Thursday, June 23, 2011

Museum Of Neon Art's First Glendale Event This Saturday!

Exciting! The Museum of Neon Art's first Glendale event is this Saturday. They are of course in the process of moving from downtown Los Angeles location to their new location on Brand directly across from The Americana.

Join us for MONA's Annual Evening Electric benefit and Silent Art Auction to celebrate MONA's 30th anniversary and to support the museum's illuminated expansion! The Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Quintet will play a special musical performance for the evening festivities. The event will be held in the city of Glendale at MONA's future site on Brand Boulevard, offering our guests a preview of the space before it is renovated into the new modern art complex that will house the museum in 2012.

Tickets are $40.00 and all proceeds benefit MONA as an independent, 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.

You can purchase Evening Electric tickets by phone at 213-489-9918, pay online at, or mail a check to: MONA, P.O. Box 862307, L.A., 90086.
Here's the website and info at their Facebook page here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Where to Park In Downtown Glendale

This sign is confusing as hell, but here's the deal: YOU CAN PARK FOR FREE IN CITY-OWNED MULTI-STORY PARKING STRUCTURES FOR 90 MINUTES. No validation required. Beyond that, it's $1 per half hour up to a $6 daily maximum. Bizzarely, the city structures are CASH or CHECK only. The city owned structures are at Orange and California, and there are two on Maryland, one just north of Broadway and one just south of Broadway.

Downtown Glendale is full of free parking. Here is a map of the three large city structures that feature 90 minutes of FREE parking, no validation required. I also indicated a smaller private lot, which is a better deal if you're going to be around for several hours. UPDATE: The private lot is now closed.  Disregard!

The Galleria, of course, has free parking, and many people park there and walk to The Americana. However, they may not be aware of The Americana's generous validation policies. Here is parking information for The Americana (as of June 2011):
Enter Americana Way off Central Avenue or Brand Boulevard

Parking rates:
  • 1st Hour - Free without validation
  • 2nd Hour - $3.00 - Free with merchant validation
  • 3rd Hour - $5.00 -Free with participating restaurant validation
  • 4th Hour - $7.00 -Free with Pacific Theaters validation
  • 5th Hour - $9.00 -Daily Maximum
Or just bike! Free for as long as you want, and now there are racks all over downtown Glendale.

I've asked my employer to pay me directly what they would have been spending on my monthly parking pass ($60), so I pocket that money and just bike to work. Saves me money, reduces congestion downtown. Win win.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Larry Crowne" Filming Locations in Atwater Village

Glendale Blvd in Atwater Village is featured prominently in the trailer for Tom Hanks' Larry Crowne. Hanks wrote, directed, and stars in the film. Several nights were spent filming in front of Tee Gee, but you don't see it in the trailer.

Canele and Bikram Yoga visible in background at Glendale & Larga.

Julia Roberts on a Glendale Blvd bus bench.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Update: John Levin Guilty of Murdering Wife, Microwaving Dog

From the Glendale News-Press: John Levin has been found guilty of killing his wife and microwaving their dog.

A 46-year-old Glendale man was found guilty today of killing his wife and microwaving his Pomeranian to death before fleeing the state, officials said.

Jurors deliberated for a day and half before finding John Levin guilty of the second-degree murder of his wife, Michelle Levin, said Jane Robison, a Los Angeles County District Attorney spokeswoman.

John Levin pleaded guilty to a felony animal cruelty for microwaving his dog before jurors returned with a verdict, she added.

He is expected to be sentenced July 19 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pasadena. He faces 16 years to life in prison for both counts, Robison said.

Glendale murders are rare, and the murder of Michelle Levin by her husband was especially horrific. The comments section of my previous post was filled with many heartbroken comments by people who knew Michelle.

Tropico Tweets

Some recent selections from the Tropico Station twitter feed:
  • what's not to like about Cafe de Leche? they have good coffee, Porto's pastries, LA's 1st bike corral, and Maria Bamford #highlandpark
  • at Hollywood forever cemetery. flight attendant Steve from Bridesmaids is like two rows away. (alive)
  • Should I go to Burbank Historical Society aviation presentation or the "World Naked Bike Ride" in Echo Park? Choices, choices. #IloveLA
  • Single handedly solved Glendale's budget deficit by getting 8 billion parking tickets in last 6 months. You're welcome.
  • just saw group of mariachis crossing Central with instruments. thought it was another clever glendale pd pedestrian sting op
  • overheard: "What a life, to just have to worry about your fucking lawn."
  • the bleary-eyed process of making the first cup of coffee in the morning is fraught with peril.
  • 47,700 US pedestrians killed while walking from 2000-2009. Use @t4america 's interactive map to find out where.
  • biked to work every day for the last several weeks EXCEPT Bike to Work Day. I volunteered so I got a special dispensation from @lacbc
  • lunch spots sandella's AND bee bop at glendale marketplace have closed. getting postapocalyptic over here
  • The lamb and caramelized onion tacos at My Taco in Highland Park are outrageously good.
Follow me on Twitter here:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Slot Car Racing in Burbank!

