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My life, your life, our lives inside and outside of Los Angeles and its angels.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Yoko Japanese Antiques Needs Our Support - South Pasadena, CA

Japanese Antiques & Fabrics
1018 Mission Street, #2
South Pasadena, CA 91030
(626) 840-1284
Closed Mondays

Yoko Japanese Antiques is an enchanting Old School shop with a friendly, chatty, knowledgeable owner (Lisa) who runs it now that the former co-owner and her mother, Yoko, has passed away. Lisa wears a mask and keeps social distance while telling lively, entertaining stories and overseeing the mass of jewelry, vintage kimono fabrics, Japanese books & DVDS, miniature dolls, and gorgeous carved pieces.

Prices run from a couple dollars on up.

I bought two lovely pins for $8 each.  And plan to return to buy more of these one-of-a-kind treasures.

Twenty-five years ago, I commissioned Yoko to make me a "noren" (Japanese door curtains). She let me pick the fabric, and made it for me. It was on the recommendation of Amy at Ai Restaurant, who had several beautiful noren by Yoko.

Now, more than ever, this lovely shop needs shoppers!

I hope we can keep this South Pasadena gem going.


Yoko's is closed on Mondays.

I went back last week and took more pictures. The place is sooo photogenic!

#YokoPhotos #JapaneseAntiques

Sorry for the blurry picture!Plenty of vintage kimonos!

Thursday, April 8, 2021



The online arts and culture magazine “The Artifa[ctuals]” is currently running an excerpt from Adam Novak’s upcoming hallucinogenic Hollywood novel, Rat Park (slated for release in 2022 by Red Giant Books). Novak is also the acclaimed author of Take Fountain, The Non–Pro, and Freaks of the Industry through Sunday, April 11 (after which, you can read it in the archives).

On Monday, April 12, the magazine will feature an excerpt from Marlan Warren’s upcoming novel, Tales of Sushi. The story focuses on the attraction between a lonely Caucasian American divorcee and a charming Japanese chef, who forge a cross-cultural friendship amid a lively sushi bar scene in the L.A. area.

“The story is based on my diaries from when I frequented this Cheers-type sushi bar in Pasadena in the nineties,” says Warren, who is also the author of the novel Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged [All’s Not Fair in Love or War].

Editor Aris Janigian created “The Artifa[ctuals]” in the spirit of the Large Hadron Collider: “Our aim is to create a collision space for critical thought and artistic expression, and we welcome fellow travelers on our ever-evolving journey towards ‘a more perfect Union.’”

 Janigian is an author in his own right. His novels include Waiting for Lipchitz at Chateau Marmont, (17 weeks on the Los Angeles Times best-seller list), This Angelic Land, and Waiting for Sophia at Shutters on the Beach.

Artifa[ctuals] Website:

Friday, April 2, 2021

"SAFETY FOR ALL!" INTERVIEW with Desireh "Des" Sedaghat, Candidate for Los Feliz Neighborhood Council Rep ("District B")


Four years ago, I contacted management of Center for Inquiry, the quaint building that was located at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Berendo Street, across from Barnsdall Park in Los Feliz, and asked about their theater rental rates. "They're tearing this place down!" said the guy who answered the phone. "Forget it!" And tear it down, they did. However, only a bare, neglected patch of land was left in its place. In recent months, this formerly sedate and upscale residential L.A. neighborhood has seen tents and squalor take root all around this corner, and gangs have moved in.

There may be some homeless in those tents, but neighbors posting on Next Door have increasingly reported a terrifying situation in which taxpaying, law abiding families are now confronted with gangs who have set up headquarters under cover of the tents, and now stoke residents' fears with gunfire, threats, burglaries, tagging...and now a gang war over turf.

Desireh "Des" Sedaghat is running for a seat on the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council (LFNC) for District "B" on the "SAFETY FOR ALL" platform. The following interview delves into her motivations and her goals. 

The fact that these residents' pleas with law enforcement and city officials has so far gotten them nowhere could mean that criminals will see this inaction as a Green Light to spread out and continue harming innocent citizens in a wider radius of Los Feliz.

This year, the only way to vote for candidates on LFNC is by requesting a ballot from the City Clerk, and mailing your filled out ballot by Tuesday, April 6. You'll find Ms. Sedaghat's name at the bottom of the list of candidates under the heading "District B") and she's listed as "Des" (not Desireh).


What is your background and experience that you feel qualifies you for this position on the LFNC? 

I grew up in the middle of a war torn country. My family and I fled to the US because we had been oppressed and our lives endangered due to our religion. Furthermore, my parents couldn't bear raising two daughters in a country where we had less rights just for being girls and not boys.

