Thursday, August 31, 2006

225 ways to Celebrate: 215 to 225

Here we are at the end of a multi-month project to find 225 ways to Celebrate Los Angeles's 225th Birthday. Over the course of the last few months, there have been many suggestions and discoveries that have truly enhanced this list. But what truly jumps out at me is that what I thought would be challenging - getting 225 things to do in the City of Los Angeles - has turned out to be quite easy. This list could grow for many more months.

So, as you read the final installments, know that there is a whole lot more to be listed. If you completed all 225 (or heck, if you do just 200 of them), let me know, and I'll start working on "ANOTHER 225 Ways to Celebrate Los Angeles."

Here's to a great City that is worth celebrating everyday! (Be sure check out the other 215 by clicking the links below.)

214. Explore Exposition Park, which was originally "Agricultural Park." Check out its rose garden ( the city's former race track), museums, & varied public art.

215. Visit the LAPD Museum in Highland Park, then go the Fire Department Museum in Hollywood and the African American Fire Fighter Museum in Downtown.

216. Walk around downtown LA, especially on Broadway, around Pershing Square, and Grand Avenue. Remember to look up.

217. Visit the Wells Fargo Museum n Bunker Hill.

218. Explore the history of St. Vincent's Court, a national historic place with a quite dynamic history.

219. Take the glass elevators for a spin at the Bonaventure and see Los Angeles on the rise. (Photo from Matthew

220. Get stuck in the tar at the La Brea Tar Pits (yes, "the tar tar pits").

221. Walk across the 6th Street Bridge.

222. Visit El Alisal, the Charles Lummis Home, and the Heritage Square Museum in the Arroyo. (I'd say visit the Southwest, but it's now closed until further notice.)

223. Visit the Municipal Gallery at Barnsdell Art Park.

224. Walk around "Lake Hollywood"; look for the bears built into the dam.

225. Walk the National Cemetery in Westwood and remember it exists here in this City because of Kit Carson & John Fremont's efforts in the Cahuenga Pass in 1846 & 1847. And those Americans only showed up because of what the Spanish did in the 1781 - 225 years ago.

The City of Los Angeles has a lot to offer those willing to take advantage of all that there is. So, even though the City leaders haven't done a whole lot to recognize this milestone in the City's history, you can.

"225 Ways to Celebrate..." thus far:
56-78 (Griffith Park)
79-88 (Eric Garcetti)
125 - 213 (Festivals)

A Storied History

Eric at Blogdowntown has a great post about the history of the New Story Building. This kind of history is what is needed for so many of our landmarks - both famous and obscure. Hopefully, more and more people will start to collect the modern history of current places and people and record them so when whatever comes after blogging in 50 years presents information to the eager masses, the information doesn't have to be assembled from a sole source of newspaper articles. This is especially evident as the Times of 100 years ago was is very generous with opinion in their "news" articles.

Photo from Eric's flickr page

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Toll Road at the Junction

I guess we do have toll roads in Los Angeles. This past weekend, with the mandatory entrance fee at Sunset Junction, the City has allowed the first toll road to exist. Sure, it's just for pedestrians, but it's a toll road no less.

The fact that the organizers require payment doesn't bother me too much... except for a few things:

First, they received $35,000 in fee waivers from the City Council President and the City Council. So, not only did they collect $12 to $15 per person, but they also could count on about 2,916 "entrances" at the $12 price in freebies from the City. Now, sure, Giant Village charges people a boatload of money to attend their event, but they pay for all the permits and fees - no waivers.

OK, maybe I could see that $35K in fees as the City's support of a non-profit. Fine. But, then, I realize the City doesn't require any accounting or balance sheets for the event in order to waive the fees. So, they may be non-profit, but how much of the ticket fee is actually going towards the youth programming? I already get bugged by fundraisers that only pay for themselves, but when it's on a City street and you are required to pay - that bugs me.

Finally, and the main reason the mandatory fee irks me is the community. Think of that family of 4 or 5 or 6 that has this event a few blocks from home and now HAS to pay the $12 per person: $48 to $60 to $72 just to get in the gates. Then, add on ride tickets, food, etc. - look out! This really disenfranchises those the event claims it is meant to assist.

Now, I don't blame the organizers - they are doing what they have to do to put on a great event that raises funds. I think the City should really look at it's policy about waiving fees when a entrance fee is required on City streets. Let's see which Councilmember will take up the issue as a citywide issue of when do we waive fees. Or, maybe, we'll just have toll road sprouting up across the City.

