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December 31, 2007

River mural

View From a Loft blog has its own view of the mural struggle down at the river. Backdated. For more info, click here and here. For a Nature Trumps summary of "Molina's Mural Mess," click here.

Correction: FoLAR didn't commission the mural in question. It was the work of Man 1's Crewest.

December 30, 2007

The only good canvas...?

Los Angeles River blog Nature Trumps updates readers with more info on the murals test of taste and power down by the river. If you haven't been following, County Supervisor Gloria Molina despises the content of murals created specifically for the river bank walls, commissioned by the upstanding Friends of the L.A. River. She wants the paintings gone fast. Molina's own website shows her with some children in front of a nice mural of fauna and numbers.

So, what is it with murals and the public trust these days? The city has decided to green-wash the mural on Academy near Morton, with creeping ficus. A "beautification team" was sent out to accomplish that planting. And the mural disappeared from Lemoyne and Sunset (along the side of the wonderful Masa restaurant) -- that one has been yellow-washed I believe. Another yellow-wash: the mural on Duane at Echo Park Avenue was painted over about three years ago. And now, "emergency measures" to whitewash the images from the river channel. Some say it's a safety issue, as taggers tag murals. But it looks to me like an issue of taste.

Posted on Nature Trumps:

LA Weekly reports that last Tuesday, Molina introduced an emergency measure to the County Board of Supervisors requiring FOLAR to whitewash the rest of the mural at their cost. The article says "the motion was quickly seconded by Supervisor Don Knabe, who called the mural 'outrageous,' and was then carried without further discussion or public debate.’”
“The motion requires the murals be removed in 90 days, or FoLAR [Friends of the L.A. River] will be billed by the Department of Public Works if/when they proceed to take down the mural themselves.
The count is in--odd ducks and Vaux's swift

Christmas Bird Count counters counted 2 crows and about 1153 other birds, including a Vaux's swift, this morning (while yours truly was playing hooky at the beach with out of town relatives, counting sea gull tracks in the sand and watching the pelicans dive).

Posted on the Echo Park Animal Alliance list:

We had an enthusiastic mix of experienced and beginning birders today ... Even our "be on the lookout for" bird actually showed up. Dave Surtees kept scanning the skies, and lo and behind, there was a Vaux' swift, just above us near the boathouse. A really good birding day became a great day. Echo Park Lake may not be a big place, but we sure do get great visitors.
The final tally for the day: 33 species, 1155 individual birds counted In addition, in the three days prior to the count we also had 6 species that get a mention on the CBC scoreboard, but don't get counted individually. That's a record, I think, for the lake. Here is today's list:

4 pied billed grebe
2 double-crested cormorant
5 black-crowned night heron
8 Canada geese
53 Mallard duck
26 American wigeon
5 Northern shoveler
1 Red-tailed hawk
229 American coot
1 Ring-billed gull
12 California gull
1 Thayer's gull
146 Western gull
247 Rock pigeon
1 Vaux's swift
6 White-throated swift
2 Anna's hummingbird
1 Northern flicker
1 Black phoebe
2 Cassin's kingbird
2 American crow
2 Northern mockingbird
116 European starling
26 Yellow-rumped warbler
1 Townsend's warbler
73 Brewer's blackbird
128 Great-tailed grackle
29 Brown-headed cowbird
11 House finch
2 House sparrow
7 Yellow-chevroned parakeet
1 Ross's goose
4 Shelduck

In the the three days previous
Nutall's woodpecker
Herring gull
Glaucous-winged gull
Ring-necked duck
Great blue heron

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...I returned to Echo Park at about 1 p.m. something. Passing the lake, I could see that in addition to the birds there were a lot of people, especially at the south end where humans tend to congregate. I could have counted a few odd ducks among those folks, no doubt.

December 28, 2007

Counting ducks on Sunday

Received the following reminder about Echo Park's annual Christmas bird count, led by EP's chief birder Judy Raskin:

The annual Christmas Bird Count at Echo Park Lake is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 30, 8:00 a.m. We meet at the Boathouse. Time: about 2-3 hours. Rain or Shine! Bring your binoculars for a walk around the lake, identifying and counting birds. [Beginners welcome.]

