New Intersection Repair Street Mural

L.A. Eco-Village’s new intersection repair mural – finished mural photos: Joe LintonThanks to the hard work of lots of local residents and many people in town for Bike!Bike!, last weekend the community repainted the L.A. Eco-Village street mural at the intersection of Bimini Place and White House Place.

The street painting is inspired by a group called City Repair from Portland Oregon. They do intersection repair murals as part of to make crossroads places where people come together.

Eco-Village has done earlier intersection repair murals three times: in 2011 and 2009 and circa 2006. The mural gradually wears away and after a half-dozen years needs repainting. Lately  the city has resurfaced the local streets, erasing worn murals.

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A Drill-Powered Flip Book Animation

It isn’t easy to predict what people will like. I’m used to this by now as a practicing artist. Yet, the popularity of this post caught me by surprise. I had been posting work in progress pictures of a flipbook animation I was working on, when I finished assembling the frames I wanted to test it and the easier thing was to chuck it in a drill. It looked cool so I posted it on my Instagram . The next day I got a request to be featured on the awesome Doodlers Anonymous blog, there is a lot more information on that post so if you are interested you should check it out. And after that, it was DesignBoom, and BoingBoing (BoingBoing!) and Laughing Squid and even a one minute feature on a morning show on ABC.

It has been fun and I’m grateful for the attention. If you want to see more of my work head over to my website or follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Metal Recycling at LA Eco-Village

Metal collection bin at L.A. Eco-Village

Sometimes it’s those little creative touches that make things fun. Above and below are photos of the bin where Los Angeles Eco-Village collect random metal scraps for them to get recycled. Federico created the METAL ONLY sign, and the mushroom mural that’s partially visible behind it. You can find more of Fede’s art on various walls and surfaces throughout LAEV, and also at his blog. Continue reading

Earth Day 2012 at the L.A. Eco-Village

by Michelle Wong, cross posted from White House Gardens @ LA Eco-Village blog:

Bresee kids Astrid, Nichole & their little sisters enjoying Earth Day 2012 @ LAEV

Even though Earth Day is everyday at the LA Eco-Village, villagers celebrated the occasion with an open house last Sunday. Friends & neighbors came out to enjoy the beautiful day that kicked off with Cachao chickens crossing the street and the sounds of Zumba inspiring some fun booty-shaking. In addition to refreshing the Salamander Plaza painting, kids participated in pinata making, face painting/ glitter tattoos, and the Children of Paradise art workshop.

Allies from the Bus Riders Union set up their garage sale and raised funds for their work. And David from the Bresee T.O.K. Street Team sold tomato seedlings raised by Dana C, another long-time Bresee kid. Thanks to Jasmine D. who helped with face painting, and Gabriel who brought his family to help with the Food Lobby.     


Extra thanks to Julio  Sr. for leading tours, Lara  for organizing the street painting, Jimmy, Josey & Ianne who master-minded the children’s activities, Yuki for facilitating, and to Lois who organized the yummy organic food that nourish volunteers & visitors alike. We hope to include the White House Place Learning Garden in next years festivities.

Mark Lakeman and Marisha Auerbach Talk – this Wednesday

City Repair inspired intersection mural painting at Los Angeles Eco-Village, March 2011, photo by Yuki Kidokoro. Click for larger image and article.

Tomorrow night, 7:30pm on Wednesday September 28th 2011 L.A. Eco-Village is excited to host the return of Portland City Repair visionaries! Mark Lakeman is one of the most inspiring speakers I’ve ever heard. Tomorrow both he and Marisha Auerbach will give a presentation on how City Repair engages communities, makes great places, and transforms intersections into crossroads. I highly recommend this talk! Full details after the jump.  Continue reading


L.A. Eco-Village is repairing its cob lizard bench on Sunday 8/21
from noon to 5.  If you are interested in natural building, take
this opportunity to observe and work with Ray Cirino, artist/inventor/
permaculturist, and mosaic artist, Lee Adams.  Ray
will be bringing his Sparky, the dragon pizza oven to the event so bring a pizza or pizza
toppings to enjoy from his very eco-friendly oven. AND, we'll also be
doing a partial street closing with music and dancing in the street.

Come and have fun, even if you don’t have time to help.
But if you do, here’s the help needed:

– Schlepping tables, chairs to the street and/or
– Traffic control (we will be closing off half the street) and/or
– Take a turn as pizza chef (this is really simple and training provided) and/or
– Bring acoustic musical instruments to make music in the street and/or
– Setting up shade canopies if needed and/or
– Staffing a sign-in and info table for Echo Park Time Bank and L.A. Eco-Village

Come for an hour, a few hours or the whole event. Time Dollars paid for how many hours you spend helping (for Echo Park Time Bank members

Note that Ray’s Dragon Pizza Oven is also available for events and parties.

