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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Love Letters & Hate Mail

Chicano artist and Eastside resident Linda Gamboa has been part of the city's cultural scene since the early 1980s. After taking a break from poetry readings, she is back and will join fellow female poets Frankie Salinas and Pat Viera at a La Palabra Poetry Reading this afternoon (Sunday, Nov. 22) at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park.

The program is titled "Love Letters & Hate Mail" and here is one of Gamboa's poems:

Nevermore ... I Say

"Nevermore, will I go back..."
I've said (over and over)
Put myself in the position
Of ridicule and disrespect
Still, I find myself
Sitting in the threshold of pain
Eating my pride
Once more
With each bitter bite
I cringe
Just to think
I have sunk
So low

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Artists respond to the recession by printing money

The Arroyo Arts Collective's 17th annual studio tour on Sunday has an economic theme - the "Recovery Discovery Tour" - and even its own currency. Those who take the self-guided tour of artist studios and homes in Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Mt. Washington will receive a $10 Arroyo Bucks coupon that is good toward a single purchase of at least $100 from any one artist on the tour. Tour-goers who arrive by Metro will receive a pair of $10 Arroyo Bucks.

The $10 Arroyo Buck - designed by artist C.J. Metzger, who will be on the tour - features the image of Hendrick Stooker, one of the founders of the Arroyo Arts Collective, a former arts historian at Occidental College and a longtime supporter of the arts in Northeast Los Angeles (Stooker will also be on the tour). It's not clear what a wad of Stookers will be worth after the tour but organizers hope the coupons will perk up sales on Sunday:

"Need a plein-air painting to stand in for that view you used to have? Could that barrel you're wearing use a jaunty hand-painted scarf? Seriously, folks, artists have always known how to have a good time and bring out the best of an economic downturn."

Artwork by C.J. Metzger/Arroyo Arts Collective

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Future of Echo Park is filled with printed t-shirts, Doc Martens and vintage VHS tapes

After running an online store, blog and collective, Will Brinkerhoff is taking a step out of the virtual world and into the realm of retailing with an apparel and accessories store called Future. The 28-year-old Brinkeroff said the newly opened Sunset Boulevard store west of Lemoyne Street in Echo Park will feature the artwork and merchandise created by artists and new designers. Future will also stock as some well know brands - such as Doc Marten shoes - and mainstream products - such as jeans - that appeal to a young, budget-minded shopper.

"The physical shop is a way for us have a little business and is also a way to showcase things we think are rad at the street level," Brinkerhoff said. "Another cool component of FUTURE is our relationship with creatives all around the world and we're always thinking of new ways to share what they are doing with our customer base."

Why Future? "I thought it would be a cool name," said Brinkerhoff of his first retail venture.

Future and friends will be holding a party tonight featuring some a DJ and some deals on merchandise.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eastside Shopper & Diner

Dress up that holiday table: Oil Cloth International holds its bi-annual warehouse sale in Highland Park on Saturday.

The Beaujolais Noveau has arrived and Taix in Echo Park is pouring it tonight for $7 a glass.

Skip the Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and go for the cannoli from the Village Bakery & Cafe in Atwater.

Fix up those cracked walls with non-toxic American Clay now sold at Par Paint in Echo Park.

Skip Thanksgiving cooking all together had have dinner prepared and delivered ($25) from Auntie Em's in Eagle Rock.

Beer and wine now being served (but you can still bring your own) at The Park in Echo Park.

Shop for hand-crafted hand bags to soy candles at the Eagle Rock Holiday Boutique.

Now open in Echo Park: Blue Collar for working dogs and Future for working hipsters.

Photo from Oil Cloth International

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Working dogs have a new place to shop - and sniff - in Echo Park

Blue Collar, a pet supply store primarily for dogs and the occasional cat, quietly opened its doors for business this week on Echo Park Avenue. The store, located in a renovated 2,600-square-foot warehouse space, is serious about promoting itself as selling "supplies for the working dog." Not only does the store sell pet food and toys but training collars, bite-sleeves, and other equipment for police, rescue, hunting and service dogs used by the blind.

The owners, former music industry workers Michelle van Arendonk and Barry Hewitt (pictured above with their dog, Grimm, recovering from recent surgery), also said they will stock bigger harnesses and and supplies for bully breeds and pit bull mixes popular in the neighborhood. It will be several weeks before all the merchandise arrives and a grooming station and training classes will be available, van Arendonk said. The store, which is making available samples of grain-free and holistic pet food, is currently open seven days a week from 10 am to 7 pm.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Eastside Shopper & Diner

Hydroponically grown lettuce & greens now on sale at the Friday's Echo Park Farmers' Market.

Duck carnitas hit the spot at Eagle Rock's Cacao Mexicatessen.

Forget duck, go for the pig: eight types of pork carnitas served on the weekends at Metro Balderas in Highland Park. (h/t to LA Taco)

Where to dine with mom & dad in Echo Park? Jonathan Gold says the Alston Yacht Club.

Beer fans preparing to tap into the Eagle Rock Brewery.

Photo courtesy Echo Park Farmers' Market

Peanut butter on paper? Anything goes at the Monster Drawing Rally

There is really only one rule that matters for the more than 100 artists who will participate in Sunday's Monster Drawing Rally in Eagle Rock to benefit Outpost for Contemporary Art. They must finish a drawing in an hour or less. What materials they use- including last year's peanut butter creation by Evan Holloway - is up to them.

The group supplies the artists with more conventional art supplies, said Julie Deamer of the Highland Park-based arts group. "Artists do often bring their own stuff to supplement our offerings, however, and to really great results."

In addition to peanut butter, one of last year's artists, Enrique Castrejon, used a ruler, protractor and calculator to shape his drawing. Castrejon's math-based art is featured in the posters for this year's event.

About 25 artists will be drawing in one-hour shifts. Once the hour is up, the artists put down their tools and supplies and their drawings can be purchased for $75. Peanut butter sold separately.

Top photo courtesy of Outpost; Bottom drawing by Enrique Castrejon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Silver Lake exhibit comes to a tasty conclusion

This coming weekend marks the end of the "Back to Basics" exhibit at Silver Lake's Materials & Applications. But first, the stars of the show must be caught, filleted and then shoved into a taco. The Saturday night Fish Taco Party will feature the approximately 20 tilapia that have been raised in a tank in the M&A courtyard as part of an exhibit to get city dwellers interested in raising their own food, said Jenna Didier, founder of the Silver Lake Boulevard exhibition space that focuses on architecture and landscape.

Didier has watched the tilapia grow in the tank outside her office since May. But she said she will have no trouble savoring a tilapia taco. "I don't think I will have any misgivings about it," she said. But, "there is definitely an amount of respect you gain from that animal."

Didier faced an unexpectedly difficult time trying to buy live tilapia. Fish farmers were very reluctant to sell the baby fish for fear of creating a competitor, Didier said. M&A had to promise not to go into the seafood breeding business before a fish farm donated the fingerlings. Normally, the tank at the exhibition space could have held 200 Talapia but M&A was able to get only 20.

The M&A Talapia were fed a combination of organic fish food and protein-rich Duckweed, which was also grown in tanks at the exhibition space. On Friday, those fish, which now weigh about a pound each, will be caught, prepared and marinated overnight. Since Didier expects a big crowd for the closing on Saturday, which will coincide with the Silver Lake Art Crawl, other farm-raised fish will be purchased to make sure there are enough fish tacos (there were also be M&A grown veggies, too).

Didier prefers breaded, Baja-style fish tacos with crema and cabbage. But the M&A fish tacos will be barbecued instead.

Photo from Materials & Applications