In this issue: A third person has died at the Echo Park Lake homeless encampment. A former movie house turned restaurant has changed hands. And the future is unclear for Vanilla Black.
Also, check out the Echo Park Guide to support neighborhood businesses during the pandemic. And please support The EP Weekly and The Eastsider by becoming a reader sponsor or making a one-time contribution. Thank you!
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Echo Park Scene
News & Notes
Historian Natalia Molina, who grew up in Echo Park, was among the 21 MacArthur Fellows announced on Tuesday. Molina will receive a $625,000 grant from The MacArthur Foundation in recognition for her work looking at how long-held stereotypes of immigrants have shaped their experience in the U.S. and continue to influence government policies. She’s currently working on a book about the role Mexican restaurants in Echo Park played in the immigrant community. Molina’s grandmother, Natalia Barraza, owned a Sunset Boulevard restaurant known as El Nayarit, which is now home to The Echo nightclub.
The Mohawk Bend building, a former Silent Film-era movie theater that's now home to a gastropub, has been sold to a West L.A. real estate company, The Eastsider reported. Tova Capital released a statement saying they picked up the former Sunset Boulevard movie theater for $2.5 million in cash. The current tenant, Mohawk Bend gastropub, was not part of the sale. The theater, clad in an exterior of white, glazed brick, had been known by different names over the decades -- The Creation, The Ramona and finally, Studio One.
A 30-year-old man was found dead last week in the area of the homeless encampment at Echo Park Lake, The Eastsider reported. This was the third death at the large homeless encampment in recent months. Scott Murphy, a homeless man, was pronounced dead on Thursday, Oct. 1, said the county coroner. The cause of death has not yet been determined.
That same day, the body of a man was found on eastern edge of Elysian Park, The Eastsider said. The body was found near the 110 and the 5 freeways after police officers and park rangers investigated a report of shots being fired at about 1 p.m.
The neighborhood council is asking Mayor Eric Garcetti to reopen the Echo Park Community Center as a homeless shelter, The Eastsider said. A letter to Garcetti also expressed confusion over why the shelter was closed in the first place. The recreation facility on Patton Street was turned into a homeless shelter on March 20, in the early weeks of the pandemic. Initially, it was to stay open for 90 days but it closed in mid-June. The mayor's office has not explained why it could not continue as a shelter.
A new mural depicting a Peruvian coffee farmer has been completed on the side of Lassen's Natural Foods on Sunset. The mural by artist Levi Ponce was commissioned by Fairtrade America, which certifies products made under fair-trade guidelines that set minimum, sustainable pricing.
An online art show next month will benefit an at-risk youth program based out of Angelino Heights. This year's artUnite event will support Central City Action Committee, which helps disadvantaged kids and families through education, work programs, mentorship, volunteerism and city beautification, including graffiti removal and community clean-ups. The auction takes place Nov. 18 and 19. The Eastsider is one of the sponsors.
The neighborhood council and the Edendale Library Friends Society are sponsoring an online ballot workshop in Spanish on Saturday, Oct. 10. Presented by the League of Women Voters LA, the workshop will be a non-partisan review of all the propositions, followed by a Q&A session. It will be held, of course, on Zoom. Details are available on Facebook. A workshop in English was held last Saturday.
After the Black Lives Matter protests in June, folks flocked to Vanilla Black on Sunset for its coffee and to support a black-owned business. Just a few months later, it has gone dark, but is it for good? Eater LA reports that a permanent closure may be possible. Update: Vanilla Black is back and reopened on Oct. 11.
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Friday, Oct. 9: Echo Park Farmers' Market
Crimes this week included a rape near Echo Park and Sunset; the brandishing of a deadly weapon around that same block of Sunset two days later; and an aggravated assault in the 1000 block of Vin Scully, according to CrimeMapping.com. We've asked LAPD for more details on the reported rape.
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