Amoeblog

California Fool's Gold's Guide to Los Angeles's Revival Cinemas

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 22, 2014 10:34am | Post a Comment
 

Hollywood Cinerama, Los Angeles, 2003 (image credit: Hiroshi Sugimoto)

No city on Earth is more closely associated with motion pictures than Los Angeles. 10% of all movie theaters in the entire country are located in California and Los Angeles County is home to over 100 of them. Although most of Los Angeles's theaters, like those throughout the country, showcase only the latest Hollywood product, there are also specialty theaters which show art films, adult films, classic films, experimental films, foreign films, independent films, revival films, &c. I've previously written about Southern California's drive-in theaters (For Ozoners Only) and overlooked commercial foreign language cinemas (Los Angeles's Secret, Foreign Language Movie Theater Scene). This is my guide to the repertory cinemas or revival houses. 

Continue reading...

Taste of the Mideast Side -- at the Los Angeles County Store

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 8, 2014 04:00pm | Post a Comment





If there are regular readers of my column here on the Amoeblog, they've probably seen some of the hand-drawn and hand-painted maps which I include in my series of Southland explorations I call California Fool's Gold. Right now a series of new maps are on display at the Los Angeles County Store in East Hollywood. None, except the Los Feliz map, have been the subject of Eric's Blog entries yet. 

Eric Brightwell Cartography Art Show Los Angeles County Store

The Los Angeles County Store is a great retail shop which features only goods designed and manufactured in Los Angeles County. The opening has already passed but the maps can still be seen in person if you head over there soon -- the show ends on 21 September


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of the Mideast Side (3rd Edition)

I refer to the set of paintings as Taste of the Mideast Side -- a reference to Taste of the Eastside, a four-year-old food event which despite its name never features restaurants from the Eastside unless you clarify that you're talking about the Eastside of Central Los Angeles (aka the original Westside). By the way, there is an older pre-existing event called The Taste of East L.A. which as its name correctly suggests, features restaurants from East Los Angeles -- a neighborhood actually located in the Eastside
Anyway, here are the maps included in the show (which you can vote for me to write about here). 

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Edendale

Edendale was subdivided around 1903. It was the original home of Los Angeles's film studios, before Hollywood. The first studio, Selig Polyscope Company, was demolished and the arrival of the 2 Freeway made the neighborhood decidedly less edenic. The old Mack Sennett Keystone Studio still stands behind a Jack in the Box -- utilized for public storage. Although the name has faded from most memories (a post office branch still bears it) there have been efforts to play up associations with it as with the Edendale restaurant and bar (in the Ivanhoe tract of Silver Lake) and the Mabel Normand Stage in Hollywood, which was recently renamed Mack Sennett Studios).


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Elysian Heights 

Elysian Heights was subdivided around 1890. The northern corner was home to the Semi Tropic Spiritualists, a 19th Century group whose beliefs mixed the progressive and supernatural. The neighborhood later became known colloquially as "Red Hill" for the many anarcho-communists who made it home. Perhaps the most famous resident of Elysian Heights was a gray tabby named Room 8, who reportedly visited Elysian Heights Elementary every school day for many years and became a national celebrity.


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Franklin Hills

Franklin Hills seceded from Los Feliz around 1988. Its most iconic figure is the Shakespeare Bridge, the original which was built in 1926 (although it was rebuilt in 1998 after the Northridge earthquake). Beneath the bridge is the John Lautner-designed Midtown School. It was home to two twin homes owned by Roy and Walt Disney in the 1920s.  To read more about it, click here.


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of the Ivanhoe tract

The Ivanhoe tract was subdivided in 1877, when it was located just north of Los Angeles (the border of which then corresponded to Fountain Avenue). It was developed by Hugo Reid, a Mexican-American born in who claimed that it reminded him of Scotland, where he was born. The Ivanhoe name (a reference to Glaswegian author Sir Walter Scott's 18th Century novel, Ivanhoe) lives on in Ivanhoe Elementary, the Ivanhoe Reservoir, and the Ivanhoe and Scottish related street names like Kenilworth, Locksley, Rowena, Waverly, and others. 


