News & Notes: Boyle Heights gentrification; Echo Park video game marketer

Eastside Scene: Dusty DeSoto, East Los Angeles | Aurelio Jose Barrera

Boyle Heights nonprofit plays leading role in anti-gentrification movement

NPR interviews Leonardo Vilchis, executive director of Union de Vecinos, a Boyle Heights nonprofit that is among the groups leading anti-gentrification protests against new art galleries and a coffee house. Vilchis likened the new businesses  to  cancer cells that need to be removed. NPR

Echo Park’s Iam8bit cashes in on video game soundtracks

Iam8bit, an Echo Park marketing firm focused on video game culture, is now expanding its presence in the video game soundtrack business. The firm is preparing to release a set of four vinyl LPs featuring the jazz and ragtime influenced soundtrack for Cuphead, a new video game. That will be followed up by an even more ambitious six-album vinyl LP set tied to the Persona 5 game series priced at $175. L.A. Weekly

Cedillo inauguration coming up

The public is invited First District Councilman Gil Cedillo’s Community Inauguration on Thursday, June 29 in Lincoln Heights.

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  1. Keep Boyle Heights poor! No coffee for you! Or art……..

    Who are these Nazis and why are you giving them free press? Brown Trumpistas, that’s exactly what they are.
    Brownshirts for real.

    • They are racist. White people used to post intimidating posters such as their skull with a target poster when black folks moved into a neighborhood. They can call it economics, classicism, but it’s old fashioned racism. “F*** White Art “is pretty clear. I can’t imagine spray painting “F*** Black art” and folks putting up with it.

  2. Vilchis, a UC San Diego grad, with a history of Director level positions on his linkedin profile, is complaining about coffee shops gentrifying Boyle Heights… Is he a gentrifier too? aren’t we all, once we take advantage of our education system and return to the poor neighborhoods we grew up in.?


    Instead of fighting neighborhood change, these non profits should be working with these new businesses to make sure they serve current AND new residents. They need to make sure these business are hiring from the neighborhood and adding jobs… They need to make sure that when development happens, it includes low income housing… Its stupid to fight growth, when growth serving all levels of our community is needed.

    If these non profits focused on making the entire city affordable (so that even a working class single mom, from boyle heights could afford to move and live by her job near the beach) we would all be better off.

  3. Another wonderful photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera!

  4. From Vilchis in the NPR article, on the subject of art galleries in Boyle Heights: “What you need to do with cancer is you’ve go to do surgery, right? You need to start killing the cells that are creating the cancer. So to say ‘OK, I’m a cancer cell, but I want to be good,’ doesn’t change the fact that you’re a cancer cell.”

    So art is a cancer, according to Vilchis, but it’s totally acceptable for groups to plaster Boyle Heights with images of human skulls between the crosshairs of a gun with the slogan, “Boyle Heights Is Not Safe For Hipster Trash.” This is some of the most misguided “activism” I’ve ever witnessed. It’s disgraceful that media outlets keep giving these hateful fools more and more press.

  5. I wonder how he would feel if the Jews (previous majority in Boyle Heights) shared his sentiment when the Mexicans started moving in. Cancer huh? I think the only cancer that exists here is his myopic views.

    • There’s a tradition of latino gang members firebombing black residents of housing projects in Boyle heights, to push them out. Well documented over the years, by, for instance, the LA Times. Are black people yet another “cancer”? Vilchis is advocating hate.

  6. Never mind;
    the cancer of the gang war that is currently going on,
    or the predatory loan shops,
    or the dismal graduation rate,
    or the surging cases of diabetes,
    or the lack of two parent households,
    or the deeply ingrained gang culture,
    or the approval of being told you are a victim even though you are among the racial majority of LA,
    or the McDonalds, Starbucks,KFC
    or the misinformation on why or how gentrification works why its Boyle Heights (here’s a secret it’s not coffee shops its a certain city with a council that is the most overpaid the USA) ,
    or the some 20 subsidized housing/section 8 all of LosAngeles pays for in our taxes located in Boyle Heights, so you can have us pay for your rent but you can tell us we are not welcome if we are not the right color?
    Yes it’s art and coffee shops because nothing is more powerful than a coffee shop art show, said no one ever.

  7. The owner of Nicodim Gallery has the right mindset on this. Stay and don’t cave in to the hysterics and shouting. I wouldn’t be intimidated by a grown man wearing a backpack and teenagers with bandanas over their faces. The anecdotal example of killing a cancer carries oh so thinly veiled references to an ethnic cleansing. This coming from a college educated man. His argument was completely lost right then and there.

  8. It's artists like Blaney

    The enemy is from within.

    Let’s take a look at Vilchis shall we?