A November bird walk brought reports of unusual guests at the lake: a black-necked stilt, which I think may be the longest-legged bird anywhere in terms of body to leg ratio, and a western grebe. According to a short article in EPIAN Ways (Echo Park Improvement Association Newsletter), both birds split the scene after a visit of just a few days. Nice photo of the black-necked stilt in EPIAN Ways.

December 27, 2007

The lull

It was a quiet Christmas in Echo Park -- with pretty weather that led up to yesterday's wild winds and today's break. It seems to me there are fewer electric Christmas lights decorating neighborhood houses this year. My guess is that some of the lights-brightest people have moved away. And, except for a hysterical, bloody fight at 4 a.m. on my street a few nights ago, it's been quieter than ever, too. Down at Chicken Corner condo construction seems to be temporarily on hold. Magic Gas is open but hasn't had any gas. On Christmas I ate duck -- and loved it -- with apologies to the birds at Echo Park Lake (though, granted, they're not the ones who suffered for my lovely meal). It may be the last time I eat duck. There was a nice piece in the L.A. Times by Echo Park resident Meghan Daum who contacted the Wyoming coyote chronicler of the Daily Coyote blog. I see a coyote in Echo Park just about every day now--Griffith Park survivors perhaps. In any case, it's that funny, charged lull between Christmas and New Year's. Lots of people out of town (neighbors went to Colorado) but lots of visitors, too (neighbor's mom came from Boston). Waiting for something new to start but trying to stay in the moment and enjoy the slower pace. I believe in resolutions (Chicken Corner resolution for 2008: Remember that it's no longer 2007) -- but not for the calendar New Year, as a real resolution has a calendar all its own.

December 22, 2007

Back story for storefronts

Well, the future for most of the storefronts at the Del Mor apartments has been kicked hard. The company that owns the building, Positive Investments, suddenly wants huge rent increases -- in a rental market that is turning downward. El Batey grocery and general store may close after 40 years in business. The grocery's owner, Evailia, told me the other day that she would decide in January what to do. The indie clothing designer Nina Lucas is going to move out of her shop and double up with Show Pony. Kime Buzzelli who owns Show Pony, the tiny shop that has been featured in Vogue and other publications, said she doesn't always cover the rent that she's charged even now -- so a threefold increase? But she wants to stay open. She's a bright, lovely spirit, and it would be an awful loss for Chicken Corner if she left -- same for Flounce and most of the other shops.

One proprietor said Positive Investments was looking into an H&R Block on the block. To light a fire under the indie tax preparers in the neighborhood, like the elderly gentleman down on Sunset near the Bank of America or the office on Echo Park Avenue north of Effie Street?

I've heard that a curious origin of events may have led to the leases being examined. One nameless friend says it may have started with the police. Several weeks ago, he says, the police started visiting the shops, checking to see who was committing the act of resale -- i.e., vintage items at Flounce or anywhere else. You need a permit to resell goods. That way, you're not selling stolen items. (Yeah, okay, fine.) So they start checking -- doing their jobs -- and they discover no one has permits. And they can't get permits because...they don't have leases. (Never mind that my friend has seen people on weekends with lawn-blanket operations at Echo Park Lake selling televisions and jewlery. Get your stolen televisions here! They're going fast! -- Maybe their permits are in order.) So the boutiques folks ask Positive for leases. Positive -- which is known for neglecting its properties -- takes note of the building and this case paying attention would pay off. What do they care for indie spirit, the community of Echo Park, 40 years of beans and pastries?

So there we have it, for the moment at least. A couple of days ago, there was a handwritten sign in the window of Work. It said: Not for rent.

December 18, 2007

Holy water

Down by the river. Photo by Carmelo Gaeta. Near the Hyperion Bridge, Atwater side: a nude woman and a clothed one in what looks like a baptism. Emailed to Chicken Corner by Jay Babcock. I hope the rangers left them alone (assuming they were aware of the real danger of drowning in the cement-lined channel -- the water in there moves unnaturally fast where it's deep).

