Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Militant's Epic CicLAvia Tour Live! - What You Need To Know!


The day is finally coming! In case you didn't know, The Militant Angeleno and Ted Rogers (of Biking in LA will be leading a live guided tour of Sunday's "Celebrate L.A.!" CicLAvia route! We are excited and totally stoked to be bringing this to y'allz for the very first time, and it will be a truly fun day.

We encouraged people to RSVP by Friday, but we expect people will just join in regardless, or just join in the tour because it's a tour. That's cool and all, and everyone is welcome. But there are some things you need to know first:

1. We will be meeting at 12:00 noon Pacific Daylight Time at the Walt Disney Concert Hall outdoor stairway near the northwest corner of Grand Avenue and 2nd Street. It looks like this:


2. The ride will leave no more than 15 minutes later, so 12:15 basically. We expect a total tour time of about ~2 hours. Maybe a little more. Hopefully everything will be done before 3 p.m.

3. We will not be stopping at all 42 points of interest (that would take us all day), but we will be making between 8-12 stops along the way and pointing out the upcoming points to look for before we make the next stop.

4. Ted Rogers of Biking in L.A. will be leading the ride, so you will be following him. The Militant will be at the back end of the pack and will make announcements on his Militant Megaphone. We will be going at a leisurely pace. No rush, yo!

5. There will be two detours from the CicLAvia route along Melrose Avenue. One will be a very short one off Melrose and the other will be within a 4-block radius of Melrose & Vine before re-joining the CicLAvia route.

6. You can leave and/or rejoin the tour at any time. Just don't do it all together. Please?

7. Please respect The Militant's anonymity. Do not attempt to unmask The Militant. Also, if you think you know who he is, don't go, "Hey, you're [real name]!" because that sucks right there for all parties involved. Also, do not follow/stalk him at the end of the tour. He has a group of undercover operatives following him at any time in the vicinity who are trained to attack if any such attempt is made. You will be sorry. Very sorry.

8. Photos/selfies of or with The Militant are perfectly fine on Sunday. But please do ask first. Also, Ted Rogers deserves the same amount of courtesy, even though he will not be masked.

9. If you're sharing your experiences on social media, please use the hashtag "#EpicCicLAviaTour."

10. MANDATORY LEGAL STUFF (nothing personal, don't feel intimidated): By joining this tour, you are joining at your own risk. You agree to accept all responsibility for any loss or injury incurred. Both The Militant Angeleno and Ted Rogers/Biking in L.A. are not held liable for any unfortunate circumstances. But most likely everything will turn out fine. We just want to cover our asses.

11. The Militant appreciates any and all constructive feedback! Feel free to reply to this email or DM The Militant on Twitter after the tour and let him know what you think! He'd like to do this again at future CicLAvias, and hopes the next guided tour can be even better!

12: STAY MILITANT!

The Militant will try to live-tweet to let everyone know where we will be in case you want to tag along or join in. 

See you (for reals now!) on Sunday!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXVII!! (Limited Version)


Click here for bigger version of this map!


The route of this 27th iteration of CicLAvia, "Celebrate LA," which happens to be an extension of the current "Iconic Wilshire Boulevard" route (truncated lately due to Metro Purple Line subway construction) will offer something different for the 8 year-old open streets tradition: An 8-mile street celebration centered around music to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. In keeping with the theme, this Epic CicLAvia Tour guide will not only feature some music-related points of interest along the route, but will also feature all four of the LAPhil's indoor home concert venues (all of them located on or just around the corner from Grand Avenue, BTW).

The Militant will also be doing something different: He is conducting an Epic CicLAvia Tour in person for the very first time. Collaborating with Ted Rogers of the cycling advocacy site Biking in L.A., The Militant will come out of the shadows and be your personal tour guide for the CicLAvia route! Ya really!

Needless to say, The Militant is totally stoked (and admittedly a little nervous, but hey...) about appearing in person for ya'llz!

This is also the largest Epic CicLAvia Tour guide to date! Why? Why not! It's just that epic!

Also, you will notice that some of the points of interest on this particular Epic CicLAvia Tour are missing some numbers. That is actually intentional - there are 10 points of interest on the route that have been left off of this published version. But they will be covered on the Epic CicLAvia Tour Live! guided bike tour on Sunday. Which means, if you want the whole Epic CicLAvia Tour experience, you'll just have to join us (An updated version of this tour guide with the 10 missing points of interest will be published next week)!

Remember, to join the tour, and get full details on where exactly we will meet (it will be somewhere near Grand Avenue and 2nd Street and we will meet at 12:00 noon on Sunday), RSVP by shooting an email to militantangeleno [at] gmail [dot] com!

So here goes, see you or not see you on the streets on Sunday!

[Note: This blog post may or may not contain some formatting errors. This is out of The Militant's control and is the fault of Blogspot.com's sorry-assed user interface. So deal with it!]

1. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (LAPhil's 3rd Home)
1964
135 N. Grand Ave, Downtown

The third home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra from 1964 to 2002, it was originally the primary component of The Music Center, Los Angeles County's complex of arts  venues, also including the Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum. Named after its primary donor, the wife of Los Angeles Times publisher Norman Chandler, who was also the daughter of the founder of the Buffums' department store chain (in existence from 1904 to 1991), Mrs. Chandler (1901-1997) was a major supporter of the arts in Los Angeles. The venue, designed by Welton Becket, lives on as the exclusive home of the Los Angeles Opera.

