Most people pass up the Mid-City section of Los Angeles as some random ghetto nothingness, but on the way along everyone's favorite non-freeway route to LAX, just southeast of Venice and La Brea, lies a small artists colony that's been practicing sustainability before it became a buzzword.
The place is St. Elmo Village, and if you have even the slightest inkling of Angeleno militantism, you will join the Militant (who may or may not be there) this weekend as the village celebrates its 40th anniversary.
This Saturday and Sunday, May 23-24, from 12 noon to 7 p.m., the village is throwing its annual Drums, Blues and Jazz festival, featuring an aentire weekend of music and good vibes all around. Sunday, jazz artist Dwight Trible, a familiar name and face to those familiar with the Leimert Park scene, will perform. St. Elmo Village is nestled in a residential neighborhood at 4830 St. Elmo Drive, just east of La Brea.
The Militant, of course, recommends biking (via from the nearby Venice Blvd bike lane) or taking Metro Local 212 down La Brea, because it's a residential neighborhood, and the locals will undoubetly get pissed if you take away their parking spaces. If you absolutely need to drive, park at the Mid-Town Shopping Center at Venice & Rimpau, and a shuttle will transport you to the village.
For those of you who have never been there, it's quite a sight, with painted walkways, uniquely designed gardens, and a commons area where human interaction isn't only encouraged, it's mandatory. One of the Militant's operatives even lived there an unspecified number of years ago.
The place was started in the late '60s by local artist Roderick Sykes and his late uncle Rozell as a community meant to inspire, foster and nurture people's creative and artistic spirit, especially in light of a tumultuous era both the City and the country as a whole were facing at the time. Those conditions are gone, or at least have changed, but St. Elmo's Village still remains.
So check it out and see a totally unique slice of Los Angeles. And if you do spot the Militant, quietly give him a "Stay Militant!" raised fist. He may or may not respond back.