Where to Celebrate Black History Month 2014 in Los Angeles

Posted by Billy Gil, January 31, 2014 07:12pm | Post a Comment

February is Black History Month, and we’re celebrating with events around town. Below is a list of events taking place around Los Angeles this February.


Saturday Feb. 1 - Eyes On The Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 – AC Bilbrew Library (150 E. El Segundo Blvd.) - 1 p.m.

The AC Bilbrew Library  has a number of Black History events this month, starting with this film screening of Eyes on the Prize.


Sunday Feb. 2 – Target Sundays at CAAM 600 State Dr. - 1-5 p.m.

If you haven’t yet been to the Contempoary African American Museum, this might be a good reason to go. CAAM, as it is also known, kicks off BHM with a celebration of achievements in history, art and culture with live performances and an art workshop.


Monday Feb. 3 – Moses Sumney – Bardot Hollywood – 9 p.m.

Experimental soul-folk artist Moses Sumney takes the stage at Bardot Hollywood.


Tuesday Feb. 4 – The Bots – Bootleg Theater – 8 p.m.

This free show features youthful brotherly Afropunk band The Bots.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 01.31.14: Childish Gambino, DJ Platurn, DJ Mek, Step Brothers, Bobby Capri, Eclectic Method + more

Posted by Billyjam, January 31, 2014 12:30pm | Post a Comment

Childish Gambino "3005" (from 
Because the Internet - his number one album at Amoeba)

Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five for Week Ending January 31 2014

1) Childish Gambino Because the Internet (Glassnote)

2) Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla 7 Days of Funk (Stones Throw)

Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope)

4) Dom Kennedy Get Home Safely (The Other Peoples Money Co.)

5) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)

Shout out to Ervin at Amoeba Hollywood for this week's hip-hop chart that reflects the best sellers at the SoCal store and pretty much repeats last week's chart from the store. Meanwhile a brand new release not on this chart but selling well and likely to be on next week's chart is the
The Step Brothers' Lord Steppington on Rhymesayers  Entertainment (CD & 2 LP vinyl) that is really an amazing album. I have listened to it repeatedly over the past week and each listen hear some new part due to its intricately layered production - thanks to the endlessly talented duo of The Alchemist and Evidence who make up the Step Brothers and are joined by a excellently chosen group of guest emcees throughout the 14 tracks including Oh No ("Draw Something") and Styles P ("No Hesitation").

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring North Hollywood, The Gateway to the Valley

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 31, 2014 10:57am | Post a Comment

After focusing on eight Eastside neighborhoods whilst house-sitting in El Sereno, I've returned to the polls to determine where to explore. I've heard the vox populi and therefore visited North Hollywood -- only my fourth piece on a San Fernando Valley community thus far. It was a hot, somewhat hazy, and thankfully breezy January day when I decided to visit the cultural capital of the Valley.




It's important to note that, unlike East Hollywood, North Hollywood is not actually part of the Hollywood district. Neither, for that matter, is West Hollywood, but unlike that city it doesn't even border Hollywood. North Hollywood is actually on the other side of the Hollywood Hills in the San Fernando Valley

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of North Hollywood

North Hollywood is neighbored by Sun Valley to the north; Valley Glen and Valley Village to the west; Studio City and West Toluca Lake to the south; Toluca Terrace and Toluca Woods to the southeast; and Burbank to the east. It contains the well-known subdistrict of the NoHo Arts District and, although I haven't heard it referred to as such, it's also home to what might as well be known as the North Hollywood Auto District (although that area is notably also home to a significant number of printing facilities and party supply shops).

If you know anything about Hollywood (the film industry) then you no doubt are aware that most of the film manufacturing has occurred in the Valley for many decades so you might assume that North Hollywood is a sort of filmmaking outpost -- but it's not so much (at least not on the level of BurbankStudio City, or Universal City.

All kinds of fake rocks for rent in North Hollywood

Film production does take place in North Hollywood although most of the facilities are production houses, prop rentals and the like. There are no major studios with back lots there. Smut fans will likely be disappointed that even given the Valley's associations with that industry, North Hollywood also isn't where most of that is being manufactured... although I did see a place called Adult Warehouse Outlet -- that had something for sale called "sex shoes." Though North Hollywood might not have much to do with film, it is the San Fernando Valley's primary center for performing and visual arts.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of the NoHo Arts District


Today North Hollywood is moderately diverse, home to a population that was, as of 2010, roughly 66%Latino of any race (primarily of Mexican and Salvadoran origin), 34% white Anglo (primarily Armenian), 6% Asian, and 3% black. Although at the time of writing North Hollywood has the fourth highest violent crime rate in the valley (after Panorama CityVan Nuys, and North Hills) it's worth noting that its crime rate is consistently lower than those of HollywoodEast Hollywood or West Hollywood



The earliest known inhabitants of the area arrived at least as early as 13,000 years ago and were likely the ancestors of the modern Chumash people. Somewhere in the range of 3,500 years ago a Shoshone-speaking people arrived from the Sonoran Desert to the east, the Tongva, arrived. They established about twelve villages in the San Fernando Valley including the nearby Siutcanga and Cabuenga, to the west and east respectively.


Spaniard Gaspar de Portolà led an overland expedition in 1769 that set the stage for the subsequent Spanish Conquest. Mission San Fernando Rey de España was built in modern day municipality of San Fernando in 1797 – about fifteen miles north of modern North Hollywood. In 1781, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles was founded about twenty kilometers to the southeast of North Hollywood.

Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. In 1834, the missions' lands were secularized. Mexico's reign proved short – ended in 1848 by the US' victory in the Mexican-American War. California became the US' newest state in 1850 and the vast, San Fernando Valley came to be known as “Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando.


In 1871, the a group of investors lead by farmer Isaac Lankersham took control of the southern half of the San Fernando Valley. A ploughman dug a line across the valley to demarcate and differentiate the northern and southern halves. Lankershim grazed sheep on his vast holdings but a long drought soon destroyed his flock. In 1873, Lankershim's son, James Boon Lankershim, and the elder's future son-in-law, Isaac Newton Van Nuys, assumed control of the property and were much more successful with agriculture – turning the southern half of the Valley into wheat fields. In a short time, their wheat empire was the world's largest. 


Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company founded an agricultural town on 12,000 subdivided acres centered around San Fernando and Central Avenues (later renamed Lankershim and Burbank Boulevards) in 1887. They named their town Toluca, after the Mexican municipality of Toluca de Lerdo. Lots included pre-planted walnut and fruit trees – mostly apricots, peaches, and pears. In 1894 local farmers formed the Toluca Fruit Growers Association. Soon Toluca was promoted as “The Home of the Peach” -- California is still the US's dominant peach-producer. 


Southern Pacific Railroad, who first arrived in the San Fernando Valley in 1874, opened a branch line connecting to Chatsworth in 1895. The Chatsworth Limited made one daily stop at a depot that bore the Lankershim name. In 1896 Toluca was thus renamed Lankershim although that name wasn't officially recognized until 1905. The train depot, featured in the 1927 Pathé film, The Country Doctor, still exists today and is presently undergoing restoration.

Peeking through an unlocked gate -- The depot in its current state

One of the most prominent families in Lankershim was the Weddington clan. The Weddington Boys opened Weddington Bros. General Merchandise, also known as Pioneer Store. The store included a post office and later donated land for a free-standing one. In 1907 Guy Weddington bought Bonner Fruit Company and transformed it into Lankershim's largest employer. The Weddington's house, built by Wilson C. Weddington, still stands today although it's been moved at least three times to different North Hollywood locations. In 2007 it was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #883.


Pacific Electric Railway's red cars arrived at North Hollywood Park and Station in 1911 – although I'm not sure if that was actually the park and station's name back then since the town as still known as Lankershim. Regardless, the park and station were by most accounts the center of Lankershim social life for years and it was there that many concerts and other cultural events took place.


The Universal Film Manufacturing Company was founded in New York City in 1912. The same year they opened facilities in Hollywood's Gower Gulch area. In 1914, studio founder Carl Laemmle bough a large piece of land in Lankershim and in 1915 opened the world's largest production facility in what became its own municipality -- Universal City.

Clarence Y. “Fat” Jones opened the Fat Jones Stables in 1912. The company rented horses and western gear to the studios until Fat Jones's death in 1963. The location is now occupied by a FedEx Shipping Center.


Despite Universal and Fat Jones, in 1912 Lankershim was still dominated by fruit production and canning rather than filmmaking. After the Los Angeles Aqueduct opened in 1913, Valley farmers were eager to buy the newly available water; however, federal legislation prevented its being sold outside of Los Angeles. After droughts again hit the valley, West Lankershim was annexed by Los Angeles in 1919. Lankershim proper followed in 1923, in part lured by Los Angeles's water. To put it bluntly, most of the farmers got screwed and the real estate developers won and immediately began undertaking a massive campaign to rebrand and sell the area to homebuyers.


Valhalla Memorial Park

Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery opened in 1923 and overlaps the city of Burbank and neighborhood of North Hollywood. It was created by the Osborne-Fitzpatrick Finance Company, a company run by two scam artists, C.C. Fitzpatrick and John R. Osborne. The swindlers made millions of dollars each, selling lots to multiple parties (sometimes selling one lot to sixteen buyers) and lots located outside the cemetery, underwater, &c – largely to widows, first-time investors, and other easy marks. In 1925, the two were each sentenced to ten years in the pen. Osborne's father shot himself to death not long after and is buried there.

Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery war memorial

The original gateway to the cemetery was redesigned to the the Portal of Folded Wings - a shrine to aviation, is located on the Burbank side and was meant to capitalize on Burbank's importance in industry. In an example of irony (in the Alanis Morissette sense of the word), a small plane crashed into the shrine to aviation in 1969.

The fountain at Valhalla Memorial Park

The North Hollywood side of the cemetery has a rather nice fountain which is home to minnows, Mallard Ducks, and terrapins. Otherwise the graveyard is mostly characterized by invariably flat tombstones, big mausoleums, and a few monuments.

A few warnings to would-be visitors: Google maps depicts a nonexistent entrance on the cemetery's western side where there is in fact a solid (if fairly low) wall. Also, unlike most cemeteries where there are few visitors besides goths, gravestone rubbers, and the like, at Valhalla there are regular burials and visitors to the graves of loved ones. 

To read a much more detailed story about the cemetery on KCET's website, click here.


El Portal Theatre and the Federal Bar

The 1,346 seat, Spanish Renaissance Revival-style El Portal Theatre opened in 1926 with a film screening, live performance from Chinese actors, and a “Chinese jazz orchestra.” It may be the final theater designed by prolific theater, architect Lewis A. Smith, who died the same year. Much later it screened Spanish language theaters. It was purchased by the Actors Alley stage company in 1996 and re-opened it as El Portal Center for the Arts in 2000.

El Portal has been featured on such television programs, films, and many comedy specials including Brothers & Sisters, Dov Davidoff: Filthy Operation (2010), Harland Williams: What a Treat (2005), Kevin Nealon: Now Hear Me Out! (2009), Kims of Comedy (2005), Last Comic Standing, Live Nude Comedy, Maz Jobrani: Brown & Friendly (2009), The Sarah Silverman Program, Scrubs, Wendy Liebman: Taller on TV (2011) and quite a few others.  


Arial view of North Hollywood High School and surrounding groves in 1927

In an attempt to sell the newly-annexed community, Lankershim was renamed/re-branded North Hollywood in 1927. Even with a new name, the community was a farm town with both little involvement in the film industry and little connection to the Hollywood neighborhood. It's biggest claim to fame, in fact, was that it was home to what was believed to be the world's largest apricot tree. If that weren't enough, advertisements  for the suburb promised “No saloons – no mud.”


The Post Office on Chandler Boulevard was constructed in 1936 by Brunzell & Jacobson Company. The contract was awarded to them in January and the building opened in October. Unfortunately, my picture of it didn't come out and I couldn't find any online (which is why I haven't included a photo). 


Damage to the partially-channelized Tujunga Wash

Heavy rains fell on Los Angeles in February of 1938 and the floodgates were opened in order to save Big Tujunga Dam, an act which caused great damage to the communities below. In North Hollywood, the Lankershim Boulevard Bridge collapsed killing five people. One family, the Fujiharas, lost five members. After the damage was done, Hansen Dam was built in 1940 and the Sepulveda Dam in 1941.

Click here to read a KCET piece about the flood.

The Tujunga Wash, a major tributary to the Los Angeles River that passes through North Hollywood, was completely entombed in concrete in the 1950s. In recent years, sections of the 21 kilometer waterway have begun to be rehabilitated, creating more green space and restoring the riparian environment a few meters at a time. As far as I could tell, however, none of that revitalization has yet come to North Hollywood's central channel. As I explored it I did encounter an old man with a guitar on sitting near its banks and apparently doing his best to dream of the Delta.


Although it may seem curious to modern Angelenos (or tourists who still associate the Hollywood brand name with glitz and glamor) but when North Hollywood was barely a decade old, a group of citizens decided to again change their community's name and thus distance themselves from their neighbors -- if not physically, associatively. As a result, they seceded from North Hollywood and renamed their neighborhood “Valley Village,” in 1939. Although this sort of maneuver is by no means unique to the Valley or even to Los Angeles it does seem like the spirit of secession and reorganization typifies the Valley more than other Los Angeles regions.


The Idle Hour Café and better days

The barrel-shaped bit of programatic architecture at 4824 Vineland originally opened in 1941 as The idle Hour Café. It was owned and operated by Michael and Irene Connolly. It closed in 1984 after Irene's passing and became a flamenco club called La Caña. After that closed it sat vacant for several years.

It was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #977 in 2010. When I stopped by I found that it's currently stripped down to the frame as part of its restoration process. The building was recently purchased by the 1933 Group -- the bar mafia behind The Bigfoot Lodge, La Cuevita, Oldfield's, Sassafras, the widely-loathed hipster concept bar Stinkers, and The Thirsty Crow -- so don't be surprised if when it re-opens it's all mixological, Edison bulb-lit,  and patronized by the waxed handlebar mustache mob. 


On 6 August 1945, the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. That same day, Richard Ira “Dick” Bong, the US's highest “scoring” air ace (having shot down at least forty Japanese planes), crashed an early jet, the P-80 Shooting Star, into a field in North Hollywood, shortly after take off.

World War II ended when Japan surrendered on 15 August, 1945 and the post-war era would see most of North Hollywood's empty fields transformed into suburbs and many of the houses of which became home to returning veterans.

Although today the the complexion of most of the residents may have changed, most of North Hollywood outside the NoHo Arts District retains the feel of a sleepy, mid-century, residential suburb -- albeit one whose quiet is regularly disturbed by the arrival and departure of huge jets at nearby Bob Hope Airport.


Television Hall of Fame

1946 was the first network television season in the US with the launch of the NBC and DuMont networks. That same year, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences was founded. It only took until 1949 for the Emmys to be instituted, allowing the industry thereafter to celebrate itself annually. In its first year, Louis McManus was given an award for his design of the Emmy statuette, and Pantomime Quiz and Your Show of Shows were the big winners.

In all honesty, why the collection of sculptures (which includes Bea Arthur, Bob Newhart, Gene Roddenberry, and others) isn't more of a tourist destination than the completely lame Walk of Fame is beyond me... nevertheless, I dutifully helped a couple of Chinese tourists get to the latter via the Red Line and kept my opinion to myself.

Mr. Rogers memorialized


Fire Station No. 60 

Engine Company 60 originally operated out of a firehouse at 11222 Weddington Street, constructed in 1924. In 1949 it moved into its current location on Tujunga Avenue.


Masonic Temple Lodge 542

An even more impressive piece of North Hollywood architecture from 1949 is the North Hollywood Masonic Temple Lodge 542. It was designed (in collaboration with lodge member John Aleck Murrey) by British architect, Robert Stacy-Judd, who'd earlier designed the amazing Aztec Hotel in Monrovia. Famous members of the local chapter included Audie Murphy, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Laurel & Hardy, and the Warner Brothers.


The Palomino opened in 1949 at 6907 Lankershim and was, by some folks' reckoning, the most important Country music venue on the west coast. Among the greats who performed there were Buck Owens, Dwight Yoakam, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Hoyt Axton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Lefty FrizzellLinda Ronstadt, The Long Ryders, Patsy Cline, Rosie Flores, and Willie Nelson.  Jerry Lee Lewis (who in my reckoning is seriously underrated as a County performer because he was so important as a Rock 'n' Roller) performed at the Palomino every year from 1957 until 1987.

In a 1974 episode of Adam-12 titled "Routine Patrol: The Drug Store Cowboys," officers Reed and Malloy cruise by the Palomino in search of some felonious cowboys from Albuquerque. The Palomino Club was featured prominently (as Club Interiors) in the Clint Eastwood vehicles Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980). In the 1980s and '90s the Palomino became more associated with the rock acts on SST -- fIREHOSE recorded their Live Totem Pole EP there. The Palomino Club finally called it a day in 1995. Nowadays it's operating as Le Monge Banquet Hall – a dining hall catering primarily to Armenians, Mexicans, Persians, and Russians.


The fuchsia-accented cottages of Cahuenga Villas

The northeast corner of North Hollywood, near Burbank and Sun Valley, feels more remote than the rest of the neighborhood -- country even. Dusty pick-up trucks sit on crumbling curbs along sidewalk-less streets. Sandy yards are patrolled by barking dogs -- and then there's a cluster of whimsical cottages built in 1951, Cahuenga Villas. Their walls are molded into shapes meant to resemble logs and stones (although the fuschia paint job doesn't help sell the illusion). 


St. Paul's Lutheran Church

The congregation of St. Paul's First Lutheran Church was founded in the 1920s. In 1946, they opened a church. In 1954, a new church was built on the location and, while modest, is a fine-looking house of worship (judging solely on exterior appearances).


Lonely Macy's 

Laurel Plaza was built in 1955. At the time it was the regional headquarters for St. Louis, Missouri's May Company department store. The plaza damaged so severely by the 1994 Northridge Earthquake that most of the mall was demolished, leaving the free-standing department store alone and surrounded by acres of (mostly empty when I visited) parking lot. In 2005 it became a Macy's. I popped in to use their facilities and found it eerily quiet. Maybe it was a mix of the old building smell and old lady perfume but there was something haunting about the place.

Then again it could be the area. Many of the businesses along that stretch of Laurel Canyon Boulevard either are abandoned or look abandoned and northwest NoHo seems further from the Arts District than it really is. Someone coated part of the median with astroturf and stuck some potted plants upon it -- probably to spruce it up but in fact underscoring it's bleakness. The 25 acre site, which also includes the North Hollywood campus of Kaplan College, sold about a week ago so we'll hopefully see some sort of change come to the area.


Circus Liquor with its John Wayne Gacy-esque clown

One of North Hollywood's most widely-recognized icons is the ten-meter neon-lit clown at Circus Liquor, which may have been the tallest human-made structure in the San Fernando Valley at the time.

It was famously featured in the Snoop Doggy Dogg short film Murder Was the Case (1994) and the film Clueless (1995) as the site where the character Cher was mugged. Maybe both films were drawn to the location on account of the clown's undeniable creepiness. Maybe too they were both signs that the neo-noirification of the Valley was well underway by the time Paul Thomas Anderson made Boogie Nights (1997) and filmed Magnolia (1998) and Punch-Drunk Love (2002) in the neighborhood.

The liquor store was also featured in Blue Thunder (1983), Spun (2002), and Alpha Dog (2006) but I haven't seen any of those. 


Valley Plaza Tower (aka Los Angeles Federal Savings and Loan Tower)

In 1957, the 150 foot height limit on Los Angeles skyscrapers was repealed and the San Fernando Valley – still today usually characterized as a low-profile, sprawling, residential suburb – began to grow upward. Today there are mid-rise skyscrapers in BurbankCanoga ParkEncinoSherman Oaks, Studio CityUniversal City, and Warner Center, in addition to those in North Hollywood

Valley Plaza Tower , at 12160 Victory Boulevard, was designed by prominent local architects Douglas Honnold and John Rex. The Corporate International-style building (also known as Los Angeles Federal Savings and Loan Tower) was completed in 1960. It was both part of Valley Plaza Shopping Center (which opened in 1951) and, at twelve stories and fifty meters tall, the tallest human-made structure in San Fernando Valley at the time. Another skyscraper, the Gerald Bense-designed Commonwealth Savings & Loan Building (formerly located at 5077 Lankershim Boulevard) was built in 1961 and torn down in 2013. 


Clanton 14 gang placa

A less-welcome sign of North Hollywood's urbanization arrived in the 1970s in the form of gangs. The first to form was part of Clanton 14, an old gang which originally formed on Clanton Street (later renamed 14th Place) in what's now the Fashion District back in the 1920s.

In 1975, brothers Ernie “Big Cuate” and Ricky (no family names available) moved to North Hollywood and established the gang's presence there, eventually growing and splintering into at least three distinct crews: Tiny Locos, Tiara Street Locos, and Crazy Alley Gangsters. They were followed by the establishment of more gangs: Alley Locos, Boyz from the Hood, 18th Street Northside, North Hollywood Boyz, North Hollywood Locos, Mara Salvatrucha Northside, Radford Street, and Vineland Boyz among them.

A shrine for José Mendoza, age 18 -- recently killed in an officer involved shooting


NoHo Arts District entrance

The gangs were both contributors to and symptoms of North Hollywood's decline. The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) first adopted an area of North Hollywood in 1979 for targeted redevelopment. The target area corresponded closely with the area that ultimately became the NoHo Arts District in 1992  -- although the driving force in that designation was also contributed to by theater (and other business) owners in the Universal City/North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce as well as the L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs. The NoHo Arts District today is undoubtedly the cultural capital of the San Fernando Valley – home to numerous theaters, art galleries, dance studios, cafés, &c.

Lindsay William-Ross wrote a great, detailed piece about the NoHo Arts District as part of LAist's much-missed Neighborhood Project back in 2007 (click here to read it). 


In one horrific reminder that even in good times there are bad times just around the corner, on 28 February, 1997 Larry Eugene Phillips, Jr. and Emil Dechebal Matasareanu attempted to rob the Bank of America on Laurel Canyon Boulevard. The two heavily-armed-and-armored men engaged in a shootout in which fourteen people were injured and the two would-be robbers died from their injuries. It was widely suggested that the criminals were inspired by Michael Mann's 1995 film, Heat, which seems believable. Their own escapade inspired 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out (2003).