2. Walt Disney Concert Hall
(LAPhil's 4th Home)
2003
111 S. Grand Ave, Downtown

The fourth and current home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra opened in October, 2003. The iconic stainless steel structure was designed by Frank Gehry (like duh, you didn't already know that already). The project began in 1987 when Lilian Disney, widow of Walt Disney, donated $50 million for the construction of a new concert hall addition to the Music Center.

4. Site of Philharmonic Auditorium
(LAPhil's 2nd Home)
1906-1985
427 W. 5th St, Downtown

Built in 1906 as the Temple Auditorium, it was a mixed-use theatre/Baptist church designed by Charles F. Whittlesey, at the time the largest theatre building west of Chicago. It was also known as Clune's Theatre. In 1920 the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra moved in for its second season (thereby renaming the building "Philharmonic Auditorium"), where it remained until the opening of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 1964. It was demolished in 1985 where it became a surface parking lot until recently, where it is currently being developed as the Park Fifth mixed-use project.

5. One Wilshire Building/Wilshire Bookend Palm Trees
1966
624 S. Grand Ave, Downtown

Built during the first wave of modern skyscrapers following the repeal of Los Angeles' building height limit laws, this building, designed by architectural rockstars Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (who also went on to craft Chicago's Sears Tower, among many others) stood for most of its life as the address of legal and financial institutions. After a renovation in 1992, this building is now the location of CoreSite, a major data colocation center, which carries the primary Internet connections for Los Angeles (without this building, you can't read this!)

Take note of the row of palm trees, planted here in the 1970s: They are meant to evoke the end of Wilshire Boulevard, as on the opposite end, at Santa Monica's Ocean Avenue, 16 miles from here, you will also find a row of palm trees.

6. Trinity Auditorium (LAPhil's 1st Home)
1914
855 S Grand Ave, Downtown Los Angeles

This nine-story Beaux-Arts building designed by Harry C. Deckbar was the first home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra during its debut  season in 1919. The building originally functioned as a mixed-use Methodist Episcopal church and hotel complex and was once owned by USC during the 1980s-1990s. It is currently being renovated into a hotel again.


7. L.A. Prime Matter Sculpture
1991
Wilshire and Figueroa (NW corner), Downtown

Wilshire is full of awesome-looking public art. Here's one relatively-recent sculpture, recently renovated, right at the northwest corner of Wilshire and Figueroa. Designed by the late Venice-based artist Eric Orr, who had a penchant for utilizing elemental themes in his art, L.A. Prime Matter features twin 32-foot bronze columns that feature water sliding down its faces, and during random moments, FIRE emanates from the middle channels of the columns every hour on the hour! The effect is total bad-ass, and its bad-assnes is magnified at night.


8. Wilshire Grand Center
2017
900 Wilshire Blvd, Downtown

On this site rises the new Wilshire Grand Center, Los Angeles' (and the West's -- suck on it, Transbay Tower SF!) tallest building at 73 stories and 1,100 feet (kinda sorta, there's a spire, you see...). Opened on June 23, it is the city's only modern skyscraper without a flat roof, the only Los Angeles building since Hollywood's Capitol Records tower in 1956 to feature a spire, the first skyscraper anywhere to sport a mohawk, and it also has its own irreverent Twitter account. ;)

Owned by Korean Air (hence the red and blue taeguk LED logo), the tower houses the 900-room Hotel Intercontinentalwith its 70th-floor Sky Lobby and the unique Spire 73 skybar, with wonderful views of the south and west (the sunset vista from here is not to be missed).

The building's construction site was the location of "The Big Pour" - which lasted from February 15 -16, 2014, where 21,200 cubic yards (81 million pounds) of concrete for the tower's foundation were continuously poured - earning it a Guinness World Record for that feat.

Before the skyscaper, the site was home of the Wilshire Grand Hotel, formerly (in reverse chronological order) the Omni Hotel, Los Angeles Hilton, Statler Hilton and Statler Hotel.

9. Site of George Shatto Residence/Good Samaritan Hospital
1891
Wilshire Blvd and Lucas Ave, Downtown

Before it was named Wilshire Boulevard, it was once called Orange Street, and on the corner of Orange and Lucas was a Queen Anne-style mansion belonging to George Shatto, a real estate developer who first developed Catalina Island and the city of Avalon. If you read the Epic CicLAvia Tour 4.0 post, his name is brought up as one of the famous Angelenos buried (in a rather ornate pyramid) at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery.

But check this out! Take a look at the picture above, and pay close attention to the masonry wall going uphill that fronts Lucas Avenue. Now, on CicLAvia Sunday, look at the exact same spot, on the northwest corner of the intersection. The house is gone, but the original wall still remains!

Good Samaritan Hospital, which was founded in 1885 and moved to the current site in 1911, is also the birthplace of many native Angelenos, including mayor Eric Garcetti.

10. S. Charles Lee Office and Residence
1903/1935
1648 Wilshire Blvd, Westlake.

Architect S. Charles Lee was famous for designing some of Los Angeles' ornate theaters along Broadway, including the Los Angeles Theatre and the Tower Theatre (a.k.a. The Apple Mac Tower Pro Theatre). He moved his family to a two-story Victorian house on Wilshire and in 1935 built his Regency Moderne-style office right in front of it, a unique live-work space arrangement of its time.

11. Los Angeles Teachers (a.k.a. 'Stand And Deliver') Mural
1997
Wilshire and Alvarado, Westlake

Art imitates life imitating art imitating life in this mural by popular SalvadoreƱo American muralist Hector Ponce depicting actor Edward James Olmos, who portrayed Garfield High School math teacher Jaime Escalante in the 1988 movie Stand and Deliverstanding next to the real-life Escalante, and delivering a mural that's part-Hollywood, part-Los Angeles, part-Latino pride, part Eastside pride and if the Internet were as accessible back in 1988 as it is today, would make one epic photo meme. And it's painted behind the 1926 Westlake Theatre, which is slated for renovation into a community-based performance arts venue sometime soon.

