facilitated the deal), reportedly being convinced it could perhaps be a bigger boon to downtown residential development than the staples center. that’s a very big “duh.” living near a sports center is not exactly a residential dream: the place is empty a huge percentage of the time, and completely screws up movement in the area the other times. urban areas need a healthy mix of retail, business, and residential development, and a sports arena isn’t any of those.

i’m still frustrated at this slavish devotion to the idea that downtown needs a big-chain supermarket. i guess i’m just not excited about a large parking lot and crappy, over-priced packaged goods. i’d be excited about a trader joe’s.

i’m curious where it is at third and la brea that tarczynski does his food shopping (my guess would be whole foods), and whether he’s noticed he lives blocks from this thing called the grand central market. (in fact, they say they have 12,500 square feet of retail space available for a supermarket. that would be perfect for a trader joe's, which averages about 10,000 square feet.)

another article in the downtown news talks about how us bank acquired the rights to put their name on library tower (the tallest building on the west coast). it’s a shame they keep renaming the building to match the highest-paying tenant.