A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: Flamenco-Fusion Out of Highland Park

I’ve observed what happens when David Holguin, 27, starts to play his guitar. People stop and listen – and then they stay, waiting for another song. “That’s the kind of music we need more of,” said one man who recently stopped to listen to Holguin at the Old L.A. Farmers Market in Highland Park. Holguin, […]

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A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: One Man’s Quest to Revive the Dying Art of Basketmaking

Some 20 years ago, I saw a photograph of Justin Farmer in the Southwest Museum in Highland Park. In the photo, Farmer is holding a traditional long bow. I have never forgotten it. Farmer is not primarily known for his bow-making, though that is one of his many skills. Farmer is best known for his […]

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A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: Revered Elder of Highland Park Spreads Music and Well-being 

A recent Monday night found me at Colombo’s restaurant on Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock, listening to Tom Trujillo playing jazz on the guitar with a few other musicians. Trujillo also sang and played the drums before the set was over.  Trujillo, whom I have known for more than 40 years, is a born, all-around […]

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A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: Local Pioneer of Self-Reliance Practices What She Teaches – and Teaches What She Practices

Recently, Prudence Boczarski was at the Highland Park Farmers’ Market, showcasing her natural bakery business and representing WTI, the local nonprofit founded in 1971 to teach urban dwellers how to live better with less. And since there is no better way to teach than to give a hands-on demonstration, Ms. Boczarski was also using her […]

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A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: Soil from Coffee Grounds, Water from the Air Conditioner

I recently noticed a new flower bed behind Antigua Bread, the coffeehouse/bakery at 5703 N. Figueroa St. Where there once had been weeds and trash was a beautiful wood-framed garden bed, approximately 6-by-6 feet, with colorful flowers, some vegetables – and a five-gallon plastic bucket strapped to a tall wooden pole and connected by a […]

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A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: The Art and Craft of Sharpening a Knife

I met Julio Toruno recently at the Old L.A. (Highland Park) Farmers Market, where he works on Tuesdays from the back of his truck, sharpening knives on a whetstone.  Just by watching him, I could tell he epitomizes “old school” craftsmanship.  I approached him as he was sharpening a large kitchen knife and I could […]

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A Voice in the NELA Wilderness:Grow Your Own Oyster Mushrooms

Matt Heidrich of Highland Park loves oyster mushrooms – so much, in fact, that he has mastered the intricate art and science of home cultivation. I visited him recently and learned a lot. Oyster mushrooms grow on the sides of old and dying trees; in the Arroyo Seco, they commonly grow on willows and cottonwoods. […]

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A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: How Does Your Drought-Resistant Garden Grow?

State water officials recently toyed with the idea of reinstating drought-era water rules and making them permanent. In the end, they didn’t act. But rules or no rules, it behooves all of us to find and practice a lifestyle of water conservation. Northeast Los Angeles is part of a coastal desert plain, with enough local […]

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