12. Gen. Harrison Gray Otis Statue
1920
Wilshire Blvd and Park View Ave, Westlake

Gen. Otis is perhaps the most visible statue at the park, which predates MacArthur's WWII service. This general served in the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars, and also fought as a Union soldier in the Civil War. But in Los Angeles, he is most known for being the founder, owner and publisher of the Los Angeles Times. So why is he here? His Wilshire Blvd mansion, called The Bivouac, was located across the street, was later donated to Los Angeles County and became the original campus of Otis Art Institute. It's thought that his statue is pointing to the site of the Elks Lodge, but he's probably just pointing to his old house. BTW, Gen. Otis was the grandfather of Dorothy Chandler's husband, Norman.

13. Bryson Apartment Building
1913
2701 Wilshire Blvd, Westlake

This 10-story Beaux Arts apartment building, built 100 years ago, was the 20th century precursor to today's fancy modern 21-century high-rise residential developments. Built by developer Hugh W. Bryson and designed by Noonan & Kysor, it was built in a part of Los Angeles that was known at the time as "the west side" (let's not open that can of worms right now, okay?). It was one of Los Angeles' most luxurious apartment buildings, and had a large neon sign at the roof (characteristic of these kinds of developments back then). Several Raymond Chandler books reference The Bryson. The 110,000 square-foot building is also part of the National Register of Historic Places and a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

14. Lafayette Park
1899
Wilshire Blvd and LaFayette Park Place, Westlake

Clara Shatto, the widow of 19th-century real estate developer George Shatto donated 35 acres of her land to the City of Los Angeles in 1899, which was once oil wells and tar pits. Her late husband wanted it turned into a city park, and so it became Sunset Park, which existed for 19 years before the locals wanted it renamed to honor the 18th-century Frenchman who was a hero in both the American and French revolutions. Gotta give LaFayette park some props for living so long in the shadow of its more famous neighbor, MacArthur (Westlake) Park.

15. Bullocks Wilshire/Southwestern Law School
1929
3050 Wilshire Blvd

Perhaps one of the most iconic examples of Art-Deco architecture in Los Angeles, this former Bullocks Department Store was designed with a tower to resemble a New York-style skyscraper in then-unabashedly low-rise Los Angeles. It was the epitome of shopping in style in its heyday, with its own rear parking lot and other auto-centric amenities. It ultimately fell victim to the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and was closed down the next year. In 1994, the nearby Southwestern School of Law bought the building and incorporated it into its campus, restoring much of the Roaring 1920s Art Deco aesthetics.

16. Consulate Row
Various locations along Wilshire Blvd between Vermont and Crenshaw

Some 62 countries have consular offices in the Los Angeles area and 41 of them have addresses on Wilshire Boulevard. Proximity to various foreign financial institutions on Wilshire, as well as nearby Hancock Park, where many consul-generals have traditionally resided, are the main reasons for such a high concentration of consulates on this stretch of Wilshire. The consulate offices for Bangladesh, Bolivia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, South Korea, Nicaragua, Peru, The Philippines, Sri Lanka and Taiwan are all located on Wilshire between Vermont and Crenshaw. Many of them display their national flags in front of their respective office buildings. How many can you spot during CicLAvia?

17. Gaylord Apartments
1924
3355 Wilshire Blvd

Though the building's prominent neon sign has been source of many a snicker by immature junior high school kids, this building represents some serious history. It was named after Wilshire Boulevard's namesake, Henry Gaylord Wilshire, who was known as a wealthy real estate developer and outspoken socialist (Does that make sense?), who donated a 35-acre strip of barley fields to the City of Los Angeles on the condition that it would be free from railroads or trucking. The building itself is a 13-story Italian Renaissance-style apartment building that actor John Barrymore (a.k.a. Drew's grandpa) and then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon once called home.

18. Wilshire Brown Derby Site
1926
3427 and 3377 Wilshire Blvd

The now-defunct "The Brown Derby" local chain of restaurants were synonymous with Hollywood glitz and glamour. The Wilshire Boulevard location was the first of four (the others were in Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Feliz). In close proximity to The Ambassador Hotel and its  Cocoanut Grove swing/jazz club, this was the original hipster joint back in the day, only back then the hipsters were actually cool and looked good. In 1937 the building was moved across the street and closed in 1975. In 1980, a shopping center was built on the site and the iconic dome structure was incorporated into the shopping center that exists today. It's situated on the third floor, above The Boiling Crab seafood restaurant. It's something to ponder on while you wait 90 minutes for your table.

Note that the pictures for #17 and #18 connect vertically - that's the Gaylord Apartments behind the Brown Derby!

19. Robert F. Kennedy Inspiration Park/Ambassador Hotel Site
2010
Wilshire Blvd between Catalina Street and Mariposa Avenue

The Militant wrote a post in 2010 about this unique public space dedicated to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated just yards away at the Ambassador Hotel, which was demolished in 2005 and where the LAUSD's sprawling and costly  RFK Community Schools campus now stands. There's Kennedy quotes on public art installations and benches for you to chill on. There's also speakers playing recordings of some of the jazz music that was performed at the hotel's famed Cocoanut Grove swing and jazz club.

