You may have read on The Eastsider LA last week that our beloved City Councilman Eric Garcetti (and possible mayoral candidate) has relocated his diggs from Echo Park to nearby Silver Lake. After a little bit of fun online banter, he told me on Twitter, “I only moved 10 blocks away. I’m still in the neighborhood and Echo Park will always be home.”

So why the move? While it was unclear at the time of the move announcement, Mitch O’Farrell told Echo Park residents at last week’s Echo Park Improvement Association town hall meeting that the new diggs offered more space.

But he’s left behind this gorgeous eco-friendly, 1950’s home that was featured in a Dwell magazine spread in 2008. The three bedroom, two bath, 2,000 square foot home, renovated by Garcetti and his wife, is complete with solar paneling, a tankless water heater, toxic-free/recycled materials, and incredible views of Elysian Heights.

And you can rent out this incredible home – but for a price tag. At $4,500 per month, this is rock star status for Echo Park.

Click here for more information and all the home’s features.

Over the weekend my fiance and I were furiously spring cleaning when we found “the pile” – 8 years of cells phones, old laptop computers, and a slew of broken plugs and batteries (some of which had the marks of our chew-happy kitty).

Not wanting to contribute any more than I already am to the growing landfills, I’d been hanging on to them hoping for another Los Angeles area e-waste collection date to pop up. Yet they are few and far between, and I was about to re-package them up for another few month stint in the closet when I did one last Google search… and success!

Not only did I luck out on a collection center, it’s right here in Echo Park. The yellow and black painted Thriftee Storage on Glendale Boulevard is an All Green Electronics Recycling drop-off location. Nevermind its inconvenient driveway (crossing Glendale even on the weekends is a pain, and getting out – forgot it!), it’s worth the trouble.

They accept “anything with a cord,” and have been doing it for only three or four months now. You can drop off the usual – old cell phones, power cords, electronics batteries, VCRs, televisions, computer monitors, etc. I was comfortable getting rid of the old laptops even with the hard drives in tact – they do destroy the hard drives.

Anyways, make sure you don’t contribute to landfill waste and the pollution of our soils and waterways by throwing away all these electronics – check it out for yourself!

Thriftee Storage is located at 1717 Glendale Boulevard. Just drop your things off at the office.

Go to the All Green Electronics Recycling website for more info on what you can recycle.

New stuff:

Yogala Echo Park is located next to Peter Shire's studio

Yogala Echo Park is scheduled to open this month (March) at 1840 Echo Park Avenue, right by Peter Shire’s studio. They’ve got a full schedule throughout the week with a lot of different types of Yoga classes, including Baby Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, morning Yoga, and even some Pilates classes. Prices start at $12 per class, with discounts if you purchase a series or class cards. Click here for their website.

Echo Park resident Jennifer Dunlay recently started a pet-care business for when you go out of town and want to keep your best buddies at home. Artemis Pet Service will visit, play with your kitties, walk your dog in Elysian Park, and even offers overnight stays. She is fully insured, will provide references, and is Red Cross Certified. Bonus: it looks like she’s affordable! While she is based in Echo Park, she also serves surrounding neighborhoods. Click here to learn more from her website.

Juan Frias, also an Echo Park resident, opened up SuperPop Graphics earlier this year under the Sunset Blvd. bridge at 1176 Glendale Blvd. As a fellow graphic designer, he designs business cards, banners, brochures, logos, vehicle and wall graphics; and any other graphic services. The store itself contains a small retail section that has clothing with designs by Juan Frias for sale, including vinyl stickers and t-shirts. He is also able to do custom made t-shirts for men, women, children, and even babies. The store is currently operated by appointments and walk-ins are welcome as well.

Ongoing/Weekly Specials

SIPA’s Entrepreneur Training Program (ETP) is open to all new and current small business owners who wish to learn more about business operations and practices. Jen Carpinteyro over at REWIND The Recycled Electronics Store told us they had participated in the program last year, and benefited from the program. She wrote: “Thanks to SIPA, REWIND The Recycled Electronics Store is no longer a dream…. Taking the ETP program gave us the motivation and confidence to open REWIND.”