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Pico-Union

Pico-Union began as Pico Heights, which was subdivided in 1887 in what was then Southwest Los Angeles. It was originally an exclusive, white, Protestant neighborhood an was annexed by Los Angeles in 1896. In the 1910s a number of Japanese-Americans moved in and white flight began. Mexicans and Greeks followed and there are still vestiges of the latter population such as the Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox CathedralPapa Cristo's, and the Los Angeles Greek Fest. The neighborhood was renamed Pico-Union in 1970 by the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), who wished to remove any negative associations that Pico Heights was perceived to have acquired. Today it's mostly home to Central Americans, especially Salvadorans


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Solano Canyon

Solano Canyon was -- along with Bishop, La Loma, and Palo Verde -- one of the Mexican colonias of Chavez Ravine. The latter three were demolished and the displaced residents were promised public housing in the planned Elysian Park Heights which was to have been designed by great Modernist architects Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander. Unfortunately for the residents, Elysian Park Heights and all public housing came to a halt when a concerted Right Wing effort tarred such efforts to house the poor and returning war veterans as Communistic. The land was instead given to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who covered it with a massive parking lot and a tiny baseball stadium. 



Pendersleigh & Cartography's map of Victor Heights


Victor Heights has named after water baron Victor Beaudry, who subdivided the neighborhood around 1886. It is home to the Eastside Market Italian Deli, one of the few remnants of Little Italy (and which is named after the Eastside because it began in Lincoln Heights), wandering peafowl, the Teardrop Locos gang, the art deco Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center, Los Angeles Building, and the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Water District, designed by William Pereira. Because of its proximity to Chinatown and large Chinese-American population, many of the street signs are written in English and Chinese. To read more about it, click here.



Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Westlake

Westlake Park was originally the old Westside's counterpart to the Eastside's Eastlake Park. Eastlake was located in what was then called East Los Angeles but was re-named Lincoln Heights in 1917. Westlake Park was renamed MacArthur Park and although many will argue that the Westlake and MacArthur Park neighborhoods are one-in-the-same although in my experience, the name MacArthur Park is primarily applied to the immediate surroundings whereas, depending on whether or not one lives east or west of Alvarado, they're almost more likely to claim Downtown or Koreatown, respectively. It's the second most densely-populated neighborhood in Los Angeles (after Koreatown) and despite it's declined fashionability, there are many attractions to be experienced (some marked in red on my map).



The Artist and critic Alan "The Dingus" Gudguy having his paw treated like a stress ball


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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring The Byzantine-Latino Quarter

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 12, 2013 10:57pm | Post a Comment
WE ARE EACH OF US ANGELS WITH ONE WING 

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of The Byzantine-Latino Quater
Los Angeles's Byzantine-Latino Quarter is neighborhood and commercial corridor that straddles the larger neighborhoods of Harvard Heights and Pico-Union as well as the larger Midtown districts of Wilshire Center to the north and Mid-City to the south. The Quarter is centered along Pico Boulevard between South Hobart Boulevard to the west and South Alvarado Boulevard to the east.



EARLY HISTORY

The westernmost border of Los Angeles, as established by the Spanish in 1781, was along what's now Hoover Boulevard. The land to the west, through the Spanish and subsequent Mexican period were public lands. The land remained a mixture of pastures and farmland for decades after California became part of the US in 1848.


PICO HEIGHTS


Craftsman bungalows


One of the first neighborhoods to develop west of Hoover was the 280 acre Pico Heights Tract. In 1887, at the height of a land boom, the Electric Railway Homestead Association divided the land between Pico and 9th Street, and west of Vermont into 1,210 lots. Most of the lots along Pico were purchased by J.R. Millard and it quickly developed into a fashionable suburb characterized by stately Craftsman homes and a wealthy, white, Protestant population. Many of the new inhabitants were Downtown business owners and the short distance between work and home was a short ride on the newly-established Pico Heights Electric Railway, which also opened in 1887.

The growing community, sometimes referred to as Pico Heights Village with a bit of dreamy embellishment, was annexed by the city of Los Angeles in 1896. Along with Arlington Heights and The University District, it became a Southwest Los Angeles neighborhood (a region that vanished as the city expanded).

As Pico Heights aged, more and more of the wealthy residents moved further west and their void was largely filled by working class whites. By 1919 it was home to about 100 Japanese-American families, who though often wealthier and more educated than their white counterparts, were subject to racist, sometimes violent hostility. The Los Angeles County Anti-Asiatic Society formed the Electric Home Protective Association, a discriminatory group largely comprised of Germans and Austrians (under increased scrutiny and suspicion after World War I) and Catholics who were united by anti-Japanese racism.


