image Community

Pets, Publishing, and the Palmer Building: A Piece of Hollywood History

Liberals, reformers, and radicals once filled the hallways of the Palmer Building (6360-6362 Hollywood Boulevard), which became steeped in Tinseltown history when a pioneering pet club helmed by a movie legend had its headquarters here. But more on that later.

Historic photo of the Palmer Building from The Story of Hollywood by Gregory Paul Williams.

To fully understand the building’s legacy, it’s important to understand the might of the Palmer dynasty. As one of Hollywood’s earliest settlers and great empire builders, not much went on without Dr. E.O. Palmer’s involvement. Indeed he formed the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Palmer, who published History of Hollywood in 1938, “is the ground zero of Hollywood historians,” explains Hollywood Heritage co-founder Christy McAvoy. “All other historians revert back to him. He spent many years in the ’20s and ’30s compiling the most comprehensive history of Hollywood and its pioneers,” says McAvoy.

Back in 1911, Dr. Palmer arranged to have a young relative, Harlan G. Palmer, purchase the weekly Hollywood Citizen. Four years later, Harlan was elected a Justice of the Peace, a position he held until 1921 when his paper became a daily. Starting his first newspaper with a $150 down payment, Palmer published and edited the Hollywood Citizen-News for forty five years and went on to become president of the Southern California Editorial Association.

While the Hollywood and Vine intersection became known for its concentration of radio and movie-related businesses in the 1920s, what’s less articulated is Hollywood Boulevard’s pivotal role in the Los Angeles newspaper industry. But it all began here in 1921, when Dr. Palmer financed the Palmer Building at Hollywood and Cosmo Street. Harlan Palmer’s Hollywood Citizen moved in and began publishing daily with a printing press in the basement,” says Gregory Paul Williams in his award-winning The Story of Hollywood.

What’s rather confusing is that there are three buildings of printing related Palmer provenance: two on the Boulevard, one being across the street on Cosmo, and another on Wilcox. Our building, designed by journeying architect Edward T. Flaherty, is typical of Renaissance Revival structures of the post WWI, early 20s era. “This type of pared down Classical Revival building was very popular for office blocks in small downtowns before we moved into more ornate Art Deco and flashier Spanish Colonial Revival styles. You’ll see this type of structure in many downtowns across the States. You’re still in a more conservative architectural period when this was built,” explains McAvoy.

The Palmer Building today. (Photo by Richard Bence)

In 1929, the bottom fell out of the global economy but at first, Hollywood’s publishers thrived. The Hollywood News built a glitzier newspaper plant on Wilcox Avenue in 1930. But by 1932, the Depression hit the West Coast hard. Working conditions and wages in Los Angeles’ newspaper industry were some of the worst in the country. Palmer merged his paper with George Hoover’s Hollywood News to form the Hollywood Citizen-News which became the fourth-largest daily paper in Los Angeles. But a storm was brewing and Palmer could not have predicted what came next.

Palmer got caught in the crossfire of a bitter film community brouhaha that snowballed into an outpouring of support for the Los Angeles Newspaper Guilds’s ten-week Hollywood Citizen-News strike in 1938, spearheaded by the Communist Party. The paper, which primarily catered to Hollywood’s educated and liberal elite, and had at one time functioned as an oasis of reason and taste in Los Angeles, became an incubator for political activism. This in turn led to the formation of the Los Angles Newspaper Guild (LANG) in 1936. Roger Johnson, a young employee of Hollywood Citizen-News, became the Guild’s first president.

Known as a “liberal” for his support of the New Deal, Judge Harlan G. Palmer would become increasingly conservative, hardened by the strike. But it’s worth noting that he started out as a vigorous campaigner against crime, gambling and alleged police pay-offs. As editor, he devoted many of his editorials to attacks on the corrupt city administration of Mayor Frank Shaw.

While Palmer’s refusal to accept a union in his newspaper helped transform a unique but essentially minor strike into a cause célèbre, the Palmer Building continued to produce protégés that liked to court controversy. “The alley behind Western Union’s Hollywood office in the Palmer Building, where messengers waited for assignments, became a hotbed of information (and a party zone),” explains Williams.

Another venerable journalistic institution that occupied the Palmer Building was the AP, which opened its L.A. bureau here in the 40s. Robert Joseph Thomas seemed destined to become an entertainment writer from his earliest days at high school when he wrote entertainment columns for the campus newspaper. But when he joined the AP in 1943, it was with aspirations of becoming a war correspondent.

Fresh from military service, he returned to the AP’s L.A. bureau in the Palmer Building and was soon named its entertainment reporter. Thomas’ career began in 1944, when Hollywood was still a small, centralized community, tightly controlled by a handful of studios, and continued well into the 21st century. During his nearly seven decades writing for the AP, Thomas reviewed hundreds of films and television shows, compiled hundreds of celebrity obituaries and wrote numerous retrospective pieces on Hollywood and how it had changed.

The building also has a link to the Boulevard’s heady retail heyday. The Hollywood Citizen-News had run the masthead “Shopping’s good in Hollywood” since 1925. Merchants pushed Hollywood as a world style center on a par with New York and Paris. “Hollywood-based retailer Betty Blanc Company ran five women’s stores in Hollywood: Nancy’s, Mimi’s, Henré’s, Marlene’s, and Betty Blanc’s. Each store handled entirely different clothing lines, with the main office in the Palmer Building at Cosmo were Nancy’s was located,” says Williams. “Hollywood stores made the most of their star connections. A Hollywood Citizen-News society columnist reported that Norma Shearer did her early-morning shopping in Hollywood.”

The Palmer Building has a long history of attracting organizations with a fine pedigree. Tailwaggers entered into the annals of Hollywood history when Bette Davis was elected as president of Southern California’s branch in 1929, which opened its headquarters here. Davis used her celebrity to share her passion for animals and help raise awareness of animal welfare issues. LIFE magazine covered one of her fundraising events at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1929 where she raised large sums of money from other famous animal lovers like Henry Fonda, Howard Hughes and Walt Disney.