North Hollywood Station

North Hollywood Station
As transformative as the establishment of the NoHo Arts District might have been to North Hollywood, the return of passenger rail after half a century of car dependency may have been equally if not more so (and affected the entire Valley). Metro's Red Line first opened in 1993 but until 1999 terminated at Hollywood/Vine Station on the other side of the hills. In 2000 the Universal City/Studio City Station and North Hollywood Station opened, extending the subway to the San Fernando Valley.

The Orange Line Busway

The Metro Orange Line was originally envisioned as a light rail line but a group of San Fernando Valley homeowners banded together to block its construction, hoping to drive it underground, like the Red Line. Instead Metro went with a bus Transitway – an articulated bus that runs on a dedicated right-of-way that in many ways feels like a train although, due to its popularity and comparatively small capacity, gets rather cramped (like a bus).

Ghost Bike memorial for José Heredia, age 64, hit by a car

Running parallel to the Orange Line for most of its length is the Metro Orange Line Busway Bike Path which allows for an arguably more comfortable transit alternative. Unfortunately, its current eastern terminus is located some four kilometers west of the Orange Line Busway's which means sharing Chandler with cars.


Santa Clarita Transit and Metro at North Hollywood Station

Today North Hollywood is also well-served by other transit options. Metro's 52, 154, 156, 162, 163, 164, 165, 183, 224, 230 and 656 bus lines serve the area. So too do Burbank Bus's Noho Media District and Noho Airport Area routes, Greyhound (which operates a station in North Hollywood), LADOT Commuter Express's 549 line, and Santa Clarita Transit's 757 line. 

Transit mural in North Hollywood

Metrolink's Ventura County Line and Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner trains pass through North Hollywood although the nearest stop, at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, is less than a kilometer east of North Hollywood.

Fourteen-story NoHo 14

As it grows denser and taller (the new NoHo 14 is the tallest residential structure in the San Fernando Valley, the 15-story NoHo Tower, under construction, will be the tallest structure in the neighborhood, and NoHo Art Wave is on the slow, troubled course to becoming the largest transit-oriented development in the city) and greener, walking through North Hollywood is bound to become more pleasant. As it is, North Hollywood is rather flat but there are some streets that offer little shade or beauty and make walking on hot day – of which there are many -- more unpleasant than need be. Walkscore gives North Hollywood a walk score of 69 (tied with neighboring Toluca Lake for the highest score in the San Fernando Valley), a transit score of 49, and a bike score of 59.


There are several motels in North Hollywood: Colony Inn, Comfort Inn North Hollywood, Econo Inn & Suites, Pepper Tree Motel, Ritz Motel, and Silver Saddle Motel. Colony Inn's sign says (in quotes) "Hotel by Universal Studios," which although uncredited, means that someone actually uttered that phrase, right?
There's also a hostel, Timen's House. Airbnb lists a lot of places to stay in the area although their definition of North Hollywood includes parts of Sun Valley, Valley Glen, Valley Village, and West Toluca Lake.


Lonny Chapman Theatre - The Group Repertory Theatre

The area around North Hollywood is a hub of live theater, boasting (according to one source) 31 playhouses including the aforementioned El Portal Theatre as well as the following theaters and acting companies: Academy for New Musical Theatre, Actors Forum Theatre, Actors Workout Studio, Antaeus Company, Avery Schreiber Theatre, Cre8tive Differences, Crown City Theater, Deaf West Theatre, Elate's Lincoln Stegman Theatre, The Group Repertory at the Lonny Chapman Theatre, Ha Ha's Comedy Club & Café, The Magic Mirror Theater, NoHo London Music Hall, Puppet Studio, The Raven Playhouse, The Road Theatre Company, Secret Rose Theatre, The Sherry Theater, Smoke and Mirrors, 3 of a Kind Theatre Company, Whitmore Lindley Theatere Center, and Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre. That's fewer than 31 (I'm sure that I'm both missing some and that the count includes theaters in other neighborhoods) but it's still an impressive collection of theaters that even surpasses the number of theaters in the Hollywood Theater District.


North Hollywood is supposedly home to the largest concentration of music studios west of the Mississippi River and because of that fact, I'm not going to bother trying to here name them all. I will mention that the neighborhood has been referenced in several album titles: Blues Traveler's North Hollywood Shootout, Slush's North Hollywood, and Revolutionary Side Effects' album, also titled North Hollywood. Laurindo Almeida, Van Hunt, and Yokodeathray all have songs titled “North Hollywood.” Brady Harris has a song called “North Hollywood Skyline,Brandon Jenkins has a song called “Streets of North Hollywood,” and (my favorite), Brazil's Cansei de Ser Sexy have a song titled “Frankie Goest to North Hollywood.”

Two of my favorite music acts from North Hollywood are The Weirdos – one of the greatest punk bands from all of Los Angeles – and Shelby Flint, a pre-British Invasion performer who had a hit with “Angel on My Shoulder” in 1961. 

Shelby Flint's "Angel on my Shoulder"


Lankershim Arts Center

The Lankershim Arts Center was designed by the great architect, S. Charles Lee and built in 1939 for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. Around 1991 it became home to the Road Theatre Company and 800 Gallery. Other art galleries, frame shops, supply stores, studios, &c include The Art Castle, Art Institute Califonia - Hollywood, Art Pic, Betty Collins Art Studios, Biija Fine Art, Cella Gallery, Doran Designs, The Industrial Gallery of Art, L'imagerie Gallery, Magnolia Arts HOA, NoHo Gallery LA, NoHo2 Studio, Satsuma Gallery, and Sunny Meyer Fine Art Restoration.

As far as public art goes, there's a statue by Stephen Schubert at the northern entrance to the NoHo Arts District called Phoenix Rising. There's a nice statue of Amelia Earhart sculpted by Ernest Shelton in front of the library. There's a collection of sculptures at the Television Hall of Fame Plaza of celebrated figures important in the history of American television. Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park & Mortuary is home to some nice monuments too.

Chandler Bikeway and murals

Chandler murals


Some of the Chandler Murals

Along a stretch of the Chandler Bikeway, there's a collection of murals known to most as the Chandler Murals. The Chandler Bikeway is a three kilometer trail which opened in 2004 along a former railroad right-of-way. Less well-known are a couple of murals on Colfax Avenue, under the 170. One, painted by Ernie Realegeno, is called Latinos Unidos and dates back to 1996.

One of the murals under the 170

Finally, North Hollywood is even home to the NoHo Senior Arts Colony -- a residence for Angelenos over the age of 62 which contains a visual arts studio, literay studio, digital arts center... and billiards room and swimming pool.


As far as film is concerned, North Hollywood is mostly home to prop rental stores, costume companies, and other peripheral businesses of that sort. The list includes one of Walt Disney Imagineering's facilities, History for Hire, Pinacoteca Picture Props, and Western Costume Company – established (on the other side of the hills) in 1912.

Movie theaters in North Hollywood include the Valley Plaza 6 and Laemmle NoHo 7. Valley Plaza 6 shows typical, commercial American multiplex fare (you know, Hollywood films). Laemmle NoHo 7, like most films in the Laemmle Theatre chain, bills itself as an arthouse although the North Hollywood location's films seem to be more commercial than those at other locations.

North Hollywood was (or is) a filming location for many television shows, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Alias, Beverly Hills, 90210, Children's Hospital, CSI, Desperate Housewives, Dallas, Dexter, Falcon Crest, Hill Street Blues, The Incredible Hulk, Knight Rider, Leave it to Beaver, Malcolm in the Middle, Melrose Place, Moonlighting, Parks & Recreation, The Rockford Files, Scrubs, 7th Heaven, The Six Million Dollar Man, Wagon Train, Weeds, The X-Files, and more. A couple of my favorite shows, Dragnet and Adam-12, occasionally filmed on the streets of NoHo and someone took it upon themselves to make these cool, adjustable before and after pictures of a couple of locations -- click here to see. In fact, there was even a 1974 episode of Adam-12 titled "North Hollywood Division."

Films set or shot (in part or in whole) in North Hollywood include (in addition to the aforementioned ones) Accepted (2006), After Porn Ends (2010), The Big Lebowski (1998), Dude, Where's My Car? (2000), Erin Brockovich (2000), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Halloween (1978), I Love You, Man (2009), Indecent Proposal (1993), The Jane Austen Book Club (2007), Lethal Weapon (1987), Lethal Weapon 3 (1992), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 (1985), Pineapple Express (2008), Psycho (1960), Pulp Fiction (1994), Terminator 3 (2003), Wild at Heart (1990) and many more.

There are a couple of video stores of note in North Hollywood. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I used to rent silent films on VHS from Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee. After I snapped the photo above, I had to step aside as one of Amoeba's regular customers barreled into the store to ask about whether or not any new movies with teenage girls had recently been released.

Inside Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee

There's also Odyssey Video and Video Citi. I tried to pop into Citi to see what I could see but they were closed while the staff was on a "ten minute" break.

NoHo natives (left to right) Corbin Bernsen, Edmund Druihet, Marc Handler, Merna Aodisho, Tina Marie Jordan

Actors and filmmakers born in North Hollywood include Abigail BeMiller, Ann Matthews, Brandon Rogers, Corbin Bernsen, Cuban Bee, Edmund Druilhet, Joseph Pozo, Kaye Borneman, Lincoln Kilpatrick Jr., Marc Handler, Mark Voland, Merna Aodisho, Nikki Wall, Noah Casper, Richard Pérez, Ricky Wittman, Tina Marie Jordan, Victor Vu, and Victorine Anne Greenwood.


Madilyn Clark Studios (pictured because of the rooftop horse and carriage)

Dance studios and schools of North Hollywood are many and include Art of the Dance Academy, At One Fitness, The Basement Dance Center, The Choreography House, Dance Fantasy, Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio, Halau Hula O Uluwehilaukoa, Island Groove, Liv'art Dance Studio, Luscious Maven Pole Dancing, Madilyn Clark Studios, Millennium Dance Complex, The Movement Lifestyle, NoHo Performing Arts Center, PinkPoleParty, Salseros-LA, Shiva's Dance & Fitness, Step It Up, Studio 21 Dance, and World Salsa and Bachata Academy.


Martial Arts studio on Chandler

In the past I haven't delved into a neighborhood's martial arts culture but the NoHo Arts District's name doesn't play favorites with types of art whether performing, visual, or martial. Besides, there are a surprising number of martial arts studios in the neighborhood, including Academy of Arms, All About Kickboxing, Bujinkan Los Angeles, Dartanian Jiu-Jitsu, Karate 4 Kids USA, Kuk Sool Won Martial Art Fitness Center, Muay Thai Academy of America, Muay Thai School USA, Noho Dojo, North Hollywood Kenpo Karate School, Shaolin American Self Defense Academy, Shoto Jutsu Martial Arts, Systema Spetsnaz - Russian Arts, Taoist Institute, Valley Martial Arts CenterValley Martial Arts Supply, and XMA World Headquarters.

Jun Chong Tae Kwon Do was featured in The Karate Kid (1984) but the doors of that dojo have closed. One of the Karate Kid's sequels, Karate Kid, Part III (1989) was also partially filmed in North Hollywood. Look for them both, as well as The Karate Kid, Part II (1986), The Next Karate Kid (1994), and The Karate Kid (2010), in Amoeba's Martial Arts section.


Amelia Earhart Statue and Library

North Hollywood is home to the Valley Plaza Libary and North Hollywood Regional Library. The latter library is usually known as Amelia M. Earhart Library, which it was renamed in 1981, 100 years after the death of poet Sidney Lanier. When the library opened in 1928 it was known as Sidney Lanier Library, although he was primarily chosen as the library's namesake simply because he shared initials with the Sepulveda Library, the North Hollywood Branch's predecessor and reason that the collection were stamped "SL."

There are also several bookstores in North Hollywood. J&B Books and Jasons II Adult Book Store are what are known as adult book stores. I honestly don't know what sort of books they might sell although J&B also boasts an arcade and rents movies.

The Iliad Bookshop
Inside the Iliad Bookshop

The Iliad Bookshop sells regular, erm, non-adult books. The Iliad was formerly located next to Odyssey Video, which is cute, especially for fans of Homer. North Hollywood is also home to Blastoff Comics.


North Hollywood Recreation Center at the magic hour

There are several parks to enjoy in North Hollywood. The oldest park is North Hollywood Recreation Center (also known as North Hollywood Park), established in 1927 and which includes the Dave Potell Memorial Rink, North Hollywood Skate Plaza, a swimming pool, and the North Hollywood Regional Library. When I explored it I encountered a group of sign twirlers conditioned and trained to stand on street corners and spin giant arrows. 

North Hollywood Skate Plaza

Valley Plaza Recreation Center includes a community room and Whitsett Fields, fifteen soccer/football pitches and baseball diamonds. There are also basketball courts, a playground, tennis courts, volleyball courts, picnic tables, indoor and outdoor gyms, and an American football field. When I visited, the soccer pitches were full, a basketball court was in use, and the tennis courts and baseball diamond were utterly abandoned except by a few squirrels and a homeless woman eating nearby. 

Looking southeast down Whitnall Highway (toward the dog park)

Whilst not one of the largest parks, Whitnall Highway Park North (and Whitnall Highway Park South in Burbank) have an interesting story behind them. To be brief, they are part of an abandoned highway meant to have passed through the Hollywood Hills but which never came to be -- looking down on the valley from above one can still make out the outline of the never-realized highway's route from Forest Lawn all the way up to the 210 near where it meets the 5. The route includes wide swathes of broken glass-strewn dirt but also parts that have been developed as park.. like the Whitnall Off-Leash Dog Park or the weird, fenced off area containing a motley assortment of bird feeders. 

To read a much more in depth account on KCET's website, click here

Other parks include Alexandria Park and Victory Vineland Recreation Center, which includes a gym, auditorium, playground, tennis courts, and basketball court. 


Phil's Diner -- built in the 1920s but currently closed
North Hollywood restaurants include Amazing Thai Cafe, Andrew's North Hollywood Diner, Antojitos de la Abuelita, Antojitos Guatemala & Bakery, Artizan Pizza Kitchen, Assam Indian Kitchen, Barn Rau Thai Halal Cuisine, Best Tacos & Burger House, Big Mama's & Papa's Pizza, Bow & Truss, Cafe Noho Grill & Lounge, Cafe Villa, Cahuenga General Store, Cake Monkey Bakery, Casita Taco de Carbon, The Chef and I, Chinese Deli T & D, Chinese Delight, Coley's Caribbean American Cuisine,

The Cook House Cafe & Bakery, Crown Burger, Daniel's Tacos food truck, Don Felix Restaurant, Don Zarape Restaurant #2, Dragon Street, EAT, Eat That Burger, Eclectic Fine Food & Spirits, Edy's Burgers, El Carbonero, El Picapica, Envy Nutrition, Falafel Hut, Fantastic Donuts Croissants, The Fat Dog, Fifty 2 Fifty, Fish Dish Grilled Seafood, The Flame Broiler, Flor de Izote, Flor de Michoacan, Food Fetish, Freshy's International Grill, Golden Palace Chinese, Good China Express,  

Hayat's Kitchen, Hot & Cold Bowls, House Of Wings, Hy Mart Sandwiches, In-N-Out Burger, Izalco Restaurant, J & J Wok, Jaltepeque 3, Jarin Thai Cuisine, Juval Kitchen, The Kansas City BBQ Company, Katina Bakery, Kim Thai Food - Song Fung Khong, King Express Chinese Food, La Cabañita de Don Chepe, La Colmenita Restaurant, La Costa del Sol, La Fonda de Don Cuper, La Kantuta, La Maria, La Ramadita, 

Marisco's Colima

Las Cuatro Milpas Numbero 2, Lenzini's Pizza, Leonor's Vegetarian Mexican, Los Burritos, Los Super Tacos 99, Lotus Vegan, Luna, Maggie's Bakery, The Magnolia Grille, Mariscos Colima, Mediterranean Best Food, Mi Carbonero, Mis Burritos, Miyako Sushi, Mofongos Comida Caribena, MP's Soul Food Eatery, Mucho Mas, Nica's Kitchen, Nick's Hot Wings & Grill House, Nobel Bakery, Noho Pizza & Grill, 
NoHo Thai Food & Noodle, Nora's Place, North Hollywood Diner, Olympus Greek Tavern

101 Korean BBQ, Original Thai Restaurant, P Gators Southern Grill, Pacific Coast Food, Pan Guatemalteca, Panaderia La Colmena #2, Philadelphia Steak & Hoagie, Pita Grill, Pitfire Artisan Pizza, Pizza Man, Poquito Mas, Pyramido Greek & Mediterranean Grill, Quesadillas Lupita, Raspados NOHO, Republic of Pie, Restaurante Mi Tierra, Roma Deli, Rigos Taco 6, Robina's Indian Cuisine, Salomi Indian & BangladeshSam's Charbroiled Burgers, Serrano Mexican Grill, Siam Victory,

Skynny Kitchen, Spumante Restaurant, Sunlight Restaurant, Sushi Park, Swingin' Door Texas BBQ, Taco Zone taco truck, Taco's Manzano, Tacos Mariscos taco truck, Taqueria La Chispita, Teriyaki House, Thai Victory, Tokyo Delve's Sushi Bar,  Tom's Famous Family Restaurant 7, Tortas Ahogadas, Tutti Frutti, 2 for 1 Pizza, Universal Kebab, Vicious Dogs, Victorio's RistoranteViva Italia! Pronto, Wola Crepes,
and Yerevan Steak House

City Market -- a somewhat interesting structure built in 1959

Come drink the friendly skies!
 - aviation-themed liquor store sign

Local markets include Alex Meat Market Carniceria Argentina, Armenia Meat Market & Produce, Azteca Market, City Market, Cleon Market, El Chalateco Market, El Matador Market, Envy Nutrition, Epicure Imports, Gigi Liquor 2, Gourmand Meat and Fish Market, Jet Stream LiquorKaly Market, Ladd Liquor MarketLarry Marciano Grocery, Lo Carb-U Foods, Magnolia Market, Martik's Market, Noho Halal Meat & Grocery, North Hollywood Market, Norwood Market, Pacific Coast Food, Skyline Market, Superior Warehouse, and Vallarta Supermarket, Value + Express Market, and Yuca's Market.

North Hollywood also has a Noho Farmer's Market on Saturdays from 9:30 am - 3 pm.

Monaco Hall (photographed mainly because I like the sign) and a Metro bus

And because I feel like it needs to be mentioned somewhere, there are several banquet halls in North Hollywood in addition to the aforementioned Le Monge: Bellezza Banquet HallElegante Banquet HallKriestel Banquet HallLe Foyer Ballroom by LA Banquets, Mirage Banquet Hall, Monaco Hall, and Pearl Banquet Hall.


II've grabbed drinks at NoBar a couple of times. NoBar is run by the Vintage Bar Group -- the bar mafia behind El Bar, The Fifth, The Parlour Room, The Well, and The Woods -- all of which are pretty interchangeable.

North Hollywood also has a Big Wang's, which despite its name, is not a gay Hooters. It's a Tapout-and-Affliction crowd-catering sports bar that's so un-Los Angeles that it's kind of magical. They also boast of having the most television sets of any bar in the city... which is one more reason I passed on it. 

This time I stopped at the Federal Bar. They have live music and comedy upstairs. The ambiance is nice, and a couple of strangers chatted me up (so the clientele seem friendly), service was good and after walking about 20 kilometers or so, the two beers hit me hard! Luckily I was able to lurch across the street to the Metro station and head home. It's also where the cast of Stephen Merchant's underrated and sadly under-seen series, Hello Ladies, get drinks in the final episode (although it's barely seen on-screen).

Other places to get drinks include Amsterdam Cafe, The Brickyard Pub, The Bullet Bar, The Captain's Cabin, District Pub NoHoEclectic Wine Bar & Grille, El Merengue, The Good Nite, Hot Box Cafe, Java Smoothies, La Costa del Sol, Las Torres Bar, Moby's Corree & Tea CompanyThe Other Door, Smoke Lounge, Studs Lounge, Supreme Bean Coffee Roasters, and Sweat Shoppe


There are a few dance clubs and gentlemen's clubs in North Hollywood including Blue Zebra, Club Cobra, Hacienda Corona, Star Garden, VIP Showgirls Gentleman's Club, and The Where?House. I haven't been to it but it seems that the CIA - The California Institute of Abnormalarts is perhaps a sort-of cabaret-like performance arts/live music venue.


North Hollywood hosts several regularly-scheduled cultural events. Twice a month the Museum of the San Fernando Valley leads an historic North Hollywood “NoHo” Historic Walking Tour. Every may there's a NoHo Theatre and Arts Festival. There's also the Experience NoHo Arts Festival and in the fall, the NoHo Scene Festival.


If you'd like to read more history about North Hollywood (and Lankershim), in the 1910s and '20s the community was served by a newspaper called The Lankershim Laconic. Online there's the North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch. For a broader look at the San Fernando Valley that has some good stuff about North Hollywood, check out Kevin Roderick's The San Fernando Valley: America's Suburb (2001) and Marc Wanamaker's San Fernando Valley (2011), part of the Images of America series. 


As always, I welcome corrections, additions, and accounts of personal experiences. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods to be the subject of a future piece, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County communities and neighborhoods, vote here


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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Woodkid

Posted by Amoebite, January 31, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment


In the world of creativity, Yoann Lemoine is a renaissance man. The French born director turned singer-songwriter is turning heads with every new project he takes on. Known for directing well-crafted music videos for Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swiftand Drake, Lemoine is also an accomplished photographer, graphic desinger and illustrator. Growing up in a musical home, the move from behind tha camera to behind the mic was organic. With a keen eye for sleek directing and a strong ear for grand, plush production, the stage was set for Lemoine to introduce the world to Woodkid. Under this moniker, Lemoine performs neofolk/experimental pop music both singing and producing tracks. Woodkid Golden

His debut album, The Golden Age, is an autobiographical work about his childhood. The album utilizes layers of real live strings coupled with synthesized orchestration giving both an analog feel with digital clarity. Vocally he sounds reminescent of Morrissey and some critics might say it makes for a modern take on The Smiths. He's got a little something for everyone. The hip hop heads dig it, goths and electronic fans eat it up, and even the classically trained musician can appreciate the beautifully layered arrangements. The kid is good. He directs all his videos in his signature black and white look, shot in high definition for maximum sharpness. The fomula for his visuals creates a very nolstalgic feel and gives you a sense of the past and the future all at once.

