On Sunday, December 30, 2012, bird-lovers took a walk around Echo Park Lake with notepads in hand for the annual Christmas Bird Count. According to organizer Judy Raskin, Echo Park Lake saw three new species – acorn woodpecker, common raven and bufflehead – despite the total number of species declining (the lake is still under construction).

Over 70 bird species have been counted at Echo Park Lake over the years – the 2012 Christmas Bird Count saw 41 species with winter usually being a popular month for the migrating birds at the lake. This year, Echo Park Lake bird watchers counted a total of 29 total species, which are broken down below:

2 Canada geese
6 Mallard
4 Bufflehead
3 Ruddy duck
1 Double-crested cormorant
1 Cooper’s hawk
3 Red-tailed hawk
15 American coot
21 Killdeer
8 Western gull
69 Rock pigeon
2 Yellow-chevroned parakeet
9 Vaux’s swift
6 Allen’s hummingbird
4 Acorn woodpecker
4 Black phoebe
1 Cassin’s kingbird
2 Western scrub jay
12 American crow
2 Common raven
38 bushtit
1 Ruby-crowned kinglet
2 Northern mockingbird
11 European starling
9 Yellow-Rumped Warbler
2 California towhee
12 Brewer’s blackbird
7 House finch
18 House sparrow

We’ve finally finished processing all the photos from the Echo Park Community Parade, which took place on Saturday, December 8, 2012. It was a lot of fun photographing the event, and everyone did a great job. Click here to view the full photo gallery on our Facebook page!

If you’re shopping locally like we are for the holidays, the Echo Park Craft Fair this weekend is a required shopping destination. Although featuring many Echo Park artists, the fair has grown out of its backyard diggs of the past and to a new location in downtown.

Started three years ago by Beatrice Valenzuela and Rachel Craven, it has now grown to over 40 vendors. We know Echo Park’s Tavin will be there, along with lots of local vendors and exhibitors selling home goods, fashion, jewelry, pottery, an candles, and more. Check it out!

The Echo Park Craft Fair
Saturday, December 15, from noon to 7:00 pm
Sunday, December 16, from noon to 5:00 pm
The Storefront Bazaar is located at 821 E. 3rd Street

No longer do you have to use your car (if you brought one) as a dining table while you munch on your late-night grub at Echo Park’s popular taco truck, Taco Zone. It just got a little easier to drunkenly juggle those tacos and burritos at the Vons-adjacent taco truck with the addition of “modular” tables, likely removable, as posted in a video by Ways and Means.

Tables for Taco Zone from Ways & Means on Vimeo.

Hipster high-fives, guys!

h/t LAist

Little Joy on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Portia has undergone many exterior paint jobs over the years. From green to black, and covered in colorful murals, the dive bar now dons a purple-ish blue shade.

The exterior facelift is just one of the new changes that new owners Joaquin Reyna-Donaldson and Donald Andes have been working on since closing the doors in November. We’ve reached out for some more info, but for now it’s not clear whether or not the dive-bar vibe will be a thing of the past.

Although owners Charles Kelly and Bill Didonna closed four-year-old Allston Yacht Club in September, the duo have been remodeling the space to reopen a new restaurant under a new name.

“Allumette” (French for matchstick) will reopen some time in early 2013 under chef Miles Thompson, who oversaw the pop-up Vagrancy Project at AYC. Zagat has the scoop:

The menu will keep his focus on “seasonal, soulful” dishes, things like red kuri with broccoli, vadouvan and carrot, monkfish with sour cherry and chorizo, and rabbit with hazelnut tortellini. This time the bar will be overseen by Serena Harrick, another Harvard & Stone alum.

Perhaps the facelift the restaurant is getting will wash it clean of any past karma – prior to AYC, it was Restaurant 15, which lasted just a year. But now that Echo Park isn’t a stranger to upscale dining, hopefully Allumette will stick!

Photos by Christine Peters

Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park today just got a little more festive – some new holiday decor was installed along the corridor earlier today.

The Echo Park Chamber of Commerce sponsored an “Adopt-a-Pole” drive, which a number of businesses participated in along with Council District 1 and 13, as well as Senator DeLeon’s office. It will sure look nice for the Echo Park Community Parade on Saturday!

Photos by Christine Peters

Celebrate the holiday season with Echo Park and neighboring communities – the annual Echo Park Community Parade takes place this Saturday on December 8, 2012 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Santa will be there!