VICTORIA THEATER


Victoria Theatre today (2012)


Around 1914, the 700-seat Victoria Theatre opened on Pico Boulevard. At some point around the 1960s it was gutted and converted into a dance hall. The theater appeared in the 1977 Rudy Ray Moore vehicle Petey Wheatstraw. In 1981, punk band Circle One and others played a concert there.


A mixed-use, multiple unit residency built in 1924


The discriminatory second California Alien Land Law passed in 1920, specifically to target ongoing Japanese immigration. Property in Pico Heights nonetheless (or because of anti-Japanese discrimination) continued to decline in monetary values. Eastern Europeans, Mexicans, and Japanese increasingly inhabited newly-constructed multiple family residences.


Bishop Conaty, Our Lady of Loretto High School


In 1922, a Japanese Methodist congregation attempted to build a new church in the area and crashed against white hostility. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Catholic Girls' High School opened in 1923 (later re-named Bishop Conaty, Our Lady of Loretto High School). One of the pleasing ironies is that Los Angeles was sold to WASPs as "The white spot of America" but is now quite possibly the most diverse city in the galaxy. Though I couldn't find statistics just for the B-LQ, the population of Pico-Union was, as of the 2010 census, roughly 85% Latino (mostly Mexican and Salvadoran), 8% Asian (mostly Korean), 3% black, and only 3% white.



Sunnyside Presbyterian Church


The diversity can not only be seen in the storefronts, signage and restaurants but the neighborhood's churches as well. In 1930, a church opened that is now The Sunnyside Presbyterian Church, a Korean-American church (as are Korean Evangelical Nah Sung, Korean Southern Presbyterian, and The Korean Sae Han Presbyterian Church). Another church in the neighborhood caters to Samoans (the Samoan Community Christian Church). Spanish speakers are served by Rios de Agua Via,  Iglesia Pentecostes El Ultimo, and Ministerios de Restauracion.


St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church

The oldest, and one of the prettiest church in the neighborhood is St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, built in 1905, and also known as Iglesia Santo Tomás Apóstol. Most well-known, probably, is Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral


GREEK TOWN

Along with Little Italy and largely Jewish Brooklyn Heights, or Little Mexico (Chavez Ravine); Greek Town is one of the now vanished ethnic enclaves of Los Angeles. In the early 20th century, Los Angeles's Greek population was focused around what's now the Fashion District (in Downtown) and Boyle Heights (in the Eastside). Around the mid-20th century, much of the Greek population was centered around the intersection of Pico and Normandie, an area still home to several Greek institutions.


C & K IMPORTING AND PAPA CRISTO'S




Papa Cristo's


Sam Chrys opened C & K Importing opened in 1948 with the focus on Greek imports. In 1968 (I believe) the business expanded into a restaurant by Sam's son, Cristo, with Papa Cristo's. I still haven't eaten there although I've picked up falafel mix, baklava, and restina from the market. Papa Cristo's Catering & Greek Taverna was established in 1990.


SAINT SOPHIA GREEK ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL


St Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral

The other major remaining vestige of Greek Town is the aforementioned Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The church was built in 1952 by Charles P. Skouras (designed by Kalionzes, Klingerman & Walker), then head of the National Theaters chain. Charles and his brothers, Spyros Skouras and George Skouras were Greek-American Hollywood hopefuls who'd moved to Los Angeles from St. Louis, Missouri. Spyros eventually became president of 20th Century Fox. George became the head of United Artists. Earlier, in 1932, the Skouras brothers jointly took over the management of over 500 Fox-West Coast theaters. Charles repaid God for his intervention by erecting a cathedral to him in Greek Town.


GANGS OF PICO HEIGHTS


Playboys Malos   


 Jesús Malverde (patron saint of drug smugglers)  

     West Side 18th Street Hoover St Locos

Likely the oldest gang in the neighborhood is the Westside Playboy Malos. The gang's roots begin in the 1950s, when Southern Califas Latin Playboys Car Club formed at a home near the intersection of Pico and Fedora. Their tags and tattoos often include representations of the Playboy Magazine logo and they're sometimes referred to as conejos. The other main active gang in the neighborhood is the 18th Street Gang, who were established in Pico Heights around 1965. The local click, Hoover Locos, is one of the oldest.


PILGRIM TOWER


Pilgrim Tower for the Deaf & Elderly

In 1968, the Pilgrim Tower for the Deaf & Elderly opened. I find it worth mentioning because I'm a fan of low-rise architecture and its one of the few buildings in the neighborhood that's more than two stories tall.


