Friday, March 27, 2009

Civic Datebook

Ponte Vista is holding an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. today (March 28) at the Boys and Girls Club, 100 W. Fifth St. in downtown San Pedro. Presentation boards will outline the developer’s latest proposal, incorporating input from the first open house two weeks ago. Supporters and opponents of the Western Avenue residential development are looking ahead to the pivotal City Planning Commission hearing in downtown L.A. on April 9. See the Ponte Vista blog for more information about the “emerging land-use concept” and R Neighborhoods Are 1 for an update from grassroots opponents.

Who turned out the lights? The Vincent Thomas Bridge will go dark at 8:30 p.m. tonight (March 28) on purpose. The switch will be flipped to mark Earth Hour, a worldwide grassroots campaign to raise awareness about global warming and energy conservation.

An idea has surfaced for ballfields and an amphitheatre on Knoll Hill, but the concept isn’t universally cheered, the Daily Breeze reported Thursday.

See the Daily Breeze story and pictures of “high-tech democracy” – the new live video feed connecting San Pedro with the L.A. City Council meeting.

Social Datebook

Muriel Olguin. Photo courtesy Medea Gallery.

Longtime San Pedro artist Muriel Olguin will receive a lifetime achievement award at Medea Gallery today (March 28). The reception takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. at the downtown gallery, 445 W. Seventh St. A number of political representatives will attend the 5 p.m. awards ceremony to honor Olguin. See the gallery’s website for more information.

Tonight (March 28) is the first special wine dinner with Off the Vine Wines and 7th Street Chophouse. Given the talent behind the event, it’s bound to please. RSVP required.

The First Thursday artwalk is April 2. Highlights were not posted online at presstime. Check the website next week for an update. Meanwhile, see our reports below for new nightlife venues and new apparel shops to visit during First Thursday.

New Downtown Shops

Image Men’s Clothing

This new Sixth Street shop carries a wide range of men’s business casual and weekend clothes in classic and contemporary styles. Selections include graphic t-shirts and designer jeans for fashion-forward guys plus basic Levi’s, Bermuda shorts and traditional preppy Izod polos.

The shop is located at 317 W Sixth St. in the space formerly occupied by Glamour Puss beauty shop. Hours are Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Phone (310) 519-8019.

Maral’s Designs

This women’s shop moved from the 8th Street Lofts to Seventh Street. In her new location next door to the Whale & Ale, owner Maral Malikyar has much more space to display her diverse collection of women’s apparel and accessories.

Labels include Citron and Flax, plus other brands of classic and trendy everyday clothes and special-occasion pieces. The shop carries shoes, handbags, handmade jewelry, scarves and other accessories.

A collection of children’s wear has also been added to the stock, pictured above with Malikyar.

The shop is located at 331 W Seventh St. Hours are Tues.-Sat. 12-6 p.m. Call (310) 418-0109.

New Downtown Entertainment

7th Street Chophouse will turn the mic over to comedians on First Thursday. The upstairs Levels Lounge will host the night of comedy on April 2 at 8 p.m. $10 cover charge. Smooth Jazz saxophonist Jessy J will perform on April 11. $15 cover charge. Call (310) 684-1753 for information and reservations.

Sixth Street Bistro has a new entertainment lineup. Flamenco guitarist Gambiz performs on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Eclectic musician Jamie Carey sings classic rock, country and other genres on Fridays, while Rob the piano man (of Whale & Ale fame) tickles the ivories on Saturday nights. Happy Hour is Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m., with half-price cocktails, beers and appetizers. New look: The restaurant has remodeled to create a strong, sultry feel with a black color scheme for the tables and contemporary artwork to replace the large mural inside. New food, too: New steaks and seafood dishes have been added to the regular menu. Also on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can ask your server if the special wine dinner is available, an off-menu impromptu creation of five courses paired with wine. Call (310) 521-8818.

The Whale & Ale features jazz by the Mike Guerrero Trio on Sundays.

Up closer to Gaffey Street, there’s music, dancing, drink, food and merriment regularly at the Copper Room and Babouch Moroccan Restaurant.

Bank Lofts Update

The new management company at the Bank Lofts is rolling out the welcome mat.

“We’re here to be part of the San Pedro arts district and to fit into the neighborhood,” said leasing manager Janet Williams.

An open house will be held on April 2 and every First Thursday. The leasing office is open seven days a week just west of the 407-409 W. Seventh St. lobby.

These are open-door opportunities for Williams and her staff to show the 89-unit property as an “intimate, pet-friendly community.”

The 8th Street building is fully occupied and the 7th Street building is at 50% occupancy.

The property includes flats, lofts with internal mezzanines, two-story lofts and penthouses from 974 to more than 2,600 square feet. Rent goes from $1,500 for a smaller loft to $4,000 for the largest two-story unit.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hungry for Politics

Ponte Vista will hold a second open house on March 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club, 100 W. Fifth St. in downtown San Pedro. Call (310) 241-0699 for more information.

