Saturday, February 28, 2009

East Hollywood ArtCycle!

Today was the big day for East Hollywood ArtCycle, our community's version of an art walk/artcrawl. It was something that was born in the fall of 2008 at the EHNC Arts & Culture committee meetings, and it's the brainchild of the co-chairs of the committee -- Jennifer Moran, an artist, and Enci Box, a cyclist. After months of planning, organizing, outreach and a $2500 budget from the EHNC, it finally happened.

But a simple artwalk on two wheels it was not. It was helluva lot more than that. It was a street festival at Hel-Mel, it was a concert, at least four candidates in this coming Tuesday's municipal election showed up to represent, and there was even a (n illegal) fireworks display!

Much of the people came from elsewhere, but nothing wrong about that - part of the reason this was organized was to highlight East Hollywood. I did see the neighborhood Latino and Armenian kids and families either curious join in or extended the party to their front yards by putting up lights and blasting their own music.

I got to lead one of the four hourly bike rides through the neighborhood from Hel-Mel to art studios in the Cahuenga Library area to Sunset Junction - which is technically Silver Lake, but it's still East Hollywood Adjacent, to La Luz de Jesus gallery on Hollywood and a couple of private studios in Thai Town. My ride, which had over 20 people, left Hel-Mel at around 3 p.m.

Of course, myself being the "Hijo de E-Ho," I wanted to show off some of the ' I gave them the Director's Cut. The 1/5-hour ride turned into a 2-hour ride, not only stopping at the designated galleries and studios, but pointing out things like the histories of the Ukrainian Cultural Center, LACC, Thai Town, Little Armenia, and even Keifer Sutherland's secret lair (shhhh!), the lighting yard-cum-park to be and the "EAST HOLLYWOOD" advertising kiosk at Hollywood and Sunset.

The event attracted several hundred people. Not bad, eh?

It was a true community event. I got to re-connect with familiar faces in the community. I got to
connect with new people involved in the EHNC. I even met, for the first time, a neighbor of mine who lived in East Hollywood about as long as I have, and he even rocked his own Y-Que "East Hollywood" t-shirt. One of my friends turned up just because he read my Facebook status on ArtCycle!

Personally speaking, I'm real tickled. This is the first major event of the EHNC that I didn't have to directly plan and organize, and I'm actually happy about that - it's about damn time! Most of all it's gotten the "East Hollywood" name out there, as the event posters have attested, and it would leave no doubt to the visitors as to where and what E-Ho is. Kudos to Jen, Enci, everyone who helped out and look forward to ArtCycle 2010!

Friday, February 27, 2009

My New Laptop, Sorta!

Just got a new keyboard delivered at work today - no, not a music keyboard, nor a computer keyboard. But it's a Freedom Universal2 Keyboard, a foldable keyboard that works with cellphones and PDAs via Bluetooth. It's also got a little retractable stand for my phone - which is really more like a micro laptop computer, since it's got way more computing power than the 386 I used to rock when I was in college.

I got this just for my Blackberry Bold - so I can maximize my time, especially writing and blogging while during my Australia trip. This way, I don't have to haul around a big laptop -- and be afraid of it getting lost or stolen -- nor do I have to search for an Internet cafe. Closer to home, I also might want to do some writing while commuting on the Metro to or from work.

So far, it works great, Bluetooth was a slight enigma at first but it works smoothly now. My only complaint is that the right-hand "SHIFT" key is waaay too small, and I'm having trouble typing out capitalized characters. I got it for just under $100 including shipping from

Thursday, February 26, 2009

WE'RE #1!!!!

This week Forbes magazine unveiled its list of America's Worst Intersections [sic], the last word being a misnomer, since once reading the article, you learn they're talking about highway/freeway/expressway interchanges and exits and not a place where two surface streets cross, unless the Forbes folks live in a region where an "intersection" means something else - kind of like how those Midwesterners call carbonated soft drinks "pop."

Anyway, I was pleased/displeased/amused to learn that not only is Los Angeles ranked #1 in traffic congestion (w00t!) but the worst bottleneck is in East Hollywood -- namely the Vermont on/off-ramp of the Hollywood Freeway (101). Ain't that a dandy.

This, folks, is a cause for celebration.