PICO-UNION

Pico Heights was seen as having been in a decades-long decline by some and in 1970, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) of the city of Los Angeles decided to give the neighborhood a fresh start by changing its name to "Pico-Union." The Pico-Union Neighborhood Council (PUNC) was formed the same year.


LITTLE CENTRAL AMERICA





In the 1970s, the US-inflamed Central American Crisis made life for tens of millions of Central Americans. As a result, thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, and Salvadorans fled the appalling violence in their homelands and resettled in Pico-Union and nearby Koreatown and Westlake. By 1996, Pico-Union was heavily Salvadoran and the area was often referred to as "Pequeño Centroamérica" or "Nuevo Cuscatlán."


MASSIVE ATTACK'S "UNFINISHED SYMPATHY" VIDEO



In 1991, singer Shara Nelson walked from the intersection of South New Hampshire Avenue and Pico to the intersection of Pico and Dewey Avenue for the filming of Massive Attack's music video for "Unfinished Sympathy." 


BYZANTINE-LATINO QUARTER

Pico-Union was one of the areas hardest hit by 1992 LA Riots outside of South Los Angeles. Increasingly seen as a Central American barrio, in 1995 a coalition of local churches, schools, residents, and merchants from the western portion of the neighborhood met to address their concerns. The product of their efforts was the 1997 creation and designation of the Byzantine-Latino Quarter, a nod to both its Latino majority and Greek period.



Byzantine-Latino Quarter neon sign

The Byzantine-Latino Quarter Business Improvement District installed a large, "Byzantine-Latino Quarter" neon sign atop one of the neighborhood's only other low-rise building (then a public storage facility) in 2001. There are faded banners along Pico and public art advertising its new name. A former Pacific Bell building is now home to Jane B. Eisner Middle School and a Byzantine-Latino Quarter Community Center.


L.A. GREEK FEST


Since 1999, the Byzantine-Latino Quarter has hosted the annual L.A. Greek Fest in September, an event which attracts some 40,000 people.


BLQ EATS AND DRINKS


Dinos' Chicken and Burgers



Guatemalteca Market


There are several places to eat in the Byzantine-Latino Quarter: Acapulco TortilleriaCafe Las MargaritasCanaan Restaurant, El Colmao, Conchitas Restaurant, Dino's Chicken and Burgers, Graciela's, El Grullense Restaurante, Guapo's Market, Guatemalteca MarketHuicho's Bakery, Mateo's Ice Cream & Fruit Bars, El Nuevo Picasso, Pan Victoria, the aforementioned Papa Cristo's, Paqueteria King Express, Pollos El Brasero, Restaurante El Mirador, Las 7 Regiones, Texis Restaurant And Entertainment, and El Valle Oaxaqueno. There are a couple of bars too; Mike's Hideout Bar and Pulgarcito Sports Bar.


Inside Tiendas de Mariposa mini mall


To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods, 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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Follow me at ericbrightwell.com

Digging the scene at "This Ain't a Scene" with a gangsta lean

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 14, 2012 02:08pm | Post a Comment

This past Saturday, I went to the 1650 Gallery in Echo Park to check out the opening of This Ain’t a Scene: The Vibrant Music Community of East LA which was co-presented by Radio Free Silver Lake and compiled by Jackie Lam. Radio Free Silver Lake is a website focused on Indie music in Los Angeles.
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Pendersleigh maps

Note: The “East LA” of the subtitle could be construed as a bit misleading.. East Los (whose vibrant music community produced performers like Black Eyed Peas, Cannibal & the Headhunters, Hope Sandoval, J-vibe, Kid Frost, Lalo Guerrero, Los Lobos, Los IllegalsLouie Perez, Luis Villegas, Quetzal, Suzanna Guzman, Taboo, The Bags, The Blazers, Thee Midniters and Tierra and  supported live venues like Club 469Eastside Nightclub, El Club BaionKennedy Hall, The Lamp Lighter, The M ClubRudy's Past House and Vex) is not represented here. The bands and venues depicted in this show are, if I’m not mistaken, all from Echo Park, P-Town and Silver Lake -- three neighborhoods in the eastern portion of Central LA that belong to a region that no one has named with a widely-accepted term.) Enough quibbling about geography and nomenclature from me… let's start the show.
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The participating photographers include Angela Holtzen, Ben Hoste, Carl Pocket, Gabriela Gonzalez, George Tapia, Jeff Koga, Laurie Scavo, Levent Buyukgural, Michael Gomez Burton, Michele Evans, Miriam Brummel, Olivia Hemaratanatorn, Rollence Patugan, Sterling Andrews, Timothy Norris, and Zoe-Ruth Erwin. Click here for mini bios on Radio Free Silver Lake.