Letter from Bette Davis on Tail Wagger Foundation of America letterhead, headquartered in the Palmer Building in Hollywood, circa 1938.

This Sunday, Tailwaggers CEO Todd Warner is building on that legacy with the Tailwaggers Foundation’s annual Waggy Awards at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood. Billed as “the animal rescue world’s most glam-packed event”, it brings together the great and the good of the animal welfare community. Crusaders, activists and pioneers dedicated to the protection of animals will collect awards for their service alongside actress and well-known animal activist Tippi Hedren and music superstar Moby.

The confluence of Hollywood pizzazz, community pioneers and animal welfare harks back to those days when Davis was fighting on behalf of humanity’s most devoted companion from her desk at the Palmer Building. This place matters because it serves as a repository of investigative journalism; in an age of dwindling newspaper circulations, it connects us to a pre-digital publishing past. It also acts as a missing link to an organization that championed justice for the underdog. The spirit of animal activism is embedded in its bricks, as is the institutional memory of a cause that is still achingly relevant today.

For tickets to this Sunday’s event:

The Palmer Building today is home to iO West (formerly known as the “Improv Olympic West”), the Los Angeles arm of the world-famous iO in Chicago improv comedy theatre. (Photo by Richard Bence)

Los Angeles is both muse and home for British-born culture journalist Richard Bence. His mission is to chronicle and unearth the hidden stories of Hollywood with a special focus on its heritage. He has a passion for preservation, loves all things midcentury and enjoys getting close to nature on a canyon hike or lapping up the architectural riches of the city he calls home. He contributes to Monocle, Monocle 24 and United’s Rhapsody magazine.

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March 17, 2017

image Dining

Delicious Mediterranean Fare at Farida

Everyone in Hollywood should be excited about Farida, which might be the most exciting restaurant to arrive in Hollywood in awhile. Mediterranean food is certainly the cuisine of the moment, so at first glance it might appear that the owner, George Abou-Daoud, is simply meeting audience demand. He is, but that would also be dismissing just how special Farida is.

The Mediterranean flavors at Farida are ones that George is very well acquainted with, having grown up with them. So it’s a coming home of sorts. But everyone in Hollywood is all the better for it, as Farida complements his nearby, long-standing restaurants Delancey and The Bowery.

Interior of Farida in Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

The dishes are well done, incorporating ingredients and flavors of the Middle East while utilizing Californian sensibilities. Fresh produce and sharable plate sizes work well within Farida’s well curated, perfectly sized menu. There are more vegetable dishes than meat options, putting the variety of flavors of the ingredients front and center. The majority of the food menu is $13 and under, making the restaurant a place where everyone can enjoy themselves.

Menu offerings at Farida on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

Vibrant colors line the interior of the restaurant, with colorful bar stools, patterned tile, warm hued walls and comfortable lounge and table seating. The flavors of the food are well suited to the restaurant ambiance, thanks to dishes like their fluffy lavender baghrir crepes; golden, buttery pastry pies with nabulsi cheese and sweet-earthy baby beets & freekeh with French feta and mint.

Baby Beets with french feta, freekeh, cardamom, pine nuts, lemon, local olive oil, and Persian mint at Farida in Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

As for proteins, the real shining star is the mountain prepped lamb awarma with hummus bi tahini, which is cured in olive oil for 30 days and seasoned with nut, fig and sumac, topped with lamb cracklin’s and furnished with soft egg, pickled turnip, feta, radish and beet chips. It’s only $24 yet the most expensive plate on the menu.

Mountain Prep Lamb Awarma with hummus, ​olive oil cured eggplant makdous, nut & fig medley, sumac, lamb cracklins’, soft egg, pickled turnip, feta, beet chips, herbs, and za’atar pita at Farida in Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

The drinks menu offers a variety of cocktails, beers, and red and white wines by the glass or bottle, mostly from California, France, Spain and Italy. The multiple seating options throughout the restaurant are also a welcome feature, allowing you and your friends the luxury of choosing between bar, table and lounge seating.

Farida offers great, affordable food that tastes great in just the kind of setting you prefer — without all the fuss. Whether for lunch, dinner or drinks, Farida is just the neighborhood Mediterranean restaurant you want, highlighting the best of Californian ingredients. So stop on by for a little bit or for a long, long time.

Interior of Farida in Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

6266 Sunset Blvd.

Esther Tseng is a freelance food and drink writer. She has contributed to Eater, Thrillist, LA Tourism, Visit West Hollywood, Serious Drinks, and more. She practices Pilates, spins and snowboards to counter all the calories she consumes and loves to travel, whether for work or leisure.

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March 6, 2017

image Community

LAX Flyaway Now Located on Vine Street in Hollywood

Effective March 1, 2017, the Hollywood-LAX Flyaway® bus stop will be moved to 1627 North Vine Street (on the west side of Vine, one-half block south of Hollywood Blvd.). Click here to view the map.

Convenient Bus Service to LAX. No reservation required.

The LAX FlyAway® buses offer convenient regularly scheduled* round- trips, seven days a week, between Hollywood and LAX (additional location available). Tickets are $8 one-way and may be purchased online or aboard the bus with a credit card.

Passengers leaving LAX may board buses on the Lower/Arrivals Level in front of each terminal under the green “FlyAway® Buses and Long Distance Vans” sign. Each bus is marked with its service location.

For updates on FlyAway traffic impacts please visit the Twitter feed at

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March 3, 2017

image Architecture & Planning

90 Years of the Cherokee Building

The history of the Cherokee Building (located at 6646 Hollywood Boulevard) mirrors the history of Hollywood itself and captures the symbiotic relationship between the city of Los Angeles and the birth of the film industry. It was built in 1927, which happens to be the year that Louis B. Mayer, head of the powerful MGM film studio, created the Academy as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry.

