Happening in Highland Park: NELA’s Historic Community Garden Ready for Summer 2016

Highland Park, Los Angeles, is an epicenter of change currently. Property values are skyrocketing, and new businesses are attracting people from all around to come and indulge in the unique culture and atmosphere of Historic Highland Park.


Just across the street from the iconic Frank’s Camera building and newly opened Highland Park Bowl, the Highland Theatre lights up the sky on the weekends with its locally famous green marquis lights, reminiscent of the exciting buzz of yesteryear, when families would head out to Figueroa Street for a night of wining, dining, entertainment and socializing.

Behind the theatre, whose backside is tattooed with awe inspiring street art, is the Milagro Allegro Community Garden. As summer falls upon us, new life is breathed into the once parking lot that now serves as a focal point of community activity and natural beauty for the Northeast Los Angeles (NELA) community.

The garden itself is a place for gardeners to come a rest after stressful days at work, and reap the fruits of their labor (literally). While each plot serves a different purpose to their individual plot owners, the 30+ collective raised wooden plots create an oasis amid an urban landscape.




Last year, among the most successful of the community programs held at the garden was our Amaranth Harvest, hosted by Liz Goetz, MFA in partnership with the Souzas of Art in the Park located in nearby Hermon. A series of educational art classes educated children about the history and purpose of Amaranth plants in Guatemalan culture. By the end of the three-month project, the grains were ready for harvest, and community members gathered to harvest the seeds in traditional Guatemalan practice, and the seeds were then stored in the local seed library to be re-used for this year’s harvest. There are more of these types of programs in the works.


In an ongoing effort to be a zero-waste and water conservative community garden, we have added giant 300-gallon caged water tank. The benefit of the plastic tank is that it is easier to quantify exactly how much the garden is using, as opposed to over watering with traditional hoses and water cans. Another perk is that these plastic tanks are durable, yet easy to mend if they were to become punctured. They don’t rust over time like the heavier, galvanized steel tanks do, making them easier to maneuver around, and more cost efficient.




Rather than watering in the middle of the day, most of our gardeners have taken to the habit of getting to their plots early in the morning, or in the later afternoons to hydrate their plots. By doing this, the water is able to soak to the roots, and enrich the roots as opposed to watering in the middle of the day, when the sun quickly evaporates the water.

It is also imperative to not over water the plants, and make sure that gardeners are not just watering dirt. Native Southern California plants are resilient and actually do well with little water, as they have had to adapt and evolve over the years, especially during the historic drought we have found ourselves in the middle of.


One of our favorite gardeners, Felix, tends to his plot, which has been producing a wealth of amazing mint and abundant lettuce. 



Here’s some of the lettuce we are taking home to eat from Felix’s plot! 

Another addition to the garden is a large compost system. Generally, successful garden composts are divided into three categories (and they don’t have to be all nice and neat, contrary to what you might read on the internet or in official gardening books). You just need three quasi-separate piles: new compost, aging compost, and ready to use compost. A combination of brown (dry) and green (wet) compost will create the proper nitrogen and carbon to help break down the material, creating a compound of nutrient rich soil to better help your plot become a flourishing bed of growth. It’s easy to get in the habit of creating a designated bin for kitchen scraps that you can heap into your local compost at your convenience!

It is also important to aerate the compost, this can be done with a pitchfork, and by just making sure that air and moisture are reaching all parts of the materials in the compost. This will deliver oxygen where it is needed, keeping the cultures within alive and active. This can be done weekly, or whenever a hefty amount of new material is being added to the compost.




The best things for your compost are easy to find and will help you take step to living a more sustainable and zero-waste lifestyle! Composts can include dead leaves, lawn clippings, food scraps (not including meat and fat), black and white newspaper, manure (preferably from organic-fed sources), and all organic matter.

Each raised plot should cultivate a combination of fertilizer, rich in nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, grass clippings and/or wood chips (to prevent weed growth, more susceptible in places with direct sunlight), and compost. Grass clippings are an optimal source of organic fertilizer, as it is available via often free local sources, it does double duty preventing weeds and conserving water and garden soil moisture, which is something that not even all bags of pre-packaged commercial mulch does.

