Every day the coupon site Groupon features buy some get some deals for businesses throughout LA. Today Echo Park’s own Delilah Bakery is offering up the (baked) goods. Here’s the deal: you pay $14 for a printable coupon that entitles you to $29 worth of cupcakes. You save $15 which is over half off! Choose any combination of the following three flavors: red velvet, peanut butter, and chocolate. Yes, you have to get all nine cupcakes at once. However, just imagine how popular you will be showing up to a party with a box of Delilah’s larger than average cupcakes. The coupon expires on November 2nd, 2010. There is a buying limit of three coupons per person. You can use one coupon per visit, per day. Tax and gratuity are included in the price. This deal is only available for purchase until 11:58pm on Sunday, August 1st.

Click here to take advantage of $14 for nine cupcakes at Delilah Bakery ($29.25 Value).

Delilah Bakery is located at 1665 Echo Park Ave.

New restaurants and businesses:

Other news:

  • Allston Yacht Club has been serving up a special menu on Sundays. Called “Unbrunch”, the menu goes from 3-8:00 pm every Sunday. They even started serving up beer on tap (including Eagle Rock Brewery “Revolution” XPA and Telegraph Brewery Golden Wheat Ale).
  • Elf Cafe reopened after being closed for a week for renovations. Read more.
  • Rodeo Grill may be getting a full liquor license and may remain open until 1:00 am.
  • El Camino applied for a liquor license during the renovation of the old Ramona Theater on Sunset Blvd.
  • Lot 1 Cafe applied for a beer and wine license, read more on The Eastsider LA.
  • New “working studios” to rent on Glendale Blvd. in Echo Park, check out the spot on Saturday at the grand opening party. Read more on The Eastsider LA.
  • El Clasico Tattoo has a summer special – $25 for your “LA” tattoos (3 inches black and grey only)

Moving or closed:

  • Mohawk General Store is moving down Sunset. Read more.
  • Havana Travel moved from Sunset Blvd. to Alvarado. Read more.

Ongoing/Weekly Specials

The EPIA launched a new website recently, and GEPENC has also just made some necessary updates.

The URL remains the same (www.gepenc.org), and, according to the press release, some highlights include an entire archive of meeting minutes , agendas, and reports. There are also some useful informational pages that include Standing Rules, Bylaws, the Brown Act, etc.

Some downsides? It doesn’t look like any of the archives are currently working yet, so there are some bugs to work out. In addition (now, as a web designer myself, I’m just being nit picky), there are no search functions to find a specific meeting archive topic – you have to click through each archived meeting minute under “Resources” then “Archives.”

The email subscription option from the last website has been removed, so you will have to go to the website to find out when the next meeting agenda has been posted. CIO Lisa Baca, however, will email you agenda notifications if you email her at lisa.baca@gepenc.org. There is also a calendar link on the home page that will link you to the Google calendar to help you plan for the next meeting.

While this event may not necessarily take place in Echo Park, we are an advocated of Fallen Fruit and there are so many fruit trees in Echo Park that we thought you might benefit.

The 5th annual Public Fruit Jam is happening this weekend on Sunday, August 1 from noon – 3:00 pm at LACMA.

Run by Fallen Fruit, the event is for anyone to bring homegrown or street-picked fruit to participate in a collective jam-making session (not the musical kind of jam, the edible kind!). They’ll teach you how to make the jam, and you get to bring home a jar of jam.

“Working without recipes, we ask people to sit with others they do not already know and negotiate what kind of jam to make: if I have lemons and you have figs, we’d make lemon fig jam (with lavender). This event highlights the social and public nature of Fallen Fruit’s work, and we consider it a collaboration with the public as well as each other.”

Meet at the amphitheater behind the museum. Free but space is limited: Tickets will be handed out the day of the event with a limit of 150 per hour from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis; no reservations.

