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NEWS Volume 41, Number 51

December 17, 2012

Rise of the Clippers

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The Original Blade Runners Allen and Richard Wattenberg Mark 50 Years of Selling and Sharpening Knives on Broadway

photo by Gary Leonard

Allen (left) and Richard Wattenberg purchased Ross Cutlery on Broadway in December 1962, and have been selling wares to chefs, barbers and others ever since. Earlier this year they moved from their longtime home to a larger space on the same block. by RichaRd Guzmán city editoR


he Downtown Los Angeles of 2012 has very little in common with the Downtown of 1962. On Bunker Hill, skyscrapers replaced regal Victorian homes. In

the Historic Core, dead office buildings now hold youthful residents. Only a few things remain the same. They include Allen and Richard Wattenberg, who this month are marking a half century of selling and sharpening knives, scissors and

clippers on Broadway. “Time goes by quick. It’s just one day after the other,” said Allen, 73, last week as he sat in Ross Cutlery. His brother Richard, a year older, added, “It doesn’t feel like see Knives, page 8

Ratkovich Company Buying Macy’s Plaza Prominent Developer Plans Major Renovation for Shopping Center; Deal Includes Hotel, Office Tower by Ryan VaillancouRt staff wRiteR


rominent developer The Ratkovich Company is poised to acquire and launch a major renovation of Macy’s Plaza, the faded Seventh Street mall, office and hotel complex. The firm is in escrow to purchase the brick-clad, fortresslike property that houses a Macy’s department store from owner Jamison Services, Inc. The pending sale and proposed renovation could signal a major change in Downtown’s retail landscape. Despite the Macy’s and other name brand retailers such as Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, the mall has never flourished.

The deal was verified by several sources familiar with the negotiations but who are not authorized to comment. Wayne Ratkovich, president and CEO of the Downtown-based development company, declined to speak about the transaction. Jamison Chief Executive Officer David Lee did not respond to requests for comment. According to sources familiar with the deal, Ratkovich Co. has financing in place to buy the complex for an undisclosed price and plans to do a series of upgrades aimed at making the property a centerpiece of Downtown retail. The shopping center is a short walk from FIGat7th, where Brookfield Properties recently completed a $40 million renovation anchored by a Target. The Macy’s Plaza structure, which opened in 1973, takes




up the entire block bounded by Seventh, Eighth, Hope and Flower streets. It is known for towering walls of mostly windowless brick that close off the complex from pedestrians, as well as a dizzying parking complex with a spiraling ramp. Ratkovich Co.’s proposed renovation would aim to better integrate the property with street life, including the busy pedestrian corridor of Seventh Street. One design option under consideration involves removing the glass atrium that covers the retail portion, rendering that part of the mall an outdoor shopping area. Jamison bought the complex, which is also home to the 487room Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown hotel and a 24-story, see Macy’s Plaza, page 12




2 Downtown News

AROUNDTOWN Pacific Electric Lofts Sells


ssex Property Trust, a Palo Alto-based real estate investment trust, has purchased the Pacific Electric Lofts, one of the largest adaptive reuse residential buildings in Downtown. Opened in 2005 by the Alex Moradi-led ICO Group, the 317-unit building at Fifth and Main streets was sold in a deal that closed on Wednesday, Dec. 12, said Joseph Soleiman, director of acquisitions for ICO. The price of the sale was not disclosed; ICO spent $60 million to revive the 1905 edifice. The sale marks the latest in what could be a trend of large institutional investors and private equity funds buying Downtown multifamily properties developed by local developers. In September, Equity Residential purchased the Milano Lofts from Izek Shomof. Essex, a public company, also owns the Bunker Hill Towers, the four-building Santee Court complex and Belmont Station in City West. An Essex representative would not comment on the deal. “Selling it was done with a view toward taking advantage of the opportunities we’ve been seeing in the marketplace,” Soleiman said. ICO recently purchased a building at 430 S. Broadway that it plans to convert into housing. After closing on Wednesday, Essex has already taken over management of the building. The PE Lofts is currently more than 95% occupied.

The Rite Stuff: Music Center Fetes Stravinsky Classic


ext year, composer Igor Stravinsky’s seminal Rite of Spring will turn 100 and the Music Center is throwing the work a serious centennial party. Local cultural leaders re-

December 17, 2012


cently announced that “L.A.’s Rite: Stravinsky, Innovation, and Dance” will feature an array of Rite-inspired performances over several months, starting Feb. 1-3 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with the Joffrey Ballet’s reconstruction of the original Le Sacre du Printemps by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer. The festival coincides with the 10th anniversary of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center. On July 11-14, American Ballet Theatre will present Stravinsky’s Apollo, choreographed by George Balanchine. On Aug. 1-11, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the London Philharmonia Orchestra’s Digital Residency will take over the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage with RE-RITE, a multimedia installation that allows members of the public to conduct, play with and step inside the orchestra. Nederlands Dance Theater keeps the party going Oct. 18-20 with Chamber, a new Riteinspired work with a score by Joby Talbot. A full schedule of events and exhibitions is at

Skidmore, Owings To Design Federal Courthouse


ederal officials last week announced that Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Architects has won the contract to build a $400 million Downtown courthouse. SOM, which was founded in Chicago and has a Los Angeles office, will partner with Clark Construction on the 500,000-square-foot building slated to rise on the southwest corner of First Street and Broadway. “Today, the new federal courthouse is that much closer to becoming a reality for downtown Los Angeles,” said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard in a statement released on Monday, Dec. 10. The

Figueroa Street and 7th

December 6, 2012

selection, she said, “means we are moving toward the groundbreaking of a critically needed facility that will resolve long-standing security and space issues.” The SOM-Clark team beat out four other finalists who had been announced in March. Design work will begin immediately, with construction tentatively scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2013. Completion is expected by 2016, according to Roybal-Allard’s office. Early renderings depict a simple rectangular structure with what appears to be a glass exterior. The project is slated to rise on a 3.6-acre eyesore property that once held a state office building. The Civic Center development would include 24 courtrooms, 32 judges’ chambers and 110 parking spots as well as offices for the U.S. Marshals service and others. SOM’s credits include the 31-story Chicago Civic Center, the FBI Denver Field Office and the under-construction NATO Headquarters in Belgium. SOM has also worked with Clark Construction on the

San Francisco Civic Center Complex completed in 1998. This marks the second current Civic Center project for Maryland-based Clark Construction. The company is partnering with architecture firm AC Martin on the $231 million renovation of the Hall of Justice.

Millionth Meal at Midnight Mission


he nearly 100-year-old Midnight Mission expects to hit a milestone on Thursday, Dec. 20. On that day, mission officials anticipate that they will serve their 1 millionth meal to the homeless. The Midnight, one of Skid Row’s oldest and largest service providers, is both an emergency shelter facility that provides meals and a service center where people can join recovery and jobtraining programs. The nonprofit, which is at see Around Town, page 10


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December 17, 2012

Downtown News 3

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4 Downtown News

December 17, 2012


EDITORIALS Congrats, Streetcar Team

Urban Scrawl by Doug Davis


anukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa came early for the people who have been working on the proposed Los Angeles Streetcar. On Dec. 3, Downtown residents voted in favor of a plan to tax area property owners up to $85 million. Had the ballot failed, officials said, the streetcar effort would have died. We congratulate the streetcar team on reaching this milestone. Although this page had qualms about the voting process — we objected to a plan that allowed residents to cast a ballot, but not the people who will pay the tax unless they also live in the area — project officials clearly had an effective outreach campaign and were able to communicate their message to a large number of area inhabitants. Ultimately more than 2,000 people cast ballots. That far surpassed early estimates that perhaps fewer than 1,000 individuals would vote. The turnout rate of more than 19% is above what is sometimes recorded in city elections. Although the mail-in process likely increased the chances of approval (those in favor of something are more inclined than opponents to take the active step of filling out a ballot and finding a stamp), getting the OK of two-thirds of the voters — the level required to pass the streetcar tax — is never easy. A reminder of that came last month when county voters narrowly rejected the proposed transportation tax Proposition J. The officials with Los Angeles Streetcar Inc. soared past the two-thirds level. They saw a very impressive 73% of the respondents vote in favor of the tax plan for the $125 million project. Yet, as with any project, this is a case of the hard work not being close to finished. Having survived one do-or-die moment, LASI officials now have another — they need to convince the federal government to direct $52 million to the project. Streetcar officials plan to seek the money from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Small Starts program. The grant application will be filed next year and the effort likely will compete against other transportation developments in cities across the nation. There won’t be enough money for every worthy project — there never is. The LASI team will again need an effective game plan, and in this case pressure and responsibility will fall squarely on the shoulders of 14th District City Councilman José Huizar, who spurred the streetcar effort as part of his Bringing Back Broadway initiative. Huizar will need to aggressively and effectively lobby Washington, D.C., legislators and officials to ensure that the project is at the front of the line. Fortunately he seems aware of all that will be required and has professed a willingness to put in the necessary face time. As the process moves forward, we hope that LASI members will continue their outreach efforts and keep Downtowners up to date on the project and included in all discussions, whether those concern design, operations or other matters. Congratulations to the streetcar team. They cleared an important hurdle. We look forward to seeing what comes next for this exciting project.