Contact: Lois Arkin, 213/738-1254,
Location of event: 131 Bimini Place, LA 90004 (one block east of Vermont between First and Second Streets

Some Welcoming Small Public Spaces in San Francisco

Kids at play in San Francisco's popular 24th and York Mini-Park

At L.A. Eco-Village, we’re interested in public space, with some emphasis on how we can give less space to cars and more space to people. A few of the eco-village projects that touch on this include: seating areas (some call an outdoor living room) in our bulb-out, front yard gardens, the Bimini Slough Ecology Park, intersection repair murals and lots of bike activism.

I vacationed in San Francisco earlier this month and I checked out some of their efforts to reclaim public space. A few of these I tracked down specifically having heard about them and wanting to go see them… others I just happened upon. I’ve listed them in the order I encountered them, which doesn’t necessarily make any sense to anyone else. Overall I was impressed with how many folks are out using public space, including walking and bicycling… perhaps the weather had something to do with it (was sunny, clear, cool and a little windy) – all these places were very well-used!

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Impressed at the Bresee Youth Film Festival

Award-winning young filmmakers at tonight's Youth Film Festival

I checked out the Youth Film Festival tonight hosted by the Bresee Foundation, which is located at the south end of the block where eco-village is. The festival was the 6th Annual Youth Film Festival on Social Justice. It featured 42 short films created by youth ages 14-19. The theme was Unhealthy L.A.? Is Los Angeles a healthy or unhealthy city for youth?  Continue reading

Music Event/Food Sat Night 5/7 from 6 to midnight

Sat., May 7, 2011 from 6 pm to midnight at L.A. Eco-Village

Music! Music! Music! Different kinds. Some loud! Some soft!
Bands Single performers Duos
Electronic. Amplified. Acoustic
Some you’ve heard of; some not.

Fundraiser for L.A. Eco-Villagers’ and Friends’ Burning Man Cafe
$5 to $20 sliding scale.

Cafe Negro at Burning Man provides FREE Cafecito Organico coffee and musical entertainment to Burning Man attendees.

Please help us do it again this year, and support local businesses and fair trade organic coffee!

6 to 9 pm:  BBQ
8 pm to midnight: Music:
The Atomic Bomb Audition, The Shirley Rolls, fitter, Thiago Winterstein, Dust4ngel, Astronovazz, Telematique and more

Dunkelbunt Brewery Beer available by donation.

No reservations required.

Ohaijoe’s Video of the Bike Gate

At the end of yesterday’s work party, my friend Joe Anthony shot this brief video, interviewing me, and showing off Eco-Village’s gate welded from bike parts. On the vid, I explain why it’s called and what it means to practice Multiple Centers of Initiative – which is also explained a bit here.

Thanks, Joe Anthony, for coming to work party, bringing friends, helping out painting and shooting the short vid!

Bike-Gate Painting Work Party This Saturday April 30 2011

What part of the gate looks like - primed and ready for color

Come on down and help paint Eco-Village’s sculptural bike gate! This Saturday April 30th 2011 from 10am until about 2-3pm. We spent a bunch of time welding the gate a while back, and have been painting it on and off for a year or so… and it’s looking pretty good, but needs a few conscientious creative volunteers to add color. All welcome – but plan to work – and wear clothes you can get paint on. At 10am it’s a potluck breakfast… then we paint! We may whip up an impromptu lunch too, at some point. Continue reading

Intersection Mural Version 3.0

Volunteers painting the central bicycle-wheel design - photo by Yuki

A quick blog post to show off some photographs of last Saturday’s (March 12th 2011) intersection mural painting. This is the third time Eco-Village and our neighbors have painted this “intersection repair” mural. It’s inspired by the work of Portland’s City Repair. This weekend, we mostly freshened-up the mural painted in 2009 – covered here – while adding a few new twists. It was a great opportunity to bring people together. Lots of  kids and adults in our neighborhood helped make something beautiful we can all be proud of! Continue reading

Diana Leafe Christian Ecovillage Talk Feb. 22

If you haven’t heard Diana’s talk before, don’t miss this one.  OR if you have heard it, you won’t want to miss this one either, because it’s new and better than ever!

Ecovillages: Where They Are, What They’re Doing, Why They’re Important
Diana Leafe Christian (in person)

Diana Leafe Christian

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm
at L.A. Eco-Village
117 Bimini Pl, LA 90004  directions

Fee: $10 to $5 (sliding scale)
Reservations required: or 213/738-1254

With over 400 photos, this slide show demonstrates how ecovillages worldwide integrate ecological, economic, and social/cultural/spiritual sustainability, through:

• Permaculture design
• International peace activism
• Natural building
• Service to populations in need
• Renewable energy/off-grid power
• Local currencies
• Alternative technology
• On-site cottage industries
• Sustainable agriculture
• Participatory decision-making
• Earth-restoraton projects
• Conflict resolution & communication skills

WHY people are devoted to developing ecological settlements.
HOW ecovillages are beneficially influencing the wider culture.
HOW ecovillages will probably affect patterns of human settlement in the near future.

