The Department of Public Works just announced the launch of a new website,, specifically for the upcoming Echo Park Lake rehabilitation project, scheduled to start later this summer. There’s a photo gallery (before and after shots), updated news, and contact information as well as resource links. The website purpose will hopefully serve the community by updating everyone on the project before, during and after. According to the website:

The City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works project team is committed to keeping the community updated on the latest information about the Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation project. We encourage you to bookmark this page, and tell your neighbors about it! It’s the easiest way to know what’s going on with the City’s plans to improve and beautify the lake. You can also submit your questions about the lake improvements to the project team at We will do our best to respond to you as soon as possible.

The week after the Lotus Festival (July 9-10, 2011), the 18-24 month construction will begin. There wasn’t a whole lot of specific information being circulated about the final project details, but we knew a few Echo Park residents/Echo Park Improvement Association members (Echo Park Now is also a member) had been meeting with the Bureau of Engineering project managers and CD13 reps to hammer out those final details. The EPIA’s June-July 2011 newsletter, EPIAn Ways, actually just published a nice, comprehensive article about the rehabilitation project. Here’s an excerpt from that article with details about the project:

Read more

You may be familiar with the tragic closure of my favorite Echo Park laundromat on Sunset Boulevard and Lemoyne Street. Well it looks like yesterday may have been the day it reopened – we snapped this photo of the grand opening sign announcing a Thursday, June 29 re-opening under new management.

Hopefully the new “managment” can spell better than the makers of this sign – I’ve never heard of “Echo Friendly” laundry!

We’ll check it out and let you know how it goes!

Beer connoisseur and restaurant owner Tony Yanow’s Echo Park venture, Mohawk Bend, started construction last year in the old Ramona Theater, and the restaurant is just about to open. Having remained vacant for about two decades, the 6,000 square foot, 1914 building has undergone quite a transformation – and we got a peak inside!

Get the flash player here:

A couple of weeks ago, a very friendly Paige Reilly (whose email signature casually claims her role in the scheme of things as the “Beer Champion” for Tony’s Darts Away) took me on a tour Mohawk Bend and gave me a full run-down of what’s going on behind those theater doors:

A non-smoking outdoor patio is the first space you’ll notice (where you would, for instance, buy your movie tickets when it was a theater). It will be treated almost like a lounge area with cocktailers.

The Quad is just past the hostess station, where two- and four-tops plus booths (totaling 48 seats) will occupy the space. It’s a seat yourself deal, and while you can order at the bar there will be cocktailers as well.

There’s this really cool concrete community table with high-top seating as you move into further down into the pub/bar area (they had to build it right there, it’s so bulky). Along the right side is the row of bar stools facing a total of 72 taps for beer and six taps for wines. With a focus on California/local brews, wines, and even spirits, they’ll also be making their own juices and even sodas.

Along the left side are also high-top seats, this section facing an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs in action. There’s the “Cadillac of pizza ovens” along with multiple stations – since they will be offering a variety of vegan dishes, they’ve actually duplicated stations so that vegan meals are prepared separately from meat dishes. That means they have two of each: cold tops, fryers, griddles and pizza stations.

The menu isn’t entirely vegan because they are really driving home that they have an “inclusive” menu – so that there’s something for everyone.

At the end of the building, broken up by an enormous wall of glass panels, is the sort-of “formal” dining area. It’s here you can really get a sense the old theater space – the expansive walls of exposed brick give off the original flavor, and they plan to have ivy or some sort of greenery to help make it feel more like an outdoor space. They also installed quite a few beautiful skylights and scaffolding to help that outdoor feel.There’s also a massive fireplace centering the far wall.

Back to what’s really important, more about the booze:

  • Of the 72 taps, 67 are California-only brews
  • 35 are permanent handles and 32 will rotate
  • Every month they will feature one out-of-state brewer, and will host a kick-off event with the brewer on hand
  • Six taps are wine kegs, and will rotate like the beers
  • The bar is fully stocked with 80 bottles spirits, and like the beer and wine will be local or California companies. Since tequila is from Mexico only, there will be California agave spirits (apparently bar manager Keith Taylor makes a mean margarita, and will be serving up other traditional and specialty cocktails)

Back when this whole project started, I was a little worried about big names like Spacecraft leading the design of the new restaurant, fearing it would turn into some over-exaggerated, Hollywood design that wouldn’t fit well with some of the more homey establishments in the community. But I’ve warmed up to Tony, the restaurant, and the concept as a whole (despite a few neighborhood objections when they moved in).