Photo from brianblevins flickr page.

I'm hooked!

I was a little hesitant at first, but I'm hooked now.

After reading this post, I am eager to see what's next from this blogger.

The Seven Tunnels of LA!

Here they are... the "Seven Tunnels of Los Angeles" (our version of Rome's Seven Hills):

The Sepulveda tunnel under Mulholland in Encino

The Cesar Chavez tunnel under the railroad tracks next to Union Station

The Sepulveda tunnel underneath LAX

The Sherman Way tunnel underneath Van Nuys Airport

The 3rd Street tunnel underneath Bunker Hill

The 2nd Street tunnel underneath Bunker Hill

The Mount Hollywood Drive tunnel underneath the Berlin Forest in Griffith Park

Way to go to Peter McFerrin, the Transportation Policy, Planning & Development Nerd, for listing them all.

Photo of the 2nd Street tunnel above from Flickr's Monku.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Tunnel Vision

In a City as sprawling as Los Angeles, you expect to find many varied geographic features. Part of that geography dictates our roadway and the features they possess. From wide streets like Van Nuys Bl. to steep streets like Fargo to short streets like Powers and curvy, hilly streets Laurel Canyon. Because of these special and varied features, the City of Los Angeles has a variety of tunnels. There are seven tunnels though which vehicles have access in the City of Los Angeles.

Now, I'm talking about those tunnels currently open to vehicular traffic. And I'm not talking about the Metro Subway tunnels of the Red Line or Blue Line, nor am I talking about the closed-off, original subway tunnel between the Subway Terminal Building and Glendale Avenue. I'm also not referring to those "second streets" that are the true underbellies of the City. Also, I'm not including those Caltrans-controlled tunnels like the Figueroa Street tunnels.

Do you know the Seven Tunnels of LA?

Smaller isn't always better

There has long been the thought by many Angelenos, especially those in the San Fernando Valley, that a smaller city is more efficient and can get things done more effectively.

The Daily News reports otherwise: The City of San Fernando, the tiny island of a municipality completely surrounded by the City Of Los Angeles in the Valley, can't seem to get its pool project off the ground. Dana Bartholomew reports it here.

It's an interesting issue, because the slow-paced rehabilitation of the earthquake-damaged Northridge Pool was an example of how a big city like LA needed to be broken up. It was a center-piece of the Secession movement in the Valley in 2001.

Well, smaller isn't always better, as the City of San Fernando exemplifies. Infighting among part-time councilmembers and "pet project politics" are just as prevalent in a city of 2.4 square miles and a population of 24,564 as with a city like Los Angeles with 465 square miles and a population of about 3.8 million.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

110 with Downtown in the background...

Here's a typical hazy day in LA, right? The 110 with Downtown in the background...

Oh, wait a sec. That's not LA; that's Kuwait City, Kuwait.

So when you think this is The Strand in Manhattan Beach...

...think again. It, too, is Kuwait City.

Strange how major cities around the world can be so different, yet so similar.

Picture via a friend serving our country in support of troops in Iraq.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Crazy Cars in L.A.

Maybe it's because we're a movie town or maybe because it's "just L.A." to do such a thing, but there are an awful lot of distinctive cars that are seen in L.A.

Just last week, I saw the keyboard car:

Yes, it's a car covered by keys from computer keyboards.

This is the Second One (or first ,depending on which you see first) according to Metro Blogging LA.

It made me remember the trophy-covered van that I knew from my childhood. I then was forced to think of LA car's like Angelyne's pink Corvette in Hollywood, that rocket car I saw at Carney's on Ventura Boulevard, and Woodruff's "whatever" car around town. (Interestingly enough, LAvoice's Mack Reed had the same thought process and captures all three here.)

I wonder what other distinctive LA cars are out there that I missed? Know of any local to L.A.?

There's this one: Crazy Art Jeep.

Besides these indie custom cars, there are those professional cars that you may only see in L.A., especially around Toluca Lake's Barris Kustom. It's not uncommon to see a certain time-traveling DeLorean around the neighborhood or parked at the local gas station.

After a little Googling, I found that it may not be an "L.A. thing," which is sort of sad. I wonder, could we have an Art Car parade like Houston or Baton Rouge? Why not? I bet George Barris would participate! There's a huge tourist attraction in this one... NoHo, Lincoln Heights, San Pedro, Gallery Row? Can you dig it?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

City Flag

After the Atwater Village Nerd got excited about the many flags that have flown over that community of Los Angeles, I figured it's time for a primer on the City Flag.