The Hollywood Cherokee Building, from Hollywood Boulevard. (Photo by Gary Leonard)

Designed by Norman Alpaugh, the Canadian architect responsible for L.A.’s Sheraton Townhouse and Santa Monica’s Elmiro Theater, the building bears some delicate Moorish flourishes carved above a series of narrow shops with deep-set show windows; the Moroccan theme continues on the back patio, with a tiled fountain upon which William Powell once posed with some showgirls for a clothing-store promotion.

With an elaborate rear entrance, this is one of the earliest structures in Hollywood (and possibly Los Angeles) to be oriented around the automobile, predating Bullock’s Wilshire, which is the commonly known iconic landmark that turned its back on the street. “This meant that Alpaugh was thinking about the evolution of the automobile and the automobile’s impact on Hollywood Boulevard,” explains Hollywood Heritage co-founder Christy McAvoy. “Most of the buildings on Hollywood Boulevard do not have that orientation to the parking lot as well as to the main street, which makes the Cherokee building very forward thinking in 1927.”

This structure is one of the finest Spanish Colonial Revival buildings on Hollywood Boulevard, the go-to style for retail developments in the 1920s. The enclosed interior courtyard with tiled fountain—a defining feature of Spanish Colonial Revival buildings in Los Angles—is unusual for commercial buildings in Hollywood. “Courtyards and fountains are associated much more with residential structures so this is kind of an anomaly,” explains McAvoy.

The courtyard and fountain at the Hollywood Cherokee Building. (Photo via

From the 1920s on, Hollywood Boulevard became a major upscale shopping district. “The reason why it was doing that was because it had this brand new industry of which Hollywood was the hub, and a lot of money coming through it, so this was the place that got created. It’s a classic main street,” says McAvoy. “In the 1920s the chamber of commerce launched one of the first business promotions called the ‘Style Center of the West’, an Art Deco campaign with lovely ladies featuring all the retailers that occupied the boulevard. They were the dressmakers to the stars, the shoemakers and hatmakers. It was a full service street. All the top brands and top people were here,” explains McAvoy.

Building on this iconic retail heritage, Naim “Sy” Amber bought the Cherokee building in 1972. Prior to that, he had three retail stores on this block from 1960 including a men’s store, a women’s store then a jeans shop and a shoe store. “When Mr Amber bought the building in the 60s, he was the last of that legacy to inhabit the boulevard,” explains McAvoy. “The people that were here in the 20s were of a similar quality and cachet in clothing.”

Sy Amber’s mens store on the corner of the Hollywood Cherokee Building in 1972. (Photo courtesy of The Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection)

Amber’s son Jack has fond memories of the Boulevard in its fashion heyday. It was a local street, there were eighteen men’s stores. We had twelve guys just working in the men’s shop. The Beatles and the Beach Boys would shop in the store. This was an incredible place in the 60s with the hippies, that’s when it went crazy,” explains Amber. Then in the 70s the music changed. Stevie Wonder and the Pips used to come in. That was when ‘French’ dressing with all the patchwork jeans came in. That was another look that took over with platform heels. Then in the 80s Arsenio Hall was a regular customer. We used to get all the stylists coming in for hot new acts like New Kids on the Block. People don’t understand how exciting Hollywood was back then, you never knew who’d come in to your store,” says Amber.

But in true filmic style, there is an ‘alternative’ narrative if you are prepared to scratch beneath the surface. As McAvoy explains, “the building can be many things because it has many addresses.” The Cherokee has more than one entrance. If you walk off Hollywood Boulevard, entering by 1652 N Cherokee Ave, you will stumble upon a former Rat Pack hangout befitting of the darkest noir movie. The Hollywood myth-making machine, a magical dream factory where everything is not always as it seems, is ever present here. In one of its earliest incarnations, a beauty parlor acted as a front for a Prohibition-era illegal card club and gambling speakeasy, complete with a secret button underneath the bar to alert the card-playing patrons upstairs when the cops arrived. Back in the day, movie stars would arrive by car though the enclosed ‘motor court’ out back making this the first paparazzi-proof haunt in Hollywood.

Historic interior photo of the Hollywood Cherokee Building. (Photo via

In the early 30s, crooner Gene Austin opened a legitimate club here named after his chart-topping 1927 hit “My Blue Heaven.” Twin doors formed the front entrance, and a frosted-pane window sporting an etched cocktail glass faced the street. The first thing a visitor encountered inside was a smiling hat-check girl stationed where the present bar sits; then came the bar, some tables, and a dance floor where the kitchen is now. The ceiling was two stories high, with a platform for a small orchestra that overlooked the club.

After Austin sold the watering hole, legend has it that a gay bar known as “Cherokee House” existed here at one time, providing a missing link to Hollywood’s LGBTQ past. There was also a bar called “Diamond Lil’s”, until Mae West sued and got a cease and desist order. Then in 1942 a chap called Steve Boardner took over the joint and it has been “Boardner’s” ever since.

The Hollywood Cherokee Building’s western facing side, on Cherokee, with Boardner’s to the right. (Photo by Gary Leonard)

Hollywood Babylonians, inspired by Kenneth Anger’s book “Hollywood Babylon”, will find more than a whiff of scandal here. Boardner’s is well known for its customers who keep coming back – even after they have passed away. Those ghosts said to be still roaming the premises include the blacklisted actor Albert Decker, who had one of the most bizarre deaths this town has ever seen. Another lost soul, Elizabeth Short, later known as the Black Dahlia, would always have two or three sailors hanging off her arm although contrary to local urban legend, Boardner’s was not her last call before immortality.

These days, Saturday is Goth night, when Bar Sinister takes over, but the black-clad clientele are merely pretenders compared to the real-life villains that used to frequent this badass redoubt. Mickey Cohen, the Sica brothers, [Jack] Dragna. These and other names associated with Boardner’s form a Who’s Who of L.A.’s postwar mob culture, adding to its macabre, wonderland status. Today, while other long-vanished boulevard bars have bitten the dust, Boardner’s is a popular place to hold wrap parties and to shoot films. It was the spot where Dudley Smith (aka James Cromwell) met up with Bud White (aka Russell Crowe) in order to return his badge and his gun towards the beginning of 1997’s L.A. Confidential.

