This video holds a special place in our heart not just because it’s Halloween, and the video rocks, and the song rocks, and Michael Jackson rocks, but also because it’s got a little bit of Echo Park – well, Angelino Heights – in the video.

See if you can catch the spot, your cheat sheet after the jump:

Michael Jackson- Thriller from MQC on Vimeo

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Photo by Echo Park Now

The Jensen’s Recreation Center building has always been a favorite Echo Park monument of mine. A historic cultural monument since 1998, the 86-year-old building has undergone quite a few changes inside.

The old bowling alley at Jensen's. Flickr photo via Mary-Austin & Scott

The building was built by German immigrant Henry Christian Jensen in 1924 and designed by architect E.E.B. Meinardus. Originally, it was a bowling alley with a pool hall at street level with 46 apartments on the other two floors. The Echo Park Historical Society website describes the space as catering to mostly males throughout the 1930s and ’40s. Even though the storefronts might not look exactly the same as the original structure, thankfully the Beaux Arts and Italianate inspired ornamentation that wraps around the outside of the building still exists.

The bowling alley is no longer there, but the sign featuring a bowling figure remains on the roof of the building. The 28 feet wide x 17 feet tall sign has 1300 red, green and white incandescent lightbulbs. An interesting fact: even though neon was a more popular application for signs in the 1920s (especially this size!), this one maintains the incandescent light bulbs.

Relighting of the sign. Photo from Paul Furlong

In 1997, after 50 years of neglect and the sign unlit, it was restored and relit through a cultural affairs grant. We’re not exactly sure how long the sign was lighting up the Rec Center roof, but we do know it was fixed and relit again in 2005. However, that lasted only one month, and the sign has been dark ever since.

Lately there’s been some great headway to relight the sign. The Echo Park Historical Society received $5,000 from an LA County Historic Preservation Society grant. Echo Park residents, fans of history, and Echo Park Improvement Association members have also privately donated to fix and maintain the sign as well. And just this week, the Greater Elysian Echo Park Neighborhood Council approved the allocation of $2,500 to the Historical Society for the restoration of the sign.

Hopefully we’ll see the sign relit (and maintained) some day soon!

If you’d like to donate to the Echo Park Historical Society for the restoration and upkeep of the sign, click here for the EPHS website.


Echo Park Farmers’ Market Pumpkin contest

Starting at 3:00 pm when the market opens, children will have two hours to decorate pumpkins for a Pumpkin Decorating Contest! Judging starts at 5:00 pm – The Eastsider LA‘s Jesus Sanchez will be a judge.

Monster Mash Masquerade & Costume Contest at Echo Country Outpost

9:00 pm – 2:00 am. Music, dancing, drinks, and more. $5 cover; all proceeds benefit Brimmer Street Theater Co. and their upcoming season
1930 Echo Park Avenue.


Vista Hermosa Natural Park Fall Festival

Dunk for apples, make your holiday mask, or compete in a pumpkin rolling race, it’s all part of getting into the fall spirit. We’ll finish off the day with a roaring campfire just for fun. Meet at the Grotto Amphitheater.

12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
100 N. Toluca Street.
Meet at the Grotto Amphitheater.



LAB (Local Artisans Bazaar) at Fix Coffee:

From 1:00 – 6:00 pm: Some amazing new vendors have joined in and African Cowboy will be playing from 3-5:00 pm. Bring the kids and dogs for some Halloween day time fun and photo ops! Raffle tickets for sale will help Elysian Heights Elementary School pay for a music teacher, which they are still searching for. The prizes are gift certificates from many local and generous business and vendors.

LAB just got voted “Best Li’l Artisan Market” by LA Weekly’s Best of L.A. 2010!

Trick-or-Treat with Stories Books, 826LA and Allston Yacht Club:

4:00 pm at 826LA/Time Travel Mart: Join bestselling author Karen Essex (Dracula in Love,  Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend, Stealing Athena), actress/director/bestselling author Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Drones, Chance) and friends for a performance of the short play “Asylum” from Karen Essex’s Dracula in Love. Also, get any Halloween costume pieces like mustaches, etc. at the Travel Mart!

5:00 pm at Stories: Music, dead authors, pumpkins, cookies and surprises.

6:00 pm at AYC: Food and cocktails!


Halloween Beer and Zombie (Book) Pairing at City Sip

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, $35 per person

7 Killer Beers, 7 cheeses, and Ben Tripp will be reading a few passages to make you want to drink… and possibly eat some offal meats for those who eat flesh! RSVP to or call (213) 483- 9463. Read more.


