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‘Tis the season! Pick up some holiday gifts crafted by local designers this weekend at the Angelino Heights Craft Fair. Looks like some pretty cute stuff!

The Craft Fair takes place on Saturday and Sunday, December 3-4, 2011 from 1-5:00 pm at 1461 Carroll Avenue in Angelino Heights.

Echo Park isn’t lacking in boutiques and independent stores, but there’s plenty of retail space for all!

New boutique Myrtle is celebrating its grand opening tomorrow, Wednesday, November 30, 2011 after taking over 2213 Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park (once occupied by Bobbie Boutique).

The name Myrtle refers to the store owner’s great-great-grandmother, and great-great-great grandmother, according to the website. The store will feature vintage goodies like bags and clothing from independent female designers (Alexandra Grecco, Kathryn Whyte, Scout and Catalogue, and Kelly Bergin are amongst the many designers).

While the store is opening tomorrow, you can also check it out during the Echo Park Shop Hop on Saturday, December 10 from 5-10:00 pm, where they’ll have cocktails to enjoy and fashion to shop for.

h/t LA Racked for the heads up!

Flickr photo via Non Paratus

Hard to believe it’s Christmas time again, and the only thing that really makes us feel like it’s the holiday season are the neighborhood Holiday decorations!

The Eastsider LA reminds us that Elysian Park staff members are ready for yet another season, and are organizing volunteers to help put together the traditional tumbleweed snowmen/women for the park’s entrance on Stadium Way. We almost didn’t have the decorations last year when city budget cuts left Elysian Park without the money for staff and decorations. But volunteers stepped in and the snowmen were up!

While we do miss the snowman that frequented the corner of Scott Avenue and Stadium Way, but we know it takes a lot off effort – volunteers help to trim and put together the whole outfit made from recycled materials for each one.

If you’re interested in volunteering, snowman assembling is on Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 10:00 am at the park maintenance yard (Academy Road and Solano Canyon Drive). Email for schedule changes.

We know this is last minute, but this should be the first of many beer tasting classes at Sunset Beer Company in Echo Park. The “Kinda-Sorta Holiday Beer Class” will feature delicious beers such as the Gouden Carolus Noel, Alesmith Yulesmith, Avec Les Bons Voeux de la Brasserie Dupont, and Port Santa’s Little Helper, among others (all excellent holiday beers). There will also be cheese – yes, cheese!

This inaugural beer tasting class takes place tonight, Tuesday, November 29, 2011 from 7-9:00 pm, and will only cost you $35 per person or $60 per couple. Be sure to sign up now before seats run out!

Also coming soon to Sunset Beer: Beer of the Month clubs, brewery nights, food trucks, and local delivery!

Sunset Beer Holiday Beer Class
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 from 7-9:00 pm
RSVP to or (213) 481-233
Sunset Beer Co. is located at 1498 Sunset Boulevard, #3

It’s that time of year again – the annual pet photos with Santa at the Peter Shire Gallery!

Dog-lovers gather year after year to get photos of them, their pets, and the big bearded for the Echo Park Animal Alliance fundraiser. The prints are $10 each or three for $25, and you can get a bag of home baked dog biscuits for just $10.

In addition to the Pet Photos with Santa, the Peter Shire Gallery is open for you to browse while your pups enjoy doggy Christmas treats!

This all takes place from Saturday, December 3 (12 noon to 6:00 pm) through Sunday, December 4 (12 noon to 5:00 pm). The Peter Shire Gallery is located at 1850 Echo Park Avenue.

Email for more info.

“Sell your TV and come to the cinema” is the defining phrase on the Echo Park Film Center website, and while we’re keeping our TV (just got rid of cable) we are very excited for its upcoming 10 year anniversary weekend, which takes place from Friday, December 9 through Sunday, December 11. In celebration, the Film Center is organizing some live music, food, receptions, speeches, selling new merchandise, and of course hosting a lot of film screenings in various locations (including the Vons parking lot!).

