Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Militant's 25th Anniversary Ultimate (M) Blue Line Tour!

Happy 25th Birthday, you Millennial, you!
Today marks the 25th Anniversary of Los Angeles' Metro Rail system, which began with the July 14t, 1990 opening of the Metro Blue Line, Los Angeles County's first modern train transit system, and the first rail line to serve the area in nearly 30 years.

You may or may be familiar with The Militant's Angeleno's award-winning Epic CicLAvia Tour posts, highlighting various points of interest along the various open streets routes, but did you know The Militant has done the same for the Los Angeles-to-Pasadena Metro Gold Line and the Metro Expo Line?

This time around, to celebrate a quarter century of Metro Rail, The Militant offers his Epic 25th Anniversary Metro Blue Line Tour, which points out historic, surprising, and off-the-beaten-path locations on or very near our first light rail route. Even if you've been a regular Blue Line commuter for the past 25 years, if you think you know the Blue Line, guess again!

1. 7th St/Metro Center Countdown Clock
7th St./Metro Center Station,  Downtown Los Angeles

Riders waiting at the outbound platform at the 7th Street/Metro Center station may or may not have noticed a peculiar digital countdown clock situated on a pole in the middle of the tracks. It seems to count down regardless of whether there’s a train or not. What is it for?

In 1993, to speed up Blue Line travel times, the street signals along Flower Street and Washington Blvd. were synchronized to give priority to light rail trains along those streets. This timer clock allows train operators to time their exact departures in accord with the street signal synchronization, so that when the white light under the clock is lit and the train begins to depart under normal operating speed, the train will encounter a continuous series of green lights.

2. Pico Station
Pico and Flower Streets, Downtown Los Angeles

Pico Station is where it all began; it was the first operational station in the history of Metro Rail. The station was the site of a public dedication ceremony kicking off the opening of the line (See The Militant's exclusive archived video of the event here). The Blue Line on opening day in 1990 was somewhat shorter than the line we ride today. For the first two months of operation, the Blue Line only ran from Pico Station to the Anaheim St. Station.

Back then, it was just located in a far-flung region of Downtown. It wasn’t until the late 1990s when the Staples Center was built that the South Park section of Downtown started to become revitalized. Today, the recent upgrades of the Blue Line stations have also given the station a minor facelift.

The station also has the shortest name of any Metro Rail station in the entire system (Well, okay, it's tied for 1st place along with Soto and Lake).

3. Flower Junction
Flower Street and Washington Blvd, Downtown Los Angeles

The first surface-level "junction" track that switches trains among the Blue and Expo lines is located here. A few months after the Expo Line opened, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered Metro to replace a section of rail within the switch track that would potentially cause derailments.

The other junction track on the Metro Rail system is the one north of the Wilshire/Vermont subway station. Future junction tracks will be built west of the Metro Green Line Aviation Station (serving the Green and Crenshaw lines) and another switch track as part of the Regional Connector under Little Tokyo.

4. Olympic Auditorium
1801 S. Grand Ave., Downtown Los Angeles

This historic venue through the years, easily seen from the nearby Blue Line Grand station, has hosted boxing matches (including the boxing competitions for the 1932 Olympic Games), wrestling bouts, roller derby events and concerts. The match sequences from the original Rocky movie was filmed here, as well as Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" and Janet Jackson's "Control" music videos.

For the past decade the venue has been owned by a Korean Christian Church known as Glory Church of Jesus Christ (hence the large Jesus mural on its south wall).

5. Site of Washington Park and Chutes Park
Washington Blvd and Hill Street, Downtown Los Angeles

The first permanent baseball field in Los Angeles isn't Dodger Stadium, nor was it South Los Angeles' Wrigley Field nor the Fairfax District's Gilmore Field. It was here at Washington Park, located near Washington and Hill, where the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels of Los Angeles played from 1893 to 1925 (the first Washington Park stood from 1893 to 1912; the second was in use from 1912 to 1925. It was torn down in the 1950s. William Wrigley, the team's owner, left Washington Park after he was denied permission to build an underground parking garage. He then moved his Angels to his own Wrigley Field in 1925. Washington Park it was also one of the home venues of the USC Trojans football team before the Coliseum. Adjacent to Washington Park was an amusement park named Chutes Park that stood on the land where the municipal courthouse now stands.

6. Tacos El Gavilan/Site of 1st McDonalds in Los Angeles
1900 S. Central Ave, South Los Angeles

What is currently a taco stand at the southeast corner of Central and Washington was once the first McDonalds in the city of Los Angeles (and the 11th McDs in the entire chain) which opened in 1957. As you may or may not know, McDonalds originated in San Bernardino in 1940 by the McDonald brothers, and was later taken over by Illinois businessman Ray Kroc, who turned the unique Southern California hamburger chain into the gargantuan unhealthy corporate chain we know today. The trademark side arches were present on this building (and a single arch present on the corner sign) up until the early 2000s. But hey, tacos are more healthy for you than McDonalds junk, so eat up.

7. Washington Blvd Buddha
c. 1941
1600 E. Washington Blvd, South Los Angeles

On your southbound Blue Line ride, look to the right just before the train curves towards the Washington Station and look for the "Hanson Tank" sign. To the left of the sign, and right above the main doorway is a tiny cubby-hole featuring a Buddha statue. Years ago, a Militant Elder told The Militant Angeleno that the buddhas were placed there to give Japanese Buddhists a clandestine place to worship after December 7, 1941. The Militant covered this location in an early MA blog post in October 2007.

8. Washington Tail Track
Washington Blvd and Long Beach Avenue, South Los Angeles

Due across the street and due north of the Blue Line's Washington Station, there's a stretch of track that diverges from the Blue Line route that seems to head off into oblivion. The track is one of several along the Blue Line route that function as an emergency storage track for broken trains or so-called "gap" trains to replace trains that have been taken out of service due to technical issues.

The tracks follow the original Pacific Electric 4-track "speedway" alignment that led to the Pacific Electric Building at 6th and Main streets in Downtown Los Angeles. In fact if you follow the Washington Tail Track north to 16th Street, you can still see the old Pacific Electric tracks partially buried under the pavement!