The Battle of the Blight


he turnaround seen in Downtown over the past 12 years is nothing short of spectacular. As Los Angeles Downtown News and many other local and national media outlets have noted, the area has benefitted from billions of dollars in investment and tens of thousands of new residents. Every week there seems to be an announcement of another bar, restaurant, store, housing complex or something else. Despite the boom, there continues to be a disturbing amount of blight in Downtown. While some of the eyesores are the result of market conditions and an economy still lagging behind prerecession levels, in other instances they stem from a landowner who chooses to sit on a derelict property and do nothing with it. The problem is not just a dead building or a fenced-off lot. While those are bothersome in their own right, a large dead space can kill nearby momentum or keep it from ever occurring on certain blocks. Developers and others may shy away from a property or project because they know that success will be challenged by the ugliness steps from the front door. Forcing a property owner to invest in a challenging building or plot is next to impossible, but if someone who owns a derelict site has no plans to improve it, then pressure should be brought to bear on the owner to sell it or to look for a partnership with someone willing and able to help. If key properties sit ugly year after year, then area business and political leaders should clearly communicate their displeasure and, if possible, offer solutions. Maybe this means introducing potential buyers. Maybe it means arm twisting (of the nonviolent type, of course). Downtown News this month published the story “Downtown’s Worst Eyesores.” The article was, in part, an update of a piece written in March 2010. The Dec. 3 report wasn’t all bad news, as it noted that some Downtown eyesores identified nearly three years ago are on their way to reactivation. Those include the Hall of Justice, an earthquake-damaged gem now undergoing a $231 million renovation, and the federal courthouse site. The ugly hole on the southwest corner of First Street and Broadway is slated to house a $400 million court building with construction beginning next year (though we’ll remain skeptical until we actually see shovels in the ground). In other cases, however, buildings and properties are no better today than they were three years ago, or maybe even 20 years ago. It becomes more distressing when one considers the squandered

potential of some sites. One example is Giannini Place, a building on the northwest corner of Seventh and Olive streets that New York-based owner Chetrit Group has done nothing with for years. Although Seventh Street has emerged as a sort of restaurant row and several housing complexes have opened there, the former headquarters of the Bank of Italy (later the Bank of America) sits empty and embarrassing. Other eyesores include the Merritt Building at Eighth Street and Broadway and the Velvet Turtle, a long-defunct restaurant on Hill Street near the entrance to Chinatown. The problem in these instances is not just the ugly state of the property, but that the owners have had years to do something, to do anything, to improve the area. The Merritt Building, a stately structure with commanding columns on its exterior, has been owned by the Oruncakciel family since the 1980s, while the Woo family, who are major players in the Toy District and are respected throughout Downtown, have had the Velvet Turtle site since 1996. By now past good intentions and plans to upgrade the buildings don’t mean a thing. The Merritt is dirty and scarred by graffiti. The Velvet Turtle looks beat up. We understand why some owners may want to hold these derelict properties — if they have had the building for decades, then property taxes and the most minimum levels of maintenance are probably relatively low. These landlords, especially those based beyond Downtown, may be waiting for values to rise higher so they can make a buck. It’s a legitimate if somewhat self-defeating choice. After all, their own bedraggled property is slowing down an increase in overall values. That just-keep-waiting mindset is also selfish. It rejects the fact that the building is part of a larger neighborhood and that doing nothing harms nearby properties, residents and business owners. Maybe nothing can be done in these instances. Or, maybe something can. In cases of Downtown blight, we say again that neighbors and other leaders should come together, approach the owners and urge them to invest in their property or sell it. If there is no response or an unsatisfactory one, keep asking. Be a pest. It may be bothersome to push again and again and again, but it’s certainly no worse than the harm the owners are inflicting on the rest of Downtown by their inaction. It takes a village to fight the blight.

December 17, 2012

Downtown News 5

The Clippers’ Time Has Come Don’t Underestimate Staples Center’s Legitimate Title Contenders by Dave Denholm contributing writer


am going to start this column by saying something I very rarely say: I was wrong. I was wrong about the Clippers coming into this NBA season. You see, I sold this team short. Look, it’s not like I took to the pages of Los Angeles Downtown News and predicted the Clips would end up in the basement of the Western Conference. But on Oct. 30 I did write, “This season is about making sure they do not take a step backwards.” Boy, did I sell them short. Now, with the evidence of a 16-6 record and an eight-game winning streak (as of press time), I think the Clippers are primed for a deep postseason run. Not only that, right now they are the best team in the Western Conference. I am sure some guy wearing a Spurs hat, sitting at LA Café on Spring Street and sipping a mocha latte just did a spit take. But hear me out Spurs, Thunder and Grizzlies faithful. (Even you Lakers fans should keep reading. The Purple and Gold aren’t done yet for this season.) First off, the Clippers have already whupped the Spurs twice this season (the second time in San Antonio) and the Grizzlies once. They also battled the Thunder into overtime in Oklahoma City. I know that regular season games don’t always translate into playoff results, but you can learn a lot from them. The NBA playoffs are like the sweet science of boxing. Experts will tell you that boxing is about matchups. Same thing with the basketball postseason.

The Clippers now match up very well with the best of the West. Chris Paul is a headache to any of the top teams, including the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook. The former UCLA Bruin plays way too out of control in the playoffs for my tastes. Paul, meanwhile, is the epitome of cool and calm. The Clippers are scary deep, with 10 guys a night who can do their job and be productive. I love what I have seen from their bench so far, including a fantastic Jamal Crawford. He’s been stellar and, dare I say it, the team’s MVP. A major reason why I think the Clips are true title contenders is what I am seeing from a real MVP candidate, Blake Griffin. People might look at the surface and see Griffin’s numbers are down from last season. What they may fail to notice is that he’s playing 3.5 fewer minutes per game this year. With the banging that goes on in the NBA, the playing time reduction will ensure that Griffin is fresh come the postseason. He’s not alone. The bench’s success has allowed head coach Vinny Del Negro to give all the starters more rest. Most importantly, Griffin and CP3 are handling their slight playing time drop like champions. They go out, do their job and don’t beef about minutes. I know winning covers up a lot of “issues,” but Griffin has never seemed like a superstar who has to be treated like one. He is a kid who wants to win and play well. He and Paul are more than capable of not only carrying this team to a title, but leading them to it. Then there’s Del Negro, who deserves a lot

photo by Gary Leonard

The dynamic duo of Chris Paul (right, in blue) and Blake Griffin (left) are a nightmare for any opposing team to stop.

of credit for juggling the available minutes so successfully thus far. I am still concerned about his X’s and O’s in the playoffs, but maybe the guy is growing as a coach too. Before any of you Charles Barkley-NBAanalyst wannabes start griping about how the Clippers are a poor rebounding team, hear this: The Clippers lead the NBA in forcing their opponent into turnovers. They get fewer boards because often they have already stolen the rock! If you haven’t already chucked your iPad against a wall in disgust at me, this next sentence just might do it: The Clippers would likely beat the Heat in the Finals, if Miami gets back there. Again, it’s about matchups. The Clips have

depth and length and can pop the three, and besides Blake and DeAndre Jordan they shoot very well from the free throw line. L.A. is certainly not intimidated by anyone including the LeBron James-led Heat (see the Clips’ impressive Nov. 14 win over Miami). The Clippers have everything a team needs to win it all. The big question is, do they have the experience to weather the playoff storms in May and June? I think yes, because I have learned my lesson about selling this team short. “Your 2013 NBA Champion Los Angeles Clippers” has a nice ring to it. Dave Denholm loves the chicken piccata at Portofino, walking at sunset down Seventh Street and living Downtown.

