Posts Tagged ‘What Lies Beneath’

QUIZ – What Lies Beneath #5

The answer is posted after the jump! :)

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Hint: this week’s What Lies Beneath is holiday-themed!

Just to refresh your memory, here’s how this little game goes… we’ll show you a spot on a google map (see below). We’re thinking of a reason this location is notable. Within 24 hours we’ll give you the full details… but as always, we’re going to give you a fair amount of time to guess what we’re referring to first. We encourage you not to cheat by googling the address and if you know the answer right away please try not to announce it too quickly and ruin the game for the people who don’t.

Here it is!


View Larger Map (more…)


QUIZ – What Lies Beneath #4

Our answer is posted after the jump! :)

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We’re heading a little outside of the city today and down to Long Beach! The rest of the game works the same as usual… below is a spot on a google map. Today we’re thinking of a specific *reason* that this location is notable (other than the general business it currently does every day). Within 24 hours we’ll give you the full details… but as usual, we’re going to give you a little time to guess what we’re referring to first. If you know the answer right away please try not to announce it too quickly and ruin the game for the people who don’t. No hints today, either!

Okay… here you go!


View Larger Map (more…)


QUIZ – What Lies Beneath #3

Okay, time’s up. The answer is after the jump!!!

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It’s that time of the week again! :)

Just to refresh your memory, here’s how this little game goes… first we’ll show you a spot on a google map (see below). We’re thinking of a notable location that’s within walking distance of that exact point, less than a block or two away. Within 24 hours we’ll give you the full details… but as before, we’re going to give you a little time to guess what we’re referring to first. We encourage you not to cheat by googling the address (but we know how impatient some of you are). If you know the answer right away please try not to announce it too quickly and ruin the game for the people who don’t.
And no hints this time! BWAHHAHAHAHAAAHHHH!!! < ---(That's our evil laugh.)

Ready? GO!


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YAY – Angel’s Flight is Running!

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adk9kHC60Ko[/youtube]

angelsflight- The historic Angels Flight funicular will resume regular service today, more than nine years after being closed because of a fatal accident.
The California Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday approved the replaced cable system and a new automatic brake system for what has been dubbed “the shortest railway in the world.”
Demonstration rides were conducted Sunday on the hillside track connecting Hill Street near the Grand Central Market to California Plaza on Grand Avenue.
Angels Flight will operate from 6:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The fare is 25 cents. (more…)


IMAGERY – Olvera Street Market Salesman, 1938

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW ©USC Digital Archive

































“In the midst of the Great Depression of the 1930s, Paseo de Los Angeles – later referred to as Olvera Street – was created through the efforts of Christine Sterling and the City Boosters in the oldest section of the city. Olvera Street was an imagined Mexican Landscape not unlike the renowned tourist districts of Mexican border cities (Arreola and Curtis 1993). The theme was “Old Mexico,” pitting a timeless, romantic, homogenous Spanish-Mexican culture against industrialization, immigration, urban decay and modernity itself. The street featured rows of curio shops, house museums, and Mexican eateries staffed by costumed Mexican merchants. As a constructed place, Olvera Street was the product of a social and economic agenda established by civic elites to transform downtown Los Angeles through the removal of undesirable residents. The opening of Olvera Street and the preservation of the old Plaza also popularized an emerging creation mythology for Anglo Los Angeles stemming from the defeat of Mexican forces in 1847, a heroic birth legend in which Sterling emerged as a symbolic mother figure and guardian of the city’s birthplace.”

Excerpted from Los Angeles’ Old Plaza and Olvera Street: Imagined and Contested Space, by William D. Estrada © 1999


EVENT – LA Heritage Day

LAHD+2010+FlyerWHEN: Sunday, April 11th, 2010, 11am-4pm
WHERE: Heritage Square Museum, 3800 Homer Street
COST: Free admission if you download the flyer (you can also click on the image at right and print that) $5 without the flyer. Pink’s will be there, so bring some hot dog money too!