In 1942, a golf caddy from Akron, OH put his name over Club 52’s neon sign and there the sign remains today, paying tribute to bar owner, Steve Boardner. (Photo by Gary Leonard)

Hollywood suffered terribly after WWII. By the 60s and 70s, stars were no longer walking down the boulevard as they had once done in its heyday between 1920-1950. Los Angeles had changed dramatically as a city. The centers of population became more diffuse which coincided with the dismantling of the trolley system and the building of a freeway that cut through the heart of Hollywood. “The musicians still came here but the glamor was off,” explains McAvoy. “Hollywood became an older story.”

The studios may have relocated, and their starlets vanished, but The Cherokee building, now in its ninetieth year, is a jewel in the crown of Hollywood heritage. It enshrines the gritty genesis of the Hollywood dream in the fabric of its walls, with a story arc that follows the trajectory of a Norma Desmond-style fading star aching for her comeback. Many sanitized, pseudo-historic ‘lifestyle’ shopping centers owe a debt of gratitude to this grande dame of Los Angeles folklore, which has panache and élan embedded into its DNA. The Cherokee, emblematic of a bygone era brimming with style and elegance, deserves to be persevered as the precious time capsule that she is.

Los Angeles is both muse and home for British-born culture journalist Richard Bence. His mission is to chronicle and unearth the hidden stories of Hollywood with a special focus on its heritage. He has a passion for preservation, loves all things midcentury and enjoys getting close to nature on a canyon hike or lapping up the architectural riches of the city he calls home. He contributes to Monocle, Monocle 24 and United’s Rhapsody magazine.

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March 3, 2017

image Community

Upcoming Events at LACE

I can call this progress to halt is a project composed of an exhibition, a series of screenings and performances, and a publication at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), March 8 through April 23, 2017.

Opening, March 8, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. with a performance by Kandis Williams with Josh Johnson at 9:00 p.m.

Curated by Suzy Halajian with Ayreen Anastas & Rene GabriMarwa Arsanios, Alejandro Cesarco, Michelle Dizon, Shadi Habib Allah, Sharon Hayes, Jessika Khazrik, Rosalind Nashashibi, Nashashibi/Skaer, and Georgia Sagri. Screenings looped weekly include Chto Delat, Phil Collins, Jibade Khalil-Huffman, Maha Maamoun, Raqs Media Collective, Subversive Film, Jalal Toufic; presentations and performances include Jessika Khazrik, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Dylan Mira, Joanne Nucho, and Kandis Williams with Josh Johnson.

The project considers gestures of protest, unrest, and incendiary exchange as the starting point to a conversation. Multimedia works and formats on view represent images of conflict and strife that are oftentimes stripped of their original or intended context. Considered together, they function more as dispersed, floating representations of contested moments in time that refuse to stand fixed, and instead vehemently call for another engagement with the world, an imagined world. Further acknowledging our existence in a particularly mediated culture, artists employ various strategies of replication, dislocation, and obfuscation to explore the idea of the real and to challenge the particular and varied contested sites around them. By doing so, they both individually and/or collectively call for a halt. This interruption, this blockade, provides the space necessary to reflect on constructions of political and social inequities that will not be accepted as the status quo. It further upholds the agency of both the individual and the collective act to challenge notions of progress that are subsumed within a neoliberal agenda. As such, the action, the protest, and/or the withdrawal from society leave the viewer witness to the performative gestures, as well as the symbols and sounds that offer an opening to another reality, to a life that could be lived in another way.

I can call this progress to halt attempts to provide a space in which timely topics can sidle in as wanted companions through the lens of the visual. The project does not situate itself within a single locale, but rather considers a multiplicity of sites and temporalities through the layering of physical and imagined spaces.

I can call this progress to halt borrows its title from Anastas & Gabri’s work, The Meaning of Everything (2008).

The project was supported by an Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Research Fellowship awarded to Halajian, which granted her extensive travel throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Additional support is provided by the Pasadena Art Alliance. Special thanks to LUX.

Public programs:

  • Wednesday, March 8, opening night, 9:00 p.m. Performance by Kandis Williams with Josh Johnson, Whereof One Cannot Speak, one must remain silent.” A choreography by artist Williams and performer Johnson, music by SAD. 20 minutes. A context game of boxes and clouds played through and against settled images on a moving body.
  • Wednesday, March 22, 7:00 p.m. Film screening and talk with Joanne Nucho, The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud” (2016). An experimental non-fiction film about a working class suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, called Bourj Hammoud. Filmed over a period of seven years (2008-2015), the film explores how residents experience rootedness and displacement through their own movement as well as changes in the built environment. The result is a lyrical ethnographic reflection on history and the materiality of urban space narrated by longtime residents and recent arrivals.
  • Sunday, April 2, 2:00 p.m. Workshop with Dylan Mira.LACUNA / NOUN / AN UNFULFILLED SPACE OR INTERVAL; A GAP / FROM THE LATIN LACUS, MEANING LAKE / so what they call absence is also a body.” A guided somatic writing object exercise; non knowing now practice; lateral improvised texture together; performance with no audience; workshop reimagining parts and labor and care. 20 spots; please RSVP at if you would like to participate.
  • Wednesday, April 5, 7:00 p.m. Performance by Gelare Khoshgozaran. “DEAVANAH/دیـــــــــــــــوانـــه ” remembers an event that occurred in the past, in one language, as it unfolds in the present, in another. The two are only ever consolidated in the state of lunacy, while the deav (demon) in deavanah (lunatic) attests to the inalienable right of the alien to bestiality.
  • Wednesday, April 19, 7:00 p.m. Presentation by Jessika Khazrik or The Society of False Witnesses. “Debe Be (2015-ongoing)” is a choreography performed by scientists, students, and engineers as dancers that investigates the relationship between militarization and the production of knowledge. The project is based on the debebe game in which kindergarteners join hands in pairs and emulate the sound and movement of military tanks. In the Arabic language, “debābā/debebe” means military tank. In this presentation, Khazrik will be dancing and ruminating on an indisciplinary thinking that is in constant negotiation with its potential spatialization in relation to the cognitive and hidden arrangements of life, war, and trace. The first iteration, Instead of a Turret on Top, was performed as part of the Leap Before You Look: The Black Mountain College 1933-1957 exhibition at the ICA Boston in fall 2015.