20. Wiltern Theatre/Pellissier Building
1931
Wilshire Blvd and Western Avenue (duh...), Koreatown

The 12-story structure, designed by Stiles O. Clements, is Los Angeles' emerald-green temple to all that is Art Deco. Originally operating as the "Warner Theatre" (Specifically the Western Avenue location of Warner Bros. chain of movie theaters; The Warner Theatre in San Pedro is another example), The Wiltern (named so since 1935) has seen many cycles of decay and rebirth, most recently in the 1980s, when preservationists renovated the theatre to a performing arts venue. The contemporary Wiltern Theatre has been operating since 1985.

21. MaDang Courtyard Mall
2010
621 S. Western Ave, Koreatown

The heart of K-town is essentially the revived district once known as Wilshire Center,  a mid-rise commercial district which emerged in the mid-1960s, filling in the commercial real estate gap between Downtown and Miracle Mile. By the late 1980s, the district had fallen into disarray, with many businesses closing down or moving out, culminating around the time of the 1992 Riots (the iconic Bullocks Wilshire closed down in 1993). With the old guard having moved out, it allowed opportunities for the then-scattered Korean business community, fueled by an abundant supply of investment money from South Korea, to move into the vacant retail and office spaces and expand Koreatown into the large district that exists today. Enter MaDang Courtyard, which opened in 2010. This dense, triple-story urban mall represents not only the modern Koreatown, but a more of a visual semblance of Seoul, as opposed to the re-purposed commercial spaces of the old Wilshire Center. Anchored by the CGV Cinemasmultiplex, which screens current Hollywood features, Korean films and Korean-subtitled versions of mainstream blockbusters, you can't get more K-town than that (for a non-food establishment). But speaking of food establishment, there's also a Hansol Noodle location here, a Paris Baguette (despite the francophone name, it's a South Korean bakery cafe chain), a Lemon Tree kids' play cafe and Japanese imports Daiso (picture a Nippon version of the 99 Cents Only store) and pastry chain Beard Papa's. It's like a trip across the Pacific (minus the jet-lag).


AND NOW, A BREAK AT THE HALFWAY MARK...

The CicLAvia route visits Western Avenue for the very first time. But this isn't the first car-free, open street event that's popular with cyclists. In fact, they've been doing it 122 years ago...
 This photo, taken in 1896, shows a group bicycle ride up an unpaved Western Avenue (back then called County Road), back in the agricultural days. What comes around, goes around!

22. Selig Building
1931
269 S. Western Ave, Koreatown

This single-story black and gold terra cotta Art Deco storefront building (like total LAFC style, yo!) designed by Arthur Harvey was originally the Alvin C. Selig men's formalware store when it opened in the 1930s and later became a Crocker National Bank branch and video store. Today, the newly-renovated building is subdivided into separate retail spaces, which includes The Dolly Llama Waffle Master restaurant.

24. US Post Office - Nat King Cole Station
1987 (Dedicated 2002)
265 S. Western Ave, Koreatown.

Formerly the United States Postal Service's Oakwood Station, it was dedicated to singer Nat King Cole in 2002, who lived nearby on Murfield Rd. and 4th Street in Hancock Park from 1948 to his death in 1965. The facility is slated to move to a new location nearby as the current building will be demolished for redevelopment.

25. Original Home of See's Candies
1921
135 N. Western Ave., Koreatown

Canadian immigrant Charles See, along with his wife Florence, their children and his mother Mary, moved to Los Angeles where they opened a candy shop at this location in November, 1921 using Mary's recipes from when she helped run her late husband's hotel in southern Ontario. The operation soon blossomed into multiple stores, even booming during the Great Depression, and can be found in 17 states. The candies are made here in California, at its factories on La Cienega Blvd and in South San Francisco. The original See's Candies location is currently a Tom N Tom's (a.k.a. Korean Starbucks) coffee shop.

28. Hollywood Melrose Hotel
1927
5162 Melrose Ave, Hollywood.

This three-story building was designed by S. Charles Lee (remember him?) and opened in 1927 as the Hollywood Melrose Hotel. It later became rental units known as the Melrose Arms and Monte Cristo Island Apartments. In 1992 it made the National Register of Historic Places and was returned to an inn in 2010, re-branded as the Hollywood Historic Hotel which is now run by the Armenian family that owns the Edmon’s Unique Furniture and Stone Gallery business on the ground floor.

30. Raleigh Studios
1914
5300 Melrose Ave, Hollywood

Standing in the shadow of its much more famous neighbor across the street, this independent motion picture facility was founded in 1914 as the Fiction Players company studios, and later on as Clune Studios (Yes, the same William H. Clune that owned what later became Philharmonic Auditorium) in 1915. This studio facility was later associated with stars like Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin. It was the filming location of classic TV shows like "The Adventures of Superman" and "Gunsmoke" (1950s); "Dallas," and Madonna's "Like A Prayer" music video (1980s) and Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" video (1990s).

34. Site of Gold Star Recording Studios
1950-1984
6252 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood

Since this CicLAvia is focused on music with various musical performances along the route, this site was home of Gold Star Recording Studios, which lasted from the 1950s to the early 1980s. In the 1960s, it was most associated with (pre-murderer era) producer Phil Spector, who recorded The Beach Boys' hit "Good Vibrations" here, as well as parts of their legendary Pet Sounds album.  The studio was used by countless artists such as Ritchie Valens, Herb Alpert, Sonny and Cher, The Monkees, The Go-Gos, The Chipmunks, John Lennon, The Who and Jimi Hendrix. The Militant covered this spot back in 2008.