The 5th Annual Echo Park National Night Out block party is coming up on Tuesday, August 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm in the Walgreens Parking Lot.

The free event will host activities for kids, free eye screenings (the Lions Eye Mobile will be present), free hot dogs, and more family-friendly activities.

Click on the graphic to the right to download a flyer to distribute in your neighborhood.

Organizers are collecting funds to purchase backpacks and school supplies for  give-aways to children and teens. If you would like to contribute, contact Rosie Betanzos directly at rcbetanzos@yahoo.com

Volunteers are also needed for helping: in the kids area, maintaining control on passing food, supervising the jumpers (I’m assuming for a bounce house), clean-up and set-up tear down, information booth, and ambassadors to direct crowds. If you are interested, please email Rosie at the email address listed above.

The event is hosted by the Positive Energy Group/Crime Prevention.

Representing Northeast Police Station

Sponsors are: City Council District 1 and 13, Echo Park Trading Post, Select Patrol, The Echo/Echoplex, El Prado, GEPENC, LA Host Lions, Dodgers and many more…

The Park Advisory Board meeting for tonight has been canceled, a new date has not yet been set for the meeting. There are some new things going on with PAC, however, including new director! Dan Hammett took over recently, and we look forward to meeting him at the next meeting!

Some other news coming up:

Heal the Bay at the Echo Park Farmers Market

Friday, July 30 from 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Heal the Bay will have a booth at the Farmers Market to share information on:

  • Marine Protected Areas
  • Banning of Plastic Shopping Bags
  • Gulf Oil Spill

California Coastal Clean Up Day in Inland Echo Park

Saturday, September 25, 2010 from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm
751 Park Avenue at Park Avenue and Lemoyne
The  community is invited to join this clean up extravaganza. 80% of trash found on beaches comes from an inland source. Echo Park is one of 80 sites organized by Heal The Bay. Site Co-Captains in Echo Park are Central City Action Committee and Echo Park TAP (Trash Abatement Project).

To register: Call Central City Action Committee at (213) 241-0908, or Heal the Bay at 800-HEAL BAY or www.healthebay.org/CCD

There will be more events coming up in August and September, stay tuned for more info on Echo Park Now!

This weekend, the Echo Park Independent Co-op will be hosting three whole days of sales, live music and food trucks! Here’s the schedule:

Friday, July 30th

  • All Ladyboy shoes will be $10 off!
  • The Grilled Cheese Truck will be serving mouth-watering sandwiches outside the shop from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Saturday, July 31st

  • All jewelry will be 15% off!
  • An acoustic performance by Lindsey Troy at 7:00 pm
  • Sterling and Amy of Crazedotcom will perform at 8:00 pm

Sunday, August 1st

  • All bags will be 20% off!
  • An acoustic performance with AJ Jackson of Saint Motel at 7:00 pm
  • BLOK! plays at 8:00 pm

More performances and food trucks TBA.

Feel free to BYOB!

E.P.I.C. is located at 1712 Sunset Blvd.

Fretted Frog recently opened its doors, and on Friday, July 30, the store is having its first FREE in-store concert. Here’s the lineup:

Walter Spencer (Folk/Americana/Roots)
Haroula Rose (songwriter/Indie/Folk) with Aaron Robinson on guitar

  1. Friday, July 30 from 6 – 8:00 pm

Sometime in the future, Fretted Frog also expects to also host open mic nights and guitar clinics, check the website for those events.

Fretted Frog is located at 1200 N. Alvarado St.

We posted a mention last April that the old Echo Park Ramona Theater would become a wood-fired pizza and beer restaurant called El Camino. Originally slated to open around Thanksgiving this year, construction just recently started up on the new space and it’s looking like a grand opening will be pushed back.

Here’s a little back story about the Ramona Theater: It opened in Echo Park in the year 1914 as the Garden Theatre. Its name changed a few times (those names somewhat of a mystery, of which Echo Park has many), until 1966 when it became Studio 1 showing German-Language films. It was completely closed down in the 1990s, the front awning giving shelter to many homeless for many years.