Image: Shadi Habib Allah, Dagaa, 2015, (still) HD video, 18:53 min. Courtesy of the artist and Green Art Gallery.

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March 2, 2017

image Dining

Eating Around the World… Without Leaving Hollywood!

Hollywood’s diverse culinary offerings truly present something for everyone. For those looking for a taste of other countries and cultures, look no further than these new eateries specializing in cuisine from around the globe!

Mamacita Cantina Peruana (6801 Hollywood Blvd./Hollywood & Highland, Level 4)


This colorful new eatery features Peruvian BBQ Bowls with prime skirt steak, free range chicken, or organic Portabella mushrooms. Any of the items are also available as wraps, and add-ons include egg, avocado, and kale. All bowls are served with tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, mushrooms, cabbage salad and pickles. Wraps are served with avocado pesto, soy mushrooms and tomato sambal.

Pollada BBQ Wrap with Purple Corn Chicha drink from Mamacita Cantina at Hollywood & Highland. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Mamacita also features a Kombucha Bar featuring their Health-Ade and Better Booch in flavors like California Grape, Golden Pear and Ginger Boost. They also have their own housemade drinks such as Purple Corn Chicha with pineapple, cinnamon and lime; or Strawberry Horchata with cinnamon, rice and almond milk.

All their items are made from scratch with the finest farmer’s market ingredients. If you’re looking for something a little different, come check them out!

Good Greek Grill (6363 Yucca St.)

Good Greek Grill has opened its second location at 6363 Yucca in Hollywood. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Having first found fame as a food truck, Good Greek Grill has successfully transitioned to brick and mortar, with their first location in Los Feliz (1820 N. Vermont) and now their Hollywood location.

Start with a protein – pork on the spit, beef/lamb mix, Greek sausage (highly recommended!), chicken skewer, or grilled veggies. Make it a Gyro, platter, or plate, and add plenty of their housemade tzatziki or eggplant dip! Their Spanakopita bites are stuffed with spinach and feta cheese in a fried puff pastry. And don’t forget dessert! You have to try the baklava bites – fried puff pastry willed with walnuts, honey and cinnamon.

Greek Sausage Platter with greek salad, pita, tzatziki and rice, at Good Greek Grill in Hollywood. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Good Greek Grill also offers family packs and catering, as well as vegan, vegetarian, paleo and gluten free options.

Their clean and modern dining room features large screen televisions, but the best view is people watching outside with Capitol Records and Avalon in the background!

Baklava Bite with chocolate sauce at Good Greek Grill. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

Trejo’s Cantina (1556 N. Cahuenga Ave.)

Actor Danny Trejo, perhaps best known for his character Machete, is now making a name for himself as a restaurateur. After beginning with a truck, he opened his first brick and mortar last year at 1048 S. LaBrea, before venturing into Hollywood with Trejo’s Cantina. His empire shows no signs of stopping, with his own Trejo’s Coffee line out now, and coming soon – Trejo’s Donuts will be opening in the Hollywood Media District.

Taco Tuesday at Trejo’s Cantina in Hollywood. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

The Cantina features plenty of space including an outdoor patio and a bar with many, many different beers on tap (we counted over 20)! Popular menu items include the Fried Chicken Burrito, Mexican White Shrimp Taco, Carnitas with Grilled Pineapple Taco, and the Grilled Jidori Chicken Bowl. They also offer House Made Churros for dessert, as well as vegan options.
323-461-TACO (8226)

D’s Dubai Sauce (6510 Hollywood Blvd.)

D’s Dubai Sauce is open late at 6510 Hollywood Blvd. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

With a fusion of Mediterranean and Middle East cuisine, D’s specializes in kabobs and gyros, served late into the night right on the Walk of Fame. Their hot press wraps and plates can be prepared with beef and lamb, chicken Shawarma, beef steak, chicken kabob, Dubai mix, Kofta kabob, or falafel. Plus, all dishes are 100% Halal. As the name implies, the sauce is a key component of any meal here. Their “Amazing Sauces” range from White, their original rich and creamy Los Angeles inspired sauce; to Green, mildly spicy with jalapeno peppers from Afghanistan; to Mango, a zesty Mexican-style sauce. For those craving real spice, there’s the Savage, with the hottest herbs and spices from Africa – it will leave you sweating!

Beef and Lamb Gyro with Falafel, Pita Bread and Hummus at D’s Dubai Sauce. (Photo by Devin Strecker)

As mentioned, D’s is open late – until 2:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 3:00 a.m. on Friday through Sunday.

Crying Tiger (1721 N. Hudson Ave./Hillview Apartments)

Crying Tiger, a Thai take-out window on Hudson Ave., just north of Hollywood Blvd. (Photo via  Curbed LA)

What began life as an unnamed Thai takeout window which mysteriously opened on day in the former Butcher’s & Barber’s spot has now been revealed as Crying Tiger, from the ever-expanding Houston Brothers empire. Sharing their space with the new Black Rabbit Rose magic theater and cocktail bar, the takeout window is still offering Thai favorites like Pad Thai, Tiger Fried Rice, Drunken Noodles and Sautéed Green Beans, as well as Pola’s Egg Rolls and Beef Nam Tok Bao evenings from 6:00 p.m.

All items can also be bought for consumption at Black Rabbit Rose – so you can add some Siamese to your abracadabra!