December 17, 2007

Garden rehab

Over the last couple of years i have heard stories about parents and other community members getting rebuffed by Elysian Heights Elementary School when they volunteered to organize clean-ups and other support. In particular, I had heard that a group who wanted to rehabilitate the garden was told, basically, to...go away. So, a few days ago at Chango coffeehouse, I was so pleased to see a small stack of invitations to a "garden renovation" at the school. Each mini-flyer was individually crayon-decorated. The info:

Please Joing Elysian Heights Garden Renovation/ On: Tuesday, Dec. 18/ From: 8:00 - 12:00/ 1562 Baxter St./ Enter Gate from Valentine Street/ Help change and expand your school!

The following was email-forwarded to me:

We'll be rebuilding the soil, pruning trees and bushes, repairing the shed, setting up compost bins, and more... And we'll also be reviewing the garden plan and having a big discussion about what the garden will include as we build it in the coming months. Please come help us out if you can. You don't need gardening experience. If you can join us, please bring cardboard and newspaper. We'll need all that we can get for a base layer in rebuilding the soil which is currently taken over by crab grass.
Magic for sale

I ran into my friend Dan Bernier at the 826 literary service station opening on Satuday night in Echo Park, and he told me that our favorite auto service station, Magic Gas could be closing -- or changing hands. Dan provided me with a link to the Magic listing, which describes it as "highly visible." In case you thought it was invisible, it being Magic and all.

Chicken Corner cornered?

In its own unprecious way, Echo Park has a village square at Chicken Corner -- this is comprised of the shops, salon and coffeehouse at the base of the Del Mor Apartments, along with the triangle where Magic Gas, our favorite femme service station (which is for sale). They support the neighborhood, bring people together on the street, represent creative efforts of many residents, All of the establishment are now threatened, as the company that has owned Del Mor for the last four years wants to raise rents significantly. Positive Investments of Arcadia -- what a name! -- has been measuring floor space and informing tenants that they wil be paying more, depending on when their leases permit -- from Lucas to Show Pony to El Batey, Chango and everything in between. According to a source, Positive has asked tenants to drive out to Arcadia to receive the bad news. CD 13 reportedly has said it will not get involved in rent-increase issues, when the increases are not prohibited by law.

To preview Positive's website, click here. I tried to call the phone number on the website this morning, but it was a fax line. So I tried a number listed for the company on Citysearch, and that line rang unanswered for twenty-five times before I hung up. I wanted to ask how flexible they were in terms of meeting with neighborhood civics groups, for the good of the community in which they are stakeholders.

Meanwhile, Charon Nogues, who is organizing support for El Batey grocery writes:

The landlord NEEDS TO KNOW that though this area is becoming majorly gentrified seemingly over's still FAR from being a prosperous spot for the persevering businesses that are barely holding on by a thread as it stands as far as foot traffic, parking and safety goes...there is still quite a bit of gang activity....They should not expect the same rate they are getting in Silverlake as of yet. The final word from the landlord comes on Monday [today].

Chicken Corner does not know yet what the "final word" is. Good? Bad? Indifferent?

December 14, 2007

Islands in the stream

It looks legit. A small brown sign, with white lettering. But the brown is a shade too dark to be true-blue fed. On the traffic island at Berkeley and Glendale southbound, just below the no u-turn, no left-turn sign, a group named Islands of L.A. declares the strip of no-man's-land a national park. How now? Echo Park National Park right in the midst of all that traffic.

So, stop crying that Chicken Corner could have been a park? (I'm reserving a few tears for that, sorry.) This calls for neighborhood support: the Citizen's Committee to Appreciate Echo Park National Park. I have to admit, the island has been looking almost spiffy recently. New drought-tolerant plantings. New sand. Could Islands be responsible? In any case, it's a nice comment on the shrinking of public space. Libertarianism at its best.

