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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Will coffee perk up an East Los Anglees landmark?

The owner of Silver Lake's Coffee Table restaurant plans to open a cafe inside the mosaic-covered Self Help Graphics & Art building in East Los Angeles. Brett Schoenhals expects to open Cafe con Leche early next year within the arts center at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Gage avenues. The menu at the cafe, which won't have a full kitchen, will focus on soups, salads and sandwiches, Schoenhals said.

Self Help, founded nearly 40 years ago, hired a new executive director earlier this year as the nonprofit seeks to establish a more solid financial footing. The building is home to a print-making studio, classrooms and gallery spaces. Schoenhals said his cafe will occupy about 2,000-square-feet of space, including the highly visible corner location. His plan is to showcase the work of Self Help artists during ongoing exhibitions in the cafe.

Photo from SelfHelpGraphics.com

Friday, September 25, 2009

Eastside Shopper & Diner

No butter, just fat: Happy hour and duck-fat-popped popcorn with fennel powder are back Barbrix in Silver Lake.

Rockaway Records celebrates 30 years in Silver Lake with a parking lot sale - 99 cent CDs - and up to 75% off on in-store merchandise.

Everyone has a top 10 list: Bon Appetit magazine names Viet Noodle Bar in Atwater as one of the nation's top 10 new noodle bars.

Paper, please: Newsstand opens in Echo Park.

Tired of chicken? Figueroa Produce in Highland Park now selling grass-fed beef.

Photo from Barbrix.com

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Paper, please: A newsstand opens in Echo Park *

If everyone is buying, selling, reading and doing everything else online, somebody forgot to tell Echo Park business owners. The past year has seen the opening of retro retailers like a bookstore -Stories - and a record shop - Origami Vinyl - despite the explosion of online book and music sales. Now, another old school business has opened its doors in Echo Park, the Mohawk Newsstand on Mohawk Street north of Sunset Boulevard. Tucked into what looks like a former one-car garage behind The Coffee Pot cafe, the Mohawk Newstand is owned by Neil Forn, a Woodland Hills resident and businessman with a love of magazines. He opened the spot in partnership with the owners of the Coffee Pot, which will also make room for one of his magazine racks.

Echo Park used to have a large newsstand that once stretched along what is now a medical clinic at the northwest corner of Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. What's left is a much smaller news hut of sorts that sells many Spanish-language publications. There's another small newsstand on Sunset Boulevard west of Alvarado. The Mohawk Newsstand, however, is much larger, stocking more than 200 titles that seem to appeal to every neighborhood niche. Some of the specialty titles include Vanidades, Pilates Style, Taost, Low Rider, Tattoo and Cesar's (of Dog Whisperer fame).

"People still want to buy magazines," said Forn, who is a fan of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. "Print is not completely dead yet."

* Correction: Previous versions of this post misspelled the owner's last name as Form. The correct spelling is Forn.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's not all about kids at 826LA in Echo Park

The Echo Park branch of 826LA is best known for its work helping kids through tutoring and writing programs. But the non profit also holds programs and events for adults. On Tuesday night, the organization will hold one of its Adult Writers Panels in Echo Park on the comic book business. The panel features such ground breaking cartoonists as Lalo Alcaraz, creator of the La Cucaracha strip; Jaime Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame; Candorville cartoonist Darrin Bell; and industry veteran Marv Wolfman. The seminar, which costs $25 to attend, will be hosted by author Salvador Plascencia (the $25 helps pay for the free tutoring and writing programs.)

Erica Flores with 826LA said the organization hosts Adult Writer Panels every four to six weeks, with most of them held in the group's Venice outpost. "But we would like to even it out a bit and have these events equally at both locations, especially if the community shows an interest," Flores said by email. "As a writing-focused center, these panels tend to center around different aspects of writing in various fields. Mostly these panels are a way for aspiring writers to get insight and advice from well known writers in their field."

Top image by Lalo Alcaraz; bottom image by Jaime Hernandez

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Eastside Shopper & Diner

Why settle for an omelette when you can have duck confit, sweet potato hash and a "Ship to Shore" Bloody Mary? It's the new Sunday Brunch starting this weekend at Echo Park's Allston Yacht Club.

