Theatres in Melrose Village & a Classic Black Comedy Opens at the Zephyr

Among the many places to visit in Melrose Village – restaurants, shopping, and so on – are many small theatres (or theaters, depending on your spelling preference). And by “small” we mean with 99 seats or less, not small in presentation. Among these are the Greenway Theatre on Fairfax, the Matrix Theatre near Stanley, the Lyric Theatre on La Brea, Neon Venus Art Theatre, east of La Brea, The Groundlings Theatre near Poinsettia and the Zephyr Theatre near Vista. So you can see there is no shortage of places to see shows within walking distance right here in Melrose Village.

On a related matter, there is continuing issues regarding the status of 99-seat theatres relating to the Actors’ Equity Association contract. But that’s not what we’re going to talk about here.

The House of YesThe black comedy classic The House of Yes is now playing at the Zephyr Theatre through June 14. Zephyr Theatre producing artistic director Lee Sankowich directs this 25th anniversary revival of the wickedly entertaining play by Wendy MacLeod that became a cult classic indie film.

In the play, as a violent hurricane swirls outside the Pascal family home in McLean, VA, the storm of the century is about to erupt inside. Mrs. Pascal (Eileen T’Kaye), daughter Jackie-O (Kate Maher) [at home from a mental institution], and younger son Anthony (Nicholas McDonald) are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Jackie’s twin brother for Thanksgiving. But when Marty (Colin McGurk) brings along his new fiancée (Jeanne Syquia), secrets unravel [including the sexual relationship between the twins], and the family’s elegant veneer begins to crack. And somehow the what happened to JFK in November, 1963 comes into the mix. And what could be funnier than mental illness, incest and the Kennedy assassination?

So why is it called “The House of Yes”? Author Wendy MacLeod says, “It seemed the perfect title for a house of immorality. No one has ever said ‘No’ to these people.”

The House of Yes premiered at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, then played at Las Palmas Theater in 1990 here in L.A.. In 1995, it opened at New York’s SoHo Rep. In 1995, the play was made into a Miramax film, a cult favorite to this day, that earned a Special Jury Award at Sundance.

Everything about the show is terrific. The direction and staging of this edition is so wonderful in this small venue. The acting is top notch, and, of course, the script is awesome.

The House of Yes continues at the Zephyr Theatre – 7456 Melrose Ave., just west of Vista Ave. – through June 14 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. General admission is $25. For reservations and information, call 323-960-5563 or go to www.plays411.com/houseofyes.

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MCW Green Festival at Poinsettia Park Sunday, May 17th

Our local Neighborhood Council for the part of Melrose Village west of La Brea Ave. – Mid City West Community Council (MCW) – is having a special event at Poinsettia Park on Sunday, May 17th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This MCW event – a follow up to their 2013 Harvest Festival held in Pan Pacific Park – will focus on a variety of sustainability topics, with plenty of FREE food and fun mixed in with information and activities. And this time they are bringing it to Melrose Village.

There will be many activities, services, and organizations at the Festival.

Bring your bike and have it checked out by LaBrea Bike Works before going on a community ride. Get landscaping and water conservation ideas from local organizations including home improvement retailer OSH and nonprofit Greywater Action. Stop for a demonstration by Liberation Yoga and learn about all the activities at the Poinsettia Recreation Center. Learn how to make seed bombs at a free workshop. And give feedback on a future redesign of the Rosewood Gardens pocket park.

There will also be live entertainment and food. Chat about cooking with Rascal chef Andy Lee, who will be providing samples of some of his creations. Other goodies will be provided by Whole Foods, Milk and Canter’s.

Find out what’s going on with development plans in the Mid City West territory, chat with Mayor Garcetti’s sustainability team, and learn about the programs of Jewish Family Services and other organizations. City agencies participating in the Green Fest include the Los Angeles Police Department, the LAFD CERT Neighborhood Team Program, and the Bureau of Sanitation‘s One Water LA program.

Be sure to sign in at the MCW booth so you’ll be part of the drawings throughout the event with prizes including cultural outings to the New Urbanism Film Festival and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, food outings to Pink’s and Tom Bergin’s, and other prizes.

See the MCW Green Festival #MCWGreenFest event page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1418797978433044/

The MCW Green Festival will take place primarily at the south end of Poinsettia Park, as shown below.

Poinsettia Park

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Armenian Genocide Centennial March Friday, April 24th

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of deportation and killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, now Turkey. Many countries, including the United States, have recognized this as a genocide. The government of Turkey still does not agree with this, so Armenians all over the world continue to call for Turkey to recognize this.

As part of this, the March for Justice will be held on Friday, April 24th. This starts at 10 a.m. starting in Little Armenia at Sunset Blvd. and Western Ave. The march continues west on Sunset Blvd. to La Brea Ave. and then heads south on La Brea Ave. to Wilshire Blvd., turning west on Wilshire Blvd. to the Turkish Consulate near Crescent Heights Blvd.