The Washington Tail Track is rarely used nowadays, though in March the track was used to temporarily store the new Kinkisharyo light rail vehicle which was being tested on the Blue and Expo lines at the time.

9. Amoco Junction
1904 (discontinued early 1980s)
Long Beach Ave., south of 25th Street, South Los Angeles

About 6 blocks south of the Washington Station, look to your right and you'll see tracks in the street mysteriously end at the fence that protects the Blue Line tracks. Look westward and you'll see an abandoned rail right-of-way. That was, until 1958, the Pacific Electric Air Line trackage which went all the way to Santa Monica (and until the early 1980s as Southern Pacific freight track), and functions today west of Figueroa Street as the Metro Expo Line. During the Pacific Electric era, the Downtown-bound trains from Santa Monica headed all the way to Amoco Junction (named after the American Olive Company factory nearby) to join the 4-track "Speedway" trunk line and head north.

10. Site of South Central Farm
1994 (demolished 2006)
41st St between Long Beach Ave and Alameda St, South Los Angeles

This large, empty plot of land just east of the Blue Line tracks, a half-mile north of the Vernon Station was home to the 14-acre South Central Farm run by community members between 1994 and 2006. Acquired by the City of Los Angeles in 1986 via eminent domain from private landowners, it was originally slated for use as an incinerator site, a plan dropped due to community opposition. The City allowed the neighboring nonprofit Los Angeles Regional Foodbank to run the site as a community garden. Over 300 low-income families from nearby communities turned the land into one of the largest urban farming projects in America over 12 years. But in 2001, the land's former owner sued the City for breach of contract, because the incinerator plant was never built. Eventually the City settled with the landowner in 2003 and they began the process of re-claiming the plot, eventually evicting the farm in 2006. To this day, the land lies vacant.

The controversy attracted the support of various celebrities, public officials and philanthropic organizations, including a failed attempt by The Annenberg Foundation to purchase the land, but it did galvanize the community and led to the rise in urban farming activism, especially in the South Los Angeles area.

11. Augustus F. Hawkins Natural Park
5790 Compton Ave, South Los Angeles

A few blocks west of the Blue Line's Slauson Station lies one of the best-kept secrets in South Los Angeles -- Augustus F. Hawkins Natural Park, an 8.5-acre surreal green oasis in the 'hood, featuring ponds, native plants, hiking trails, picnic areas and even wildlife. This former DWP pipe yard was converted into a re-created natural park, named after the late African American congressman who represented the area for 28 years, in 2000 by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which trucked in actual dirt from Malibu mudslides to the site to form the park's terrain. The park is popular with local residents seeking refuge from urban life, and the park is also popular with members of the local Audubon Society, who frequent the park to do bird sightings and bird counts.

12. Slauson Junction
Slauson Ave and Randolph St, South Los Angeles

When passengers rode the Blue Line for the first time in July 1990, they were thrilled to have the train suddenly shoot up the elevated structure, with a towering view of the area below as the train stopped at the Slauson Station. While stopped here, you can see a piece of the Blue Line's Pacific Electric heritage by just looking to the east: The unmistakable curved "wye" tracks heading eastward formed another major junction to the PE's Long Beach Line trunk, as the place where trains bound for Fullerton, La Habra and Whittier diverged from the quadruple-tracked "Speedway."

Francis Nixon, the father of President Richard Nixon, was once a Pacific Electric motorman who navigated his Whittier-bound trains through this very junction.

13. Col. Leon H. Washington Park
8908 S. Maie Avenue, South Los Angeles

There are many parks that line the Blue Line route, but this one is unique for two reasons. As you head southbound and depart the Firestone Station, look immediately to your right and you'll see a park and recreation center. It's a Los Angeles County-run park called Colonel Leon H. Washington Park, named after the founder of the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper (originally called The Eastside Shopper), the city's premier publication in the black community. The other reason is that the rec center here is a popular spot for NBA stars such as Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant and others to play pick-up games and compete in the Nike-sponsored Drew League, a weekend summertime program where the biggest stars in basketball play with and against locals from the community.

14. Watts Pacific Electric Station
1686 E. 103rd Street, Watts

Adjacent to the Blue Line's 103rd St/Watts Towers station is a mustard-colored building that was once the Pacific Electric's Watts depot. A popular stop along the old PE Long Beach Line, the building survived not only the PE's abandonment, but was the only wooden structure that was not set on fire during the 1965 Watts Riots. After a renovation project in the 1980s, the Watts Station has functioned since 1989 as a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customer service center.

15. Dominguez Junction/Watts Towers
Graham Ave and 105th Street, Watts

In the Pacific Electric era, this junction, where the overhead pedestrian bridge is located today, marked the end of the four-track "Speedway" which had express trains from 9th and Hooper streets in Downtown Los Angeles go to/from Watts in the center tracks, while the outer tracks handled local stops Dominguez Junction is where trains along the Long Beach trunk line headed west to Torrance, southwest to San Pedro and southeast to Santa Ana via Bellflower.

Directly adjacent to the former Santa Ana tracks are the famed Watts Towers, built by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia (who actually called his sculpture "Nuestro Pueblo") between 1921 and 1954. There is definitely a direct relationship to the Pacific Electric: Rodia used the rails on the PE Santa Ana tracks as a fulcrum to bend his steel bars into shape, enabling him to build his masterpiece.

16. Metro Rail Operations Center/Connector Track
Willowbrook Ave at the 105 Freeway, Willowbrook

At the nexus of the Blue and Green Lines, just east of the Willowbrook Station is Metro's Rail Operations Center (ROC), where all of the 87-mile rail system's signaling, dispatching and security systems are manned and monitored. The building also houses a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department station, as part of their Metro system security operations.

Adjacent to the ROC is a non-revenue connector track that allows light rail vehicles to transfer between the Blue and Green lines for emergency or service purposes. The single track also allows light rail vehicles based out of the Metro Green Line yard in Torrance to move to the Long Beach yard, which houses a paint shop and heavier maintenance facilities. But in case you're wondering, the track is not equipped to handle revenue service from, say Long Beach to Redondo Beach.

The Willowbrook Station is due for a major renovation in the near future.