Feel like embracing some of the incredible history surrounding you? Here’s a great chance! On the 11th of April, the LA Heritage Alliance will be hosting the Third Annual LA Heritage Day. There will be tours of fantastic historic homes, a scavenger hunt, and a variety of presentations, readings, performances, and even cooking lessons!

“In an area sometimes perceived as having no ‘real’ history, L.A. Heritage Day is an opportunity for people of all ages to learn about and enjoy the fascinating people, places and events that have shaped Southern California,” said Cindy Olnick, spokesperson for the Los Angeles Conservancy. “It is also a chance to learn about the incredible variety of local preservation groups, museums, libraries and historical societies serving today throughout Los Angeles County.”

Participating organizations include: The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles; American Cinemateque; Arroyo Arts Collective; Beverly Hills Historical Society; California Art Club; City of Los Angeles, Office of Historic Resources; Claremont Heritage; Culinary Historians of Southern California; Cultural Heritage Foundation of Southern California; Culver City Historical Society; Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum; Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society; Friends of La Laguna; Hancock Park / Windsor Square Historical Society; Highland Park Heritage Trust; Historic Adamson House/Malibu Lagoon Museum; Hollywood Heritage; the L.A. Historic Theatre Foundation; Lanterman House Museum; Las Angelitas del Pueblo; Leonis Adobe; Los Angeles City Historical Society; Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust; the Los Angeles Conservancy; Los Encinos Docent Association; Monterey Park City Historical Society; Montebello Historical Society; Muckenthaler Cultural Center; Olmsted District Preservation Association; Point Fermin Lighthouse; Pomona Heritage; Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site; San Fernando Valley Historical Society; Santa Monica Conservancy; Venice Historical Society; Whittier Conservancy; West Adams Heritage Association; Western Educators, Shooters, and Troopers; and William S. Hart Park and Museum

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOvsZ56MkVs[/youtube]



QUIZ – What Lies Beneath #2

Okay, you guys got it. The full answer’s after the jump. :)

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Well since y’all had so much fun with this last week, let’s try this little game again!

Just to refresh your memory, here’s how it goes… first we’ll show you a spot on a google map (see below). We’re thinking of a notable location that’s within walking distance of that exact point, less than a block or two away. Within 24 hours we’ll give you the full details… but as before, we’re going to give you a little time to guess what we’re referring to first. Again, don’t you dare go cheating by googling the address. Cheaters never prosper. (And if you know the answer right away please try not to announce it too quickly and ruin the game for the people who don’t.)
Lastly, if you need a hint, scroll down and we’ll give you one. :)

Ready? GO!


View Larger Map

HINT:
It’s historic and off limits to the public. (more…)


FLASHBACK – Our Town Today, circa 1944

Stay on the job and finish the job, Los Angeles!

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Lb7obs3daM[/youtube]
From the book The Bad City in the Good War: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego:

In early 1944, fearing a labor shortage, the Citizens Manpower Committee of Los Angeles staged a drive to induce war workers to “Stay on the Job.” The Committee took advantage of the great Army and Navy show at the Los Angeles Coliseum to stress the need for housing. Like so many other institutions in the area, the Los Angeles Coliseum was built by city boosters. It arose in 1923 and was increased in size in order to lure the 1932 Olympics to that city. The Coliseum well illustrates the kind of hubris that Los Angeles’s detractors cite, but it also gave the homefront popularizers of the war effort a magnificent urban space in which to persuade defense workers to “Finish the Job” and landlords to keep renting to transients. (more…)


QUIZ – What Lies Beneath? #1

A few of you got it! Nice shootin’, Tex! The answer is after the jump. :)

quiz Okay, we’re going to try a new game. Here’s how it goes… first we’ll give you a location (see below). Now, it’s been widely stated that something (or someone) *very* notable once happened (or lived) within yards of the exact point shown on the map.

Within 24 hours we’ll give you the full details… but just to be sadistic and challenge you, we’re going to give you a little time to guess what we’re referring to first. And don’t you dare go cheating by googling the address. That’s not fair!!!