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Weekly Roundup: Banks, Incan Abraham, De Lux, Burnt Ones, together PANGEA

Posted by Billy Gil, January 31, 2014 09:33am | Post a Comment

Banks – “Brain”

banks amoebaWe were big fans of Banks’ London EP, which featured the slow and sultry “Waiting Game.” Though “Brain” shares that same sensual foreboding, L.A.-based Jillian Banks comes completely out of her shell with a Beyonce-worthy distorted vocal. Producer Shlomo seems to have helped bring out the best in Banks, helping her move from underground favorite to a sure-to-be-hitmaker. The change to a more personable sound suits her—this is an artist who until recently put her own phone number up on Facebook in lieu of using social media, after all.


Incan Abraham – “Concorde”

Wow, Incan Abraham are really stepping it up on their new single, “Concorde.” Big, lush chords hit immediately like a more pop-minded version of The War on Drugs, and the vocals come through vibrantly, with a radio-friendly chorus and harmonies. Producer Lewis Pesacov (FIDLAR, Best Coast, Fool’s Gold) is at the helm here. Tolerance is due April 8 on White Iris.

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New Vinyl/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 1/29/14 - Actress, Evil Fred, Steve Moore, Container and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, January 30, 2014 10:36am | Post a Comment


Ghettoville Box Set LP

Werk Discs

The fourth official full-length from British polymath Actress has the producer less focused on traditional rhythms than ever, opting instead for a bleak council estate ambiance. Many of these tracks, such as opener, Forgiven, plod along slowly like a Western score reimagined as gritty urban synth music. Still Actress lets his obvious melodic talents drip sparingly, as seen on the insular funk jam Birdcag . Much of the material explores the DJ Screw influenced territory he explored on his otherworldy remix of Legowelt's  Elements of Houz Music.

Buy Ghettoville Box Set LP


Evil Fred - Get On

Evil Fred

Get On 12"

H2 Recordings

Heavy, retro-tinged dj tools. The title track is heavy kick, vocal cut-up woodshedding along the lines of the Head High eps. An insouciant organ riff holds it all together. The B, Back Out, is for a little later in the evening, with a beautiful hypnotic piano chord propelling the track along.

Buy Get On 12"



Steve Moore - Zen Spiders

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Primavera Sound 2014 Line-Up Announced Via Unique Promotional Film

Posted by Billyjam, January 30, 2014 08:20am | Post a Comment

This week organizers at the big annual Primavera Sound Festival, that happens every late May/early June in Barcelona Spain, announced this year's line-up with some impressive headliners at the multi-stages event that is traditionally rock oriented with some dance and hip-hop with this year featuring a bit more than in past. 

Known for booking well-established longtime acts alongside newer acts Primavera's 2014 line-up does not disappoint with a list that includes Kendrick Lamar, Queens of the Stone Age, The National, Arcade Fire, Haïm, The Pixies, Foals, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Television (performing their classic 1977 album Marquee Moon in its entirety), Neutral Milk Hotel, Nine Inch NailsDrive-By Truckers, Laurent Garnier, Chvrches, and Slowdive who will reunite at the Barcelona festival to play their first gig together in over a decade.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #65: Super Bowl 48, NYC DMC Regionals, Chinese New Year, Black History Month + more

Posted by Billyjam, January 29, 2014 12:00pm | Post a Comment

Even though it is being billed as being held in NYC this weekend's much hyped NFL Super Bowl XLVIII is actually being held over in New Jersey at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ where, kicking off at 6:30pm EST, the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos will battle it out for the champion title.  Nonetheless New York is, as the Times Square billboard (picture right) implies, in a Super Bowl State of Mind
An estimated half a million visitors are expected to descend upon both New York and New Jersey for the Super Bowl and spinoff festivities on Sunday and the days leading up to the big game. Among the attractions will be the Super Bowl Boulevard set up in Times Square from today through Sunday that includes a 60 foot high toboggan run -  perfect for the snow that is forecast for Saturday night/ Sunday - although this could change.  Free to the public Super Bowl Boulevard, runs for 13 blocks of Broadway from 34th to 47th streets, and includes a concert stage, photo ops with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and an assortment of Super Bowl souvenir booths all catering to, as organizers bill it, "football-themed experiences."  And on 34th Street up atop the Empire State Building through this Sunday there is a light show that is being generated by football fans on Twitter showing support for either  the Seahawks or the Broncos. Meanwhile all round New York City bars and restaurants will be holding Super Bowl 48 viewing parties. Whether it snows or not plan on dressing warm for the inevitable cold weather this Sunday that will reach at highest he mid to upper 30's.

Join Amoeba at First Fridays Feb. 7 With Baths, Peaking Lights

Posted by Billy Gil, January 29, 2014 12:00pm | Post a Comment

Join Amoeba Music for February's edition of First Fridays! Once a month, Los Angeles's Natural History Museum stays open late and features live music, exciting scientific discussion, and behind-the-scenes curatorial tours as part of the First Fridays program. Amoeba is excited to sponsor this fabulous series of live music, discussion, concessions, tours, DJs and more.

Join us on February 7th from 5-10 p.m. for live performances from Baths and Peaking Lights starting at 8 p.m., with DJs Anthony Valadez and King Most starting at 5:30, and tours with Dr. Regina Wetzer and Adam Wall and a discussion with Dr. Roberta Marinelli before the show!

Look for the Amoeba booth, where we'll be handing out free swag and selling Amoeba merch.

Baths is the young musician behind such dreamy electronic albums as last year's acclaimed Obsidian. Husband-and-wife duo Peaking Lights make stellar dub-influenced dream pop, notably on 2012's Lucifer.

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10 Bands We'd Like to See Reunite

Posted by Billy Gil, January 29, 2014 11:11am | Post a Comment

Two of our favorite bands of all time — OutKast and Slowdiveare officially reuniting. OutKast announced it a couple weeks back, with news that the Southern rap legends will headline Coachella and play Governernor’s Ball in New York, though it seems likely we’ll see another Big Boi album before a new OutKast album (and we’re OK with that!). Meanwhile, shoegaze titans Slowdive yesterday confirmed rumors (that they themselves flamed) that they’d reunite, playing Primavera in Barcelona in May and “a couple of gigs,” including a show at Village Underground in London May 19 (better book your tickets now!), in order to raise funds for a new LP.

With those two reunions locked down, we thought we’d turn our attention from bands we liked that reunited to bands we’d like to see reunite.

Talking Heads

This one seems a no-brainer. They exactly been quiet since they first broke up in 1991, from briefly “reuniting” onstage in 2002 to play three songs for their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, to David Byrnes solo career (including a one-off album with St. Vincent), to the other members’ activity, including The Heads and Tom Tom Club. And the band seems more popular and prescient than ever. So, everyone’s still alive and working.

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Pick up the 2014 Grammy Winners on CD and LP

Posted by Billy Gil, January 28, 2014 11:41am | Post a Comment

The 2014 Grammy Awards took place over the weekend, with big winners including Daft Punk and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. We were excited to see Grammy love given to Amoeba friends like La Santa Cecilia and The Civil Wars, while best alternative album went to Pitchfork and Rolling Stone's favorite album of 2013, Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires Of The City. A lot of people were talking about Imagine Dragons' performance with Kendrick Lamar, while our favorite has to be Beyonce's opening performance of "Drunk in Love" with her husband, Jay Z.

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Album Picks: Dum Dum Girls, Sky Ferreira, Hospitality

Posted by Billy Gil, January 28, 2014 10:16am | Post a Comment

Dum Dum Girls - Too Pure (CD or LP)

The time is right for Dum Dum Girls to make their big breakthrough record, and they don’t squander the opportunity with Too Pure. Singer Dee Dee Penny is like the shoegazing version of Chrissie Hynde, turning around a cliché about an irresistible bad boy on “Too True to Be Good” and owning her own leather-and-lace sensitive bad girl image in the delicate “Trouble is My Name.” Richard Gottehrer (the producer behind “My Boyfriend’s Back”) brings the magic he brought to Blondie and The Go-Go's to gleaming new wavers like “Rimbaud Eyes,” while co-producer Sune Rose Wagner’s (of The Raveonettes) effect can be felt on songs like sinister stomper “Cult of Love.” The band’s shimmering guitarwork, Penny’s terrific, breathy vocals and her producers’ ethereal touch come together masterfully on “Lost Boys and Girls Club,” which is like a lost song from a John Hughes movie soundtrack, were it made with the noise pop knowledge gleaned from growing up on Nirvana and Slowdive. Too Pure has bite and sheen in equal doses, leaving lipstick smeared on your heart. You’ll be begging for more.

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Honoring Pete Seeger's Legacy

Posted by Billyjam, January 28, 2014 08:37am | Post a Comment

In honor of contemporary folk music pioneer Pete Seeger, who died last night at age 94 of natural causes, we present a series of video clips (music and interview) with the influential singer/songwriter whose activist work never ceased and whose career spanned over seven decades. He continued performing up to last year when he sang at Farm Aid 2013 (see below), and speaking out on issues like global warming in recent years (see NY Times interview clip below).

Much more than being simply a musician or a singer/songwriter, Seeger was (as accurately described on his Amoeba website bio) also a folklorist, labor activist, environmentalist, radical leftist, rabble-rouser, and peace advocate. A known left-wing advocate in the 1950's, Seeger was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee. When they accused him of being a Communist, refused to testify. Found guilty of contempt of Congress, he was sentenced to a year in prison. His leftist politics also resulted in him being banned from network TV for more than a decade.

Read his full story here on the Amoeba website, and browse the selection of recordings he left behind as his legacy (his discography includes 100+ albums to his credit) on, including (a great intro to his work) the 16 track Sony Legacy series release Pete Seeger's Greatest Hits that includes such trademark songs of Seeger's as "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," and "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)," and the Smithsonian Folkways 27 song collection American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 2: Pete Seeger.  Other Smithsonian Folkways collections of Seeger's worth checking out include the 26 song CD collection If I Had  Hammer: Songs Of Hope & Struggle, and the 2 CD set live concert recording The Complete Bowdoin College Concert 1960. Another recommended concert recording from around that same period is We Shall Overcome: The Complete Carnegie Hall Concert that is a 2CD set that features 40 songs from that 1963 New York City performance. In the first video clip below, an interview from eight years ago with Seeger at age 86, he discusses the history of the rallying protest anthem, "We Share Overcome." 

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Nothing But a Man, a Film Review by Aiah Samba

Posted by Amoebite, January 27, 2014 12:10pm | Post a Comment

"They don't sound human, do they?" - Duff Anderson

When I was a kid, movies took up a big slice of my daily routine. I was an introverted introvert with nary a friend to call my own. Pop's wasn't around so that left my mom, sister and our RCA television to raise me. I was devouring movies at such an alarming rate my mother began to worry. But that's what mothers do; they worry about their children - especially African mothers. (How will she ever get a grandchild from someone who prays to a TV set?) By the time I was seventeen, I was a self-proclaimed film buff. (Not like I had anything else going for me.) I openly mocked peers with my cinema prowess, brandishing pithy one-liners and pop culture references to put them in their place. But one of those underlings asked an interesting question: "What was my favorite film on African American life?" It made me ponder how much Black cinema I've actually seen. The answer startled me. Now, outside of John Singleton, the Hughes Brothers, some Blaxploitation movies and the occasional Spike Lee joint, there weren't that many I was exposed to. I blamed it on the fact that compared to others, African American movies were far and few between. Heck, I saw more movies from Alfred Hitchcock than all the directors I named above combined. But that was lazy and actually quite inaccurate. There was plenty of gold to be had. So I started to dig. 

Nothing But a Man

Nothing But A Man was one of those gems I discovered. Now this may come off as hyperbolical fluff but I honestly believe this is not only one of the best films on African American life, but American life, period. I never liked the distinction between the two anyway. It's rare to see a film on this subject handled with such tact and elegance - a quiet, sensitive piece with the delicacy and finesse of a Swiss watch.

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Dr. Maya Angelou: From San Francisco Cable Car Operator to Civil Rights Activist, Poet, Author, Actress

Posted by Billyjam, January 27, 2014 10:40am | Post a Comment

Dr. Maya Angelou at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song " – Maya Angelou

In salute of African American living legends, this tribute to Maya Angelou is the first in a series for the 2014 Amoeblog Black History Month. Maya Angelou, who will turn 86 on April 4th, was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928. She would go on to live a trailblazing life in which her accolades would include being an activist, author, actress, screenwriter, educator, dancer, singer, poet, and San Francisco cable car operator. In the 1940's during World War II Angelou moved to the city by the bay (she would return to San Francisco a decade later) after winning a scholarship to study dance and acting at the California Labor School. During that time she briefly held a job as a SF cable car operator. Even at that she was a pioneer in her field by being the very first black female cable car conductor. And that would be only one of numerous "firsts" for Angelou during her influential life.

Angelou's 1969 coming-of-age memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which her friend James Baldwin was instrumental in getting published, made literary history for being the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. It also broke records by later enjoying a two-year run on The New York Times' paperback nonfiction best-seller list. Angelou was also the first African-American woman to have her screenplay produced when, in 1972, the film screenplay for the film Georgia, Georgia was adapted from her book.

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January 26, 2014: The Broken Circle Breakdown

Posted by phil blankenship, January 26, 2014 05:49pm | Post a Comment

Linda McCartney's Somewhat Obscure Psychedelic Alien Invasion Hallucination

Posted by Kells, January 25, 2014 06:22pm | Post a Comment

In 1978 Linda McCartney, then a member of husband Paul's Wings, teamed up with British animator and director Ian Emes (known for his work with Pink Floyd) to create the hauntingly hypnotic cartoon short The Oriental Nightfish (so named after the Linda-penned composition it accompanies). The song features Linda's lead vocals as well as her electric piano and moog synth stylings with Wings filling in the gaps, providing a little extra sonic lift.


Trippy as all hell, in the best way, Ian Emes revealed to the Birmingham Post in 2010 just how this totally far out project achieved full realization:
I got pissed off whisky and put the music on as loud as it would go, and lay on my back in the living room and let it wash over me. The whisky did indeed help, and I came up with this weird idea where alien forces enter this building where someone who looks like Linda McCartney plays a Gothic Expressionistic Wurlitzer. This blonde female is penetrated, got naked and inhabited by the alien force, then she's replicated, before becoming a comet that explodes. The film was a bit weird and scary and a little bit sexual. Yet it was later put on Paul McCartney's Rupert The Bear video for children. The kids who watched it years ago are now in their 20s, and they've set up an internet site called The Oriental Nightfish Haunted My Childhood. I guess it freaked them out and opened their imagination.

Though the aforementioned site seems doomed to internet obscurity (if it even exists), the track "The Oriental Nightfish" is available on the studio/compilation album Wide Prairie released in 1998 following Linda McCartney's death earlier that year. The video for "The Oriental Nightfish" was made available on the VHS release of Rupert and the Frog Song -- a 1984 animated film based on the comic strip character Rupert Bear, written and produced by Paul McCartney -- a questionable placement given the not-so-vague sexual content of this short. There are some "import" vinyl collections out there that feature the song, one such release being the aptly titled Oriental Nightfish.

<---  That cover, though.


Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 01.24.14: Amoeba Hollywood, Evidence & The Alchemist, NAMM, The Doppelgangaz, Invisibl Skratch Piklz +

Posted by Billyjam, January 24, 2014 08:30pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music Hollywood Top Five Week End Jan 24 2014

 1) Childish Gambino Because the Internet (Glassnote)

2) Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla 7 Days of Funk (Stones Throw)

Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope)

4) Dom Kennedy Get Home Safely (The Other Peoples Money Co.)

5) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)

Album of the week: The Step Brothers Lord Steppington (Rhymesayers Entertainment) 

Go Hands On with Lord Steppington

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Weekly Roundup: Crystal Antlers, OFF!, Dum Dum Girls, Wax Children

Posted by Billy Gil, January 24, 2014 09:19am | Post a Comment

Crystal Antlers – “We All Gotta Die” (Scientist remix)

Dub legend Scientist has tripped-out the song “We All Gotta Die,” taken from Crystal Antlers’ latest release, the melodically ripping Nothing is Real (available on CD or LP). Hear them play songs from that release at Amoeba Hollywood next Thursday, Jan. 30, at 6 p.m.


OFF! – “Void You Out”

Hardcore superground OFF! (including members of Circle Jerks, Burning Brides, Redd Kross and Rocket From the Crypt) have unveiled the first song from their upcoming Wasted Years album, due April 8 on Vice. “Void You Out” has all the qualities we’ve come to expect and appreciate from OFF!—serrated, hooky riffs, shouted vocals and a less-than-two-minute running time.

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Noise Pop 2014: 2/25 - 3/2

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 23, 2014 05:47pm | Post a Comment

Now in its 22nd year, the Noise Pop Music Festival is San Francisco’s favorite indie music, arts, and film festival.

This year, the festival certainly earns that title by welcoming a crazy good line-up with Dr. Dog, Real Estate, Mark Kozelek, Bob Mould, Lord Huron, Throwing Muses, No Age, and so many more! The shows happen all over town and kicks off on Tuesday, February 25th.

Check out the full schedule of events HERE, where you can get individual tickets, General Festival Badges, or even Super Fan Badges!

Enter to win a pair of badges at before 2/17!

noise pop san francisco

New Vinyl/CD Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 1/23/14 - Moodymann, Anthony Parasole, Francis Harris and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, January 23, 2014 01:12am | Post a Comment

Moodymann - 2xLP



Moodymann 2xLP


It's Moody week at Amoeba Dance. Suffice to say, the legend has delivered. Moodymann is a sprawling, psychic journey through KDJ's Detroit State of Mind with the protagonist revealing more about his setting and personality than ever. Like good writing, the length of Moody's tracks (or sentences) fluctuate wildly. The constant sing-speak narrative from KDJ and divergence of styles and tempos makes the record feel like a trip down the dial of a liminal. radio But yeah, the songs. Moody gets an assist from Andrés on future classic Lyk U Used 2, a track that has Kenny ably playing a  slightly woozy frontman over upbeat modern soul. The radio effect is amplified by likely and unlikely samples. Jeremy Greenspan appears first on Have You Ever Been Lonely. Elsewhere, Lana Del Rey and Carl Craig's epic remix of Delia and Gavin are used to bear out the album's distinct, schizoid voice. Moody's serpentine 2011 hit Freeki MF acts as a recurring riddim before appearing in unadulterated form. KDJ's female counterparts match his idiosyncracies (Watching U) and he even dabbles in Dennis Coffey-informed guitar psychedelia on Sloppy Cosmic. The album, as a whole, is a lovesick ode to an unfairly maligned city, seen through the dark glasses of experience.

Buy Moodymann 2xLP


Francis Harris - You Can Always Leave

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Amoeba Presents The Belle Brigade at The Echo in February

Posted by Billy Gil, January 22, 2014 05:29pm | Post a Comment

Folksy duo The Belle Brigade are taking over The Echo’s Tuesday night residency in February, playing free shows every Tuesday night in the month.

The duo, composed of siblings Barbara and Ethan Gruska, released their self-titled debut in 2011 to rapturous acclaim, drawing comparisons to Fleetwood Mac and Simon & Garfunkel. LA Times’s Randall Roberts said the album had “a dozen California pop gems,” while Newsday critic Glenn Gamboa said they had a “doe-eyed innocence … that makes their sun-kissed ’70s SoCal sound even more appealing.” The band’s second album, Just Because, is due March 25 on ATO. You can preorder the CD or LP from Amoeba now.

The band plays Feb. 4 with A House for Lions and Night Cruise; Feb. 11 with Fell Runner, Juliette Commagere and Syd Arthur; Feb. 18 with Alex Lilly and Clara-Nova; and Feb. 25 with Harriet and WATERS. (Click on each date to RSVP to the shows.) Each show is free and starts at 8:30 p.m.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With John Wiese

Posted by Amoebite, January 22, 2014 02:37pm | Post a Comment

John Wiese is a prolific experimental electronic-noise composer. He has released over 100 7-inches on various international labels including his own imprint, Helicopter. John Wiese is known all over the world for his work in LHD and Sissy Spacek, including collaborations with Sunn O))), Wolf Eyes, Evan Parker, No Age and C.Spencer Yeh just to name a few. 

John Wiese recently visited Amoeba Hollywood to pick up some super interesting music and share it with our What's In My Bag? crew. He first grabs the trippy experimental/dubby Persuasive Barrier LP by Three Legged Race. Wiese then finds a copy of a book he hadn't heard of before, Erewhon Calling: Experimental Sound In New Zealand. It's nice to know he discovered this book at Amoeba! He also supports his long time buddies in No Age by picking up their latest album, An Object. Watch the full episode below and check out the awesome 7" art piece he digs up!

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Vivian Girls Officially Break Up; Slowdive Getting Back Together?

Posted by Billy Gil, January 22, 2014 11:14am | Post a Comment

One of our favorite modern bands, Vivian Girls, are officially breaking up. They'll play two last shows, one of them here in L.A. at Highland Park's new Church on York venue, on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. You can get tickets here. Or if you're in New York, you can see them at Death by Audio March 1; tickets for that show are here. Both shows are all-ages.

I made this Vivian Girls Family Tree a while back to note the myriad other projects that spring from the band. As far as the members of the band go, Cassie Ramone will continue with The Babies, along with Woods' Kevin Morby; Katy Goodman will have a new La Sera album out later this year; and Ali Koehler continues with her new band, Upset. You can read interviews I've done with Goodman and Upset.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #64: The Photo Issue

Posted by Billyjam, January 22, 2014 10:44am | Post a Comment

Above is a recent shot (one of many) that I shot of lower Manhattan from Jersey City. It is just one of a series of photos included in this week's New York State of Mind Amoeblog - call it the "photo issue" with one video. That music video, scroll down to very end to see/hear, is a brand new New York City hip-hop video for the artist Lucky Tatt’s song “Celebrate.” I include it because it is good and that it  that brings back some of that old school NYC flavor hip-hop and even features two NYC hip-hop legends: M.O.P. and DJ Premier appear in track produced by Fizzy Womack. On the topic of hip-hop in NYC two popular rap artists are in town this week: Nipsy Hustle plays the Highline Ballroom on Jan 24 (Friday), and Waka Flocka Flame plays BB King's on 42nd Street on Monday Jan 27th.

The photos below are a hodge podge of pics I snapped over past month or two downtown and uptown Manhattan, and some over in Queens - some during the snow (which is hitting NYC hard this week) and some before the snow arrived in this crazy weather we are experiencing across the US - that includes drought in California. For more details on the actual photos and their respective locations just scroll the mouse icon over them and some text will pop up.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Rose Hill

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 21, 2014 06:11pm | Post a Comment

Back in 2012 I had an opportunity to house-and-pet-sit for friends in El Sereno. Pulled along by the homeowners' dog, Dooley, I explored much of that neighborhood – the easternmost in the city – on a series of long, daily strolls. In the fall of 2013 I returned once more to the Eastside and again we resumed our explorations, only this time we branched out, exploring the communities of Arroyo View Estates, East Los Angeles, City Terrace, Garvanza, Happy Valley, Highland Park, Hillside Village, Lincoln Heights, Monterey Hills, University Hills, and on one drizzly, late autumn morning, Rose Hill.