17. Blue Line Farmers' Market
275 N. Willowbrook Ave, Compton

If you're a regular Blue Line commuter and need your fill of fresh, locally-grown produce, get off at the Compton Station on Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and visit the weekly certified Blue Line Farmers' Market. Started in September 2013 to combat food desert concerns in the local community, the market has become a hit with locals and commuters alike.

There are currently 24 weekly certified farmers' markets at or near Metro Rail stations, visit them regularly!

18. Compton Creek and Rancho Dominguez Adobe Museum

The first waterway the Blue Line crosses isn't the Los Angeles River, but one of its tributaries, Compton Creek. You can see the 8-mile stream before approaching the Artesia Station and immediately east of the Del Amo Station. Be on the look out for horses, as there's an equestrian trail alongside it. The equestrian and cowboy culture of Compton actually predates its street gang reputation by several decades, and in fact lives on today in the form of a youth equestrian program called the Compton Jr. Posse.

Also located along Compton Creek, midway between the Artesia and Del Amo Stations east of the Blue Line tracks is the Rancho Dominguez Adobe Museum, highlighting the Spanish-era land grant roots and early California history of the Compton and Carson areas. Worth a bike ride from either of those stations!

19. Alameda Corridor
Along South Alameda Street

Midway between the Artesia and Del Amo Stations is what appears to be a highway, which is actually Alameda Street. adjacent to it are a set of railroad tracks -- both the street and the tracks form the Alameda Corridor, a ground transportation system opened in 2002 that allows trucks and trains to easily access the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach -- important gateways for importing and exporting for not just Southern California, but the entire United States. Toys from China and cellphones from Korea pass through the Alameda Corridor in the form of intermodal shipping containers en route to Chicago or other U.S. destinations. The corridor began construction in 1997 as a way to consolidate the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads onto a unified, high-capacity, mostly grade-separated track to and from the port area. North of here, the tracks run in a trench alongside Alameda Street to railroad yards  southeast of Downtown Los Angeles.

20. Blue Line Yard
4350 E. 208th St., Long Beach

Sandwiched between the 710 Freeway and the Los Angeles River is the Metro Blue Line Yard and Shops, otherwise known as Metro Division 11. It is here where Blue and Expo Line cars make their home and are cleaned, painted and serviced. Cars from other light rail lines also visit this yard for work that can't be performed at their respective home yards. Blue Line trains also stop near the yard regularly on a mini-platform to allow operator crew shift changes.

21. Pacific Electric Abutments
East Bank of Los Angeles River, North Long Beach

As soon as your Long Beach-bound Blue Line train crosses the Los Angeles river, look to the right side of your train and you'll see about four concrete abutments next to the tracks. Those were part of the Pacific Electric Long Beach Line infrastructure -- the abutments supported the old Long Beach Line bridge that crossed the Los Angeles River.

22. North Long Beach Junction
Long Beach Blvd, north of Willow Street

Look to the left after your train leaves the Willow Station and you'll easily see the now-paved-over right-of-way that diverged from here that formed Pacific Electric's Newport-Balboa Line, which reached the PE's southernmost point in Balboa Island. The line today supports parks and bikeways, as well as this bridge in Long Beach that still exists today, which The Militant covered in 2011.

23. Long Beach Loop
Long Beach Blvd, 1st Street, Pacific Avenue and 8th Street, Downtown Long Beach

The first "extension" of the Metro Blue Line opened in September 1990 when the Long Beach Loop was completed, allowing Blue Line trains to run in a clockwise-loop around Downtown Long Beach before heading north to Los Angeles (Before September 1990, Long Beach Transit shuttle buses painted like Blue Line trains provided interim service on the Long Beach Loop). Early operation scenarios for the Blue Line planned for "Loop Only" trains (the original rolling head signs of Blue Line trains had such a designation) that ran continuously through the Long Beach Loop, but in reality they never had a need to happen.

24. Long Beach Bikestation
223 E. 1st St, Downtown Long Beach

In 1996 the nation's first-ever Bikestation opened here in Downtown Long Beach, just yards away from what was then called the Transit Mall Station (now the Downtown Long Beach Station). It was a one-stop facility for bicycle commuters and recreational cyclists alike, as a place to park, maintain, rent or purchase bike accessories. In 2011, the operation moved into its current, very orange, expanded facility. The Bikestation was a pillar of Long Beach's bike community and bicycling infrastructure, which includes protected cycle track bike lanes, bike paths and several marked bike lanes across town.

25. Pacific Ave. Tail Track
Pacific Avenue and 8th Street, Downtown Long Beach

Here is the southern-end counterpart to the aforementioned Washington Tail Track. This track was also designed to temporarily store bad-order or malfunctioning trains, as well as supplemental trains to fill in service gaps made from out-of-commission trains. It is also rarely used.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

So The Clippers Have A New Logo Now, Eh?

Did you hear? Today the Los Angeles Clippers officially announced their new logos and branding:

No wait, it's this one:


Well, while the team and Teh Ballmer Himself thinks it's all that, The Militant, and perhaps the rest of Los Angeles, and maybe even the sports world as well, thinks it's kind of meh at best. While not hideous, it's...just kind of there.

Full disclosure, in case you don't know: The Militant is a lifelong Lakers fan, but he's not a Clippers hater. He was pulling for them during the NBA Playoffs this year, which have recently been won by some Bay Area team. But this is still a Los Angeles professional sports team, and they have been here for 31 seasons already, so you might as well deal with it.

Look, if you're going to make a logo, it better mean something, or at least stand for something. The Nike Swoosh, the McDonalds' Golden Arches. The NBC Peacock, etc. You'll know it when you see it.

The inter-nested "L-A-C" (or "C-L-A?") kind of L-A-C-Ks something. It's mildly clever, but it doesn't stand for anything. The basketball icon's lines suggest arrows and it looks like the "L-A-C" is being crushed like that trash compactor in the first "Star Wars" film.

The Ballmer has respected enough of the team's history to keep The Clippers in town, and even keep the name, which was a holdover of the previous San Diego-based franchise, a reference to the tall-sailed merchant ships that once sailed into that city's harbor. Clipper ships were popular in the mid-19th century as fast ships that carried freight across oceans with relative speed, the last of the wind-sailing vessels until steam engines took over the maritime transportation industry a few decades later. And FYI, clipper ships once sailed into Los Angeles Harbor back in the day, though Los Angeles was just a minor port city back then. Of course, once a year you can still see clipper ships sail in San Pedro.