Now, who knows what’s going on behind those Spacecraft walls, I can only speculate and summon up some pretty over-imaginative ideas: Perhaps they maintained some kind of stage area where the movie screen was to make it our own Echo Park dinner theater!

Alas, a big wall was put up during construction in the late 1990s led by a member of the Lolito family, which owned the building for about 75 years according to the Echo Park Historical Society. They also leveled the theater floor and removed the theater seats.

So probably no dinner theater, movie theater, or any other type of theater for now, but we do know one thing for sure: Alcohol! Owner Tony Yanow, who also own Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank, just recently applied for a liquor license that includes beer, wine and “distilled spirits” and is currently pending. All I can say is, if the the beer list is as decent as the Darts Away list, you might find me there with a Belgian-style beer in hand (I’ve read that there could be as many as 75 beers on tap at the new location).

However, I am a little wary of big names like Spacecraft and big ideas moving into Echo Park. While I really do welcome the activity at the old theater because it really, really needs it, if the restaurant ends up being an over-priced, chichi Hollywood-type establishment, I’d rather cuddle up with the friendly faces at Masa, The Park and El Compadre.

More worrisome is the lack of parking in the area. We are waiting to hear back from the owner to find out how they are going to deal with that issue, as the neighbors are less than thrilled. Already having to compete with clubs down the street, a lot of housing with not a lot of parking spots, and a big development being planned just down the road, nearby residents might just have to start digging their own driveways just to park near their homes.

Stay tuned – we will provide more info as soon as we know!

The old Ramona Theater is located at 2139 W. Sunset Blvd.

Durk Dehner has lived in Echo Park for 30 years. For most of that time he’s inhabited a gorgeous 100-year-old craftsman house that sits high up on Laveta Terrace, and is filled to the rafters with dirty drawings. Important dirty drawings. Dirty drawings worthy of preservation and display.

The Tom of Finland Foundation was established in 1984 by Dehner, the creator of these drawings being Touko Laaksonen a.k.a. Tom of Finland. Over the years the foundation’s mission has expanded from preserving and protecting Tom’s art to promoting erotic art in general. Today, its goal is “to offer a safe haven for all erotic art in response to rampant discrimination against art that portray[s] sexual behavior” and to educate “the public as to the cultural merits of erotic art.”

When I went to visit the Tom of Finland Foundation at 1421 Laveta Terrace last Thursday, I half expected this serious attitude toward Tom’s art to be manifested physically in the form of older men in suits showing me around white-washed galleries hung with pictures of men getting it on. What I found instead is what Vice President of the foundation Sharp calls “a living museum.” This is Dehner and Sharp’s home. They live here, along with a rotating group of other foundation members and volunteers, surrounded by Tom’s work and other erotic art that he has inspired. A room at the back of the house serves as both a dining area and a small store where one can purchase items such as Tom of Finland’s sketches and Tom of Finland action figures (featuring two interchangeable phalluses!). Decades-old cracks in the wall have been covered in custom-made erotic drawings that resemble frescoes. Their toilet (her name is Gloria) has been featured in art shows.

This serious appreciation for the art itself but casual and relaxed attitude towards its subject matter is reflective of Tom of Finland’s work and one of the reasons why it is so important. Tom created fun, light-hearted images of strong, muscular gay men in a time when homosexuals were generally considered to be weak, sad and probably suffering from a psychological disorder. Beginning in 1957, Tom’s work was featured prominently in “beefcake” magazines such as Physique Pictorial. His work gained an underground following over the years, and in the early 1970s, he quite his job at an advertising firm to focus on his drawings.

Tom re-appropriate a number of traditionally heterosexual male archetypes for use in homo-erotic imagery. His art featured policemen, sailors, bikers and lumberjacks as proud gay men. These images inspired an underground movement in gayculture that surfaced in the 1970s and influenced mainstream culture. Without Tom we would not have leathermen, The Village People or Freddy Mercury’s mustache.