We are all anxiously awaiting the final touches to be made for the grand opening. Actually, the restaurant was supposed to open today, but as with any restaurant opening there are permit delays, final deliveries, and just some last minute details to be sorted. They now expect Mohawk Bend to open in early July, we’re crossing our fingers!


Eater LA reports the opening will be delayed even more to late July due to some problems with gas pipes or gas lines.

For the week of Tuesday, June 28 through Sunday, July 3

The Echo & Future Sounds presents: The Postelles, Kitten, Pageants, Pan Am @ Echo
J Scott Bergman, Holly Gleason, Nightmare And The Cat @ Bootleg Theater
Jack Littman, Nikki Lang, Dez Hope, Elas & Celeigh Chapman @ Lot 1 Cafe
Open Mic Night @ Fretted Frog

Alela Diane, Parson Redheads, Yukon Blonde @ Echo
Dub Club @ Echoplex
Sarabeth Tucek, Twilight Sleep, Magic Mirror @ Bootleg Theater
Live Jazz Every Wednesday night at 7:00 pm @ Downbeat Cafe

Johnny O’donnell, John Carpenter, Corridor, Residual Echoes @ Echo
Heavy La @ Echoplex
Vandaveer, Cheyenne Marie, Luluc @ Bootleg Theater
Paleo @ Origami Vinyl
Los Angeles Loves @ Lot 1 Cafe
Sister Rogers Residency @ Taix Lounge
Emily Lacy, Claire Cronin, Adrian Tenne, Folk Ladies @ Echo Country Outpost

Echo & Club Underground Present Jessica 6, Love Grenades, Vice Cooler @ Echo
Echo & Check Yo’ Ponytail2 Present: Blonde Redhead, The Luyas, Bass Drum Of Death, Turquoise Wisdom @ Echoplex
Dan Bern With Common Rotationc @ Bootleg Theater
Sunshine Factory, El Camino Real, The Health Club, Morose @ Lot 1 Cafe
The Functionaries, Abe Lincoln Story @ Taix Lounge

Bootie La @ Echoplex
Funky Sole @
Venus Illuminato, Sabrosa Purr, Amusement Parks On Fire @ Bootleg Theater
Gwendolyn and friends @ Taix Lounge
Southern Tornadoes Benefit: Sue Scrofa and Friends @ Echo Country Outpost

Grand Ole Echo @ Echo
Trannyshack La @ Echoplex
Part Time Punks – David Bowie Nite with guest DJ Jose Maldonado @ Echo
Man Your Horse @ Origami Vinyl

Visit the venue websites 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.

We allllmost missed this on the radar, but this is the last weekend for the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival, and there are still quite a few amazing films still scheduled for screenings.

One of those films is Mamitas, which has gotten some pretty rave reviews and awards since its release in 2007, was filmed all over Echo Park. Directed by Nicholas Ozeki, the film is about a young casanova trying to teach his friends how to hit on girls. Here’s the synopsis from the LA Film Fest website:

“At school, Jordin is a cocky but charming Latino firebrand; at home he is a doting grandson who can’t seem to please his perpetually cranky father. On the day he’s suspended for insulting a teacher, Jordin meets Felipa, a bookish, no-nonsense New York girl who sees past the swaggering facade. The two immediately embark on an unlikely friendship that inspires Jordin to find out who he really is.

“Beautifully shot in Echo Park and against Los Angeles’ downtown skyline, this beguiling coming-of-age romance introduces two phenomenal young actors in EJ Bonilla and Veronica Diaz-Carranza and a remarkable new talent in first time feature filmmaker Nicholas Ozeki.”

And Echo Park looks gorgeous, as always!