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March 1, 2017

image Architecture & Planning

Let’s Apply Critical Thinking to the Fake News Emanating From the Measure S Campaign

I am hopeful that LA City voters can distinguish between hype and logic. The very future of our city is dependent upon voter discernment.

Recent events in American civic life have sparked new scrutiny into how people in our democracy stay informed. Almost daily, we hear accusations from our president that major media outlets are guilty of pushing out “fake news.” If we, according to him, cannot trust the Washington Post or the New York Times, then we certainly cannot exercise responsible citizenship relying upon a 140 character tweet or a Facebook post. So, what do we do?

Now, more than ever, Americans are called to think critically about the information with which they are bombarded. A Chinese proverb suggests this: “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”

Let’s take a look at a very local case study. We are called to put on our Critical Thinking hats here in our city where there are billboards all over town that present the very enticing sound-bite: Vote Yes on S:  Save our Neighborhoods. Well, who can argue with saving our neighborhoods?

But this is where the questions must start. We can learn from what educators are doing to help students discern between real information versus sponsored information. Research recently conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Education queried whether students  from 12 states could distinguish between advertisements, sponsored news and real journalism on the web. It struck me that adults would benefit from the curriculum being developed to help children in their critical analysis of information and news.

I cannot tell you how many people from my neighborhood have suggested they are voting for Measure S because they have bought into the claims that are showing up in their mail on almost a daily basis. Let’s take a deep breath and think. I have a handy curriculum guide from The News Literacy Project (NLP) to debunk the fake news promulgated by this campaign.

For the purposes of this blog, I am going to apply questions from NLP’s Ten Questions for Fake News Detection. 

Question 1.  Emotions?  Are you hoping that the information turns out to be true?

Response:  A beautiful 12-page booklet mailed earlier this month from the Coalition to Preserve LA  evokes an emotional response with the title “Measure S is the Solution for L.A.’s Future.” Omigosh. Wouldn’t it be great…finally…to have THE solution?

Let’s overlay that broad promise with some truth checks.  If Measure S is THE solution for L.A.’s future, then why would a cast of hundreds of community leaders and organizations be standing shoulder to shoulder to should to oppose THE solution? (Hint, perhaps because it is not the solution….?)

Why would trusted organizations such as the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Bet Tzedek and the Valley Industry & Commerce Association oppose the solution for L.A.’s future? And why would the Los Angeles Times title their endorsement of the No campaign with a rebuttal to the solution: “Measure S isn’t a solution to L.A.’s housing woes, it’s a childish middle finger to City Hall. Vote no.”?

Question 3. Consider the headline or main message. Does it use excessive punctuation or ALL CAPS for emphasis? 

Everything about the Measure S campaign is in ALL CAPS. Their mailers come screaming in your mail box saying “MORE LIES.” “CITY HALL IS BROKEN!” “WE GET MORE TRAFFIC. THE DEVELOPERS WIN. TELL CITY HALL ENOUGH!”

Enough. My hands are over my ears. What children are being taught now is how to discern responsible news dissemination versus hype. It is important to move past the headlines and drill down further.

I am hoping that our discerning LA voters are recognizing the signs of hyperbole evident in this campaign.

Question 9. Can you confirm, using a reverse image search, that any images in your example, are authentic?

On that slick, expensive 24-page booklet mentioned above, there is a bucolic residential street scene. That must be the neighborhood that the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative (AKA Measure S) is trying to protect. Authentic? Consider the fact that the image on the front of this slick campaign piece features a photo of a Beverly Hills residential street.  You can purchase this as a stock image for $33 from Getty Images.  

Kerry Morrison is executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance.  She serves on the United Way/LA Area Chamber Home For Good Task Force and blogs at @KerryHMorrison

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February 21, 2017

image Entertainment

Toil and Trouble: The Ides of March

The Ides of March has never been sexier than this March 29th, when the exciting new performance company Toil and Trouble presents their take on the classic. Described as a re-imagining – with burlseque – of Shakespeare’s tales of betrayal and revenge, the production is Toil and Trouble’s third.

According to Toil and Trouble’s creator Angie Hobin, the unique production has been percolating for a long time. “I found both Shakespeare and burlesque when I’ve been ‘lost’ at different points in my life. I was required to do a book report on Hamlet when I was in eighth grade, when one most always feels a bit lost,” she laughs. “I fell in love with the accuracy and poetry with which Shakespeare describes the human condition. I was introduced to burlesque when I’d hastily moved to New York in pursuit of a failing relationship at age 22, and googled ‘powerful women performing tonight in New York.’” Hobin walked some thirty-three blocks to watch  the burlesque show Champagne Riot, which she says was the “greatest show I’d ever seen in my life at the time, and the women that performed in it are my burlesque idols to this day. I knew I wanted to be a part of this culture, even though I didn’t know if I had the nerve to do what they were doing.”

When Hobin returned to Los Angeles, she made a list of the things that brought her joy. “At the top of that list were Shakespeare, burlesque, and performing. So I decided to find a way to combine all three.” At the cast party following the closing of a play, Hobin mentioned the idea as a potential project, and overwhelmed by the positive response she heard, she went for it.

Toil and Trouble’s public relations director, Courtney L. King says “The performances border on cabaret style. Actual Shakespeare is performed, and then the production moves into a burlesque performance aspect.”

The Ides of March will be centered around the assasination of Julius Caeser, and features eight acts built around the theme of betrayal, each taken from eight of Shakespeare’s plays. “Each act will begin with with a scene and end with a strip tease,” Hobin explains. “I firmly believe that’s the route that Shakespeare would have taken with his writing, if Queen Elizabeth hadn’t been so staunch about her necklines.”

Performing in Hollywood is “terrific,” Hobin says, and both the theater and the show are a part of the changing, newly exciting entertainment scene on the busy boulevard. “Toil and Trouble is, in my mind, what the evening gown and suit-and-tie patrons of the golden age of Hollywood would have expected to see when they stepped into a theater for a sophisticated night on the town. The young adults of today are more intellectually influenced than they were during the rise of the club scene in the early 2000’s, and as unusual as our subject matter may be, I feel as though it’s suited to the time.”