Live acoustic music was provided by Andrew Spitser from Radars to the Sky, Kelli Noftle from Miniature Soap, Rob Danson from Death to Anders, Ryan Fuller of Fort King, and The Smugg Brothers

Of the bands depicted, I only recognized The Warlocks and Dios as acts that I can say I’ve knowingly heard before -- some of the names sounded familiar too. For someone who’s worked at and for record shops for over ten years, my ignorance of indie rock is vast... and judging by the prevalence of beards and plaid shirts in the photos, I’m guessing that’s what kind of music most of the subjects make. (Also, I recognized The Echo and Echoplex, Pehspace, Satellite, Silverlake Lounge and Spaceland).

Kelli Noftle performed Prince's "When You Were Mine"


Some would find my lack of knowledge a hindrance, I liked to think that allowed me to evaluate the photos as art and not get bogged down by the subjects. The exhibit includes band portraits as well as snapshots of rehearsals, behind-the-scenes photos, and photos of live performances. Although I didn’t recognize the subjects, I liked George Tapia’s use of color, Levent Buyukgural’s command of atmosphere and the sense of immediacy in Jeff Koga’s pictures. However, I was most taken with the photographs of Zoe-Ruth Erwin. You can see them on the galleries website here – or better yet, go to the gallery and check them out for yourself! And check out future art openings in this charming gallery space too. Next up is Wanderlust: Travels Near and Far... I'm planning on being there.


The Smugg Brothers doing their version of "Sin City"

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Filipinotown

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 13, 2011 01:12am | Post a Comment
P-TOWN, STAY DOWN! -- HISTORIC FILIPINOTOWN



This blog entry is about Historic Filipinotown. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods to be the subject of a blog entry, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.


Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Historic Filipinotown

Historic Filipinotown is a neighborhood in Los Angeles' Mideast Side boundried by the 101 to the north, Beverly to the south, Hoover to the West and Glendale to the East. Its neighbors are Silver Lake and Echo Park to the north, Angeleno Heights to the northeast, Temple-Beaudry to the east, Westlake to the south, and Wilshire Center to the west.


Prior to its official designation in 2002, the neighborhood was often described as being part of Rampart Village, Westlake, Echo Park, and Silver Lake


The designation of Historic Filipinotown strikes some as odd. To casual observers who only pass through the area in their cars, the neighborhood doesn't look especially Filipino. The streets aren't exactly lined with nipa huts. In addition, Filipinos are sometimes referred to as "the Invisible Minority" because most in America speak English as a first language, most speak English, and most no longer live primarily in ethnic enclaves. It may come as a surprise then that the area around Historic Fillipinotown is actually home to quite a few Pinoys. 


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of the Mideast Side

They probably should've just called it "Filipinotown" and dropped the "Historic" except that there are even more, apparently, Koreans, Mexicans, and Salvadorans in the neighborhood. But then again, Koreatown is mostly Latino, Little Ethiopia is largely Jewish, Little Tokyo is heavily Korean, and Thai Town is primarily Armenian. The fact of the matter is that Filipinotown is a major cultural and culinary center for Filipinos but what's done is done and the official name has lead to the nickname, HiFi.


FILIPINO-AMERICAN HISTORY


Filipinos first settled in the US starting in 1763, when they established Saint Malo in Louisiana. Prior to that, the Austronesian ancestors of modern Filipinos had spread across the Pacific Islands, some of which would later become part of the US. After the 1902 conclusion of the Philippine-American War, the first Filipinos came to California and Hawaii.

In 1911,  Pablo Manlapit formed Filipino Higher Wages Association and the Filipino Unemployed Association in Hawaii. Many Filipino males continued to immigrate, working as farm laborers, as there were fewer restrictions against them than applied to other Asians since their country was an American colony. In 1920, over 10,000  Japanese and Filipino plantation workers go on strike. In 1928,  Filipino farmers were chased out of Yakima Valley, Oregon by a white mob.