The four-week session (four Saturdays) includes guest speakers, group work, discussion and hands-on activities. Session dates are:

March 5 from 9:00 am to noon (orientation)
March 12 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (session)
March 19 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (session)
March 26 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm (graduation)

Topics covered include: Steps to starting a business, business planning, marketing, employment regulations, banking and budgeting

The ETP takes place at the Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA), 3200 W. Temple Street

Cost: $80 materials fee

Spaces are limited: RSVP to Farzana Nayani at (213) 382-1819 ext. 107, email with questions


Click here for the flyer.

Local performance space Bootleg Theater will be kicking off its first-ever Bootleg Dance Festival starting tomorrow, Friday March 4.

The weekend-long event features the work of seven choreographers from all over Los Angeles, covering a wide range of “styles, cultures, and approaches that represent contemporary dance in the world today.”

Artistic Director Alicia Adams told the LA Times in an article that they had wanted “people who are really trying to rediscover dance in new ways.” And, considering the lineup, it looks like they have that accomplished.

The LA Times article continues: “For instance, hip-hop choreographer Amy Campion — whose Antics Performance troupe is one of seven local groups commissioned by the Bootleg to premiere new work for the festival — is trying out new interactive video technology that relies upon infrared light. Her breakdance-inspired piece “Illuminated Manuscript’ will incorporate video projections that follow the dancers’ movements in real time, so ‘a dancer moving [his or her] hand across a screen might create a pixilated video shadow of that arm that leaves tracers behind it,’ Campion says.”

Interested? Single-evening tickets are only $18, but $40 will get you the full festival pass (a discount for all three nights!) and will support Bootleg Theater.

Here’s the weekend lineup:

Friday: Arianne Hoffmann, Keith Glassman, Carmela Hermann

Saturday: The Post Natyam Collective, Antics Performance

Sunday: Jamie Benson, Wife

Bootleg Theater is located at 2220 Beverly Boulevard

Click here for more information on the Bootleg Theater website, and to purchase tickets.

Super activist and local resident extraordinaire Windy O’Malley sent us an update today on the new school, CRES #14, being built in Echo Park near the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Alvarado. Monday evening, the Echo Park Moms for Education group held a pizza party at Pizza Buona to help educate the community about the school, as well as the efforts by group to have a say in the school’s future. Here’s what she has to say:

Micki Curtis and Gabriella Waterman deliver petition to Nancy Gonzalaz, assistant to Yoli Flores. Photo by Windy O'Malley

Hello, I am happy to report that the Pizza Party for the community was a great success bringing together the very people that CRES #,4’s construction has effected and the the children that will attend the school. As parents, we are working tirelessly to reach out to our neighbors and friends in hope that together the LAUSD school board will finally listen to us.

We are happy to say more that 50 community members and children attended the event.

Also yesterday [Tuesday, March 1], the Echo Park Moms for Education attempted to hand deliver the 655 signatures we have gathered online and on the streets of our community in support of the Community Partners plan. We were unable to meet with any LAUSD Board Member, but handed the petitions to their assistants, who repeated expressed that the board members would meet with “no one regarding the plans as they didn’t have time to meet with everyone, and did not want to be bias regarding the decision.” We, The Echo Park Moms for Education, are not a part of either proposal, we only are concerned citizens who see that one proposal would be the best school for our community. We are disturbed that there is not a place for the Board Members to speak to the actual people and community this school is affecting.

We only want to be heard and consulted. This will be our school and we deserve a voice.

The school board is expected to make a decision on who will run the new school (Camino Nuevo Charter School or the Echo Park Community Partners Plan Design Team) on March 15.

You can read my latest article about CRES #14 here. The Eastsider LA has also been following the matter very closely, click here for today’s article.

On the weekend of February 12, crews tore up and repaved a huge section of Sunset Blvd. (The Eastsider LA had the story here) from the East side of Echo Park to about Figueroa Street. The construction closed the main street entirely in Echo Park, and caused a lot of confusion for residents trying to get around town with little warning. To top it off, parking and street closures were in effect for that weekend’s Chinatown Firecracker run in the area.