Yoga on the cheap ($10 a semester) at the Yosemite Recreation Center in Eagle Rock and Glassell Park Senior Center.

Closing sale: All Shades of Green is discounting its green products as it prepares to shut down its Silver Lake store.

Sleep on this: Sleep E-Z Mattress is closing its Echo Park showroom and discounting remaining merchandise by about 40%

LA Bread becomes The Village Bakery in Atwater

Step this way: Serifos in Silver Lake is carrying the new "A Guide to the Public Stairways of Los Angeles"

Silver Lake block party and sale on Saturday.

Photo from All Shades of Green

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Elysian Valley prepares for another Frogtown Artwalk

Wedged between the Los Angeles River and the 5 Freeway, the tiny homes and warehouses packed into Elysian Valley seem cut off from the rest of the city. The sense of isolation and seclusion appeals to many residents as well as long-time artists. But Elysian Valley, also called Frogtown, has been attracting more attention as more high profile artists convert former warehouse and industrial buildings into studios. On Saturday, outsiders can take a peek inside this artist community in this year's Frogtown Art Walk. More than 30 artists will be opening up their studios this year on the self-guided tour. If you are not into site specific installations or performance art, there will also be live music and, if you like, a night time stroll along the river.

Photo by Tasawa via Flickr

Friday, September 11, 2009

The overlooked Echo Park Library gets some attention

The Edendale Library branch on Sunset Boulvard has become a magnet for Echo Park residents in love with books, culture and a free wireless Internet. So, it's easy to forget that Echo Park has another library that actually bears the community's name: the Echo Park Library on Temple Street. On Saturday from 11 am to 5:30 pm, the new Echo Park Library Community Group will hold its first book and rummage sale to benefit the library located south of the 101 Freeway:

"COMPLIMENTARY COFFEE & DONUTS
ONE OF A KIND RUMMAGE ITEMS
ECHO PARK LIBRARY KNITTING CLUB CRAFTS

AVERAGE BOOK COSTS .25 -.50 CENTS
SPECIALTY BOOKS UNDER $5.00"

Echo Park Library Community Group treasurer Lisa Baca said that the library is home to a large Crochet & Knitting Club. The library support group is working with a nearby nursery to restart the library's gardening club next year, she said.

Photo from LAPL.org

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Eastside Shopper & Diner

Bauer Pottery Showroom sale. Photo from BauerPottery.com

The kids are back in school. Time to celebrate with a 2 for 1 meal deal at Taix in Echo Park.

The coffee house crowd can now sip away at Antigua Coffee in Cypress Park.

Time for a toast: Echo Park's City Sip named one of the city's best new bars by LA Magazine.

Outdoor decor sale - 20% off - at Pot-ted in Atwater Village.

Mishka NYC holds a warehouse sale in Echo Park.

Last pottery sale before Christmas at the Bauer Pottery Showroom in Atwater.

You won't go home hungry: $5.95 lunch at Thai Spirit in Eagle Rock.

Vintage & Vino: Tavin in Echo Park uncorks wine on Friday & Sundays after 5 pm

Group therapy for the unorganized


The Eastsider prefers to keep his mess private. But professional organizer Beth Zeigler has discovered that people who are eager to get organized, and save some money, are more than happy to get help in a group setting. So, on Saturday Ziegler, who blogs at Apartment Therapy, will be hosting an Organizing Boot Camp at the Echo Park Methodist Church. Bring $30 and a bag of your paper work. What you get is 90-minutes of advice, supplies and access to paper shredders.

Click on the following link to read a Q & A with Zeigler, an Echo Park resident, about the Organizing Boot Camp and her business.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Evening concert at Vista Hermosa Park

Vista Hermosa Natural Park just south of Echo Park affords some of the most scenic panoramas of the downtown skyline. On Thursday night, Sept. 10, you can enjoy the view and the park's first-ever outdoor concert featuring an ensemble lead by cellist and pianist Janice Foy. The free concert begins at 6 pm in the childrens' play area near the top of the park. Park coordinator Judy Perez Soto said only one concert is planned for now but more might be scheduled depending on Thursday night's turn out. More details.

Photo by PoppyseedBandits via Flickr