Category Archives: Echo Park

I’m Going To Court!

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

This time not as a juror, but as your garden-variety defendant in a civil case.

Although I cannot give details about the case at this time, the basic premise is that our landlord bought our rent controlled property in Echo Park a little while back and wants to get rid of all of the tenants – starting with us. It’s a sordid tale, and I promise I will tell it later. For now, though I must be silent.

All I can say though is that most people don’t fight th type of sleazeball tactics this fella is using, and that is the true reason why areas get gentrified. Mostly, the people who try this crap are successful in their attempts to harass, intimidate and pressure tenants out of their neighborhoods.

While the experience has been a moderate pain in the ass for a while now, I look forward to our day in court. We have a solid case and some pretty big guns on our side.

It all goes down next Wednesday at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown LA.

Lotus Festival 2007

So who’s going to this year’s Lotus Festival at Echo Park lake. I will probably head over there on Saturday and I will be doing a meet and greet from 2-4pm. You can get your picture taken with me, and enter a drawing to win a free haircut.

Actually, I will probably just being walking around, eating lobster balls. That is what I do every year.

Even though the lotus count is low this year, the festival is always a good time.

Art Price Inflation At Chango

The current art exhibition at Chango is by a (presumably)local photographer. There are about 30 or so photographs and a couple of enlarged cartoons on display and for sale.

Without yet commenting on the quality of the pieces, I will say that the prices for this art are absolutely insane. We are talking $500 bucks or so for a moderately large print of a photo.

And I have to call it on this one…why? I mean I could understand if the photos were done by a big name, or were somehow unique(ie. “mint condition World War II photos discovered in my uncle’s attic”), but these are not.

None of them are any more amazing than what you can easily find on Flickr. There is nothing technically or conceptually or evocatively exceptional about them. I am not saying that they are bad, but they are average.

Also, none of them are framed. If the photos are truly that valuable, one would think that they would be framed so that at the very least the bottom edges are not curling under or so that they don’t need to be affixed directly to a painted or brick wall, like they are.

Add to that, there is nothig spectacular about the prints themselves. In an era where you can get photos printed on canvas online, I would expect something more.

But yeah, the prices are just too high. I mean if someone offered me a choice of either five hundred dollar bills or one of these prints that are being sold for $500, I would take the 5 hundreds every time. Trip to Peru or one of these prints? Trip to Peru. Gas for two months or one of these prints? Gas. See what I am saying? Substitution effect in action.

And let’s say the average price of one of these is $300(going conservative here) and there are 30 there – that is nearly 10 grand on the wall. Wouldn’t there be more security? One could easily lift them and carry them out with no one the wiser.

While some months the art at Chango is outstanding and deserves the high price tag it commands(and receives), other months I get the vibe that someone said to themselves: “Yeah man, you should see how much art sells for these days – make a print of a photo, and BOOM, five hundred smackers”.

Apparently the public agrees with me. Not a single one of these photos has sold. Again, not to be mean – but if these are going to sell the price needs to come down to the two digits.

Echo Park Lake Cleanup

I think that the $23 million dollar cleanup of Echo Park lake is pretty much last week’s news, but I thought I would mention it here for the benefit of those who didn’t know.

Personally, I look forward to the lake-draining. It will be great. Shopping carts and bodies(that’s what they say…) galore.

Curbed LA says that they should clean the paddleboats. Paddleboats are cool, but my friend Kim says that they should install rowboats. Well, now is the time to make it happen.

A Sigh of Relief

So last night I was getting carne asada at Rodeo Grill – not an unusual occurrence by any means. Anyways, the lady working the counter was trying to ask me in English how asada I wanted my asada, and having a little trouble. So I talked to her in Spanish(still shy about speaking Spanish to a new person…) and she said “Hablas espanol?!?” while giving the biggest sigh of relief I have ever seen.

She was really happy that she was able to talk to me in Spanish, and I was glad to be able to communicate with her, and it was obvious that she became much more comfortable with me than when I was speaking English.

I only bring this up because it sort of goes back to a post I made the other day.

Bilingual Blues

A commenter on this post about the ailing Highland Park Farmer’s Market brought up an interesting point in regards to making the Latino community feel welcome to the point where they will support the farmers market. They said: “Hire a Spanish speaker or someone familiar with the Latino community to work at the information booth.”

That is an obvious, and very good idea. For some time now I have felt that part of the tension of so-called gentrification is due in part to language. I get the impression that when Spanish speakers see signs written primarily in English they assume that the thing advertised is for the gueros, and alternately, when an English speaker sees a sign written in Spanish, they tend not to feel welcome.

I guess in LA it is easy to forget that not everyone is bilingual, and even if they are to some degree, they would prefer to operate in their native tongue. Only natural.

I think in the case of the HP Farmers Market(and many others), a little bilingual advertising would go a long way…

One Point Eight Million In Angelino Heights

This house on Edgeware in Angelino Heights is going for 1.8 million dollars. Seriously. When I see stuff like this I always think that there is something fundamental about the universe that I do not understand. Something that would allow this house to go for 1.8 million dollars. Something I don’t get.

Did the developers get the wrong neighborhood? Will the people who want to buy this place be the kind of people who want to live in Echo Park(as hip as it is proclaimed to be)? Will they mind the fact that they are shouting distance from the 101 freeway?

Please help me understand.