Ever since I arrived in the US at 8 years old, I have never had a day where I took for granted the sense of community, freedom and safety that this country had provided us. I have lived in LA since I was 9, and have lived in Los Feliz for 8 years and love the diversity and community that exists here.

However, for over a year, I have seen firsthand the community be torn apart and threatened due to crime, gangs, violence, sales of drugs & vandalism. I dedicated the last 1+ year of my life to doing anything and everything I can to help restore safety for all in our community. I have dealt with the Mayor's office, CD4, LFNC, LFIA, LAPD, LAHSA, PATH as well as countless neighbors in an effort to help.

As an elected official on the LFNC, I will have more direct access and opportunity to make a positive difference in our community and will be an ear for anyone in need in the neighborhood.

I am also a founding member of the Berendo/Lyman/Rodney Safety AdHoc Committee. I've attended every LFNC meeting that I can and am also a member of the Public/Health & Safety and Homelessness Committees.

What, if anything, have you personally experienced as a threat to your safety since these "homeless encampments" have had an influx of gang activity?

First of all, I'd like to address one thing in this question: This is not a homelessness issue - it's a safety issue. I am very compassionate and have reached out to CD4 regarding the true unhoused individuals I see nearby on Hollywood Boulevard. The Berendo encampment is a gang encampment. Nothing more, nothing less.

My car tires were stabbed on 2 different occasions when members of the Berendo encampment saw me speaking to the LAPD. My home has been vandalized on 2 different occasions with gang tagging. I was followed on foot while walking down Hollywood Blvd to pick up Thai food and had to call my husband for a ride home.

Gunshots were fired at the Berendo Encampment right outside my living room window on January 27 -- it was a gang-related shooting over a stolen Mercedes Benz.

My neighbor had a knife pulled on him. 

My 9 year old niece witnessed an assault. 

We have had members of the encampment ring our doorbell and pretend they're beheading us by running their finger across their neck. And they have gestured with their hand that they're going to shoot us.

Need I say more?

How do you know for certain the violence, home invasions, and drug selling are attributable to gangs who have "moved in."

For anyone doubting what's really going on, I urge you to get in touch with Senior Lead Officer Leo Rey at LAPD Northeast, SLO Lenny Davis & and Neighborhood Prosecutor Gabby Taylor.

What would you say is the biggest frustration the surrounding neighborhood of Berendo and Hollywood Blvd. has faced and still faces?

The biggest frustration is getting help from the Los Angeles City Council, District 4 (CD4) office. They are well aware of the situation and are proactively choosing outreach as the only solution to this problem. Well, I think outreach is great and I'm glad they are taking steps in helping our unhoused neighbors, however, in the specific case of the LML encampment on Berendo, outreach has been doing and will continue to do zero good.

The neighbors have also been demanding a meeting with Councilwoman Raman for MONTHS. She lives just a few minutes away in Silver Lake, and yet she's too busy to face us and hear our traumas firsthand, but somehow has the time to go to the Echo Park Closure protest which isn't even in her District. Frustrating doesn't even scratch the surface.

What specific actions toward resolving this situation would you take if elected? And what would you anticipate as the greatest challenges?

The greatest challenge will be to have the city care enough to keep all residents safe -- not the housed at the cost of the unhoused and vice versa. Safety shouldn't be an either/or.

I will also try my hardest to hold the owners of the empty lot of Berendo/Hollywood responsible for their negligence in keeping the lot unsecure.



Monday, January 4, 2021

Who makes sure the homeless get their stimulus money?

This is not him. But similar. ©Photo Marlan Warren

Today I took a long walk through my hood early this morning, and as I passed the unopened Starbucks an old Black man, who was swaddled in a blanket and crumpled in a corner between the building and the sidewalk, muttered something that sounded like an ask. I stopped several feet away (he was unmasked, I wasn't) and looked in my wallet. It's been a long time since I handed a street person money. I used to automatically do it in San Francisco. A counselor whom I was seeing at the time told me that my spontaneous generosity inspired her to try it out. But I have stopped. For various reasons. It hasn't felt right for a long time.

So I reached out to him with a dollar in my hand and he didn't reach out to take it, so I placed it on his tattered knee. He growled:

"I don't need money! I NEED FOOD!"

I was in a hurry to get to my destination (the home of a stranger in the Facebook Buy Nothing group who had specified a time for me to pick up some free nails), and unsure what to do (the Starbucks appeared closed, as did the taco stand across the street).