The company has previously mounted two other well-received shows, one for Halloween, and a performance in January eponymously titled Toil and Trouble.

As described by the creative producer, Burgundy Kate, “Toil and Trouble has something for every kind of audience member, not unlike how the theater was in the time of William Shakespeare himself.” Kate notes that theater buffs will enjoy classic scenes unfolding in new ways, and burlesque fans will see some of the most talented and creative performers Los Angeles offers. “We like to think of it as being ‘low-brow Shakespeare, and high-brow burlesque.’”

The Ides of March will be performed March 29th at 8 p.m, with doors opening at 7. Tickets are $20. For more information visit

*UPDATE: This show will no longer take place at Prospect Theatre. The new location is El Cid, 4212 W. Sunset Blvd.

Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own

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February 17, 2017

image Entertainment

Hollywood: Host to Grammy Hitmakers since 1959

To people all over the world, Hollywood is known as the capital of the motion picture industry. But to many others, Hollywood is also well known as a music town. And what would the movies be without music, after all? As The Recording Academy prepares for The Grammy Awards this Sunday, music’s biggest night, we take a look at some of the historic recording studios here in Hollywood, where some of the most memorable Grammy award-winning works have been recorded.

Capitol Records, 1750 Vine Street

Photo by Gary Leonard © HPOA

  • Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was inducted into Grammy Hall of Fame November 2016
  • from the album Luck of the Draw, recorded at Capitol Studios in 1990. (source)
  • 25, the third studio album from Adele, and 2017 Album of the Year nominee, was mixed at Capitol Studios. (source)
  • Recent Grammy Wins Cut at Capitol:
  • 2014 Album of the Year: Daft Punk Random Access Memories (source)
  • 2015 Album of the Year: Beck Morning Phase (source)

Back in Time:

  • 2005 Album of the Year: Ray Charles Genius Loves Company (Mixing) (source)
  • 2005 Best Rock Album: Green Day, American Idiot (source)
  • 1965 Record of the Year: The Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand” mastered at Capitol (source)
  • 1999 Hall of Fame Award Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Rodgers and Hart Song Book (1956) (source)
  • 1959 Frank Sinatra Come Dance With Me! wins Album of the Year at 2nd Annual Grammy Awards (recorded at Capitol Studios 1958) (source)

Record Plant (Formerly Radio Recorders), 1032 N. Sycamore Ave.
Previous location: 8456 West Third Street

Photo by Devin Strecker © HPOA

  • Inducted into Grammy Hall of Fame November 2016, Elvis Presley’s “Jail House Rock” was recorded here in 1957, in what was then known as the Radio Recorders Annex. (source)
  • 2017 Nominee Album of the Year:
  • Justin Bieber Purpose (source)
  • 2007 Best Contemporary R&B Album: Beyonce B’Day (source)
  • 1974 Album Of The Year: Stevie Wonder Innervisions (Previous location) (source)
  • 1978 Best Album: Fleetwood Mac Rumours4 (Previous location) (source)
  • 1978 Record of the Year: The Eagles “Hotel California” (Previous location) (source)

Sunset Sound & Sound Factory, 6650 Sunset Blvd. & 6357 Selma Ave.

Photo by Devin Strecker © HPOA

  • Prince’s ninth studio album Sign O’ the Times, parts recorded at Sunset Sound, was inaugurated in the Grammy Hall of Fame November 2016. (source)
  • 2013 Best Historical Album: Brian Wilson Smile (source)
  • 2001 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Macy Gray “I Try” (source)
  • 1987 Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: Prince “Kiss” from the album Parade (source: Prince: Life and Times: Revised and Updated Edition By Jason Draper)
  • 1985 Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: Prince Purple Rain (source)
  • 1984 Nominee Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Sheena Easton “Telefone” (source)
  • 1978 Nominee Record of the Year & Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Linda Ronstadt “Blue Bayou” off the album Simple Dreams (source)

EastWest Studios (Formerly Ocean Way), 6000 Sunset Blvd.

According to their official website, EastWest Studios has had more Grammy-winning recordings than any other studio in the world.

Photo by Devin Strecker © HPOA

  • 2013 Best Urban Contemporary Album: Frank Ocean Channel Orange
  • 2012 Nominee Album of the Year: Rihanna Loud
  • 1984 Album of the Year: Michael Jackson Thriller
  • (Michael Jackson took home seven Grammys for Thriller, setting a record for most wins at one ceremony)
  • 1998 Hall of Fame: The Beach Boys Pet Sounds
  • 1970 Nominee Best Male Pop Vocal Performance: Frank Sinatra “My Way”
  • 1967 Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: The Mamas and the Papas “Monday Monday”

Henson Recording Studios (Formerly A&M Records), 1416 N. LaBrea Ave.

Photo by Devin Strecker © HPOA

  • 2012 Nominee Album of the Year: Lady Gaga “Born This Way” (Mixing) (source)
  • 2008 Best Rap Album: Kanye West “Graduation” (source)
  • 1999 Grammy Hall of Fame: Joni Mitchell Blue (source)
  • 1991 Best Rock Song: Sting “The Soul Cages” (source)
  • 1972 Album of the Year: Carole King Tapestry (source)
  • 1972 Song of the Year: Carole King You’ve Got a Friend (First woman to win Song of the Year) (source)
  • 1986 Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Barbara Streisand The Broadway Album (source)

Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd.