Happy guessing!


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FLASHBACK – War on the Sunset Strip, Daddio!

Original post 10/19/09
The google video embed directly below is being inexplicably temperamental, so if the video doesn’t play for you, please click here to view it directly on google.

[googlevideo width=”590″ height=”420″]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3472800140109729771&hl=en#[/googlevideo]
This eight minute video shows the culture clash cç one of the Sunset Strip curfew riots (AKA the “LA hippie riots”), a series of crowd control confrontations which occurred in the mid 1960s to early 1970s between insubordinate hippies and angry grown-ups (via the LAPD). Basically, the kids weren’t big on authority… and authority didn’t like that the kids weren’t big on authority. Soooo, drama ensued.

You know how it is… the Man’s always trying to keep us down!!!

Anyhoo, as a little treat… after the jump, please enjoy Hollywood’s far more entertaining and groovy take on these same crazy hoodlum youngsters of our city’s past… behold a few scenes from the 1967 film, Riot on The Sunset Strip.

Can you dig it? I knew that you could! (more…)


RIP – Bill Binder, Philippe’s Patriarch

philippes

William “Bill” Binder (seen above left, with sons Richard and John circa 1982), who for years ran Philippe’s, the Los Angeles eating institution famous for its sawdust-covered floors and trademark French dip sandwiches, has died. He was 94.

Binder, who retired in 1985, died Jan. 28 of natural causes at a care facility in Pasadena, said his son John, who runs Philippe’s with his brother, Richard.

“He had a real mild temperament; he always tried to treat everybody with respect,” John Binder said. “He had a very, very deep religious belief. He felt we were just so blessed to have the business.” (more…)


FLASHBACK – Forced Integration in L.A.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wra-krMEvlU[/youtube]
September 1970 “This news clip from 1970 focuses on the start of desegregation-via-busing in the Pasadena school district and the signing of an anti-busing bill by California Gov. Ronald Reagan. A much larger controversy later surrounded busing in the Los Angeles Unified School District, since that district covered many more students. Busing in L.A. and elsewhere in California was largely halted by litigation and the passage of a ballot initiative in the early 1980s.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvJrNYiiuq0[/youtube]
October 1980 Litigation to order a busing plan for the Los Angeles Unified School District began in the 1960s and a plan was ultimately ordered by Judge Paul Egly in the late 1970s. This news report focuses on “white flight” from the District. Proposition 1 of 1979 was a reaction to the busing plan and limited the scope of busing. After several years of litigation, Prop 1 was upheld and the plan ended. The video shows a sign denouncing Judge Egly.”


EVENT – HiddenLA Martini Night at Musso & Frank

Musso & Frank**OFFICIAL FACEBOOK EVENT LISTING**
WHEN: Thursday, February 11, 2010, 7:30pm – 9:30pm
WHERE: Musso & Frank, 6667 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA

Our first meetup at the Tonga Hut was so successful, why not hit the ground running and plan another one? In *my* book, the historic Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood offers the best prohibition-era cocktails in town… so let’s get together and embrace “the depth beneath the shallow” of an old-school martini glass! Their gin martinis and sidecars are awesome!

Parking in the back is pretty cheap with validation. Their food is good… it can get pricey if you order carelessly, but there are very reasonable options. How much you spend is entirely up to you. The bar can get busy and is not always the easiest place to strike up conversations with people, so we will probably look into getting a table for the group. Word on that later.

Photo above: Luis has been working at Musso & Frank since 1956! He’s smiling on the inside about this.old-mussos


HISTORY – Sister Aimee & Her Castle

angelusAs some of you may know, as a teenager during the early 20th century my grandmother preached in tent revivals alongside (and also babysat for) local evangelist Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, who was once – without question – the most powerful, influential, and controversial woman in all of America. Founder of the Foursquare Church, Sister Aimee opened her Angelus Temple on New Year’s Day in 1923… a giant round building facing Echo Park which no doubt many of you pass daily without thinking twice about. The building’s cost was an unheard-of 1.2 million dollars at the time (paid for through average donations of TWO CENTS!!)… leading one critic to declare that Aimee “put the cost in Pentecost.”