Here's what Islands of L.A. has to say for itself, for starters:

As a symbol of the treasure of everyday urbanism in our unique democracy & to protect the natural spirit of inquisitive dialogues in this land of freedom for future generations, the traffic islands in Los Angeles have been declared National Parks. These spaces have been designated for artists and other individuals such as humanitarians and micro-entrepreneurs as places of everyday communication where private residents can come together and interchange about matters of life.

December 13, 2007

El Batey in trouble

Just this morning learned of distress at the heart of Chicken Corner -- and, no, it does not involve condos. The situation is a threat to El Batey, the grocery-general store that has been around for four decades and once occupied the space that is now Chango coffeehouse, but gave over half its floorspace to the cafe and now resides next door.

A neighbor named Charon wrote:

Hey peeps...there is a little market called "El Batey" next door to the Chango coffee shop on Echo Park Ave. that has been there for 41 YEARS....things have grown and changed around it, it's geared for Latin needs not the Trader Joe type of shopper. If you are a regular you have extended credit...I know people who have held a balance of almost a thousand dollars at one point, which reflects just how much of a family oriented establishment this really is. As of January the warm and wonderful woman named Evailia and her family who has kept us in milk, cat food and breath mints for almost a half century will be priced out. The lease will expire as of January 1st, the rent will be tripled, so now the $1,000 that Evailia barely clears as it stands will become $3,000.
I spoke with Evailia...this morning [with] my friend Arturo the cat guardian of Echo Park...she is devastated and at a total loss...she seemed open to my idea [for a fund-raiser]...I for one would gladly lend a hand in helping to renovate the place...Evailia's smile and warm greeting every morning as I pass her and her dog on the way to my son Jude's school makes my day. We HAVE to help her...there are many places [and people] within two miles of my home on Echo Park Ave./Scott that are being evicted and demolished in the next month.

Charon wrote to me that a variety of strategies to help "El Batey" stay in place andn stay in business are being considered by shop owners that share the Del Mor Apartments storefronts with the grocery.

Holiday misery for wet dogs


An Echo Park Animal Alliance member posted today this photo of wet puppies at the North Central shelter, taken when it rained last week. According to list-server commenters, miserable kennel conditions are common at L.A. shelters.

The same person forwarded to me the following, which contained more info:

Please share the frustration my friend and I felt as we had to witness the shivering, totally wet puppies at North Central the day it was raining. The "inside" area that supposedly is "heated" was also completely soaking wet. There was no blanket or raised area for the puppies. ALL the dogs except the few cages on the "walk wall" side were soaking wet and utterly miserable.

And from the EPAA list serve:

This is not a weather problem, this is a personnel problem. and it starts at the top with Ed Boks. No dog in the LAAS system should be cold or wet and we should not stand for it.
If you haven't already, please call Mr. Boks [head of the L.A. animal shelters system] and email the Commissioners to rectify this problem immediately. Blankets may be a temporary fix , but it seems that in Carson [where a dog named Zephyr died in the cold], they couldn't be bothered to keep the blankets dry or even distribute them to the kennels.

Boks' email:


The following contacts courtesy "Johnny," who posted on the Echo Park Animal Alliance's list serve:
LAAS Commissioners:

Tariq khero:
Marie Atake: (Resigned in protest over shelter
conditions and departmental incompetence, corruption and cruelty).
Glenn Brown:
Kathy Riordan:

Ross Pool, L.A. Animal Services Commission Secretary: 213-482-9501;

December 12, 2007

Lake diary

Tuesday: clockwise: which incidentally left the best for almost last. It was sunny and bright, and the people of the lake seemed bright, too. Lots of American widgeons paddling in the middle of the lake – I used to see them primarily on the south end – a NY Times story yesterday said ducks of the Mississippi River highway were migrating late this year –- global warming on the wing -– and, applying the same trend to Socal, it seemed there should have been some scaup and ring-necked ducks about this time of year. (Though I did see a couple of ring-necks at MacArthur Park Lake about a month ago, during the tamale festival.)

