Tarzana Is My Heroine

a poet considers the imaginary and reality of Tarzana

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Three Views of Dusk–Encino

Winter yields to spring.
I’m left with
three images of dusk—


One is a nondescript skyline, seen
from the Bank of America
at Ventura & Libbit;

a cement wall
foregrounds the parking lot



Then a stand of Washington palms
the rose-gray sky

first clear, then

blurred, showing
how winter’s hush
effaces things.


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The Ooze In Encino


Water is still seeping from that pipe on Louise Ave. that’s been leaking for 10 years. I wrote about it in a previous post, under the title “Something Rotten In Encino”:¬†https://tarzanaismyheroine.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/something-rotten-in-encino/. And now I’m starting to get annoyed, so I’m going to keep writing about it until a) it gets fixed, or b) I figure out who can get it fixed.

The morass of moss, algae, and rust-colored gunk around the leak is almost big enough to qualify as a city pond. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but it is an overly healthy muck habitat.

I bet mosquitos breed there in the summer too. Hello West Nile virus!

So I wonder what it will take to get the LA Bureau of Street Services to fix this? I posted a photo and note about this eyesore on the Encino Neighborhood Council Facebook page, but no response there–at least so far!

Now I’ve found a page on the LA Public Works website where problems with street drainage can be reported.

Let’s all report this!

The page has a form which asks for the address or location of the drainage problem. The location is south of the Louise Ave./Rochelle Place intersection in Encino on the west side of the street.

Here is a link to the form for reporting a problem:


Maybe if more people report it, we can get some action on the ooze!


And in case anyone is curious and wants a close-up so they can identify the species of algae, moss, or what have you, here you go



Storybook Ranch Homes

Here are snapshots of a few storybook ranch houses I’ve seen around Encino, north of the Boulevard. These homes epitomize what my favorite retro home blog, Retro Renovation (http://retrorenovation.com), would call “mid-century modest” homes.

Fortunately not too many of these homes have been torn down to build Spanish-style McMansions–as happened to one very lovely barn-red storybook ranch home on the corner of Hayvenhurst and Adlon a few years ago. Some of you may remember the house I’m talking about….

I love the pale yellow exterior of this first house below, and of course the diamond-pane windows on the garage too!

Look at the mix of horizontal and vertical batten boards here (behind the white picket fence!)

I love storybook ranches in barn or carriage red with white trim

Look at the little dovecote tucked just under the eaves

This house below is so attractive with its row of diamond-paned windows, pale green exterior, and the peeling bark of the gum or melaleuca tree in front.

I have in mind starting a project of getting a photo of every storybook ranch in town.

Maybe you can help!

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Something Rotten In Encino

One of my friends, someone very interested in Valley civics, pointed out that it would be cool if I talked about community issues on my blog sometimes.

She mentioned the Encino Neighborhood Council elections, for one thing–how the voting process seemed mysterious, etc.–and that even she only found out about the election the day before it happened.

And I said, “What neighborhood council?” Meaning that Encino, to me, is some vague area around Ventura Blvd. between the Galleria and White Oak Ave. Other than that, Encino is where my house is.

“I’ve never thought of it as an actual town,” I said.

“Exactly,” she said.

So the doings of the Encino–or any other Valley Neighborhood Council–are way off my radar (though I did attend a small, private gathering with Congressman Howard Berman before the Nov. 6 election).

But the photos below show something that *is* on my radar and has been for 12 years, but I guess I never thought there was any local city entity to appeal to because I don’t have a sense of who or what is responsible for my community.

What is on my radar is this suppurating eyesore on Louise Ave.

It must be some perverse kind of Fountain of Youth, because I’m pretty sure it’s been oozing like this since I moved here in 2000!

You can tell where the water is leaking from the otherworldly color of the fetid algae. Look at how the light-post base is corroding.

Maybe the city agency responsible (identified in photo #2 as the City of Los Angeles Dept. of Public Works) will come fix it someday soon?

Now that I’m thinking about it, there must be some number–like the LA City number where you report potholes–to call. I just haven’t bothered to do it, because I’ve been an apathetic citizen of ?? …. Encino, er, Los Angeles.

Now you see a more tangible reason why I’m confused about Encino-as-a-town: L.A. seems to be responsible for fixing this Encino street. So I live in Encino, but get my city services from LA.?

Got it.

Well, I hope LA Street Services finds time to come and fix this. Especially because their sister agency, the Dept. of Water and Power, is intermittently threatening to bust anyone caught watering on the wrong day.

How about they bust LA Public Works for this12-year-old leak and counting?

I do have to admit that the burnt orange color is pretty awesome, but still!

Having written this, I went and googled the Encino Neighborhood Council. There is one, and they have meetings every 4th Wednesday of the month. The election my friend was referring to happened September 29, though it does look like it was announced in July–but maybe only on the Council’s own website. Here is the website: www.encinonc.com.

Now I have a place to go with my complaint about the oozing water leak, though for all I know, people may have been trying to get this fixed for years!

But somehow that seems unlikely.

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Garden Graffiti At The Tokyo Princess Inn

Front of the Tokyo Princess Inn

According to the Inn’s website, it was once operated by John Wayne (before he was a big star) and is “a surreal experience.” Their words! The faux-Japanese-themed hotel has fifteen rooms, available by the day or for extended stays. It does not give any hourly rates, just fyi. (www.tokyoprincessinn.com)

However, if you want to learn a little more about Encino’s no-tell motels and local resident Clark Gable’s apparent use of them for afternoon rendezvous, see Hal Lifson’s article in the Encino-Tarzana Patch (encino.patch.com/articles/encino-s-vintage-no-tell-motels-of-the-1950-s)

English: Frame from the trailer for MGM's 1947...

From the trailer for MGM’s 1947 film The Hucksters showing Clark Gable cuddling with Ava Gardner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was walking by the Tokyo Princess recently, I found these two graffiti tags along the sidewalk, at the border of its garden.



Perhaps the tags are to be read as faux kanji, in this context. I rather like the second one–which, if you think about it, takes a mini pagoda roof and makes it a blazing billboard advertising a tagger. What the tag is? — no idea. Anybody?