You can still get tickets for the two remaining screenings at the festival for tonight’s 10:20 pm showing and tomorrow’s 12:00 noon showing. Click here for tickets and more info.

We managed to track down a trailer for your sneak peak!

Related articles:

“Los Angeles Film Festival: ‘Mamitas’ continues a coming-of-age tradition.” LA Times, June 22, 2010

This cutey caught our eye on the Echo Park Animal Alliance Yahoo! group. His name is Patch, he’s 10 months old, and was surrendered by the owner to the North Central Animal Shelter because they had no time – unfortunately he’s been there since April 30, so he needs to get adopted or fostered ASAP.

His shelter ID number (which you can search here) is A1208851.

Patch is an unaltered male, white and yellow brindle German Shepherd Dog and American Staffordshire Terrier. Good with kids, needs some help socializing with other dogs, and isn’t aggressive “just barky.” There’s a video of him to show you just how cute he is!

Patch has been fostered! But he still needs a permanent home. Contact us if you’re interested in adopting and we’ll get you in touch with the right people.

Today marks the start of the annual Dwell on Design conference in Downtown Los Angeles – it’s a pretty cool, inspiring event if you have never been! As part of the weekend-long event, they are hosting an Eastside Home Tours on Saturday, June 25 that covers architecturally significant homes around Echo Park, Silver Lake of course, and even Mt. Washington.

The Echo Park house featured in the tour particularly caught our eye because it’s been a mystery to us for some time now – it’s an oddly shaped concrete house on Lake Shore Avenue that started going up years ago, and I never got a close look thanks to some menacing guard dogs. Apparently it’s the work of Norman Millar Architects and is named “ArkHouse.”

The new structure replaces a 1904 “weekend cabin.” It’s described by the architects on the Dwell website as the following:

“Based on the idea of a mini mall, the project has repetitive concrete shear walls and repetitive spaces served by centrally located plumbing.

“All of the spaces are the same. The use of each room is determined by how it is furnished by its inhabitants. Floor to ceiling glass doors slide open on the outside of the building blurring the lines between indoors and the garden. The house has a narrow footprint allowing most of the site to be given over to vegetation and sunlight and providing easy flow through ventilation. The green roof provides insulation and plenty of food for most of the year.”

Not exactly my cup of tea – I’m more of an old-school California bungalow type of gal, even with natural ventilation and lighting. But we are definitely curious for a peak of the inside, photos of which you can find on the Dwell Eastside Home Tours page.

Tickets are sold out, but you can check out photos of the featured houses on the website.

A very happy first anniversary to Xoia Vietnamese Eats, located along Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park.

The restaurant opened up late last June, offering up a nice, cool patio area to enjoy your meal and an affordable menu. A fan of the tofu Pho, I’ve also heard great things about the bold directions they’ve gone with non-traditional menu items such as the Pho Beef Tacos.

And, speaking of Pho Beef Tacos, they are giving one away for free when you purchase an entrée on Saturday, June 25 (while supplies last). You can also get a few Vietnamese Iced Coffee (soooo good)!

If you’ve never met the owners, Jose Sarinana and Thien Ho, they are incredibly pleasant and great for a community like Echo Park. In an email, they told us about celebrating their first year with Xoia:

“It has been an awesome adventure in creating and recreating food this past year! More importantly, this past year allowed us to meet and stay in touch with so many great people who have embraced us in their food community.”

Congrats to Jose, Thien, and the staff – see you soon!

The North Central Animal Shelter is having a “Chip-A-Thon” on Sunday, June 26, where you can get your pet chipped for very, very cheap!

Bring your pet from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm on Sunday to the shelter and pay just $15 – includes the chipping and the registration (trust me, this is very inexpensive!).

Getting your pet chipped is very important – if they lose their collar or escape from the house, this is the best way to get your loved one home!

The North Central Shelter is located at 3201 Lacy Street.

The Chip-A-Thon is sponsored by Southern California Veterinary Medical Association (SCVMA), HomeAgain and Avid.