Which is not to say the water fowl were not present in abundance. Lots of year-rounders, of course, including the goose with the broken wings that always stick out at his sides, and the Ross’s goose, as well as the muscovy pair, lots of border-collie-looking hybrids, black and white speckled, and many geese. I saw a heron bring its large body in for a landing on the marsh islands. Cormorants are here. And of course the many bands of coots, who did their weird barky squawking-begging when I lingered near the bank.

I hadn’t walked leisurely at the lake in a while, and it was like returning to a school where you’ve already graduated, to find the same teachers and many of the same students, still in place. And new ones who have made themselves at home and own the place as much as you ever did. At the far south end, one man fished. High school kids poured out of a yellow bus and ran or walked or sat – counterclockwise around the lake: apparently, they hadn’t heard about getting no exercise.

At the lotus bed, the dead fronds haven’t been grappled out of the water. Not enough of them to bother this year, perhaps. My dog lunged at some of the many many geese near the isthmus, as I like to call it. Then she had to be protected from the geese, who did not take her seriously. She’s a herder not a killer. (Yeah, Andrew the mailman might not think that was the funniest thing he ever heard.) As I passed the island, I noticed the gate was open, but it did not occur to me that the island was open-open…until a parks employee whom I had never seen said, “Do you want to go on the island?” He said his boss must have forgotten to close the gate. “Go ahead.” He said they didn’t like people on the island because they take the ducks’ eggs. Presumably there weren’t many nests at this time of year. Rosie the dog and I crossed the bridge. The only other time I have done so was when they were still opening it for the Lotus Festival. Yes, I said to myself, I am on an island. Funny I never thought that in New York. I was not alone. There was a homeless-looking man sitting quietly on the bank, facing Glendale Blvd. He had a homeless-looking dog, on a rope that the dog trailed as he walked freely on the island. The dog didn’t bother the birds, though. After a while, I went back on the bridge. A young man with headphones jogged past me, jogged onto the island, did a half circle of it and jogged back over the bridge.

Then: Leisure time was running out, or so I felt, so I picked up the pace and headed back.

December 10, 2007

Some of my neighbors can't read this

The other day I was driving down Echo Park Avenue, and I drove past a woman I recognized. She is Latina, on the short side, nice-looking, tidy-looking, with her hair pulled back, jeans, jeans jacket, walking with another woman. There was no reason to take notice, except that coincidentally I had met her near 8th and Bonnie Brae the day before (Thursday), and I had asked her a question that made her cry. When I met her we were in the offices of Centro Latino for Literacy, where I had gone because I was curious and because I had been told that the center had students from Echo Park; Centro Latino founder, Marcos Cajina, lives in Echo Park (he first taught literacy as a young man in Sandinista Nicaragua); he owns a tile company -- if you've been to Intelligentsia, the new coffee house in Silver Lake, you've seen his tile designs. Melanie Stephens, the center's director and co-founder, also lives in EP.

Founded in 1991, Centro Latino for Literacy (aka Centro Latino de Educacion Popular) teaches reading and writing to Spanish-speaking adults; it also offers English-language classes and is affiliated with child-care programs.

I met the young woman, a mother of two, at the storefront offices on 8th Street, and she told me she'd lived in Echo Park for 18 years. She is taking both English as a second-language and literacy classes. (My Spanish is good enough for very basic conversation, but we also had translation from Melanie Stephens). She said she was raised in Guanajuato, Mexico, and went to school until she was seven years old, when she stopped schooling in order to work. She cleaned houses. Also, her mother wanted her to carry lunch to her father who worked on a farm. Lunchtime came at lunchtime, and she was too embarrassed to show up in the afternoon to begin her school day. She never went back to school, until recently, at the center. As an adult, she left Mexico, and she joined a couple of her siblings here in Echo Park. She met her husband here, worked and started a family. Her sons are now 11 and 7. She started to cry when she told me about not being able to help her children with her homework -- she had to tell her son she couldn't help because she didn't know how to read or speak the language.

When she started taking literacy classes, she asked her older son if he was embarrassed that she couldn't read, and his answer -- he said no, he wasn't embarrassed -- gave her courage to continue.