6 Downtown News

December 17, 2012


Downtown’s Prefabricated Architectural Star Skid Row $20 Million Effort Houses the Homeless in Pre-made Units by Ryan VaillancouRt staff wRiteR


hen it comes to real estate development, controlling costs is a universal goal. It was that goal that led nonprofit developer Skid Row Housing Trust, which creates apartments for the chronically homeless, to its latest construction model — build the apartments offsite in a factory and have them trucked into Central City East. The $20.5 million Star Apartments is rising atop a one-story structure at Sixth and Maple streets that SRHT acquired in 2008. But unlike other construction sites in Downtown, there

are no hammer-wielding workers erecting wood frames. Instead, a crane is lowering prefabricated residences one-byone onto a concrete superstructure that was poured over the existing edifice. In a matter of weeks, 102 of the wood-framed modules will be affixed to the superstructure, saving money and potentially months worth of construction labor. “We were looking for high quality housing that can be produced faster,” said Mike Alvidrez, executive director of SRHT. The project marks the organization’s third collaboration with architect Michael Maltzan, who designed the building’s unique stacking structure.


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photo by Gary Leonard

One of the housing units being lowered into place at the Star Apartments. The $20.5 million project is at Sixth and Maple streets.

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The design and layout hinge on a recreation area on top of the existing structure that will have a basketball court and a running track. The apartments will sit above that community-focused pad, which was previously an elevated parking garage. Skid Row Housing Trust owns and manages about 1,500 Downtown apartments. In recent years, operations have focused primarily on new construction. But most of the stock is in old low-income hotels. The Star Apartments, which follows the model known as permanent supportive housing, accommodates on-site social services, from mental health treatment to case management for social benefits. In theory, formerly homeless individuals are more likely to utilize services if they’re under the same roof as their apartment. Alvidrez said that recent Downtown developments have also shown that recreation spaces, from rooftop gardens to communal kitchens, have helped build a sense of community that further incentivizes residents to stay housed. That’s why the Star will feature about 15,000 square feet of community space, including offices for on-site social services. The recreation facilities will be available to residents from SRHT’s older buildings. Made in Idaho The prefabricated apartments measure about 350 square feet and were manufactured in Idaho by Guerdon Enterprises. The units were trucked to Los Angeles and stored in a lot near SCI-Arc until the base superstructure was completed. Each unit is delivered with toilets, appliances, cabinets and surface finishes installed. After all the residences have been put into place, they will be sheathed in a protective material, then stucco-finished like most modern multifamily projects, said Lad Dawson, CEO of Guerdon Enterprises. Dawson said the standardization reduces costs. “The big thing is that by constructing the buildings in a factory, we’ve been able to demonstrate the ability to produce a higher quality product on a more reliable budget and time schedule than is generally available with site-built construction,” said Dawson. “Secondly, we’re able to complete the construction much faster and there’s very little construction waste.” The Star costs about $2 million less than SRHT’s recently completed 104-unit New Genesis Apartments on Main Street, which was built from the ground up and required the demolition of a previously existing structure. The comparison indicates a modest savings on the Star, but Alvidrez said the project would have cost more using standard construction, which would have likely entailed demolishing the existing structure. The Star is billed as the first prefabricated permanent supportive housing complex in the country. Maltzan hopes it will be a catalyst for more of this kind of development. In order to get the project approved, Maltzan and Skid Row Housing Trust had to create a pilot program of sorts to satisfy city code minders. With one modern prefab project in the books, it should make it easier for other developers to folsee Apartments, page 20

December 17, 2012

New Food Options, Holiday Specials by RichaRd Guzman city editoR


offee Gangnam Style: Restaurant Buzz has never been to Tom n Toms Coffee, but still, the arrival of this cafe to the Little Tokyo Galleria is exciting. Why? Because Downtown will finally have Gangnam style. The chain is based in the Gangnam-gu district of Seoul, which of course inspired Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” the most-watched YouTube hit ever. There are more than 250 Tom n Toms throughout Korea and seven here in Los Angeles. The one in Downtown (the eighth) is under construction on the ground floor of the fortresslike Little Tokyo mall that at long last is being renovated. The cafe is just inside the front entrance, opposite cream puff purveyor Beard Papas. Look for the place that kind of resembles a Starbucks, complete with a round sign that has some dark green coloring. An opening date has yet to be announced, but you may want to start practicing the pony dance. At 333 S. Alameda St., (213) 625-7104 or n Amá Happy: It was probably a busy weekend for Josef Centeno. The situation probably won’t change anytime soon. Not only does the celebrated chef have to worry about the diners at Bäco Mercat, but he also opened his new Downtown restaurant on Thursday, Dec. 13. Bar Amá, a 2,156-square-foot Tex-Mex restaurant in the former Urban Noodle spot, is an homage to the foods Centeno grew up with prepared by the women in his family. That means fajitas, cabrito (young goat, a common Southwest meal), grilled meats and char-roasted salsas. There will be Mexican beers on tap, along with tequilas and mescal. Centeno helped launch Little Tokyo’s Lazy Ox in 2009 and debuted Bäco Mercat last year. At 118 W. Fourth St.

n Tastes of Target: The City Target opened with a bang in October at the FIGat7th mall. The revamped shopping center’s food options, however, are coming in at a deliberate trickle. According to officials with mall owner Brookfield Properties, the first of the up to 18 restaurants will come online from now through January. A grand opening celebration for the 25,000-square-foot Taste FIGat7th food court is planned for late January. The first two options, George’s Greek Grill and the grilled cheese sandwich makers The Melt, began serving last week. By Dec. 31, Oleego by Parks Barbecue (serving Korean barbecue), Indian food spot Indus and the burger joint Juicy Lucy are expected to debut. Sprinkles Cupcakes, the third Downtown Mendocino Farms and Loteria Grill will follow in early 2013, Brookfield officials said. At 735 S. Figueroa St., (213) 955-7150 or n Moving On: It was a sad day for Downtown when chef Walter Manzke opted not to open the French restaurant Republique at the Factory Place Arts Complex, and instead said he would go to a spot in Hollywood. But don’t equate the Arts District residential complex with a food desert. On Nov. 28, representatives for property owners HBK Investments went before the Department of City Planning to get the permits to build a restaurant in a three-story warehouse at 1300 E. Factory Place. Matt Klein of HBK Investments said it is too soon to comment on an operator or timeline, but according to documents filed with the city, plans call for a 2,958-square-foot restaurant with 99 seats. n The Grand Countdown: The countdown to Christmas began last week at the whiskey joint Seven Grand. The “12 Punches of Christmas” countdown is modeled after the “12 Days of Christmas” song, in case you couldn’t figure it out. Although half the nights have already passed, this week brings the Six Geese a Laying Apple Spice Punch and the Five Golden Rings Gingerbread Punch. It all ends not with a partridge in a pear tree, but rather the One True Love Egg Nog Punch. Each drink costs $7 and $1 from every purchase goes to the Toys for Tots Foundation. This means you can drink and get on Santa’s “Nice” list too. Is there anything alcohol can’t do? At 515 W. Seventh St., (213) 614-0737 or

Back to the Roots: When it comes to carving a food, most Americans think of pumpkins and Halloween. However, every year on Dec. 23, the Mexican city of Oaxaca celebrates the Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radish) with a radish carving festival. This year the tradition comes to Downtown at Mercado La Paloma. The event takes place from 4-9 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 23, at the market with crafts and food vendors (Mo-Chica started there and it’s still home to Chichen Itza). Expect dancing, live music and the radish carving competition. Believe it or not, the little red roots can be fashioned into some seriously cool sculptures of animals, people, saints and more. There will also be meals with, you guessed it, radishes! At 3655 S. Grand Ave., (213) 748-1963 or Got any juicy food news? If so, contact Richard Guzmán at

photo courtesy of Seven Grand

The 12 Punches of Christmas special is underway at Seven Grand. Expect booze, not a partridge in a pear tree.