I mumbled something about being sorry and hurried on. But my head was chattering the rest of the time about what to do. In this upscale, shuttered area it's not that easy to grab a bite for a homeless stranger in need at that early hour. I thought wistfully of McDonalds. So cheap. So accessible. And rather a long walk for me.

In my mind's eye, I saw myself stopping at a nice takeout place and getting him something, bringing it back after my nail pickup. But what did he want? There was a Chinese takeout joint, a donut shop, a gourmet Mexican takeout grill...

The IRS dropped the $600 Stimulus money into my account yesterday. Why not help out someone in need with a bit of it? Or was I taking excessive responsibility? No. This man clearly needed help. And clearly needed to eat!

Or maybe he'd already gotten someone else to help.

About 30 minutes later, I returned and saw his spot was vacant. I looked around. So he's ambulatory. Maybe off to a more lucrative area. But then I saw him—sitting on a bench in a bus shelter looking exhausted and dejected—across the street.

The shelter is in front of the Bank of America where a very long line of customers were patiently waiting, doing their best efforts to socially distance. Perhaps to retrieve their $600?

I approached him and casually asked: "Do you still want food?"

He nodded yes.

"Okay, what would you like? I'll get it for you."

"I want a burger," he said. Now I could see his only teeth - two on the bottom of his mouth. And that mouth was shaking hard when he tried to form words. "And a bag of chips and a soft drink."

He indicated the Fatburger that was a few blocks away.

"They have fries, not chips."

"They got chips..." He nodded in the direction of the gas station quickie mart, even farther than the burger joint.

"Okay, and what kind of drink?"

"Orange Crush."

"And what do you want on your burger?"

"Tomatoes and cheese."

"Mayo? Mustard?" He shook his head no.

I have to say I admire his specificity.

So I'd made this commitment. Now all I had to do was see it through. We were in the exact spot of East Hollywood (aka "Los Feliz") where Hollywood Boulevard, Vermont Avenue, and Prospect Avenue intersect in a rush of heavy traffic and lights that take eons to change. It was 10:30 a.m. and folks were starting to buzz about—including the ones in the tents that have sprung up on a traffic island nearby.

Thanks to the long waits for the lights, the whole mission took about 20 minutes. The quickie mart was quick. And Fatburger was surprising devoid of customers. (YAY!) It was the first time I'd been in there for a couple years. And the only time I've been inside any eating establishment in about a year. The sign on the door claimed:


There wasn't even a line for the drive-by window. What luck!

Staff had changed since I was last there. I hoped it might be efficient. I ordered his burger...and one for me. The couple hamburgers I'd eaten there before were not great. But it was 10:30 a.m. and I was getting hungry. Why not live dangerously?

A few minutes later, the place filled up with masked, agitated men who looked on a lunch break. I counted 12. Behind the counter, the manager was on the phone taking an order -- with his mask hanging under his nose. I saw a customer note this and adjust his own mask more tightly. (L.A. has lost over 1,256 people to Covid-19 as of today, and 26,000 are known to be or have been infected.)

I went to the door and opened it and just stayed there with it open, far from the action and letting fresh air inside (or as fresh as L.A. air can be). Another customer exited and waited outside, not making eye contact.

There was just one young Latina working the grill by herself. Eventually she was joined by another. This felt like the longest wait of my life.

But I had time to think. His meal would total $11.00. Why was this man unable to even buy food? What happened to his IRS deposit? Is he on S.S.I.? Would it have been dropped into his bank account somewhere? Or is there nothing like that for the disenfranchised of our fair city? A social worker who could help him gain access to his rightful government money? He could even qualify for EBT.

Just buying someone without a mask a meal seemed to stretch my limits. After all, I'm one of those "at risk" folks who needs to be locked down, and I am usually in my apartment nursing whatever latest physical ailment has decided to visit me. This is the first time that I've been outside for a good length of time.

I can't get involved with a maskless homeless man in trouble.

Or can I?

"Maria! Mary!" one of Fatburger workers shouted. That was the name I'd given them. I grabbed both bags and headed back.

Of course he'd moved.

I walked inside the bus shelter. Looked across the street at Starbucks. Looked at the B of A parking lot. And I was about to give up when I saw that he was lying in his blanket on the top of the cement barrier of the parking lot, several feet away from me.

Was he sleeping? But he recognized me as I moved towards him, and he sat up, a long line of drool falling out of his mouth (lack of teeth can do that).

I handed him the bag and set the chips & soda next to him.

He said: "Thank you very much."

Then I wished him well and moved on. I walked home, munching my burger with pickles and lettuce, which was hot and tasty. The best one I've ever had.

But that one nagging question remains:

Who is making sure these American citizens, these "street people," get their government money?

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