At the very bottom of this post is a rare video tour of Aimee’s castle home in Lake Elsinore. Directly below are a few short samples of the show-womanship of Sister Aimee in all of her sin-battling glory… so REPENT, SINNERS!
[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftqumRF9Sh4[/youtube] (more…)


VIDEO – Hidden Layers of the Million $ Theatre

post card of the Million Dollar TheatreScroll down to view the video.
Parts 2-3 after the jump.

The Chinese and Egyptian Theaters in Hollywood brought the showman more lasting fame, but The Million Dollar Theatre on South Broadway was failed prospector Sid Grauman‘s first movie house. Located next to the historic Grand Central Market (built in 1917 and still thriving) and across from the iconic Bradbury Building (built in 1893 and now housing internal LAPD offices), this incredible structure was first opened to the public in February 1918.

The wonderful video below goes behind the scenes to share some of the hidden beauty that still exists and few get to see. If you’d like to learn more about the downtown theatre district firsthand, the LA Conservancy offers a walking tour every Saturday at 10am. Tickets are $10. [youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoI1Px6ysIY[/youtube] (more…)


*Almost* FREEEEE! – Ride the L.A. Red Car!

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMwYftnUk14[/youtube] redcarWe’ve already flashed back to the daily operations of the old P&E streetcars a few times. The Red Cars famously transported Angelenos through their lives for sixty years (the story behind why they disappeared is kinda similar to what they told you in Roger Rabbit)… but little did I know one could still be ridden! A big thanks to reader Pedrogirl for bringing it to my attention that every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10am until 6pm, a replica streetcar runs a 1.5 mile route from the Port of Los Angeles’ cruise ship terminal to other attractions along the San Pedro waterfront. Since it seems I’m not the only local who doesn’t know about this, it’s mostly ridden by visitors. But if you’re looking for something fun and cheap to do some weekend, the fare is only one dollar (children 6 and under free). The fare is collected on board the cars and not only is your ticket good all day for unlimited rides, it’s also valid for the bus shuttle connecting to Cabrillo Beach. (more…)


PART 3 – Robert Kennedy

SERIES: Visions of the Ambassador

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG4vJxi9Kis[/youtube]
[youtube width=”300″ height=”300″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmc2EzkRDkI[/youtube]
On June 4th, 1968, Robert Kennedy was confident he had just clinched the Democratic primary. He was set to be the next President of the United States, and with his leadership would come change. Kennedy was one of the first leaders of his stature and background to forcefully inspire and include people of all ages and colors, his goal being to create a better nation that would stand together and end racial and economic injustice. Having together witnessed the losses of Kennedy’s brother and Martin Luther King, Jr., many Americans recognized and embraced his urgent passion as genuine, and saw his dreams of change as their own.

Although Bobby Kennedy was staying on the fifth floor of the (now renovated) Sportsman’s Lodge, his political base in Los Angeles was the Royal Suite in the Ambassador Hotel. Kennedy’s last speech was held in the Ambassador’s Embassy Room, and he was fatally shot as he exited through the kitchen.

The first video above was taken from the funeral train which carried Kennedy’s body. Along the entire path of the train’s journey, Americans from every imaginable walk of life gathered together along the tracks to say goodbye to the man who had embodied their hopes and dreams… and was taken from them.