Rose Hill should not to be confused with Rose Hills – a small community in the Puente Hills north of Whittier. Rose Hill (almost always singular although occasionally and confoundingly plural) is in Los Angeles's Eastside and is bordered by Lincoln Heights to the southwest, Happy Valley to the west, El Sereno to the east, and Montecito Heights and Monterey Hills to the north. An obscure neighborhood, Rose Hill is often lumped in with Montecito Heights, less often with El Sereno, and still-less-often with Lincoln Heights. It is occasionally (but absolutely incorrectly) referred to as being in East Los Angeles -- an unincorporated area that is not synonymous with the Eastside (which refers to the Los Angeles neighborhoods east of the Los Angeles River).

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Rose Hill

Rose Hill is a mostly residential neighborhood with Hungtington Drive serving as its high street since its development as a streetcar suburb over 100 years ago. Rose Hill may surprise visitors unfamiliar with the city services-neglected Eastside with just how rural and undeveloped so much of it is. The often trash-strewn hillsides are traversed with crumbling or simply dirt (or mud after an overnight rain) roads and modest homes routinely guarded by insanely aggressive dogs. That being said, there are also attractive, well-kept homes, interesting buildings, friendly residents, murals, and thanks to a largely-ignored history, a sense that there's much to discover throughout the community.



The Rose Hill community is nestled in the low, rolling hills at the northwest end of the Repetto Hills, which stretch from the vicinity of the San Rafael Hills, Elysian Hills, and Arroyo Seco to the Whittier Narrows and San Gabriel River at the other end and in doing so delineate the San Gabriel Valley. The cluster of hills in Monterey Park on one end and the Monterey Hills neighborhood on the other. The earliest known human inhabitants of the area were likely the ancestors to today's Chumash people. They lived in the area at least 13,000 years ago.

Some 10,000 years later, a Shoshonean language-speaking people arrived from the Sonoran Desert to the east and eventually became the Tongva nation. Near the present location of Rose Hill, the Tongva established the village of Otsungna, meaning “Place of roses.” In the other direction was the village of Yaangna, meaning "Place of poison oak."


The Tongva reign ended shortly after Spaniard Gaspar de Portolà's overland expedition passed through the area in 1769, an event which set the stage for the Spanish Conquest and the subjugation of the Native American population. The conquerors first constructed their Mission San Gabriel Arcángel in 1771, in the Whittier Narrows region. To remove it from the threat of flooding, they relocate the mission to its present location in San Gabriel in 1776 – roughly nine kilometers east of what is now Rose Hill.

In 1781, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula was founded eight kilometers to the southwest of Rose Hill's location. The easternmost boundary of the pueblo's historic holdings is formed by Boundary Avenue, which runs straight into Rose Hill Park. To the east were lands that after conquest became controlled by the Mission. Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. The Spanish missions were secularized and the land containing modern day Rose Hill was granted to Juan Ballesteros in 1831. Ballesteros named his acquisition Rancho Rosa Castilla.


The United States conquered Alta California in 1848 but the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo required that pre-existing land grants would be honored. In the case of Rosa Castilla, the grant was rejected and in 1852 the land thus became the property of Basque sheep herders Jean-Baptiste and Catalina Batz. In 1882, after both had died, the Batz's holdings were divided among six of their children.


Detail of a Pacific Electric map of Los Angeles map (1920) 

Although Los Angeles is often inaccurately characterized as having primarily developed around the automobile, it did in fact developed around the train. In 1901 Henry E. Huntington (nephew and heir to Southern Pacific Railroad founder Collis P. Huntington) launched the Pacific Electric Railway, which at its peak became the world's largest network of interurban rail. Beginning in 1920, the red cars of its Sierra Vista Line traveled up Huntington Drive to Sierra Vista Junction, at the edge of what's now El Sereno and Alhambra. The Rose Hill stop was located at the intersection of Huntington and Monterey Road where a local bus then departed north up that street.


Advertisements for Grider & Hamilton's Rose Hill subdivision

The site of the Rose Hill Tract was chosen due to its accessibility to and by public transit. The primary developer responsible for it was Leroy M. Grider. In 1857, Grider had moved to Los Angeles with his family. He began his foray into real estate with the establishment of L. M. Grider & Co. in Downey in 1886. He changed partners and locations over the years, forming Grider & Hamilton in 1902. On 3 October, 1904, Grider & Hamilton put up 132 lots of their streetcar suburb for sale, advertising it as being just twelve minutes to Downtown via Red Car. In Grider's obituary he was described as being the first developer to sell neighborhoods via the “excursion method,” in which saw he transported potential homeowners via streetcar to then-new toonervilles where they would additionally plied with free BBQ. Grider also served on Los Angeles City Council and after retiring from both politics and real estate, opened a pet store called Birdland.


Huntington Drive School -- fka Rose Hill School

Grider & Hamilton's lots sold quickly and the first community school, known as Rose Hill School, opened in 1909. In 1928, some years after Rose Hill was annexed by Los Angeles, it was renamed Huntington Drive School, and later, Huntington Drive Elementary School.


That just-mentioned annexation of the then-young Rose Hill took place on 9 February, 1912, when the Los Angeles expanded northeasterly with its Arroyo Seco Addition. That annexation moved the city's easternmost edge to its present location. A few years later, in 1915, The Bairdstown Addition – which includes the bulk of modern day El Sereno – followed, and proved to be the city's final eastern annexation.


Our Lady of Guadalupe – Rose Hill

The roots of Rose Hill's Our Lady of Guadalupe – Rose Hill church were in the Sacred Heart Parish, which was established in 1921. In 1924 that congregation changed its name to Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission. In 1957 a school, Our Lady of Guadalupe School – Rose Hill, was added to the church.


Rose Hill Pharmacy

Rose Hill Pharmacy used to stand at 4543 Huntington Drive (at the intersection with Monterey Road -- where a self-cleaning restroom labeled "Rose Hills/El Sereno" now stands). On Christmas Eve of 1926, William Edward Hickman and his accomplice Welby L. Hunt attempted a hold-up of the pharmacy that was interrupted by a cop walking in. A shoot-put ensued in which the store proprietor, 24-year-old Clarence Ivy Toms, was shot in the chest and killed. Hickman would go on to commit one of Los Angeles's most well-known and heinous crimes, the kidnapping and murder of young Marion Baker. He was hanged in 1928. I'm not sure when the pharmacy was demolished.


The transformation of Sacred Heart Parish into Our Lady of Guadalupe just a few years later is probably a reflection of an early, significant demographic shift. Beginning in 1910, the Mexican Revolution provided ample reason for many Mexicans to immigrate to Los Angeles. Before Sonoratown transformed into Little Italy, many of Los Angeles's Mexican-Americans lived around Downtown and Boyle Heights. After the advent of the revolution, new barrios were established in places like Belvedere and later other pockets of the Eastside beyond Boyle Heights.

In 1928, the Pacific Electric Railway chose Rose Hill Park as the site of the annual work party for its Mexican-American employees (Anglo workers' party was thrown in Redondo Beach). It's no coincidence that the dates of the Mexican Repatriation correspond almost exactly to those of the Great Depression, which both increased Mexicans' impetus for leaving Mexico and for American hostility towards immigrants. From 1929 until 1939 (not coincidentally when the US entered World War II), around 2 million Mexican-Americans (in many cases US citizens) were forcibly deported to Mexico – thousands from the US. Photos of Rose Hill in the 1940s and '50s suggest that the population was then home to both large percentages of Anglos and Latinos.


Rose Hill Courts

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) formed in 1938 seemingly with the admirable goal of providing safe, affordable housing to Los Angeles's poorest inhabitants. Soon after, in the name of “slum clearance,” several (invariably minority) communities were leveled and replaced with new housing projects. The first such housing project was Ramona Gardens in Boyle Heights. During World War II, more project construction continued with Aliso Village, Estrada Courts, and Pico Gardens (all in Boyle Heights), Avalon Gardens (in Green Meadows), Hacienda Village (in Watts), Pueblo del Rio (in Central-Alameda), Rancho San Pedro (in San Pedro), and Rose Hill Courts, built in Rose Hill in 1942.

Rose Hill Courts landscape

Rose Hill Courts were designed by architects W.F. Ruck and Claud Beelman. The design of the garden apartments also involved the input of landscape architects, in Rose Hill's case, London-born Hammond Sadler. After starting with the Olmsted Brothers, Hammond went on to establish his own firm and in addition to designing the grounds at Rose Hill was responsible for those at Estrada Courts and Wyvernwood in Boyle Heights, and the Jordan Downs renovation in Watts.

A view of Rose Hill Courts from above

After the passage of the 1949 Federal Housing Act, there was a second wave of public housing construction which saw the opening of Mar Vista Gardens in Culver City, Nickerson Gardens in Watts, and San Fernando Gardens in Pacoima. Tiny Rose Hill Courts, built with just 100 units, were planned to be part of a massive expansion into the mostly uninhabited area to the north then known as Monterey Woods, creating 2,100 additional units of affordable housing.  The Rose Hill Courts expansion was scuppered (along with the better-known Elysian Park Heights in Chavez Ravine) when right wing forces successfully convinced those in power that affordable housing (often for war vets) was a "socialistic" attack on the American Way.

Two residences that look to me as if they were at one time stores 

Brick building on Huntington from 1922


After World War II, most of the non-Latino residents of the Eastside began to move elsewhere. Most Jews moved west, most Italians moved east, and most blacks moved south. As with Happy Valley, Rose Hill had acquired a reputation as a Mexican-American barrio.

As early as 1939 there was already a record of a Happy Valley-Rose Hill pachuco gang. A 1941 picture of the so-called slum on Rose Hill's Victorine Street (taken to lend support for slum clearance and the construction of the projects) depicts a well-dressed, smiling, young Latino cradling a child in his arms and bears the caption, “gang leader.”

According to one source, the Rose Hill Boys split into their own club over a high school football rivalry with kids involved in Lincoln Heights' Eastlake Locos. As they battled Anglo servicemen and gangs from El Sereno they evolved into a street gang.


In 1946, the most famous resident of Rose Hill moved to the neighborhood with his family – future author and Black Panther Eldrige Cleaver. Among other subjects, Cleaver often documented his childhood in Rose Hill, which he described in 1978's Soul on Fire as “one of these old, proud Chicano communities, like Mara, Happy Valley, Alpine, and so on” that “boasted one of the fiercest gangs in Los Angeles.” In Target Zero: A Life in Writing, however, Cleaver painted a gentler image of the neighborhood with an untitled poem that includes the lines, “No smog in Rose Hill/ Far from the industrial heart of Los Angeles/ A forgotten hamlet/ A peaceful spot/ site of home.” For those playing at home, the title of this blog entry is taken from that same poem.


Although Eldridge Cleaver wrote of Rose Hill's then-growing black population and their efforts to establish a local church, today black Angelenos make up only about 3% of Rose Hill's neighborhood population. The white Anglo population is only about 8%, the Asian population is roughly 12%, and the Latino population about 77%. Although almost entirely residential although there are a few businesses situated mostly along Hungtington Drive.


El Palenque and the sleeping Mexican

As far as I know there is currently only one restaurant in Rose Hill, El Palenque. Judging by the décor and reviews, it serves Northern Mexican food. If Yelp reviews are anything to go by (and they're usually but not always not), it's pretty decent food at that. A mural on one of it's walls depicts the dated-but-still-popular image of a Mexican peasant improbably enjoying  siesta against a saguaro.

La Milpa by Los Diego's 

The mural on the back of the restaurant is far more unique. Attributed to “Los Diego's," La Milpa is a cosmic-Mesoamerican educational mural that covers the entire wall.

In addition to El Palenque, there's also a market called Fresco Foods Super Mercado that seems to be unrelated to the newer, Fresco Community Market that opened up the street and over the hill in nearby Hermon.


Pretty sad Metro stop at the base of Buffalo Gourd and Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos Hill

Pacific Electric train service to Rose Hill ended in 1951 but the Metro 78/79/378 line serves pretty much the same route. Rose Hill is also served by Metro lines 252 and 256.

Rose Hill proved to be one of the least-easily-walked neighborhoods that I've yet explored – made more difficult by rain that had fallen the night before. Firstly, there are numerous "paper streets" – streets that exist only on maps (both paper and online). Secondly, existing streets are often in extremely poor condition -- in many cases nothing more than dirt roads. Parts of Rose Hill Drive make Bolivia's Camino de las Yungas look positively well-maintained.

A muddy trail that leads to the narrowest gate at the end of a cul-de-sac

Rose Hill Drive -- held together by a soggy carpet patch

There are several public staircases which, since the publication of Charles Flemming's book Secret Stairs, have seemingly catalyzed a real revival in their usage. His book includes a walk, Walk #10, titled “Happy Valley and Montecito Heights” that includes stairs in Rose Hill (and is rated 5 out of 5 in difficulty). The most impressive stairway in Rose Hill is the 223-stair Tourmaline Stairway, which connects Tourmaline Street below to Rose Hill Drive above.

The bottom of Tourmaline Street Stairs 

The top of the Tourmaline Street Stairs

Other stairs are not so great. Dooley and I trudged up a rain-and-mud slickened stairwell that Google Maps showed connecting to a street, but which in fact dead ended behind someone's back yard. Facing no alternative but to return down the slippery steps, I did so as Dooley eagerly pulled downward. After losing my footing I might very well have added my own spilled brains to the garbage-covered hillside were it not for my anorak's hood getting caught on a rusty stair rail. 

Stairway to Heaven (or Hell)


Unfortunately I wasn't able to determine exactly when Rose Hill Park opened although train maps from the 1930s include it. Around the time that the expansion of Rose Hill Courts was shot down, the former Monterey Woods area broke ground as Rose Hill Regional Park.

Rose Hill Regional Park was renamed Ernest E. Debs Regional Park (described by various sources as Los Angeles's second or third largest park although it's certainly smaller than Griffith Park, Elysian Park, and O'Melveny Park). Today it seems to be more often associated with Montecito Heights than Rose Hill. Nonetheless it blends almost seemlessly into Rose Hill Park and is easily accessed from the neighborhood.

Rose Hill graffiti on a tree? A trail in Debs Park

Native American Terraced Garden

The Native American Terraced Garden
, in fact, is more easily accessed from Rose Hill than any other neighborhood. It's located just east of Rose Hill Court. 

Rose Hill Recreation Center

Rose Hill is also home to Rose Hill Recreation Center. I'm not sure when it was constructed or the park on which its built opened. Anyone?


My research was unable to locate any filmmakers or actors from Rose Hill. I was, however, able to find one filming location at the neighorhood's edge. Soto Street Bridge, constructed for the old rails that formerly traveled up Huntington Drive, is where the 1958 Plymouth Fury known as “Christine” hung out before killing Moochie in the John Carpenter film, Christine (1983).

Rock N Roll (crossed out) and Dooley

I also wasn't able to find any musicians from the neighborhood, although someone on Street Gangs mentioned a local rapper known as 2 Real who apparently has a song “The Outta Towners.” Even though in a square of the sidewalk in front of Rose Hill Rec Center someone wrote “Rock N Roll” and crossed it out – or had it crossed out – there are undoubtedly some rockers in the neighborhood too so please let me know of them in the comment section.


I wasn't able to find any great histories of just Rose Hill. The Los Angeles Public Library has a pretty great collection of historical photos from Rose Hill. To see them, click here. If you know of any other sources, please share them in the comment section.


As always, I welcome corrections, additions, and personal accounts of Rose Hill experiences. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods to be the subject of a future piece, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County communities and neighborhoods, vote here


Follow Eric's Blog and check out more episodes of California Fool's Gold

Album Picks: Warpaint, Mogwai, Damien Jurado, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Pow!, Jeremy Jay

Posted by Billy Gil, January 21, 2014 10:49am | Post a Comment

Warpaint - Warpaint (CD, LP or Download)

Warpaint’s The Fool was a great slow burner of a record, one that grew on you with each successive listen such that it continues to sound great years on. Now, four years later, the ladies of Warpaint return with their long-awaited second record. As is their way, Warpaint unfolds at an unhurried pace, relishing in subtleties with songs whose meanings or melodies you might be able to place right away, but whose impressions lasts much longer than instant gratification-style pop songs. They’re sort of the spiritual successor to the band Slowdive, the shoegaze greats who encountered as much acclaim as derision during their time, due to their milky, washy music, but who have since been ensconced as one of the most beloved bands of the ’90s The effect of Warpaint’s music is similar, washing over you in spurts and leaving streaks. With a band like this, it’s generally tough to name singles or easy entry points, but Warpaint has some moments that stick out, namely “Biggy,” a great, trip hoppy pop song along the lines of Radiohead’s Kid A/Amnesiac period, while “Disco // Very” sees Emily Kokal’s vocals getting distorted and nasty over, yes, a disco beat, recalling some of the disco-rock of the ’00’s, only with a dirtier, dubbier tone. In these songs, Warpaint sees the band stretching their wings a bit, while fans of the first album will find much to love in the album’s dark, atmospheric corners. It’s altogether a fantastic, well-considered second album that proves the rewards of patience.

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My 11 Favorite Films of 2013 (in no particular order): 2. The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

Posted by Charles Reece, January 21, 2014 08:21am | Post a Comment

The Pervert's Guide to Ideology - Sophie Fiennes (director), Slavoj Zizek (writer)

... and speaking of Zizek, here's more of we got in his and Fiennes' previous collaboration, The Pervert's Guide to Cinema. But what could be more entertaining for people who prefer thinking about film (or people) to the object itself than a film about a guy with the same preference? A major feature of criticism is drawing or creating connections between things -- that is, analogical mapping, by which we acquire some insight into the target domain by comparing it to a more familiar source domain. For example, the focused horror at the shark in Jaws shows the way the genocidal grouping of the Jews functioned for the Nazis: all other problems fall aside when there's the immediate danger of Ja(e)ws. My favorite bit from The Pervert's Guide to Ideology is how he reveals the operation of the titular subject itself in the lyrics of "Offcier Krupke" from West Side Story. The gang is perfectly aware of all the liberal social excuses for their delinquency, but continue to act as if determined by impoverished social constraints. Ideology operates as long as we act as if its in control, regardless of our true belief. Relating the song to the explanations given for the recent London riots, he says we are always responsible for how we subjectivize our objective conditions (which is hardly a typical comment heard from leftists). Criticism is just as much an art as what it critiques. It's also just as creative -- often more so in Zizek's case. He's a master cartographer, who's remapped the psychogeography of our pop cultural terrain. 

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Flashback To 1994 SF Concert, A Reminder Of Those We've Lost

Posted by Billyjam, January 21, 2014 08:18am | Post a Comment

The other day I stumbled across the above flyer from now (gasp!) 20 years ago. It was for a rap/hip-hop concert with mostly Oakland/Bay Area acts at the long gone Townsend Club in San Francisco that took place on a Friday night, August 12th, 1994. It was for The Conscious Daughters (TCD), who that year released "We Roll Deep" on Bay Area hip-hopper Paris' label Scarface Records distributed by Priority Records, along with fellow Oakland rap talents Seagram, EA Ski & CMT, and Rally Ral, plus visiting Texas rap star Big Mike of the Geto Boys affiliation (misspelled "Ghetto Boys") on this basic design flyer. Beyond the initial reaction, as a longtime hip-hop fan/follower, to fondly reminisce on a golden time period in Bay Area rap the other thing that jumps out at me from this flyer is the sad realization that we have lost two of the famed Bay Area rap artists on this flyer way too early in their lives: promising East Oakland rapper signed to the Geto Boys' Rap-A-Lot Records label Seagram died at age 26 (he was shot) just as his career was starting to take off, while fierce female emcee Special One who was one half of The Conscious Daughters tragically died a little over two years ago (only in her 40's) as a result of complications associated with blood clots that had reached her lungs. In honor of both of these two fallen East Bay talents below are music videos from each: TCD's "We Roll Deep" and Seagram's Oakland themed 1993 gangsta rap single "The Ville" from the late rapper's album The Dark Roads (inset).

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BARF: Bay Area Record Label Fair! February 15th at Thee Parkside

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 20, 2014 07:52pm | Post a Comment

Ready for some FREE, local, all-ages fun? Come on out to Thee Parkside on February 15th from noon - 5pm for the 1st annual Bay Area Record Label Fair, presented by Professional Fans and Father/Daughter Records! Buy directly from your favorite Bay Area record labels and shops, and rock out to live performances from Cocktails and Dog Party!

If all of this couldn't get sweeter, $5 will enter you into the BARF Raffle, where you'll be eligible to win a bundle of music from participating labels, gift certificates from local record shops, and a ton more swag!

BARF Record Label Fair

Show Recap: Connan Mockasin at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, January 20, 2014 12:02pm | Post a Comment

Kiwi singer-songwriter Connan Mockasin started his Jan. 17 set at Amoeba Hollywood with a set of loose instrumental jams punctuated by strange synth bursts. He cooed along to a smooth space groove before picking things up in an upbeat showcase for Mockasin's gloriously woozy guitar work, which got steadily more frantic until bombing out into a druggy outro.

He played the first part of the five-part "It's Your Body" suite, taken from the excellent Caramel album, which is a sumptuous soul jam apart from its four other, disparate parts. Mockasin paused to speak positively about L.A., saying he had been feeling sick and intimidated by city previously. "You hear all the stories ... and it's not true," Mockasin said of his first visit down. He asked for audience participation to hit the high notes on the next song. That ended up in a weird, warbling audience singalong mid-song.

He next played the Princey "Caramel," which burrows its way into your head via a catchy, repeated synth part. Mockasin sang soulfully, hitting those high notes perfectly and subtly warping his voice to match some of the effects on the record. The band exploded for Caramel standout "I'm the Man, That Will Find You," making great use of curling guitar riffs and its slightly-creepy-when-you-think-about-it titular chorus. The song sounds a bit like a warped 12" played at half-speed of a punk cover of a Motown hit that never existed. So try picturing that!

On their last song, "Why Are You Crying?," the band's female member panted and cried on the mic while the band dug into one of its lushest soul backdrops, and Mockasin sat down to deliver the song's syrupy licks. He finished the set by thanking the audience while speaking with a down-tuning pedal that made him sound like Barry White.

See all of the photos from the show here.

