Echo Park Afternoon





Man, I hate driving back to the Valley after a day like this, and what a lovely day it was.

Wait, what am I saying? I love strip malls! And dreary boulevards!

Let’s not forget fat people at Costco, living in their sweatpants!

But darling, don’t you like owning our own house?

Right now,  I’d rather rent and be one of the cool people again.   Just for a month.  

But what about the animals?  Where would they live? What would become of the garden?

What garden?  Hipsters don’t need gardens.  They have craft cocktails and art events to which they can bike.  They live in a world with actual bike lanes.

You’re being silly.

I’m being true to myself. I’ve been lying to myself for a decade. I see clearly now.

I think we had too much sangria.


Even the ugly buildings are interesting. Look.

You can paint eyeballs on the side of the house if it makes you feel better.

Echo Park is my mistress.

You have no mistress.  And you like having lots of space.

I don’t need space. I could sleep on Allison and Marcus’s couch.  

And what would you do for food?

Who needs food? I could be a breathatarian.  I could trade my worldly goods for bike tools.

Darling, bike lanes are first world problems.  So are aesthetics.

What’s with this traffic? Shouldn’t we be home already?

Brewing has begun at MacLeod

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America was born in taverns. Before the first shot was fired at Bunker Hill, before the founding documents were written, America breathed in the hearts of free men who gathered around tables and drank and argued and came to a particular conclusion what liberty meant and what it didn’t mean and what price they would pay to obtain it.

The grog they drank was often made nearby, or by the proprietor. When the hour arrived to stand and declare American ground,  it was men from taverns, not the names one is taught in high school, who took the first British volley and the next, and all those which followed,  their martial spirits nurtured and restored at the inn.


Van Nuys is as close to a colony as we have in California. A generation ago, it was small city unto itself with a distinct historical identity at the crossroads of the Valley, and nearly the population of Spokane. It was the subject of no less than three Hollywood films, and known nationally as the center of car cruising culture. The Camaro and the Firebird were built and sold on the same street and how many towns could say the same?  Today Van Nuys has not a single elected representative at any level of government numbered among its residents. None.  This may be unique among cities in the developed world.  It has become a distant, shabby plantation from which City Hall and Sacramento extract blocs of votes and tax dollars. In return the government does….well, as little as possible, and does it abundantly.

Revolution can begin quietly, and not seem like revolution at the time.  This month, we will be able to lay claim to something Sherman Oaks cannot, home of the only craft brewery and tasting room in the Valley.  It is here, in the summer evenings, the restoration of Van Nuys may be contemplated over the pleasure of the pint.


The first two batches went in the tank today.   Ironically, (not for Alastair, for me) they are brewing traditional British ales.

Grand opening: Sunday the 22nd, Noon-8pm. C’mon down.

MacLeod Brewery is coming


Civilization is returning to Van Nuys, in installments.  After an excruciating permit process, it will soon lay claim to hosting the second craft brewery in the valley, amidst the auto repair shops and palm trees of Calvert Street.


Plumbing inspection finished, neighbors pitched in to fill the trenches Friday.


Alastair Boase: bagpipe player, brewer and busy, busy man.  Traditional British Ales will be here in the springtime.  Tasting room open seven days a week.