Parade Grand Marshals include: Los Angeles Police Department Captains William A. Murphy, Captain III (Northeast Community Police Station) & Steve Ruiz, Captain III (Rampart Community Police Station).

Parade Ambassadors are: Central City Action Committee & El Centro Del Pueblo, Select Patrol, Los Angeles Fire Department Fire Station 20, Los Angeles Police Department Senior Lead Officers Lewis Ford of the Rampart Community Police Station, and Bobby Hill of the Northeast Community Police Station.

Click here to check out our photos from last year’s parade.

And don’t forget to shop local! The annual Echo Park Shop Hop offers a slew of discounts for supporting our local businesses.

The annual Echo Park Shop Hop takes place before, during and after the Echo Park Community Parade. Businesses and restaurants all over Echo Park are offering special discounts for shopping local, check out all the details for each after the jump!

Read more

Holiday parties are certainly aplenty this time of year! And if you can’t make it to the Echo Park Chamber of Commerce mixer tonight at Fix Coffee at 7:00 pm, be sure you drop by the Echo Park Improvement Association’s annual Holiday Potluck on Thursday.

Hosting a holiday mixer or event for your business or organization? Share the info in the comments below!

This weekend is the annual Pet Photos with Santa, benefiting the Echo Park Animal Alliance.

Bring your dog, or even your cat (we did!), or any other mellow pet of yours (fish? turtle? chicken?) and take a photo with Santa himself.

Prints are $10 each or three for $25, and home baked dog biscuits area also available 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 on Saturday and Sunday, December 1-2, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The Peter Shire Gallery is located at 1850 Echo Park Avenue.

Email info@echoparkanimalalliance.org for more info.

Original mural alongside The Hedgehog at Mohawk Street & Sunset Boulevard

What the wall looks like now

Colorful murals are not only a common sight in Echo Park, it’s something the neighborhood takes a lot of pride in (depending on the artwork). While we’re not sure the erasure of a mural along Mohawk Street at Sunset Boulevard will capture the protests from the community like the Quinceañera mural did earlier this year, the whitewashing of the wall is a dramatic difference.

Erin West, who own The Hedgehog cafe on which the mural was located, planned on putting up a new, Echo Park themed mural when the wall was painted over, but business got a little busy. Prior to the election, Erin added the Yes on Prop 37 paintings, but some recent graffiti markings by, the tagging claims, the artist themselves protests the “hipster politics” on the wall. “I actually tried to track the crew down to give them a heads up,” Erin wrote in an email, referring to painting over the original mural, “but they didn’t exactly leave a forwarding address when I took over the lease.”

Erin is currently working on hiring a sandblaster to remove all paint from the brick wall. In the meantime, they are asking for any artists who may be interested in the new project to touch base via email at TheHedgehogLA@gmail.com

We have to ask all our readers: Did you like the original mural? Would you like to see a new mural, or is a brick wall cool with you?

Gobble Gobble Give, Echo Park

The 14th annual Gobble Gobble Give event is looking for volunteers as well as donations of food and/or money. Held on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 22, 2012), volunteers cook for and collect donated items for the needy – they’ve actually served over 4,000 meals to homeless at The Echo.

They currently need a few helpers for: Email correspondence, Camera and video operators (in locations like Vegas and San Fran), and travelers to go to one of their new locations. They also need small, medium and large donations (tax deductible!), like money, food, and clothing.

Click here to donate and for more info.

Union Station Homeless Services

While the annual Thanksgiving Dinner-in-the-Park volunteer positions are all currently filled, your monetary donations are needed! For more information and to donate, click here.

One Incredible Family in Playa del Rey

The organization, located in Playa del Rey, will be holding a Homeless Feeding and Banner Creation event on Saturday, November 24. They not only need volunteers, they also need cook turkeys, pies, rolls, juice boxes and waters.

More opportunities

Remember, Thanksgiving shouldn’t be the only day you volunteer. The Los Angeles Mission is in nearby downtown LA, as is The Midnight Mission and many more. You can search for more volunteer opportunities on the LA Works website.

Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments below and we’ll be sure to add the information!

If you’re a fan of the ’90s David Lynch TV series Twin Peaks like I am, Echo Country Outpost is the place to be on Thursday night. Here are the deets via LA Record:

There’s a bucolic little town called Twin Peaks, where nothing is as it seems and even the cherry pie carries secrets. Laura Palmer was found by the river wrapped in plastic. WHO DID IT?

