Echo Park's Lotus bed is looking sparse. New electric bikes are rolling our way. And we take in a bit of LGBTQ neighborhood history.

Read on!


Echo Park Scene

Echo Park Lake Lotus Bed

The middle of the Echo Park Lake lotus bed (pictured in mid June) was looking pretty bare compared to years past.

Where are the lotus blossoms? With only a few weeks to go before the annual Lotus Festival at Echo Park Lake, the lotus bed is looking relatively empty. There are some clumps of the aquatic plants on the edges but the center is primarily open water. Compare the photo above taken this week to the lush looking lotus bed of 2017 and the large blooms that were already attracting lotus fans' attention.

Has it been our relatively cool and cloudy spring that explains why the lotus are late bloomers this year? Or is it a maintenance issue? We've been through this before, with 2016 being a disappointing year for lotus watchers. Perhaps the arrival of sunnier days and warmer temps will encourage more lotus to emerge.


News & Notes

Are the neighborhood's steep streets keeping you from biking? You might want to ride one of the electric, pedal-assist Metro bikes that are coming to Echo Park over the summer, according to Mass Transit Magazine. The bikes will be available at stations in Echo Park, Silver Lake and many more spots around town. Altogether, more than 300 electric Metro Bikes will be added to Metro’s bike-share fleet. These bikes give an electric boost, meaning riders need less physical effort to pedal around town, making it easier to climb those hills. Let's see if they make it up Baxter.

The Eastsider chats with historian Paul Ayers about the old Red Car Glendale Line - the electric rail route that ran through Echo Park, Silver Lake and Atwater Village until 1955. Ayers spoke of the trolley's growth and decline. "Pacific Electric was a lot about selling real estate -- building lines out to places to sell," he explained in an interview.

Yoga-urt, the new vegan frozen-treat shop on Sunset is holding a grand opening celebration this weekend. The soft-serve is made fresh each day in-house, from a non-dairy, soy-free, gluten-free base, frequently of almond milk. Flavors have names such as Lavender Blossom, Strawberry Serenity, Tantric Tart and Ganesha's Sweet Greens. Yoga-urt is at 2211 Sunset.

For LGBTQ Pride Month, a neighborhood site worth noting is the Tom of Finland House at 1421 Laveta Terrace. The home, a Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument, is where Finnish artist Touko Valio Laaksonen would work on gay erotic art during his time in the United States. Laaksonen began working under the pseudonym "Tom of Finland" when some of his work was published in 1957. The late artist first came to Los Angeles in 1978 for a solo exhibition, and ended up shuttling between Finland and Los Angeles for many years. He and the house's owner, Durk Dehner, ended up spearheading the Tom of Finland Foundation to catalog Laaksonen work and provide a safe space for erotic artists facing discrimination, according to the L.A. Conservancy. The foundation continues to present erotic art.


Events

Friday, June 7: Echo Park Farmers' Market

Saturday, June 8: Mobile Memory Lab - Oral History Day

Saturday, June 8: School of Rock Performance Showcase

Monday, June 10: Jungle Rhythms with Chazz Ross - learning different rhythms

Wednesday, June 12: Writing Workshop for College-Bound Students

Thursday, June 13: Animation Brut - unusual animation films


Crime

Crimes over the past week included an attempted rape at Reservoir and Glendale, robbery in the 800 block of Laguna and arson in the 2000 block of Sunset, according to CrimeMapping.com.

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