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“Becoming” Brings Bonanza To Eso Won Books

Eso Won Books was tapped as the exclusive bookseller for former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “BECOMING: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama” book tour in Los Angeles. The second stop on a 10-city tour, the Forum in Inglewood, sold 15,000 tickets to the event.

Publisher Crown Books describes the 400-page memoir as a “deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires others to do the same.”

Released on November 13, “Becoming,” sold 750,000 copies on its first day and according to Associated Press, has gone on to sell more than 1.4 million copies in its first week. The memoir is on track to be one of the fastest selling books of 2018.

Eso Won’s “Becoming” bonanza began with special event that started at 7:00 A.M. the day the book arrived in the store and lasted until 7:00 P.M. Almost 500 copies were sold that day, including pre-orders.

“It’s probably our biggest book ever,” said Eso Won co-owner James Fugate. “We’ve never sold 2,000 copies of any book in one week.”

Eso Won’s second best-selling […]

December 4th, 2018|News & Updates|

Taste Of Soul Rocks Crenshaw

Saturday, October 20, marked the 13th year for Taste of Soul (TOS), the largest street festival in Southern California. This year, more than 300,000 community leaders, city officials, Black business owners and local residents came out to Crenshaw Boulevard to “feel the love” and celebrate the return of the festival, while basking in the ambiance of all things soulful.

“I can dream and I can dream big, but never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that Taste of Soul would turn into the institution it has now become,” said TOS Founder/Creator, Bakewell Media Founder and CEO Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., who calls the event a “party with a purpose.”

Tens of thousands of festival attendees had the opportunity to experience music from the sounds of four different stages. The Hyundai Soundstage featured artist Ginuwine, Chante Moore, Kurtis Blow, Teddy Riley, Blackstreet, Melanie Fiona and the StarQuest Singing competition. The stage was hosted by Roland Martin with DJ B-Hen on the ones and twos. Attendees were also entertained by the 102.3 Radio Free KJLH Stage, which featured artists Jussie Smollet, En Vogue, Macy Gray, Ready for the World and more. […]

December 4th, 2018|News & Updates|

“The Issa Effect” Comes to GLPVCC Bid

Issa Rae, creator and star of HBO’s hit series, “Insecure” is a staunch supporter of South LA businesses. The show’s writers weave South LA neighborhoods like Leimert Park, Inglewood, View Park, Windsor Hills, and Crenshaw Boulevard businesses into the narrative. The location choices deepen the understanding of the show’s characters, and come with a positive and net impact on businesses. This boost has been appropriately dubbed “The Issa Effect.”

Businesses see a noticeable improvement in revenue after appearing as a location on the Emmy nominated series. Season three ended in September, and a few GLPVCC BID businesses mentioned in the show definitely experienced “The Issa Effect.”

Hot and Cool Cafe owner Anthony Jolly appeared in season three’s “Fresh-Like” episode. The Leimert Park cafe opened in April this year, but wasn’t getting much traffic until Jolly ran into Rae at his local Home Depot. He introduced himself and gave a suggestion. “I told her we needed some support,” says Jolly. “Her people acted quickly and added the cafe to the script. She did her homework too, we were supposed to be open a long time ago. And in the script, she […]

December 4th, 2018|News & Updates|

Fond Farewell To “Visions”

Visions” muralist Michael Massenburg (center) poses with Kamau Daaood, Marla Gibbs(L) and others depicted in the mural (or their family members) poets, administrators and painters. Artist Michael Massenburg’s mural “Visions,” which was commissioned by Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs in 2005 and installed in 2006 on the back wall of the Vision Theatre, will be demolished as a part of the theatre’s renovation. Currently, there are no plans to restore the 30’ X 80’ mural in another location.

Massenburg, who grew up in Los Angeles, said the landmark mural was inspired by performance poet and World Stage co-founder Kamau Daaood’s poem “Leimert Park.” The artist selected the poem because, “I thought it was the best thing written about the whole community. It says everything.”

Some of the actual words from the poem are inscribed in the mural, while other parts of the mural visually play off the poem’s content.

“I wanted to create a visual written history artistically through his poem and my imagery,” said the California State University, Long Beach graduate. The mural has the appearance of a peeling page, with the […]

December 4th, 2018|News & Updates|

Heaven and Earth Debuts in Leimert Park

Los Angeles-based jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington held all-day album release party for his latest composition Heaven and Earth in Leimert Park Village on June 21. Thousands of fans converged in Leimert Park Village for the events which concluded with two free late-night concerts at the World Stage.

Heaven and Earth is a follow-up to Washington’s critically acclaimed three-disc The Epic, a nearly three-hour album described as an extravagant love letter to jazz. Before becoming a jazz tour de force in his own right, Washington performed and toured with a variety of artists including Snoop Dogg, Raphael Saddiq, McCoy Tyner, George Duke and most notably contributed to Kendrick Lamar’s landmark album To Pimp a Butterfly.

Washington’s Leimert Park tour began with a talkback at Barbara Morrison’s Jazz Museum. He was joined by poet and World Stage co-founder Kamau Daaood. The two spoke about tradition, mentorship and passing the torch. Daaood recounted Leimert Park’s rich legacy of music, spoken word and black culture.

Washington answered several questions about his artistic process, including the development of Harmony of Difference, his multimedia installation presented at the New York’s Whitney Museum of Art’s 2017 Biennial.

