Here a baa, there a baa.... (Photo by Eric Richardson/http://blogdowntown.com)

You’ve heard of working for peanuts.  For the next week or so,  100 South Africa Boer goats will be working for weeds when they’re let loose on Angel’s Knoll: the steep, green park adjacent to Angel’s Flight and below California Plaza.

In order to clear the hard-to-reach, Bunker Hill  slope, the Community Redevelopment Agency has “hired” the horned ones (via Environmental Land Management in San Diego) as a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to humans wielding gas-powered trimmers.   This Tuesday, June 6th, new CRA/LA CEO Christine Essel invites the public to join her at the corner of 4th and Hill Streets from 9:00AM – 11:00AM to welcome back the goats for their third, annual, All-Day-Hillside-Happy-Hour.

To munch along with the weed-eating bunch, take the Metro Red Line to Pershing Square,  grab breakfast at Grand Central Market (perhaps pineapple and cherry turnovers at La Adelita Panaderia) and take the Angel’s Flight up to California Plaza Watercourt to gaze and graze with the goats.

Out of respect for the workers,  you’ll want to avoid Grand Central’s cabra tacos.

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

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Double G and daKAH do the Ring.
(Photo courtesy of Grand Performances)

Go Go’ers, here’s an eve o’ Dad’s Day event for all the fathers in your life from your Pop Pop to your baby daddy.

By the time Saturday’s Grand Performance rolls around, Wagner’s “The Ring” will have roiled through the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (and will continue roiling through June 26).   If you’re a diehard Wagner fan who’s attended every sidebar offering of “Der Ring Des Nibelung” as well as the Main Event, you will definitely want to add Double G‘s Gangsta Wagner to your “If you like it then you better put a Ring on it” collection.

Geoff Gallegos (a.k.a. Double G) is the co-founder and composer, as well as “Da Konductor”, of the dAKAH Symphony Hip Hop Orchestra.  The  60+ piece ensemble has strings, winds and percussion to deliver the symphonic sound; electric guitars, turntables,  singers, and MCs bring the soul.   (Wagner might not know what to make of the MCs and turntables; then again, he had dwarves and mermaids to work with….)  Expect the Berklee College of Music-trained Gallegos, who also produces and arranges for musicians such as Outkast, India Arie, John Frusciante and Everlast, to funk up Wagner’s Ring with Left Coast Rap for a  musical thrill ride.

For a kinder, gentler thrill ride (and the ultimate downtown experience), take the Red Line from Union Station to Pershing Square, climb the north stairs to 4th and Hill, and for a quarter, take the Angels Flight Railway (“The Shortest Railway in the World”) up to the California Plaza Watercourt.  (The railway closes at 10:00PM so be prepared to hoof it downhill post-concert if necessary.)   BYOB and a picnic (NOTE: No red wine or glass containers allowed!) or grab Famima fare (Free coffee with any Famima cake!) at the Plaza.  Stake out your spot by 6:30, chow down, and get any chit chat with dads or dates out of the way before the music starts.

‘Cause you don’t want to mess with the Germans and the gangstas….

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

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Oh, the places you'll go.... (Photo by Steve Matsuda)

Go Go’ers, for additional proof that the City of Angels is awesome sans autos, check out The Big Parade II this weekend.

Organized by writer Dan Koeppel and led by Bob Inman, author of A Guide to the Public Staircases of Los Angeles (Blurb, 2009), the second annual, two-day, 35 mile, FREE walk starts at the Angel’s Flight in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday morning, ends in Beachwood Canyon below the Hollywood sign Sunday afternoon, and includes 101 stairways.  That’s right, Go Go’ers:  101.   As in Dalmatians….