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My 11 Favorite Films of 2013 (in no particular order): 1. The Unknown Known

Posted by Charles Reece, January 20, 2014 07:24am | Post a Comment

The Unknown Known - Errol Morris (director)

The title of Errol Morris' latest comes from the one conjoining of terms our former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield, didn't make in his infamous Heideggerian sounding memo: "There are known knowns, the things we know we know. There are known unknowns, the things we know we don’t know. There are also that third category of unknown unknowns, the things we don’t know we don’t know. And you can only know more about those things by imagining what they might be." If you do a web search on "heidegger, rumsfield, unknown known," it'll bring up -- hardly surprisingly -- essays by Slavoj Zizek, one of which is here. As he suggests, the unknown known is what philosophers investigate, those underlying features of our reality which make our navigation of said reality possible, but aren't so readily apparent while we're moving through our lived world.

I performed that search because The Unknown Known reminded me of what Heidegger called tool-being. Normally, when we're using a hammer, we're not really thinking about the hammer as an object with all it's potential objective qualities, but instead as a function of what it's doing for us -- say, hammering a nail or skull. That's what Heidegger called "ready-to-hand." It's only when the tool breaks and no longer functions in its ready-to-hand capacity that we begin to contemplate it as a "present-at-hand," as an object separated from it's predominant instrumental human use. That's where philosophical reflection comes in, and we begin to understand just how ontologically opaque something as seemingly simple as the hammer is. So much of the object recedes from our grasp when we're merely using it for something. That, in a nutshell, is what Morris is doing with the silver-tongued Rumsfield, who conceals more than he reveals. The man had no need of thinking about his bureaucracy's unknown known until Al Qaeda broke it ... or revealed it be broken. Not being a philosopher, he chose to dismiss 9-11 event as an unknown unknown (contrary to the evidence). That act of repression led to the Iraq War, after which we all had to contemplate the unknown knowns, the present-at-hand, of the Bush administration.

Talent Reigned at Amoebapalooza SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 19, 2014 05:48pm | Post a Comment

The monstrously talented staff of Amoeba San Francisco rocked Brick & Mortar Music Hall on Sunday, January 12th for Amoebapalooza, Amoeba's annual tradition of musical mayhem. Six bands formed by employees played the night away for fellow staff, family, and friends, amazing all with their inventiveness and musical flair. Check out these bands:

Haight Street Shakers

Haight Street Shakers

Boeuf Couture

Boeuf Couture



Cairo Pythian

cairo pythians

Windham Flat

windham flat



January 19, 2014: The Saratov Approach

Posted by phil blankenship, January 19, 2014 05:25pm | Post a Comment

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Events in Oakland

Posted by Billyjam, January 19, 2014 12:24pm | Post a Comment

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day may not be until tomorrow (January 20th), but MLK celebrations and events in the East Bay honoring the civil rights leader begin today with events at both Oakland's Scottish Rite Center and the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) where, as part of the downtown Oakland museum's ongoing HistoryMakers / ScienceMakers Series, there is an exhibit honoring MLK and other black innovators.  Today's program features hands-on science activities and a presentation by physicist Dr. Hattie Carwell. And throughout the rest of the month, OMCA goers can celebrate MLK with family workshops during the popular Friday Nights @ OMCA when kids can make their own matchbox-sized dream world (in keeping with the MLK "dream" theme). Also on exhibit at OMCA are such MLK themed pieces as Ivan Garrik's 1968 offset lithograph "I Have A Dream" pictured above.

Then a little later today in Oakland - within walking distance from the OMCA - is In The Name Of Love, the annual Oakland musical tribute now in its twelfth year.  The talent-packed program begins at 7pm sharp and will feature Martin Luther McCoy, Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, and Oakland Children's Community Choir with Oaktown Jazz Workshops. Admission $23, $25 at the door, $8 for children 12 and under. Tickets.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 01.17.14: E-Lit, Top 5, Childish Gambino Deep Web Tour, DJ Qbert Album Launch, Friscasso feat The Jacka

Posted by Billyjam, January 17, 2014 12:35pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 01:17:14

1) Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla 7 Days of Funk (Stones Throw)

2) Childish Gambino Because the Internet (Glassnote)

E-40's Welcome To The Soil: Block Brochure Vol. 4, Vol. 5, and Vol. 6   (Heavy On The Grind)

4) Sean Price & M-Phazes / Guilty Simpson & Small Professor shared/double lp (Coalmine Records)

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Weekly Roundup: together PANGEA, New Bums, Pyramid Vritra, Allah-Las, Warm Soda, Cass McCombs, Bart Davenport & More

Posted by Billy Gil, January 17, 2014 10:24am | Post a Comment

Whoa too much music released this week. Here we go …


together PANGEA “Badillac”

The new album by L.A. garage greats together PANGEA is called Badillac, which is amazing. And so is the song, a more laid-back song for the band showing off their melodic side. Get excited for Badillac, which is due next week, Jan. 21, on Harvest (they’ll be at The Smell that day, too). Hear it at Soundcloud.






New Bums – “Black Bough”

new bumsBen Chasny is a busy guy, having released scores of music as psych-folk act Six Organs of Admittance, with acid-rockers Comets on Fire and others. Now he’s teamed up with Donovan Quinn of Skygreen Leopards as New Bums. The first taste, “Black Bough,” is a beautiful little ditty with some orchestral brushes and amazing acoustic guitarwork. Voices in a Rented Room is due Feb. 18 on Drag City.

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DJ Qbert at California Academy of Sciences for New 2014 Album Extraterrestria Pre-Release

Posted by Billyjam, January 16, 2014 12:00pm | Post a Comment


For four hours every Thursday evening (6-10pm), San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences throws its NightLife party series where they invite the public into their beautiful headquarters at Golden Gate Park to immerse themselves in "cerebral science." Think: a party where you learn new things. It's usually a lot of fun but this week (tonight) will be hella fun and if you've never gone to the NightLife party, this week is one to hit up since hometown turntablist hero DJ Qbert is performing (along with sets by Dan The Automator and DJ Shortkut) in celebration of his long-overdue follow up to 1998's Wave Twisters, the brand new album Extraterrestria. With this new album (that will be released in two parts - an all skratch version and emcee collaboration version) Qbert hopes to deliver the sound of skratch music in the future, or, as he describes it, "the time capsule response and interstellar transmission to any galactic civilization, alien or far-future human." Hence the choice of location for tonight's party, which is part pre-release celebration and part Kickstarter launch (29 days to go).The album, that will be available in Amoeba upon its release, will feature Kool KeithDel, Mr Lif, Dana Leong, Chad Hugo (The Neptunes  / N*E*R*D), and others.  

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January 15, 2014: Lone Survivor

Posted by phil blankenship, January 15, 2014 10:30pm | Post a Comment

CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music Present Habib Koite

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 15, 2014 07:25pm | Post a Comment

CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music present one of Africa's most popular and habib koiterecognized musicians, Habib Koite, on Saturday, February 1st at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco.

Koite has gained a strong fan base by integrating the rock and folk sounds of the Western world without watering down his cherished Malian roots. Called "Mali's biggest pop star" by Rolling Stone (in an article in which Bonnie Raitt compared Habib to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn), Koite has also received raves from People, Entertainment Weekly, and the New York Times.

Habib Koite was born in 1958 in Thies, a Senegalese town situated on the railway line connecting Dakar to Niger, where his father worked on constructing the tracks. He descends from a line of griots, traditional African troubadours. Koite grew up surrounded by seventeen brothers and sisters, and developed his unique guitar style accompanying his griot mother. He inherited his passion for music from his paternal grandfather, who played the kamele n'goni, a traditional four-stringed instrument associated with hunters from the Wassolou region of Mali.

Koite takes some unique approaches to playing the guitar. He tunes his instrument to the pentatonic scale and plays on open strings as on a kamale n'goni. At other times Koite plays music that sounds closer to the blues or flamenco. His singing style is restrained and intimate with varying cadenced rhythms and melodies. Koite is unique because he brings together different styles, creating a new pan-Malian approach that reflects his open-minded interest in all types of music.

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Downtown Flea Market Goes Weekly, Starting Jan. 26

Posted by Billy Gil, January 15, 2014 06:45pm | Post a Comment

The Downtown Flea Market is back this year, happening weekly starting Jan. 26.

Now taking place every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., it boasts antiques, collectibles, vintage clothing, and crafts and clothes by independent designers. New additions this time around include Latin-Jewish fusion truck El Nosh and burgers 'n' hot dogs truck Son of a Bun.

Amoeba is a proud sponsor of The Downtown Flea Market. Mention Amoeba at the doors and receive $1 off admission!

The market takes place in two parking lots in Downtown Los Angeles, at 3rd St. and S. Spring St. Admission is $3, or $2 online. Kids under 12 get in for free. Pick up tickets at the entrance to the Yellow Lot (246 S. Spring St.), on the east side of Spring at the corner of 3rd.

Parking can be found for $5 in nearby lots. Downtown Flea Market recommends parking in the six-story lot on the east side of Spring, between 2nd and 3rd. Better yet, take the Metro there!

Check out an interview with founder Phillip Dane below.

Connan Mockasin Brings 'Caramel' to Amoeba Hollywood This Friday

Posted by Billy Gil, January 15, 2014 03:50pm | Post a Comment

Connan Mockasin’s Caramel was one of the more intriguing records of 2013. As syrupy and sumptuous as its name would suggest, the native New Zealander’s second album is a trip, yawning awake with spacey love songs, delving into psychedelic soul singles (the irresistible “I’m the Man, Who Will Find You”) and moving into a five-part, mind-bending suite called “It’s Your Body.” Even among underground releases, it’s a strange bird, and an album that stays with you. I sat down with Mockasin to ask about the record as he prepared to play in San Francisco. He’ll be at Amoeba Hollywood this Friday Jan. 17, performing at 6 p.m.


There’s a really interesting quality to the album that the whole thing feels kind of warped and disorienting, but you get used to it as the album goes on. Was that part of the idea, to create a sort of all-encompassing sound world?

Mockasin: I didn’t really think about it too much. I just wanted to make what a record that was called Caramel would sound like. That’s just what I had in my head.

What made you choose the word “caramel” as inspiration?

Mockasin: I don’t know. I just liked the name for a record! I just liked it for a record name and that’s when I started hearing the music after I chose the name for a record.

How does that translate live?

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A Fantastic New Pressing of a Miles Davis Masterstroke

Posted by Rick Frystak, January 15, 2014 01:51pm | Post a Comment

Miles Dewey Davis may have been many things, but he was certainly a forward-thinking artist with an eye out for what was happening at any given time in the musical landscape, and an urge to not repeat himself in his journey toward a newer, “hipper “style, like it or not. Some, myself included, would argue this point vigorously towards various stages of his career output, especially later. This week, the formidable Impex Record company releases one of Miles’ most contemporary and timeless albums of music and cultural relevance: 1965’s “ESP”.  


Miles Davis Quintet


Impex Records IMP 6018

180 gram LP (2014) 


So… Miles Davis in 1965? ‘Trane releases “A Love Supreme”, “Rubber Soul” comes out, Horowitz plays Carnagie Hall, Otis Redding , The Byrds and Bob Dylan release classic, timeless music, and new Miles Davis Quintet members Wayne  Shorter and Herbie Hancock had just presented “Speak No Evil” and “Maiden Voyage” to the universe. Miles' previous band had already left, but he had the next great quintet already assembled, Wayne being the final glorious recruit. "E.S.P." would be their first studio recording together, and what a record it turns out to be, produced by Columbia Records' A&R man Irving Townsend, he of “Kind Of Blue”, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, etc. fame. The cover features a bewildered Miles and an adorable Frances Davis, with Miles sporting quite the flummoxed facial expression. "Man, does she have 'E.S.P.'?" 

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Garvanza

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 15, 2014 12:57pm | Post a Comment

Dooley striking a pose on the sidewalk in front of a Garvanza sign

In the fall of 2012 I had the opportunity to house-sit in El Sereno. During my stint in Los Angeles's easternmost neighborhood, I spent much of that time exploring that neighborhood with a good-natured dog named Dooley. This past fall I again returned to the Eastside to house-sit once again and Dooley and I resumed our epic explorations. This time around we explored more than just El Sereno, extending our rambles into the nearby neighborhoods of Arroyo View Estates, City Terrace, East Los Angeles, Happy Valley, Hermon, Highland Park, Hillside Village, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, Rose Hill, University Hills, and on one warm autumn afternoon, Garvanza.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map pf Garvamza

Garvanza is a small neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles often considered to be part of Highland Park. To its north are Arroyo View Estates and the city of Pasadena, to the northwest is Annadale (even more often considered to be part of Highland Park than Garvanza), to the west and south is Highland Park proper, to the southwest is Mount Angelus (yet another neighborhood almost always considered to be part of Highland Park), and across the Arroyo Seco to the east is the city of South Pasadena. The population is of Garvanza today is roughly 61% Latino, 24% white, 12% Asian, and 2% black.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Northeast Los Angeles (Monterey Hills has been added since)

The original borders of the neighborhood were Crescent to the north Figueroa to the west, Arroyo Glen to the south, and the slope east of Avenue 66 to the east. Soon after its foundation, however, the northern border was moved to Meridian and other tracts, such as Cheviotdale, Eleanore, Garvanza Vista, Lindsay Olive Orchard, Morrison's Floral Glen, Nithsdale, Parkdale, Parkdale Heights, San Rafael Terrace, Singer, Lewis, and The Chites, Myers, and Kulli Tract soon expanded the community's borders.  



The earliest human inhabitants of the area were likely the ancestors of the Chumash people, who lived in the area at least as early as 13,000 years ago. A mere 10,000 years later a band of immigrants arrived from the Sonoran Desert to the east and either displaced or were absorbed into the indigenous population. These people, now usually referred to as the Tongva, established major villages nearby including Hahamongna, Otsungna, and Yangna.


The Tongva's reign ended shortly after Spaniard Gaspar de Portolà's overland expedition passed through the area in 1769, an event which set the stage for the Spanish Conquest. In 1771, the European conquerors constructed the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel -- first in what's now known as Whittier Narrows. In 1776 the mission was moved to its present location in San Gabriel, nine kilometers to the southeast of what's now Garvanza. A few years later, in 1781, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula was founded ten kilometers to the southwest. The land that now is part of Garvanza was part of a huge 36,000 acre territory granted in 1784 to Spanish soldier José María Verdugo, who named the land "Rancho San Rafael." Verdugo died in 1831, ten years after New Spain became part of the new nation of Mexico. After his death, Verdugo's land holdings passed to his son and daughter.


Sheep grazing near Frances Campbell-Johnston's Church of Angels ca. 1889

America conquering Alta California in 1848 didn't end the Verdugo's possession of San Rafael but a rather a defaulted loan did. In 1869, nineteen years after California became one of the United States, a portion of the rancho was purchased at a sheriff's auction by Albert B. Chapman and Andrew Glassell Jr. The two leased the land to sheepherders, whose animals must've grazed the supposedly-once-prevalent chickpeas rumored to have been planted by Verdugo (and from which Garvanza gets its name) out of existence.


Los Angeles and San Gabriel Railroad bridge under construction over the Arroyo Seco (1885)

In 1885, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway arrived in the area via an Arroyo Seco-spanning bridge built for the recently-acquired Los Angeles and San Gabriel Railroad, a move which at once both ended Southern Pacific's monopoly on the area and instigated a rate war which saw ticket prices from Kansas City, Missouri drop to just $1. That, in turn, helped fuel a housing boom and demand for land.

The Garvanza Hotel (1887)

Highland Park was established in 1886. That same year Ralph and Edward Rogers established "The Town of Garvanzo" because why not name your town after a legume with a rumored historical presence? The first home built in Garvanzo (or Garvanza -- early spelling variations seem to have quickly settled on the latter) was Andrew Glassell's, built in 1885 at the corner of Avenue 64 and Roble Street. After the subdivision of the land, a few more followed. The grandest new structure was the Garvanza Villa Hotel -- a grand Victorian lodge designed by Boring and Haas. The short-lived boom went bust in 1888 and residential development in the tiny village ground to a halt -- although Garvanza's handsome two-story schoolhouse was completed in 1889.


Detail of LA Travel and Hotel Bureau's Map of Los Angeles, California Rail Systems (1906)

Highland Park was annexed by Los Angeles in 1895. In 1898, the Garvanza Improvement Association formed to promote the paving of streets and planting of trees in community. Garvanza remained its own municipality until 1899, when it too was annexed. After that, Garvanza was the northeasternmost corner of Northeast Los Angeles until 1912, when the Arroyo Seco Addition added a small buffer to Garvanza's north and east. 

Detail of J.R. Prince's Territory Annexed to Los Angeles, 1781-1916 (source: Big Maps Blog)

In a sense, Garvanza was annexed for a second time in 1922. That year the community joined Annandale, Hermon, Sycamore Grove, and York Valley in joining the Greater Highland Park Association and therein surrendering their individual identities. Their efforts to advance their lot by banding together behind Highland Park came to little against the onslaught of the Great Depression.

View of the Arroyo Seco Park and Channel looking northeast after the construction of the Pasadena Freeway, ca.1941

Not all construction stopped during that era, however, as two major public works were completed in the 1930s. The Arroyo Seco below Devil's Gate Dam (built in 1920 by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District) was paved and channelized, between 1935 and 1940, by Works Progress Administration crews. At the same time, the adjacent Pasadena Freeway (now the Arroyo Seco Parkway) was being constructed and opened in 1940.

After the Depression and World War II ended, many of the original residents of Garvanza and their descendants moved away to newer suburbs -- particularly those in the San Fernando Valley and Orange County. With their departure, the Garvanza name seems to have almost vanished -- although it was kept alive by Garvanza Elementary, Garvanza Foursquare Church, Garvanza Hardware, Garvanza Park as well as by historians, who when writing about the area, sometimes included phrases like "in what was formerly Garvanza." Thanks to the efforts of The Highland Park Heritage Trust, Garvanza was officially recognized as a neighborhood once more by the City of Los Angeles in 1997.



A modern mural at Burbank Middle School

Northeast Los Angeles and the communities along the Arroyo Seco have long been known for their vibrant arts scene, which was in its early years dominated by plein air painters of California Impressionism and members of the California Arts & Crafts Movement. The Garvanza Circle included Carl Oscar Borg, Elmer Wachtel, Fernand Lungren, Granville Redmond, Hanson Puthuff, and Maynard Dixon. In 1906, a group of local artists organized The Painters' Club of Los Angeles. In 1909, that organization was disbanded and its members formed the California Art Club, which remains active today. From 1909 until 1915, Garvanza was home to The Arroyo Guild of Craftsman.

A mural created by several artists and the Hathaway Family Resource Center


A beautiful building standing near the intersection of Avenue 66 and Roble Avenue houses Judson Studios. The building and others associated with the Judson family business have a somewhat complicated history that I will attempt to delineate as clearly as possible. 

Professor Judson's College of Fine Arts building at the USC, ca.1910
In 1895, Mancunian-American painter William Lees Judson was chosen to head USC's art department. In 1901 he became dean of the College of Fine Arts which met in an Islamic-inspired building (pictured above) in Garvanza that unfortunately burned to the ground in 1910. Beginning in 1909, Judson had additionally headed the Arroyo Guild of Fellow Craftsmen, whose nearby guild hall survived the fire unscathed. After the fire until 1920, when USC moved to University Park in South Los Angeles, the building was home to the USC's School of Fine Arts

In 1897, after his father William Lees Judson convinced him to move west from St. Louis, Missouri, William Horace Judson founded The Colonial Glass Company in Downtown Los Angeles. In 1906 the company changed its name to the W.H. Judson Art Glass Company. In 1920, the glass company relocated to Garvanza, where it remains (although the company's name was shortened simply to "Judson Studios" in 1931). In 1969 the building faced possible demolition and saved by being named a Historic-Cultural Landmark (and later listed on the National Register of Historic Places). 


Though small, Garvanza is simply home to too much interesting architecture to mention it all here. The Highland Park-Garvanza Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (the largest in Los Angeles) includes examples of Mission Revival, Shingle, and Tudor Revival homes as well as quite a few Queen Anne and Craftsman structures as well. I will mention just  few of my favorites, then:

The Dr. Williams Residence - The folk Victorian known as the Dr. Williams Residence was apparently built as a "speculation house" in 1886. It's named after the doctor who purchased it in 1936. It was originally owned by a Dr. John Lawrence Smith, one of the founders of the Garvanza Improvement Association. Back in November, Una and I toured the renovated home and it was pretty cool.

The Dr. Franklin S. Whaley Residence - Franklin Whaley was the first physician in Garvanza. His Italianate home was built in 1887. The Dr. Franklin S. Whaley Residence (not pictured) was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 528 in 1991.

The McClure House

The McClure House - The McClure House is, at least from the outside, one of the real gems of Garvanza. Its architect was James H. Bradbeer (of Bradbeer and Ferris). William F. McClure was a civil engineer and director of both a railway and the Garvanza Land Company. The home was completed in 1889.

Pisgah Home (image source: Wikipedia)

The Pisgah Faith Home - The Pisgah Home movement was a faith healing cult led by Finis E. Yoakum in the early 1900s. Yoakum was injured in a buggy accident in 1894 and the following year moved to Los Angeles to recuperate. In 1897 he claimed to have discovered a way to prospect for gold using x-rays and subsequently offered stock in his new mining company. After first speaking in tongues whilst pursuing mining interests in Mexico, Yoakum began referring to his Garvanza home as Yoakum's Sanatorium, where he purported to reform "drunkards and outcasts." In 2000, the Pisgah Home received a preservation grant from the Getty Trust and in 2007 was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Abbey San EncinoClyde Browne was an Ohio-born printer/typographer. Around 1902, Browne and his wife moved to Los Angeles where he began working for the Los Angeles Examiner in 1904.After leaving the paper, he co-founded the printing firm of Browne and Cartwright in 1910. For more than thirty years they  printed USC's The Daily Trojan and The Occidental Weekly

In 1915 Browne began building the Abbey San Encino on his property out of found and scavenged materials. He even built a small-gauge rail to carry stones from the Arroyo Seco. It was mostly completed by 1921 but the family didn't move in until 1926.
Clyde Browne's son, Clyde Jack Browne, continued to work in the newspaper business -- although he developed an interest in jazz and was apparently a talented musician. Browne was stationed in Germany during the 1940s on a job assignment with the Stars and Stripes newspaper and it was there that his wife gave birth to their sons, Jackson and Edward Severin Browne. The two brothers, who grew up to be musicians of note, were raised alongside their sisters, Roberta and Gracie, in Abbey San Encino. The cover of Jackson Browne's second album, For Everyman, is a photo of the courtyard of the Abbey which, on the day of my most recent visit, appears to still be undergoing repairs. 