The City Clerk has a nice page with an image here, but there is a little more to it. According to Sec. 1.17 of the City's Administrative Code:
The flag designed by the La Fiesta Association, Ltd., and presented to the City Council on June 9, 1931, the colors of said flag being green, yellow and red, with the Seal of the City of Los Angeles imprinted in the yellow center thereof, is hereby declared to be the official flag of the City of Los Angeles.

The "Fiesta Flag" (as it was then known) was designed in honor of the City's 150th Birthday and officially established as the City Flag on July 22, 1931.

Besides the official flag, the City of Los Angeles also has an official City Flower (Bird of Paradise) and City Tree (Corral Tree).

That may seem like a lot, but did you know that the State of California has an official "State Soil" among other things?

Should Los Angeles have other "official" insignia? I'd like to see an official city song & motto adopted by the City Council.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

LA's Worst Day

With the upcoming release of theBad Day LA video game, it may be time to reflect on the truly worst day (or days) in LA history. Only by looking at (understanding) the past can a city (society) move forward.

So, I would say that, in the last 225 years, the worst day in the history of the City of Los Angeles could be any of the following:

October 24, 1871

August 11, 1965

April 29, 1992

Perhaps there are other days in Los Angeles History that are worse for a specific region (the Valley: January 17, 1994), a specific neighborhood (Bel-Air: November 6, 1961) or for a specific sector (old "Hollywood elite": April 1, 1995). Or maybe, it's your personal worst day.

These dates are pretty bad days in history - do you know of others?

NOTE: No links were given at the time of this post for these dates for a reason. There are 6 dates on this page, 2 to 4 of them should be easily known. There are a few listed that may take some Googling to figure out (until someone posts them in the comments!).

Monday, August 21, 2006

LA's Longest Street

(When I say "LA's Longest Street," of course I mean the CITY OF Los Angeles.)

So, earlier this month, Westward Ho posted about the world's longest street and ultimately found Sepulveda to meet her needs at 31.5 miles. Well, actually, Westward Ho doesn't even mention it, but the longest street IN one city as revealed by LA CityBeat (what I've known for a while): the full sections of Figueroa - from Eagle Rock to Wilmington. It's original length makes it the world's longest street within one city.

Remember, the Figueroa Street Tunnels were once part of this street before it was the 110 Freeway's northbound lanes. As evidence, if you look back while riding through the tunnels on the 110 north, you can see the architectural feature of the City Seal - which would only be designed as such if the tunnels were "two way" (it mirrors the often graffiti covered seals seen by all motorists heading north on the south-facing sides of the tunnels). This connection to the Eagle Rock in the north makes this street the longest in one municipality.

So, though Sepulveda may be longer from Sylmar to the Southbay, it runs through Los Angeles, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, and the list goes on... Figueroa is in LA (and a tiny part of Carson).

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Wheelies on the 5 South

These days, I don't enjoy LA Observed as much as I did, say, 2 months ago. The change hasn't settled well with me. It's seems clutter, and I always feel like I'm missing something.

Anyway, I try very hard to stay on top of the posts coming out the machine that is now LAO. And, I try to read Native Intelligence there to get a better insight of the various neighborhoods. All are good reads, some connect to me more so than others. I found this story about what is seen while on the freeways of LA of particular interest.

First, I enjoy the way Denise Hamilton captures those crazy moments that we think "Only in LA could this happen" (seeing Warren Beatty at Studio Yogurt on Laurel & Ventura or finding yourself riding bikes with Darryl Hannah while passing the Bradbury Building).

Second, I love the varied locations of Los Angeles, even if all weren't in the City. A travelogue of the City is an exciting journey for a City Nerd like me!

But most importantly, I could relate to seeing a wheelie on a freeway near Glendale. For me, though, it happened at about 10:30am on the 5 South just south of the 134. And for me, it was even more interesting because, as the passenger in a car, I only caught a glimpse of it in the rear view mirror. The driver told me to "get a load of that daredevil" pointing back. We slowed down and let him pass us. I was intrigued as to what would happen next.

Who cares, you might be thinking, and why would you slow down?

Well, the car I was riding in was an LAPD car (as a passenger in the front seat). We slowed down and let him pass us. Then, lights and sirens, and the motorcycle was slowing down on the shoulder next to the Autry. From my seat, I heard the conversation that included: "What the hell were you thinking?" from the officer with a nervous "I'm a stunt driver just testing out a new bike." The officer smiled and got out her pad: "You know that is considered reckless driving, don't you?" He embarrassedly & nervously admitted it, "I know. I know." She laughed, "Why do you want to kill yourself out there? Do it at home on the lot." She closed her pad without writing a citation, and warned: "Don't ever do this again - you could kill someone besides yourself. Seriously."