35. Wild Card Boxing Gym
1995
1123 N. Vine St, Hollywood

Founded and still operated by legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach, this facility has been the choice training spot for amateur and professional boxers for the past two decades. Boxers such as Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and Julio Cesar Chavez, among many, have trained in this 2nd-floor gym perched above a nondescript minimall. And oh yeah, this places smells like nasty-ass humid BO. The Militant was here back in 2007.

37. Pickford Center/Mutual-Don Lee Studios
1948
1313 N. Vine St, Hollywood

Functioning today as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, this is the oldest building in Hollywood built for television production. It opened in
1948 as the headquarters of the old Mutual-Don Lee (that's Lee as in Mt. Lee, home of the Hollywood Sign) broadcast network, which birthed an early TV station, KTSL (for Thomas S. Lee, Don's son). In 1950, CBS took over the operation and years later it was the home of KHJ (now KCAL) Channel 9. In 1964, public TV station KCET began broadcasting here until it moved 3 1/2 miles east to Los Feliz in 1970. ABC took over the facility until the 1990s, when AIDS Project L.A. located its offices at the former studio. The Academy has used the old Don Lee studios since 2002.

38. Site of NBC Studios
1938-1962
1500 N. Vine St, Hollywood

Before The Peacock Network was associated with "Beautiful Downtown Burbank," it called the northeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street its (West Coast) home. It began life as Radio City West (after NYC's Radio City), and the broadcast facility became influential in the industry, prompting rivals ABC and CBS to locate their western headquarters in close proximity. Local affiliate KNBC channel 4 was born here in 1949 (then known as KNBH, later becoming KRCA in 1954). It took on the KNBC call sign when the operation moved out to The 'Burb[ank] in 1962. The iconic Streamline Moderne studio building was torn down and replaced with a Home Savings and Loan bank branch (now operating today as  Chase Bank). The Sunset & Vine retail/residential complex across the street gave an architectural nod to the NBC building with Streamline Moderne touches).

39. Hollywood Brown Derby Site/Metro Bike Hub
1929-1985/2017
1628 N. Vine St, Hollywood

Did you know that Metro's Hollywood Bike Hub facility, which opened last year, stands on the very site of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant? This was the second location of the legendary local restaurant chain.(See Point #18) Back in the Hollywood Heyday of the first half of the 20th century, it was like the lunch and dining hotspot for famous film stars and industry moguls. But perhaps the biggest star associated with the Hollywood Brown Derby was the Cobb Salad, invented here circa 1937. Named after Brown Derby co-owner Robert Cobb, it was an improvised mish-mash of leftover salad ingredients, either made for theater mogul Sid Graumann or by Cobb himself as a late-night meal (depending on which version of the legend). The restaurant closed down in 1985 and the iconic Mediterranean-style structure was burned in a fire two years later. It was finally demolished in the mid-1990s after the Northridge Earthquake.

41. Hollywood and Vine
1887
Hollywood Blvd and Vine St (duh), Hollywood

Originally part of Hollywood pioneers Horace and Ida Wilcox's ranch (Ida was the one who dubbed the former Cahuenga Valley (named after the Tongva village known as Cahug-na) the name "Hollywood"), two dirt roads were cut through it: the east-west Prospect Avenue and Weyse Avenue running north-south. In 1903, a Methodist church was built on the southeast corner, soon followed by a number of businesses. When Hollywood was annexed to Los Angeles in 1910, Prospect and Weyse went all showbiz by changing its name to Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street and a decade later, the corner became world famous due to being a hub of radio and movie-related businesses. The Pacific Electric Railway's Western and Franlin Ave. Line even terminated here during that period from 1908 to 1940. Today it is arguably the World's Most Famous Intersection (seriously, try to name a more famous corner), and in July of 2018, a diagonal "scramble" pedestrian intersection was installed by the City.

42. Capitol Records Building/Hollywood Jazz Mural
1956/1990
1750 N. Vine St, Hollywood

You may or may not already know that the Capitol Records building is: a) The world's first circular office building (designed by Louis Naidorf of Welton Becket associates -- the same architectural firm that designed the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Point #1), at the opposite end of the CicLAvia tour (How's that for full circle [pumps fist]?)); b) Designed like a stack of records; and c) The FAA warning light atop its spire spells "HOLLYWOOD" in Morse Code. What you probably didn't know was that Capitol Records, founded in 1942, was the first major record label headquartered in the West Coast, and that the building was largely financed by the profits made from its premier artist at the time, Nat King Cole (See Point #24). Also, to make yet another connection to another point on this CicLAvia tour, this is one of two skyscrapers in Los Angeles with a spire, the second being the Wilshire Grand Center (Point #8). Dude, is everything like interconnected or what?! And speaking of Nat King Cole, Capitol's classic crooner is depicted front and center in the 88 foot-wide mural facing the building's south parking lot, "Hollywood Jazz, 1948-1972" by African American muralist (and Lynwood native) Richard Wyatt, Jr. painted in 1990 and restored in 2011.

So there it is! Stay Militant and Happy CicLAvia on Sunday! See ya!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

THE MILITANT'S EPIC ANNOUNCEMENT!


First off, HAPPY 237th BIRTHDAY, LOS ANGELES!

The Militant Angeleno has attended all 26 CicLAvias since the event began in October, 2010. And since April, 2011, The Militant has published his Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour guides, detailing historic and unique points of interest in the various communities along each CicLAvia route.

This time will be different*. The Militant, together with Ted Rogers from the bicycling advocacy blog Biking in LA are collaborating to bring you The Militant's Epic CicLAvia Tour - LIVE! A guided 8-mile bicycle tour (skateboards, scooters and rollerblades welcome too, though if you're on foot, you'd better know how to run fast!) through Grand Avenue, Wilshire Boulevard, Western Avenue, Melrose Avenue and Vine Street from Downtown Los Angeles to Hollywood.