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8 Downtown News

Knives Continued from page 1 it’s been 50 years.” Saying that the easygoing brothers have seen a lot is an understatement. They’ve survived changes in the economy as they hawked high-end wares from manufacturers such as Henckels, Wusthoff, Global, Ka-Bar and Kai. They have served some customers for decades, while a shopper who made a single purchase gave the store a touch of infamy. In March, the brothers, needing more room, moved from an 1,800-square-foot location in the Bradbury Building, where they had been since purchasing the store in

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Twitter/DowntownNews December 1962, to a sprawling 6,000-squarefoot space at 324 S. Broadway. Ross originally opened at the Bradbury Building around 1930 or maybe earlier, Allen estimates. The Wattenbergs maintain a firm hold on the past. The antique scale that Allen rolled to the sidewalk in front of the old store every morning is still placed in front of the new location each day. A barber’s pole is still displayed in a large glass window along with a pair of giant scissors and a selection of knives and other cutting tools. “There are so many stores that just sell junk imported from China or who knows where,” Allen said. “We try to specialize in things that are going to last and we built up a good business because when people come here, they know they’ll get good quality.” The customer base still includes a num-


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Barber and longtime customer John Deleon with Richard Wattenberg’s daughter, Jennifer Velazquez. She will run the family business when her father and uncle retire.

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December 17, 2012 Allen said they stocked up on the same type of Stiletto knife and ended up selling them to many of the people who came to the store. Staying on the Edge In 1962, 14-hour days were common for the brothers, who would sharpen shears and knives for about 50 cents apiece. Today a sharpening runs about $14. The move down the block has been good for business, the brothers say, increasing sales by about 20%. They expect to do about $1 million worth of business this year. The company employs six people, including Richard’s 33-year-old daughter, Jennifer Velazquez. Also in the blade business is Allen’s son David, a designer who makes high-end items for his own company, Pro-Tech Knives. They’re for law enforcement and military personnel and can cost as much as $5,000. Some of the models are sold at Ross. But the future of the store likely rests with Velazquez. While her father and uncle are laid-back and casual when

photo by Gary Leonard

The knives at Ross Cutlery sell for anywhere from a few bucks to several thousand dollars.

ber of hair-cutting and cooking professionals, among them Michelle Lainez, the executive chef at Pete’s Café in the Historic Core. She has been going to Ross Cutlery since she was 9, when she would tag along with her mom, a hairstylist who took her scissors and clippers there for sharpening. “They take care of me and they always give me a deal,” Lainez said. Learning the Ropes Originally from New York, the brothers moved as young boys with their family to Lynwood. Their father was a restaurant owner and later a driver for a bread company. In the late 1950s the brothers opened Deb’s Drive-In at the border of South Gate and Lynwood. When Allen was drafted into the Army they sold the business. While Allen was away, Richard became interested in the knife business and began to look for a shop of his own. He heard about a man named Mr. Ross (the brothers don’t remember his first name) who was looking to sell his Downtown business. Richard purchased it, although he can’t recall for how much. He kept the name since it already had a steady customer base. Ross stayed on for 30 days, showing Richard the ropes. Allen joined him after his discharge from the Army. Very few people lived Downtown at the time, but the brothers say there were many more shoppers and workers in the neighborhood than now. Even then, their main customers were barbers, chefs and hairstylists. They include John Deleon, a barber at the California Club. He began patronizing Ross in 1967. He stopped by on a recent Monday morning to have a pair of clippers adjusted and some shears sharpened. “In the old days we used to have guys come to the shop and sharpen our shears, but they don’t do the same quality work they do here,” said Deleon, who was clad in a white barber’s coat. The only downside to Ross, he said, is that for people in his business it’s like a candy shop. “It’s hard to walk out of here without buying something,” he said. Touch of Infamy While Ross Cutlery has a loyal customer base, others only know the store because of its tangential tie to a movie and a murder. In May 1994, a production crew was shooting a film called Frogmen outside the store when one of the actors came in to look at some knives. The man was O.J. Simpson. The former football great would later return to purchase a 15-inch Stiletto knife for about $80. He then asked a store employee to sharpen the blade, according to media reports from the time. A few weeks later, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were found stabbed to death at her Brentwood home. Simpson was immediately a suspect. “We heard on the radio that [Brown Simpson] had been killed and a knife was used, and about 10 minutes later the police were at out door,” Richard recalled. The cops wanted to see the type of knife Simpson had purchased. Allen and a store employee would testify at a preliminary hearing about selling Simpson a knife. That set off a firestorm of tourists and curious locals who wanted to come to the store where Simpson bought the “murder weapon,” although the knife Simpson purchased at Ross was never officially linked to the killings. Simpson, of course, was acquitted in criminal court (though he later lost a civil trial). The brothers recall that tour buses would stop at the store. People would come in and take pictures. Even police officers would stop by and ask to see the knife O.J. bought, the brothers said.

Downtown News 9

discussing the family business, Velazquez’s enthusiasm for knives is infectious. “Everyone should carry a pocketknife,” she enthuses after answering a few questions from a customer about clippers. She practices what she preaches. She made sure that her husband, a chef, always carries a pocketknife. She’s almost giddy when talking about a pair of rare Randall knives that a collector sold to the store. “There’s usually a two to three year waiting period when you order these,” she says after pulling them out of a display case. “Aren’t they beautiful?” The brothers say they have no plans to retire. But when they do, they know that Velazquez will take over. Allen and Richard have no doubt that Ross Cutlery’s thousands of blades will be in good hands. “We want to be here for the next hundred years,” Allen said. Contact Richard Guzmán at

10 Downtown News

December 17, 2012


Continued from page 2 601 S. San Pedro St., is counting down to the millionth meal milestone on its website,

ed the hospital its Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The designation recognizes a facility’s ability to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes for stroke patients. “The Primary Stroke Center Certification has given us the opportunity to highlight the exceptional stroke care we provide for our patients,” said Dr. Antonio Liu, a neurologist and medical director of the Stroke Center at CHMC.

California Hospital Gets Stroke Certification

Broadway Cultural Quarter Moves Forward



Around Town

he California Hospital Medical Center added to its long list of industry honors last week. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, the institution at 1401 S. Grand Ave. announced that the Joint Commission, working with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, had award-

lans to create a cultural facility on Broadway got a boost last week, when the City Council approved the allocation of $470,000 in grant funds for pre-development work for the Broadway Arts Center. The money will be used to create a master plan for the project and to study the potential

for a Downtown campus of the Valencia-based California Institute of the Arts. The grant was awarded to the city Department of Cultural Affairs in June by ArtPlace, an organization made up of a mix of federal agencies and foundations. The council’s vote on Tuesday, Dec. 11, splits the funds between three entities to launch the project, which is part of 14th District City Councilman José Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway initiative. The organizations Artspace and The Actors Fund will get a total of $350,000 for the predevelopment (including site selection) of the Broadway Arts Center; plans call for the project to include mixed-use commercial space that would contain a theater, an art gallery and affordable housing for artists. CalArts will receive $50,000 to study the potential of a Downtown campus and Morphosis Architects will get $70,000 to create a master plan and design for the overall Broadway Cultural Quarter, a multi-site campus anchored by the Broadway Arts Center.


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December 17, 2012

Downtown News 11

The Central City Crime Report A Rundown on Downtown Incidents, Trends and Criminal Oddities


n the Central City Crime Report, we survey the recent week in public safety. All information is provided by the LAPD’s Central Division.

Unlucky Strike: What could possibly go wrong at a trendy upscale bowling alley? Add alcohol and some over-competitive testosterone, and the answer is, a lot. On the night of Dec. 8, a man had what police termed a “verbal altercation” with five other men at Lucky Strike Lanes and Lounge at L.A. Live. When the man left the bowling alley, he was attacked by the quintet and was thrown to the ground, punched and kicked. As security arrived, the suspects fled. Though the attack was caught on L.A.

