Tarzana Is My Heroine

a poet considers the imaginary and reality of Tarzana

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Tarzan, Jane, And The Chamber Of Commerce

My husband spotted this new sign for the Woodland Hills-Tarzana Chamber of Commerce at Peet’s in Tarzana when we went there for coffee this morning.

Chamber of Commerce Logo

Chamber of Commerce Logo

At first I didn’t see that the logo included an image of Tarzan and a lion, because the logo is all green. After I took this photo, a woman came up and said, “Oh, I love it when someone notices the Chamber of Commerce logo!” She said that there would have been more colors for Tarzan and lion on the right except that it would have been too expensive to produce. Here’s what the image–from the cover of Tarzan and the Lion Man–looks like in full color:

Tarzan and the Lion Man

Tarzan and the Lion Man


The woman who talked to me was Jen Svejda, Director of Business Development for the Woodland Hills-Tarzana Chamber of Commerce (http://www.woodlandhillscc.net/index.php), which includes, she said, some 800 businesses and is the largest Chamber of Commerce in the Valley. We chatted about how the economic downturn had affected the area (not as bad as it could have been) and the enthusiasm that lots of local Chamber Ambassadors have for this area–to the point, Jen said, of coming out on weekends and painting curbs on their own time!

Jen is very enthusiastic about her job, and she admitted she played the part of Jane at the Tarzan Centennial Celebration at Safari Walk back in August (2012)!

Speaking of Jane now rather than Jen, a new book called Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan just came out. It’s by historical novel author Robin Maxwell and tells Jane’s story from Jane’s point of view–with the support of the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate.Here is a link to some blog posts the author wrote about writing the novel and her interest in the Tarzan story: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/09/edgar-rice-burroughs-and-darwin-revisited-the-science-of-jane#more


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As I go around the Valley, I often see some bit of visual poetry or installation art-in-the-wild which catches my eye.

Here are a few things I saw recently:

@ Balboa x Balboa off ramp


@ Encino Oaks shopping center


There was this evocative scene in an alley just off Ventura Blvd. near Hazeltine


And perhaps my favorite: Theophile Gaultier’s slogan “L’art pour l’art” (“Art for art’s sake”) slapped onto a sink drain at Crave Cafe in Sherman Oaks.


Is it possible it was just by chance that the bilingual pun on the word “pour” was stuck on to a drainpipe? I think not.

After a quick Google search, I’m guessing that the sticker is actually an ad for the L’art Pour L’art mixer events created by Baha Danesh.

Their slogan is “connect. collaborate. create” (Nice!) and this is their website:


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Tarzana Is What Paradise?


Tarzana Is What Paradise?

It is a finite neon thing;
A flame-out orange & spiky thing.
I think it is a final thing
I’m coming to understand.


Paradise, acetylene torch,
Lights us up but casts a shadow


Taking the shape of possible fates
Unrecognized as our own doing.


Tarzana is a paradise
Of Canada geese & lost dogs.
It is jungle-fevered profit made
Off twice-removed celebrity.


What paradise has lost its birds?
Has busy streets, but empty stores;
Not enough parks? These late fall
Days bring forth something amazing,


Something I didn’t realize before:
Birds-of-paradise die. Fall will
Come for what’s ready and what’s not,
For the citrus and the root crops.


It comes to the year-round summer
Spoiling us for anywhere else.
Our heaven is a tropical
Bloom wilting in the desert weather


Of someone’s paradise idea.
Whoever planted these flowers
Forgot they die. So did I.
Tarzana is my told-you-so.

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At Crave Cafe, Sherman Oaks

I’ve been at Crave Cafe-Sherman Oaks a few times lately for lunch when I needed somewhere reliable and convenient to go during my Valley ramblings. www.cravecafes.com

I know Crave is a place where I can eat something quick but tasty, use the wi-fi without feeling antisocial, and have a decent espresso drink.

They are known for their crepes, omelets, paninis, and ice cream sandwiches made with two big cookies.

I happen to know the owner, Abe Abu-Dalu, and his family. I’ve had many fun breakfasts there with his wife, Nibal, and a couple of other friends, so you can take this with a grain of salt if you want!

Abe also owns the tasty Pita Kitchen restaurant that’s just around the corner. But at Crave, he has created a place with a lively, casual coffee house/bistro atmosphere with friendly, attentive service, even though you order at the counter and the wait staff just bring the food out. Without fail, the waiters come around at least a couple of times after you get your food to see if you need anything else or to remedy anything amiss (and with good grace, in my experience).

I really like that extra touch of good service that, as an order-at-the-counter kind of place, they aren’t really expected to do. I like it that they serve pesto and red pepper sauce as sides with every panini or sandwich.

They also serve a nice, fresh side salad with all the savory dishes–even with some of the breakfast items like omelets or bagel sandwiches.

The photos give a good sense of the ambience.







Stop by and try it sometime, and tell Abe that Coco sent you!