The benefits of raised bed garden plots are seemingly endless. They produce a better yield for area because there is better drainage and better opportunity for deeper rooting and stronger crops. It is also easier to rework the soil and top layers from season to season, making your plot ready to serve you all year round.



This season, my plot-mates and I decided to turn all the soil, removing all weeds and excess roots, to make room for our new seedlings. With about five bags of manure from a local source, our plot was ready to get started! It is always encouraged to plant from seeds, and we advocate for this at Milagro Allegro. This year, we purchased our organic seeds from Sunset Nursery in Silver Lake and used a seed started kit to germinate the seeds. When they were ready to be transplanted, we transported them to the plot and arranged them in their appropriate rows. So far so good!




Our giant trellis is being used for our melons, tomatoes, and my favorite—watermelon. Last year, with just one watermelon seed, I was able to manipulate my watermelon vine to work its way all around my giant trellis to create a watermelon tree of sorts. Because of the adaptability of the fruit, the vines strengthened to adapt the the weight of the melons, allowing them to grow and hang in a unique and creative way. I hope to do this same this year! The results were delicious.



There is not shortage of trellises for gardeners to utilize at the garden and there are a variety of sizes and types that can cater to your individual gardening needs. Summer trellises can be used to help grow tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, pole beans, gourds, melons, squash and pumpkins.

During the months of May and June, it is prime time to plant the following for the best results; basil, beans (bush and pole), beets, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, jicama, lima beans, mustard, okra, peppers (of all varieties), pumpkin, radish, squash, sunflowers, Swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelon, and zucchini.



There is something satisfying and fulfilling about caring for something and watching it grow. Not only are there aesthetically pleasing benefits of gardening but functional rewards as well. There is a community of local gardeners that congregate to chat and enjoy the outdoors in the middle of a neighborhood where some have lived for generations. But people are welcome to enjoy the garden, whether you are an established resident of the area, or looking to get more involved. Each plot gives a little glimpse into each gardener’s character. So stop by and watch the evolution of the harvests of summer 2016!


Jasmine produces a seducing aroma for passerby’s of every variety. 


Fruit trees lining the garden create a more inviting ambiance as opposed to the often deterring chain link fence. The apples are in bloom as wells at the beautiful flowers that grow with them. 

If you are interested in starting some sort of community programming in the garden, please contact Andrea Kainuma at for more information.

For more background on the genesis and mission of the garden, here is the description as listed on its Facebook page:

“The Milagro Allegro garden is located at 115 S. Avenue 56 in the Northeast Los Angeles community of Highland Park. The garden features 10,000 square feet of land divided into 32 raised plots for cultivating fruits, vegetables and flowers. The garden also features a gathering circle for hosting classes, workshops and community events.

Milagro Allegro is located behind the historic Highland Theater, on 10,000 square feet of land belonging to the City of Los Angeles. Before Milagro Allegro began negotiations for a community garden, the land had remained vacant for 30 years—full of weeds and surrounded by barbed wire.

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of several community members and the support of Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes, Assemblyman Kevin De Leon, L.A. Department of Transportation, L.A. Community Garden Council, L.A. Conservation Corps, Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council and Home Depot, the Milagro Allegro Community Garden was able to open its doors.

The Milagro Allegro Community Garden is organized under the Los Angeles Community Garden Council, which supports 70 community gardens throughout Los Angeles County. Collectively, the gardens serve nearly 4,000 families and have become a vibrant part of their communities aimed at reducing poverty, mitigating global warming and benefiting the environment.

Its mission is to be a center of peace and beauty in the community where the cultivation of vegetables, fruits and flowers as well as creative ideas, artistic expression and neighborly values may take place.

The Milagro Allegro Community Garden integrates urban farming, art and education in the heart of the Highland Park neighborhood. Garden plots are available for interested community members. A community gathering space hosts classes, workshops and events. Local schools may incorporate the garden into curriculum or after-school activities. “

MorYork Gallery presents WATER STORIES, a collaborative mixed media art piece


The MorYork Gallery in Highland Park is a true wonderland of curiosities hidden in plain view. Its home is on a busy corner diagonal from locally famous Café de Leche on York Boulevard in Highland Park. A plain green wall lets the space sit unnoticed while walkers and drivers pass by. Behind the green wall is a portal into an otherworldly collection of art and artists collaborating and creating amid a large skating-rink-turned-art-space that is nothing short of epic in size.