Streets along the route (see map below) will be closed to traffic while the march is in that area. Route crossings will be limited, so plan accordingly.March_for_Justice_4-24-2015_map

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Half Marathons Coming to the Area

Over the next two weekends, two half-marathons are being held in the area, north and west of Melrose Village.

Tomorrow — Saturday, April 11th — the Hollywood Half Marathon will be held starting at Highland Ave. and Hollywood Blvd., going east all the way to Sunset Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. and coming west on Santa Monica Blvd. to Vermont Ave. Street closures start early in the morning, and most of the streets will be reopened by mid-morning, except right around Hollywood and Highland.

Hollywood Half Marathon 4-11-2015

Then, on Sunday, April 19th, the Sunset Strip Half Marathon will take place mostly in West Hollywood. As you can see on the map below, this will effect Sunset Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. as far east as La Brea Ave. and Melrose Ave and Beverly Blvd. as far east as La Cienega Blvd. Street closures will begin early in the morning and some will continue until early afternoon.

Sunset Strip Half Marathon 4-19-2015

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Street Art on Melrose

Utility-Box-Art

If you’ve been walking on Melrose Ave. between Fairfax Ave. and Highland Ave., you’ve probably noticed the recent artwork on many of the utility boxes, such as the piece on the right by Los Angeles Artist Jamie Janett Graden.

 

These are in addition to the various murals that have been here for a long time (as shown in the video from KCET, below) and doesn’t even include the many art galleries on Melrose.


And there is more street art on the way, as described in these articles in Curbed L.A. (A Big Stretch of Melrose Will Become a Street Art Museum) and laist (Melrose Could Turn Into A Virtual ‘Street Art Museum’).

It is all art, and that means that each of us will have our own opinion on what we like and what we don’t like. But it is one of the things that makes Melrose Melrose.

 

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City Council Passes ICO to Limit Mansionization

On Wednesday, March 25th, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) to limit the construction of “over-sized” homes in single-family neighborhoods. This was passed as an urgency item, so as soon as the Mayor signs the ordinance, it will go into effect. The item went to Mayor Garcetti yesterday.

You may have seen stories abut this action on the TV news or in newspapers. Here are links to articles in two local news sources, Park La Brea News / Beverly Press and West Hollywood Patch. And the full item, from the Planning and Land Use Committee (PLUM) that was brought to the City Council is available here. And you can follow the progress of this ordinance on its page at the City Clerk website.

So what does this mean for Melrose Village? The maps are a little confusing, but staff at the office of our City Councilmember Paul Koretz clarified that this will take effect in the single-family home areas of Melrose Village. This does not include commercial zones or much of the area north of Waring Ave., where zoning is in place for multi-unit residences.

Note that this does not affect construction where the plans were already approved and paid for before this goes into effect. It also does not block demolition and construction of new homes that meet the new standards, and there are a few other exceptions, such as an existing home that would now not be allowed but was “destroyed by fire, earthquake or other natural disaster.”

What this does is limit the floor-to-area ratio (FAR) for new permits, removing special incentives that developers were using to result in mansionization. The measurements involved here are the floor area of all living space and the overall area of the lot.

This is a temporary measure to limit permits for over-sized homes until the Planning Department brings a new permanent ordinance to the City Council. Under this ICO they have almost two years to do this.

This does not stop the demolition and rebuilding of homes where the new homes meet the size limits. The exception for this is in Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZ) which does not apply in our area. And except where the HPOZ is in place, it does not mean that builders have to conform to the existing style of homes. And a partial second story may be allowed under the ICO, depending on the specific zone of the area and the resulting FAR.

We’ll see where this takes us, and not everyone will be satisfied. But it’s a good first step, and all of the City Council agreed.

 

 

 

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Streets Closed Sunday, March 15th for L.A. Marathon (and President Obama coming to Hollywood tomorrow)

LA_Marathon_3-15-2015

This coming Sunday, March 15th, the LA Marathon will take place, starting at Dodger Stadium and ending in Santa Monica.  Although not going through Melrose Village, it will go very near to our north. Portions of Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. will be closed, as well as other streets in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills to our west. Even though the Marathon is now scheduled to start 30 minutes earlier than in the past due to concerns about heat, the closures will still last well into the afternoon.  You can see the full route map here.

In addition, some streets near the marathon route will have partial closures, indicated on the map above with this symbol:  street_closed

There are no surface street crossings of the route in our area. To go north of the route, go east on Melrose Ave. to the Hollywood Fwy. (101), go north and then exit the freeway as permitted and come back west, or proceed to the San Fernando Valley. This includes getting to portions of West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and L.A. west and north of the route. See additional information provided on the Marathon website for West Hollywood area street closures and suggested detours.

Or better yet, stay off the roads north and west of here on Sunday.

By the way, President Obama will be in town tomorrow and he will be in Hollywood fr his appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel show, so that area and routes leading there will be messy, too.

 

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