Here’s the scoop from the website:

Friday, December 9 from 8–11:00 pm
Libations, live music and films at Stories Books & Cafe, 1716 Sunset Boulevard.

Saturday, December 10 from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Family filmmaking workshops and open house at Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado Street.

Saturday, December 10 from 7–10:30 pm
Filmmobile silent films screening in the Vons Parking Lot, 1342 N. Alvarado Street.

Sunday, December 11 from 2–6:00 pm
Punk Rock Songs & Cinema at The Smell, 247 S Main Street.

Sunday, December 11 from 6:30–10:30 pm
Reception and the Premiere of City of Angels 11: An EPFC Youth Film Project at Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main Street.

Lisa is desperately looking for her lost dog Lola, who escaped on Thanksgiving. Via email, Lisa told us the following about Lola:

PLEASE HELP. I lost my dog “LOLA” on Thanksgiving evening while entertaining guests, someone let the door open and she got out. Maybe scared with all of the cooking rustle and bustle.  I am very upset, i cant sleep or eat. I have done as much as i humanly can for her and i am hoping you can help also. She is snow white. No marks. Smooth coat, pink ears. Female fixed. Around 10 lbs. She had a pink collar with rhinestones on with tags, and microchip information attached. Please let me know if i am sending the appropriate information. Last seen on Echo Park Avenue and Donaldson Street.

Please contact us if you’ve seen Lola, and we’ll make sure Lisa gets her loved one back!

As newlyweds, the hubby and I are going to be furiously writing a lot of Christmas cards this holiday season. And with December just around the corner… it’s time to get started! Luckily, we’ve run across quite a few options for these holiday cards locally – that’s right, here in Echo Park!

826LA holiday cards

First up: 2011 Holiday cards from 826LA are letterpress, blank on the inside, and include a green moss envelope. Designed and hand-printed by 826LA volunteer Mary Peterson on high quality, sustainable paper from Waste Not Paper. $3 per card or $24 for a 10-pack. Click here for more info and to buy online (except you’ll walk there because you live in or near Echo Park).

Cheeky holiday cards from Villainy/eEvil Ink Designs

A quick stop into Villainy General Store will get you a few great packs of holiday cards (also sold individually) made by the owners’ design company, eEvil Ink Designs. You can preview and buy them online, but they are right on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park so spend that $14 per pack wisely.

Not picture because we were too busy shopping, Kelly Green just moved into Echo Park and carries a few eco-themed holiday cards that will certainly impress!

For the week of Monday, November 28 through Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rock and Roll Exposed (a documentary on the photography of Bob Gruen) @ Echoplex
The Chain Gang of 1974, American Tomahawk, Hot as Sun, Cassettes Won’t Listen @ Echo
Lianne La Havas, Little Hurricane, Driftwood Singers, Count Fleet, LA Font @ Bootleg Bar
Sexting, Cave, Jealousy, Bachsung @ Pehrspace

Downtown/Union, Tumbleweed Wanderers @ Echo
Sonos, John Gold, Liz Pappademas @ Bootleg Bar

Cass Mccombs Band With Lights By Jake & Mollie, White Magic @ Echo
Dub Club @ Echoplex
Duniven, Broadcast Station, Liquid Love Letter, Bixby Knolls, Lost And Found @ Bootleg Bar

Jamie Woon, Oregon Bike Trails @ Echo
Kick off party for The Echo Ten Year Anniversary month with Dan Deacon, Xbxrx, Juiceboxxx, Freezepop, DJ Franki Chan @ Echoplex
The Entrance Band, King Tuff, The Abigails @ Bootleg Bar

Allen Stone, Zz Ward, Thee Rain Cats @ Echo
Indie1031.Com presents Girl in a Coma, The Dead Ships, Fences, Kate Crash @ Echoplex
Nick Waterhouse, Allah Las, Ana Egge @ Bootleg Bar
Org Music Presents: First Fridays @ Lot 1 Cafe
Saint Motel @ Origami Vinyl
American Clit Legend, I Hate You Just Kidding, The Wind Chasers Club, My Brother My Double @ Pehrspace