Last Sunday (June 19, 2011), area residents and bird-lovers met up bright and early at Echo Park Lake for the final bird count before the lake construction begins this summer. A total of 26 species were counted, all of which we’ve listed below.

Jenny Burman of the Chicken Corner noticed the number seemed a little low compared to last January’s count, which noted 42 species at Echo Park Lake. So she asked bird count leader Judy Raskin, why the large drop? Here’s her answer, from Jenny’s column:

Hi, Jenny. The number of species at any time will vary. For example, the winter migrations are over, mostly, except for the occasional bird here and there. Most of the birds at the lake now either are resident or find their food and shelter within a swath that includes the lake. I’m surprised by the number of Canada geese here now, but I bet they will move on within a few weeks, maybe to the river, maybe to another lake. Most of the wild mallards are gone, as are virtually all of the American coots — I noticed only two yesterday. On the other hand, there were loads of bushtits, a species that we didn’t see much of in recent years.

Now, if you’re not giggling at the word Bushtit – it’s not a typo but an actual bird species (thank you, Wikipedia) – this should answer that question about spring/summer migrations at Echo Park Lake.

Raskin is hoping to do a Christmas Bird Count in December or January, which is an annual tradition for not just Echo Park Lake bird-watchers but also the National Audubon Society. We’ll see how the construction goes!

Here’s the list of birds counted at the lake last Sunday:

Read more

Echo Park, Edendale, and Silver Lake Libraries:

Free puppet shows, magic shows, music, storytimes, crafts, and lots of books to read!
When you join the free 2011 Summer Reading Club, you will receive a game board. See if you can “read around the world,” 30 minutes at a time! After you read 2 hours, you get a sticker and a chance to win a prize. After you read 8 hours, you get a free book to take home. If you read 15 hours, you might win a Grand Prize!

New this year – a special game board just for kids ages 0 to 4 and their parents! Young kids and parents do fun activities together, such as reading books, going to library storytime, and making animal noises. After you finish the game board, the child gets a free book to take home and is eligible for a Grand Prize.

In the Summer Reading Club, you get to read whatever you want – for fun! And the more you read, the better you get at it.

Flickr photo via Nickels_Photography

Echo Park Branch

  • Bilingual Baby & Toddler Storytime: Tuesdays at 12:30 pm
  • Game Days: Tuesdays, 3:30-5:30 pm
  • Len Levitt & the Levity Puppets: July 13, Stories Around the World
  • LACMA Family Art Class: Thursdays at 4:00 pm
  • Teen Summer Reading Club events:
    • Start of Teen Summer Reading Club: Celebrate Canada Day. July 1 at 2:00 pm
    • AFRICA: South African Beaded Bracelets. July 8 at 2:00 pm
    • THE UNIVERSE: Build a Bubble-Powered Rocket. July 15 at 2:00 pm
    • THE AMERICAS: Mexican Cooking Round Robin. July 22 at 2:00 pm
    • WITHIN YOURSELF: Juanderful Poetry Writing Workshop, Teen Summer Reading Club. July 29 at 2:00 pm
    • EURASIA: European Food & Games. August 5 at 2:00 pmEnd of Summer Party. August 12 at 2:00 pm.

Flickr photo via indigo imposter

Edendale Branch

ELFS Used Book Sale: Wednesdays at 2:00 pm. Join the Edendale Library Friends Society for their weekly used book sale. All sales support the library.

For Children
Infant & Toddler Storytime: Wednesdays at 10:00 am and 11:00 am. Children 1-3 and their special grown-ups join the children’s librarian for nursery rhymes, songs, finger plays, and books. Get ready to read and have fun in the library!
One World, Many Stories: June 25 at 10:00 am. Drop by the library anytime today for games and crafts from around the world and to sign up for the summer reading club: One World, Many Stories. Read great books this summer and get a free book to keep and a chance to win other prizes.

Puppet making & Storytelling: June 30 at 3:00 pm. Artist and puppeteer Leslie Gray leads a puppet-making and storytelling workshop, part of our Summer Reading Club, One World, Many Stories.