He - I'm sure - was happy to avoid a ticket, and she told me that giving him a ticket would have been more work due to citing the proper State vehicle codes versus those of the City.

So, to Denise - I know there are cops out there trying to keep you safe. I guess that area near Glendale is an area of appeal to Wheelie-wielding motorcycle riders. Regardless, I appreciated the post immensely.

NOTE: Quotes are from memory and for clarity. They are the best recollection I have and are not meant to be direct quotes.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Flashback: 10 years ago...

Travel back in time with me to 10 years ago when the City was just starting out "online." Have you seen the original webpage? Here's a screen shot of the original homepage in 1996. One page can still be accessed here. What a long way we've come.

In 1996, here's how the City promoted itself online:

10 Things You can Say With Pride

Lifestyles. The Los Angeles region has the richest diversity of food, clothing, architecture, entertainment, languages, world views and religions available anywhere in the world.

Out of Doors. We can swim the Pacific, ski in Big Bear or visit the desert all in the same day. Our average temperature is 74 degrees.

Small Business. Over the past decade, the number of Latino- and Asian-owned businesses has more than tripled. Over the past two ecades, Latino-owned firms have experienced a 700 percent increase.

Arts and entertainment capital of the world. We are home to the world's largest entertainment industry, and we have more community and ethnic festivals than anywhere in the country.

NLAMP. The New Los Angeles Marketing Partnership is the first united and comprehensive public information campaign designed to promote the positive facts about the LA region.

Growing. Local economists predict that Los Angeles County will add 53,500 new jobs in 1995. Many of these jobs will be in entertainment and professional management services.

Educated work force. Los Angeles has the largest concentration of college graduates anywhere in the country. In fact, since 1970 the county increased its number of college graduates from 500,000 to 1.2 million.

Link to the Pacific Rim and international trade. We are home to the largest port complex in the country, and we are the nation's largest trade center.

Economic powerhouse. We are the 15th largest economy on earth and have more software jobs than Silicon Valley.

Sightseeing. 22.2 million tourists visited in 1994, the highest number since 1991.


So, things have changed slightly in our perspective over the last 10 years, too. (What ever happened to NLAMP?)

What was this perspective and approach? Here's why the site existed (from the CityLINK page of 1996):


LA CityLINK is LA City's project to reach citizens electronically

We have dual access by:

Bulletin Board (BBS). BBS provides information at the lowest cost. Citizens with any PC or MacIntosh Computer, any modem and any asynchronous communication program can dial-in to (213) 237-0974 and obtain free service.

World Wide Web (WWW). WWW offers an easier, higher function alternative. Citizens with Internet access and a Windows capable PC or MacIntosh Computer can find the City's home pages at and obtain the same free services.
Our goal is to reach three audiences:

Our local citizens and businesses
Regional, state and international governments
Tourists and businesses external to the Southern California region that are interested in visiting or locating here.
We intend to actively work with Los Angeles regional agencies and business that are interested in similar goals and encourage you to contact us. Your response will be directed to the appropriate person at the City.
We believe in a region as large and diverse as Los Angeles that an electronic City Hall is an effective way to reach our community. In fact, we believe that through aggressive coordination with providing agencies, we can foster a sense of community between our diverse citizens and the many governments in the Los Angeles region. At present it is far too difficult and costly to find out about service from local government let alone receive it.

The mayor and City Council of Los Angeles want to change that. They have encouraged and supported the LA CityLINK project.

Watch our home pages and BBS evolve as we add more information. Help us with your comments. Here's to a more livable, friendly and responsive LA!


So, we've come a long way with the City's e-communications. Have we come far enough?

City of Angels

We are Los Angeles, the City of Angels.

We're not the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia) or the Windy City (Chicago). We're not the Big Apple (New York) or the Big Easy (New Orleans), but we are big. We're not Beantown (Boston), Sin City (Las Vegas), or Motor City (Detroit). We're not the Mile High City (Denver) or a Twin City (Minneapolis/St. Paul). Ironically, we're not the Second City (Chicago), even though we technically are.

We're not the City of Angels for no reason, either.

Look at all the angelic streets in the City. There's a ballet company bearing the name and a church, too. There's the Lighthouse that welcomes all to the City's port; and don't forget our namesake funicular.