This will be an historic event as The Militant Angeleno will make his first formal public appearance! (Whoa, WUUUUUUUT?!?! NO WAY!) Way! He will be co-guiding the tour along with Ted Rogers.  

We will be meeting at 12 noon near the Grand Hub (near Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown.

To register for the tour and get full tour information and details on exact meeting location, RSVP at militantangeleno [at] gmail [dot] com by Friday, September 28.

The Militant and Ted look forward to meeting you on September 30!

*The Militant will still be publishing his Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXVII guide in advance of this CicLAvia, but it will be a simplified version of the complete tour, which you'll get by joining us on September 30!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

It's Coming...


You're gonna have to wait until Tuesday for this. But The Militant promises it's going to be pretty big (Such a tease, he knows...).

Thursday, June 21, 2018

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


Interactive map! Click and drag to navigate. Larger map here!

Love reruns? This Sunday's 26th CicLAvia would fill the bill, as it's a reprise of the March 6, 2016 route, which The Militant covered here. That one went through the communities of Panorama City, Arleta and Pacoima (which, if you're a longtime reader of This Here Blog, is Tongva for "Place of Running Water").

Like the last CicLAvia located in BFE-afjacent eastern San Gabriel Valley, this route is also not accessible by any of the Metro Rail lines (tsk tsk tsk...shame...), but at least Earth Day's Heart of The Foothills route was well-accessible by Metrolink. For this route, there are two Metrolink stations several miles away, but none are directly along or adjacent to this CicLAvia route. So, if you drive here, The Militant won't trip (because that's what he did, too...). However, Metro wants to eventually make the entire CicLAvia route part of a 9.2-mile light rail line serving Eastern SFV.

This 3,8-mile route is rather short and is limited to one street -- Van Nuys Boulevard between Roscoe Boulevard and San Fernando Road. So while there are only six points of interest on this CicLAvia route proper, The Militant has included 15 more within a quick bike detour away from the boulevard.

Anyways, for the sake of continuity, The Militant presents a slightly-updated redux of his previous Epic CicLAvia Tour of this route!

SEE YOU OR NOT SEE YOU ON THE STREETS THIS SUNDAY!

1. The Plant/Site of GM Van Nuys Assembly
2003/1947
7876 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys

No, despite the name, this is not a nursery or pot dispensary. This ginormous, sprawling car-oriented shopping center on the east side of Van Nuys Boulevard where one can catch a movie, buy some hardware or satisfy their "IN-N-OUT URGE" originally began its life as a large General Motors automotive plant (hence the name), pumping out Chevrolet trucks, other Chevy auto models, Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs for nearly half a century, built mostly by residents who lived nearby, before closing down in 1992 to satisfy AQMD requirements. The plant was torn down six years later and Los Angeles City Councilman Marvin Braude resurrected the site into the ginormous shopping center in 2003. GM still operates a testing facility east of the stores.


2. Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center
1962
13651 Willard St, Panorama City

Another major employer that made Panorama City is Kaiser Permanente's Panorama City Medical Center. Though it opened in 1962, it was envisioned as far back as 1948 when industrialist Henry Kaiser developed his residential neighborhood (more on this later), and a large plot of land by Roscoe and Woodman was set aside for the construction of a hospital.

3. Wat Thai Los Angeles Temple
1976
8225 Coldwater Canyon Ave, North Hollywood

This Teravada Buddhist temple is the spiritual and cultural center of Los Angeles' Thai American community. It is also home to a massive outdoor Thai food bazaar that was popular in the last decade (The Militant posted about it in the early days of This Here Blog, you know, when he used to blog several times a week) before being so successful. it was shut down (by neighbors who complained about parking issues). Now that those issues have been ironed out (and that you don't have to park a car anyway), ride on down here, because the weekend food bazaar made a comeback in 2016, and you can now enjoy it as part of your CicLAvia experience this Sunday!

4. Site of Van Nuys Drive-In/Vista Middle School
1948
15040 Roscoe Blvd, Van Nuys

In the post-war area, not only did the Panorama City community flourish with homes, shopping and industry, but what more appropriate way to take your shiny new Chevy made down the street to watch a drive-in movie? In the SFV, the Drive-In was king, but every king's reign comes to an end. The Van Nuys Drive-In was the last drive-in theater in The Valley, eventually sporting three screens (in 1983) with a capacity for nearly 900 cars. The drive-in closed for good in 1992 and was demolished in 1998. The property was purchased by the LAUSD, which built Vista Middle School on the site in the early 2000s.

5. Panorama Mall
1955
8401 Van Nuys Blvd, Panorama City

When it comes to shopping centers in the San Fernando Valley, North Hollywood's Valley Plaza might have been the pioneer, the Topanga Plaza might be the first enclosed mall (1964) and the Sherman Oaks Galleria might get credit for being ground zero of 1980s "Valley Girl" culture, but Panorama Mall deserves its own induction in the 818 Mall of Fame. It was part of Kaiser and Burns' plan for Pano to surround their hood with commerce and industry, as a place, unlike the regional shopping center behemoths of the time, where residents can simply walk to not have to drive very far to. Upon its opening as "Panorama City Shopping Center," it sported The Valley's flagship Broadway department store. It also housed Orbach's, Robinson's, and Montgomery Ward. In the mid-1960s, the shopping center focused on the indoor mall format. Having endured the decades, Panorama Mall was given a long-overdue internal remodeling a few years ago and now sports over 50 stores.