“Difference is not […]

November 15th, 2018|News & Updates|

Vision Theatre Update

Built in 1931 by real estate magnate Howard Hughes, the Vision Theatre (originally called the Leimert Theatre) was operated as a cinema until 1968. The theatre briefly served as a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall for in the 70s, followed by use as a performance space when actress Marla Gibbs (227, The Jefferson’s) purchased and renamed the theatre, according to the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation.

The city of Los Angeles purchased the historic building in 1999 and for nearly two decades has been slowly making strides to renovate and refurbish it.

James Burks, Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Director of Special Projects, has been overseeing activities in the theatre since 2010. Burks breaks the Vision Theatre renovation into three phases.

Phase one of the renovation was completed in 2012. This phase included refurbishing the iconic marquee, lighting tower, lobby area, foyer, restrooms, electrical room adding an elevator and updating rooms on the second floor.

The renovation is currently in the second phase. Due to its historic designation, the front exterior of the building cannot be changed, but the interior structure will undergo major restructuring. Stadium seating will be […]

November 15th, 2018|News & Updates|

Leimert Park Village Art Walk and Festival of Masks

The last Sunday of the month Art Walk in Leimert Park Village has been a long-standing tradition. In June, the Art Walk celebrated its 10th anniversary. The event is the brainchild of filmmaker and Kaos Network owner Ben Caldwell, master percussionists Najite Agindotan and Rene Fisher-Mims. The artistic trio has partnered with a variety of African regions and affiliates to provide unique activities and performances.

Caldwell recalls the many tributes and relationships developed through the Art Walk over the past decade: the south African Embassy was instrumental in developing a tribute to Marian Makeba; a tribute to Brazil; an event produced by the Haitian community; Afro Geeks (technology event); Project Glowed, the list goes on and on.
The hallmark of the Art Walk is the opening procession and the drum circle. According to Caldwell, this was Agindotan’s idea. In the early years of the Art Walk, circling Leimert Park Village was used as a way to showcase individual businesses as well as a way for visitors and tourists to understand the community. A native Nigerian who studied under Fela […]

November 15th, 2018|News & Updates|

Chrysalis Supervisor Rickey McPherson

For over a decade, Greater Leimert Park Village Crenshaw Corridor Business Improvement District (the BID) has contracted with Chrysalis Enterprises to assist with maintenance and upkeep. Chrysalis is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for those experiencing homelessness and low-income individuals.

Each week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm, six (6) Chrysalis employees sweep sidewalks, pick-up trash, paint over graffiti and remove large bulky items. Various sidewalks throughout the BID get steam-cleaned monthly as-needed.

In December 2017, Chrysalis Supervisor Rickey McPherson took over the responsibilities of overseeing the crew assigned to the BID following the death of former supervisor Carl Cooper. McPherson has been employed by Chrysalis for over four years, starting out as sweeper in 2014 and moving his way up from driver’s assistant to lead man to his current position as supervisor.

McPherson is a native of Hope, Arkansas. After twenty years as a driver at Kedren Community Mental Health Center in Los Angeles, McPherson lost his job and was unable to find employment.

“Every door I knocked on, said “We’re full, we don’t have any jobs. But at Chrysalis, I started as […]

November 15th, 2018|News & Updates|

Hot and Cool Café Comes to Leimert Park Village

Hot and Cool Café is the latest addition to Leimert Park Village. The specialty coffee house is painted with bright colors and has a minimalist vibe. Co-owner Anthony Jolly is a coffee expert, with over two decades of experience as a business consultant in the industry. His career and love of coffee began in 1996 as an employee at Starbucks.

“I was fascinated with the fact that community was coming together over a beverage,” said Jolly. “At the time, there was nothing like it.”

In 2012, Jolly began traveling to different coffee regions around the globe, in search of the best coffee beans. He stayed in Ethiopia for over a year, working with the natives and their coffee crop.

Besides Starbucks, Jolly has worked in private shops and as a consultant, opened several coffee houses from Washington D.C. to Colorado to San Jose. Before opening Hot and Cool, he opened Synergetic Coffee in Topanga Plaza.

Jolly decided on a Leimert Park location for his business when he heard it was a well-known arts and cultural community without a coffee house. He and co-owner Eric Moore, a retired 27-year LAPD veteran, […]

May 7th, 2018|News & Updates|

GLPVCC BID PROPOSES EXPANSION AND RENEWAL IN 2019

The Greater Leimert Park Village Crenshaw Corridor Business Improvement District (GLPVCCBID) is currently in its 10th year of operation as a property-based assessment district. It received two 5-year formation approvals from the City of Los Angeles City Clerk’s Office, one in 2009 and one in 2014. The current District boundaries include the commercially zoned parcels in Leimert Park Village, on Crenshaw Corridor from Vernon Avenue to 39th Street, in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, and in Marlton Square which includes the new Kaiser Permanente building. Services include a clean streets program and marketing partnerships.

2019 Formation Concept

For its third formation approval process, the GLPVCCBID has embarked upon an effort to expand its boundary on Crenshaw Boulevard from 39th Street to Jefferson Boulevard. All other boundaries will remain the same. This effort will connect our communities along the new Crenshaw LAX Transit Line and create an opportunity to implement a collective marketing and branding strategy for the entire District with a focus on the arts, tourism, pedestrian oriented streetscape and business development. The Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project will serve the Crenshaw District, Inglewood and Westchester, and is establishing three stations on Crenshaw Boulevard within the […]

May 7th, 2018|News & Updates|