On the Pasadena adjacent edge of 90042 in Garvanza swims a very large koi carp. Murals on houses in 90042 are nothing too uncommon. In a zip code so dense with artists these sort of artistic expressions are bound to happen. However, this particularly striking painting of an orange koi on the side of a garage in the front yard of this home on Avenue 63 begs the question. Why?
Highland Park, and Northeast Los Angeles is blessed with many fine watering holes. One particular hole is actually a cave, as in The Little Cave on Figueroa Street. Opened in 2003, The Little Cave is the Highland Park outpost for the 1933 Group, whose chain of thematic bars would make Clifford Clinton smile, and maybe even frequent if he wasn’t Mormon and dead.
Open seven nights a week, each night comes with its own particular theme or DJ, and never a cover charge. There’s Sundays with DJ JesC, Karaoke Mondays, Tuesdays with Highland Parker, DJ Sweet Caroline spinning 80′s tunes, Kick Out The Jams Wednesdays with the cheapest drinks of the week, Thursdays are the legendary Free Tacos Night, Fridays feature surprise DJ’s, and Saturday Nights belong to DJ Mike Angelo. But this post is about one DJ unlike any other, the prodigal son of Long Beach, lost Los Angeles amusement park historian, new Montecito Heights resident, long-time KXLU DJ and host of America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Show “Music For Nimrod’s,” –the one-and-only, Reverend Dan.
Starting back in October, Reverend Dan started DJ-ing the “Happy Hour” on Saturday afternoons at the Little Cave. On Saturday, starting at 5pm when drinks are a dollar off, Rev. Dan plays much of the good ole Rock-N-Roll that you can hear on his weekly radio show on 88.9FM at 3AM on Saturday morning after hitting the all-night diners while you try to sober up. The music and drinks are loud. -Just as the lord intended them to be, and so conveniently close, it’s pathetic.
Reverend Dan also has a genuine rock-n-roll band that reflects his fine taste and influences in music and genres: The Bloody Brains. Seen playing around NELA in recent months, the Bloody Brains are playing this very day (Saturday) at The Little Cave starting at 7pm!
The Little Cave
5922 North Figueroa Street
Highland Park, California 90042
Happy Hours 5-9pm.
It was my father’s generation that rode the Big Red Car to and from downtown. Around the time the photo above was taken things were quickly changing. In 1940 the world’s first true freeway, The Ramona Freeway began with the rebuilding of the Aliso Street bridge over the L.A. River. Seen in the photo above is some of the tunnel-work being done to bypass the Pacific Electric tracks. Eventually the tracks themselves would be removed and replaced with the Ramona Freeway, later the name would change to the San Bernardino Freeway. It would be that freeway my father and his peers traded their seats on the trolley for, it would be that freeway, that ribbon of congested concrete connected in grid-like form that would be their legacy. A legacy we in 2011 are trying to replace with the lost rail lines from their past.
Have you seen the interior our renowned Craftsman-style Jack In The Box on Avenue 43 lately? Well, it is not what it used to be.
In 1997 the Jack In The Box corporation wanted to build one of their conventional drive-through fast food stucco boxes where a muffler shop once stood on Figueroa Street. Local preservationists successfully lobbied the company to build their fast food restaurant to tastefully compliment the surrounding historic community by using a craftsman design for the exterior AND INTERIOR. Initially, Jack balked such demands from the community. But thanks to determined pressure from neighbors, activists, and the City, Jack agreed to build a very unique and attractive restaurant just down the Avenue from Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument Number 68 (AKA Lummis House, El Alisal) complimenting the neighborhood while creating a new outlet for their products. The stylish stone and wood building received awards and accolades from preservationists, designers, and the public, and became a model for what was possible in other historic communities.
That was 13 years ago. As part of Jack In The Box’s chain-wide design update that includes their newest logo, the store at 4228 North Figueroa Street was gutted a few months ago and given this new minimalist interior. Gone are the interior matching craftsman elements along with the historic photos that honored our local heritage. Instead, just an ironic statement on the homogeneity of fast food.
Thanks to Adam Bray-Ali for the tip.
The Milagro Allegro Community Garden is NOW accepting new gardener applications until early February for the 2011-2013 Term that begins this March.
Anyone with an interest in organic gardening in a communal setting is encouraged to apply. Lucky gardeners are chosen by lottery with preference given to those that live closest to the garden located behind the Highland Theater at 115 South Avenue 56. (Closer potential gardeners get extra tickets in the plot drawing, kind of like being scored on the Huizar Scale.) If you are lucky enough to get one out of the 29 6′X12′ plots, there is an annual fee of $60 that includes daily access to the garden, its tools, and unlimited water to grow what you wish. (Surprisingly, no one has yet grown anything the DEA frowns upon or abused the unlimited water to grow water-hungry crops like cotton or rice!)
Please see the Milagro Allegro “Garden With Us” page to download an application and get more information on the wonderful world of community gardening in Highland Park. Good Luck!
The photo above shows the Rose Bowl Special passenger train returning over Arroyo Seco Park and the Pasadena Freeway from Pasadena on New Year’s Day in 1990 . The Santa Fe Viaduct, or “The Santa Fe Arroyo Seco Railroad Bridge” (Also known as LA HCM #339) was built in 1896. In a city where demolishing structures seems like the municipal pastime, this bridge over the Arroyo Seco in Highland Park has managed to become the oldest bridge in Los Angeles. The bridge first carried steam locomotives, then diesel ones operated by Santa Fe and Amtrak, transporting freight and passengers until 1994. In 1996, thanks to efforts by the Highland Park Heritage Trust, rather than replacing the bridge with a new concrete one, The Los Angeles County MTA spent $11.5 Million retrofitting and upgrading the bridge to carry two tracks of light rail for the future Gold Line that opened in 2003. (Making this the first portion of the Gold Line built.) Today, it is simply known as the section of the Gold Line where passengers take a moment to look up from their papers, kindles, and smart phones and look out for what is probably the best view of their day.
While one battle to save urban trees was lost this week, another effort has begun to help young urban trees grow into big and healthy urban trees.
A new Northeast Los Angeles collaborative has been formed to assist the ever-embattled urban forest of Northeast Los Angeles. The Urban Forest Collaborative is a local DIY group in partnership with TreePeople, dedicated to maintaining and caring for the neglected street trees of 90041, 90042, 90065 and beyond. You see, it is one thing to have great city-sponsored One Million Tree campaigns where corporations and organizations come out to NELA, dig holes, plant trees, and
walk drive away. It is another to do the hard work of regularly maintaining our public trees so they remain healthy and provide the shade and beauty our sidewalks need. This means weeding, pruning, adding mulch, water, and removing pavers and stakes that restrict growth.
So far the focus is centered around the Eagle Rock Centennial Year celebration, with plans to expand from there. Upcoming events are scheduled for March 26th with the planting of 10 trees on Colorado Blvd, and April 30th with the planting of 13 new trees on York Blvd.
This Sunday, January 16 at 3pm, The Urban Forest Collective is having a potluck get-together at the Monk House in Eagle Rock. If you’re interested in attending or getting involved with helping maintain our local urban forest, please contact Highland Parker extraordinaire, Jane Tsong.