Brooklyn based electronic duo Silent Drape Runners will resoundtrack the first episode of “Twin Peaks” live. Join us in a world of mystery and deception. Strip away the veneer of respectable gentility to expose seething undercurrents of illicit passion, greed, jealousy and intrigue in a population of unusual characters. Try and resist the enchantment of Kyle MacLachlan’s chin.

Freshen up your Twin Peaks expertiseSee some excerpts from previous performances of “Twin Peaks: The Beginning.” Listen to more Silent Drape Runners music.

Silent Drape Runners will also DJ an eerie dance party after the show.

$5 at the door.
Thursday, November 15 at 9:00 pm.
Click here to RSVP
Echo Country Outpost is located at 1770 Glendale Blvd.

For the week of Monday, October 22 through Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Moth GrandSLAM @ The Echoplex
Monday Night Residency with Superhumanoids, VUM, Cayucas @ The Echo
Kera and the Lesbians, Summer Twins, Jeans Wilder @ Bootleg Bar
Motown Mondays @ The Short Stop

San Cisco, Tom Lark, Miner @ The Echo
Shiny Toy Guns with MNDR, MNDR, Of Verona @ The Echoplex
ARTEQUE Latin Digital Art/DJ Experience with Peligrosa All-Stars @ Los Globos
Midnight Sixes, Programmed for Pleasure, Dignitary Los, The Shadow Fire @ Lot 1 Cafe
Jason Lytle (of Grandaddy), Sea of Bees, Mr. Barrington, Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi @ Bootleg Bar/Theater

Unicorn Kid, Jerome LOL, Teams @ The Echo
Dub Club @ The Echoplex
The Withers, Hands Like Bricks, Dream Homes, Spaceships @ Lot 1 Cafe
Jazz night ever Wednesday @ Echo Lake Coffee Co (formerly Downbeat Cafe)
Here We Go Magic, The Dig, The We Shared Milk @ Bootleg Theater

White Arrows, Kitten, Blondfire, Labyrinth Ear @ The Echo
PopShop West 005 with Goldroom + Special Guest Headliners, Ghost Beach, Carousel @ The Echoplex
inc. with KELELA & KINGDOM @ Los Globos
Madness for Sadness, Charlie Clark, Mitchell Schaffer, plus guests @ Taix Lounge
Paper Route, Trails and Ways, Faded Paper Figures @ Bootleg Bar

Spaceland, Levitt Pavilion LA, Origami Vinyl and 89.9 KCRW present Church Sessions with Lost In The Trees, Midtown Dickens, Dana Buoy (Akron/Family) @ First Unitarian Church, Los Angeles
Moon Block Party, Future Eyes, The Echo present Beyond The Witching Hour in Crystal-Vision with Peaking Lights, Lumerians, Dahga Bloom, Guy Blakeslee (Entrance Band), Golden Animals, Juju, Supertall Paul, Diva Dompe, Blackfeet Braves, Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel, Runson Willis, Cosmonauts @ The Echoplex
FIDLAR Record Release Show, Pangea, The Shrine, Meat Market @ The Echo
James Supercave, M31, Jack Littman, Snow Wite @ Pehrspace
Ollin, Rough Church @ Taix Lounge
War Tapes, Jutty Ranx, Last American Buffalo, Strange Tongues @ Bootleg Bar
Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders @ Origami Vinyl
Donna Jo, Emily Lacy, Jo Cool, Bloody Death Skull @ Echo Country Outpost

Halloween Booootie LA @ The Echoplex
Funky Sole @ The Echo
The Ukulady’s Halloween PartyShowFun + Slap Some presents Whats Cookin’: CAPTIONS, Twin Owl, Big Fly @ Lot 1 Cafe
Peelander-Z, Electric Eel Shock @ Bootleg Bar
The Stripminers and friends @ Echo Country Outpost

Converge, Torche, Nails, Kvelertak, Dangers @ The Echoplex
Dignan Porch [Captured Tracks], Catwalk [Captured Tracks], Grmln @ The Echo
French Toast Comedy @ Taix Lounge
Mark Mallman, Transfer, State to State, Hustle and Drone, Palace Ballroom @ Bootleg Bar
No Paws @ Origami Vinyl
Super Soul Sunday @ The Short Stop
Safari So Goody, Kitchen Hips, Blackwater Jukebox @ Echo Country Outpost

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. Visit our Weekly Events page for more neighborhood events, shows and specials.