Ruins of the Tower of Amon Sûl?

Typical Garvanza homes


Church of the Angels (annexed by Pasadena)

As Dooley and I explored tiny Garvanza, we occasionally found that we'd strayed into other neighborhoods. First we crossed into Arroyo View Estates -- a neighborhood of 1960s ranch homes that looks quite unlike Garvanza. Thinking that we were back in Garvanza, I approached the Church of Angels as its bells chimed 3:00. The charming church was built in 1889, when the area was part of Garvanza. However, it was long ago annexed by Pasadena -- as part of the Cheviotdale Heights Annexation of 1923.

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church - Dooley and I found ourselves standing in front of The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church when the bells chimed 3:30. Built in 1922, it's the oldest of the English District's (a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod thing) churches in California.

Hansammul Church 

Hansammul Church - When Dooley and I arrived at Hansammul Church it was 4:00 but no bells chimed. The church was built in 1940.

Garvanza Foursquare Church (image source: Floyd B. Bariscale)

Garvanza Foursquare Church - The Garvanza Foursquare Church, also known as "The Lighthouse," was was built in 1908.


Garvanza Park sign

Another view of Garvanza Park

Garvanza Park - The main park in Garvanza is Garvanza Park, a fairly small park that's dominated by a baseball diamond and the old Garvanza Pumping Station and Highland Reservoir, which was designated Los Angeles Historic Cultural Momument #4112 in 1989. In 2007, a skate park opened within the park.

San Pascual Park

San Pascual Park - There's also San Pascual Park. Though located on the west bank of the Arroyo Seco, it's mostly located within South Pasadena. As Dooley and I explored the park, we passed a group of day-drinkers on the Garvanza side of the park and after crossing into South Pasadena, saw a group of people playing baseball. Closer to the Arroyo Seco, along which the park is situated, we encountered a seemingly friendly hermit living in a lean-to.

Highland Park Adult Senior Citizens Center -  There's also the Highland Park Adult Senior Citizens Center, the name of which begs the question -- are there senior citizens who aren't adults? A banner proclaims "seniors welcome" which I assume means that junior citizens are not so all I could do was stare through the fence at the rose garden, a sign reading "Shuffleboard Club," and an auditorium that hosts bingo.


Other than Jackson and Severin Browne, my research didn't turn up any Garvanza-associated musicians. Walking in Los Angeles one is constantly exposed to all sorts of music from Chinese Opera, to Armenian dance musicbanda, trival, and hip-hop. As I walked along I encountered a man sitting on a porch listening to La Ranchera 930 -- Los Angeles's only ranchera station (it's my belief that Los Angeles's AM band is vastly more interesting than the FM band). Other signs of music included a skater in an AC/DC T-shirt and a woman walking a bulldog rocking a Notorious B.I.G. T-shirt depicting the rapper wearing a golden crown. None of these talents are Garvanza natives, though. So as usual, if any readers know of and filmmakers, actors or musicians born in Garvanza, please let me know in the comment section. Same goes for films or television set in and/or filmed in Garvanza.

Update: Daniel J. W!shington (ne Daniel Joseph), Surprise Vacation, Stalefish's Daniel Wong, and Gimme Gimme Records owner Dan Cook are all based in Garvanza although I'm not sure if any, besides apparently Surprise Vacation, are actually from the neighborhood originally. 


A stairway connecting Lantana Drive and Avenue 64

Being as small as it is, Garvanza is easily walkable and bikeable. Walkscore gives the neighborhood a walk score of 75, a bike score of 68, and a transit score of 41. It's served by Metro's 81, 176, and 256 lines as well as LA DOT DASH Highland Park/Eagle Rock line. Exploring the neighborhood I spied some of the old Los Angeles Railway tracks that once brought Yellow Cars and their passengers to and from the area. Although today the Metro Gold Line passes through the neighborhood, its nearest stop is Highland Park Station (located less than a kilometer outside of Garvanza).

Hough Street Stairs in Garvanza

There are also public stairs, which have become popular destinations in and of themselves since the publication of Charles Fleming's book, Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles. I'm not sure if Garvanza is included in the book but there are plenty of public stairs in the vicinity. The Hough Street Stairs were long ago artistically tiled by students from San Pascual Elementary.

A view of the tiles of Hough Street Stairs (and Dooley's hind quarters)

There are also efforts by Caltrans and Metro to extend the 710 freeway north to either the 2 or 134 Freeways. In 1997 a group of activists prevented the 710 from extending beyond its northern terminus at the intersection of Alhambra, El Sereno and University Hills. Two of the options that are being considered would extend the 710 through Garvanza. As I walked around I counted 8 "Stop the 710" banners and none in its favor. 

One of the many Stop the 710 banners


OK Chinese and the Dr. John Lawrence Smith Residence, visible in the background

Early in its history, Gavanza was promoted with (among other methods) all-you-can-eat BBQs. There's still BBQ today -- at Bro's BBQHighland Park Din Din a Go-Go is a rally of food trucks that takes place in the neighborhood. There's also Donut Star, Italiano's Pizza, La Perla Bakery, Mando's Family Restaurant, Martha's Mexican food truck, My Taco, OK Chinese Restaurant, Penny's Burgers, and Super Panda.

There are also a few markets including A's Market, Cali-Mex Family Market, Hi Ho Market, and Uno Produce Market No. 5. There's only one bar that I know of that's located in Garvanza -- Dusty's Sports Bar. There's also one liquor store, York Square Liquors.


For those eager to get involved in Garvanza, there are at least two neighborhood organizations: Highland Park Heritage Trust (established in 1982) and Garvanza Improvement Association (revived in 1985)


For those interested in reading more about Garvanza, a neighborhood newspaper called The Garvanzan debuted in 1887. After it was acquired by the improbably-named Winfield C. Hogaboom in 1888, it was renamed the Garvanza Gazette but ceased publication after just seven months, in February of 1889. 

More modern histories include several books in the Images of America series. They include Charles J. Fisher and the Highland Park Heritage Trust's Garvanza (2010) and Highland Park (2008). Rick Thomas's The Arroyo Seco (2008) also includes some interesting history and photography from Garvanza. 

Back in 2007, LAist undertook a series called The Neighborhood Project, which covered Angeleno HeightsBaldwin Hills, Chinatown, Franklin VillageMiracle Mile, NorthridgeSherman Oaks, Studio City, Watts, and Garvanza. Some of them are quite thorough for blogs -- far more than my own neighborhood pieces which I began at almost the same time. To read Lindsay William-Ross's piece, click here.

There's also a great Facebook page called Historic Garvanza, Rose Hills, & Highland Park in Northeast Los Angeles.

Ye Olde Trash Tree


As always, I welcome corrections, additions, and personal accounts of Garvanza experiences. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods to be the subject of a future piece, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County communities and neighborhoods, vote here


Follow Eric's Blog and check out more episodes of California Fool's Gold

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #63: Beaux Arts, Subway Scratching, Slick Rick The Ruler, Homeboy Sandman, Paul Mooney + more

Posted by Billyjam, January 15, 2014 07:27am | Post a Comment

Above is what was once the beautiful piece of New York City architecture that was Pennsylvania Station (circa 1918) that was considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style. However this stunning building - once one of Manhattan's architectural along with Grand Central Terminal - was tragically demolished in the 1960s to make way for Madison Square Garden's current structure (the actual railway station is still underground). Tragic as this shortsighted move was, the silver lining to this dark cloud was that the absolutely ridiculous decision to destroy this magnificent building led to the landmarking and protecting of other buildings in New York City so that they would not suffer the same fate. Jackie Kennedy Onassis - a longtime advocate for historic preservation of buildings including a part of the White House - was among those outraged by such demolitions and she was instrumental, some years later, in making sure that the same fate did not happen to Grand Central Terminal - also a Beaux-Arts building - which could have been razed too in the 70's had she and others not stepped in to fight for its preservation.

Slick Rick, whose 1988 album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick was recently reissued on vinyl and is available at each Amoeba store, will be headlining at the Brooklyn Bowl on Friday, January 17th. The album whose fans include Nas (he called it the record, that featured tracks such as “'Children's Story," his favorite album of all time) is a true timeless hip-hop classic that, like Nas' Illmatic, earned the elusive five mics score from The Source magazine upon its release. What looked, at the time, like a very bright future for the artist turned out to be anything but.

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With British Singer/Songwriter King Krule

Posted by Amoebite, January 14, 2014 06:41pm | Post a Comment
King Krule

Known to his mum as Archy Marshall, the South East London native is known globally to his fans as the baritone crooner King Krule. What started with humble beginnings beatmaking in his bedroom, alone on a malfunctioning laptop, is now a full-fledged music career at the tender age of 19. And the kid is really good. Pop mega star Beyonce and underground Hip Hop phenom Earl Sweatshirt have both voiced their praises for King Krule. A recent tour stop in Southern California saw back to back sold out dates at The Echo. Despite not having a radio hit, King Krule has already garnered major buzz. 

king KruleAlthough he first cultivated a cult following via free digital downloads, Archy Marshall prefers the hiss and dust of vinyl over the digital format. Most teenagers have little to no knowledge about music pre-MP3 or digital download. Few know what it's like to go digging for vinyl at a local record store, but King Krule is the exception. Raised on Jazz, R&B, Rock and Hip Hop, Archy Marshall has all the makings of an old school musician. His debut album, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, was released on his 19th birthday. 

On a recent trip to Amoeba Hollywood, King Krule hung out with our cameras for another awesome episode of "What's In My Bag?" This is definitely a must-see video, with King Krule showing off a very deep and wide musical palette. Given his selections it is no wonder why his music is winning fans all over the world. He kicks off things with a very cool picture disc of The Damned's Live In Newcastle. A huge fan of soul music, Marshall picks up Donny Hathaway's Extension of A Man and The Singers Unlimited's Just In Time. All of his selections are on wax including Talking Heads' Remain In Light and the Pixies' Doolittle. Kudos to King Krule for keeping the vinyl alive!

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Album Picks: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Cherry Glazerr

Posted by Billy Gil, January 14, 2014 09:40am | Post a Comment

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Give The People What They Want (CD, LP or Download)

Cancer hasn’t gotten Sharon Jones down. The lead singer of the slammin’ Dap-Kings has never sounded livelier or feistier than on Give the People What They Want—she’s still the hardest-working woman in show biz’, a spiritual successor to James Brown and Tina Turner. “Stranger to My Happiness” is a classic Dap-Kings groover along the lines of “Tell Me,” an ecstatic ode to moving on from whatever’s holding you back. Some of the band’s best songs have often focused on forward momentum and feminist sentiment, and that’s reflected in songs like the sassy, Led Zeppelin-esque kiss-off “You’ll Be Lonely.” But there’s almost unbridled optimism here, too, on the touching soul ballad “We Get Along,” an ode to enduring love and contender for the soundtrack to renewing your vows, if ever there was a song for that. “Making Up and Breaking Up” is classic Motown on the nose, and it’s great—you won’t be able to get it out of your head. Give the People What They Want truly lives up to its name. It’s just one jammer after another, and proof that adversity makes us stronger. Come get your copy of the album signed by Sharon Jones at Amoeba Hollywood Wednesday, January 15 at 6 p.m.!

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2014 Oscar Nomination Predictions by Brad & Jackie...

Posted by Brad Schelden, January 13, 2014 04:06pm | Post a Comment

Our favorite time of year is here once again. The Oscar nominations come out on this Thursday January 16th. The Golden Globes ceremony took place on this last Sunday. The Oscars will take place on Sunday March 2nd. So if you have not seen some of the movies we will be listing here you still have some time to see them before the Oscars. I really think that 12 Years A Slave is the best made movie of the year. It is a beautiful film to look at. It might be a difficult movie for some to watch. But I found American Hustle much more difficult to sit through. I am still not fully sure why the Academy loves David O. Russell so much. I will admit that I was worried going in because of how much I disliked Silver Linings Playbook last year. But American Hustle is a much better film, I will admit. I just wanted it to be better than it was. I really think it should be between Nebraska and 12 Years A Slave for the big award this year. I enjoyed watching Gravity, but I just don't think it holds up against the other movies out this year. But you really need to see all these movies to make up your own mind. Her, Gravity, 12 Years A Slave, Nebraska, American Hustle, Dallas Buyers ClubBlue Jasmine are the movies you absolutely must watch if you like movies. And if you want to prepare yourself for the Oscars.

I am not really expecting any big shocks this year in the nominations, but I always hope that there will be. I hope that this year David O. Russell will be left off the Director list like Ben Affleck was last year. Or that a movie like Lone Survivor or The Spectacular Now sneaks into the best picture race. Her was another one of my favorites of the year. I was so happy it won Best Screenplay at the Globes. I think it has a good chance at the Oscar for that category. And I hope it sneaks into the Director and Acting categories.

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Review of Amoebapalooza Berkeley at The Night Light, Oakland - January 12th, 2014

Posted by Billyjam, January 13, 2014 11:57am | Post a Comment

You know how big music festivals like the Warped Tour, Lollapalooza, or Rock The Bells always have different stages presenting different acts for concert goers to choose from? Well last night's Bay Area Amoeba Music annual music festival/staff party event, which takes its name from the aforementioned Lollapalooza, also had two different stages but at two different clubs on both sides of the Bay Bridge presenting Amoebapalooza 2014.

These events, one at Brick & Mortar in San Francisco and the other at The Night Light in Oakland, offered up a richly diverse night of entertainment for both East Bay and West Bay peeps. Since I missed out on the SF event, opting instead to head down to the Jack London Square area Oakland venue for the evening, I will be anxious to read about Amoebapalooza San Francisco 2014 here on the Amoeblog in the coming days. Meantime let me tell you about last night's Night Light East Bay Amoebapalooza: it was Fun with a capital F, and all for no cover at the door. Unlike the SF show it did not offer a non-stop parade of bands but rather a nicely balanced night with just two bands (both high caliber), a DJ (excellent), and a stand-up comedian (really good), complimentary pizza and tasty cupcakes baked by former Amoebite Ryan, plus prizes that nearly everyone in the house was lucky enough to win.

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Psych Folk legend Eiichi Ohtaki dies at 65

Posted by Kells, January 10, 2014 04:01pm | Post a Comment

Japanese singer-songwriter and producer Eiichi Ohtaki passed away at a hospital on Monday, December 30, 2013 after having collapsed at his Tokyo home while eating an apple, a piece which had apparently stuck in his throat causing him to choke. He was 65.
Ohtaki's influential contributions to Japanese pop and folk rock music worldwide could not be more legendary. Born on July 28, 1948, he was perhaps most famous for being the singer/guitarist and founding member of Happy End (pictured left above),  a band he formed with fellow Japanese rock heavy hitters Takashi Matsumoto (Apryl Fool), Shigeru Suzuki and Haruomi Hosono (Apryl Fool/Yellow Magic Orchestra). From 1969 to 1972 the ensemble produced three studio albums that pioneered a highly revered heavy acid folk sound that made them Japan's most beloved and critically acclaimed classic rock bands of all time. More recently the ensemble won notoriety stateside when their song "Kaze wo Atusmete" was featured in the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola's 2003 film Lost In Translation.

Happy End disbanded in 1973, but Ohtaki enjoyed a very successful solo career as a musician, singer-songwriter and record producer working with mid-'70s rockers Sugar Babe as well as prominent artists like Tatsuro Yamashita (pictured below to Ohtaki's left) and Onuki Taeko. His 1981 album A Long Vacation was named "Best Album" of the year at the Japan Record Awards and went on to receive both 20th anniversary and 30th anniversary reissues. [A mildly interesting fun fact:  A Long Vacation was also the first Japanese album to be released on CD.]

Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 01.10.14: E-40, Childish Gambino, Iamsu!, Flavor Flav, Midnite Cru, Jazzy Jeff & Shortkut, Sensational doc +

Posted by Billyjam, January 10, 2014 12:05pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood Hip-Hop Top 5 Week Ending 01:10:14

1) Childish Gambino Because the Internet (Glassnote)

2) Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla 7 Days of Funk (Stones Throw)

Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope)

4) Dom Kennedy Get Home Safely (The Other Peoples Money Co.)

5) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)

Childish Gambino, aka the rap alter ego of actor/comedian Donald Glover, is once again the number one, top selling hip-hop artist at Amoeba Hollywood for the third week in a row. Not bad for a guy who at first was not really considered a serious hip-hop artist but mostly recognized for his acting/writing/stand up comedy careers. But so successful is Glover's Childish Gambino rap career that he made the (what must have been tough) decision to quit the cast of the popular NBC sitcom Community (last night's "Bum Crack Bandit" episode was most entertaining) mid way through its current, recently returned, fifth season so as to be able to focus 100% on his rap career and do shows to support Because the Internet (Glassnote).

Happy 70th Birthday Jimmy Page

Posted by Billyjam, January 9, 2014 01:30pm | Post a Comment

Jimmy Page BBC Interview with Kirsty Lang (2012)

James Patrick Page, the man best known as rock guitar legend and Led Zeppelin main main Jimmy Page, celebrates his 70th birthday today. And for the occasion this Amoeblog celebrates with a live concert clip and two interviews from two eras four decades apart with the man who during a BBC1 television interview in 1957 when the then only 13 year old young Page, who was on as part of a group performing "Mama Don't Want to Skiffle Anymore" and "In Them Ol' Cottonfields Back Home," told the BBC interviewer that when he grew up he wanted not be a full-time musician but "to do biological research" in finding a cure for cancer. That classic early Page clip is included in the most recent (December 2012) BBC TV interview segment with Kirsty Lang. The other (much shorter) interview is with Page along with Led Zeppelin bandmate Robert Plant from a press conference back in New York City in September 1970 during the band's heyday. Meanwhile in the live concert clip, which is of Jimmy playing "Stairway To Heaven" double neck guitar solo, he appears to have been partying a bit before the show but still manages to nail it.

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Weekly Roundup: Damaged Bug, POW!, Yell For Help, Cherry Glazerr

Posted by Billy Gil, January 9, 2014 10:36am | Post a Comment

Damaged Bug – “Eggs at Night”

damaged bug amoebaWelcome back, Weekly Roundup! How I’ve missed you. Did you miss me? I hope you had a great holiday and New Year. I have some sad news, which is that the most rollicking, prolific garage band in SF, Thee Oh Sees, are no more (at least for now), frontman John Dwyer recently announced. The good news is that Dwyer, never one to sit idly for more than a few moments, has a new solo album due under the moniker Damaged Bug. And it doesn’t really sound anything like Thee Oh Sees, but it does sound very good. According to promotional material, Hubba Bubba, due Feb. 25 on Castle Face, was made with “synthesizers, drum machines, and assorted hand-made electronics.” That’s certainly what it sounds like on this first taste, “Eggs at Night.”


POW! – “Hope Dealers”

pow! amoeblogSpeaking of Castle Face, on Jan. 14 they’ll release High Tech Boom by the SF band POW! The spaced out menace of “Hope Dealers,” which hurls forth on nervous post-punk riffs and overflowing sci-fi synths, seems to spoof the bougie, techy side of SF with its retro-futuristic slant. It feels exhilarating to hear some angry youths from up there. Check it out on BrooklynVegan.

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New 12"/LP Releases at Amoeba Hollywood 1/8/14 - Charles Cohen, MGUN, Heatsick and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, January 9, 2014 10:14am | Post a Comment

Charles Cohen - The Middle Distance


Charles Cohen

The Middle Distance LP

Morphine Records

Philly outsider synth veteran Charles Cohen gets a retrospective look thanks to Rabih Beani, who developed a fascination with CC's mostly improvised world after being tipped off by young Philly duo Metasplice . While Cohen's direct influence on bleeding edge music may be diminished due to obscurity (until now), the sounds he coaxes out of his preferred synth, the Buchla Easel, are as texturally adventurous as 2013 releases by Holden and Tim Hecker. The music is immediately rhythmic while eschewing dedicated drum machines. Camera Dance uses melodic triumphalism over a bed of unruly modular percussion, while Sonomama plumbs the depths like a cannon before settling into a Kraftwerk via Gamelan groove.

Buy The Middle Distance LP

MGUN - Some Tracks



Some Tracks 12"

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Red Bull Sound Select Presents Mac Demarco, Puro Instinct and Avid Dancer Jan. 29

Posted by Billy Gil, January 8, 2014 06:25pm | Post a Comment

Red Bull Sound Select will feature Canadian indie-pop star Mac DeMarco, along with art-poppers Puro Instinct and Avid Dancer, hosted by Hands, Jan. 29 at L.A.'s The Echo.

The monthly showcase, which takes place in cities around the world, is curated by local luminaries. This month's show is presented in partnership with IAMSOUND.

The show is $3 with an RSVP here (Facebook doesn't count) and $12 without, at the door. There's no presale. The show is 21+ and doors are at 8 p.m.

Amoeba is curating the next L.A. Sound Select show in February. Check back at the Amoeblog to see details on that event soon!

The showcase aims to present emerging artists to the community in career-launching spots. All proceeds from the night go toward supporting the local artists who open the shows. Past artists in the series have included Diiv, Wavves, Yacht and local favorites like HOTT MT, Wildcat! Wildcat! and Incan Abraham.

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Fly The Good Day Blimp

Posted by Amoebite, January 8, 2014 01:22pm | Post a Comment

Good Day Blimp

A clever crowdfunded project to get the Good Year Blimp to Fly "ICE CUBE'S A PIMP."
You know.... for charity...

Amoeba Hollywood Holds Sidewalk Sale Jan. 18 From Noon to 5 p.m.

Posted by Billy Gil, January 8, 2014 09:48am | Post a Comment

amoeba sidewalk saleAmoeba Hollywood is holding another Sidewalk Sale just outside the store, with lots of DVD and Blu-ray deals this time.

On Jan. 18 from 12 to 5 p.m., bargains will include:

  • DVDs for $3 (or buy three, get one free, excluding DVD box sets)
  • DVD box sets at $7, or two for $10
  • Blu-ray Discs at three for $12
  • Clearance CDs at buy one, get one free
  • 45” grab bags at 10 for $3
  • Deals on classical CDs and LPs

Additionally, look for deals on discounted LPs, cassettes, T-shirts and more!

All sidewalk sales are final. Store credit cannot be used to purchase items from the sidewalk sale. Prices apply to sidewalk sale stock only and this offer is only while supplies last.