Harbor Area residents can now testify on city issues without driving to L.A. City Hall. A live video teleconference will be set up at the San Pedro municipal building for city council meetings, allowing constituents to testify remotely in real time. It will be active at 10 a.m. for the Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday meetings beginning next week. Councilwoman Janice Hahn is featured in this video explaining the pilot program. The councilwoman’s office will host an “opening-day gathering” at 9:30 a.m. on March 25 at the facility at 638 S. Beacon St. For more information, call (310) 732-4515.

Hungry for Dinner

Long-time restaurants are launching new specials and new dining establishments are bringing a fresh wave of innovation to the San Pedro dinner table.

7th Street Chophouse and Off the Vine Wines are having a Napa Valley wine dinner at the new downtown steakhouse on March 28. During the five-course dinner, winemakers will share their insights and the chef will explain the inspiration behind the dishes, all specially created for the wine dinner. Cost is $90 per person. See the menu for details and RSVP information.

The Maritime Research Center in downtown San Pedro is recreating the first night’s dinner aboard the Titanic. The French dinner will be served at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on April 3. Living historians will be present to help take guests back in time. Cost is $95 per person or $105 at a living historian’s table. See the flyer for the menu and RSVP information.

Marcello Tuscany Restaurant has a new menu, new management and new pricing. There’s live music on the weekends and a weeknight earlybird special of appetizer, salad, entree, dessert and wine for $19.95 from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The restaurant is open for dinner seven nights a week and lunch weekdays.

Ports O’ Call Restaurant is offering a new seasonal menu, an earlybird dinner special and half of wine bottles with entree purchase on Monday and Tuesday.

The Whale and Ale has added a Tuesday wine tasting called Tasty Tuesdays. Sample four wines for $8-10.

7th Street Chophouse and Off the Vine Wines are offering an ongoing promotion of no corkage fee at the chophouse for wines purchased at Off the Vine.

In Other News

Downtown real estate
Units are now available for purchase or lease at the Vue. A new website, Dwell at Vue, tells prospective renters about the property. Lease prices are not posted. Stay tuned for a follow-up story.

The Bank Lofts, another condo-turned-rental property in downtown San Pedro, has opened a leasing office in the ground floor of the 7th Street building. Watch for an open house on First Thursday.

Downtown nightlife and shopping
7th Street Chophouse and Marcello Restaurant are among the new places to hear live music in San Pedro. Meanwhile, surrounding retail shops are opening and closing in the downtown district. Watch for a complete report in next week’s issue.

Western Avenue
It’s a Grind coffee house on Western Avenue has become Via Dolce Neighborhood Cafe, serving coffee, sandwiches and salads. Stay tuned for more info in an upcoming issue.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ponte Vista: They Came, They Saw, They Commented

Hundreds of community members attended Thursday’s open house on the Ponte Vista housing development. Large display boards traced the history of the development and outlined the “emerging directions” the developer is proposing to take. Boards were set aside for public comment, where the community opined on oversized post-it notes.

The number of units being proposed is now 1,375-1,475 for the 61-acre Western Avenue property, a figure opponents still view as too dense.

Ponte Vista is holding another open house on March 28 at the Boys and Girls Club, preceding the L.A. City Planning Commission hearing on April 9.

The Los Angeles Times and Daily Breeze ran stories before and after the meeting, respectively.

Business Bust: Parking Meters Drain Downtown Commerce

Downtown businesses are losing customers over the drastic increase in parking meter rates. Merchants are hurting badly and they’re mad as heck, the Daily Breeze reported Thursday.

Coastal Council Meeting Monday

The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets on March 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marina Community Building, Cabrillo Plaza, Berth 28. View the agenda, visit or call (310) 290-0049 for more information.

New Neighborhood Councilmembers

Jennifer Radisic was appointed to the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council. Here’s information about Radisic from Random Lengths News:

“The owner of a local plumbing business was recently elected to fill a vacant seat on the Coastal’s Governing Board. Jennifer Radisic told the audience that participating in a community project to plant trees on Pacific Avenue was ‘one of the greatest experiences’ of her life. She added that she used to work for the San Pedro News-Pilot, and that one of her efforts as a new member would be to help reduce the level of graffitti around town.

“Radisic is opposed to the development of a cruise terminal in the outer harbor, but declined to comment on whether an off-leash dog park should be put at Joan Milke Flores Park, and whether the school district should build SRHS15.

“‘I’ll take the fifth,’ said Radisic.”

Phillip Strout, development director for Beacon House, was appointed to the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council this week.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ponte Vista, Neighborhood Council Meetings This Week

Ponte Vista Open House

The community will get a first look at new designs for the Ponte Vista housing development at an open house Thursday.