Tom’s art helped to change the way that gay men saw themselves. As Dehner states, “I discovered through his work that I was as much of a man as any of my heterosexual counterparts.” Dehner was Tom’s business partner, friend and occasional muse. Beginning in the early 1980s (after his partner of 28 years passed away) Tom would spend half the year in Helsinki and half the year living in the house on Laveta Terrace. He passed away in 1991 at the age of 71.

Today, the Tom of Finland Foundation is hard at work cataloging its rather large collection of erotic media. This includes a whole library of books on erotic art and gay culture that may just turn out to be an invaluable resource based on its size and the rarity of some of the literature. The foundation raises money by hosting events and collecting royalties from Tom’s artwork, which will soon be on display for a year in Finland.

Last year Taschen released a 700-page, 15 pound book featuring almost 1,000 of Tom’ drawings. But the guys at the Tom of Finland Foundation seem most proud of the Emerging Erotic Artist Contest that they host. When I talked about it with Sharp, he created an image that sticks in my mind. There are many young gay artists throughout the world whose thoughts and desires are either unacceptable or outright illegal. The Tom of Finland Foundation exists to offer acceptance to these artists and their creations.

To learn more about the Tom of Finland Foundation, click here.

To buy stuff, click here, scroll down and click on the “Tom The Store” icon. PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THE FINE PRINT AT THE PORTAL. I do not want anyone having a heart attack on my watch.

The foundation welcomes anyone who would like to come visit and take a tour of the house. The best way to reach them is to give them a call at (213) 250-1685.

Flicker photo by A.C.Thamer

The Department of Recreation and Parks needs your help! Some of our favorite spots in Elysian Park need a little TLC, including the Butterfly Garden, Childrens Arboretum, and the Marion Harlow Grove.

Rec and Parks are specifically asking for help cleaning the weeds and trimming the plants at the Butterfly Garden in Upper Angels Point (by the Peter Shire sculpture) in Elysian Park.

You will have to fill out a Volunteer Application, be fingerprinted for safety and liability reasons, and report to the Rec and Parks staff when you work in the garden. For more information, please call Mark Jackson, Park Maintenance Supervisor, at (213) 485-3287

The event is still almost three weeks away, but fundraising and pledging has already been going on for several weeks in preparation of 826LA’s Spelling Bee for Cheaters. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up in teams of two or more. It’s free and anyone can join!
  2. Raise money for your team.
  3. On Saturday, August 14 each team sends one member to represent them at the spelling bee. You can use the funds you’ve raised to order from a menu of cheats. The more money you raise, the more you can cheat!

All the money raised will go towards 826LA’s free writing and tutoring programs for kids.

The spelling bee will take place on Saturday, August 14 from 2:00 to 6:00 pm at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica. This year, Spike Jonze, John Krasinski, Judd Apatow, Dianna Agron, and others are scheduled to appear. Will YOU be there to out-spell and out-cheat the competition?

Elf Cafe is re-opoening tomorrow, July 28 (according to the sign on the front door), after a week-long closure for renovations. While we haven’t gotten the final word from the restaurant about what exactly is going on with renovations, they told the Huffington Post last February of plans to expand the restaurant into the space next door (perhaps Branche Boutique, pictured above), which they had just acquired.

We’ll have to see what happens when Elf Cafe re-opens tomorrow!

Elf Cafe is located at 2135 W Sunset Blvd. Click here for the menu.