Echo Park Film Center

7:30 pm – 10:00 pm: Haunted Films in Haunted Places with the Echo Park Film Mobile. Follow the Film Mobile on Twitter for screening locations (@EPFCFilmmobile).

Friday, Saturday AND Sunday!

Friday from 5:00 pm – 11:30pm, Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm – 11:30 pm: Halloween Carnival fundraiser for the Rampart LAPD Station Youth Programs. Located on Vermont between Santa Monica and Monroe. For bulk ride tickets or volunteer info, call Officer Covington at (213) 484-3072.

Did we forget anything? Share more info about this weekend’s Halloween events in the comments section below!

Looks like Mooi will no longer be operating for dinner during normal restaurant/business hours on a daily basis. Instead, they’ll be open for dinner on Fridays for a set 5-7 course menu, and will be busy with the catering side of the business through the holidays.

Owner Stephen Hauptfuhr told vegan blogging queen Quarry Girl:

Currently we have been operating under non-regular hours, meaning we are not open for regular dinner service on a daily basis as before, we are open every Friday for a set prix fixe 5-7 course menu that changes each week from Stephen Hauptfuhr and occasional collaborations with guest chefs… if you would like to be made aware of these dinners and any other times we will be open, please email with the subject heading ‘email list request’ and you will be added to his private list to receive these messages..

To get updates on the Friday menus, find Mooi on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you place your special orders for the holiday soon – they are offering cakes, ice cream, and any regular menu items.

Tomorrow’s vegan, organic and raw Friday menu includes: butternut squash apple coconut soup, belgian endive, romain and asian pear salad with mustard seed vinaigrette, cauliflower mash potatoes and marinated asparagus, portabello meatloaf with plum ketchup, and pumpkin pie. Sounds yummy!

Cost is $20 per person with an RSVP, $25 for walk-ins. Don’t forget to RSVP to

If you’re curious about what’s going on in Echo Park and the greater area, there’s a GEPENC meeting tonight at 6:30 pm at the Rosemont Avenue Elementary School Auditorium, located at 421 N. Rosemont Avenue.

Why go? Besides being involved in your community, there are some items posted in the agenda that have been of particular interested to the Echo Park community:

  • May be voting on supporting the new Sunset Beer Company’s application for a Conditional Use Permit (CUB) and a Mitigated Negative Declaration (ZA 2010-2048 CUB/ENV-2010-2049 MND). Those permits will allow for on-site sales of wine and beer for their 14-seat tasting room, as well as the sale of beer and wine for off-site consumption.
  • 64-unit complex on Sunset Blvd. and Elsinore: Will review without committee recommendation. If you want to know if there are any updates to this project, this will be the time as the developer has been working with the Neighborhood Council on design plans.
  • Discussion/possible allocation of $2,500.00 dollars to the Echo Park Historical Society for the repair and maintenance of the Jensen’s Recreation Center sign. This is great as the sign has been left unlit for quite a few years now, and the money is coming in from GEPENC as a matching grant.
  • May vote on authorizing a letter to the bidders of CRES #14 (EPN wrote about this issue recently) emphasizing the support of parental and community involvement in the process, and GEPENC’s role in outreach to the community.

You can review the full agenda here.

Palm fronds litter the park along Stadium Way after a day of windy weather. The wind also took down part of a tree near where a lot of park visitors play soccer.

Feeding Birds is a cool place, not just because it’s in Echo Park and just down the street from us, but everything in the store is super cute and actually affordable. I’m looking forward to doing some Christmas shopping there along with collecting some trinkets to decorate our house.

They also host some cool events coming up in October, including:

Starting tomorrow (October 26) all sale clothing is $20 in celebration of their 100th week open.

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For the week of Monday, October 25 through Sunday, October 31

Monday Night Residency – Evan Voytas, Lesands, Allo Darlin @ Echo
Entertainment @ Origami Vinyl
Miss Josie Bunnie @ Pehrspace
Jessie Baylin, Richard Swift @ Bootleg Theater

The New Los Angeles Folk Festival, The Echo Present Murder Ballads @ Echoplex
Reigning Sound, The Ettes @ Echo
Giant Drag, Lonely Trees, Square on Square @ Bootleg Theater

Dub Club @ Echoplex
Mark Growpen @ Taix Lounge

Raw Power Rangers, Insect Surfers @ Echo
Kiss N Grind & Artdontsleep Present Bilal, J*davey, Quadron (Unplugged) @ Echoplex
Breathe Owl Breathe, Little Wings, The Migrant, Give Me Motion @ Bootleg Theater