After the jump, photos of the man convicted for the murder of Bobby Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan, then and in 2008. (Click on thumbnails for larger views.) (more…)


SERIES – Knotts: Birth of the Boysenberry

Rudolph Boysen, creator of the boysenberryIn the 1920s, hoping to take advantage of the beach traffic along what was then Grand Boulevard (now known as Beach Boulevard), Mr. Walter Knott decided to set up a berry stand. Originally he just leased the spot, but in 1927 he began to buy up the property where his business grew. Upon crossing paths with Rudolph Boysen (1895–1950, photo at right) – a Napa man who had been experimenting to create a marvelously fat and juicy new berry hybrid – the future of Walter Knott’s little fruit stand was forever changed. (more…)


PART 2 – The Ambassador Hotel All-Stars

SERIES: Visions of the Ambassador

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIPrZzStLxg[/youtube]
click for larger viewDuring the roaring 20s and 30s, the Ambassador Hotel’s nightclub “house bands” quickly became the most popular orchestras in the world. An issue of (the then-popular and catchy-named) Talking Machine World magazine identified Abe Lyman’s California Ambassador Orchestra (see video clip above) as “Los Angeles’ most famous popular musical organization” in 1923.

Abe Lyman (August 4, 1897 – October 23, 1957) was a popular bandleader from the 1920s to the 1940s. He made recordings, appeared in films and provided the music for numerous radio shows, including Your Hit Parade… For an engagement at the Cocoanut Grove in The Ambassador Hotel on April 1, 1922, Abe added a violinist and saxophonist. Opening night drew a large crowd of 1500 guests in the Cocoanut Grove, plus another 500 more outside.”

For a five year run in the 30s, a dapper group of musicians known as Gus Arnheim’s Orchestra (see video below) was then stationed at the Cocoanut Grove and widely considered to be the most popular band on the West coast. In 1930, the band began to feature male singing trio The Rhythm Boys, featuring a young singer named Bing Crosby. Arnheim Orchestra alumni also included Stan Kenton, Russ Columbo (seen playing violin and singing in the middle of the trio in the clip below), Charlie Spivak, Woody Herman, and actor Fred McMurray (on saxophone).
[dailymotion width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1u2m8_gus-arnheim-and-his-ambassadors1929_music[/dailymotion]


IMAGERY – Traffic on the Cahuenga Pass, 1897

Welcome to the original 101 Freeway.

Photograph of two cyclists on the Cahuenga Pass, Los Angeles, circa 1897. The man to the right walks his bicycle on the unpaved road, looking at his companion riding to the left, on whose back is strapped a briefcase of some kind. The terrain surrounding them is comprised entirely of grassy hills. Caption on photoprint reads: “Cahuenga Pass — connecting Hollywood and San Fernando Valley — as it was in 1897.”

Click on image for larger view.
©USC Digital Archive


PART 1 – The Ambassador Hotel 101

SERIES: Visions of the Ambassador

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5jPhsvONao[/youtube]
ambassadorI’m aware that many readers may not know much about the topic, so here’s a short film explaining the beginnings, the importance, and the demolition of The Ambassador Hotel to start our series on this lost landmark. It features a great narration by Cindy Olnick of the LA Conservancy which helps to explain just how important the Ambassador Hotel’s existence was (and still is) for our community.

Running time: 15 minutes, 40 seconds


SERIES – Visions of the Ambassador: Introduction

ambassador2Today I was remembering a fancy corporate event I witnessed in the mid-90s. It was the kind of an all-out, over-the-top shindig people simply don’t *have* in economic times like these. The theme of this party was the famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub… so for one night, Disney paid to have the Ambassador Hotel returned to its former glory. A friend had been invited by a client, and I won the lottery as his plus one.

ambassadorUntil I physically got out of the car that night, it really didn’t register what I was about to experience. I knew about the Cocoanut Grove and I knew Robert Kennedy had been shot in the kitchen… but walking up to the front, surrounded by klieg lights, the night ended up being more profound and emotional for me than I’d expected. There was plentiful food and drink, and fortune tellers and games scattered around… but it was the building that entertained me. At one point I remember walking through the nightclub just mesmerised by the palm tree columns that still existed. After a few drinks, while everyone else was busy shmoozing, I then became obsessed with seeing where Kennedy died. A small group of us convinced a waiter to let us sneak back into the kitchen and I remember tipsily wandering around muttering “Where is it?” until a busboy pointed down at the ground. I sobered up instantly as a very haunting image flashed into my brain and wouldn’t leave. The past became so vivid for a moment that I felt a bit of an Overlook Hotel vibe. I was a bit quieter for the rest of the night.