Live’s security cameras, the attackers have not been identified. Fake Fight: Two men browsing inside California Mirage Jewelry at 310 E. 11th St. on Dec. 5 suddenly got into a fight. The tussle frightened onlookers, who cleared out of the shop, which is exactly what the combatants wanted. Turns out, the tiff was a ruse to distract shopkeepers. The faux fighters managed to snatch $5,000 worth of jewelry and flee, but they were chased down by area business improvement district officers. All of the merchandise was recovered and the men were arrested. Lucky Biker: On Dec. 2, a man’s $900 Langster track bike was

stolen after it had been left unattended and unlocked near 110 E. Ninth St. But a few days later, the victim saw his bike, only it was being ridden by a stranger. Authorities ID’d the suspect as the individual caught on surveillance footage taking the bike, which was recovered by the victim. Meanwhile, three more bikes were stolen last week, one of which had been unlocked. What’d You Say About My Hair?: Word to the wise: Don’t judge another man’s hair, especially when that man is drinking at the King Eddy Saloon. On Dec. 8 at about 7:50 p.m., two men got into an argument that led to one making fun of the other’s hair. The gent who was teased responded by sticking a loaded Beretta into the heckler’s ribs. An eagle-eyed bartender observed the incident and snagged the handgun from the suspect, who then ran to his apartment across the street at the Baltimore Hotel, according to police. Responding officers arrested the suspect in his apartment without incident. He was booked for attack with a deadly weapon. What a hangover. —Ryan Vaillancourt


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December 17, 2012

Macy’s Plaza Continued from page 1 700,000-square-foot office tower, in 2005. Since then the firm, which was founded by Lee and has a history of spending minimally on improvements in its Downtown properties, has done little to upgrade the facility. Some Downtown business advocates hope that the investment in the property will help it become a more vibrant commercial attraction that could add to the retail momentum generated by Target and FIGat7th. “We are excited about the prospects of having Wayne Ratkovich reposition this important property,” said Carol Schatz, president and CEO of the Central City Association and the Downtown Center Business Improvement District. “He is a noted and well respected urban developer who will help to integrate this property with Seventh Street, Downtown’s major retail spine, and the rest of Downtown. We look forward to seeing Wayne’s vision for this mammoth project.” Change Is Coming There is precedent in the region for redesigning closed-in mall properties with an eye toward more pedestrian access and open space. Derrick Moore, a principal at real es-

tate services firm Avison Young, said that a renovation of Macy’s Plaza could take a cue from The Macerich Company’s redevelopment in 2010 of Santa Monica Place. Macerich oversaw a two-year, $265 million upgrade of the 30-year-old mall into an open-air shopping complex. “Santa Monica Place also had your typical retail offerings that one would find in a mall, but what it changed was how the public interacts with that space,” Moore said. This would mark another Downtown move for Ratkovich, who has a long history in the area. Ratkovich Co. has developed several Downtown properties including the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising campus and renovations of 800 Wilshire, the Fine Arts Building and the Oviatt Building. In the early 1980s, Ratkovich bought and restored two Art Deco landmarks just west of Downtown, the Wiltern Theatre and the neighboring Pellisier Building. The firm also owns a massive mixed use complex in Alhambra called The Alhambra. According to Ratkovich Co.’s website, the complex’s office space was 30% occupied when the firm acquired it in 2005. New tenants include the USC Keck School of Medicine, Southwest Administrators, Tenet Healthcare and AT&T. Lee, who has a reputation for not speaking to the media, is somewhat of a quiet ty-

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Macy’s Plaza, which includes a shopping center, hotel and office tower, is known for its uninviting walls of brick. A proposed renovation seeks a dramatic change to the pedestrian experience.

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Downtown News 13

The Music Center Holiday Sing-Along takes place Dec. 21 at the Music Center Plaza. The free event features holiday songs such as “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

sa Hayley photo courtesy Li

photo courte sy Soulicious

e Music Center de Lopez for Th photo by Mario

CALENDAR The Winter Concert Series at Pershing Square starts Dec. 17 and closes Jan. 6 with a performance by Soulicious (above). Rock, disco, alternative, holiday and even zydeco music is on tap for the series that runs through Jan. 6.

The Musical Spirit Downtown Is Full of Holiday Concerts and Sing-Alongs

Lisa Hayley performs at Pershing Square Dec. 19.

by RichaRd Guzmán

dler Lisa Hayley. She got her nod in 2008 in It’s also a popular attraction for choirs and ily friendly activity, with the closest thing to the Americana/Cajun/Zydeco category. other singing groups, Knowles said. But even risqué being a version of “I Saw Mommy owntown, like the rest of Los For Capone, a highlight of the series will be those who can’t carry a tune are still welcome Kissing Santa Claus.” Angeles, lacks the snow and cold the Saturday evening show by Beatles tribute — if they can get in. Knowles said tickets are The Music Center Sing-Along is Friday, Dec. weather traditionally associated band Eight Days a Week. almost sold out, but a few are usually released 21, 6:30 p.m. at 135 N. Grand Ave., (213) 972with the winter holidays, which depending “They’re really good and we haven’t had a on the day of the concert. They can be pur- 7211 or on your point of view is either a great or a Beatles tribute in a while,” she said. chased at the Disney Hall box office starting terrible thing. What it has plenty of, however, Teenage girls and Lindsay Lohan may be at 5 p.m. on Dec. 17 or by calling the box of- Poetic Holiday: Those who attend the Los are ice rinks (two of them are in the Central disappointed that the band performing Jan. fice that day starting at 1 p.m. Angeles Philharmonic Association’s annual City) and seasonal music. 5 is not The Wanted, but just Wanted, a Bon The Sing-Along is Monday, Dec. 17, at Holiday Sing-Along on Saturday, Dec. 22, Things kick into high gear this week. Jovi tribute act. The group has sold out the 7:30 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. will not only get to lend their voice to the Between now and the first week of the new House of Blues a couple of times, but the Grand Ave., (213) 972-7282 or Angeles Chorale, they will also hear a few poyear, Downtown Los Angeles will be filled Downtown event is free. ems from Julie Andrews. with musical performers offering everything The series closes Jan. 6 with the music of Plaza Party: The Music Center Holiday SingAndrews, who is famous for her work in from seasonal standards to some seriouslynNewSoulicious, whose set list includes tracks from Along is a bit less formal than the Master a litany of films including Mary Poppins and s .A.Downtow eclectic sounds. There are also, om/Lintriguingly, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye Chorale event, although tickets are still re- The Sound of Music, will be reciting selections Facebook.c options for local workers and residents to and Stevie Wonder. quired. Sort of. Starts Nov.21/Dec.7 from her recent book Julie Andrews’ Seasonal lend their voice to the proceedings. At 532 S. Olive St., (213) 847-4970 or This marks the sixth year for the event that Treasures: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Below are a few opportunities to catch a takes place on the Music Center Plaza. It runs Year. winter concert or join in a sing-along. from 6:30-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21. The As with the other Downtown sing-alongs, Be the Chorus: For 33 years, the Los Angeles playlist features about two dozen songs. The the audience members will get lyric sheets. Cool Stage: The ice rink isn’t the only thing Master Chorale has been letting the audience action takes place outdoors, so bring a jacket. This time, however, they won’t be under too luring people to Pershing Square in the com- become part of the show. The tradition con“If you want to have a good time, and you much pressure since the Angeles Chorale will Check Our Website for Full Movie Listings ing weeks. The park’s Winter Concert Series tinues on Monday, Dec. 17, with the Messiah love holiday songs, this is the place for you,” be on stage, said Laura Connelly, director of kicks off Monday, Dec. 17. There will be free Sing-Along at Walt Disney Concert Hall. said Ming Ng, director of programing for the presentations for the Phil. lunch and weekend shows with 16 bands “When you come into the hall you’ll find Music Center. One difference from other area sing-alongs through Jan. 6. a mob of people,” said Terry Knowles, presiTickets are required to enter the seating is that there are two opportunities, and both The lineup is comprised mostly of local acts. dent of the Master Chorale. area at the plaza, and participants will get take place at Walt Disney Concert Hall the They cover the sonic spectrum from country The mob is expected to include 2,200 in- lyric sheets. The tickets are free and will be same day. to rock to disco to alternative to holiday mu- dividuals who really take their roles seriously distributed on the day of the show. There’s room for about 2,200 people at each sic. There will even be some zydeco sounds. as the chorus for George Frideric Handel’s Even if you don’t get tickets, no one is show and Connelly warns that they usually or wntownNew Knowles noted that people often “The bands will be doing a mix ofrigtheir own er at DoMessiah. Grinchy enough to stop you from standing sell out. Songs on the roster include “Deck the rn co nd ha upper ht com/forms/maillist l in the Louise s. WS holiday thing Capone, dress up for the event, donning everything on the edge and singing along. In fact, Ng Halls,” “Jingle Bells,” “Santa Claus Is Coming this symbosaid nnew ow E-NEand nt w Look forsongs,” do UP SIGNrecreation senior director for the park. from formal wear to Christmas sweaters. said the Music Center staff will have extra to Town” and “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Lunchtime concerts run from noon-2 p.m., The two-hour show includes an orchestra lyric sheets for those who come armed with a For that song, the audience will be split Saturday shows are 8-10 p.m. and Sunday and four soloists from the chorale. LAMC voice but can’t get in. Starts Dec.14/19 into groups with each section signing differevents go from 2-4 p.m. The action starts Dec. Music Director Grant Gershon conducts A band will play the tunes and a “facilita- ent segments. 17 with a performance from local country- both the professionals on the stage and the tor” starts people off, since some can be shy The Holiday Sing-Along is Saturday, Dec. rocker Sean Wiggins. Things get a little quieter people sitting in all levels of Disney Hall. during the first few songs, Ng said. But things 22, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Walt Disney Tuesday with the string duet String Planet. “People come with groups of friends. They usually get louder by the end of the night. Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., (323) 850Check Our Website for Full Movie Listings While many of the acts are local, that does have dinner and wine and then enjoy the Songs this year include classics such as 2000 or not mean they lack musical chops. The Dec. singing,” Knowles said. “They get all dressed “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night” and “We Wish Contact Richard Guzmán at 19 concert features Grammy nominated fid- up and take it very seriously.” You a Merry Christmas.” It’s a fully fam-