Sidewalk sale at Amoeba Hollywood Jan. 18

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #62: Low Temps, High Rents, High Hopes For New Mayor, Weed, WiFi, B-Boys, RnR Hall Of Fame

Posted by Billyjam, January 8, 2014 09:09am | Post a Comment

Greetings from NYC where, like much of the country, it has been bitterly cold lately - with temps dropping a whopping 40 degrees in a 24 hour period earlier this week and with temperatures so low that, not only did they shut down a lot of flights in and out of the three main area airports (JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark), Tuesday's
temperatures broke a 118-year-record when they dropped to 4 degrees - but with the wind factor it felt like minus 15. As someone used to Northern California's much milder and  overall seasonally more balanced weather what is so striking about NY weather is how it can go from this extreme freezing cold weather to the polar opposite of unbearably hot and humid in the summer months. 

Last month's protest outside the main New York Public Library (photo above that I snapped) addressing the subject of library cutbacks in New York City at the expense of condo developments was a recurring theme
at last week's inauguration of New York City's 109th mayor Bill de Blasio - a political leader who has presented himself as a man of the people and has clearly given hope to those poorer, struggling New Yorkers across the five boroughs.  During his inauguration ceremony last Wednesday outside City Hall many de Blasio team members and supporters of the new mayor attacked the surge of luxury condos over the past decade in New York City at the expense of increasingly fewer affordable housing complexes - all under the watch of outgoing mayor Bloomberg. Expect this to be a recurring topic during the year ahead.

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring University Hills

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 7, 2014 10:26pm | Post a Comment

In the fall of 2012 I had a stint house-sitting in El Sereno and I spent much of that time exploring said neighborhood with a dog named Dooley. This past fall I again returned to the Eastside and Dooley I again resumed our epic walks. This time around we explored Arroyo View Estates, City Terrace, East Los Angeles, El Sereno, Garvanza, Happy Valley, Hermon, Highland Park, Hillside Village, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, Rose Hill, and one warm, sunny morning, University Hills
(University Hills is home to Los Angeles's longest public stairway -- the 234 step "Heidleman Stairway").

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of University Hills

University Hills is a small neighborhood in Los Angeles's Eastside. University Hills is, like Hillside Village, often (perhaps even usually) considered to be a district of the greater El Sereno neighborhood by some and a separate entity by others. To its west is Hillside Village, to its south are East Los Angeles and City Terrace, to the southeast is Monterey Park, and to the east is Alhambra


The earliest known inhabitants of the area that's now University Hills arrived there some 13,000 years ago. About 10,000 years later the ancestors of the Tongva arrived from the Sonoran Desert, ultimately establishing the village of Otsungna, meaning "The Place of Roses," near the banks of a stream later named Arroyo Rosa de Castilla.

The Tongva's reign ended shortly after Spaniard Gaspar de Portolà's overland expedition passed through the area in 1769, an event which set the stage for Spanish conquest. In 1771, the conquerors constructed Mission San Gabriel Arcángel -- first in Whittier Narrows. In 1776 the mission was moved to its present location in San Gabriel, seven kilometers to the northeast of what's now University Hills. A few years later, in 1781, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles was founded eight kilometers to the west.

The area that now comprises University Hills was located in lands owned and controlled by the mission until Mexico gained independence in 1821 and the missions' holdings were later subsequently secularized. In 1831, the land containing what's now University Hills was granted to Juan Ballesteros by Governor Manuel Victoria. Ballesteros named his ranch “Rancho Rosa de Castilla.” Mexico's rule would prove even shorter than Spain's and ended in 1848 when California was conquered by the US. In 1850, California entered the union and Los Angeles incorporated as a city.

In 1850 the rancho was acquired by Anacleto Lestrade. In 1852, the title passed to a Basque couple, Jean-Baptiste Batz and his wife, Catalina Hegui. The family patriarch passed away in 1859 but it wasn't until 1876 that Catalina acquired the title to the land and purchased surrounding areas. After her death in 1882, the land was inherited by six of the eight Batz children. Their adobe, built in 1776 and gradually expanded upon over the years, was destroyed by a fire in 1908.


Freight rail along Valley Boulevard

The northwestern border of the University Hills is generally formed by a Union Pacific freight train line, acquired from Southern Pacific in 1996. Southern Pacific was the first transcontinental railway to reach Los Angeles, back in 1876. I don't believe (but I'm not sure) that this section of the rail was part of the original route connecting the city to San Francisco (since it seems to be heading in the wrong direction) although I believe that I read somewhere that it was installed no later than the 1880s. Back then the train also carried passengers to Los Angeles and in 1885, when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad broke their rival's monopoly, a rate war saw trips from Kansas City, Missouri temporarily drop to just $1 per passenger.

By 1888, the San Gabriel Rapid Transit Railroad passed through the area, linking Monrovia with Los Angeles. The local stop was listed simply as "Batz." Portions of the railway were incorporated into the Pacific Electric Railway, which traveled along the route of the modern Metrolink line to San Bernardino. The train carried passengers from 1914 until 1941 and ceased to run freight in 1950. The tracks continued to be used by Southern Pacific and Amtrak until 1990, when the line was sold to LACTC (the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission), which established Metrolink in 1992. Cal State LA Station opened in 1994.


By 1906 or so, a small part of the area that's now University Hills was subdivided as Grider & Hamilton's Floral Park, who promoted their tract in the Los Angeles Herald with an ad that read, “Acres and Half-acres. Whole acres for the price of town lots just beyond beautiful Eastlake park. Close In. Wait for it. It will pay you to do so.” Grider was Leroy M. Grider, a real estate developer who'd moved to Los Angeles in 1857 and started his first company, L. M. Grider & Co., in 1886.

Grider was described by some as being the first developer to sell neighborhood's via the “excursion method,” which saw him ferry potential homeowners via streetcar to then-new "toonervilles" where they would additionally be plied with free BBQ. Grider also served on City Council but after retiring from both politics and real estate, opened a pet store called Birdland.  

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Billy Bragg & Wayne Kramer

Posted by Amoebite, January 7, 2014 04:32pm | Post a Comment

Billy Bragg

In the world of politically charged rock and roll, Billy Bragg and Wayne Kramer are iconic in their own right. The two musician/activists came together in 2009 to form Jail Guitar Doors, a non-profit organization that provides musical instruments and opportunities to help rehabilitate prisoners. Their name comes from a 1977 song by The Clash called "Jail Guitar Doors," which detailed the imprisonment of their hero, the MC5's Wayne Kramer.

Mr. Bragg and Mr. Kramer recently brought their Jail Guitar Doors show to Amoeba Hollywood. For their charity work, the two were presented with a certificate of recognition from the city of Los Angeles. Needless to say, they rocked the house. After their performance, the two sat down with our crew for another episode of What's In My Bag?.

Billy Bragg kicks off his "shit you can't find in England" list with Valerie June's Pushin' Against A Stone and Neko Case's The Worst Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. Kramer picks up some Jazz with Grant Green's Grantstand record and drops a fun fact about Grant's love for the classic B3 organ. The two have some great picks from Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series Vol. 10  to soulstress Merry Clayton's Best Of compilation to Cliff Martinez's Only God Forgives soundtrack. These are two cool guys, who on their own would have entertaining episodes, but we were lucky enough to get them together, making it a must see for any fan. Enjoy! 

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my top 10 films of 2013...

Posted by Brad Schelden, January 7, 2014 03:20pm | Post a Comment

NEBRASKA Alexander Payne

















Her Spike Jonze



12 Years A Slave Steve McQueen



Frances Ha Noah Baumbach



The Wolf Of Wall Street Martin Scorsese



The Spectacular Now James Ponsoldt


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The 10 Best Reunions of the 2000s

Posted by Billy Gil, January 7, 2014 01:44pm | Post a Comment

Since Stephen Malkmus ditched the likely lucrative reunion of his legendary band Pavement to continue on with his Jicks project, which released their great album Wig Out at Jagbags this week, I thought it a good time to look back at the band reunions that have popped up this new millennium. Though these reunions have both delighted and horrified fans, sometimes at the same time, a few have been so solid that it’s like our favorite bands never left us. Now get on it, Cocteau Twins!

1. Dinosaur Jr.

Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis and bassist/Sebadoh frontman Lou Barlow buried the hatchet in the 2000s, formally reuniting with longtime drummer Murph in 2005 to play on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and tour. They subsequently have released three terrific albums. If you were a fan of Dinosaur Jr. but haven’t checked out any of the albums from Dino. Jr. 2.0 (gross), do it now, as they’re as good as anything the band released during its heyday. 2012’s I Bet on Sky featured the kind of more chilled-out (yet still distortion-laden) songwriting you might expect from alt-rock elder statesmen, while 2007’s Beyond felt like lighting a match in a room full of gas, exploding with bottled up riffs and energy. Lou Barlow, whose own Sebadoh reunion also ranks as one of the better ones of the 2000s, makes his first contributions to the songwriting on these albums since 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me, and the band is better for it. Combined with their live shows, which are lessons in ear-splitting noise only bested by the next band on this list, it makes them the best reunited band of the new millennium!

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Album Picks: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Banks, Patrick Cowley

Posted by Billy Gil, January 7, 2014 11:02am | Post a Comment

Stephen Malkmus & The JicksWig Out at Jagbags (CD or LP)

Amid all the reunions of ’90s bands, Pavement’s was an anomaly—no new material, just some shows, a best-of release and then kaput, all within the year 2010. That’s perhaps a good thing, since it gives people a chance to focus on frontman Stephen Malkamus’ work both solo and with the Jicks, which has been largely excellent—and underrated. Wig Out at Jagbags finds Malkamus and co. loose and having fun, but still writing solid songs that stick. After a couple of jammy numbers, the album picks up with the poppy “Lariat,” which funnily seems to call out Malkmus’ own fan base (“we grew up listening to music from the best decade ever!” he sings at the conclusion). Alt-rock revivalism gives way to a piano-led rock ballad on “Houston Hades.” “Rumble at the Rainbo” finds the band poking fun at its own elder status within the underground community—“come and join us in this punk rock tune/come slam dancing with some ancient dudes,” Malkamus sings. The more improvy numbers might lose some people, even if relistening to Pavement finds as much emphasis on exploration as melody, but they always come back with a catchy tune—“Chartjunk” features horns and Malkamus playing a not-jokey guitar solo, and seeming to enjoying every minute of it; “Independence Street” is a Velvets-esque, dry ballad; and “Surreal Teenagers” closes the album on an energetic high. With an album as fun to listen to as Wig Out at Jagbags, we’ll let Malkamus close the book on Pavement and move into a new era.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The National Anthem of Hip-Hop, The Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache"

Posted by Billyjam, January 7, 2014 08:04am | Post a Comment

Sample This! The Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache"

This week's Hip-Hop History Tuesday Amoeblog takes a look at the song that truly qualifies as being "a hip-hop classic." In fact it is more than merely a "classic" but rather the classic when it comes to hip-hop music and culture. This record, which has rightfully been dubbed "the anthem of hip-hop," is the Incredible Bongo Band's well-worn song "Apach." It remains popular to this day, four full decades after Kool Herc first unearthed two copies of the (then mostly overlooked) record to make it a staple of his party rocking crates and a cornerstone of the genre from day one of hip-hop up in the Boogie Down Bronx - August 11th, 1973. Fast forward to today and you will still hear DJs rocking this track, see B-Boys and B-Girls all over the world breaking moves to it, and witness graffiiti artists playing it as they practice their craft. Furthermore, if you listen to any small amount of hip-hop music you hear songs sample elements from "Apache."  The song was prominently used in the Doug Pray DJ documentary movie Scratch in 1999. In 2006 the actual record was reissued, while in 2010 a 7" reissue (with "Bongo Rock" on other side) was released, and more recently (in the past month) the 27-track downloadable set, 40 Years Of The Incredible Bongo Band, was released.

2014 Forecast: Music I'm fantasizing about / looking forward to this year

Posted by Kells, January 6, 2014 07:11pm | Post a Comment
Now that 2013 is over and done with it's time look forward to a new year and new music. Here are some future releases and dream pieces I'm particularly stoked for:

Various Artists - Killed by Deathrock, Vol. 1
(Sacred Bones) 

I. Love. Compilations! Especially when they are lovingly assembled over long periods of time by obsessive crate diggers. This is one such collection, compiled by the Sacred Bones Records founder Caleb Braaten, born of a love for exhuming rare tracks from barely-heard and in some cases "un-Googleable" Post-Punk, Deathrock, and Dark Punk ensembles. Began in 2007, this passionate piece of dedicated Deathrock devotion is finalized and finally seeing the light. Note: the LP is limited to 150 pressed on pink vinyl so, like, be ready to snatch yours up. Out January 21st.

Cibo Matto - Hotel Valentine

It'll be impossible for single party people to suffer a sad and lonely Valentine's Day in 2014 because Cibo Matto's first new album in fifteen years, Hotel Valentine, drops on February 14th! And they're making it an extra sexy release what with the limited first press made on clear/cream vinyl. The album itself is kind of of a concept centered around a of love hotel or something, but the usual zany grooves, random raps, funky breaks, Sci-Fi wasabi, jazzy interludes, island flava and extended dance jams make this album feel like their excellent last album, Stereo Type A, wasn't released as long ago as 1999. I mean, are the 90s back or does the Cibo Matto sound possess an infallible timelessness? Yes, and it's about time. 

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Filmmaker Richard Kelly + Lost Highway at Arclight Hollywood Jan. 9

Posted by Amoebite, January 6, 2014 05:37pm | Post a Comment

Our neighbor at Arclight Cinemas Hollywood is the new home for The Modern School of Film series featuring guests from film (and beyond) discussing their favorite films. The first event is Thursday, January 9, at 7:30pm with filmmaker/writer Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales) hosting a screening of David Lynch's neo-noir masterpiece Lost Highway. After the film, MSF founder Robert Milazzo will talk with Kelley about the movie and its influence.

Reserve tickets for the Richard Kelly + Lost Highway event here. Tickets for Modern School of Film Events are $18 for the general public and ArcLight Members receive $1 off each ticket. 

Lost Highway + Richard Kelley


Upcoming events in the series:

January 31: Kris Kristofferson & The Grapes of Wrath

February 7: Alanis Morissette and Bridesmaids

View full schedule here.

Recap: January Charity Auction to Benefit Five Acres

Posted by Amoebite, January 6, 2014 05:00pm | Post a Comment

Drew Droege at Amoeba HollywoodOur first charity auction of 2014 was a hoot! On Saturday, January 4 we had the sweet and wonderful (and slyly hilarious!) Drew Droege host our monthly charity auction. On the heels of our holiday toy drive which brought in great gifts for the children at 5 Acres, this month we wanted to raise even more funds for this organization by auctioning off an array of items. We had a blast with actor/comedian Drew Droege, who was gracious enough to come back to Amoeba for an encore auctioneering appearance!

Our guest auctioneer, Drew Droege, is an alum of The Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade. He is known on the Internet for his portrayals of Chloe Sevigny, Tanya Roberts, Feathers in "Planet Unicorn," and Professor LaFrange on Starz' new web series Hollywood Acting Studio. He's appeared on numerous television shows including Chozen, Drunk History, Sean Saves The World, Chelsea Lately, NTSF: SD: SUV, Burning Love, Happy Endings, Key And Peele, House Of Lies, New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, and Up All Night

five acresIf you're not familiar with Southern California's Five Acres, they promote safety, well-being and permanency for at-risk children and their families by building on their strengths and empowering them within communities. Five Acres has served vulnerable children and families since 1888 by providing family-centered support services on their campus in Altadena and through outreach programs in homes, at schools and in off-site offices.

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Amoeba's Top 50 Sellers of 2013

Posted by Billy Gil, January 6, 2014 04:20pm | Post a Comment

1. Daft PunkRandom Access Memories

Daft Punk’s return to form was one almost everyone could agree on, led by the indelible single “Get Lucky.”









2. Queens of the Stone AgeLike Clockwork

QOTSA returned with a Queen-inspired prog-rock opus.










3. Atoms for PeaceAmok

The supergroup featuring Radiohead’s Thom Yorke released its debut album in 2013.









4. Vampire WeekendModern Vampires of the City

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Still In Love With You, Phil Lynott

Posted by Kells, January 4, 2014 04:11pm | Post a Comment

Philip Parris Lynott
August 20, 1949 - January 4, 1986

On this day in 1986 the world lost her one and only wild one, Phil Lynott -- a man whose sound and vision are still very much alive in the hearts and minds of countless rockers the world 'round. From his vaguely Middle Earthian folk-rock proclivities that contributed to Thin Lizzy's early incarnations (evident in "lost" recordings like "Mama & Papa") on through to their first three albums, or the "Eric Bell years", to Lizzy's slow build to their mid-seventies hard rockin' heyday (solidifying their ultimate classic rock cult hero status) until the sun went down with Lizzy's last album in 1983, along with two solo efforts and his Grand Slam finale, Phil Lynott's life's work is infinitely sustained by his brilliance as a lyricist, musician, and a no holds barred, unapologetic fighter of a full-time rocker. No doubt raising hell in heaven above, his temporal existence will be forever missed.

I think I'll just fall to pieces 
If I don't find something else to do
The sadness never ceases
I'm still in love with you...


Bye Bye Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers

Posted by Billyjam, January 4, 2014 12:24pm | Post a Comment

The Everly Brothers "Bye Bye Love (Live)" (1957)

Sad news has surfaced that yesterday, January 3rd 2014, singer Phil Everly passed on according to sources at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, CA where he had been hospitalized. Reportedly the 74 year old died from complications attributed to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease triggered by a lifetime habit of heavy cigarette smoking.  Along with brother Don, Phil made up the legendary Everly Brothers singing duo who, with their smooth harmonies and memorable lyrics, ruled the pop charts from the latter fifties into the early sixties with a string of hits including "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Bye Bye Love," "When Will I Be Loved," and "Wake Up Little Susie." 

Inductees of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame the siblings began their musical careers early - first singing with their parents on radio shows and in concerts - before, while still teenagers, relocating to Nashville to become full-time songwriters. Ironically their first hit ("Bye Bye Love") as a recording duo was not a song that they themselves wrote but one written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant that they discovered and decided to record, adding their own touches to it. It became a number two pop chart hit and a number one country charts hit in 1957 and paved the way for the siblings as chart toppers both here in the US and in the UK. Check for both the extensive catalog of the Everly Brothers and Phil Everly's solo output at Amoeba.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Producer Joe Boyd

Posted by Amoebite, January 2, 2014 04:19pm | Post a Comment

Joe Boyd

Joe Boyd is an icon when it comes to music producers. He was at the core of Britain's folk rock boom of the '60s and pioneered the World Music genre in the '80s and '90s. Mr. Boyd has been a part of some Joe Boydiconic moments in music history, including overseeing Bob Dylan's legendary first live electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Boyd also signed and produced a young 20-year-old Nick Drake who subsequently released the classic album, Five Leaves Left. Boyd also holds the distinction of producing Pink Floyd's first single, "Arnold Layne."  From founding his label, Hannibal Records, to working as a film executive for Warner Bros. to releasing his memoir, White Bicycles: Making Music In the 1960s, Joe Boyd has definitely made his mark.  

Amoeba's "What's In My Bag?" crew had the pleasure of hanging out with Mr. Boyd during a recent visit to our San Francisco store. Needless to say, he has very eclectic taste in music. Mr. Boyd kicks off the episode with Dafnis Prieto's About The Monks and says Prieto is the "new genius of the drums." Boyd also digs up a copy of Mongo Santamaria's Our Man In Havana on vinyl. Although he points out he doesn't keep up with current bands too much, he made sure to pick up a copy of Phosphorescent's Here's To Taking It Easy. Mr. Boyd has many cool picks from all regions of the world to check out!

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Hermon

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 2, 2014 02:35pm | Post a Comment

Hermon and the deodars planted by the Arroyo Vista Woman's Club in memorium [sic] of Grace Ebey Reed

In the fall of 2012 I had a stint house-sitting in El SerenoI spent much of my time exploring that neighborhood with a dog named Dooley. This past fall I again returned to the Eastside and Dooley I resumed our epic walks. This time around we explored Arroyo View EstatesCity TerraceEast Los AngelesEl SerenoGarvanzaHappy Valley, Highland ParkHillside VillageLincoln HeightsMontecito HeightsMonterey HillsRose HillUniversity Hills, and on one late afternoon, Hermon.

More signs of Hermon

Hermon is a small neighborhood situated in a small valley between the neighborhood of Highland Park to the north and west, and the city of South Pasadena to the east. To the southeast is the neighborhood of Monterey Hills and to the southwest is the neighborhood of Montecito Heights. When the community of Hermon was just nine years old it was annexed by Los Angeles but more than a century later there are both Hermon residents and visitors who think of it as its own municipality. 

Detail of JR Prince's Territory Annexed to Los Angeles, 1781-1916 (source: Big Maps Blog)

The spirit of autonomy was supported even in the years after the community's absorption into a growing metropolis. A brochure from 1916 described Hermon as occupying “an ideal location, within the City of Los Angeles, but well removed from city vices and allurements.” In 1922 it formally joined Highland Park but its sense of separateness never seems to have vanished entirely. 

Hermon's small size, distance from "city vices and allurements," and independent streak seem to have kept it obscure. In fact, it's best known for being unknown. Take Kim Cooper and Richard Schave's podcast, You Can't Eat the Sunshine, for which the theme-song-singing Ukaladay caterwauls  of a “...long-lost neighborhood of Hermon between South Pas and Highland Park.” An LA Times article by Bob Pool referred to Hermon as “a corner of Los Angeles that time didn't forget but just about everyone else did.” Hermon doesn't even exist on Yelp or LA TimesMapping LA project. AOL doesn't have a Hermon Patch and there's no NextDoor page for it. Still, Hermon isn't exactly a lost civilization and its roughly 3,255 residents are hardly an uncontacted people.

As Dooley and I braved the streets of Hermon, we encountered no hostile natives (unless you count barking dogs). Quite the contrary, in fact -- as Dooley and I walked down Bushnell Way, our first encounter with one of the natives involved a pretty, smiling, Vietnamese woman clothed in the sort of exotic, stripy traditional garb one might get at H&M or Muji. When she said, "hello" (in English) it was with such disarming friendliness that for a split second I thought that she was either somehow expecting us or that we were already acquainted. 