The Henry Clay People’s 2nd Annual Rock and Roll Circus: Halloween with the Little Ones, Andy Clockwise, We Barbarians, The Monolators, The Dig, Downtown/Union@ Echoplex And Echo
Spain @ Origami Vinyl
A Halloween Night @ Pehrspace
Devics, Jake Blanton, Willoughby @ Bootleg Theater

Ninjatune 20th Anniversary @ Echo & Echoplex
Funky Sole @ Echo
TS and the Past Haunts, Silian Rail, Cue the Moon @ Pehrspace
Halloween Party: Tommy Santee Klaws, 5 Track & Glass Goblins, Jasper Dickson @ Taix Lounge

Part Time Punks: Goth Ball/Darkwave Masquerade with Frank Alpine, Violet Tremors @ Echo

For more information on weekly musical events like club nights, see our community resource pages.Visit the venue website for more information on the cost and times of shows. This list may not represent all the musical events happening in Echo Park this week – feel free to add more events in the comment section. All events listed are subject to change at any time. New events announced for the week after this posting may not be included.

Flickr photo by Amy de Souza

Join the Echo Park Chamber of Commerce at City Sip on Tuesday for an Echo Park mixer! The event is open to the public, so you don’t have to be a paying member of the Chamber to join in.

We had a blast at the last Mixer a couple of weeks ago at El Prado, and it’s a great chance to meet business owners and Echo Park residents in general. There will be appetizers, wine, and beer, along with a raffle give-away.

Taste of Echo Park at City Sip LA
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
$20 per person (includes one glass of wine)

The weather report calls for a cold and cloudy day tomorrow morning (no rain), but the tour of Echo Park Lake tomorrow has been postponed just in case. Community Outreach rep Olga S. Morales just sent out this email:

I am sorry to inform you that  due to the unpredictable weather and for everyone well being and safety. The team has decided to postpone tomorrow’s Saturday, Echo Park Lake Tour for another day. Please stay tune to more information. You can also go to: to get updates.

While there is no date set yet for October, there are two other tour dates: November 13 and December 11. The English tour will start at 9:30 a.m. and the tour conducted in Spanish will begin at 11:00 a.m. Sign up by emailing or calling (213) 978-0329.

We were looking forward to hearing about any new updates since the EIR was released, but now we can sleep in tomorrow.

This is your official reminder about the second annual Eastside Eco Tour taking place this Sunday, October 24 from 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm.  Hosted by the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council Green Committee, the tour highlights eight green homes, three community
gardens, and two green exhibits. This is a self-guided tour, so you can visit all or just one.

Eastside or not, the tour looks amazing, is free, and functions just like an open house. The homes on the tour all feature some sort of eco theme, including an architect’s own Leed certified/grey water/beekeeping/composting home, the Green Beacon House, a 1920s craftsman home owned by a architect, workshops at Silver Lake Farms, and more!

The event is free, but with a $5 donation you get a free stainless steel water bottle. Proceeds go to Thomas Starr King Middle School’s new environmental studies magnet program, starting Fall 2011.

In addition, the LA Conservation Corp who will be donating 5 gallon shade trees to the community. The pick up location will be at The Milagro Allegro Community Garden in Highland Park, located at 115 S. Avenue 56.

Visit the website for a downloadable map or email with questions.

Noel E. Pallais of the Dodgers announced a couple of days ago that Dodger Stadium would be host two brand new (and frankly, a little unexpected) events early next year – Motocross and Monster Car shows. The Stadium has never before hosted such an event, and with a seating capacity of 56,000 people, it’s going to be big.

According to a Supercross press release, they will cart in 550 truckloads of dirt onto the actual Stadium floor. Eric Hansen, Assistant Director of Turf and Grounds at Dodger Stadium, talked about the challenges of replacing a beautiful major league field with all that dirt: “All we have to worry about is replacing the actual grass once the dirt is removed and from what I’ve been told, (Feld) is the best in the world at what they do so my anxiety level is extremely low.” Here’s a little preview of what the course map will look like on the field at Dodger Stadium:

Supercross Course Map

The Motocross press release mentions a site visit to Dodger Stadium one year ago, and we are aware that the Community Advisory Board (made up of residents surrounding Dodger Stadium) flat-out rejected the proposal to bring these events to Dodger Stadium earlier this year. There was talk, however, of the event being held in the parking lot at that time, but the Board was concerned with noise levels.