Of course, I try to avoid this as much as possible. I'm speeding about 55 mph in a subway train 60 feet below the street to and from work every day, and in a car I'm wise enough to use Beverly or Temple as a reasonable alternate route.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday @ The Cathedral

Went to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels right after work on Wednesday to get some black stuff put on my forehead. Also took some pics from the plaza, which also included the towering "space coaster" or "robot statue" thingy from the "Central Los Angeles New High School #9," the moon and an airline contrail lit by the setting sun:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Small Businesses Don't Have To Suck

While biking home from my campaign volunteer activities and CD shopping at Amoeba, I passed by this humble little vacuum store on Fountain and Hobart that had n array of upright vacuum cleaners lines up inside the shop, outside the door and right at the curb.

Seeing that I've long procrastinated buying a couple of small attachments that got lost from my Hoover upright vacuum cleaner, I wondered if this store would have them in stock.

I asked the man at the counter and he told me he didn't think he had them but found a compatible part, much bigger than the one I looked for, yet still able to fit the Hoover vacuum hose.

Then looking down at one of the used Hoover models I pointed out that the attachments looked exactly like those attachments, and the proprietor, whose name was Sabatino, told me he'd be willing to sell them to me. The price was $4 each - making the purchase $8. I produced a five and three singles from my wallet right away.

He told me his business was only around for a couple months, having relocated from Sunset and Tamarind (near the Arby's)...and that my $8 was the first sale he ever made.

I was kind of floored. I don't know how many of you reading this (if at all :)) are in need of a used vacuum cleaner or repairs to your existing one, but if you do, this store can give you what you need. It saved me from an online purchase that would charge me more in shipping than it would for the item itself! So come check out Sunset Vacuum Shop & Service on 5324 Fountain Ave (at Hobart). I just love it when everything you need is pretty much nearby.

I also did some neighborhood council outreach, telling him about what we do and gave him my card, offering to help him out with any city-related issue he'd see in the neighborhood.

Yeah, there's a joke somewhere that says that no matter how well you do in the vacuum cleaner business, it's always going to suck...But sometimes it doesn't have to!

Hooray for Hollywood

As the area gears up for the Academy Awards on Sunday, on my bike ride en route to Central Hollywood to do some precinct walking for Eric Garcetti's campaign, I happened upon the sight of Charlie Chaplin waiting for a DASH bus at Fountain and Vine(!).

Okay, sure it's one of those impersonator dudes who stand in front of Mann's Chinese Theatre, but you just can't pass this up. Where else but in Hollywood?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cirrus-ly Speaking

Nothing more to say other than the simple beauty of the purplish cirrus clouds following the setting sun on a Friday evening.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Show Some Love For Children's Hospital LA!

East Hollywood's very own Children's Hospital Los Angeles needs your support!

The medical center is currently part of an Internet competition among 11 hospitals nationwide as part of the "Show of Love" program sponsored by the Colgate-Palmolive company and the Starlight Foundation to help seriously ill children cope with the pain, fear and isolation that often accompanies serious illnesses, such as Sickle Cell Disease. Each of the 11 hospitals will be receiving a Starlight Fun Center mobile entertainment units for pediatric patients, but the top three hospitals receiving online votes by February 27 will get a second one!

The "Fun Centers," valued at $4300 each, consist of a Sharp LCD HDTV, a DVD player, and Nintendo Wii video game console and are designed to help seriously ill children cope by providing fun and diversion at their bedside.

Currently, CHLA is ranked #3, right behind hospitals in Houston and Detroit. Keep CHLA in the running and support a winner in East Hollywood! The voting ends at 12 noon EST on Friday, February 27. You may vote once per 24-hour period from any single computer. Vote early and vote often!

To vote, visit this site:

Then select "Los Angeles - Children's Hospital Los Angeles," enter the capcha code and submit! It won't cost you a dime, only a minute of your time!

Metro Kettle Corn!

I happened upon quite amusing sight when I emerged from the Vermont/Santa Monica Metro station at the end of my commute: A kettle corn booth! Right smack dab in the middle of the station plaza! I love kettle corn! So I shelled out the $6 for a big bag...had to show my support.
Normally kettle corn booths are a common sight at county fairs or farmer's markets. This time, it takes on a decidedly more urban setting.

But perhaps we'll see a farmer's market in East Hollywood. SEE-LA, the Hollywood Farmer's Market operator, had been running a small Wednesday evening farmer's market at the old Sears parking lot near Santa Monica and Western since 2001, but had to move out due to the new Paseo Plaza development coming there soon. They're currently looking for a new home in East Hollywood, possibly setting up in Hel-Mel (a.k.a. the bicycle district at Heliotrope and Melrose).