When the party was over, I knew in my heart that I’d been touched by a place that wasn’t going to exist much longer. The importance wasn’t lost on me… as I walked outside I felt like someone hesitating to leave their sickly grandparent’s house, knowing they probably weren’t going to see them alive again. And sure enough, I didn’t… as the Ambassador faced the wrecking ball, I avoided driving by it. I found its destruction too depressing to think about.

On the 24 acres where the Ambassador once stood, a $571-million kindergarten-to-12th-grade school campus is gradually opening its doors now. I’m not complaining about this… what’s happened has happened and as I see it the hard facts here are simple ones. Both of these statements are true and indisputable: 1) Schools are good. 2) We have lost something very special. So this month I’m going to do a little series focusing on the incredible glory of Los Angeles’ former jewel The Ambassador Hotel. It was too fantabulous and important of a place for one single post to do it justice.


FOCUS – The Dunbar Hotel

©USC Digital ArchiveSince a lot of people don’t know much about the history of the Central Avenue jazz scene that happened in Los Angeles, to accompany my last post noting Mama’s passing I decided to expand on it. The neighborhood played such a crucial and historic part not just in jazz history, but in African American history as well, it’s a worthy point to add.

The top jazz club on Central Avenue during its heyday was Club Alabam and *the* place to stay was the Dunbar Hotel, with a guest list that regularly included the likes of Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Lena Horne. Originally known as the Somerville Hotel, the structure was erected in 1928 entirely by black contractors, laborers and craftsmen and black community members helped John Somerville and his wife Vada to finance the entire project.

In 1907 Jamaican-born John Alexander Somerville became the first African American to graduate from the USC School of Dentistry. He earned the highest grade-point average in the class of 1907, and had passed the State Dental Board examination six months before graduation. His wife, Vada Watson Somerville, became the school’s first African-American woman graduate in 1918, going on to achieve distinction as the first black woman licensed to practice dentistry in California. Besides managing a successful practice, the Somervilles were instrumental in opening the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP. John Somerville also contributed to the local landscape by developing upscale properties. He was the second African-American member of the Chamber of Commerce and served on the Los Angeles Police Commission from 1949 to 1953.” SOURCE

After the jump is a video discussing the important role the Dunbar played in American history and a vintage postcard of the hotel circa 1938 (according to the card, the room rates at the time were $1 per day and $5 a week).

The Dunbar Hotel still stands, however its current future is sadly uncertain. (more…)


EVENT – Happy B-Day! Los Angeles is 228 today!

But thanks to botox, she doesn’t look a year over 200.

birthdayOn September 4, 1781, Los Pobladores de Los Angeles (44 people in 11 Mexican families – including 22 children – who bravely walked all the way from Nueva España) set out to walk the nine mile trail from the San Gabriel Mission to the Los Angeles River. On that day, our city El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles was born. The 44-acre park we now refer to as Olvera Street protects our city’s original history including the first church, firehouse, theater, the 1818 Avila Adobe (the oldest existing house in the city) and the old plaza… literally, the area is the first heart of Los Angeles.

At 6am on Saturday September 5th, walkers will gather at the San Gabriel Mission and head west for nine miles to re-enact the Pobladores walk along Mission Road to El Pueblo Plaza (Olvera Street), where they will be greeted by birthday festivities. The Walk takes approximately three hours to complete. If you’re a lazy bum and feel like sleeping in, that’s okay. You aren’t the one turning two hundred and twenty eight, but whatever. From 6am to 6pm there will be a party goin’ on over at la Plaza Reina including artisan demonstrations, exhibits, food, entertainment and plenty of birthday cake… or pan dulce or something.

Oh, and in honor of her birthday, the Los Angeles Conservancy will be offering their Facebook fans a $10 membership discount (for new members only) through Monday, September 7. So befriend them on Facebook and help to save our local heritage. (more…)