If you’ve ever been to a Moster Jam or Motocross event, you’ll know how incredibly loud it can be (youngsters have to wear those big sound-deadening head phones). Mr. Pallais of the Dodgers doesn’t expect the noise levels to be any more than a baseball game, and for traffic LAPD and LADOT officers will be present like they would be at any other game or event. No word on how many patrons they expect to attend. Because we’ve never had an event like this at Dodger Stadium, it’s difficult to determine what noise levels will be like for nearby residents – though thankfully the event ends early in the evening.

The Monster Energy Supercross at Dodger Stadium will take place on January 22, 2011, and prices range from $40 all the way to $230.

The Monster Jam event takes place on February 19, 2011, prices range from $32-75.

It’s a pretty big deal to bring these events to the Stadium, and, I’ll say it because we’re all thinking it (you know you are), we’re sure the team needs to bring in some extra cash with McCourt’s messy divorce and a disappointing season.

This corner definitely needs some love!

Your neighborhood council (GEPENC) is teaming up with Clifford Elementary School for a cleanup on the corners of Glendale Blvd. and Allessandro Street (right by the 2 Freeway Terminus) in Echo Park. The area is riddled with trash and needs some love!

Join your neighbors and help out your neighborhood on Saturday, October 23. Meet up at the cleanup site at 9:00 am – refreshments, lunch and tools will be provided by GEPENC!

Click here to download the flyer.

For more information about the clean up or to RSVP, please contact Jose Sigala at 213-308-2826 or by email at

Last night’s Echo Park Improvement Association Neighborhood Issues Committee meeting brought out well over 30 people to Williams Hall at Barlow Hospital to discuss community concerns about CRES#14, an LAUSD school being built near the busy intersection of Alvarado and Sunset Blvd.

Chieko Rupp, now retired from the LAUSD, spoke at the meeting as the “point person” of the design team that is writing the proposal for CRES#14. Although not an official rep from the LAUSD, she and the team will be submitting the final project proposal to the LAUSD for review.

Here’s a run-down of what is being discussed for the future of CRES#14:

  • It will be Pre-kindergarten through eighth grade
  • Because the school was initially built to alleviate over-crowded elementary schools (and continued to be the focus even after elementary schools became under-enrolled), the school will include elementary age students. One of the reasons include construction – some classrooms were built specifically for smaller children.
  • It will be a “span” school
  • Initial plans are that it will pull predominantly from areas to the south and west of the school, areas that do not include Echo Park. This, however, is not set in stone, but it’s the “boundary office” that determines which areas the school will pull from. Schools include Virgil and King, which are heavily overcrowded
  • Curriculum focus will be music, arts, language and technology
  • Capacity of the school is approximately 800, but they expect around 500 with about 35 classrooms (three may be used for a senior citizen’s organization)
  • Will be a single zone of choice, meaning kids won’t be forced to go in there but will instead have the opportunity to apply

It is difficult to completely understand some of the complicated terminology revolving “choice” schools, “span” schools, etc., but what we do understand are the concerns of the community when it comes to the LAUSD opening up a Pre-K through 8 school (and run by a charter school) in Echo Park. Many of the residents at the meeting focused on getting the point across that:

  • Echo Park should benefit from the school: 50 homes were destroyed, hundreds of people were displaced. This community needs a middle school, why not use the new school to provide this much-needed service? Why destroy a part of our community only to keep us from primarily benefiting?
  • We don’t need another elementary school: Existing elementary schools are losing teachers, and enrollment is going down. Opening up another elementary school could negatively impact our beloved elementary schools which, if they were to close, would severely impact the community.
  • Make CRES#14 a middle school, or at least make it the primary focus: Assuming we can’t do anything about there being elementary-age classes offered, if  the focus remain on middle school students it might help alleviate community concerns about our schools. However, there’s no guarantee that this will actually be followed through by the LAUSD and the chosen charter school until the decisions are made.

The question is: Will the LAUSD actually listen to the concerns of the community, and cooperate?

The good news? We were promised that nothing, absolutely nothing was set in stone and that we are still in proposal phase. There will be additional meetings prior to the proposal submital for community members to provide input. Deadline for the proposal is December 1, 2010, and the Board is schedule to make the final decision on February 22, 2011. Keep your eye out for these meetings here on Echo Park Now, and follow the EPIA website for announcements regarding those meetings.

Also make sure to follow The Eastsider LA for more detailed analysis of CRES#14 and the issues surrounding it.