Sure, there is that confused city to the south that wants to be LA so badly that they changed their team's name; but that's just further proof that Los Angeles is the City of Angels.

So, is LA's nickname appropriate? I think so. But with all the devilish things always reported in the news (not our LA blogsphere), some (from the outside) might argue that it's a misnomer. I say, what's more angelic than a city that welcomes diverse opinions, eclectic music, and multiple downtowns competing for the "center if the city."

Want an example of an LA Angel? Look no farther than "Sweet Alice" Harris, Dr. Richard Grossman, or Fr. Greg Boyle.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


For the second largest City in the Nation, this is all they could come up with: City's 225th Birthday website.

And with this City's array of diversity, businesses, and skills... the only company they could get to sponsor was Disney - a Burbank-based company.

I'm sure we'll hear more in the next few weeks, but initially, it looks pretty meager to me.

I'll admit it - it makes me sad the City couldn't pull it together for the 225 - it could have been as great at the bicentennial. I guess this City's focus isn't the City right now.

(And how about that horrible clip-art cake they're using as the "logo" (above) on the website and the awkward looking flyer? The City does employ graphic designers, but maybe the organizers didn't know that.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Avalanche in Silver Lake... again?

Wil at Metroblogging LA posts about an "avalanche" in Silver Lake. He's talking about some hillside earth & rocks that have fallen on the sidewalk.

Immediately, I was forced to remember the real mud/slide avalanche in/at Silver Lake in the late 1978, when the hillside and a parking lot above closed the 101 Freeway northbound with mud & debris covering all four lanes. Does anyone remember that? Not nearly as bad, but in 1999, park of the hillside slid to the freeway's edge. You can see the grading & supports/guardrails added and still present in this photo looking north just before the Silver Lake Dr. exit:

Plans were underway to construct a decorative retaining wall, similar to those in the Cahuenga Pass, though I've not heard the latest on that.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Valley News

Bloggers must be doing something right!

The Los Angeles Daily News will be launching a new site this month:

It's a forum to post news and create a larger readership for their advertisers, I'm sure. Again, here's a way for the Daily News to recover revenues since readership is down in the "real paper" world.

Will it be news, or will it be community opinion that becomes news? That's what I'm eager to see.

225 ways to Celebrate: Festivals (over 85 of them!)

In less than a month, Los Angeles will celebrate its 225th birthday. Only five years & two months younger than our nation, LA takes more than a day to celebrate. In fact, Los Angeles is known for its celebrations. So, here's the next installment of 225 Ways to Celebrate LA's 225th Birthday: The Festival Edition! What follows are the festivals, events, parades, and other occurrences you should take in fully celebrate LA. These are in addition to the those already listed in previous posts (see below): the Tofu Festival, the Lotus Festival, the Sister City Festival, & the Grand Avenue Festival. (Also, this does not include the countless Film Festivals.)

125. Take part in the Jewish culture that has a long history in Los Angeles (starting in Boyle Heights!) at the Israel Independence Festival.

126. Tap your feet and feel the rhythm at The UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival.

127. On March 17th, put on your green and take part in the City's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

128. In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, head down to South LA for LA's Kingdom Day Parade

129. Experience the Chinese New Year in L.A. at the annual Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown, which has a history dating back to 1898.

130. Take part in the LA's Junta Hispana Celebration in Lincoln Park. This gathering of Latino heritages at one venue calls for pride in Latino Heritage Month.

131. Attend the Persian New Year Festival on the shores of Lake Balboa in the Sepulveda Basin.

132. Dance and eat at the Annual American Lebanese Festival. Sheriff Lee Baca has been spotted there in the past on the dance floor, as has Councilman Dennis Zine.

133. Attend the Southern California Indian Center's Annual Pow Pow, one of the largest on the West Coast.

134. Enjoy the sounds and history of Jazz in L.A. at the annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival.

135. Get your hipster groove on at the Sunset Junction Street Fair. This event blends all the very diverse cultures of Silver Lake.

136. Enjoy the largest concentration of small theaters in the state at the annual NoHo Theater & Arts Festival. Visual, Musical, literary and performing arts are showcased at this diverse event in the heart of NoHo.

137. Celebrate the diversity in Main Street Canoga Park (Sherman Way) at the annual Dia de Los Muertes Festival.

138. If you want to celebrate in a cemetery, check out The Day of the Dead at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Quite eerie, to say the least, as you walk through the cemetery at night viewing alters and entertainment.