6. Chase on Chase
2009 (Built 1965)
8450 Van Nuys Blvd (corner Chase St - get it?), Panorama City

You would think that this location would be the product of some clever marketing. But corporations don't think that way. Rather, it was a matter of happenstance. Originally established as a Home Savings of America in 1965, it went under the guise of Washington Mutual in 1998 until WaMu was eaten up by J. P. Morgan Chase Bank a decade later. As fate would have it, this Chase Bank is on the corner of Van Nuys Boulevard and none other than Chase Street. You can't make this stuff up, folks. Now all that's missing is Chase Utley leading a high-speed chase that ended up here, The Militant would asplode.

7. Plaza del Valle
2000
8610 Van Nuys Blvd, Panorama City

Plaza del Valle (Plaza of the Valley), originally built in the 1970s as a strip mall is an outdoor shopping court, nestled behind the nondescript storefronts on the east side of Van Nuys Blvd between Chase and Parthenia streets (and the perfect counterpoint to the mostly-indoor Panorama Mall down the block), was heavily influenced by Downtown's Olvera Street. The old strip mall was re-imagined and re-built in 2000 by its non-Latino developers to serve Pano's growing Latino community. The complex features retail shops and stalls, eateries, fountains and an entertainment stage.


8. Pacific Electric San Fernando Valley Right of Way
1913
Van Nuys Blvd at Parthenia St, Panorama City

Now that The Militant made his epic Pacific Electric Archaeology Map and detailed where every passenger Red Car line went in Southern California, you all should know by now that Van Nuys Boulevard used to be a PE right of way (and if you didn't, then THE MILITANT IS DISAPPOINTED IN YOU!) So you wouldn't be surprised at all that the westward sweeping curve on Parthenia Street is where the line, which reached this part of The Valley in 1913, diverges from Van Nuys Blvd and continues westward, then northward again to San Fernando.  Due to the rising costs of maintaining and operating the line (and not because of some silly Roger Rabbit Judge Doom conspiracy), it was partially shut down in 1938 (years before the supposed conspiracy happened, BTW...but no matter how many facts get shown in your face, you still continue to believe it, right? RIGHT?) up to Sherman Way, and the entire SFV line was closed in 1952 (y'allz should have that memorized by now...).

9. Kaiser Homes
1948
Area bordered by Van Nuys Blvd, Osborne St, Woodman Ave & Roscoe Blvd, Panorama City

Whatup, homes? There's a bunch of them here east of Van Nuys Blvd here in Pano. When World War II was winding down in 1945, real estate developer Fritz B. Burns and industrialist Henry J. Kaiser purchased 400 acres of former dairy farms and alfalfa fiels for $1 million to build their own planned residential community consisting of affordable, pre-fab, single-story homes on winding streets to break up the SFV grid monotony. They built it, and they came.A General Motors factory set up shop down the street, space was reserved for a future hospital, and nearby breweries and aerospace companies also generated employment centers. A large shopping center was built, and Mr. Burns (no, not that one) brought his own personal reindeer to the Panorama Mall to delight shoppers each holiday season (and also found it an opportunity to market some houses to them). Of course, back then in the era of discriminatory housing covenants, you had to be white (and purely white, to be exact) to own these homes, a practice that was in place until the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1968. Today, the majority of residents who live in the former Kaiser Homes development are non-white and primarily of immigrant background -- predominantly Latino, as well as Filipino and Thai, providing the proverbial middle finger of justice extended to the legacy Burns and Kaiser.

10. Marty McFly House
1985 (Built c. 1950s)
9303 Roslyndale Avenue, Arleta

Just a couple years after Marty McFly traveled into the future, it couldn't be more appropo to take a short detour from the CicLAvia route southeast down Canterbury Ave, left on Kagel Canyon and right on Roslyndale to see the very house which portrayed the McFly family residence in the "Back to the Future" movie saga.  NOTE: This is a private residence, please do not bother the current occupants, and please refrain from shouting, "HELLO, MC FLY?!" outside.


11. Back to the Future "Lyon Estates" Location
1985
Sandusky Ave at Kagel Canyon Street, Arleta

And if you haven't felt enough of The Power of Love yet, head back onto Kagel Canyon, turn right and stop at the intersection of Sandusky Avenue to see the very street where Marty McFly skateboarded down in the first "Back to the Future" film. It don't take money, don't take fame, don't need no credit card to ride this train (well, unless you're talking about a TAP card...).

12. Pacoima Mural Mile
2012 

Van Nuys Blvd between Arleta Ave and Bradley St

Spurred by a local need to increase community pride and aesthetics, several local artists painted murals along the Van Nuys Blvd corridor in Pacoima and thus was born Pacoima Mural Mile. Famous native Ritchie Valens (more on him later) is a popular subject on these walls, as well as cultural icons from Frida Kahlo to La Virgen de Guadalupe to Danny Trejo. Think of this as an Epic CicLAvia tour within an Epic CicLAvia Tour! View the Pacoima Mural Mile map here: http://www.muralmile.org/#!/zoom/csgz/coq6

13. Ritchie Valens House
1947
13428 Remington St, Pacoima

This was the house that '50s rock star and Pacoima native Ritchie Valens purchased for his mother, Concepcion Reyes, in 1958 from the proceeds of his newfound "La Bamba" fame, and was also his final residence until The Day The Music Died on February 3, 1959. NOTE: This is a private residence, please do not bother the current occupants, and please refrain from shouting, "RITCHIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" outside. 

