The Last Bookstore. Thankfully this is not a true statement, but the provocative name and lettering on the sign are enough to make anyone wandering around Downtown Los Angeles curious. This might be one of the largest bookstores you’ll ever see, inconspicuously tucked away in a former bank on Spring street.
The store’s name is a play on words. The owners are well aware that the book selling industry is in a sort of crisis, but this never fazed them. The store’s first incarnation was a downtown loft in 2005, and when their online-only shop started to take off, they decided to find a brick and mortar space. They opened a shop on 4th and Main in 2009, but as the only store that bought used books, they quickly filled out their shelves. When that lease was up they moved into the current 10,000 square foot location. (more…)
Although the thought of walking the streets of Downtown Los Angeles may seem foreign to most Angelenos, the expanding metro rail is making it easier for residents to get around the city. In the past ten years Downtown Los Angeles has seen substantial changes to its urban fabric leading to increased pedestrian activity and surprising economic investment.
Recent proposals for the historic downtown district include over a dozen mixed-use towers ranging from twenty to seventy-five stories. The hope is that these new high-rise projects will increase density, promote walkability and introduce a mixture of commercial and residential activity into the once depleted downtown. The thirteen downtown projects account for over half of the twenty-seven new high-rise buildings being proposed throughout the city. Downtown Los Angeles is leading the way in the recent boom of economic activity due, in large part, to the presence of the five converging metro lines that service the area. (more…)
On Untapped Cities, we previously featured the yarn bombing trend in NYC with Olek and other artists. The street art trend has also made its way to Los Angeles. Until recently on Museum Row, 15,000 crocheted granny squares were on the façade of the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) made by a crew of a guerrilla knitters called Yarn Bombing Los Angeles. We recently visited the CAFAM Granny Squared Project and talked with Carol Zou from Yarn Bombing LA about their work.
Untapped: How would you describe yarn bombing?
Yarn Bombing is the transformation of urban space through attaching knit material to public structures, such as a bench, parking meter, or light post. Magda Sayeg from Austin, Texas is credited with the first contemporary yarnbomb, and it has quickly spread to other cities such as Knit the City in London, Knit the Bridge most recently in Pittsburgh, etc.. [Editor’s note:
Over 3,000 people were in attendance at the Biltmore Hotel‘s opening party on October 2, 1923. In the ninety years since its opening, the Biltmore has seen more than its fair share of ups and downs and plenty of celebrities including Walt Disney, Katherine Hepburn, Mae West and Carmen Miranda have graced its halls. It has played host to a nightclub during Prohibition, the Academy Awards, the 1960 Democratic National Convention, and some rather unfortunate redecorating during the ’70s, to name a few. We learned all about the Biltmore Hotel with the LA Conservancy and now we’re taking you inside and sharing the hotel’s secrets. (more…)
The news has been packed this week with news about Los Angeles’ new poop themed restaurant called Magic Restroom Cafe that has toilets instead of seats, poop oriented food, and various restroom decorations. But the inspiration for the place is a wildly successful chain in Taiwan called ”Modern Toilet.” We covered it this summer and Gene Weingarten, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post humor columnist called the article a “spectacular report about a new restaurant in Taiwan. Really, anything I say to prepare you for this would be insufficient. Enjoy.”