For Teens
Teen Summer Reading Kick-Off: June 30 at 5:00 pm. Let’s get together with Marcella Kroll, Mistress of the Tarot, to kick off this year’s Teen Summer Reading Program.

Click here to download the full PDF of summer events at the libraries (which contains both English and Spanish).

    Straight from 826LA volunteers, they’ve got some great activities for middle and high school kids for summer, located at the Time Travel Mart on Sunset. And they’re free!

    ’ZINE, DEFINED Ages 14–18

    ’Zine: a publication our high school students dream up, piece together, and publish. Join us as we collect writing, drawing, and everything else and compile it as a xeroxed, homemade ’zine. Each issue focuses on a different theme, and attendees act not only as contributors, but also as editors and designers.

    826LA East: Seven Wednesdays, June 22 through August 3 6:30 pm–8:00 pm


    Students will write and revise with volunteers and fellow playwrights, as well as workshop with actors in Shine! LA’s Youth Theatre, to write intertwined works that explore the essence of the City of Los Angeles. The resulting plays will be staged near the end of summer.

    826LA West: Thursday, July 7, and six Tuesdays, July 12 through August 16 4:30 pm–8:00 pm

    ROCK OPERA CAMP Ages 10–16

    Working with writers, performers, and musicians, students will develop a basic three-act play, along with dialogue, music, and lyrics. Students will also have the chance to hone their performance skills and perform the play with volunteers at the end of the camp.

    826LA East: Six Thursdays, July 21 through August 25 6:30 pm–8:30 pm


    Students work with professional journalists to research, write, and produce their own newspapers—The Venice Wave at 826LA West and 826LA Good Times at 826LA East.

    826LA East: Monday Evenings, July 25 through August 27 (skipping 8/22) 7:00 pm–8:30 pm

    826LA West: Wednesday Evenings, July 27 through August 31 (skipping 8/24) 7:00 pm–8:30 pm

    WORDS, SPOKEN Ages 13–18

    In this intensive five-day workshop, high school students will have the opportunity to examine what makes words perform, what it means to speak and embody text, and what we can do to harness our personal histories, our identities, and voices. The workshop culminates in a spoken word event where everyone has their say!

    826LA East: Monday through Friday, August 22 through August 26 Time TBD

    826LA West: Monday through Friday, August 22 through August 26 5:00 pm–9:00 pm

    Visit for or information, or call (310) 305-8418

    For the week of Wednesday, June 22 through Sunday, June 26.

    Dub Club Presents Horace Andy @ Echoplex
    Early Winters (featuring Carina Round), Nicole Eva Emery, Haroula @ Bootleg Theater
    Live Jazz Every Wednesday Night at 7:00 pm @ Downbeat Cafe
    Juke Joint: 4 Bands plus The Downtown Train e.p. release party @ Lot 1 Cafe

    Hipsters Heart Hip Hop presents: Free the Robots, Darkhorsemen, Nocando, Labwaste, Zackey Force Funk, Ages, surprise guest @ Echo
    Heavy La @ Echoplex
    War Tapes, Dead Sara, The Drowning Men, Last American Buffalo @ Bootleg Theater
    Sister Rogers Residency @ Taix Lounge
    Outernational @ Origami Vinyl

    Club Underground with College Battle of the Bands, presented by Chegg, featuring: Land of Pines, The Mohicans, Old Abram Brown, The John King Band, Rozzi Crane @ Echo
    LA Record presents Middle Class, Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds, Grant Hart, The Urinals @ Echoplex
    Amy Kuney, John Bobek, Alex Dezen @ Bootleg Theater
    Abilene Fawn, Gothic Tropic, RT N’ The 44s @ The Fretted Frog
    Lovers and Poets, Karmakoda @ Taix Lounge
    John Schrifer, Princess Pangea, The Violet Lights, Elemenopy @ Lot 1 Cafe
    The Prids @ Origami Vinyl

    Mucho Paradise Presents: El Conjunto Nueva Ola, Bam Bam @ Echoplex
    Funky Sole @ Echo
    A Benefit for Solomon Perry: Dirt Dress, Cosmonauts, Siblings, Traps, Ps, Junghaus, Hello My Name Is Red, Peter Pants @ Pehrspace
    Ian Fays, Fogelfoot @ Taix Lounge
    Manzan Records presents: Little Desert, Sue Scrofa, Seanshan, Peter Pants @ Lot 1 Cafe

    Grand Ole Echo with Jackson Tanner, Funeral Club, Kip Boardman @ Echo
    Part Time Punks: Factory Records Nite @ Echo
    Shalants, Moomaw, Gracious Calamity, LA’s Own Fort King @ Echo Country Outpost
    Frank Fairfield @ Origami Vinyl

    Visit the venue websites 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.

