Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Farmer's Market, Highland Park Style

While riding the Gold Line home today I finally got to check out the farmer's market in Highland Park, called the "Old L.A. Certified Farmer's Market," which happens every Tuesday just outside the Highland Park Metro Rail station, an extremely convenient location if there ever was one! Right after stepping off the train, I quickly perused the L-shaped market grounds looking for a bite to eat, and maybe some produce to take home. The fruits looked - and tasted, judging from the sample slices - delicious, but a little pricey for my budget. I did get a jack cheese and pepper tamale from one of the food vendor tents, which was considerably larger than the average tamal.

But I actually spent most of my time there chatting with the community folk at the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council's outreach booth. I asked them about what was up with the Southwest Museum, which, since 2003, has been under the guise of the Autry National Center and currently under seismic renovation. To my surprise, they informed me the museum is actually open, but only on Saturdays. I was also introduced to and had a chat with Ruth Anne Tarletz, a former member of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council who currently organized a Northeast L.A. area peace march that got a lot of community participation. Guess that's what I do as a community leader -- talk shop with other community leaders.

My train ride continuing back home was an easy few steps away. It may not be as big as the one in Hollywood every Sunday morning - but then again, what farmer's markets are? - but it's definitely worth checking when you're in the area.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

(Re)Birth of a Mural

Artists Eye One (left) and Caché (2nd right)
hard at work on the new mural.

While going down my street on Sunday I discovered a rebirth of the recently-defaced Caché mural on Heliotrope and Melrose. The incident not only created a neighborhood crapstorm, but apparently caught the attention of Metblogs L.A. and the L.A. Weekly. Not long after, my friend Enci Box contacted her friend Caché, the mural's artist, on the deal. Apparently the artist is currently living with his girlfriend in Massachusetts, but expressed a willingness to return back home to fix what's been broken. Well, he went good on his word to head Back West and not only restored the old mural, but designed a new one.

I introduced myself to Caché and asked him a little about his process. He showed me his sketchbook which had the image of the familiar Zapatista and chicken characters (as seen on his Silver Lake/Echo Park murals along Sunset Blvd) riding bicycles and holding U-locks. I also asked him about his color schemes, by which he revealed to me he does have his own familiar set of bright background colors. Also, the wall is so coveted by local artists, that other muralists were ready to jump on putting their own pieces there. However, the staff at nearby Orange 20 Bikes took great pains to reserve the wall for a Caché mural redux.

Artist Caché sprays on some familiar-looking tentacles.

Assisting him on his mural was artist Eye One, who actually devised the hooded Zapatista character and himself looked...rather familiar. I asked Caché what his real name was and it confirmed that my guess was correct - Eye One was an old classmate of mine from Marshall High! I hadn't seen him since graduating...uh...19 years ago! When I was the Editor-In-Chief of the school's Blue Tide campus newspaper in Spring of 1989, he was the Art Editor. Now, I'm a community leader in East Hollywood and he's one of the artists that designed one of its most popular murals. How things go full circle. After a long "catch up" conversation, he told me he's stayed local and has been active as a graphic artist for many years. We also have a few post-high school mutual friends, so it's a wonder why our paths hadn't (re-) crossed sooner. He also talked about his art, as well as the idiosyncrasies of his mural pieces - for instance, the arrow on the Zapatista's zapato usually points to the northeast when it's in murals (though the new Hel-Mel mural is an exception, as he discovered).

But hey, it's a small neighborhood, a small town and a small world.

Tear Down This Wall!

The construction barrier for the new L.A. City College parking lot/athletic field along Heliotrope Drive came down on Thursday after being up nearly three years. The diagonal parking appears to remain, though the parking meters have yet to be re-installed.

The 950-space parking lot will be open on Tuesday, September 2 - the start of the LACC school year. Work on the rooftop athletic field, which will feature a track, plus a soccer and softball pitch, will continue for another two months.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Although it's Summer, June July August gloom can be a nice thing sometimes, especially in the early morning when you get to see the San Gabriels peek from a layer of cloud cover. This view of Mt. Wilson greeted me as I waled towards the office, so I had to take a snap.

Interestingly, the cutie who gets on the Gold Line at Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park and seems to work near me said something like, "Are you okay?" as I took this. I just briefly explained to her that it looked beautiful. Hey, like the clouds, the ice has been broken. Wish me luck.