Continue reading

first swarm capture

there are days when things just come to you.   i was about to leave on another bee escapade one afternoon when Joe comes over and tells me there is a swarm in front of his apartment.  plans were changed, our friend Erik was summoned and very quickly i was propped on a ladder against the zapote tree holding a box below the very gentle bees you can see in the picture above.

Erik directed the whole operation and it lasted about an hour.  swarming bees are usually quite peaceful since they don’t have any honey to protect.  swarming bees are also in a very fragile state.  they have a window of days to find a place to call home (hive?) before thee food reserves in their stomachs run out and if it rains they are screwed.   capturing a swarm is quick and easy compared to doing “cut outs” (literally cutting a hive and putting it into a box) and doing “trap-outs” (trapping bees out of a place where the comb is inaccessible to the beekeeper) but the chance of success is also lowered.   the swarm can decide to fly away -after all they are looking for a place they like- and sometimes even if they decide to stay in the human managed place  the beekeeper offered there is the risk of the virgin queen being eaten by birds when she ventures out to mate.  for more info on “cut outs”, “trap outs” and swarm captures head to the backwards beekeepers blog.  if you want to see more pictures of this capture check out this picture gallery.

anyway, our first swarm capture seems to have been successful, so far that is.  i checked on them every day four days after we put them on the roof.  on day one i took this video where nothing happens except for bees coming and going from the “nuc”(nucleus) box, there are the occasional pollen packed legs and the cool vertical take off maneuvers, but otherwise i only expect hard core bee fevered geeks to watch the whole thing:

after two weeks we transferred the frames inside the nuc box to a larger permanent home.   the bees were very active and had drawn about three half frames with comb.  they were feestooning (“a lacework of bees hanging together, leg-to-leg”) which is quite amusing to observe.

here is a picture of their new home.  i’ve been playing with a hexagon pattern stencil (utter bee-feverish) and this time i used four hexagon shaped rubber feet.   i welded the stand with random scrap metal parts. i’m a bit dubious about the way i implemented the oil cans, still working on that.

Documentary Fundraiser for “Seen Also In Men” Friday, July 30, 2010 7:00 pm

“Seen Also In Men” needs funds! We are showing (unofficially) the film and asking for your support to help us send it to festivals!

This film tells the story of three black fathers who are choosing to be there for their kids even though their fathers weren’t there for them. It’s about a growing movement to break a cycle and stereotypes in the African-American community and create a positive change. This film truly deserves a wider audience. Please come and tell your friends! Suggested donation $5-$25.

For more info:

Embodying Bike Love

I’m an ecovillager who is studying to get a PhD in cultural anthropology, and my dissertation project revolves around biking in LA. I’m going to spend a lot of time in the next year talking to people and writing about the way our bodies become engaged with our city differently through bicycling than they do through driving or walking.

Since I think of bicyclists as “body-city-machines,” I started wondering about the boundaries between our bodies, our bikes, and our streets. How do they get stirred up as we ride? As an experiment, I decided to do some active boundary blurring and get a sharrow tattoo.

As many cyclists know, “sharrows” are share-the-road-arrows or, as they are listed officially in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), shared lane markings. They get painted onto roadways to remind cyclists and drivers that the safest place to bike is in the middle of the lane, not hugging parked cars. I really like the design of the sharrow, with its simply bicycle outline and two chevrons indicating forward motion. So a few weeks ago I visited New Rose Tattoo in Portland and consulted with Mikal Gilmore, who had just finished tattooing a friend.

My friend Kristen Cross documented the process for me.

Mikal developed this stencil by just going outside of her house and looking at the street, since Portland had just painted a whole bunch of bright, shiny new sharrows on many bike routes. The tattoo design differs a bit from the MUTCD regulation sharrow:

Let’s hope I don’t get fined for installing nonstandard signage. Not only does the symbol differ slightly, my tattoo is not retroreflectorized.

I felt like getting a sharrow tattoo would not only be a fun way to display my interest in transforming how we move in the United States, but also be a play on infrastructure.

It hurt.

It’s exciting to run around with this guy on my leg, especially since the City of LA just started painting their own sharrows due to the hard work of the LA County Bike Coalition. It also makes me feel like my commitment to bikes is something inalienable, something embodied.

Coming soon: a picture of the sharrow tattoo riding over one of LA’s new official sharrows.