Echo Park gentrification heads for HBO

Photo by Echo_29/Flickr

The topic of Echo Park gentrification, which has been played up in indy movies, newspaper stories and novels, is now going to take the form of an HBO drama based on the book “The Madonnas of Echo Park.” Deadline Hollywood reports that HBO has put the series – written by playwright Julia Cho and produced by Kapital Entertainment – into development. What’s the show about? Here’s a description from Deadline Hollywood:

It explores the relationships -– romantic, professional, familial –- of the Latinos that have built the community over the years, and the hipsters who’re making their way in now, examining the complicated dynamic between the two as they struggle to build new lives for themselves in pursuit of the American dream.

The author of “The Madonnas of Echo Park,” Brando Skyhorse,  grew up in Echo Park on Portia Street and attended Logan Elementary.

Relate Link:

  • Author makes his book publishing debut with Echo Park as his inspiration. The Eastsider


  1. I’d be more offended if that show description wasn’t a virtual guarantee that this show won’t go more than a couple of eps.

  2. Hasn’t this subject been BEATEN to death? So tired. EP has a diverse racial/ethnic history that continues to change. “Before World War II, Echo Park was a middle-class neighborhood, nicknamed “Red Hill” for a concentration of political radicals living there.[2]. Since its earliest days, the neighborhood has been known to attract the creative, underground, independent, and iconoclastic elements of society. Postwar “white flight” to the suburbs resulted in the area becoming largely Latino, although there have been Latinos living there since the founding of the city in the late 19th century. Many working-class Chinese immigrants also settled in Echo Park due to its proximity to Chinatown, and the area overlaps the Historic Filipinotown district of Los Angeles, home to thousands of Filipinos; plus a small enclave of African-Americans were noted to live just east of Alvarado St. and west of Bonnie Brae Street, since the 1920s. Renowned 1970s beauty queen, actress and model Veronica Porsche, third wife of boxer Muhammed Ali, came from this neighborhood. The Echo Park/Silverlake Food Conspiracy, an impromptu food coop run by former college and professional radicals, offered weekly political discussion groups as well as cheap groceries from 1969 through about 1980. Since the early 2000s, artists, actors, musicians and gay couples of all races have flocked the neighborhood for its relatively affordable housing and alternative feel, making it one of the most diversified communities in the United States.”

    • “Before World War II, Echo Park was a middle-class neighborhood, nicknamed “Red Hill” for a concentration of political radicals living there.”

      That’s a good piece of trivia, I never knew that – so that’s where the restaurant on echo park ave. got it’s name . . .

  3. Ah-ha! Now this documentary film crew will finally capture these gentrification artist mid mural removal! This epic documentary will be more true than 48 Hours, and even longer! This is a great day for us aspiring ‘long time residents’. Finally the truth behind hipsters will revealed, and their backsides will be shown for what they are.

    Long live truth!

  4. It sucks that HBO wants to make a drama, not documentary, that will bring lots of jobs, location fees and attention to the continuing cultural changes that our neighborhood is undergoing. The reversal of 1960’s “white flight” in the form much derided “hipsters” has been totally played out on tv. (That is what Desperate Housewives and every other ABC show is about, right?) Neighborhood after neighborhood has been ruined by television production in LA, right?

    You guys are nuts to complain about this news. Bring on the jobs that can’t be shipped out to Louisiana.

    • That is assuming they actually film here. We won’t know for sure until the little yellow signs appear.

    • The desperate housewives is about hipsters? I’m so confused by the term. How are desperate housewives hipsters? (serious question) I think of them as yuppies or something but definitely not hipsters.

  5. Solano Canyon Pop

    “Like the Academy Award–winning film Crash, The Madonnas of Echo Park follows the intersections of its characters and cultures in Los Angeles”


  6. HBO shoots every locale based show they do in the location it takes place. Even Rome was shot in Rome. If they pick it up, they will definitely film it here.

    And if they get this kind of story wrong every time, let’s make sure no one tries again. Has anyone complaining about the material here actually read the source novel?

  7. Dustin Diamond, aka Save By The Bell’s “Screech” to play the role of DJ Bento Box.

  8. What do you guys consider a hipster? I really don’t know what that term means anymore. Is there any kind of consensus? I’m really curious if there is a general public image of a hipster the way there would be for like a hippie.

    • when i think of “hipster,” I picture someone in their 20’s who is younger, better looking and more into fashion and nightlife than myself.

      when I think “hipsters are irritating,” it is generally because I am a little envious that they are younger, better looking and more into fashion and nightlife than myself.

    • With the high cost of living in these “hipster” areas, I am positive that hipsters are doctors and lawyers that need street cred. It’s the Fast and Furious of housing.

  9. the item doesn’t credit the source, Brando Skyhorse’s fairly acclaimed novel of the same name, which has a pretty good feel for the character of Echo Park, imho….so maybe it will be good.

  10. I’ll believe it when i see it, but if this novel s going to be adapted for _anything_ HBO is a better avenue than most.

    Just sayin.

  11. Written and directed by hipsters?

  12. More hipster junk,only gonna piss the EP ‘natives’ off and prolly make em more violent. And with HBO involved,oh boy. Even more pissing of the off

  13. Do`nt See Gentrification of NE Los Angeles as an essentially Anglo phobic matter. Anymore than Silverfish, or Termites, would be to Old Wood ? The Twentieth Century Old World/Immigrant Culture that Inherited ( Yes, one might take that literally ) Echo Park from It`s Nineteenth Century Anglo/German Origins; That Is, the ” Multi Ethnic ” Culture I. grew up with in the 1960`s; A Culture closely associated with the Kennedy Administration and the British Invasion Pop Genre. This Echo Park, would Never mistake the Obvious Bourgeois Proletarian Condensation of their Community/ Home; as an essentially Anglo Phobic matter.

  14. Spare us, please. This is going to be another waste. No thank you.

  15. A. This topic has been done to death.
    B. The description seems to be such a simplification of what is really going on.
    C. Gentrification? 2006 called. They want their faux social issue back.

  16. No offense to any ethnic or cultural group, but I’m kind of saturated with all this ethnic/culture clash crud that has inundated the airwaves, both in news and drama. It seems even worse here in LA than in any other place I’ve lived.

    To quote the great philosopher George Straight, ” I ain’t here for a long time, I’m here for a good time.”

    I will pass on this show.. or any show that plays up cultural or ethnic discord.

  17. True, source of drama? Conflict.

    America’s biggest problem?

  18. I hope they talk about my neighborhood….OBS 13….OsiriBoy$

  19. From interviews, I’m under the impression that Madonnas of Echo Park takes place in the ’80s, when the author last lived in the neighborhood.

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