But The Ballmer missed out on the biggest opportunity for the team's re-branding: Changing the team's colors. Colors are a big deal in sports fandom. Just ask any blue-blooded Dodger fan, for example. Red, white and blue might work in a patriotic sense but what does it have to do with Los Angeles or clippers?

A perfect example: Once upon a time, a basketball team moved to Los Angeles. Years later, the team's new owner wanted to change the team's logo and branding. Out were the team's blue and white and in were purple (originally called "Forum Blue") and gold, adapted from the owner's other sports team, the Los Angeles Kings (purple being a regal color). The owner was Jack Kent Cooke and the team was, of course, the Los Angeles Lakers. Since then, the Kings dropped their purple and gold and those colors have been synonymous with the Lakers ever since.

So the Clippers could have put more thought and time into this logo/branding thing and come up with a new color scheme and a kick-ass logo. Granted the new one looks a little more bold on uniforms, but stands to be rather dated in a few years. Maybe then they'll come up with something better.

Ballmer also missed out on the opportunity for The Clippers' official team mascot:

Have fun, Clipper fans!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Militant Takes On Long Beach's Beach Streets Uptown (a.k.a. Uptown Funk Gonna Give It To Ya)

Just when you had your fill of CicLAvia last week, along comes another one! Well, kinda.

On Saturday, the City of Long Beach initiated its own ciclovia, or open streets, event, called Beach Streets (no, not Beat Street, but everybody say Ramoooon! (Ramoooon!)), which took place in Uptown Long Beach -- a route that involved a 3.3-mile stretch of Atlantic Avenue from Wardlow Road in the south to Harding Street in the north, at Houghton Park. Now, this technically wasn't the very first Beach Streets; as they did a small event in April using the already closed-off course of the Long Beach Grand Prix in Downtown Long Beach. But this was the first one that involved an open streets arrangement specifically for Beat, er, Beach Streets.

Now, the Militant is familiar with Long Beach; he even did a whole week of posts devoted to The International City in June 2011. But he had never been to this "Uptown" part of the LBC before. So this event was a treat and a half.

Being that The Militant lives somewhat north of Long Beach, he figured it would be an easy ride via the Red and Blue lines down there.


When The Militant arrived at 7th Street/Metro Center, a Metro staffer said that there were no Long Beach trains, and that we had to take the Expo Line to the 23rd Street/LATTC/Ortho Institute/Lorenzo/Kind Of Close to Adams Station, get off, and ride a shuttle bus to the Blue Line Vernon station.

Boo Metro.
Despite the event, like CicLAvia, being sponsored by Metro, the transit agency also picked this weekend to shut down part of the Metro Blue Line between the Vernon and Pico stations due to station maintenance at Washington, San Pedro and Grand.  Umm, did that make any sense at all?

The Militant had to endure the 15-minute "bus bridge" ride, which only took 15 minutes, in actual travel time, but add on another 20 minutes to get off the Blue Line, board the shuttle bus and wait for it to fill up before departing. Argh.

So, The Militant arrived at the Wardlow station a lot later than anticipated, Thank You Metro. Grrr.

The coned-off temporary bike lane on Wardlow Road that led to Beach Streets.
After arriving there, he rode the .6-mile east on Wardlow to Beach Streets, which had a "temporary bike lane" set up for riders who came in from the Blue Line or from points east.

But here's where Beach Streets begins and The Militant's frustration ends.

Beach Streets! (The sign said "Welcome To/Beach Streets"; but that's the way it came out on The Militant's camera.
Beach Streets was pretty much like a CicLAvia-lite. He estimated no more than 30,000 people. Which was fine; Long Beach is a smaller city, and even if Metro's stupid Blue Line closure this weekend ruined it for prospective visitors, this event was really for the people of Long Beach. Being that Los Angeles' CicLAvia consistently pulls in a huge crowd every time, there was really no pressure to pack Atlantic Avenue at all. And in the world of Southern California open streets events, there should really be no competition. So 30K smiling faces should be chalked up as a success.

The Militant also noticed that there were a greater percentage of children on the route, which is not just a good thing, but a great thing -- their generation will not know of Beach Streets as an anomaly or something novel, but their reality. And by the time these kids grow up to be the movers and shakers of Long Beach, you can bet that these things will be happening all the time. So kudos to the Beach Streets organization for getting all the kids out.

The public art sculpture thingy in the median of Atlantic Ave.
The event also had a more small-town feel; there were much more bands playing (including not one, but two New Orleans-style brass bands - in different places!), more booths or tables along the sidewalk or closed intersections to give the whole thing more of a rounded-out street festival feel. The City of Long Beach even dedicated an area for an Emergency Preparedness Fair, so this event had multiple functions for many people.

The Militant also noticed the slower pace of the ride. Having gone to all 13 CicLAvias to date, there's a certain speed and flow of the ride that's uniform (well, depending on how much people are on the road at one time). He was biking rather fast but felt like the a-hole from Los Angeles who was trying to speed and weave his way through.

In all, Long Beach did an excellent job with this Beach Streets Uptown thing. And part of it might have been attributed to the fact that a number of people who were out today had already experienced CicLAvia over the past nearly five years, so many people knew what to do and what to expect. The other part is that surely their organizers took copious notes during the past CicLAvias and replicated some of its best practices, such as the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. event span, permeable intersections for automobiles and volunteer crossing guards.

Humans, and even dogs enjoyed Beach Streets.
The Militant was also impressed by the Bixby Knolls area. So many restaurants and eateries, and so little time, he really needed to come back to this area sometime.

Downside? There really was no downside. Maybe the closest thing was that there wasn't too much in the way of historical points of interest along the route. There was one of Long Beach's Giant Donut locations (Angel Food Donuts on Long Beach Blvd), and there was the Rancho Los Cerritos adobe, but both were a few blocks west of the route.

The Militant looks forward to more Beach Streets events (They are going to have more of these, right?), and will definitely be there!

Now, as you may or may not know, CicLAvia, Beach Streets and other open streets events originated from Bogota, Colombia's Ciclovia, which happens every week.