KCRW’s “Are Friends Eclectic?” Holiday Show With Iron and Wine, Jimmy Cliff, Brett Dennen, Other Lives, The Belle Brigade, White Denim, The Secret Sisters, Anna Calvi, Mia Doi Todd, Zee Avi plus special guests @ The Orpheum Theatre
The Echo Ten Year Anniversary with: Extreme, Irregular, Unidentified Wine-Tasting Object @ Echo
Bootie La Holiday Mashup Party @ Echoplex
Funky Sole @ Echo
Swahili Blonde, Siddhartha, Lady Lazarus, Crooked Cowboy & The Freshwater Indians @ Bootleg Bar
Feed Your Head Presents: Seasons, Azaliasnail, Now, The Happy Casualities @ Lot 1 Cafe
Fonda @ Origami Vinyl
Derde Verde, Fern Lane, Sanglorians, College Kids @ Pehrspace

Part Time Punks Presents: Siouxsie & The Banshees Nite With Guest DJ Boss Harmony (Punky Reggae Party/Dub Club) @ Echo
Judson McKinney, Count Fleet, The Lonely Wild, Fort King @ Bootleg Bar
Foolproof Four @ Origami Vinyl

Visit the venue websites for more information on the cost and times of shows. Feel free to add more events in the comment section. All events listed are subject to change at any time, and new events announced for the week after this posting may not be included.

"Cine de Oro" by Ernesto de la Loza on Sunset and Mohawk in Echo Park

Last month, City of LA committees and departments held a public hearing on a possible new city-wide mural ordinance – one that would hopefully protect/preserve the city’s murals from land-use issues and graffiti, as well as foster an environment where new murals can be created. Long story short – the mural thing has been an issue for a long, long, long time in Los Angeles, involving law suits and billboard laws and unhappy artists. Echo Park has been a wonderful hub for colorful murals and activist art, including new artists like the French street artist JR, Cache, Banksy, and others (we even got a tour earlier this month of some of the city’s best and oldest street artists decorating the walls of Keystone Studios on Glendale Boulevard). And because Echo Park is historically a friendly environment for these murals, the new mural ordinance will definitely affect our neighborhood (and hopefully in a good way!).

Last week, Open Culture released nice summary of the mural issue (link via Curbed LA), along with a short documentary by Oliver Riley-Smith on the sad state of murals in Los Angeles in the face of graffiti and the white-washing of neighborhoods in the name of “redevelopment” (aka gentrification). The documentary features artist and activist Ernesto de la Loza, who has been fighting for years to save the city’s murals (of the 42 murals he painted over the last four decades, on nine remain). We believe he still lives in Echo Park (at one point his studio was also located here) and he once had several murals in the neighborhood – you can see his remaining piece, called “Cine de Oro,” on Sunset Boulevard and Mohawk Street (pictured).

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Photo from Above The Lake blog

We’re a few months into the Echo Park Lake rehab project, but besides the torn up sidewalks and construction vehicles, you wouldn’t really be able to tell the lake had been drained after the recent heavy rains. In addition to a few photos by Angelino Heights resident Steve (who took the above photo and posted it on his blog, Above The Lake), we have the official list from the city of what (and how many) was found in the lake after the draining. We’re not really surprised they found a couple of guns, but a telephone booth?! Check out the list below:

Park Trash Cans – 20
Construction cones – 36
Shopping Carts – 7
Portable Stereos/Boombox – 3
Pay Telephone – 1
Skateboard – 6
Parking Enforcement Boot – 1
Toilet – 1
Glass bottles – Hundreds
Model Boat – 2
Frisbee – 20
Weapons (guns) – 2
Office Chair – 6
Miscellaneous toys, Trash, Debris – Hundreds

Of course you can’t count every single thing, and once they start dredging the lake, they’ll probably find more items in the muck.

Check out more photos of the Echo Park Lake rehab project on our Flickr set.