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December 17, 2012


Wandering Through the Desert Taper Family Drama From a Usually Reliable Playwright Never Really Finds Itself by Jeff Favre contributing writer


n a finely crafted stage drama a viewer is deftly lured into the middle of another world. The fictional characters become real and the story gains gravitas. It all happens without audiences being aware of exactly how the writer pulled it off. Jon Robin Baitz accomplished this in 2004’s The Paris Letter, but the manipulation machinations are plainly visible and clunky in his latest effort, the disappointing Other Desert Cities. The show, which is at the Mark Taper Forum in Downtown Los Angeles through Jan. 6, is directed by Robert Egan, the producing director of the Ojai Playwrights Conference, where Baitz’s play was workshopped. Perhaps Egan and most of his cast are guilty of leaning toward the overwrought style that’s common on TV dramedy. Still, it’s hard to imagine making other choices given Baitz’s dialogue. The heavy-handed Other Desert Cities received nearly universal acclaim during its Broadway run. Maybe the second act won over viewers, but the revelations arrive too late to find an emotional link that’s needed to care about anyone. Things get off to a rocky start, as in the opening minutes an overload of exposition flies fast and subtlety goes out the window. It’s Christmas time in 2004 and Brooke Wyeth (Robin Weigert) is visiting her Republican parents, Polly and Lyman (JoBeth Williams and Robert Foxworth), who live in partial seclusion in Palm Springs. Brooke, a writer, has recently recovered from a bout of depression. She arrives with her new book, a memoir that details the turbulent life and suicide of her brother three decades earlier. Brooke’s surviving younger brother Trip (Michael Weston), who produces reality TV, is also visiting, and Polly’s liberal, alcoholic sister Silda (Jeannie Berlin) is there for an extended stay while she tries to get her life in order. Silda and Brooke share a sense of disdain for Polly, even though they have relied on her support in various ways for most of their lives.

The conflict appears to be whether the private Polly and Lyman will accept a tell-all memoir, though it will come as no surprise to anyone — except Brooke — that they are furious. While the plot could work, in this case personalities are explained rather than shown, and Baitz’s attempt to fluctuate tone with gentle comedy falls flat. More problematic is that neither the stakes for Brooke or her parents feel high enough to increase the tension before intermission. Although Brooke and Polly dominate the action, Lyman is the most intriguing character, thanks in part to Foxworth’s welcomed restraint. Lyman, a movie star-turned ambassador and close friend to Ronald and Nancy Reagan, is the only character who earns sympathy. The internal conflict between protecting his family versus his reputation is fascinating, but Baitz instead concentrates on a singular concept — building to his second act reveal — and the script serves that lone purpose. Weigert expertly tackles the challenging task of portraying Brooke without worrying about whether she is likable. As Trip says, his sister is completely self-absorbed, and she uses her mental issues as a free pass to never be held accountable for her actions. Likewise, Williams is unflinching as the hard-nosed matriarch, whose love comes with the price of lectures and condescension. The wild card is Silda, and Berlin’s choices are fascinating. She sells the bumbling and sleepwalking mannerisms so well that it appears the alcoholic aunt is barely aware of what’s happening around her. Palm Springs is also a character, a wilderness of sorts that allows for an easy escape from reality. Takeshi Kata’s set conveys the other-worldliness of the desert with a rocky terrain and generations-old home decor that has been frozen in time. The look is accented by Lap Chi Chu’s soft lighting, filling the sky backdrop with a gentle sunrise and warm sunset. With an unnecessarily long two-and-half-hour running time, Other Desert Cities recycles its simple ideas before heading toward a creative but hardly revolutionary climax. Baitz has in past plays successfully dealt with global issues

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Robert Foxworth is a former actor and friend of Ronald Reagan and Robin Weigert is his bomb-dropping daughter in the Mark Taper Forum’s Other Desert Cities.

through personal relationships. This time, however, he has created an ordinary family drama. It falls well below the standard he has set throughout his career. Other Desert Cities runs through Jan. 6, 2013, at the Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., (213) 628-2772 or

December 17, 2012

Downtown News 15


Blue Whale 123 Astronaut E. S. Onizuka St., (213) 620-0908 or Dec. 18: Luciana Souza, Larry Koonse and David Piltch. Dec. 19: Josh Nelson Residency Part III. Not to be confused with Rocky III, in which Rocky Balboa fights Clubber Lang. Dec. 20: Angel City Arts presents the Chris Dingman Group with Gerald Clayton, Hamilton Price, Zach Harmon and Walter Smith III. Dec. 21: Bill Cundiff Group. Bootleg Bar 2220 Beverly Blvd., (213) 389-3856 or Dec. 17, 8 p.m.: Strange that synth-pop resident Jhameel’s strong sense of personal morality could put him at odds with the agenda of the United States military and yet still allows him to use trite, overplayed face paint. The hypocrisy knows no bounds. Dec. 18, 8 p.m.: Valente’s brand of pulsing introspective synth play sounds a bit like Christopher Cross strung out on bath salts. Dec. 19, 6:30 p.m.: The Bootleg is stocked and ready in anticipation of record bar receipts during the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Winter Solstice Recital. Dec. 21, 8 p.m.: Will Mike B.’s cryptic record release show be more like Wayne and Garth’s party at Komrades or your 15th birthday that no one showed up to? There’s only one way to find out. Dec. 22, 8 p.m.: The only thing that really troubles us about Marissa Nadler is that her haunting and accessible dream-folk could become so popular that it could be the soundtrack for depressing/abandoned dog ASPCA commercials for years to come. Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m.: Besides a groovy, sonic rock sound, the Neighbourhood also flaunts an extraneous and very unnecessary “u.” Broadway Bar 830 S. Broadway, (213) 614-9909 or Dec. 20, 10 p.m.: Frustrated, the DJ attempted to force his computer to stop playing “La Isla Bonita” on repeat. Then it all became clear. The magnitude of the horror seeped through his consciousness like

Continued on next page photo courtesy of L.A Phil



on’t let the zoot suits and broad fedoras fool you, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is not your grandpappy’s swing band. Despite the raucous vintage sound, styling threads and traditionally carnal lyrics, the Ventura-based big band has a surprising penchant for the holidays. They’ve released two seasonal albums in their nearly 20-year career and, on Friday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. they’ll deliver a very festive celebration. The Walt Disney Concert Hall hosts the show where you’ll hear all your bopping Yuletide favorites such as “You & Me & The Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)” and “Is Zat You Santa Claus?” At 111 S. Grand Ave., (323) 850-2000 or


photo by Tatiana Tensen


by Dan Johnson, listings eDitor

Down on the border between Skid Row and Little Tokyo (Skid Rokyo?) is a magical hideout specially designed for Downtowners looking for shelter from the madness of urban living. On Monday, Dec. 17, the Escondite hosts Bluegrass Night. On stage is the Get Down Boys, Los Angeles’ own bona fide purveyors of that down home high-and-lonesome sound. This is not your just-moved-from-Portland, bought-a-GrahamParsons-album, my-manager-says-folk-is-popular knockoff. These boys are the real McCoy. At 410 Boyd St., (213) 626-1800 or