139. Extra! Extra! Read all about it: The L.A. Times' Festival of Books at UCLA.

140. Celebrate the joy of horse-keeping and the equestrian lifestyle at the annual Chatsworth Day of the Horse.

141. Attend a "School Carnival," be it a Catholic school, private non-religious school, or public school. (There's one of these almost every weekend during the school year!)

142. Eat well at the Chinatown Business Improvement District'sChinese Food Festival. Though it's a pay event, it's worth it and quite delicious.

143. Celebrate the history of the Arroyo Seco with Museums of the Arroyo Day (even though some museums are in Pasadena).

144. Celebrate Watts, African American cultural contributions, and engage others at the annualWatts Summer Festival. This festival serves also as a memorial to the 34 people who perished in the Watts riots of 1965 and has 16 different components.

145. Celebrate all that is "Venice of America" at the annualAbbot Kinney Festival in September in Venice.

146. Return to the agrarian roots of the Valley by attending the San Fernando Valley Fair.

147. "Eat up" at the Annual Taste in San Pedro in August of each year.

148. Tour the largest arts live/work space as artist-residents open their studio/homes at the Brewery's semi-annual Art Walk.

149. Change your ways by attending the WorldFest Earth Day Celebration in Woodley Park in the Sepulveda Basin Recreation area - the largest Earth Day Celebration in the City.

150. Attend the 2nd Annual Art on the Waterfront Festival featuring San Pedro's growing arts community.

151. Bring the whole family out to the KTLA Kids Day in Exposition Park where it's a festival truly focused on the youth of the City.

152. Attend the County's (I know) L.A. Holiday Celebration, which has been occurring at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on December 24th since 1964. It's quite an experience to see the show (or at least catch it live on KCET).

153. Enjoy a night of "Las Posadas" at Olvera Street which harkens back to the City's roots in under Mexican rule.

154. See the reflection of lights in the Pacific at the Annual LA Harbor Holiday Afloat parade.

155. Attend the largest Dia de Los Muertos Celebration on City Streets at the Annual Festival de la Gente, which is actually on the street of the historic 6th Street Bridge, connecting Downtown & Boyle Heights.

156. Check out Los Angeles' Annual Bastille Day Festival in the Hancock Park next to the Page Museum.

157. See DWP's "Light Festival" at Griffith Park in November/December. Go early and drive it, or park remotely and walk the length. (Traffic gets pretty bad.)

158. Attend theEl Grito festival, recognizing our City's Mexican heritage.

159. Be a part of the largest Latino festival in the nation at Fiesta Broadway. Explore the 36 block event on the streets of Downtown.

160. Have fun with the family in the Valley at the annualSalute to Recreation which also features an amazing Hawaiian Village, fireworks, and an International Marketplace. (It's much more than just recreation!)

161. Celebrate the heroes among us - Firefighters - at the annual Benefit for Our Bravest. This street faire event raises money to support the local fire stations and the men & women who call that their home away from home.

162. Enjoy the Los Angeles Lithuanian Fair at St. Casimir's Church.

163. Bring out the kids for a creative day at the NoHo Children'’s Art and Poetry Festival which coincides with the observance ofCalifornia Arts Day

164. Attend TarFest at, you guessed it, the La Brea Tar Pits & surrounding Miracle Mile. (Don't get stuck!)

165. Discover the Caribbean Carnival at the Caricabela Los Angeles Carnival and Parade at Westchester Park.

166. Particpate in the Annual Marcus Garvey Day
Parade and Festival
in Lemiert Park

167. Enjoy the flavors and sounds of one of the Valley's leading communities at the annual Taste of Encino. The real treat, though, is the four stages of entertainment from the California Traditional Music Society.

168. Take part in the floral celebration of the Annual Wilmington Wisteria Festival at the historic Banning House.

167. Take part in the Annual Pacific Islander Festival sponsored by the Pacific Islander Community Council in Harbor City.

170. Listen to the beat of the Cuban American Music Festival in Echo Park at Jose Marti Square.

171. Bring the little ones (under 8) to the Children's Nature Institute Annual Kids’' Nature Festival in the Palisades at the Temescal Gateway Park.

172. Attend the annual SoRo Festival, a community festival celebrating those communities "south of Robertson."

173. Attend the multicultural, LA-celebratory 4th of July celebration, Salute Los Angeles at the Fort Moore memorial.

174. Enjoy the lights of traditional Chinese lanterns a the annual Lantern Festival at the Chinese American Museum next to Olvera Street.