July 4th, 2011 fireworks

Thanksgiving dinner with the family last night was accompanied by an unusual noise this time of year – loud popping sounds coming from somewhere nearby in Echo Park. I immediately concluded the sounds were fireworks, not having the heart to tell my family it maybe, perhaps, could have been gunshots (I’m apparently not so good and telling the difference right away).

We figured it wasn’t the latter, but resident Jeanne did some digging of her own, and apparently the dinner-time fireworks we heard weren’t the only ones. Jeanne emailed us the official word this morning:

Bizarrely, per northeast division desk sargent: some adolescent thought it would be entertaining to light fireworks in the wee hours of the morning in the 1300 block of sunset.

So for once, the large explosive noises were not gunfire-that-sounded-like-fireworks, but actually fireworks.

A relief i guess for it not to be shooting…

Here, here!

I recently had a great opportunity to help organize the Thanksgiving Day “adoption” of the Echo Park Fire Station 20 as a member of the Echo Park Improvement Association (EPIA). We sent out a call for help recently to our EPIA subscribers, asking for donations of Thanksgiving meal dishes to take to our local fire station, since they all had to clock in for work today while most of us get the holiday off.

And we had a great response! Echo Park is a community full of caring people, and everyone came together at the fire house today bearing cranberry sauce, rolls, pies, turkey, and all the fixin’s. A few families came out to hang out with the crew as well, and the kids had a great time climbing in the fire trucks.

Thank you to everyone who brought the food, and to Andrea Barbosa and family for the idea and making it happen! Thanks also goes to Echo Park Patch and The Eastsider LA for helping spread the word about the event.

More importantly, thank you firefighters! With all the budget cuts going on, we know you’re working very, very hard to keep us safe. Happy holidays!

Get the flash player here:

By tradition, we’re looking for the great deals this Thanksgiving weekend, so while you’ve got the turkey in the oven feel free to peruse the following Echo Park sales and events in honor of Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday, and Cyber Monday (we’ll try to add more as we come across new sales/events):

Villainy Saturday Event

Villainy General Store at 1519 W. Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park is hosting “Saturday is the new Black Friday” with holiday cocktails, coffee and treats. Of course there are great gift items to snatch up, which you can read about on our previous post.

Montana Cans Black Friday Super Sale

The 10 hour sale on Friday, November 25 includes 20-60% off store items (spray cans, markers, etc.). Store hours are 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, located at 1528 1/2 West Sunset Boulevard.

Post-Thanksgiving Epic hike

The Big Parade creators are hosting this 15 mile street, stairs and trails walk on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Starts at the Chinatown Metro Gold line at 9:00 am, and according to the Facebook invite there’s an “eay bailout point” halfway through if you want to hop on a bus and head back. Great way to work off that 2,000 calorie meal you gobbled on Thanksgiving – and for free!

Tavin Boutique Weekend-long Sales

There’s a 10% off sale at Tavin Boutique if you’re looking for some unique gifts or a party dress for yourself (they’ve got some seriously cute stuff starting at $20). The sales at Tavin last through the Thanksgiving weekend, Friday through Sunday. Also be sure to save the date for the store’s holiday parties on Saturday and Sunday, December 10-11 from 3-7:00 pm.

Feeding Birds Sales

Always some great vintage finds at Feeding Birds, also great “Echo Park” tees. They are closed Thanksgiving Day and Friday, but be sure to stop in over the weekend and check it out. If you shop online on the Etsy store on Black Friday and Cyber Monday you get a free screen printed tote bag.

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Holiday parking regulations get a little relaxed on days like Thanksgiving Day! While you may have noticed no tickets are being doled out for those street cleaning sides, and the 1-2 hour parking rules relaxed, Friday is back to business so park appropriately!

Here’s the low-down from the LA City Department of Transportation, click the image below for the full PDF:

Bottom line: Park longer than that 1-2 hour time limit and don’t feed the meter (at most meters – look out for the “holidays excluded” signage).

Happy holidays!