So what we're looking at is this: There are 88 incorporated cities in Los Angeles County (you might know how they got their names by now), and if at least a couple dozen of them organize maybe one to four (or more) open street events each year, and schedule them so they don't conflict...BOOM! We can have an open streets event every weekend year round! 

Don't believe him? Just watch.

More pics from Beach Streets Uptown:

Welcome to Long Beach's Beach Streets Uptown!
Beach Streets: The first open streets event with a Navy ship!
Someones, uh, creative backyard greeting at Atlantic Ave and Del Amo Blvd.
A chalk art map of Long Beach on Harding Street. Proudly representing the LBC.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Giant Donut Capital of the World

It's the first Friday of June, which means it's time to wish you all a Happy National Donut Day!

Of course, though this might seem like one of those hashtaggable "#National[Food Name Here]Day memes that get bounced on Twitter to provide the social media peer pressure of supporting a manufactured capitalist holiday meant to drive up sales of the said food item, National Donut (or Doughnut) Day has apparently been around since the 1930s.

The Militant noticed something while traveling around the South Los Angeles/South Bay area recently -- there's an awful lot of donut establishments with giant donuts on the roof. In fact, some 80 percent of America's giant donut establishments are right here in Southern California. We are the Giant Donut Capital of the World, and don't you forget it! The world-famous Randy's Donuts is the best-known example, located near LAX, and having the distinction of being the only giant donut establishment in the world to have a Space Shuttle pass by outside its doors.

But there are others, too; namely Kindle's Donuts on Century Boulevard and Normandie Avenue (where The Militant enjoyed a rather large Texas Twist donut with a cup of coffee), and Donut King II on Marine and Western avenues in Gardena.

Why the large concentration of giant donuts?

It just so happens there's a connection. In 1950, a local chain called "Big Do-Nut Drive-In" (believe the hyphens) opened 10 locations across Southern California. It was started by an entrepreneur named Russell C. Wendell, who sold donut making machines. With the rise in popularity at the time of drive-thru burger joints (like this one we all know and love), he felt the same could apply to donuts (or do-nuts). Most of his locations, designed by architect Henry J. Goodwin, had a 32-foot-diameter gunnite donut atop the building, angled towards the intersection. He opened the first location in Westmont (now Kindle's Donuts), followed by one in Inglewood (now Randy's Donuts), Gardena (now Donut King II), Culver City, Compton (now Dale's Donuts), North Hollywood, a second Inglewood location, Bellflower (now Bellflower Bagels), Van Nuys and Reseda. Five of the locations that are not currently in operation under another name have met the wrecking ball.

The Big Do-Nut Drive-Ins lasted a little over 25 years, as Wendell sold the stores to individual owners in the 1970s who continued their use as a donut shop. Wendell continued on in the drive thru restaurant business with another now-gone icon: Pup 'N Taco, which lasted from 1965 until Wendell sold the chain to Taco Bell in 1984.

These are the locations of the 10 Big Do-Nut Drive-Ins:

1. Big Do-Nut Westmont (Kindle's Donuts)
10003 S. Normandie Ave
Purchased by Gary Kindle in 1977. Note the hyphenated "Do-Nuts" still remaining in the name, a vestige of the original Big Do-Nut name.

2. Big Do-Nut Inglewood - Manchester (Randy's Donuts)
805 W. Manchester Blvd
Total So Cal icon. Purchased by Robert Eskow in 1976, named it "Randy's Donuts" after his son. In 1978 Eskow sold the shop to his cousins Ron and Larry Weintraub, who still own it today. Open 24 hours.

3. Big Do-Nut Gardena (Donut King II)
15032 S. Western Ave
Open 24 hours.

4. Big Do-Nut Culver City (DEMOLISHED)
4101 Sepulveda Blvd
The site is currently a Goodwill donation center and bookstore.

5. Big Do-Nut Compton (Dale's Donuts)
15904 S. Atlantic Ave

6. Big Do-Nut North Hollywood (DEMOLISHED)
Magnolia Blvd and Laurel Canyon Blvd, SW Corner
This site is currently a parking lot for the neighboring Jons Market.

7. Big Do-Nut Inglewood - Imperial (DEMOLISHED)
Imperial Highway and Hawthorne Blvd

8. Big Do-Nut Bellflower (Bellflower Bagels)
17025 Bellflower Blvd
This location had the smaller, 23-foot-diameter donut. It is the only surviving Big Do-Nut Drive-In that is not operating as a donut shop per se -- although donuts are sold here.

9. Big Do-Nut Van Nuys (DEMOLISHED)
7149 N. Kester Ave
This site is currently a car wash.

10. Big Do-Nut Reseda (DEMOLISHED)
7208 Reseda Blvd
This location, the last to open in the Big Do-Nut chain, also had the smaller, 23-foot donut, mounted on a pole. The site is now a 76 gas station.

Mrs. Chapman's Angel Food Donuts
Various Locations, Long Beach

But Big Do-Nut wasn't the only giant donut game in town...There was also Angel Food Donuts which also started in the early 1950s. They boasted over twice as many stores as Big Do-Nut (21), but not all of them featured a giant donut, though most had much smaller donuts than Big Do-Nut. Fortunately,three of the giant donut locations still survive today, with the big-ass donuts intact:

Mrs. Chapman's Angel Food Donuts
3657 Santa Fe Avenue

Angel Food Donuts
3860 Long Beach Boulevard

Dunkin' Donuts (You gotta give credit to an East Coast transplant's effort to assimilate...though it was quite a struggle at first)
5590 East 7th Street

The Donut Hole
15300 Amar Rd, La Puente

And while Big Do-Nut was the first drive-thru donut shop, this combo breaker outside of the South Bay area -- in the San Gabriel Valley, of all places, featured a donut shop that you can literally drive through. It was part of a small chain of The Donut Holes in the area, though this one on Amar Road was the only one with a giant donut, which appeared partially buried into the ground, and was a chocolate donut. Anyways, you can still come to this one anytime -- it's open 24 hours.

So for National Donut Day, don't waste your time at just any donut joint, go big! Go grab your donuts at one of Southern California's unique giant donut establishments. And if you do, Tweet a selfie from one (or more) of them with the hashtag #GiantDonut !

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour 10.0!!!!!!!!!

Interactive Map! Click on green points to view hotspots, or click on entire map for larger view.