Owner of MorYork Gallery, Clare Graham, talks with his resident artists underneath a hanging installment of dangling spines, fibers, and other oddities. An almost occult playfulness and innovativeness is apparent via copious sculptures, furniture, paintings, scientific concoctions, skeletal systems, and beyond.


This has been Graham’s space since 1986, long before the hype of Northeast Los Angeles seduced the minds of Los Angelinos to come and rally in NELA for hip cultural gatherings. The wood floor still shows traces of basketball court painted lines and the wood vaulted ceiling is reminiscent of what one might imagine Noah’s ark would have perhaps looked like.

Graham’s work incorporates recycled materials, often cast aside unwanted. New life is breathed into each piece, as its corresponding elements work together to create larger than life works of art with radiating character. As one nears one of Graham’s pieces, it seems it comes more to life with the emergence of every detail. Up close, it can be seen that these large-scale pieces are frequently constructed out of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of tiny everyday mundane pieces. His work genuinely winks at the concept of power in numbers.

The theme at hand during this visit is water, leading to the forthcoming collaborative art performance which incorporates movement, sound design, textiles, and prose to portray WATER STORIES.

A series of workshops will allow the public to immerse themselves into the art by extending the opportunity to practice in a variety of media, ultimately contributing to the final product as a whole. The logic behind these sequence of workshops in concert with the final product results in a community minded experience where abstract concepts and philosophy can be pulled from applicable experience. It soaks the viewer in engagement, bringing them closer to a more acute understanding of the art piece rather than taking on the mere role of a spectator.

However, this does not exclude the less active audience member. Stephanie Zalatel, creator of the szalt dance company, works with her team to choreograph a deeply moving five-part performance for WATER STORIES. Movement appears to narrate a story set to the sounds collected by musician and composer, Louis Lopez. Audio clips collected from field samplings are set to bold tones with an ethereal ambience and subliminal humming reminiscent to the experience one might have submerged in water.



















Perhaps one of the most unique elements of the piece, aside from its already left-of-mainstream surroundings of the gallery, is the use of textiles and costuming. Fiber artist, Amabelle Aguiluz, incorporates her knitted clothing into the performance by creating abstract masks and dress-like coverings for the dancers as well as the landscape around them. The various patterns in the knit work resemble the natural patterns that might be found in nature within a bed of sea coral. While Aguiluz generally works with basic dark and light colors, this piece will incorporate a wider spectrum of color, amplifying the colorful and unpredictable make-up of water and all the connotations it possesses.

To round out the process, there will also be poetry about the performance constructed by poet, Julia Nowak. The poems will be featured in the programs at each performance, giving each audience member a memento to take home with them if they were unable to participate in one of the preceding workshops.

There will be several opportunities to get involved. The actual performance will have multiple weekends including April 22-23 (for VIP ticket holders) / 29-30, and May 6-7 /13-14.

Starting March 20, the workshops will be every Sunday from noon until 3pm. It costs $30 to register online, and $40 at the door. If you are interested in all four classes, you can get a bundle rate of $100. The first will be a textiles workshop, followed by sound recordings workshops, then a movement research class, concluded by a culmination workshop where all the acquired skills can be put to use in a cohesive piece. For more information please visit or e-mail Stephanie at If you know you want to purchase tickets, you can do so by going to

The MorYork Gallery is located at 4959 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90042.

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel open commercial art space in LA’s historic Arts District

When my Uber driver pulled up to 901 East 3rd Street in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District on Sunday, March 13, I was nothing short of impressed by the scene I had suddenly found myself in the middle of. There were a slew of other cars trying their hands at weaving in and out of an influx of people crossing the street coming to and from the large white building resting on an entire city block on the corner of East 3rd Street.