    Last week we noticed a splurge of articles circulating the Internets about food – but not just any food, Echo Park food! Makes me hungry just reading about it. Here are some excerpts from the LA Weekly and the LA Times blog articles that caught our eye:

    30 Scoops in 30 Days: Kind Kreme (Day 10)

    By Elina Shatkin, June 14, 2011 – LA Weekly

    The local mini-chain has three locations: Studio City, Pasadena and Echo Park, where it shares space with Sage Vegan Bistro, in the former home of ill-fated Mooi, a raw vegan restaurant known mostly for its tiny portions, expensive prices and piss-poor service. The Dr. Seuss decor and bad attitudes are gone. In its place is a friendly café that seems to be bustling with life. Like most newfangled Echo Park eateries, it’s filled with skulking hipster cliches: skinny genes in skinny jeans, un/ironic 1980s fashions and asymmetrical haircuts. But the staff at Kind Kreme wants to make sure you to enjoy their ice cream, whether or not you’re a vegan.

    Click here for the full article.


    Billie Stone of

    An Echo Park resident, Billie Strong’s blog has some pretty incredible recipes and cooking tips and tricks. This is one of quite a few Echo Parkian blogs we subscribe to, and are looking forward to trying out her latest recipe – panko crusted fish. Yumm!

    Recently, the LA Times also ranked her California Turkey Burger recipe in the top 20 burgers in “Battle of the Burgers.” You can try it at the LA Times Test Kitchen, and winners will be featured in the 4th of July Food Section.


    Jambon beurre sandwich

    June 14, 2011 – LA Times Blog

    Lately, I’ve been making a pit stop at Cookbook in Echo Park for baguettes (some of the best in town). One Sunday I got there early (it opens at 8 a.m.), and the woman behind the counter was making up what looked very like a jambon beurre. “Yes, it is,” she said. But made on the most slender ficelle (super-skinny baguette).

    Cookbook's Jambon beurre sandwich / LA Times

    On Monday, I picked up a sandwich for lunch. The ficelle is wonderful, slathered with sweet butter and enclosing a single slice of prosciutto. Perfect if you’re headed for a hike in Elysian Park.

    Click here for the full article.

    And speaking of Cookbook, the food boutique/grocer just started summer programs (from food to painting and floral design) this month at the store. Check out the schedule below:

    Read more

    It’s been a few months since the Echo Curio closed its doors, but the retail space at Sunset Blvd. and Laveta has yet to get new renters.

    It seems the space has been plagued by problems since the LAPD started cracking down on the entertainment venue last year for its unofficial BYOB problems, and then for permitting issues as a performance space (which ended up being the final death-blow). Other food and/or entertainment businesses interested in the space might run into the same issues – there’s no parking (the city has ridiculous parking rules) and it’s not permitted for pretty much anything (other than commercial/office space).

    For those brave enough to try and open up this great space in a great location in Echo Park can check out this Craiglist post leasing out the location:

    Up for lease is this wonderful store-front commercial space in the heart of Echo Park along Sunset Blvd. This is a very visible space with lots of pedestrian traffic.

    The space itself is divided between two rooms. The front room is just under 500 interior sf and the back room, which includes the bathroom is just over 300 interior sf.

    This is perfect for retail, commercial, office or studio. It is not currently suitable for food services.

    This space is being offered at $1750/month with a 2 year lease (with option to renew). Lease includes one off street parking spot.

    Call or email to schedule an appointment for viewing.

    Check out the Craigslist post here.