Stephens later told me that the primary motivations for many of their students are: 1) To help their kids, 2) Get a job, 3) To manage their own money and pay their bills as many are at the mercy of relatives and neighbors for bill-paying. She told of one student who let her bills pile up and go into arrears because each time she showed up for "help," her neighbor would give her a dressing down about how she hadn't yet learned to read.

I tried to imagine the isolation -- from the larger society (of English speakers) and from the literate society of immigrants and how difficult it would be to live well under the weight of such a double isolation. Not that every individual experiences it that way, but still.... Stephens told me that at least 10 to 15 percent of Spanish-speaking immigrants in the U.S. are unable to read and write (these mainly drawn from the rural poor who succeed in getting here). That is a fat, challenging number, and it's too big to employ the metaphor about good people slipping through the cracks.

December 4, 2007

Coyote diary

Came across a link to a real coyote diary Tuesday -- off the Echo Park Animal Alliance list. A woman in Wyoming adopted a ten-day old coyote some months ago, and her Daily Coyote blog is a love letter to the small canine, who lives puppyishly with a cat and the author in a one-room cabin. Cute photos of the domestic pet snuggled up in comfy blankets, trying to climb a ladder, kissing the cat -- all ears and snout.

Meanwhile, as for coyotes of Echo Park (the dog kind), I saw one Sunday. It was 8:15 a.m. and I was in my car on Cerro Gordo near Lemoyne. I've seen a lot of dingy-gray coyotes this year, including one that was in awful condition, missing almost all of the fur on his hind quarters (saw that one on Landa).

I was curious if this was the same one, so I pulled over to the base of the driveway where coyote stood still. I waited for him (I'll call him/her "him") to move so I could see his back half. But he wouldn't move while I was watching him. He had a pretty black stripe across his chest. I waited. And he waited. I listened to a song on the radio, and so did he. He fidgeted, and so did I. More time passed. Finally, I had an idea. I blinked -- ostentatiously, the way cats do. It worked. Coyote relaxed his body and walked a few paces in my direction (planning to go past my car). Then he stopped and froze again. I blinked again. He accepted it as confirmation that I meant what I said the first time, and he trotted away. I got a chance to see his backside, which had fur. He looked healthy. But I won't be checking the blogs to see if he's moved into any of the houses around here, sleeping in the bed and posing for pics.

Ewing crime scene

Fifty years ago, the scene on Ewing near Vestal was not so lovely, as Larry Harnisch -- formerly of the magnificent 1947project -- reports in the Daily Mirror. Discovery: The body of a young woman, a mother, with track marks on her arms and a tattoo that read "spider" in Spanish (sans tilde).

This is her. On her back, with her shoes under her arm. Here's the tire prints. Somebody pulled up, lifted her out of the car and dragged her next to a hedge near 1812 Ewing St. She was flashy, all dressed up in red. Red pedal pushers and a red bolero top. Maybe nobody ever told her not to to wear white shoes after Labor Day.

Harnisch wonders about the woman's children today. I have to admit I felt squeamish thinking about them, while reading a stylized account of the discovery of their mother's corpse. But there's also the chance they'd appreciate that someone "remembered" after all this time. Today I think there are houses where Carol Ann Berutko, 22, was found. And I have heard that back in the '50s there were fewer trees. Most of the houses we see now were already built, though not all the roads in Elysian Heights had been paved. Ewing is pretty steep in most of its segments. Berutko's Ewing is particularly sheer -- you have to walk slowly, leaning back a little so as not to pitch forward. I strolled my daughter down that side of the hill one time, and one time only.

Many thanks to filmmaker (and friend) Joe D'Augustine for sending me the link!


As for the Dreamworks park-buster, which is on its mark to make tracks down by Stadium Way this weekend, here's some info:

Good afternoon Elysian Park residents, The following is an updated letter that will be circulated in the area starting today. This is an accurate description of the work that we are doing. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 310-405-5895. Thank you.