The bustle was all for the opening of the newest commercial gallery space, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel. This new Los Angeles location is the newest addition to the world-renowned collector/curator spaces of Hauser Wirth with home bases also in London, Zurich and New York City. There were people of all ages making their ways into the gigantic space to experience Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Woman, 1947-2016.

Inside the venue one might find them at a loss of what to do first. Upon entry there is a fine bookstore, public breezeway with historical references about the building’s history as a wheat mill, a research area, education lab, planting garden, and restaurant. An outdoor courtyard area lured in spectators with the aroma of delicious food, which was handed out as complimentary dishes for all guests. The weather was idyllic for such an event and hoards of people enjoyed the communal outdoor sitting tables to feast and discuss the unique art on display in Hauser Wirth & Schimmel.


Various grand rooms gave way for opportunity to see in-person works by some of the most influential artists in history. The first room I made my way through was the large show space, bright with natural light streaming through the grand atrium. I walked around the space observing a myriad of sculptural pieces set among the building’s historic and elegant columns. From room to room, gallery goers were able to experience large-scale sculptures, installations, paintings, works on paper, and beyond. Contrary to the typical gallery experience, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel offers more than just pieces on display with price tags attached, but rather they are more representative of the non-collecting art museum. Many of the pieces shown at Revolution in the Making, are on lone from other galleries.

Swiss Gallery juggernauts, Iwan and Manuela Wirth, alongside their partner, Paul Schimmel, formerly of the LA Museum of Contemporary Art, aim to have a space where art is commissioned, there are group shows, and education is at work. It makes for a more communal experience and is more engaging with the public. As opposed to other shows that don’t typically stay in one gallery for extended period of time, Revolution in the Making will make its home at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel until September 4, 2016; optimizing the amount of time the public can come and enjoy the art.

The building itself is over 100,000 square feet and each unit’s origins range from the 1890s until the 1940s. A personality of its own emergences from the mere presence of the building, paying homage to its integral roots in Los Angeles’ rich history. A symbol of wheat and ship’s wheel marks the original purpose of the space, and points back to the early days when it was amidst the manufacturing district of Downtown LA.


It has been mentioned that the mere architecture of the space alone points to an optimism about LA that once radiated throughout the city during the industrial revolution that we don’t see as frequently in architecture of today. Perhaps the activity and life breathed into spaces such as Hauser Wirth & Schimmel will reignite that sort of enthusiasm in the public surrounding.

I found myself taken aback by the sheer number of artists involved in the show as well as the amount of pieces. There are over 100 pieces by over 34 artists being shown right now at the gallery, each with their own story and place in the advancement of women in art. Each room seems to transcend generations and penetrate to the core of the women’s movement during each era. There is a sense of community, learning and awareness surfaced when venturing from one room to the next. Among just some of the names of the post-war era artists shown are Ruth Asawa, Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, Claire Falkenstein, and Louise Nelson. Moving on to artists of the 1960s-70s are works from Magdalena Abakanowics, Lynda Benglis, Heidi Bucher, Gego, Francois Grossen, Eva Hesse, Sheila Hicks, Yayoi Kusama, Mira Schendel, Michelle Stuart, Hannah Wilke, and Jackie Windsor. Representing contemporary artists there were names such as Isa Genzken, Cristina Iglesias, Liz Larner, Anna Maria Maiolino, Marisa Merz, Senga Nengudi, Lygia Pape, and Ursula von Rydinsvard.

To describe the experience feels rather artificial, as one should go and witness the breadth of work and history present in a deeply historic and monumental space tucked into the framework of the Los Angeles art world.

Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Woman, 1947-2016 will be on display at the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel Gallery located at 901 East 3rd Street in Downtown Los Angeles until September 3, 2016. Gallery hours are from 11am-6pm, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and from 11am-8pm on Thursdays. For more information you can contact Andrea Schwan, of Andrea Schwan Inc., via e-mail at or telephone at 1 (917) 371-5023. To learn more about the history of Hauser Wirth and their other locations, you can visit

trailer update

Home is where you park it! : Tiny living in my freshly renovated vintage Silver Streak trailer in Highland Park! (I did it under $1500)

Original post here: Home is where you park it! : Tiny living in my freshly renovated vintage Silver Streak trailer in Highland Park! (I did it under $1500)

trailer update 2



SubAp! has been killing it! Below are some older WG articles. Enjoy!