While it looks like the Echo Park Art Walk may be on hiatus, Feeding Birds still wants Echo Park residents to get out and enjoy the community (and the great weather!) this summer. And so came forth the “Midsummer Flock” block party, located in the area around Feeding Birds from 1825-1830 Echo Park Ave. So far, there will be food trucks, live music, art, sales, and maybe even some silkscreening or stenciling at Feeding Birds. Booked so far is:

  • Summer Fling Truck (print t’s, phone cases and Cool Haus)
  • Over The Moon Cookies (Echo Park baked cookies)
  • I ♥ EP merchandise from artist Bill Rangel
  • Musical guests: DefSound and others, Miles Moore (Earthman)
  • Large photography displays and other art to come

Click here for the Facebook event info as they will be updating it as more activities come up.

Midsummer Flock
August 8, 2010
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
1825 – 1830 Echo Park Ave.

Elf Cafe
2135 Sunset Blvd.
Wednesday – Sunday 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Reservations: email elfcafe@gmail.com

v= Vegan, gf = Gluten Free
Cash Only. Elf uses only organic, sustainable, locally grown products and only local rennet-free cheeses.

The restaurant is currently under construction to expand its kitchen, but we can still expect the great menu below!


Mediterranean Lentils: A crock of organic lentils topped with mushrooms and carmelized onions (v, gf) – 9
Baked Sheep Feta and Tomatoes: Served with thyme and oil cured olives (gf) – 12
Soup du Jour: Our soups are made fresh daily with vegetables, olive oil and spices (v, gf)
Vegan Fondue: Pan-roasted vegetables and herbs served with a walnut romesco dip (v, gf) – 9
Labneh: California goat yogurt cheese with date, kalamata olive tapenade & warm pita (gf) – 12
Tahini Avocado Puree: Creamy avocado hummus served with garlic and warm pita (gf) – 9
Roasted Flatbread Shawarma: Similar to a shawarma sandwich served open-faced with crispy oyster mushrooms, spicy hummus and savory cabbage salad (v) – 12
Roasted Beet Carpaccio: Served chilled with savory pickled salsa and grated horseradish (v, gf) – 10
Spiced Moroccan Olives and Roasted Almonds: with rosewater infused organic dates (v, gf) – 6
Cornmeal and Herb Dusted Spicy Oyster Mushrooms: Our version of ‘hot wings’ crispy oyster mushrooms served with marinated celery salad and bleu cheese cream reduction (gf) – 10


Spicy Moroccan Kale Salad: A mountain of kale topped with charmoula dressing, harissa, avocado & sheep feta (v without feta, gf) – 13
Greek Village Salad: Traditional Greek salad of sheep feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives & onions (gf)- 12
Lebanese Cabbage Salad: Made with organic cabbage, dried mint, sumac, garlic and lemon (v, gf) – 8
Elf Salad: Mixed greens with dill, avocados, potatoes, olives and green beans (v, gf) – 11
Raw Organic Kale and Avocado Salad: A mountain of kale with avocado, hemp seeds and fresh blood orange dressing (v) – 12

Main Course

Spanakopita: Traditional Greek spinach and sauteed greens pie served in a filo shell with wild rice, tomato coulis and seasonal vegetables – 17
Braised Portobello Mushroom: Stuffed w/ seasonal risotticelli & smokey mozzarella on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes (gf) – 18
Moroccan Vegetable Tagine: Moroccan vegetable stew served over red quinoa with a side of spicy homemade harissa (v, gf) – 16
Baked Tart with Thyme and Garlic: Served on a bed of mixed green salad (choose two fillings or add a third for $1). Roasted tomatoes, mushrooms or red bell peppers, rosemary potatoes, carmelized onions, feta cheese, blue cheese & smoked mozzarella – 14
Stuffed Mediterranean Dolma: Sauteed chard filled w/ lentils, wild rice & mushrooms served with seasonal vegetables (v, gf) – 14
Savory Crepe and Chevre Butter: A chickpea crepe filled w/ spinach and cheese gratin & topped with a dollop of homemade goat cheese butter – 17
Roasted Beet and Braised Fennel: Served with aromatic wild rice and port wine reduction (v, gf) – 16