Now we are 2 1/2 weeks after the repaving project, and the newly paved section of Sunset Blvd. remains without, well, road lines. The kind of lines that, you know, tell you what side of the road to drive on, and separates out the two – three lanes in each direction. Driving on Sunset Blvd. at night is a free-for-all, a little scary, and very confusing (and certainly not as fun as that Seinfeld episode where Kramer painted over the lines to make a wider road).

I contacted Richard Reyes, the Field Deputy for Council District 1, to get an answer about when we can expect the project to finish up. He assured me they were on it: “I’ve expressed adamantly the urgency to get these lines done. They are doing everything they can to get a plan to their crew as soon as possible.”

I know the city’s broke, but maybe a little more careful planning on the part of whatever city agency is involved could have helped?


Reyes confirmed the street painting will be completed within 7-10 days.

Last Saturday I got a chance to drop into the newly opened Sage Vegan Organic Bistro / KindKreme restaurant on Sunset Blvd. and Logan Street. I have to admit, I did like the new decor (dark lacquered matching tables and chairs, simple decorations on the walls), and the staff is helpful and punctual.

For my first visit, we had just finished one of the Secret Stairways hikes I’d been dying to accomplish, so we just stopped by for some vegan ice cream. Wanting to try all the flavors, I stopped at the Coconut ice cream because it was just too good to match.

Price-wise, it’s not going to be an every-day coffee joint – a small scoop if ice cream is $3.99 and a cold-press coffee with almond milk at about $4.50. But the Sage Bistro dinner menu looks promising (which we’ll post soon), and with a little careful budgeting I’m sure you’ll also stop by for a little weekend splurge.

And this Saturday is a good time to go – they’ll be officially launching with a grand opening during business hours. Free Baby Cakes ice cream sandwiches will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis until they’re out, and The Makepeace Brothers will be playing that evening.

Feel free to read about the new Echo Park vegan establishment in my latest article.

Sage Vegan Organic Bistro and KindKreme will be open 11:00 am – 10:00 pm weekdays, open until 11:00 pm on Fridays, and will be offering brunch on the weekends from 9:00 am until 10 or 11:00 pm.

Sage Vegan Organic Bistro / KindKreme is located at 1700 West Sunset Blvd. here in Echo Park.

A 2,000 square foot 7-eleven store is expected to go in to the small shopping mall at 1550 N. Glendale Boulevard, at the corner of Berkeley Ave. Last week we noticed a sort-of kiosk being removed from the parking lot (we think the tree is gone as well), making a little more room for parking at the quick mart. Plans for the new mart indicate it might be taking over both the old cash-checking and dog grooming retail spots, but I haven’t confirmed the details one hundred percent.

The store will be open 24 hours and will serve beer and wine. The mart joins an AM/PM across the street, and another 7-eleven on the West border of Echo Park on Sunset Blvd., amongst others.

Representatives will be present at the next Echo Park Improvement Association meeting to discuss details of the plans, starting 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 3. Everyone can attend these meetings, and they are located in Williams Hall at Barlow Hospital at 2000 Stadium Way. We’ll learn more about expected traffic impacts and opening timelines at this meeting.

1550 N. Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90026.

You may have noticed the slew of media interest in Echo Park Lake’s own Maria the Goose lately (unless you missed it all). Last week, Steve Hartman of Katie Couric’s CBS show was sent to the lake to interview Maria’s favorite human, Dominic Ehrler. Click here to watch the full CBS story, which aired February 28.

Today we learned from Chicken Corner that Maria was relocated last Friday to the Los Angeles Zoo ahead of the Echo Park Lake Rehab Project starting next month. Dominic told Chicken Corner in an email about the status of her new crib:

Maria has a two-room suite in the quarantine section of the zoo hospital. She will be monitored for things like worms and any other potential problems. … A minor foot problem will be taken care of. After the quarantine period is complete in about 30 days Maria will be moved to the exhibit area where she can be seen by all. The zoo will hold/display her until her ultimate destination is determined. The zoo personnel are all in love with Maria. She is safe and secure.

Dominic will definitely be able to visit Maria regularly, and told Chicken Corner she is doing well!

We’ll miss Maria, but we’ll also miss the lake and can’t wait for the project to be completed. In the meantime, feel free to donate to the Echo Park Animal Alliance, which is overseeing the care and protection of all the other wildlife in the lake that will be displaced during the project.