SIDENOTE: This interview was translated from Portuguese to English, so apologies for any trips in the flow, ya dig? This article is also available via Tom Tom Mag.

The Whirling Girlish Fernanda Terra Interview for Suburban Apologist

The Whirling Girlish interviews Fernanda Terra, drummer for the Brazilian band Kombato, and instructor at Girls Rock Camp Brazil. They talk Brazilian punk culture, and Brazil’s current state of political turmoil.

Sao Paulo, Brazil—There is some gnarly stuff going on in Brazil these days. It’s actually been this way for quite some time. Make shift houses and dilapidated structures blanket mountainsides along endless miles of breath taking shorelines stretching all the way back into the heart of beautiful country with some deep rooted social issues.

Beyond the charm and allure of events such as Carnival, the Summer Olympics, and the World Cup, lies a movement of people standing up to their government with resolute determination to achieve economic justice. Record amounts of Brazilians have been joining together to protest and demand their grievances be heard in events baring striking resembling the civil rights movement of the United States during the 1960s. But alas, many of events turn to chaos, and so continues the damage and corruption.

Fernanda Terra, drummer of  Brazilian based band Kombato, and drum mentor at Girls Rock Camp Brazil, has lived in Sao Paulo for quite some time. Sao Paulo is a city dense with beautiful culture, and represents both the progress and problems of the country. Punk culture transcends the music scene and is present in the threat of Skin Heads, gang violence, and unruly youth. In a recent interview with Fernanda, I asked her how the current political and economic turmoil is affecting the music culture during this revolutionary time in Brazil’s history.

SubAp!: So, Fernanda, there’s a lot going on politically in Brazil these days. Punk music is known for being pretty political at times, is that translating into the music scene a lot?

Fernanda Terra: Absolutely. A long time ago, Brazilian musicians had to worry about being more censored because there was a brutal military dictatorship. Today, we have made progress and lyrics are not as indirect and don’t have to be as metaphorical as they once were. People are bolder.

Are you finding most bands are more political now than in recent years?

Some bands stray away from that, but many, especially punk bands, use the stage to revolt against the current political policies and seek justice. The more and more underground you go, the more political it gets. The more raw the material is.

How does punk culture differ in the different regions of Brazil?

A lot! Some areas are more rural, while others more urban. For instance in Sao Paolo, there are some real punks (and not just people in bands with tattoos), but kids holding people at gun point, and stealing cars. There’s extreme poverty and people doing what they need to survive. There’s a big movement here of people standing up to the government. But like everywhere else, the punks are seen as a minority. There’s still some progress to me made.

Speaking of progress, how has the music scene that you know and love, grown since you started playing drums in 1992?

During the 80s and 90s the Riot Grrrl movement also made its way down to Brazil and influenced a lot more girl drummers to start playing. That movement still exists in Brazil today, and still affects the music scene. Sometimes I think people don’t realize the importance of the movement and what it did for women in music.

How has punk music changed?

Back then (early 90s), communicating was more difficult. We didn’t have access to as much information like we do today with the internet. It seems like there were more live shows, zines, newsletters, and other materials from bands. Bands didn’t have all the help from the media. You had to really like a band and set out to find more information about them, or get one of their shirts to promote them yourself. People would see you wearing the shirt and ask you about it. There was a different and more intimate level of interaction. Today, you see ripped Ramones shirts on models strutting down the catwalk in fashion shows without knowing anything beyond the name.

Do you think technology has changed the music experience?

There is less of a commitment to go to live shows. That’s because you can just watch it on YouTube whenever you want. You have all the resources you need to see a band and listen to their music at your fingertips. It’s easier than ever to even start a band without even having to pick up an instrument.

Would you say that the Brazilian underground music scene is still going strong?

More than ever! Especially in Sao Paolo, but there is great underground music everywhere, even though a lot of it makes its way into the mainstream.

For more information about Fernanda or anything you read here you can visit her website.

This interview has been translated into English from Portuguese

Link to original article: