Late last week, we tossed up a little note to relay that a retail spot in Echo Park is currently open for holiday shopping. We didn’t want to spill the beans too much on a budding story but it was one of those things that you can’t not share because you are so excited about it. It’s a very intimate, very creative retail experience that collides gallery presentation with a young, playful outlook. It formalizes concepts you’ve seen in Los Angeles from places like Iko Iko and draws from artistic resale how-to you are familiar with from the LACMA, Hammer, and MOCA shops. The store is Ouli, the 1505½ Echo Park Avenue located concept that gives you a very considerate shopping experience, one that is mindful of what you want and what you need in terms of cool gifting. If you want to buy something no other store in Los Angeles has, you need to go here.
If there were a Santa Claus of Los Angeles, it would be Father Greg Boyle. He has the snowy white hair and matching beard, which he keeps much tidier than Old Saint Nick. He is quick to laugh although his is less about the rounded O chortle: his is a quick and direct gesture of amusement. He is always smiling, occasionally curses, and inspires an almost instant happiness in those around him.
Father Boyle is also very giving. While he doesn’t sneak into chimneys to give presents to children, he has given his time and energy to Los Angeles and troubled individuals that live here. Over twenty years ago, Father Boyle founded a program called Jobs for A Future. It’s purpose was to get Los Angeles gang members off the streets and into school and employed. It was something no one else was doing and is part of the reason why gang activity in Los Angeles has declined. This program may not sound familiar but it has evolved into what we now know to be Homeboy Industries.
It feels as though many Angelenos don’t go to libraries. When you have coffee shops available to you on every other corner and many communal work spaces at your disposal, the idea of visiting a library brings forth images of older women in musty environments and dwelling places for the displaced Angelenos. Hate to break it to you: most libraries in Los Angeles are nice and are worthy replacements of your neighborhood coffee shop. Some have more character than others thanks to eccentric locals while others rightfully have earned their reputation for staying away from. The West Hollywood Library stands out far above your average LA literary institution. This is a gathering place, a destination. It’s also free and very central. Who knew a library would be a great place to meet a friend?
At this point, the Arts District is its own world. It’s no long that quaint and arty or alternative and somewhat desperate part of town but instead a full blown little ecosystem of thriving, bumping, I-can’t-find-parking-there-is-so-much-here destination. You can get food and drinks and shop, the latter of which seems to be the biggest thing happening in the area. The newest entry is Alchemy Works, a retail concept based on frequently rotating merchandise—and it comes from a very familiar place, too.
Culver City is having a special tree lighting ceremony on December 5. This will be special!