Photo by Gary Leonard © HPOA

  • The Carpenters accepted their Grammy for Best New Artist at the Hollywood Palladium in 1971, as well as a Grammy for Best Contemporary Performance by a Duo or Group for their song “Close To You.” “Close To You” was recorded with the Wrecking Crew musicians at the A&M Studios (now Henson Recording Studios) in Hollywood. (source)
  • Location of Grammy Award Ceremonies 1971, 1974, 1976 and 1977.
  • In 1974 Stevie Wonder became the first African American to win a Grammy for album of the year for his work Innervisions. He accepted his award at The Hollywood Palladium, just a few miles from The Record Plant where it was recorded. (source) The same night, he won Best Rhythm and Blues Song, Best R&B Vocal Performance, and Best Pop Vocal Male Performance. He later won a Grammy for Album of the Year for Songs in the Key of Life, which was presented at the 1977 Grammy Award ceremonies at the Hollywood Palladium. (source)

Boulevard Recording (Formerly Producer’s Workshop), 6035 Hollywood Blvd.

  • 1981 Grammy Nominee Album of the Year Pink Floyd The Wall (source)
  • 2008 Hall of Fame: Pink Floyd The Wall (source)
  • 1978 Nominee Album of the Year: Steely Dan Aja (source)
  • 2005 Hall of Fame: Steely Dan Aja (source)

WAX Ltd. (Formerly T.T.G. Studios), 1441 N. McCadden Pl.

  • 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award: The Velvet Underground. The Velvet Underground recorded their album The Velvet Underground & Nico, at the former TTG Studios as well as at Scepter Studios and Mayfair Studios in New York City. (source: 101 Albums that Changed Popular Music By Chris Smith (p.44), Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed By Howard Sounes)

Cherokee Studios, 751 N. Fairfax Ave. (closed)

  • David Bowie is nominated for seven 2017 Grammy Awards for his album Blackstar. Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winner (2006), David Bowie, recorded his tenth album Station to Station at Cherokee Studios in Hollywood in 1975. (source: The Complete David Bowie By Nicholas Pegg)

Gold Star Studios, 6562 Santa Monica Blvd. (closed)

The since-destroyed studio was made famous as the homebase for Phil Spectors “Wall of Sound”.

  • Inducted into Grammy Hall of Fame November 2016, Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” was recorded at Gold Star Studios. (source: The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret By Kent Hartmanv, p.94)
  • 1965 Nominee Best Rock and Roll Recording: The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” (source: Tearing Down The Wall of Sound: The Rise And Fall of Phil Spector By Mick Brown, p.174)
  • 1999 Hall of Fame: The Ronettes “Be My Baby” (source: Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-hop By Frank W. Hoffmann, p. 107)
  • 1966 Nominee Best Vocal Group Performance: The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” (source: The Beach Boys: The Definitive Diary of America’s Greatest Band, on Stage … By Keith Badman, p.118)

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February 10, 2017

image Community

Measure H. Failure is Not an Option

What?  Another election? Another Measure H? Didn’t we just vote on this?

Answer:  Yes. Yes. And sort of.

In less than a month, the polls will be open throughout the entire county of Los Angeles, and voters will have a chance to support the second phase of a “one-two” strategy to make a serious dent into our homeless crisis. Measure H will appear on county ballots on March 7 asking voters to authorize a ¼ cent sales tax increase for ten years to raise money for homeless services. It requires a 2/3 vote.

Encampment on Vine near Lexington, in the Sunset & Vine District.

Last November, Measure HHH was the first punch in the one-two punch to end homelessness. City voters overwhelmingly supported (76 percent!) the ten year general obligation bond to fund $1.2B in permanent supportive housing throughout the city of Los Angeles. Measure H is the second, and knock-out punch. The two go hand in hand and both strategies are necessary to make the meaningful dent on a problem that has grown to crisis proportions. Housing + services.

We have to get this passed. Failure is not an option.

Measure H is akin to the software that accompanies the hardware which is the housing provided by HHH. Measure H will fund a ramp up in essential county services that meet people on the street (e.g., coordinated outreach teams, mental health and substance abuse treatment, urgent care psychiatric treatment centers, emergency shelter); help them get housed (case management) and keep them housed (supportive services to help people avoid falling back into homelessness). That is what the county does.

Why should the business community care? I am proud to say that in Hollywood, the business community is “all-in” when it comes to stepping up to address this crisis. Both boards for the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, which manages the Hollywood BID, and the Central Hollywood Coalition, which manages the Sunset BID, voted to lend their name to the list of endorsing organizations for Measure H. Both organizations and their boards have a history of involvement with this issue, supporting local nonprofits, staying involved with the activities of Hollywood 4WRD, and personally volunteering for the homeless count and other boots-on-the-ground activities. Ending homelessness is good for business and essential for a thriving and healthy neighborhood.

Encampment on Selma near Cherokee in the Hollywood Entertainment District.

Here’s a few factoids that might make this more real.

  • The 2016 homeless count identified 47,000 people homeless in the county. Many of us participated in the homeless count on January 26, 2017, and we fear that number may be higher now.
  • Though Skid Row is a place of much suffering, 90 percent of individuals and families experiencing homeless do not live on Skid Row. They are spread throughout the entire county, which is why this funding measure will serve the entire county.
  • The average consumer will pay a little more than a dollar a month to support homeless services through the sales tax.
  • Because Measure H is a special tax, it can only be used for homeless services and there will be a citizen’s oversight committee to hold the county accountable.
  • Since LA has already passed its own bond measure to pay for permanent supportive housing for the homeless, other cities have the option to do something similar. But, again, this funding will support important services that can be quickly deployed to address this problem all over LA County.

“How can I help?” This is a question I am asked over and over. Well-meaning people want to hand out sandwiches, donate clothes, volunteer for food lines. This is all well and good, but for the next five weeks, until election day, the single most meaningful, impactful and effective thing you can do is pledge to vote YES ON H. Tell  your family. Convince your friends.

Here are some specific tools. If you are a fan of social media, take advantage of the social media kit the campaign has created. Use the hashtag #YesonH and #fight4homeless when you communicate. Throughout the county, volunteers will be holding postcard writing parties to target high propensity voters. If you want to find a party near you, or host one at your organization, contact the campaign or Tommy Newman at 323-829-0877 or

Kerry Morrison is executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance.  She serves on the United Way/LA Area Chamber Home For Good Task Force and blogs at @KerryHMorrison

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February 9, 2017