14. Ritchie Valens Park
1994
10731 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Pacoima

The former Paxton Park, re-dedicated in 1994 to Pacoima's most famous native in order to spur community pride, Ritchie Valens Park isn't just a patch of grass with a famous person's name on the sign, it features a skate park, a baseball diamond, basketball courts, a swimming pool and a children's playground with historical and interpretive displays highlighting the life of the local Mexican American rocker, whose life was tragically cut short at the age of 17 on a Wisconsin plane crash. Weeeeeeeeeeeeell come on, let's go, let's go, go, everybody...to this nice little detour not too far away from the main CicLAvia route.  

15. Metroink Antelope Valley Line/CA High Speed Rail Corridor
1876
Van Nuys Blvd at San Fernando Rd, Pacoima

This is the very first time a CicLAvia route will cross an active mainline railroad track, so please do not ignore the warning lights, bells and gates! These tracks were originally built in 1876 by the Southern Pacific Railroad to connect Los Angeles to Saugus, where continuing lines on to Ventura and the Antelope Valley were built. In the early 1990s, it was taken over by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, otherwise known as Metrolink, for a commuter rail line from Union Station to Santa Clarita, which opened in October 1992. But on January 17, 1994, the earth shook violently and the 5/14 freeway interchange collapsed. To facilitate commuters coming in from the Antelope Valley during the post-Northridge Earthquake period, the line was extended to Lancaster (which wasn't planned to be built until 2004 at the earliest under normal circumstances) thanks to FEMA funds and was opened IN ONE WEEK. In the near (or distant) future, running parallel to the existing railroad tracks will be the proposed California High Speed Rail system from San Francisco to Los Angeles (...which may or may not get built).


16. Tresierras Supermarket
1956
13156 Van Nuys Blvd, Pacoima


Established in San Fernando in 1944 to serve the growing Mexican American community in the area by Francisco and Pilar Tresierras while two of their sons served in World War II, and operating from this very location for 60 straight years, Tresierras Supermarket is a full-service
Latino supermarket featuring produce, dry goods, a carniceria and an in-house tortilleria. It's one of the long-time anchors of Pacoima's Latino community, serving local residents for generations. And we're quite sure that Ritchie Valens himself shopped here back in the day.

17. San Fernando Gardens
1942
10995 Lehigh Ave, Pacoima

This public housing project next to the northern terminus of the CicLAvia route features 448 apartments built in the World War II era by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles. It was built to house workers from the Lockheed aircraft factory in Burbank (though it's pretty far from Burbank -- no freeway and no PE line back n the day) and was unique in that it was racially integrated, and comprised the largest African American community in the San Fernando Valley at the time.

18. Ritchie Valens' Childhood Home
c. 1940s
13058 Filmore St, Pacoima

Though Ritchie Valens' birthplace is unknown, this was the very house where he spent most of his childhood in (after living briefly with an uncle in Santa Monica as a kid). At the age of 9, he taught himself how to play guitar at this very house and took it to Pacoima Jr. High School where he performed for his classmates and joined a local band, The Silhouettes as their singer, until he was discovered by record label owner Bob Keane, and the rest was history.

19. Discovery Cube Los Angeles
2014 (Built 2007)
11800 Foothill Blvd, Lake View Terrace

The de-facto successor to the nbow-defunct Childrens Museum of Los Angeles, which operated out of the Civic Center for most of its 20-year existence, this building was originally built in 2007 to house an expanded version of the museum. but after the nonprofit went bankrupt in 2009, this building sat as a white elephant on the corner of Foothill and Osborne for seven years, until the City entered a partnership with Santa Ana's Discovery Science Center and operated the intended Children's Museum site as "Discovery Cube Los Angeles" in 2014. But despite the museum's corner location, it's a horribly pedestrian-unfriendly experience just getting to the dang place, where one has to enter through the Hansen Dam Recreation Area's main entrance on Osborne Street, and drive some distance before entering the Discovery Cube parking lot. Whatup with that?


20. Site of Rodney King Beating
1991 

Foothill Blvd, east of Osborne St, Lake View Terrace

Just behind the Discovery Cube building on Foothill) was where African American motorist Rodney King was beaten in March 1991 by four mostly-white LAPD officers after a brief freeway chase (they didn't televise those things back then). But they did televise the grainy VHS handicam video (no smartphones back then, kids) that was shot by local resident George Holliday, who lived in the apartments on the north side of Foothill. The beating, after airing on KTLA a few days later, sparked outrage in the city's African American community and called to attention the issue and history of police brutality. The acquittal of the four cops over a year later triggered the largest riots in Los Angeles' history.  
   
21. Hansen Dam
1940
11770 Foothill Blvd, Lake View Terrace

Built in response to the Great Los Angeles Flood of 1938 that caused catastrophic flooding near the Los Angeles River in The Valley, the City tapped the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a 2 mile-long, 97 foot-high flood control dam on the site of Homer and Marie Hansen's horse ranch (apparently you get naming rights in exchange for eminent domain). It's designed to contain and control runoff from the San Gabriel Mountains, entering the dam area from Bug Tujunga Canyon, where water ultimately enters the Los Angeles River via the Tujunga Wash (and millions of gallons of water just get wasted in the ocean...). But the area, which also sports a large park and recreation area, can also be a part of Los Angeles' water future as the area sits on a large aquifer. The LADWP has long-term plans to clean up the SFV aquifer in the future to allow more harvesting of local groundwater (which currently comprises 10-15 percent of our city's water source), and open the possibility of stored or recycled water.

Oh yeah, if you made it this far, DO NOT PASS UP THE OPPORTUNITY to ride your bike on the dam itself (there's a dedicated bike path)!

Happy CicLAvia and STAY MILITANT!