From the folks with the good sensibility to play Die Hard and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation back to back comes another doubleheader of epic seasonal proportions and heavy alcohol consumption. On Friday, Dec. 21, the Downtown Independent’s monthly Double Feature Drink Along presents an unlikely combo of Christmas films with Home Alone and Edward Scissorhands. Enjoy this irreverent take on the reason for the season with a collection of homemade drinking rules. Get ready to finish an entire beer when you see Buzz’s girlfriend. Woof. It all gets going at 8 p.m. At 251 S. Main St., (213) 617-1033 or



Sadly, Downtown has almost seen the last of Ripped. No, there isn’t a ban on protein addicted USC frat boys. Instead, it’s Ripped: Expressions From the Underground. On display at the FIDM Museum & Galleries, the exhibit explores T-shirts as artistic and social expression during the early days of punk rock. With more than 150 bits of ephemera from the era, Ripped is holding down the subversive side of the fashion spectrum. Don’t hesitate, because the shirts get boxed up on Saturday, Dec. 22. Wander down to South Park Tuesday-Saturday this week to catch a last glimpse at shirts whose stains have seen more than you ever will. At 919 S. Grand Ave., (213) 6235821 or

You wouldn’t know it for the casual selfdeprecating title of MOCA’s new exhibit, but Some Los Angeles Artists is the fruit of 15 years of hard labor by photographer Jason Schmidt. The 23 photographs on display are the choice cuts from a collection of more than 500 intimate portraits of prominent creative types at work, among them John Baldessari (shown here). Disparate slices of life in our artistically gilded city form the compelling backbone of this rare bit of photographic candor on display until March 2013. MOCA is closed Tuesday and Wednesday, but the understated splendor of Jason Schmidt and his cadre of subjects is available all other days of the week. At 250 S. Grand Ave., (213) 621-1710 or

photo courtesy of MOCA

Wednesday, december 19 Yoga in the Park Grand Park, between Grand Avenue and Hill and Temple and First streets, (213) 972-8080 or Dec. 19 and 21, 12:15 p.m.: Join your neighbors for a mind synergizing, complimentary yoga class on the lawn of our newest park.

Big Band Fun, Snapshots of Artists, Movies and Drinking and More Downtown Entertainment

photo by Matt Bruer

Tuesday, december 1 Minimalism: Live a Meaning Life Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring ST., (213) 488-0599 or 7:30 p.m.: Former corporate whiz kids Joshua Ferris Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus walked away from the 9-5 grind in search of definition. They tell the tale in their new book Minimalism. They talk about said book in Downtown L.A.


photo courtesy FIDM

SPONSORED LISTINGS Downtown On Ice Lunchtime and Weekend Concerts Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., (213) 847-4970 or Downtown on Ice is back. The seasonal facility at Pershing Square has skates for rental for $2, with skate sessions costing $6. There will be an array of special events and programming at the rink for the next two months, including regular lunchtime concerts starting Dec. 17-23 and Dec. 26-30 from noon-2 p.m. Weekend concerts run on Saturdays Dec. 22 and 29 from 8-10 p.m. Sunday concerts are Dec. 23 and 30 from 2-4 p.m. Every Wednesday along with live music and ice skating Pershing Square holds its award-winning farmers market. Bar 107 107 W. Fourth St., (213) 625-7382,, Dec. 19, 9 p.m.: Gong Show Karaoke is back for one night only! Regular karaoke starts at 9 p.m. and the show starts at 10:30 p.m. Three D-list celebrity judges will be on hand to do what your parents have been doing all of your life... judging you. Becherovka shots for $5, $5 wells and $3 beers. If you want to sing, get there early to sign up.

Send information and possible Don’t Miss List submissions to

16 Downtown News

December 17, 2012


Continued from previous page a slow syrup. His turntables had become sentient and they were Madonna fans. Broader Than Broadway. Escondite 410 Boyd St., (213) 626-1800 or Dec. 17, 10 p.m.: Bluegrass Monday with the Get Down Boys. Dec. 18, 10 p.m.: Boom Boom Boom and the lovely Bunny West. Dec. 19, 10:30 p.m.: Sean Wheeler and Zander Schloss. Dec. 20, 10 p.m.: The Downtown Train and Yonatan. Dec. 21, 9 p.m.: Trevor Menear and Johnny Moezzi commence the weekend with a blues hootenanny. Dec. 22, 11 p.m.: Charlie Chan and the S.O.B.s. Dec. 23, 10 p.m.: Honky Tonk Hero with RT n the 44s. Exchange LA 618 S. Spring St., (213) 627-8070 or Dec. 21, 10 p.m.: Waking in the morning to Mat Zo is a terrifying prospect, but somehow Awakening to Mat Zo while deeply intoxicated late on a Friday night is OK. Dec. 22, 10 p.m.: Derrick Carter & Mark Farina are just looking for a good time. Grammy Museum 800 W. Olympic Blvd., (213) 765-6800 or

THE ANSWER TO LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE Dec. 18, 8 p.m.: For those looking for soulful inspiration or someone to make their own musical career look woefully insufficient, Bobby Womack will be at the Grammy Museum for an evening of discussion and intimate musical performance. One-Eyed Gypsy 901 E. First St., (626) 340-3529 or Dec. 19: RT n the 44s. Dec. 20: Hobo Jazz. No train hopping required. Dec. 21: Future Is The Past. Dec. 22: AK and Her Kalashnikovs. Redwood Bar and Grill 316 W. Second St., (213) 652-4444 or Dec. 17: Blackwater Jukebox, Fort King and Adam Oliver. Dec. 18: The Zoo and Friends. Dec. 19: Suns of Jimi. Dec. 20: Guitars a Go Go presents X-mas with

Tammy Olea Band, Skip Heller Hot 5 and the Chris Mulkey Band. Dec. 21: Drop Dead L.A., The Lysol Gang, Boozehounds and Creature Feature. Dec. 22: Carnage Asada, Santa Sabbath, Brainspoon, Paper Hearts, Arthur Alexander and The Blackerbys. Dec. 23, 3 p.m.: Melodytime, Skip Heller and Nelson Bragg. Seven Grand 515 W. Seventh St., (213) 614-0737 or Dec. 17: A little fresh blood in the old Seven Grand jazz gene pool as New Yorkers the Sidewinders regale us with their concepts of America’s only unique art form. Dec. 18: For one night each week, taxidermy, whisky and improvised jazz enthusiasts unite amidst the soothing tunes of the Makers. Dec. 19, 10 p.m.: Deacon Jones Blues Review, because if it’s good enough for John Lee Hooker, it’s

good enough for you! The Smell 247 S. Main St., alley between Spring and Main streets, Dec. 18: Moses Campbell, Nana Grizol, Your Heart Breaks and Gina Young. Dec. 19: The Lonely Trees, Brannigan’s Law, Hugh John Noble and The Action Index. Dec. 22: Protectme, Mr. Wright and the El Salvadorians, Cat 500 and Mutant City. Walt Disney Concert Hall 111 S. Grand Ave., (323) 850-2000 or Dec. 18, 8 p.m.: Straight from New Orleans, it’s Aaron Neville and his Christmas Celebration. Dec. 20, 8 p.m.: Featuring Hawaii’s top musicians, Honolulu lounge meisters Don Tiki give the holidays a real boost of exotica. Dec. 21, 8 p.m.: Hollywood hipsters Big Bad Voodoo Daddy turn yuletide classics like “Blue Christmas” and “Jingle Bells” into rollicking big band extravaganzas.


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Downtown Independent 251 S. Main St., (213) 617-1033 or Dec. 17-19, 7 p.m., Dec. 20, 9 p.m., Dec. 22, 2:45 and 6:30 p.m., Dec. 23, 1:15 and 5 p.m., Dec. 24-27, 7 p.m.: Sansara is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Dec. 17, 9 p.m.: The premiere Short Film program Downtown, Salute Your Shorts, returns for another installment. Dec. 19, 9 p.m.: Renowned music video director Ace Norton is the subject of this special screening by the Los Angeles Music Video Festival. Dec. 21, 7 p.m., Dec. 22, 1, 4:45 and 8:30 p.m., Dec. 23, 3:15 and 9:30 p.m. and Dec. 24-27, 5 and 9 p.m.: Tchoupitoulas. Dec. 21, 8 p.m.: Double Feature Drink Along featuring Home Alone and Edward Scissorhands. IMAX California Science Center, 700 State Drive, (213) 7442019 or Explore the remnants and wisdom of an ancient empire in Mysteries of Egypt.