175. Attend the annual Malcolm X Arts, Culture, and Education Festival, the nation's largest cultural tribute to Malcolm X, at Aubobon Middle School.

176. Attend the premiere street faire in the Valley, the two-day Sherman Oaks Street Faire.

177. Take the family out to the Granada Hills Street Faire.

178. Scare up a good time at the annual Spooktacular in Northridge.

179. Hear or tell a yarn at the LA Story Telling Festival in Downtown LA.

180. Enjoy all that Los Feliz has to offer from Yucca's to Skylight Books at the annual Los Feliz Village Street Fair.

181. Attend a reading at one of the varied locations of the LA Poetry Festival, which only occurs about every other year.

182. Come rain or Shine, attend the annual Kwanzaa Heritage Festival and Parade in Lemeirt Park at the start of the new year.

183. Take in a holiday parade or open house like the Toluca Lake Holiday Open House (even though it's partially in Burbank!), the Chatsworth Holiday Parade, the Pacoima Christmas Parade, the Granada Hills Holiday Parade, the Northeast Los Angeles Holiday Parade, the Studio City Holiday Open House & Parade, the Wilmington Holiday Parade, the annual San Pedro Holiday Parade, and/or countless others.

184. Celebrate American and the only community in Los Angeles to be named an "All-American City" at the Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade.

185. Celebrate the historic culture of Garifuna at the annual Garifuna Day Street Festival.

186. Celebrate the Harvest Moon at the annual Moon Festival in Chinatown.

187. Enjoy the Los Angeles Bach Festival at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles at Commonwealth and 6th. This annual festival started in 1934, and has had 14 directors.

188. Celebrate one of the last produce-based festivals in the City at the annualSunland-Tujunga Watermelon Festival.

189. Celebrate the arts of Los Angeles at the L.A. Art Fest in the Downtown Arts District.

190. Immerse yourself in Indian culture India's Independence Day Festival in Northridge at CSUN.

191. Plug your nose and enjoy the barnyard party at the annual Farm Walk at Pierce College every spring.

192. Look up and take in all that is the Los Angeles Tall Ship Festival in the Los Angeles Harbor.

193. Check out theShakespeare Festival/LA while it's in the City Limits - the annual summer productions are truly a "festival."

194. Take in the "theatrics" at the various locations at the annual Edge of the World Theatre Festival.

195. Line the streets and scream for your favorite celebrity at the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade. Originally, it was a way of attracting holiday shoppers to the business district along Hollywood Boulevard, and now, it is an international holiday experience.

196. Attend the Salvadoran Day Festival, "the largest public gathering of Salvadorans outside El Salvador."

197. See the biggest pad Thai noodle in your life at Thai Culture Day.

198. Celebrate Songkran, one of the most important holidays in Thailand at theThai New Year Festival in Hollywood.

199. Join the largest Korean population in the US at the annualLA Korean Festival at Seoul International Park in Koreatown.

200. Celebrate aviation and its history in the Valley and Los Angeles at the Van-Nuys-Airshow-turned Van Nuys Airfest at the Van Nuys Airport.

201. What could be better then food & wine: theLA Food & Wine Festival.

202. Lots of food, entertainment, and the Pope at the annual Feast of San Gennaro at the Grove. This was started by Jimmy Kimmel in Hollywood, and has grown into a true Italian feast for the senses.

203. Feel the power of one of the largest cultural faires in the region, the African Marketplace in Exposition Park.

204. Everyone's family at the L.A. Greek Fest & the Valley Greek Fest, both sponsored by Greek Orthodox Churches.

205. Attend a neighborhood festival or blockparty. Some are elaborate and some are just in someone's yard. Go to your neighborhood's event first, or crash another LA neighborhood's event.

206. Celebrate the Japanese New Year in Little Tokyo.

207. Kick off whale-watching season by building a life size gray whale in San Pedro with the annual Whale Fiesta.

208. In car-centric L.A., don't miss out on your chance to have an advantage over other drivers at the annual Blessing of the Cars at Hansen Dam in Lake View Terrace.

209. Bring your pet to the historic Blessing of the Animals at Olvera Street, where the fauna of the City have been being blessed since 1930.

210. Attend the Annual LobsterFest in San Pedro, which is endorsed by the Maine Lobster Promotion Council as an approved Maine Lobster Festival - who knew!

211. Take part in an ancient tradition and vegetarian fare at the annual Festival of Chariots that culminates in Venice.

212. Participate in Old Fort MacArthur Days at the Fort MacArthur Museum in San Pedro, just like David Markland did.

213. Celebrate Filipino art & culture at the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture, "the largest presenter of Philippine arts and culture in Southern California presenting over 1200 artists in 9 disciplines."