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of Hermon

It actually turned out to be our only interaction with anyone in Hermon and although it hardly felt like we'd entered some fabled land of the lost, the neighborhood does have a discernible air of distinctness. For one there are more pick-up trucks per capita than one finds in most neighborhoods on this side of Angeles Forest -- there were even a couple of monster trucks. Hermon also smells clean and cedar-y... something I associate more with National Forests more than suburban corners of Los Angeles. There are quite a few stately deodars and sycamores and the barriers formed by the Repetto Hills and Arroyo Seco but they alone couldn't account for the sensation that we'd traveled quite a bit further than we actually had. 


The main physical barrier between the rest of Los Angeles and Hermon is the not-usually-very-imposing Arroyo Seco. Spanish for “dry stream,” the Arroyo Seco is a river with headwaters near Mount Wilson in Angeles Forest that passes between Altadena and La Cañada Flintridge before it becomes channelized, below Devil's Gate Dam and near the north end of Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena. After that it continues downward, sheathed in concrete, until it reaches the confluence with the Los Angeles River at the neighborhood confluences of Cypress Park, Elysian Park, Elysian Valley, and Lincoln Heights. A rather short stretch of the river is paralleled by the Arroyo Seco Bike Path, which currently begins in South Pasadena and continues south through Hermon to Debs Park where it ends. Hopefully that will someday be extended to entire the 40 kilometer length of the river (it's currently only about three kilometers long).


The earliest known inhabitants of the area that's now Hermon arrived there some 13,000 years ago. About 10,000 years later the ancestors of the Tongva arrived from the Sonoran Desert, ultimately establishing the villages of Otsungna nearby to the south and Hahamongna to the north. The Tongva reign ended shortly after Spaniard Gaspar de Portolà's overland expedition passed through the area in 1769, setting the stage for Spanish conquest. In 1771, the conquerors constructed Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, at first in Whittier Narrows. In 1776 the mission was moved to its present location in San Gabriel, eight kilometers to the east of what's now Hermon.  A few years later, in 1781, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles was founded the same distance away to the southwest. 

The area that now comprises Hermon was located just beyond the northeast corner of the land designated Los Angeles, in lands belonging to the nearby Mission. Spanish rule ended when Mexico achieved independence in 1821 and the mission holdings were subsequently secularized. Mexico's rule would prove even shorter than Spain's and ended in 1848 when California was conquered by the US. In 1850, California entered the union and Los Angeles incorporated as a city. 

By the turn of the 20th Century, the land that would become Hermon was proving to be a hard sell for its then-owner, Ralph Rogers, who'd successfully overseen developments in Eagle Rock, Garvanza, and Highland Park but was unable to find a buy of the isolated property that became even more isolated when the seasonal Arroyo Seco flooded. 


Photo of the 1913 Arroyo Seco flood (image source: Hermon, Los Angeles)

The floodplain's isolation was something of a selling point to Charles Bond Ebey, who'd moved to Los Angeles from Illinois in 1888 with the hope of improving his wife's health. Ebey was a reverend in the stern Free Methodist sect who sought to found a colony of likeminded folks. Rogers gave Ebey fourteen acres of land to build a seminary and 100 lots to sell to other Free Methodists. The newly established community was named Hermon after Mount Hermon (Senir in the Amorite tongue), the highest peak in what's now Syria.

Hermon in 1904 (image source: Hermon, Los Angeles)

Undated photo (late 1930s?) of Hermon looking south (image source: Hermon, Los Angeles)

Today, streets including Coleman Avenue, Ebey Avenue, Redfield Avenue, and Terrill Avenue still serve as reminders of the community's early leaders (J. Emory Coleman, Ebey, John Wesley Redfield, and Joseph Goodwin Terrill, respectively) who though they undoubtedly preached humility, apparently weren't above being honored through thoroughfares.


Hermon Community Church

The original Hermon Community Church congregation organized in 1903. It wasn't until 1910 that they got around to building their first church. The current Hermon Church building dates back to 1949. 

The original Hermon Church in 1921 (image source: Hermon, Los Angeles)


Los Angeles Free Methodist Seminary in 1920 (image source: Hermon, Los Angeles)

Los Angeles Free Methodist Seminary opened in 1904. In 1911, curriculum was expanded with the addition of junior college courses. In 1934, the school became Los Angeles Pacific College, a four year university. In 1965, the struggling school was absorbed by Azusa Pacific University and the campus was turned over to Pacific Christian High School, which evolved into Pacific Christian on the Hill, which closed in 2004. The campus is now leased to Los Angeles International Charter High School (LAICHS), which may or may not be connected to Bethesda Christian University. Trying to sort it out was taking to long and frankly not that interesting to me but I did notice a sign at the base of a hill that said something about it being the future site of Bethesda. 

Bushnell Way Elementary School

The other school in the neighborhood is Bushnell Way Elementary. It was originally known as The American School and judging from historic photos it apparently was housed in at least two school buildings. An attractive "new" building was constructed in 1935. If I have the story correctly, Rose Bushnell was the school's first principal and folks wanted to name the school after her but there was a rule against naming schools after living people (and Rose Bushnell was a living principal). Instead of waiting for Bushnell to die, they instead named a street after her and then the school after the street. 

Undated picture of kids playing outside the American School (image source: Hermon, Los Angeles)


The Hodel Residence (Tea House not in picture)

Hermon is full of charming homes including some of the modest kit homes that housed the community's first inhabitants. One of the more interesting and least modest houses in Hermon is the Hodel Residence. It was designed by Russian architect Alexander Zelenko in 1921 for two Ukrainian immigrants, banker George Hodel and his wife, Esther Leov. The two were notably also big supporters of the arts and friends with famed Romantic composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The couple's son, George Hill Hodel, Jr., was given the tea house in the back and later went on to be the suspect in several murders and of raping his daughter. In 2003, that Hodel's son, a former LAPD homicide detective published Black Dahlia Avenger; A Genius for Murder, alleging that his father wast the murderer of Elizabeth Short

I think it was around 2006 that I had the opportunity to poke around the whimsical mansion although I can't remember what the exact circumstances were. I seem to remember it needing a bit of love at the time but at some point around the same time it was designated a Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument.


Monterey Trailer Park

Just down the hill from the Hodel Residence is another residential development from the same era that's been designated a Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument -- the Monterey Trailer Park. The word "motel" (a portmanteau of "motor" and "hotel") was coined in 1925. Around 1923, Elmer Drummond (who operated a service station nearby) opened the Monterey Auto Camp in Hermon, a sort of motel precursor made possible as people were just beginning to undertake long road trips. Most if not all of the original ten cabins are gone -- replaced by mobile homes. 


In 1923, the Highland Park Branch of the Security Trust & Savings, Bank of Los Angeles published a short book titled The Five Friendly Valleys: The Story of Greater Highland Park. Hermon, the smallest of the "five friendly valleys," had forsaken its own identity (as had the communities of Annandale, Garvanza, Sycamore Grove, and York Valley) to band together as the Greater Highland Park Association (GHPA), hoping that in doing so the area would gain clout. Although as a result most people came to think of all of those neighborhoods as Highland Park, decades later some would be revived as growing numbers of Angelenos began increasingly rejecting anonymity and embracing history and community. 


Hermon Car Wall

Hermon's third Historic Cultural monument is an interesting piece of folk art, the so-called Hermon Car Wall. Iowa-born Albert Emmanuel Sederquist moved to Los Angeles in 1926, taking up residence in the Cadillac Hotel. He worked for Carmichael Traffic Corporation, the LA Traffic Bureau, and apparently owned six cars. In 1932 he bought a piece of property he called "The Dugout" in Hermon which he used as a campground and to go a little John Muir now and then. With the aid of a nephew, he built a rather tall retaining wall out of car parts, bricks takend from the rubble a schoolhouse felled by the Long Beach Earthquake, and regular old cement. The wall was completed in 1941 and Sederquist died in 1959. In recent years, gravity seems to have gotten the upper hand but it's still an interesting site and not entirely dissimilar to Simon Rodia's much better known Watts Towers -- built during the same period and the only other piece of folk art on the monument list. The address given, the intersection of Pullman and Lodge, is not especially helpful because both are only "paper streets" -- streets that exist only on maps but that no one got around to actually making happen. Therefore, the easiest way to find the wall is to head up what appears to be a shared driveway stretching uphill and southwest from Terrill Avenue.


Avenue 60 Bridge

Hermon may've become part of Highland Park on paper in 1922 but in reality it remained largely isolated (except from South Pasadena) until the Avenue 60 bridge over the Arroyo Seco was constructed in 1926. The so-called Monterey Road Pass (also known as "The Great Wall of Hermon" or "The Cut" to some locals) was cut through the hills to the south in 1930 and is, in my mind, the most scenic way to enter the neighborhood. Hermon Avenue Bridge was constructed in 1939. 

Monterey Road Pass


Around the same time, Hermon resident Claude Watson (a Free Methodist lawyer) ran for office on theClaude Watson Prohibition buttonProhibition ticket. The Prohibition Party (PRO) is the oldest third party in the US and is still trying to make alcohol illegal. In the 2012 presidential election, the PRO presidential candidate even received 519 votes. In 1935, two years after Prohibition's repeal, Watson ran as Vice President in support of D. Leigh Colvin and the two received 37,667 votes. He ran for president on the same party ticket in 1944 and '48, receiving 103,489 votes in the latter, more successful election -- only 24 million fewer votes than Truman. Although deed restrictions that kept the town dry for decades have been lifted for even more, there are still zero bars, nightclubs, taverns, or any other sorts of watering holes in Hermon so in a sense, it's still a dry town (although as far as I known you can buy alcohol at the market and possibly the 76 station).


The old Lyons Gas Station

Lyons Gas Station back in the 1950s (image source: Hermon, Los Angeles)

It's not a recognized Historic Cultural Monument but I happen to be a fan of old service stations. Lyons Gas Station was built in 1953. It's currently home to A F Automotive Service


Monterey Plaza and "Downtown" Hermon

Hermon's business district, or downtown (if you can call it that), is dominated by Monterey Plaza -- a shopping center constructed in the 1960s. Monterey Plaza is dominated by Hermon's only market -- Fresco Community Market -- which like many markets of its size includes a bakery, kitchen and deli in addition to grocery section. The market is also a popular filming location and an ad starring a guy named Josh Duhamel and another with those Smothers Brothers-esque hipsters who hawk car insurance -- as well as a dozen others -- have been shot there.


In 1978, then-concilman Arthur "Art" Snyder renamed Hermon Avenue after his then-three-year-old daughter, Erin-Marisol. The freeway exit sign was changed to reflect the re-designation. Not everyone in Snyder's constituency was apparently happy and Caltrans responded by restoring the name to the traffic sign, although they ignominiously misspelled it "Herman Ave." Their mistake wouldn't be corrected until 2002! Snyder passed away in 2012 and some immediately seized on the opportunity to demand that Via Marisol be re-named Hermon Avenue. I have no problem with that although I'd simply like to point out that Monterey Road was formerly Walnut Hill Road but no one seems to be clamoring for its nomenclatural restoration.

La Due Way -- was this part of an abandoned development project?



According to City Data, the population of Hermon is 61% Latino, 16% Asian-American, 15% white, 5% black, and 1% Native American


Leave your cars at home... or the daycare center

The only public transit serving the neighborhood directly are Metro's 176 and 256 bus lines. Metro's Gold Line light rail train also passes through the community but the nearest stop, Highland Park Station, is less than a kilometer away in Highland Park. Walkscore (one of the few online resources who recognizes Hermon's existence) gives Hermon a walkscore of 50, a transit score of 44, and a bike score of 38 – all relatively low but probably more a reflection of the fact that most “errands” (especially if said “errands” involve, say, going to a bar) require leaving the neighborhood and not that the community isn't easily walkable, bikeable, and close to public transit stops -- because it is. Most of Hermon is pretty flat although some of the residential streets around Santa Fe Hill (originally known as Sugar Loaf Hill) in the north end are slightly hilly. Charles Flemming's book, Secret Stairs, includes a walk through Hermon and Highland Park (Walk #6) which the author rates 2.5 out of 5 on a scale of difficulty. 


Villa Marisol

The tallest structures in Hermon, as near as I can tell, are the hills – which are usually ignored because acknowledging them would challenge the prevailing stereotypes of Los Angeles as a horizontal city. As far as human-made structures are concerned, none seem to rise above maybe six stories (incidentally the same number of stories as the first building to be labeled a skyscraper had), although a couple of complexes reach or approach that height. Those include Monterey Road Apartments, Monterey View Apartments, Villa Marisol, and Luxury Park View Apartments.


There are only a a handful of restaurants in Hermon: Aki Sushi & Roll, Monterey Donuts, Tasty Mama's, and Thai Fantasy Restaurant. Anyone who knows me know that at any hour I'm liable to go for Thai and I'm by no means an authenticity hound -- but when most of a Thai place's glowing reviews rave about orange chicken (a Chinese-American dish), I can't help but get a little warys. 

Monterey Donuts is a highly-rated donut establishment in a city full of donuts but unfortunately, there are far fewer occasions when I would seek out sweets so I passed on it too, despite the rave reviews (none of which mention items you wouldn't expect to find there -- like orange chicken). I didn't pop into Aki Sushi either, but as long as there are more vegetarian options than just tempura, I'm willing. 

Tiny Mama's 

Tasty Mama's is the latest tenant in a building that sees a lot of turnover -- it was recently home to Zosa Cafe, The Pantry, and Cycleway Cafe. The building was constructed in 1915 and has a nice ambiance and I'll try to check it out at another time, provided that it's still there.


Hermon Park

Hermon is home to two parks (three if you count the city-owned median with deodars and the Nouveau font Hermon sign). Hermon Park is a decent-sized, unstaffed, dawn-to-dusk park with grills, a playground, picnic tables, and lit tennis courts.

Nearby is Hermon Dog Park – an off-leash, dawn-to-dusk dog park supported by the Friends of Hermon Dog Park, a group which seems to be the most active organizer of local events and observances in the the neighborhood, such as Howl-oween, in which human participants mark the ancient Celtic harvest festival by dressing their canine companions in strange garb and have a "peanut butter lick-off." The dog park includes two fenced areas: one for big dogs and one for small, disabled, shy, or elderly dogs. It should be pointed out here that Dog Fancy listed the Hermon Dog Park as the 7th best in the USA and it also got high marks from fellow urban explorer, Itty Bitty Gadabout.


In addition to Friends of Hermon Dog Park, there is (or at least was) a Hermon Neighborhood Association, a Hermon Clean Team, the Hermon Local Issues Committee of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council, and a Hermon, Los Angeles Facebook page. There's also a HermonLA website from which I obtained all of this entry's historic photos and is a really great community resource.


Art in the Park

I'm not aware of any musicians or composers born in Hermon. I'm similarly unaware of any live music venues, music festivals, independent music stores. If there are, please let me know in the comments and I'll add them. I did see a pot-smoking teen wearing a Motörhead T-Shirt and I heard an ice cream truck playing"Turkey in the Straw" but that was about as far as my musical experiences in Hermon went.

There is also Art in the Park, home to the Lalo Guerrero School of Music -- a non-profit organization that teaches music lessons to children (8 - 18 years old) in the Northeast Los Angeles area -- presumably including those from Hermon. A plaque outside the building says that it was constructed by the WPA in 1939. Eduardo "Lalo" Guerrero, for those that don't know, was a labor activist and musician and the Father of the Chicano Music

Another view of the Lalo Guerrero School of Music


There've been many television commercials filmed at various locations but I'm not aware of too many films or or television series either set or shot in the neighborhood -- just In Time (2011) and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012), both of which featured the scenic Monterey Road Pass. I'm also not aware of any actors or filmmakers from Hermon nor any independent movie stores, historic theaters, or film festivals in Hermon. Once again, if you are, please let me know in the comments. 


As with much of Los Angeles, at night Hermon seems like a pretty sleepy place. Most of the sanctioned, public amusements are strictly daytime only. If there's even a grain of truth to internet hysteria, Hermon Park seems to attract cholos and homeless after night falls. Anyway, if I'm missing any art festivals, movies in the park, or farmers markets, &c, please let me know.


As always, I welcome corrections, additions, and personal accounts of Hermon experiences. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods to be the subject of a future piece, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County communities and neighborhoods, vote here


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Concert Tickets for Sale at Amoeba Hollywood January 2014

Posted by Amoebite, January 2, 2014 01:04pm | Post a Comment

Concert Tix for sale at AmoebaAmoeba Hollywood regularly sells tickets to local shows, with the added bonus of charging low service fees (if you are into saving money and who isn't really?).

All tickets can be purchased at the registers (while supplies last) for a $2 service fee. We take cash and credit cards for all ticket sales. Store credit and coupons cannot be applied to ticket sales. Limit 4 tickets per person.

Please note that on the day of the show, we will stop selling tickets for that show at 5pm.

If you have a question about whether we've sold out of a specific show, please call the store at 323-245-6400.


Tycho Fonda Theatre

May 8

Smiths Morrissey convention

Smiths/Morrissey Convention
The Avalon
March 30


Here is a full list of tickets we currently have for sale at Amoeba Hollywood:

Show Name Venue Show Date Ticket Price
(fee not included)
Audion Live w/Droog El Rey 02/22/2014 $20.00
Black Lips El Rey 03/21/2014 $22.00
Cibo Matto El Rey 02/24/2014 $25.00
Sharon Corr El Rey 02/26/2014 $37.00
Cultura Profetica El Rey 03/13/2014 $29.50
Cure Convention The Vex Arts 03/01/2014 $16.00
Dale Earnhart Jr. Jr. El Rey 02/28/2014 $20.00
Dark Star Orchestra El Rey 04/05/2014 $30.00
Robert DeLong El Rey 01/31/2014 $17.00
(Show postponed to Feb 7, 2014.
All tix for 11/15 will be honored.)
El Rey 02/07/2014 $20.00
Drive-By-Truckers Fonda Theatre 04/26/2014 $25.00
Galactic El Rey 03/30/2014 $32.00
Gardens & Villa El Rey 03/08/2014 $17.00
G-Eazy Fonda Theatre 02/27/2014 $20.00
Mike Gordon El Rey 03/17/2014 $25.00
Hollywood Ending El Rey 02/20/2014 $17.00
Hopsin El Rey 03/22/2014 $25.00
Jezabels El Rey 03/26/2014 $17.00
John Butler Trio Fonda Theatre 02/21/2014 $35.00
Kaiser Chiefs El Rey 02/25/2014 $30.00
Kodaline El Rey 02/27/2014 $20.00
Lawrence Arms El Rey 02/16/2014 $20.00
London Grammar El Rey 03/25/2014 $22.00
Lord Huron (SOLD OUT) Fonda Theatre 02/28 & 03/01 $22.50
Mad Caddies El Rey 02/04/2014 $17.00
Stephen Malkmus El Rey 03/28/2014 $25.00
Mavericks Fonda Theatre 04/03/2014 $35.00
Gary Numan The Mayan 03/06/2014 $35.00
Real Estate Fonda Theatre 03/11/2014 $25.00
Russian Circles El Rey 03/10/2014 $20.00
Skinny Puppy The Mayan 03/05/2014 $35.00
Slaughterhouse El Rey 04/10/2014 $25.00
Smiths/Morrissey Convention Avalon 03/30/2014 $20.00
St. Lucia El Rey 02/11/2014 $18.50
Step Brothers (Evidence x Alchemist) El Rey 02/05/2014 $20.00
Dave Stewart El Rey 01/30/2014 $25.00
(Show postponed from 12/9 to 3/3.
All tix for 12/9 show will be honored.)
El Rey 03/03/2014 $30.00
Tycho Fonda Theatre 05/08/2014 $20.00
Typhoon El Rey 03/26/2014 $20.00
VNV Nation The Mayan 04/03/2014 $25.00
Washed Out (SOLD OUT) El Rey 01/27/2014 $29.00
We Were Promised Jetpacks El Rey 02/21/2014 $20.00


New York State of Mind Amoeblog #61: New Year and A New Mayor Taking "Dead Aim At The Tale Of Two Cities" + more

Posted by Billyjam, January 1, 2014 01:45pm | Post a Comment

New Years Day 2014, New York City where last night a million patient people packed into the Times Square area - a lot of them out of town visitors getting there hours in advance - to try and get a good standing spot to check out the festivities amid all the usual Times Square giant bright active LED screens towering overhead, check out numerous performers including Miley Cyrus and Deborah Harry, and at the stroke of midnight get to see firsthand the famous ball drop that is mostly seen on TV including a lot of New Yorkers who can't deal with all the crowds and waiting.  At around that same time over in Brooklyn new New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio got sworn into office by the Attorney General of NY Eric Schneiderman in a modest low key ceremony right outside the family's longtime home that they now leave to take up residence in Gracie Mansion. Then early this afternoon here the official ceremony took place downtown at City Hall where Bill de Blasio took the oath of office administered by none other than former President Bill Clinton to become the first Democrat mayor of the city in 20 years and the 109th mayor of New York City.

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New Years Day Bell Ringing Celebration Today At Richmond's Endangered Bridge ArtSpace

Posted by Billyjam, January 1, 2014 09:44am | Post a Comment
If you are in the East Bay this afternoon herald in 2014 at the Bridge ArtSpace where the 4th Annual New Years Day Bell Ringing Celebration, and potluck brunch, and bonfire will be held at the endangered Richmond art space. Beginning at noon with complimentary coffee the new year bell ringing (bells big and small) and bonfire celebrations, followed by poetry and various music performances, begin at 1pm and run through 4pm at the converted storage space complex. To fans of this unique artspace - storage units converted into art studio spaces - today's bell ringing could also symbolize a premature farewell to the Bridge Storage and ArtSpace (aka "Bridge") has been scrambling to catch up with local city ordinances and permits. The City of Richmond’s Planning Department, its Building Department, and Code Enforcement Unit recently sent the Bridge an eviction notice stating that the converted art and music studios are not in full compliance with Richmond Municipal Codes and needs to vacate within the week.  The timing of this bad news is ironic claims Bridge general manager Daryl Henline. "We’ve spent considerable time and money thus far in delivering a Planning submission and developing building plans for the project.  Ironically, on the verge of this activity to bring our facility into compliance, we have been served with a “Notice to Vacate” all occupied units in the facility by January 6, 2014.  This applies to tenants in all arts, music and workspace units at Bridge as well as our gallery," said Henline of the space he manages. Henline admits that under his management that the space - a mix of storage units and converted art spaces with the rented storage spaces' rents covering the costs of the art spaces that are currently occupied by 25 artists and  a variety of musicians in 6 rehearsal rooms - did not go about things in the correct manner. "We should have gone through proper channels, obtaining required approvals and permits before embarking on this new use for our facility," he said adding that the long term goal is to have a total of 40 art studios and 10 music rooms all for low income artists in Richmond.

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