In 1934, the Tydings-McDuffie Act reduces Filipino immigration to 50 a year while outlining the Philippines' path to independence. However, after  The Philippines become independent from the US in 1946, citizenship was offered to all Filipinos living in the United States.

Although state-sanctioned racial discrimination is no longer practiced and Filipinos are often thought to have assimilated into mainstream society, there are still cases of anti-Filipino racisim. For example, in 1999 Joseph Ileto was murdered by white supremacist Buford Furrow just for being brown. In 2007, Marie Stefanie Martinez was beat up by a group of black teenagers in New York City... their excuse was "she looked Chinese."

Anyway, no doubt in part because of the relative ease with which they move through mainstream American society, Filipinos are prominent in the arts and entertainment industries. There are a lot of American artists and entertainers with some Filipino ancestry and, off the top of my head I can think of Chad Hugo, Christine Castro Hughes, Joey Santiago, Lou Diamond Phillips, Ernie Reyes Jr., Dante Basco, Emy Coligado, Joanna Bacalso, Jocelyn Enriquez and Reggie Lee.


FILIPINOS IN LA

In the 1920s, Los Angeles' Filipino population was centered in the residential hotels in Little Tokyo. In 1929, anti-Filipino riots began around California over inter-racial relationships between white women and Filipino men, in defiance of anti-misegination laws.


After the Philippines achieved independence in 1934, a limit of fifty Filipinos per year was imposed as punishment. Most of these immigrants settled around 1st and Main, just west of Little Tokyo, and the area came to be known as Little Manila. If anything, that's "Historic" Filipinotown but anyway... After the passage of the Luce-Cellar Act of 1946, which increased the quota to one hundred, more Filipinos arrived and the area became increasingly crowded.


With growing racial tension between Filipinos and black Angelenos, most of the Pinoy population relocated to nearby Bunker Hill, a formerly posh neighborhood of Victorian homes which had by then been subdivided and deemed a slum.

After that neighborhood's demolition in the late '50s, many Filipinos moved west to Temple-Beaudry and what's now Historic Filipinotown. Most of the homes in the area date back to the 1920s and 1910s although, especially in the eastern edge, there are Victorians built in the 1890s. As with Bunker Hill, by the time the Filipinos arrived, many of the neighborhood's older inhabitants had moved elsewhere, following the expansion of Los Angeles and abandoning the early and by then unfashionable Victorian and Craftsman neighborhoods.

With the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, national quotas for "Malays and Mongoloids" were finally lifted and Filipinos were actively sought out to help end a shortage of qualified nurses. As a result, Filipino immigration exploded and Filipinos were only surpassed by Chinese in numbers of Asian immigrants. There are still a lot of Filipino nurses, huh? Anyway, one in four Filipino immigrants to the US settled in the Los Angeles era and there are now around 400,000 here. With the expanding numbers and with segregation ended, Filipinos began to fan out from their traditional enclaves and today there are pockets of large numbers in Filipinos both where Little Manilas traditionally existed and in newer enclaves in places like Arleta, Artesia, Buena Park, Carson, Cerritos, Covina, Diamond Bar, Eagle Rock, Glendale, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Walnut, West Covina and West Hollywood.


THE ESTABLISHMENT OF HISTORIC FILIPINOTOWN

Filipinos had long lobbied for the establishment of an official Little Manila but with the population so spread throughout the county, the question of where exactly remained until the establishment of Historic Filipinotown in 2002. Today, not only is the neighborhood a large Filipino bedroom community but as a cultural and commercial center it rivals even the Eagle Rock Plaza. It's home to several Pinoy organizations and establishments. The Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council works to preserve the cultural, political and economic development in P-Town.


Filipino Christian Church

The Filipino Christian Church, established in 1933, is the oldest Christian Church in the county.


Filipino American Community of Los Angeles

There's also the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA), whose hall one can rent out for events. 


Filipino American Service Group, Inc.

 The Filipino American Service Group, Inc. (FASGI), stands out with its traditional Filipino vibe.


Search to Involve Pilipino Americans

There's the Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA).

In addition to those, there's The Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown (HIFIRC), the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), the Pilipino American Network and Advocacy (PANA) Filipinas World Travel, the Filipino American Library (FAL), Philipino American Comm-LA, and the Historic Filipinotown Chamber of Commerce (HIFICC).


