Monday, December 6, 2010

Beginnings and Endings Along the Arroyo Seco

This past weekend was a poignant mix of beginnings and endings along the Arroyo Seco and adjacent Los Angeles River Elysian Valley region.

We celebrated a terrific new beginning with the Official Opening and Dedication of the Los Angeles River Bicycle Path which now offers walkers and bicylists a riverfront alternate transportation corridor with vistas of the LA River, White Heron, ducks, and local mountains. Many years in the making, this Bicycle Path (or as I'd prefer to call it, the River Path), now starts just northwest of the Arroyo Seco-Los Angeles River Confluence, winds its way through Elysian Valley/Frogtown and connects with the existing River Bike Path section to allow total connectivity to Griffith Park. At a more subtle level, this path facilitates wildlife migration between Griffith Park and the LA River.  The Dedication Ceremony, attended by approximately 300 people, included words of praise from Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti and other public officials.

Another beginning at the other end of the watershed is the new Ale House on North Fair Oaks Avenue in Altadena, at the site of the old Pub. More living room than pub, the Ale House features a relaxed, non-hip, neighborhood hangout serving excellent British Ales, a variety of wines, and a yummy cheese plate to nosh on. Gail behind the bar keeps the atmosphere warm and friendly. It's a little stealth adventure to find it, since the old neon Pub sign is the only clue to its location, which probably is part of its charm. Think 'Cheers,' Altadena style.

On the endings side of the equation, this weekend saw final 'ArtBenders' for two landmark art studio/galleries at either end of the Arroyo Seco watershed. On the northmost end, Ben McGinty held his final 'show' and public gathering at his eclectic Gallery at the End of the World on Upper Lake in Altadena.  While Ben will continue to be a fixture at flea markets and art shows with his wares, the Gallery's closing marks his 15+ year journey to try to re-create the type of Altadena business neighborhood community that first brought artists to Altadena 100 years ago. The bittersweet farewell party brought together artists, locals and Arroyo art lovers for one final toast to Ben.

Down at the south end of the watershed just north of the confluence, Los Angeles Artist Icon Frank Romero and his wife Sharon geared up for their 29th Annual Xmas Art Sale, the last time the sale will be held at the Romero Frogtown Art Studio where Frank has held court for the past 30 years.  The Romeros have recently sold the studio to a promising young artist and will be relocating their studio to a new location soon. While the new location is not yet finalized, reliable sources indicate the Arroyo Seco region is the studio's likely new home.

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