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December 17, 2012

Downtown News 17

THEATER, OPERA & DANCE Bob Baker’s Nutcracker The Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., (213) 250-9995 or Dec. 22-23, 2:30 p.m.: Employing more than 100 of legendary puppeteer Bob Baker’s famous marionettes, this family performance features all the characters from the beloved story. Call for reservations. The weekend shows often sell out.

When Art Got the Blues image courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld gallery LLC, New York, NT

Ice and polar bear enthusiasts will likely dig To the Arctic 3D. Experience the gripping story full of hope, crushing disappointment and triumph in Hubble 3D. Regal Cinemas 1000 W. Olympic Blvd., (213) 763-6070 or movies. Through Dec. 20 (showtimes vary): The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3D, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Killing Them Softly, Life of Pi 3D, Rise of the Guardians, Rise of the Guardians 3D, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2, Lincoln, Skyfall, Flight, Wreck-It Ralph.

MORE LISTINGS Hundreds of listings of fun and interesting things to do in Downtown Los Angeles can also be found online at Rock, Pop & Jazz; Bars & Clubs; Farmers Markets; Events; Film; Sports; Art Spaces; Theater, Dance and Opera; Classical Music; Museums; and Tours.



Email: Send a brief description, street address and public phone number. Submissions must be received 10 days prior to publication date to be considered for print.


f you haven’t yet checked out the MOCA Geffen Contemporary’s Blues for Smoke show, it’s time to quit dilly-dallying. The crosscultural exhibition in Little Tokyo that touches on how blues music influenced art, music, literature and film closes Jan. 7. Featured artists include Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Outterbridge, Martin Kippenberg-

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Los Angeles Downtown News 1264 W. First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026 phone: 213-481-1448 fax: 213-250-4617 web: email:

facebook: L.A. Downtown News

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ExEcutivE Editor: Jon Regardie citY Editor: Richard Guzmán stAFF writEr: Ryan Vaillancourt coNtributiNG Editor: Kathryn Maese coNtributiNG writErs: Dave Denholm, Jeff Favre, Greg Fischer, Kristin Friedrich, Howard Leff, Ryan E. Smith, Marc Porter Zasada

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The Los Angeles Downtown News is the must-read newspaper for Downtown Los Angeles and is distributed every Monday throughout the offices and residences of Downtown Los Angeles.

PhotoGrAPhEr: Gary Leonard

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December 17, 2012

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LEGAL LegAL notice IN THE GENERAL COURT OF JUSTICE FOR ROWAN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA FILE NO. 12 SP 754 NOTICE OF PUBLICATION ANTONIO FIGUEROA RUIZ, PETITIONER, vS. JOSE ANTONIO URAGA ANd MIREYA EdITH OCHOA, RESPONdENTS dATE OF FILING: dECEMBER 6, 2012 IN RE: K. URAGA, A MINOR CHILD BORN AUGUST 31, 2006. TO: JOSE ANTONIO URAGA Take notice that a pleading seeking relief against you has been filed in the above-entitled action. The nature of the relief being sought as follows: Legitimation of a minor child. You are required to make defense to such pleading not later than January 19, 2013, said date being forty (40) days from first publication of this notice, and upon your failure to do to the Petitioner will apply to the court for the relief sought. This 5 day of December, 2012. Cecil L. Whitley, Attorney for Petitioner 305 N. Main Street Salisbury, NC 28144 Telephone: (704) 637-1111 State Bar No. 5889 Pub. 12/10, 12/17, 12/24/12

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 2012204393 The following person is doing business as: NUDE, 484 E. California Blvd. #21, Pasadena, CA 91106, are hereby registered by the following registrant: Dennis Yu, 484 E. California Blvd. #21, Pasadena, CA 91106. This business is conducted by an individual. Registrants has not begun to transact business under the fictitious business name or names listed herein. This statement was filed with DEAN LOGAN, Los Angeles County Clerk on October 12, 2012. NOTICE—This fictitious name statement expires five years from the date it was filed in the office of the county clerk. A new fictitious business name statement must be filed before that time. The filing of this statement does not of itself authorize the use in this state of a fictitious business name in violation of the rights of another under federal, state, or common law (see Section 14411 et. seq. Business and Professions Code). Pub. 11/5, 11/12, 11/19, 11/26/12

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 2012224792 The following person is doing business as: Ax+Apple, 719 S. Los Angeles St., #506, CA 90014, are hereby registered by the following registrant: JAMIE DORFMAN, 1341-1/4 Harvard Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027. This business is conducted by an individual. Registrants began to transact business under the fictitious business name or names listed herein on October 1, 2012. This statement was filed with DEAN LOGAN, Los Angeles County Clerk on November 9, 2012. NOTICE—This fictitious name statement expires five years from the date it was filed in the office of the county clerk. A new fictitious business name statement must be filed before that time. The filing of this statement does not of itself authorize the use in this state of a fictitious business name in violation of the rights of another under federal, state, or common law (see Section 14411 et. seq. Business and Professions Code). Pub. 12/10, 12/17, 12/24. 12/31/2012.

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 2012193506 The following person is doing business as: KISSA GROUP, 2316 1/2 Union Ave., #1, Los Angeles, CA 90007, are hereby registered by the following registrant: Vivi Tran Lynch, 940 E. 2nd St., #15, Los Angeles, CA 90012. This business is conducted by an individual. Registrants has not begun to transact business under the fictitious business name or names listed herein. This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Los Angeles on September 27, 2012. NOTICE—This fictitious name statement expires five years from the date it was filed in the office of the county clerk. A new fictitious business name statement must be filed before that time. The filing of this statement does not of itself authorize the use in this state of a fictitious business name in violation of the rights of another under federal, state, or common law (see Section 14411 et. seq. Business and Professions Code). Pub. 12/3, 12/10, 12/17, 12/24/12.

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20 Downtown News

December 17, 2012


Apartments Continued from page 6 low suit, Maltzan said. The Star, which won a design award from the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects before the prefab units even arrived on site, could also serve as an example that premade homes do not have to equate to boring design.

“While each one of the Skid Row Housing Trust projects has targeted a very specific community within the homeless population, the overarching goal has been to create a demonstration for the way the city as a whole can continue to evolve from a building standpoint,” Maltzan said. Other SRHT projects Maltzan designed are the New Carver and the Rainbow apartments. The Star, which is named after an old residential hotel that was torn down, is expected to open by the fall of 2013. Contact Ryan Vaillancourt at

rendering courtesy Michael Maltzan Architecture

The project designed by Michael Maltzan will feature 102 apartments stacked on top of a concrete superstructure. It is slated to open next fall.

Downtown, it’s not just big business anymore!

Grand Tower 255 south Grand avenue Leasing Information 213 229 9777

Promenade Towers 123 south Figueroa street Leasing Information 213 617 3777

Community Amenities: ~ 24 Hr. Manned Lobby ~ Concierge ~ Pool / Spa / Saunas ~ Fitness Center ~ Gas BBQ Grills ~ Recreation Room

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It’s our business to make you comfortable... at home, downtown. Corporate and long term residency is accommodated in high style at the Towers Apartments. Contemporary singles, studio, one bedroom and two bedroom apartment homes provide fortunate residents with a courteous full service lobby attendant, heated pool, spa, complete fitness center, sauna and recreation room with kitchen. Beautiful views extend from the Towers’ lofty homes in the sky. Mountain vistas and slender skyscrapers provide an incredible back drop to complement your decor. Far below are a host of businesses ready to support your pampered downtown lifestyle. With spectacular cultural events nearby, even the most demanding tastes are satisfied. Downtown, it’s not just big business anymore. Visit the Towers Apartments today.





Los Angeles Downtown News is a free weekly newspaper distributed in and around downtown Los Angeles.


Los Angeles Downtown News is a free weekly newspaper distributed in and around downtown Los Angeles.