“It’s literally an oasis in one of the most hardcore parts of the city — and no one knows about it.” So wrote Huell Howser in 2007 about The French Garden, an eatery in the industrial side of downtown’s Arts District. But plenty of people know about The French Garden; they’ve sustained this lunch-only, 150-seat bistro for 15 years. And plenty of people are now sorely disappointed. The French Garden closes on Friday.
Olvera St.: Authentic Mexican enclave? Whitewashed tourist attraction? Olvera St. is not one or the other. It is both, and in that mix represents a fascinating model of what it means to be at the center of such a pluralistic, multi-cultural city as Los Angeles, in the exact spot where its history, present and future intersect…. [read this post in both English and Spanish]
When the Blankenship Ballet Company performs Saturday, women will pirouette en pointeand fold their bodies into arabesques. Men will soar and spin, and lift dainty dancers onto their shoulders. But it won’t be a typical night at the ballet — far from it. The evening is being styled instead as cabaret theater. For creative producer Mark Blankenship and his wife, artistic director Bertha Suarez Blankenship, the event illustrates a commitment to time-honored classic technique in a way that is accessible and entertaining for audiences who aren’t necessarily ballet aficionados.
Within the concrete heart of downtown Los Angeles, an area three blocks long and two blocks wide fills with daily shipments of blossoms in every color, size, shape and fragrance imaginable. Bold sunflowers. Delicate baby’s breath. Boisterous red roses. Pastel snap dragons. Golden orchids flecked with red. Fluffy white carnations. This is the Los Angeles Flower District…
“What brings you downtown?” the waitress asks as she seats me on a patio shadowed by the skyscrapers on Bunker Hill.
I hear this question often. “Actually, I live here,” I say, trying not to sound smug. “Just down the hill.”
“Oh!” the waitress chirps in surprise. After all, most of the restaurant patrons work in the neighboring office buildings on Grand Avenue or Hope Street. They may stop in for a drink before heading home to a house on a grassy lot fringed with oleander and bougainvillea, but they don’t live here….
As the Metro Gold Line’s sleek train approaches Union Station, the east-bound passengers waiting on the platform come to attention. Giggling teenage girls with studded lips and bright fuscia hair stop smacking their chewing gum. A young guy, shaking his head to the sound of his earphones, grips his skateboard more tightly to his chest. Another man, jeans splattered with white paint, firmly guides his bicycle. A woman in an electric wheelchair moves forward down the platform. They are all headed East….