The open house takes place from 4-8 p.m. on March 12 at Peck Park, 560 N. Western Ave.

Public comment forms will be provided for feedback about the new designs, said to reflect the developer’s re-thinking of the “overall scale, makeup and density” of the Western Avenue residential project.

This will be the first public meeting following the December management shake-up that ousted Bob Bisno and shifted the project to DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners, a subsidiary of Credit Suisse First Boston bank.

The open house comes a month before the L.A. City Planning Commission is set to vote on the project at an April 9 hearing in dowtown L.A.

Neighborhood Councils

The Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets Monday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Peck Park, 560 N. Western Ave. View the agenda, visit or call (310) 732-4522 for more information.

The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets Tuesday, March 10 at the Port of Los Angeles High School, 250 W. Fifth St. Refreshments are served at 6 p.m. and the meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. View the agenda, visit or call (310) 918-8650 for more information.

Two seats are open on the Central board. They will be filled by appointment at the meeting Tuesday. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply by contacting President John Delgado at

New Issue of San Pedro Today Online

The second monthly issue of San Pedro Today has a cover story on Mishi’s Strudel and Garth Trani’s Port Gelato Cobblershop and Soup Kitchen (a new, elongated name for the Italian ice cream shop at Seventh and Centre Streets.) More feature stories and columnists are found inside the print edition or online at

New Wellness Businesses Come to Downtown

Two natural health and wellness businesses have opened in downtown San Pedro. The Body Purification Center and Moya Body Care & Colon Hydrotherapy approach health care holistically, bypassing pharmaceutical remedies in favor of counseling, medicinal foods and herbal treatments to improve clients’ wellbeing in body, mind and spirit.

Body Purification Center

It’s a toxic world and even more so adjacent the harbor.

Even if symptoms aren’t as extreme as asthma, air pollution combined with an unhealthy diet, stress and job-related aches and pains can make a person feel sluggish and run down.

Body Purification Center on Sixth Street is dedicated to healing these problems.

“Our passion is dealing with the health impact of environmental issues,” said co-owner Marc Ryan. “We offer non-toxic solutions to health problems.”

The lounge at Body Purification Center.

The herbal pharmacy.

The facility is a “multi-specialty health and wellness center for all ages focused on treating health issues resulting from exposure to environmental toxins and injuries, aches and pains caused by work.”

It offers preventative treatment for maritime-industry workers and others who want to strengthen injury-prone muscles and mitigate the effects of air pollution. The center also offers rehabilitation services for injured workers.

Clients are treated by Ryan, a integrative medicine specialist at UCLA, and his colleagues: acupuncturist and herbalist Olesia Farberov, personal trainer Steve Sanchez and chiropractor Dr. Gregory Cartmell.

Whether a person is preventing or recovering from a job-related injury or just wants to explore an alternative approach to better health, the Body Purification Center offers individualized remedies based primarily on a blood chemistry analysis performed on site.

After reviewing the results of the blood test, the experts will recommend a regimen of diet, exercise and herbal supplements for preventative or rehabilitative purposes.

The center offers detox foot baths “a la carte,” so clients can literally get their feet wet before deciding to undergo a full purification diagnosis.

Integrated, holistic treatment may include a combination of personal training, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic treatment, teas, herbal tonics and elixirs.

Prospective clients are invited to come by for a cup of tea and learn more about the center.

Located at 150 W. Sixth St., Suite 200. Open Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (310) 831-2202;

Moya Body Care & Colon Hydrotherapy

This new business specializes in colon hydrotherapy, a treatment to remove bodily waste from the colon. The procedure can improve overall wellness and help relieve constipation and other maladies.

The treatment is performed by Monisha Garner, owner of Moya Body Care at the 8th Street Lofts.

Monisha Garner of Moya Body Care.

Services are based on the philosophy of “retreating back to our natural state of wholeness, becoming centered well-beings and maintaining a balance between a healthy lifestyle and genuine wellness.”

Services include colon hydrotherapy, wellness coaching, massage, yoga, Pilates, detox foot baths, ear candling, detox retreats and organic body care products.

Prospective clients may be people who want to lose weight, have more energy, sleep better, improve facial complexion or just have a more positive, empowered attitude towards life.

“I use a lot of affirmations and controlled breathing to help people release what’s hurting them, physically and emotionally,” said Garner. “Just learning how to breathe deeply and fully can be so powerful. When you allow your organs to stretch out and breathe, you can get rid of the negative and give the positive room to flourish.”

Located at 800 S. Pacific Ave., Suite 201. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and Sun. by appointment; (562) 682-0818;

Happy Birthday to Us

San Pedro News turns 1 with this issue. We have been delivering the news faithfully every Saturday since March 8, 2008. Don’t shower us with lavish gifts; just tell your friends and family to subscribe. And thanks for reading!