Welcome to the new version of The Echo Park Weekly. It's part of a makeover of TheEastsiderLA.com. Please let us know if you encounter any issues or problems.

We've got preliminary results from our neighborhood council election. John Tottenham, a fixture at Stories Books & Cafe, has a new poetry collection. And Maurice Harris of Bloom & Plume Coffee spoke with NPR about the challenges of opening a business.

Read on!

Echo Park Scene

Echo Park succulent in bloom

Wildflowers aren’t the only things in bloom right now. So are succulents! The flowers on this pointy specimen appear to be shooting golden flames in all directions. Anyone know the plant’s name?

News & Notes

A motorcyclist was killed after crashing into a guardrail on the southbound 2 Freeway near Glendale Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, and officials declared a SigAlert after closing down traffic lanes during the investigation, reported The Eastsider.

Saturday's race for the Echo Park Neighborhood Council has yielded the following unofficial winners:

At large: Darcy Harris, Paul Bowers, Sachin Medhekar, Raphael Rodriguez, Mo Najand, Jesse V. Reyes, Richard Courtney, Alexis Hanawalt, Tad Yenawine.

  • District 1: Michael Galano, Brandon Patterson
  • District 2: Cheryl Ortega, Chris Ellington
  • District 3: Thomas DeVoss, Connie Acosta
  • District 4: Rebecca Leib (incomplete results)
  • District 5: Lauren Buisson, Muriel Nacar
  • District 6: William Shapiro

Congratulations to the new and returning board members.  If you want to see the board members in action, here's where you can find agendas of upcoming meetings.

Echo Park poet, artist and ex-Londoner John Tottenham has released his third collection after 14 years, entitled "The Hate Poems." The Los Angeles Review of Books notes that it’s filled with the sort of “tragicomic” musings and self-loathing that has made Tottenham a cult favorite.

Examples? There's this line: “I was on a roll, and I rolled into a rut.” Or this: “Having sex with you is like going to church. I resent the obligation." His work oozes wink-worthy, self-flagellation. “To concentrate on the negative: that unfortunately is my talent, it’s what I excel at,” Tottenham told writer Anthony Mostrom. “Writing in a positive, life-affirming way doesn’t feel or sound right.”

Tottenham works at Stories Books & Cafe and is a regular in the local art scene. The LA Times once featured his Campaign to Stamp out Awesome from American overkill.

Maurice Harris, the owner of Bloom & Plume Coffee on Temple, talked to Marketplace about what it was like to get his café started in Echo Park. “Now, nobody tells you, like, your business plan is just a plan,” he said. “When you get into reality, and you bust open walls, and the city and the health department and Building and Safety come through to do their inspections, you have no idea what they're going to say or what's going to happen.”

What are the most popular restaurants in the neighborhood? That depends on how you measure popularity. Hoodline used numbers on Yelp, plus what Hoodline called its own "secret sauce." Restaurants that came out as the top five were Masa at 1800 Sunset, Mohawk Bend at 2141 Sunset, Elf Cafe at 2135 Sunset, Sage Vegan Bistro at 1700 Sunset, and The Semi-Tropic at 1412 Glendale.

Speaking of Mohawk Bend, Chef Caroline Concha has taken over the helm, a company email reports. Concha hails from Beelman’s, a vegan pub in in DTLA, and is known for her plant-based creations. Her first pizza for Mohawk Bend’s monthly Piece of the Pie program will be the Filipino Pie. Expect tomato sauce, aged mozzarella, braised pork with sweet vin and tamari soy, fried egg, fresh chilies, garlic chips and Calabrian chili oil (made vegan or non-vegan).

Echo Park has long attracted artists of all kinds. Two of them -- Leo Politi and Belle Goldschlager Baranceanu -- passed away long ago but are continuing to draw attention, thanks to two local museum exhibitions. The Italian American Museum on Olvera Street has devoted an exhibit to the work of Politi, the former Angelino Heights resident whose paintings and childrens' books celebrated the city's often overlooked past and its multi-cultural residents and traditions. "Leo Politi's Los Angeles - Works of Love and Protest" is on exhibit through May 19. 

Meanwhile, a few of Baranceanu's paintings were included in a large historic retrospective of California women painters that ends April 13 at the Pasadena Museum of History. As a young woman, Baranceanu lived for a while in Echo Park in the late 1920s before she eventually settled in San Diego. While in Echo Park, she took advantage of her surroundings to paint scenes of the neighborhood, including From Everett Street, which depicted her view of the city from her hillside home. You can read and see more about Baranceanu here and in a section in On the Edge of America California Modernist Art.


Friday, April 12: Echo Park Farmers' Market

Saturday, April 13: Prison Yoga and Meditation - panel discussion

Saturday, April 13: "Here to Be Heard" - film about the first all-female punk band

Tuesday, April 16: K-12 Game Day

Wednesday, April 17: Echo Park Book Club


Crimes over the last seven days include grand theft in the 2100 block of Sunset; two stolen cars about a block away from each other -- one in the 1100 block of Lemoyne, the other at Glendale and Park; and brandishing a weapon in the 2200 block of Branden, according to CrimeMapping.com.

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