It's now time for the second CicLAvia of 2015, which means it's time to start posting again (He may or may not rename this blog, "Epic CicLAvia Tour Guides" eventually).

When The Militant first learned about the minuscule 3.5-mile route for the 13th-ever CicLAvia (and the 10th unique routing, hence the version number), he was kinda bummed. But after doing some Militant research, he found out that Pasadena has lots to offer in terms of history and interesting locations. The last CicLAvia tour only had 20 locations, yet was twice as long!

This is also the first-ever CicLAvia located entirely outside of the City of Los Angeles. The Militant initially decided to defer this to The Militant Pasadenan, but he recently learned that ol' MP moved to Sonoma County in 2009, and no one else has taken up the title since. So, according to Militancy Code, The Militant Angeleno would have to assume MP's duties by default (Ugh, so much responsibilities...). Which reminds The Militant that Long Beach's Beach Streets ciclovia event happens next Sunday. The Militant Long Beacher hasn't returned any of The Militant Angeleno's emails or texts. F'ing flake. Come on, man.

(As consistent with previous Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour maps, this routing starts from the east and works its way westward). Without further delay, let's go!

1. Pasadena City College
1570 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

What does actor Nick Nolte, director John Singleton, Worf from Star Trek, the original Superman and Jimmy Olson, math teacher con ganas Jaime Escalante, singer Kenny Loggins, all of the original members of Van Halen, the late Coach Jerry Tarkanian, the great Jackie Robinson (who later transferred to UCLA) and Lakers great Michael Cooper have in common?

They all attended Pasadena City College. This school, established in 1924 as Pasadena Junior College, later shared the campus with the original Pasadena High School from 1928 to 1960. In 1954, the college merged with nearby John Muir College and formally changed its name to its current moniker.

The college markets itself as the "#1 Associate Degree for Transfer," meaning, you probably won't stay long here anyway. But they sure have a pretty campus though.

Despite its long list of noble alumni, the school has also produced some dark characters, such as Robert F. Kennedy's assassin Sirhan Sirhan and Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps.

2. Old Highway Marker
1320 Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

On the grass parkway in front of the McDonald's drive thru on Colorado and Hill stands a cryptic stone marker which reads:


It may or may not be a tombstone. Which makes it look even creepy. What do the numbers mean? What does "FB" mean? Did they predict Facebook or something?

Actually, it was the gravesite of the a laborer identified as #11, and he was the 220th of 222 people to die while constructing Colorado Boulevard. The "FB" may to may not be his initials...

...Okay, just kidding. It was actually a stone highway marker placed near there by Los Angeles County in 1906 -- before the road was paved. It turns out in those days, highway signs were made of stone instead of sheet metal. The "11" meant that it was 11 miles until the next highway marker, which was at the old Los Angeles County Courthouse (where Grand Park now stands in front of Los Angeles City Hall). The "220\222" were the block numbers as designated by the county's road surveying system. And the "F.B" stood for "Foothill Boulevard," which the street was originally named. In 1926, that route was designated as part of US Route 66. It is the oldest stone marker in Pasadena, and the sole surviving one of three such markers. The marker was originally placed 25 feet to the west -- where the driveway is, and was moved to the present location in 1994.

For some bonus added history, check out the faded lettering of the wall facing the McD's parking lot. It's from the old Foothill Motors Lincoln-Mercury dealership that existed from 1947 to the late 1980s.

Tweet a selfie with the marker during CicLAvia with the hashtag #EpicCicLAviaTour!

3. Howard Motor Company Building
1285 E. Colorado Blvd

Located in what was considered Pasadena's automobile dealership row (see the Foothill Motors faded wall across the street), Conveniently located along Route 66, this Spanish Colonial Revival building with cherry churro Churrigueresque (like North Hollywood's St. Charles Borromeo church from the last CicLAvia) ornamentation was an attractive showroom for the Howard Motor Company, and later Bush-Morgan Motors from the 1930s to the 1950s. It is currently vacant (want to open a Churrigueresque Churro shop?), but was last used as an auto showroom as recently as the 1990s.

4. Crown City Bank Entrance
1176 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

The same year the mysterious highway marker was placed down the street, Crown City Bank opened up its main branch here on what is now the Pasadena Coin and Stamp Company. If you're into philately or numismatics, you'll probably be into what's inside. But if not, do observe the 109 year-old tile mosaic entrance. Over the years the building has also hosted a car dealership, a glass and mirror shop, a refrigerator store, and a men's clothing store. Yet the "Crown City Bank" entrance has remained untouched.

What is "Crown City" exactly? Why, it's Pasadena's official nickname.

And while you're here, drop by across the street to the Militant-Approved Book Alley bookstore! A great selection of local history titles!

5. Pashgian Bros. Oriental Rugs
993 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

Underneath this faded, old school-looking billboard is one of the longest-running businesses in Pasadena. Established in 1889 -- as old as the Tournament of Roses Parade -- this oriental rug store founded by John and Moses Pashgian has been a Pasadena institution for over one and a quarter centuries. Moses Pashgian was even the Grand Marshal of the 1915 Rose Parade, and the brothers are considered the founders of Pasadena's Armenian American community. The Pashgian family still makes its presence in the city. John Pashgian's son, the late Aram Pashgian, was a member of the Tournament of Roses Association, and Aram's daughter, Helen Pashgian, is a renowned visual artist whose work has been displayed at LACMA.

6. Horton & Converse Entryway/Brown & Wein Pharmacy
937 E. Green St, Pasadena

You might be familiar with the Horton & Converse Pharmacy chain in the Westside. But did you know the 98 year-old Southern California-based company once had more stores in the area? Including one here in Pasadena, which was open 24 hours. Today, the Brown & Wein Pharmacy takes its place, but the original Horton & Converse design in the store's threshold still remains.

7. Burlington Arcade
380 South Lake Ave, Pasadena

The first of three "arcades" you'll come across on the CicLAvia route was built in 1980 by controversial Pasadena developer Stanley S. Sirotin, who made this building a mini-replica of the 19th century skylighted mall in London, which is the reason why you'll see an old-school red British telephone box (booth) inside. The 14 stores of this building are rather unique: A chocolatier, a kimono store, a gourmet sandwich shop, among others.