One of the oldest sites in the neighborhood pre-dates the arrival of Filipinos to the area, the Bonnie Brae House. In 1906, the home of Richard and Ruth Asberry (216 N. Bonnie Brae Street) gained fame as the birthplace of the Pentecostal movement when a black, Catholic-raised preacher named William Seymour led a fast and after three days, one Edward S. Lee began speaking in tongues and was soon joined by others. Today the home is open as a museum (by appointment only).


Faustino “Peping” Baclig WWII memorial

The first Filipino WWII Veterans Memorial in the nation (designed by artist Cheri Gaulke and with a quote from Faustino “Peping” Baclig) is located at Lake Street Park at the former site of Our Lady of Loretto High School.


The crosswalks in Filipinotown have even been decorated with traditional Filipino basket weaving patterns.


Luzon Plaza


Manila Terrace

There are even strip malls and apartments with names like Luzon Plaza and Manila Terrace!
 

CULTURAL EVENTS

There are two major annual events in the Historic Filipinotwn: the Annual Historic Filipinotown 5k Run/Walk/Festival in August and, after Thanksgiving, the lamp posts along Temple Street are decorated with parol which remain until the Three Kings Celebration and then are highlighted by the Christmas Parol Parade. Currently, there are also plans for monuments to Uncle Roy Morales, Philip Vera Cruz and Jose Rizal.


I'm not sure what section to put it in, but P-Town is home to the LA Derby Dolls, too.


EATS & DRINKS


There are several Filipino restaurants in the neighborhood including:

  Bahay Kubo Natin


Sisigan Republic Atvp (previously Pinnoy BBQ
 [sic] and Amihan)


 Nanay Gloria  
 

 ...and Little Ongpin.  

Not pictured but also offering Filipino cuisine are AristocratKapistahan Grill, My Mom's Bake Shop, and Salakot Sizzle and Grill Restaurant)

 
I would have eaten at one of the Filipino joints except for the fact that Filipino food is pretty much up there with Mongolian or Inuit in terms of not-being-vegetarian-friendly. Being a hot day, I did grab a Calamondin juice from Temple Seafood Market, which was refreshing.
 
 

Non-Filipino joints include Bernie's Teriyaki, Lowenbrau Keller, TiGeorge's, Bangkok Express, Brooklyn Bagel Bakery, Dante's, Antojitos Chapines Amalia, Tacos El Aja' Toros, Gigi Bakery & Cafe, Alberto Tamales, Luong Vinh, Village Kitchen  and Ostionero Colima 2
 
 
 
 
 
The most famous restaurant in Historic Filipinotown is the Original Tommy's Hamburger, which was started by Greek-American Tom Koulax and opened on May 15, 1946 at the intersection of Rampart and Beverly, where it still stands.
 
 

There are also some bars, including Medusa Lounge, Fredo's, 1642, Chang Billy.


P-TOWN ART SCENE




There's at least one art gallery in Historic Filipinotown, Tropico de Nopal Gallery.
 
 
There's a mural in Beverly Union ParkGintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana, which depicts key moments and figures in the Pinoy civil rights struggle. The fact that Paula Cristomo is Chilipina is frequently overlooked, as is the fact that the 1964 Grape Boycott was begun by Filipino farm workers.
 

There's also a Cache mural, which typically depicts chickens, Zapatistas and simplistic political sloganeering and iconography.

HISTORIC FILMIPINO





I don't know of any actors/filmmakers or bands from Filipinotown but there is Gemini Video, however. Gemini Video is much more than a video store. They do sell and rent a large selection of Hollywood and Filipino films on DVD and VHS... they also sell nurse scrubs, dish soap, bags and all kinds of seemingly (to me) random items.


OCCIDENTAL STUDIOS


At 201 N. Occidental stands the old Occidental Studios. They were built in 1913 by a then-famous actor from Ohio, Hobart Bosworth. It was at Occidental that Canadian actress Mary Pickford got her start in film. The studios were later owned by director Robert Aldrich.



HI-FI SOUNDS





The neighborhood is also home to both Pehrspace and L'Keg Gallery, both of which focus on up-and-coming bands with considerable talent and both of which are located in the Glen Village Shopping Center
 
 

The nearby Filipino-owned Tribal Cafe also hosts live music events. The Pan American Nightclub, despite its name, boasts that it's "100% Latino" and, in keeping with that boast, mostly features Bachata, Bolero, Cumbia, Duranguense, Merengue, Punta, Reggeaton and Salsa.

So check out Historic Filipinotown, "bayang magiliw, perlas ng silanganan." Palaam na po!


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