Hmm. There aren't many residents of Elysian Park. There are homeless folks and Barlow hospital patients, who deserve to be informed even more than the rest of us. But I assume this info is intended for Echo Park people, too, even if they aren't addressed. Or maybe he's talking to the raccoons.

Dear Resident,


We are in the process of obtaining a film permit through Film LA for some work in your area on Friday December 7th and Saturday December 8th. We will be filming on Stadium Way at Academy Dr. The scene involves cars driving in both directions on Stadium Way.
There will be a collision with a pyrotechnic impact charge that accompanies the collision. The pyro will be done on Friday December 7th, up to three times until midnight. There will be two aerial shots from a helicopter on Saturday, December 8th between the hours of 4pm-11pm (pending city approval. If not then 10pm). We will be using Dodger Stadium for the helicopter landing zone and equipment and crew parking. We will have all necessary safety personnel with us for this work. The hours of our filming we are requesting are as follows:
Friday 12/7-Prep with a lane closure on Academy Dr. from Dodger Stadium to Stadium Way from 7am-5pm.
Filming hours 5pm-6am. We are asking for a full closure of Stadium Way between Scott Rd., Angels Crest Rd. and Academy Rd, from the Golden Gate entrance at Dodger Stadium to Morton Rd. We will allow local residents to access homes when we are not rolling camera. We have submitted a plan to DOT for this closure. It appears as if the closure will be from 8pm to 6am.
Saturday 12/8-We are asking for a lane closure of 3 lanes from noon to 6pm and a full closure of the same area as Friday, from 6pm until 6am the next morning. This will be for preparation for the dusk shot at 4pm and the helicopter. For the helicopter shot we will be utilizing Intermittent Traffic Control (ITC) for safety. Filming will last until 6am. I have been in contact with LA City Parks, LAPD, LAFD and DOT regarding this work. I am aware of the inherent concerns regarding noise and impact to the area surrounding the road closure. We have worked out a scenario that I am hopeful that the community can support, and in turn continue to support filming in Southern California.
Thank you for your support. Please call me with questions and concerns.
Regards, Caleb Duffy Location Manager

There is no specific Echo Park subtext or even text in the independent film Reversion, so Chicken Corner will coax forward some EP texture: A pair of men with bows and arrows sprinting down an Elysian Heights street, quiet as owls in flight -- again and again -- while my daughter and I watch in the background. We may even have stumbled into one of the shots (sorry!). The whole scene was surreal, and the audience experience is intended to be, too (if my interpretation is correct). Reversion was written and directed by my friend Mia Trachinger, who wrote and directed Bunny, which won a Maverick Spirit Award and an Independent Spirit nomination, among other honors. Reversion will world premiere at Sundance 2008.

LA Times summarizes:

In a world in which the past, present and future simultaneously unfold, a woman whose genetic mutation leaves her devoid of morality struggles to preserve her romance with the man she loves.

Pesonal-connection disclaimer and boast: some scenes were shot in my front yard, where they set off bombs, landed helicopters, lit fires and shouted a lot... Just kidding. The scenes were unaided by helicopters and pyrotechnics etc. They were as low-impact as could be. Unlike the Dreamworks nightmare (couldn't resist the cheap pun!) opening in Elysian Park this coming weekend.

Other film locations included Hollywood and the beach.

December 2, 2007

He's cute...

...and needs a home. And he's completely blind. Posted on the Echo Park Animal Alliance's list this morning: An 8-month Aussie puppy needs a home. Click here to see him, and for info.

Speaking of the Echo Park Animal Alliance, Chicken Corner had the pleasure of attending the annual sale at Echo Park Pottery yesterday, with my daughter, Madeleine, and our friends Eliza and Jenny and our dog Rosie. Rosie had her annual holiday pic taken with Santa. Madeleine refused. Rosie was still damp from her pre-portrait bath in the morning. Should have blow-dried her ruff, I suppose. But she's smiling, and so is Santa.

The pottery sale and the dog-photos Santa fund-raiser event continue today from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 1850 Echo Park Ave.

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