If you’re seeing spots and your knees are buckling at the very thought,  rest assured that the Big Parade is not a Forced March of Fun nor an endurance marathon for muscle-y hardbodies;  everyone (including muscle-y hardbodies) is encouraged to participate.   The schedule is designed in five-mile loops to provide easy meet-up spots; you can join the parade route for an hour, a mile, a few stops, several staircases, or the whole shebang.  Long Distance Walkers, who are (impressively!) doing both days, all 35 miles, and all 101 stairways, have priority at the pre-booked, Silverlake Recreation Center’s “campsites” Saturday night.  No word yet on the rec center’s weenie roast and s’mores policy….

Other features of the parade (per the Big Parade II website): a special children’s walk Saturday morning;  a “‘backcountry’ bushwhack along a secret dirt road between Silverlake and Echo Park”;  a “cross-country segment that runs through Griffith Park”;  and a “sightseeing list”  of 30+ items that includes the Los Angeles Central Market, Richard Neutra houses in Silverlake,  and “just-plain-weird” landmarks.   The latter, of course, being Ms. Go Go’s cup of tepid canteen tea….

NELA BONUS: if you want to test your mad stair skillz pre-Parade so you don’t sag and lose street cred en route, Inman will be leading a three segment, Gold-Line-centric,  Northeast Los Angeles walk on Friday, June 11th.  (“Only” 11 miles and 25 stairways….)

Go Go’ers, book your Monday massage now….

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….


CONTEST WINNER! Subscriber Pat Griffith has won an autographed copy of Secret Stairs by Charles Fleming and a private staircase tour for four with the author!  (**link to interview with Fleming after the break)

Congrats, Pat!  Thanks for participating and for reading U Want 2 Go Go!

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JOHN FANTE, novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and chronicler of Old Downtown, will be honored on April 8th with a city square at 5th Street and Grand Avenue.

H.L. Mencken mentored him.  Orson Welles collaborated with him. Charles Bukowski said of him, “Fante is my god.”  Robert Towne, who found John Fante’s novel Ask the Dust while researching Chinatown, declared it “the greatest novel ever written about Los Angeles” and endeavored for 30 years to bring it to the screen.

On Thursday, April 8th, fans of Fante, one of L.A.’s greatest, under-appreciated writers, will be dancing in the streets…or more accurately, at 5th Street and Grand Avenue, when it is officially dedicated as John Fante Square  by Councilpersons Jan Perry and Jose Huizar on the 101st anniversary of Fante’s birth.  Fittingly, the Square is next to the Los Angeles Public Library, which was a constant source of reading material for the young writer and which is where Charles Bukowski discovered the work of his literary hero, and at the bottom of Bunker Hill, where Fante lived and worked and which he chronicled in the novels about his autobiographical anti-hero Arturo Bandini, creating a rich portrait of a now-lost downtown Los Angeles in the process.  

 The hour-long dedication ceremony will be attended by Fante’s family, fans and city officials, and followed by a free, loosely structured walking tour of John Fante’s beloved Bunker Hill neighborhood led by L.A. historian Richard Schave (also of Esotouric fame), who initially suggested the dedication and guided it through the City Council approval process.  The tour will head up Bunker Hill (vastly changed since Fante’s day), take a ride on the recently opened Angel’s Flight (the “shortest railway in the world”), include a stop for a no-host lunch at Grand Central Market (on the ground floor of Los Angeles landmark, the  Homer Laughlin building), and end up at King Eddy’s Saloon, the last dive bar in Los Angeles.  King Eddy’s, which is featured in  Ask the Dust, has declared April 8th “John Fante Day”  and invites the public to “Party with us in honor of John and this special day.”

“Ah, Los Angeles!” John Fante wrote in Ask the Dust, “Dust and fog of your lonely streets, I am no longer lonely.”

Dedication of John Fante Square  & walking tour

Dedication: 11:00AM – 12:00PM

Tour: 12:00PM

South Grand Ave & West 5th Street

Los Angeles  90014

Free

http://lavatransforms.org/johnfantesquare

Novels in the Saga of Arturo Bandini (a.k.a. The Bandini Quartet)

The Road to Los Angeles (1933)

Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1938)

Ask the Dust (1939)

Dreams of Bunker Hill  (1985)

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….