This weekend was epic. On Friday, Natalie and I went to an LA Sparks game at the Staples Center and had a late dinner at The Pantry. The Sparks were FANTASTIC! On Saturday we visited to The Autry Museum, went shooting at Firing Line, brought a picnic to Treasure of the Sierra Madre at Hollywood Forever cemetery - which included a wonderful introduction and post-film Q&A by Werner Herzog that was interrupted by fireworks. We finished off our weekend with the superb Sunday prix-fixe dinner at Church and State. Phew. And in the middle of it all, we stumbled upon a slot car track in Burbank. I had never raced slot cars, so as soon as I saw the "SLOT CAR TRACK - COME RACE" sign I slammed on my brakes and giddily ran inside. For $8 a person per half hour, you can use their slot car track and cars. If you bring your own cars, it's $5 a half hour. Natalie and I enjoyed a delightful half hour of electric racing glory, although we sent our cars skidding off the track on most laps!

Victory Vintage
200 North Victory Blvd
Burbank, CA 91502

M - F 11 to 7
Sat 10 to 5
Sun 12 to 4

Monday, June 13, 2011

Follow Tropico Station on Facebook

Click here and press "Like" to follow Tropico Station on Facebook. I post additional content (beyond the blog posts) on my Facebook page and twitter feed so don't miss out. Please share and recommend to your friends.

Tropico Station on Facebook

You can also follow me on Twitter @tropicostation.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Biking The LA River With Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman

Last weekend I biked 36 miles with Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman and Transportation and Parking Commissioner Peter Faud for the LA County Bicycle Coalition's annual LA River Ride fundraiser.
The River Ride offers cyclists multiple ride lengths, from a family-friendly 15 mile ride to a spandex-friendly "century"(100 miles!). All of the rides start at The Autry in Griffith Park, follow the LA River Bike Path to its terminus at the 5/110, and then follow surface streets east of downtown before picking up the river path again in the corrupt industrial wasteland of Vernon. From Vernon, you can follow the river all the way south until it meets the ocean in Long Beach. The ride is well organized with lots of support for the riders along the way. Every ten miles or so there are pit stops for riders with snacks, water, bike maintenance and first aid.

Laura represented Glendale and gave an encouraging speech to riders before the 100 and 36 mile rides. She has done an excellent job encouraging Glendale cycling and pedestrian safety efforts.

While she kicked off the 100 mile ride, I took our bikes for free, much needed tune ups from Incycle Bikes. A huge thanks to Incycle for their thorough attention to our bikes. Mayor Friedman and I were both having shifting issues, but thanks to their maintenance our bikes functioned flawlessly on the ride.
Mayor Friedman with LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge and LACBC Executive Director Jen Klausner at the start of the 36 mile ride.
I love these utilitarian bikes.
Banjo serenade!

We rode a modified version of the ride that I figured out last year - we skipped the official turnaround point in Maywood and continued all the way down the path to Long Beach, where we enjoyed some well-earned barbecue at Famous Dave's. Yum. My Dad lives nearby and was kind enough to give us a ride back in his minivan. When we got back to The Autry, I enjoyed a nice glass of Fat Tire beer and live music from local band The Anti-Job (video below). I look forward to riding again next year!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sharrows in Glendale!

Oops, I forgot I never got around to posting this. A GTV6 PSA about Glendale's sharrow lane markings, starring myself and Arlene Vidor.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

LA River Ride and Bike Racks!

I hope to see some Glendaliens at the LA River Ride tomorrow. Mayor Laura Friedman will be speaking at 6:30am with Mayor Villaraigosa and then leading the 36 mile ride, which departs at 8:30. I've done the River Ride for the last few years and always have a great time, especially last year, when I biked all the way down to Long Beach with friends, ate a large amount of barbecue at Famous Dave's, and then lazily had my Dad pick us up in his van instead of biking back.

I'm glad to see the new bike racks that have been installed all over downtown Glendale in the last year or two are being well used. This is the rack that I lock up to every day at work. It used to have one bike on it at most, but lately it's been filled with bikes nearly every day.

Here's a video Jen from The Cave made showing the locations of bike racks at Virgil's Hardware, Whole Foods, City Hall, and The Americana as you'd see them approaching by bike. She also points out that if a business you patronize has insufficient (or non-existent) bike parking, ask the manager or owner to install a rack! She and many others have been successful in persuading stores to improve their bike parking.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Inside Mario Lopez's Historic Glendale Home: "Lorelei"

Mario Lopez is in the News-Press today due to a code violation snafu involving his Glendale home, which is on Glendale's Historic Registry. The house, called "Lorelei," was built in 1929 by the inventor of the armored car.

From the City of Glendale's Historic Registry:
The history of this home began in 1929 when Peter Damm built and occupied the home, calling it "Lorelei". Damm was born in southern Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1891. After attending law school in Chicago, Damm relocated to New York where he became involved in the automobile body manufacturing business. During this phase of his career, Damm was credited with being the inventor of the armored car.

Moving to Glendale in 1928, Damm planned the construction of his future home on Kempton Road. Damm had small scale models of the house placed in various angles on the two-acre site in order to determine what location the structure should be built in order to take maximum advantage of solar energy. Following Peter Damm's death in 1953, the property has had a number of owners.
The city report on the property with pictures is here (PDF).

This video I found via the Los Angeles Real Estate Blog shows more of the home and interior.

Kazazian Voted Down, Krikorian Nominated Instead

Following up on Glendale Scandals: Reloaded:

Aram Kazazian's nomination to the Glendale Water and Power Commision was voted down 3-2 by the Glendale City Council. Rafi Manoukian nominated school board member Greg Krikorian instead. Krikorian's position on the school board may pose a legal conflict, so if it is determined by the city attorneys that he is ineligible, Harry Zavos will be nominated in his place.

Full story in the Glendale News-Press.