    Elizabeth Blaney and Vilchis are Ultra Red artists themselves who are subverting the process with Blaney’s money via Union Vecinos, LA Tenants Eastide, BHAAAD, et. al like it’s some grassroots movement from Boyle Heights but it’s not. They’re the ring leaders behind truly a tiny group of Marxists, Communist kids like Defend Boyle Heights who are still living at home, don’t know what it takes to open a business, nor working your butt off to qualify for a mortgage because you can’t afford anyplace else, but wanting revolution. Throw in Cal Arts kids, and it becomes laughable all the hoo hah the press is giving them. The #1 threat to the DTLA Arts District encroaching on BH is the artists themselves!

    Blaney and Vilchis are freaking ARTISTS. Why is the rich, white daughter of a Dodger’s Exec on the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council? Why do we have immigrants and the Brown Berets at the Nicodim Press Conference but it is a white woman speaking for all of them? Can’t these poor brown people speak for themselves? Or are you trying to save them all. Why is Ultra Red mostly white people brown washing their art to make them feel better about themselves?


    Do you think the paleta man subscribes to Ultra Reds communist theories or is he a capitalist?

    The hypocrisy is amazing.

    Why the LA Times, NPR, et. al give Blaney, Vilchis, and Union Vecinos legitimacy is a joke. Look at who they are. They hate the very thing they are.

    • Two over-the-hill psuedo revolutionaries and a handful of douchey teens do not scare anyone. Aside from screeching like banshees, they don’t have any power. Best just to laugh and point at the silly, ignorant people…. Blanery? Is she even Mexican? Even more reason to laugh and point.

  9. Should not these be the issues Union de Vecinos, DBH and other activist groups be addressing in Boyle Heights?

    The percentages of households that earn $20,000 or less and $20,000 to $40,000 are high for the county.

    5.0% of residents 25 and older have a four-year degree, low for the city of Los Angeles and low for the county.

    The percentage of residents 25 and older with less than a high school diploma is high for the county.

    There are 3,889 families headed by single parents. The rate is 21.1%, high for the city of Los Angeles and high for the county.

    Addressing these issues could be something many folks could get behind!

    Given the statistic below, I find it extremely offensive and un-American for anyone from Union de Vecinos or DBH to attempt to dictate what type of businesses can open and what the ethnicity of the owners should be.

    48,566 (52.4%) of residents are foreign born, high for the city of Los Angeles and high for the county. Mexico (87.7%) and El Salvador (4.5%) are the most common foreign places of birth.

    • It's artists like Blaney

      You see that’s the problem. All your statistics don’t mean jack to them.

      The ring leader’s of these so called “non-profits” like Union de Vecinos and “coalitions” including DBH, BHAAAD are actually radical sound artists. They want to be offensive and un-American. They are anti-capitalists. They are not interested in dialogue, because they are at war. Take a look at Blaney and Vilchis work Imperial Beach.


      This is the ethos of your so called NON-PROFIT taking the “lead” on gentrification. Everything is a cancer to them. They encourage civil disobediance in the most radical form. They are anti-imperialism, and Marxiist revolutionaries. They think we are at war painting a apolcalyptic picture. So when you see “F White art” spray painted on a gallery, “Kill all hipster” flyers, protest at coffee shops without filter no matter how offensive… no matter the harassment hurled at the proprietors and customers….this is the behavior they encourage.

      Look at Blaney’s Facebook page commenting on the achievements of Cuba and Fidel Castro. Look at DBH page with all the random Marxist BS. Coincidence? Almost all the anti-gentrification stories on BH are being spearheaded by them and the groups they set up with Blaney’s daddy’s money. Blaney is the go-to person for all the press speaking on behalf of all the poor little brown people, google it. Why isn’t it a Hispanic leading the charge?

      I live in Boyle Heights. There is no grassroots movement. It’s Blaney’s money. She is a rich, white girl who in her artistic self interest has annointed herself the savior of all the poor little brown people. She literally has hundreds of thousands of dollars to mobilize these efforts. It’s not a coalition. All these groups that get press are by and large set up with her money, organized, or encouraged by her organizations spawned by mostly white, middleclass artists in Ultra-Red who Brownwash their art. The arts community has called her out on this BS. And I don’t need some white, middle class Cal Arts Grads joining the fight telling me whats best for my neighborhood, you don’t even live here so stop your rhetoric and bullying on social media.

      That Nicodim press conference picture says it all. Here you have an Nicodim who escaped from persecution of communism, and you have a communist in Blaney saying this is “F White Art” not a hate crime. Meanwhile, the so called “intimidating” Brown Berets are silenced in background, poor brown people by her side…. silenced…. while Blaney is front and center with a microphone telling the press what’s good for the hispanic community.

      Take a look again:


      This is her social art project with daddy’s money.

      You go rich white, artist girl.


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