Tweet a selfie in front of the red telephone booth during CicLAvia with the hashtag #EpicCicLAviaTour!

8. Bullock's Pasadena/Macy's
401 S. Lake Ave, Pasadena

Chances are, if there's a CicLAvia, you're going to be passing by an iconic former Bullock's department store building. You saw them on 7th Street in Downtown Los Angeles, and you saw them on Wilshire Boulevard. This Pasadena Bullock's (now a Macy's) was designed by well known local architects Welton Becket and Walter Wurdeman in Streamline Moderne Art Deco stylee. The famed Tea Room was a local institution, and even though the building is over 70 years old, it still carries a contemporary look to it. The building was so influential, it transformed the formerly-residential South Lake Avenue into an upscale commercial shopping district, which continues on today. Do Mind The Bullock's.

9. Pie 'N Burger
913 E California Blvd, Pasadena

Dude. It's Pie 'N Burger. Does it really need an introduction?

The Jonathan Gold Himself once said that if he had to move out of Los Angeles, his last meal would be here. Enough said.

That said, there's gonna be some long-ass lines here on Sunday, so you might as well come back some other time.

10. Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

Established during the Grover Cleveland administration (though the present location dates back to 1929), this is the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California. Founded by Adam Clark Vroman at its original location on 60 E. Colorado Blvd, the store also sold photographic supplies as well as books.

In addition to an awesome bookstore, try to chillax at the beautiful landscaped courtyard int the back. 

Tweet a selfie at the Vroman's Courtyard with the hashtag #EpicCicLAviaTour!

11. Arcade Lane
696 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

Across the street from Vroman's, and having stood there two years before the bookstore moved into the block, is the second "arcade" building on the CicLAvia route.

This picturesque building, an award-winning design by Pasadena architects Sylvanus Marston and Garrett Van Pelt, was built as a replica of a marketplace in Budapest, Hungary. It once was the location of the second-ever Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf store. The picture on the left depicts the building in the 1930s.

12. Pasadena Presbyterian Church
585 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

Despite Pasadena's ethnic-kinda-sounding name (we went over its origin before), it was pretty much founded by a bunch of WASP-folk from Indiana, and the influence of Midwestern American culture still looms large, from the Tournament of Roses organization to the general vibe of the city.

From the city's founding in the 1880s to the 1920s was when the city's large Protestant churches were built along the Colorado Boulevard corridor. The Pasadena Presbyterian Church, whose congregation dates back to 1875 when it was located on Orange Grove and California street, had built two houses of worship before this one was built in 1908.

The church (as in the organization) was also heavily influential in the city's culture: It broadcasted its KPPC (hence the call letters) AM and FM radio stations from 1924 to 1971 which featured religious programming as well as more secular news, talk and music shows (including the first radio home of The Dr. Demento Show (!) in 1970).

The main sanctuary building was damaged in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake (the other original church buildings on the campus still remain), and a new one was built in 1976. It features an Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ which was rescued from the original 1908 sanctuary.

13. First United Methodist Church of Pasadena
500 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

This congregation dates back to the original 1872 settlers from Indiana, who originally built the church in two previous locations (the second of which was damaged in a tornado (!) in December 1891). After outgrowing its previous buildings, the church moved to its present location in 1923 and built its current English Gothic-style sanctuary, which was designed by architect Thomas P. Barber. It also includes a 1930 Skinner pipe organ.

14. Site of KROQ Broadcast Studio
117 S. Los Robles Ave, Pasadena

Remember KROQ? No, not that lame ass station that's on right now, the good KROQ. As in The ROQ of the '80s? Dude...Rodney on the ROQ? Jed The Fish? The Poorman? Richard MF'in Blade?!

If you do, then...dude, you're old!

The station once broadcasted here, in Pasadena (the station still says "Pasadena/Los Angeles" due to how it's FCC license is registered). But KROQ was, like, totally Pasadena. The station itself had its origins in the old KPPC (remember, the Presbyterian Church down on Colorado?) FM, which broadcasted on the 106.7 frequency. In 1969, KPPC FM moved out of the church (literally and figuratively) due to a change in ownership and in 1973 after another ownership transfer, it became KROQ-FM - "The ROQ of Los Angeles."

KROQ moved to this Los Robles location in 1976, which coincided with the emerging sound of punk rock and new wave music bubbling out of the local underground. Deejay Rodney Bingenheimer broke many local acts such as The Runaways and The Go-Gos, as well as East Coast acts like The Ramones, Blondie and The Talking Heads. KROQ was the tastemaker of the 1980s, and many of the decade's stars came down to the Los Robles studios for interviews. A local venue called Perkin's Palace on Raymond Avenue (more on this later) also hosted many punk and new wave acts, and Pasadena became the totally happening place.

KROQ moved to Burbank in 1987, and after new wave's last hurrah in Pasadena (Depeche Mode's 101 Concert at The Rose Bowl on June 18, 1988), the city was never quite the same again.

15. Pasadena Civic Auditorium
330 E. Green St, Pasadena

Just south of the CicLAvia route, across from Paseo Colorado (formerly the Plaza Pasadena mall) is this stately hall designed by architects George Edwin Bergstrom, Cyril Bennett and Fitch Haskell, this 3,029-seat venue was the home of the Emmy Awards from 1977 to 1997. The 1983 NBC Motown 25 special, was taped here, which means, yes, Michael Jackson's moonwalk was performed to a worldwide audience in this here building.

16. Pasadena City Hall
100 N. Garfield Ave, Pasadena

Fans of the TV show Parks & Recreation will easily recognize this building for some reason...

Built a year before Los Angeles' iconic city hall, this second-most iconic city hall building in Southern California was largely inspired by the 1915 San Francisco City Hall. In fact, the city government wanted one similar to that, so they hired SF city hall architects Arthur Brown, Jr. and John Bakewell, Jr. to design one for the Crown City, this time with Mediterranean Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival elements.

17. Jackie and Mack Robinson Memorial
Holly St. and Garfield Ave, Pasadena

Legendary Brooklyn Dodger and UCLA Bruin Jackie Robinson and his brother, Olympic medalist Mack Robinson, were both raised right here in Pasadena, in a small house (no longer standing) at 121 Pepper Street, off of North Fair Oaks.

