The Westlake Minute

Friday, January 30, 2009

Doo Dah Parade

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Pasadena Doo Dah Parade is a popular farcical and flamboyant parade held in Pasadena, California about once a year, usually in the fall or winter. Conceived in 1976 by several friends, and Peter Apanel, Ted Wright, Charles "Skip" Finnell, among others, sitting in a bar called "CHROMOS" (Which no longer exists) in Pasadena, as a response to the traditional formality of the Rose Parade, which is also held in Pasadena. In 1976 January first fell on a Sunday, and the Rose Parade which takes place on January 1, will not happen on a Sunday. So they decided it would be fun to have an alternate parade on January 1 that year. Some of the early participants were Wright as first Grand Marshall, Snotty Scotty and the Hankies, The Lawn mower drill team, The Briefcase drill team and General Hershey Bar, among many others. The Doo Dah Parade Today features many absurd participants such as the BBQ & Hibachi Marching Grill Team, The Shopping Cart Drill Team, The Bastard Sons of Lee Marvin, The Men of Leisure Synchronized Nap Team, The Marching Lumberjacks, Claude Rains & the 20-Man Memorial Invisible Man Marching Drill Team, and the Committee for the Right to Bear Arms, a group that marches in precise formations while carrying mannequin arms, and the band "Snotty Scotty and the Hankies, still the Official band. Many groups participate in the Doo Dah Parade as a fundraising effort for various charities. This Parade has spawned many others like it.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today I visited the ubiquitously hipster district that is Silverlake. Known as LA's answer to Williamsburg, the neighborhood is home to a seemingly endless supply of hipster-related businesses; the obligatory overpriced coffee houses and thrift shop emporiums, "ethnic" food eats by the boatload, and of course, the "art" galleries. The aforementioned nabe ingredients blend together to create a unique, artsy, do it yourself vibe not found in many LA nabes.

SL is part of what I call the "Hipster Nexus", a stretch of neighborhoods along Sunset Blvd east of Vermont. Along with Echo Park and Los Feliz, the neighborhoods are related in the sense not only that they border each other, but were/are mainly Hispanic (+ Armenian for Los Feliz) with vaneers of alternative culture present.

The Echo Park Minute

I went to what is one of my favorite LA neighborhoods, Echo Park.

Situated between Hollywood and Downtown, the neighborhood offers IMO, what is the perfect synthesis of old and new. You have old time Hispanics (though that's somewhat as there is a continued stream of Hispanic immigrants to the area) and recent Hipster arrivals duke it out, creating a hybrid culture unseen in many LA nabes -- all in a cozy, intimate atmosphere.

Posh boutiques, coffee shops and dog grooming salons pitted against taco trucks, panaderias, carnicerias and fruit stands? Yup. That's why I love it. Multifaceted, unpredictable, polyglot, nonconforming? So LA.

Seriously, EP has alot going for it. Its close proximity to Downtown, Hollywood, Los Feliz , Pasadena and Silverlake, redeeming built environment qualities that facilitate easy bohemian and urban living, budding culinary/gastronomic scenes, a rich, cultured history steeped in tradition and lastly, the rather blunt gritty veneer all illustrate its why I'm a fan.

If in the area, check out Coffee Pot:
Like all bohemian nabes in LA, EP has a deep appreciation for the arts, made evident in the many, many murals in the area. The artist responsible for the ubiquitious Obama Obey stickers lives here.
American Apparel started out here.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009