"225 Ways to Celebrate..." thus far:
56-78 (Griffith Park)
79-88 (Eric Garcetti)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Lake Balboa: When was it built?

I got an email this evening from someone wanting to know if Lake Balboa in the Sepulveda Basin was "created for the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles."

Actually, no, the 26-acre man-made Lake Balboa was filled in 1991 through a project of the Department of Water & Power using reclaimed water. Though the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant was constructed in 1984 and put into service a year later, it wasn't until 1991 when the treatment plant's capacity was doubled that Lake Balboa came online. You see, Lake Balboa is filled with water from the treatment plant (just as is the Japanese Garden's ponds). You can see the process of how it goes from "toilet to tap the lake" here.

Sorry this lake was not an Olympic addition to the City.

Photo of Lake Balboa Walkway by djk via

Thursday, August 03, 2006

L.A. Riots

So, at 11pm last night, I was watching MSNBC. Why? Well, as an LA City Nerd, I have TiVo search for all TV related to Los Angeles (yeah, that's how much of a nerd I am!) I was truly intrigued because instead of Colors, which is always on, it was a documentary produced this year called City in Fear: LA Riots. Interviews ranged from John Mack to Cecil Murray to former LAPD Chief Gates, and it showed the famous clips that all Angelenos who were glued to the TV remember: the parking attendant booth at Parker Center being tipped over, the brick-to-the-face beating of Reginald Denny, countless Korean shop owners on their roofs with guns, looters answering that "everyone's doing it" to questions of why their looting, and emotional Angelenos crying to their fellow citizens: "why?"

It was quite moving and brought back memories of fear and helplessness of watching the tragedy of the City. Everyone should watch this documentary to get a snapshot in 60 minutes of what those 4 days were like. (It will be on again, so watch it/TiVo it if you can.)

Then, before heading to bed, I check LAist and find this post about the LA Riots Spectacular. At first, I thought it was a parody and thought it was in bad taste. Then, I realized it wasn't a home grown internet spoof, but a real movie with real actors. It was not so funny after watching the documentary where you see the emotions of a City out of control. Quite a coincidence and ironic, at that. I honestly don't know if it's funny to see the destruction of the City made fun of. When you link to the official site, they even have a quote from Rodney King - what an embarrassment.

Personally, I'd rather watch the documentary than the comedy, but I'll probably see the movie, too. To understand the City, you have to understand all perspectives.

LA Observed goes local

As the LA Observed empire continues to grow, it is starting to get a little bulky for me to handle. There are now "community blogs" as part of the growing online empire. Echo Park is the first community to get special attention. I think it's great more neighborhoods are getting attention. Jenny Burman joins the Echo Park Nerd in covering Echo Park. I wonder if they will post along the same topics, as both seem interested in history, community, and general promotion of their neighborhood.

I wonder what community is next in the LA Observed world.

Which community needs a blogging voice that will be read by the masses? I think a Pico-Union Blogger or a Boyle Heights Blogger would be good. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Poll Results: here's how you beat the heat

So, the "How Would You Beat the Heat?" poll just closed, and here are the highlighted results:

43% said they'd go to the movies
14% said they'd go swimming in their backyard pool
10% said they'd go to the beach
10% said they'd get out of town
10% said they'd go swimming in a quasi-public pool at a club, gym, or other community association controlled facility
0% said they'd swim at a public pool

So, what does all this mean?

It's fairly evident & representative of readers of this blog: stereotypical Angelenos who work in the "Industry," have their own backyard pools, love the beach and take weekend trips all the time or belong to clubs or associations (and none would be found in a public pool).

Keep cool out there!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tip of the Iceberg: Restrictions on Gadflys and Others

Tip of the Iceberg: Newly Adopted Council General Public Comment Restrictions

Today, the City Council adopted rules to limit general public comment in a way that maintains civility and decorum. They also slashed the allowed time per speaker in half, allowing only 1 minute per person. Again, note: this is the general public comment on non-agenda items only, not the comments on specific agenda items.

There are a few others who write about it, and most news outlets will pick it up (or have already).

But consider these names when understanding this story:

Candido Marez
Leonard Shapiro
Jim McQuiston
"Melrose" Larry Green
Sylvia Lynn Hawkins
Hal Netkin
Zuma Dogg

Do a little search, ask a City Councilmember (or staffer), dig a little deeper.