This memorial sculpture, designed by artist Ralph Helmick, features, nine-foot, 2700-pound likenesses of the Robinson brothers' heads. It was dedicated in 1997, the 50th anniversary year of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier.

18. Pasadena Public Library Ruins
Raymond Ave and Walnut St, Pasadena

Located at the northwest corner of Pasadena's Memorial Park (It is not, The Militant repeats, not a cemetery, it's quite literally a park that contains various memorial statues and plaques to war veterans and historic individuals) is this freestanding arched structure that looks like some old rich person's tomb (again, Memorial Park is not a cemetery...).

The structure was the entrance to the original Pasadena Public Library (prior to the 1930s, the park was known as the not-macabre-at-all "Library Park"), which operated here from 1890 to 1927. It was damaged in the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake and demolished in 1954 (man, the speed of city bureaucracy...). In 1955 the city of Pasadena decided to keep the arched entrance intact and dedicate it as another memorial in this park, this time to the city's founders.

19. Raymond Theatre/Perkins Palace
129 N. Raymond Ave, Pasadena

Originally built as Jensen's Raymond Theatre (if you know your Los Angeles history, it's the same Jensen's that opened the bowling alley in Echo Park and the former silent movie theatre on Melrose in East Hollywood (now the Ukrainian Culture Center - which was one of the stops in the first few Epic CicLAvia Tours), it was an early venue for vaudeville and silent movie screenings.

In the 1940s, it was sold to Crown Holding Corporation and re-named the Crown Theatre (because, as you know by now, Pasadena is "The Crown City" - and don't you forget it), showing movies until the 1960s. In the early 1970s, one of the theatre's owners was a local ophthalmologist named Dr. Nathan Roth (whose son, David Lee, was attending Pasadena City College at the time and met these guys named Michael, Alex and Eddie).

In the late '70s, the venue was owned by local businessman Mark Perkins who re-named it Perkins Palace, which became the legendary stage for local, national and international rock, pop, punk and new wave acts, from Fleetwood Mac to The Go-Gos to New Order to Oingo Boingo to, yes, Van Halen.

Today, the building remains as part of a new condo/retail complex.

20. Neon Retro Arcade
28 S. Raymond Ave, Pasadena

The third "arcade" on the CicLAvia route is this one -- a video arcade, that opened earlier this year, and specializes in retro (as in 1980s and 1990s, you know, the good stuff) video games, as well as pinball machines for the older school set. If you lovingly remembered the uber-legendary Pak Mann Arcade on 1775 Colorado Blvd back in the day, this is somewhat of a consolation. Anyone wanna play some Tempest or Street Fighter?

Note: If the arcade is closed, come by after 12 noon on Sunday when it opens. After then it will, quite literally, be on like Donkey Kong.

21. Hotel Green/Castle Green
99 S. Raymond Ave, Pasadena

One of Pasadena's most iconic structures, this Moorish-Mediterranean Revival luxury hotel, which was designed by local architect Frederick Roehrig, was built to serve the Santa Fe Railway station across the street (more on this later). Prior to its opening, it was purchased by civil war veteran and snake oil salesman George G. Green (hence Green Street). The hotel was once home to the Tournament of Roses Association and the Valley Hunt Club, which us 99-percenters only really hear about during the Tournament of Roses Parade.

22. Stats Floral Supply
120 S. Raymond Ave, Pasadena

Greek immigrant Dan Stathatos, Sr. once opened a flower shop on 4th and Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles and sold violets. His sons Dan, Jr. and Jerry took over the family business after his father's death in 1941 and in 1962 opened a floral supply, craft arts and outdoor furniture store here on Raymond Avenue in Pasadena.

The real draw of this store is from September to January, where the store becomes this massive, epic Christmas Holiday wonderland: Christmas trees, snowmen, reindeer, elves, angels, nutcrackers, Santas... it's...just...so...over...the...top.

Even if you drop by this Sunday, it won't be in Christmas mode, but it's still a unique store, sort of like a Moskatel's on steroids. If Huell hasn't been here, he should have.

23. Pasadena Santa Fe Depot
230 S. Raymond Ave, Pasadena

Before The Metro Gold Line opened in 2003, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway was the rail line that cut through town. The railroad first came to town in 1885, a line built by the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Railroad, which changed hands over the years and was bought by the ATSF Railway in 1906. The line served trains that came as far as Chicago.

The Mission Revival railroad depot was built in 1935 -- four years before Union Station was built in Downtown Los Angeles, and was popular with Hollywood celebrities, who disembarked here, rather than at Union Station, due to the Pasadena station's proximity to Hollywood and the various studios in the San Fernando Valley.

In 1971, Amtrak took over passenger service from the nation's railways and used this station until 1994, when parts of the line leading to Pasadena were condemned following the Northridge Earthquake. In the late 1990s, construction of the much-anticipated light rail line from Pasadena to Downtown Los Angeles was commenced, and the original Pasadena Santa Fe depot was moved several yards to its current location, which is now adaptively reused as the La Grande Orange Cafe restaurant, located adjacent to the Del Mar Metro Gold Line station.

24. The Owl Drug Co. (J. Crew)
3 W. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

J. Crew? Huh? The Militant shops there? As if! Naw, seriously, look down at the entryway for this J. Crew in Old Town Pasadena and you'll see "The Owl Drug Co." It was a San Francisco-based national chain drugstore and soda fountain (yeah, total old school) that opened its first Pasadena location here almost a century ago. It operated until the 1940s when it was purchased by Rexall Drug Store. It changed hands over the years, weathering the neighborhood's decline and eventual revitalization towards the end of the 20th century.

25. Site of Clune's Pasadena Theatre
61 W. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

If you're into faded building signs, you're in for a treat. The north and east walls of this building still bear the weather-beaten signage for "Clune's Pasadena Theatre," a vaudeville and silent movie theatre built 104 years ago. John Philip Sousa once performed there with his orchestra,

It became part of the Fox Theatres chain in the 1920s, screening Fox, and later 20th Century Fox films until the 1950s. Today, a Crate & Barrel and a Gap store operate in the former theatre space.

Stay Militant and Happy CiclaDENA on Sunday! Don't forget to blast some Van Halen and wear your crowns!